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Nick Shaw
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Designed for the 18 Card Microgame Contest 2016 (see the Item for Geeklist "18 Card Microgame Contest Geeklist 2016" geeklist entry too)

Players: 2
Ages: 8+
Game length: 5-10 minutes

Summary: A game of picking animals from a grid to score the most points from the various sets. Where you take from on your turn affects where your opponent can take on their turn. Choose wisely to gain the best sets, and avoid the potentially dangerous/unwanted animals!

The card cross-reference grid selection mechanism I use is inspired by the one used in Targi (though I use it a little differently here).

(Ok, the theme is paper-thin; I chose it mainly because my daughter loves black & white animals, and you'll note most of the animals are black & white (the pig being the biggest exception!), and also happen to all start with the letter P for some reason!)

Setup:
Each player chooses an arrow card (both arrow cards also contain the rules).

Shuffle the 16 remaining cards, and lay them face-up on the table in a 4x4 grid.

Player 1, place their arrow card above a vertical column, arrow facing down.

Player 2, place their arrow card to the left of a horizontal column, arrow facing right.

Gameplay:
Player 1: Move your arrow card to a different column from the one it’s currently pointing at; take the card from the grid that’s now at the cross-reference of the two arrow cards (the card with an X in the example graphic). Place this card in front of you, face-up.

Player 2: Do the same, but moving your arrow card to a different row.

If you ever can’t move your arrow (all other columns or rows are empty), just take the current cross-referenced card.

If no cards are left in your opponent’s arrow’s column/row at the start of your turn, move their arrow card to the closest adjacent row (your choice) with cards in, then move yours and take the cross-referenced card as usual.

End Game:
When all cards have been taken, score up! Highest score wins!

Scoring notes:
- "Least" cards require you to have *at least one* of them to potentially score. So if player 1 has one and player 2 has two, player 1 wins that; but if player 1 has NONE and player 2 has two, player 2 wins that.
- SWAP and DISCARD cards can either be kept for the VPs, or must be used immediately to trigger their effects, then themselves discarded. You can't keep hold of them and use them for their effect later in the game!

Strategy:
- Try to force your opponent into having no choice as to the card (s)he takes.
- Remember that where YOU move to directly affects what your OPPONENT will have available for selection next turn!
- Sometimes keeping a -3 card is better for you than losing that other card that gives you +5. And sometimes discarding a card is beneficial to you.

Full-colour cards + backs: https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ak8WV0RjSgOrgYY3J1jdKOGm70IjVw
Low ink cards + backs: https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ak8WV0RjSgOrgYZBk2eWF-jxXoSYwg

(All images and icons used are free for commercial and non-commercial use, taken from Pixabay.com and game-icons.net. Fonts used: Century Gothic, Buxton Sketch)

All feedback welcome!

I'll work on getting a low-ink PnP file available - now available!

Update: Some tweaks to the cards' text. Also link to the full-colour version changed.

Update #2: My game is now listed in the BGG database: Animal P-P-P-Pickup
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JK
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
This is a very cool mechanism and I love that all of the animals start with p. Somehow that really appeals to my sense of humour...

Will definitely try this one out (after the others I just printed up).
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C. L.
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
Hi! I've played three times now, using the low-ink version. Interesting decisions in a very fast game (two handed, today, anyway). A few notes:

-- it may be worthwhile for you to unify the images in the low-ink version, to make it more appealing to playtesters (porcupine is my favorite);
-- it wasn't clear to me whether or not each player had to move their arrow card each turn. I played as though it was required: that you could not stay in one place.
-- it may be useful to have the card references for penguin and porcupine written out, briefly, on the cards, especially since the rule cards are being manipulated throughout play.
-- it would be helpful if you numbered the rules cards and had the game title on the first card.

That's all for now... thanks for the game.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
GreenTea532 wrote:
Hi! I've played three times now, using the low-ink version. Interesting decisions in a very fast game (two handed, today, anyway). A few notes:

-- it may be worthwhile for you to unify the images in the low-ink version, to make it more appealing to playtesters (porcupine is my favorite);
-- it wasn't clear to me whether or not each player had to move their arrow card each turn. I played as though it was required: that you could not stay in one place.
-- it may be useful to have the card references for penguin and porcupine written out, briefly, on the cards, especially since the rule cards are being manipulated throughout play.
-- it would be helpful if you numbered the rules cards and had the game title on the first card.

