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Subject: [WIP] Bowerbird - components ready - 18 card contest rss

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Douglas Rees
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1 - 4 players
Ages 8+
10 minutes???

Components ready

To attract a mate, the satin bowerbird constructs a beautiful display, or bower, from the materials it can find. It is especially fond of the colour blue.

Players manipulate a bower--made up of four cards in the centre of the play area--to score points. The bower has two rows of symbols: bottle caps, clothes pegs, and twigs.

Logo by Mark Tuck, check out his games

--

Cards and rules: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7CaUkid9CW1b3hUVnZNWEc0dj...
 
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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
Love the theme.

Once you get the solo rules sorted, I'll give it a play

I see you've added this to the geeklist. Hacko likes all the items listed there to be in exactly the same format - with images of the cards, rules written, titles in bold etc... (so expect a reply from him!)
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
okay, I've been working on the rules. Total overhaul from what I've posted previously, but they need a lot of tidying. Here are the solo rules. It should be pretty easy to work out the multi-player rules from these.

Solo play:


In the solo mode, you play against the game. The numbers in the top right corner are used for random decision making during the upkeep phase


Shuffle and deal 4 cards in a row to the table, these cards are the bower. While shuffling, make sure to randomly rotate cards 180 degrees.
Deal 2 scoring cards and place to the side, if the two scoring conditions are identical, place the second card randomly back in the deck and draw a new card (repeat until there are two different scoring conditions). The game will score points if these conditions are met during the upkeep phase

Deal yourself a hand of 3 cards


Player’s turn
The player must play cards to perform 1 or 2 actions. These can be performed in any order.
- Perform an action: play the action from one card to manipulate the bower
- Score: play a card with a scoring condition matching the current state of the bower.

Draw cards back to a hand of 3


Upkeep phase
- Draw two cards and perform the actions on both cards. After each action, check the scoring conditions dealt during setup.
- When performing an action, manipulate the card in bower matching the number in the top right corner of the other action card: the first action will be performed on the second card’s number, the second action on the first card’s number. For the move action, swap the positions of cards in the bower for both numbers. If the numbers are the same, then rotate both bower cards.

End of round
When there are fewer than three cards left in the draw pile, discard both game scoring conditions, shuffle the cards and begin a new round. The bower is not discarded.

Actions
- Rotate: Rotate a card in the bower by 180 degrees
Move: Swap the positions of two cards in the bower (keep the same orientation)
- Swap: Exchange one card in your hand with one card in the bower (in any orientation). Upkeep phase: exchange the top card of the draw pile with the specified card in the bower (keep the same orientation)
Special: Choose a card from the discard pile and play it, either as an action, or for scoring. Upkeep phase: I don't know just yet...any suggestions


Scoring
- 4 straight: there are 4 of the same symbol in one line
- 4 zig zag: there are 4 of the same symbol in a zig zag pattern
- No pair: There are no side-by-side pairs of the same symbol
- Bttb: one line has blue symbols on either side, and twigs in both middle positions
 
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
And forgot to include a game-end requirement. Hmm, first to 5 might work

[ed]
Oh, and I hope I fixed the bowelbird misreading

 
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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
vialick wrote:
And forgot to include a game-end requirement. Hmm, first to 5 might work

[ed]
Oh, and I hope I fixed the bowelbird misreading



You got me googling 'bowerbird' - fascinating creature!

I do think your logo is a little illegible, with the blue central letters over the blue bird, and the brown leaves behind the wording.

Why not make the logo relate more to the bird's unique courtship behaviour?

I hope you don't mind, but I quickly did this to show my thinking:



Anyway, the game is now on my list for playing.
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
tucky60 wrote:
vialick wrote:
And forgot to include a game-end requirement. Hmm, first to 5 might work

[ed]
Oh, and I hope I fixed the bowelbird misreading



You got me googling 'bowerbird' - fascinating creature!

I do think your logo is a little illegible, with the blue central letters over the blue bird, and the brown leaves behind the wording.