That's all for now... thanks for the game.


Thanks for the feedback! Excellent notes. I'll see what I can do to integrate your points in.

EDIT: Now I'm on a computer instead of my phone, I can respond more fully!...

> It may be worthwhile for you to unify the images in the low-ink version, to make it more appealing to playtesters (porcupine is my favorite);

Good idea. I slapped the low-ink version together in just 5 minutes as I wanted it up, but had run out of lunch-break time at work to look up decent images, so I just grabbed the first ones I could find. I'll see about unifying the style of the images in that version.


> It wasn't clear to me whether or not each player had to move their arrow card each turn. I played as though it was required: that you could not stay in one place.

You are correct: If you CAN move your arrow, you MUST move it. I'll try to clarify that somewhere in the rules. There are times near the end of a game where you might not be able to move, in which case you just have to stay put and take what's being pointed to at the time.


> It may be useful to have the card references for penguin and porcupine written out, briefly, on the cards, especially since the rule cards are being manipulated throughout play.

Hmm, good idea. I'd thought the rules cards would suffice as you can just flip them over in-position to read the relevant side, but clarifying the scoring on the actual scoring cards themselves should be possible. If I can get the text to fit.


> It would be helpful if you numbered the rules cards and had the game title on the first card.

I did have the title on the rules originally, but I couldn't fit everything in with it there. I'll see if I can get it back on there, perhaps even make it a header on all the cards. Adding page numbers: Yep, sure thing, I can do that.

Many thanks for trying the game out!
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C. L.
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
I got in a two-person game a couple of days ago. Easy to teach, a bit of tactics, a bit of push-your-luck, a bit of gotcha, fits on the table of our favorite coffeehouse. I think that after the contest I will make a copy with the cards a little smaller. Thanks!
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
GreenTea532 wrote:
I got in a two-person game a couple of days ago. Easy to teach, a bit of tactics, a bit of push-your-luck, a bit of gotcha, fits on the table of our favorite coffeehouse. I think that after the contest I will make a copy with the cards a little smaller. Thanks!


Great comments, C.L.! Yes, I think the game would work just as well with either Bridge-sized or even mini-poker sized cards. I also thought they could technically work better as square cards to make the 4x4 grid more 'square'. Lots of possibilities post-contest (I also have ideas for how to do a 3-player and 4-player version with more cards, but can't have those for the contest obviously).
 
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C. L.
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
Played a fun round of this game with a new second player. We noticed that the "porcupine" in the low-ink version is an echidna. Different continent, different taxonomic order.whistle
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] - [18 Card Microgame Contest 2016] - Animal P-P-P-Pickup
GreenTea532 wrote:
Played a fun round of this game with a new second player. We noticed that the "porcupine" in the low-ink version is an echidna. Different continent, different taxonomic order.whistle


Ha! I didn't notice that. I trust the labels the website put on its picture. Will see if I can find a "proper" porcupine picture.
 
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Paul Franzosa
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We played this one this weekend. Good fun. Surprisingly interesting scoring decisions to be made, even during the end game. Well done!
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Nick Shaw
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zosa wrote:
We played this one this weekend. Good fun. Surprisingly interesting scoring decisions to be made, even during the end game. Well done!


Thanks Paul! Glad you enjoyed it!
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David Miller
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With a few plays, Kate and I like this very much - I'll give better feedback soon (and also ask our game group and social media friends to chime in!). =)
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Nick Shaw
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David Miller wrote:
With a few plays, Kate and I like this very much - I'll give better feedback soon (and also ask our game group and social media friends to chime in!). =)


Thanks David!
 
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JK
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Hiya Nick,

Just had 4 games against my 9 year old. His feedback was "This is a great game because you have to think before having your turn". I'd second that it is an enjoyable little filler and works just exactly the way it should. The alliteration of the animals is a neat joke that made both of us smile.

I don't really have any suggestions for improvement. One idea that might help stretch out the playing time would be to start with the cards all face down. First time they are picked they would get flipped face up. The next time they are selected they would get picked up. I haven't tested this out.