Why not make the logo relate more to the bird's unique courtship behaviour?

I hope you don't mind, but I quickly did this to show my thinking:



Anyway, the game is now on my list for playing.


Oooh, your logo is fantastic, much more 'to-the-point'. I'm not particularly good with graphics (the graphics so far have been tracing over photos and then playing around with gradients).

I hope you enjoy the game (and I hope the rules make sense, but I figured it's better to have something out there while I edit).
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Mark Tuck
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
vialick wrote:


Oooh, your logo is fantastic, much more 'to-the-point'.

Glad you like it - feel free to use it.
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
And now with rules and an awesome new logo (thanks Mark), Bowerbird is components ready.

cards and rules: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7CaUkid9CW1b3hUVnZNWEc0dj...






(I've made a couple of fixes that are in the PDF but not in these pictures)
 
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Douglas Rees
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Re: [WIP] Bowerbird - 18 card contest
A few things:

BTTB -- I want to change this scoring condition, but can't think of a good name. I would go with 'bower' (thematically makes sense) but that would be confusing.

Rules -- They are pretty compact, and I'm worried if they are understandable.

Solo -- Not sure if it's too easy. Originally I had 3 conditions drawn and had the AI score points if they were met at any time (even during your turn). Also, I'm thinking of adding two solo numbers to each card (rather than just one) to avoid having to worry about having the same numbers as much.
 
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C. L.
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Hi. In the PDF file, the letter "a" is not showing up in text you have in one of the fonts. The images, above, are fine, but not the PDF.
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Douglas Rees
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GreenTea532 wrote:
Hi. In the PDF file, the letter "a" is not showing up in text you have in one of the fonts. The images, above, are fine, but not the PDF.


Hmm, I think it wasn't embedding the fonts correctly. I think I've fixed it now.
 
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C. L.
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Looks good now. Thanks.

Quick observations: it would help to specify that on set-up we deal the bower cards in a single row? If this is correct, then perhaps you could adjust the win condition diagrams to make it clearer that we are dealing with a single row of cards.

Also, it would be helpful for the card diagram in the rules to label front and back.

Looking forward to playing!
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Douglas Rees
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GreenTea532 wrote:
Looks good now. Thanks.

Quick observations: it would help to specify that on set-up we deal the bower cards in a single row? If this is correct, then perhaps you could adjust the win condition diagrams to make it clearer that we are dealing with a single row of cards.

Also, it would be helpful for the card diagram in the rules to label front and back.

Looking forward to playing!

Great that it's working.

Yes the bower is a single row of cards, I'll try and get some more clarification into the rules (I should be able to squeeze a little bit of space for it).

I just now see what you mean with the scoring conditions, I should be able to fix up the diagrams soon
 
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Douglas Rees
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Okay, I've updated the cards hopefully making things clearer:

- Changed the scoring diagrams
- Added front/back (though I might give them clearer names: bower side/action side perhaps)
- A few little wording fixes.

Should be available from the same link. I will update pictures in the geeklist a bit later
 
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Douglas Rees
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Well the deadline for changes has passed, and I think I've got a pretty solid basic game, though it will probably need a bit of tuning (I haven't had much chance to test out multi-player...hopefully this week, but changes won't be able to be made until after the contest).

The solo mode seems to work pretty well, though perhaps a bit easy...perhaps 3 game actions per turn will give the game a bit more of a chance to ruin your plans and seduce that hen you have a crush on (or perhaps a totally different way for the game to change the bower)...
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Douglas Rees
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Well, I finally got a chance to play multi-player. We tested the rules as written as well as a variant.

Mechanically the game works fine, but there's a lot of room left for fun. I'll be making some changes after the contest, probably:

- expanding the size of the deck.

- expanding the range of scoring options

- expanding the range of actions (perhaps having some 'rotate 2', 'move 3')

- testing a lot to find the ideal difficulty. At the moment there is about a 10% chance of each scoring pattern to fit any given bower.