Very nice job!
JK
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Thanks JK! Your suggestion sounds interesting, I'll have to try it out!
 
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David Miller
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After a few more plays, I must say I find this a very satisfying game to play.

I absolutely love the "feeling" I have when playing Targi so it isn't surprising that this game scratches that same itch but with a different feel.

It isn't a copy of Targi and I think it's the rhythm of the card mechanic that I so enjoy (plus I do like the theme). =)

Very well done!

PS - I need to check in with a handful of peeps in my design and playtest group to get their detailed feedback but their initial; thoughts were quite positive.

Anytime someone tells you they want to play it again is fantastic!
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David Miller wrote:
Anytime someone tells you they want to play it again is fantastic!


Indeed it is! Many thanks, David!
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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I'm new to PnP and many seem too hard to build but this one is easy as pie. Don't even need to print the card backs. Doesn't matter if you can tell the cards apart when looking at the backs.

And it sounds fun so I'm looking forward to playing it.
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rainbowrose wrote:
I'm new to PnP and many seem too hard to build but this one is easy as pie. Don't even need to print the card backs.


Indeed! (unless you want the back side of the rules, of course, but if you've read the rules, no you probably don't need to bother printing the backs).

rainbowrose wrote:
And it sounds fun so I'm looking forward to playing it.


Thanks lelo! Hope you enjoy it. I look forward to hearing any comments you have.
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Right, pages 1 and 3 on card stock to make cards. Pages 3 (again) and 4 on paper to make a rules booklet.

Getting it ready to play with my Husband tonight after he gets off work. I'm a College Teacher and on Winter Break. So no work for me, play , play, play.

Looking more at the files ... I'm wondering if instead of the curly-q and hearts boarder you could do something with various animal tracks.

Also the logo for the game could be the name with some "paw" prints replacing a few vowels. Or ... here's an idea: I just went with a quick font (use your own) and a cougar paw print that I found quick but is like a panther or panda print.



Edit: Further idea: stagger the P's so that it looks like left-foot, right-foot, left-foot, right-foot.
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rainbowrose wrote:

Looking more at the files ... I'm wondering if instead of the curly-q and hearts boarder you could do something with various animal tracks.

Also the logo for the game could be the name with some "paw" prints replacing a few vowels. Or ... here's an idea: I just went with a quick font (use your own) and a cougar paw print that I found quick but is like a panther or panda print.



Edit: Further idea: stagger the P's so that it looks like left-foot, right-foot, left-foot, right-foot.


Genius! Love that idea. I'll see what I can come up with, once the contest has wrapped.
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Finally got around to playing this little gem. My husband and I both adored it.

The rules were very clear. I only have one minor comment. During setup it doesn't say who gets to decide where to place the arrow cards. We played that your first turn was deciding where to place your arrow card. Instead of "Player 1, place their" use "Player 1 places their". And do similar for player 2. To be even more clear, instead of the word "their" use "his" or "his/her."

The mechanic is wonderful and different. I haven't seen this mechanic before.

The icons are spot on. I wonder if you could add icons that would help you know what the 4 special action cards do. Craning over the table to read the cards was a pain.

I like that you used photographs of the animals. It's more educational to see the photos than a drawing. Many of us never get to see these animals in person and a drawing can only convey so much.

Anyway, we love it and will be playing it again until we work out the perfect strategy. If my comments have been helpful, please check out my own WIP thread.
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rainbowrose wrote:
Finally got around to playing this little gem. My husband and I both adored it.

The rules were very clear. I only have one minor comment. During setup it doesn't say who gets to decide where to place the arrow cards. We played that your first turn was deciding where to place your arrow card. Instead of "Player 1, place their" use "Player 1 places their". And do similar for player 2. To be even more clear, instead of the word "their" use "his" or "his/her."

The mechanic is wonderful and different. I haven't seen this mechanic before.

The icons are spot on. I wonder if you could add icons that would help you know what the 4 special action cards do. Craning over the table to read the cards was a pain.

I like that you used photographs of the animals. It's more educational to see the photos than a drawing. Many of us never get to see these animals in person and a drawing can only convey so much.

Anyway, we love it and will be playing it again until we work out the perfect strategy. If my comments have been helpful, please check out my own WIP thread.


Thanks lelo! I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed playing it!

Good point on the rules wording. You played it correctly - each player chooses where to place their arrow as their first turn (this was to somewhat mitigate any first player advantage as the second player gets to limit which column the first player's first card-take will be from).

I can certainly add more icons for the special action cards. I just ran out of time to find and/or design applicable ones. I'll see if I can design some. I hand-drew some on my prototype (they looked fine but transcribing them into a decent looking digital version would have taken too much time), so I have ideas of what I'd want. Just need to find the time!

And I'm really glad you liked the photographs. You may not have noticed if you only printed the full-colour version, but the low-ink version uses b&w line-drawings of the animals, and I certainly prefer the photographs on the full-colour version. It's odd though; I really wasn't too happy with the theme I'd picked (if I'd had more time, or better graphic design skills, I probably would have gone for a Tron- or Matrix-style digital graphic theme, so perhaps having LESS time is sometimes an advantage!). I'd like to see if I can get the animal images covering the whole card, with only the necessary text/icons overlaid on them; I couldn't get it to look good enough when I tried that though. Maybe I'll give it another go.

Thanks again, really nice to get such positive feedback! I'll definitely check out your WIP thread.
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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njshaw2 wrote:
rainbowrose wrote:
Finally got around to playing this little gem. My husband and I both adored it.

The rules were very clear. I only have one minor comment. During setup it doesn't say who gets to decide where to place the arrow cards. We played that your first turn was deciding where to place your arrow card. Instead of "Player 1, place their" use "Player 1 places their". And do similar for player 2. To be even more clear, instead of the word "their" use "his" or "his/her."

The mechanic is wonderful and different. I haven't seen this mechanic before.

The icons are spot on. I wonder if you could add icons that would help you know what the 4 special action cards do. Craning over the table to read the cards was a pain.

I like that you used photographs of the animals. It's more educational to see the photos than a drawing. Many of us never get to see these animals in person and a drawing can only convey so much.

Anyway, we love it and will be playing it again until we work out the perfect strategy. If my comments have been helpful, please check out my own WIP thread.


Thanks lelo! I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed playing it!

Good point on the rules wording. You played it correctly - each player chooses where to place their arrow as their first turn (this was to somewhat mitigate any first player advantage as the second player gets to limit which column the first player's first card-take will be from).

I can certainly add more icons for the special action cards. I just ran out of time to find and/or design applicable ones. I'll see if I can design some. I hand-drew some on my prototype (they looked fine but transcribing them into a decent looking digital version would have taken too much time), so I have ideas of what I'd want. Just need to find the time!

And I'm really glad you liked the photographs. You may not have noticed if you only printed the full-colour version, but the low-ink version uses b&w line-drawings of the animals, and I certainly prefer the photographs on the full-colour version. It's odd though; I really wasn't too happy with the theme I'd picked (if I'd had more time, or better graphic design skills, I probably would have gone for a Tron- or Matrix-style digital graphic theme, so perhaps having LESS time is sometimes an advantage!). I'd like to see if I can get the animal images covering the whole card, with only the necessary text/icons overlaid on them; I couldn't get it to look good enough when I tried that though. Maybe I'll give it another go.

Thanks again, really nice to get such positive feedback! I'll definitely check out your WIP thread.


I did print the low-ink version. But that is just because I have black and white printer. That's good enough for play testing. But I didn't think we are supposed to be judging the low-ink version which is why I commented on the regular one.

Still, could use almost any theme to go with this mechanic.
 
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Nick Shaw
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rainbowrose wrote:
I did print the low-ink version. But that is just because I have black and white printer. That's good enough for play testing. But I didn't think we are supposed to be judging the low-ink version which is why I commented on the regular one.

Still, could use almost any theme to go with this mechanic.


Ah, ok! Yes, I think you judge artwork on the full-colour version, but gameplay etc can be determined fine from low-ink copies.

(and yes, any theme could go on it!)
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Got in another play tonight. Me 15, Hubby 10.

Still fun, still want to keep playing, esp Hubby. He really likes it.

I was wondering, when you choose a row (or column) can you choose one that results in there being an empty space in the cross referenced location? And if so, what do you do about it? We have been playing that you must choose a row (or column) that will cross reference a card and not an empty locations.
 
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