There's probably more that could be done, and a couple of things I might play around with (single sided cards, 'jokers', cards having either an action or scoring pattern)...and I'd be super-interested to hear any thoughts or feedback (whether positive or negative)
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Is there a black and white printer friendly version?

How do you keep score?

When you score, do you score 1 point?

When you play a card for it's action, does it then go to the discard pile?

When you play a card to score, ... do you do so by discarding a card with a scoring condition that is met?

For solo:

When I draw for the game do you mean for the entire playing of the game or for a dummy player? I'm thinking dummy player but that is not how I read it the first few times.

So I assume I'm playing against a dummy player.

I and the dummy player take turns.

On the dummy players turn I draw two cards for him.
I perform both actions in any order.
The action affects the card in the position indicted by the solo number on the other of the two cards in the dummy's hand.
After the dummy's first action, I don't discard that action card yet as I still need it's solo number for the second action.
After the 1st action I check to see if either of dummy's scoring conditions are met and if so he scores a point. Then I do the second action and check for scoring again.
After both actions I discard both of dummy's action cards.

If at anytime the draw pile becomes empty, I discard both of dummy's scoring condition cards, shuffle, deal him two new scoring conditions and continue play.

Is that how it works? And if not, please how does it work?

It's a beautiful game. I love the shade of blue that you chose as it appears on the computer screen. And awesome logo too. Kudos to Mark Tuck. I do wish that the bottle caps looked more like the metal bottle caps that come on single serve glass bottles and less like the caps on plastic 2-liter bottles.

Clear up the rules for me so I can play this baby.
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Douglas Rees
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Firstly, thanks a lot for having a look and asking questions (this will help me work out where to direct efforts when I'm re-writing the rules)

rainbowrose wrote:
Is there a black and white printer friendly version?

Unfortunately not at the moment. The cards should print fairly well in B&W and not use too much ink, there may be some difficulty in the scoring diagrams (though with this version it's only the BTTB scoring diagram that would suffer). It shouldn't be hard to remember that bottle caps and clothes pegs are blue, and that twigs are not.

Quote:
How do you keep score?

Memory or pencil and paper.

Quote:
When you score, do you score 1 point?

Yes. (though in future versions I may toy around with scoring methods)

Quote:
When you play a card for it's action, does it then go to the discard pile?

Yes

Quote:
When you play a card to score, ... do you do so by discarding a card with a scoring condition that is met?

Yes. So if the bower has cap twigs twigs peg in one row of the bower, you can score points by playing a 'bttb' scoring card (placing it in the discard pile)

Quote:
For solo:

When I draw for the game do you mean for the entire playing of the game or for a dummy player? I'm thinking dummy player but that is not how I read it the first few times.

Ah, I guess it is a 'dummy player'...I definitely need better terminology.

Quote:
So I assume I'm playing against a dummy player.

I and the dummy player take turns.

On the dummy players turn I draw two cards for him.
I perform both actions in any order.
The action affects the card in the position indicted by the solo number on the other of the two cards in the dummy's hand.
After the dummy's first action, I don't discard that action card yet as I still need it's solo number for the second action.
After the 1st action I check to see if either of dummy's scoring conditions are met and if so he scores a point. Then I do the second action and check for scoring again.
After both actions I discard both of dummy's action cards.


If at anytime the draw pile becomes empty, I discard both of dummy's scoring condition cards, shuffle, deal him two new scoring conditions and continue play.

Is that how it works? And if not, please how does it work?


Correct . There is a difficult situation I discovered after the deadline in which you can run out of cards in the middle of the dummy player's turn (so if they need to swap, but there's no card in the draw pile to swap). Here I would probably finish the action by swapping the the bottom card of the discard pile, check scoring conditions, and then shuffle and re-deal scoring conditions.

Quote:
It's a beautiful game. I love the shade of blue that you chose as it appears on the computer screen. And awesome logo too. Kudos to Mark Tuck. I do wish that the bottle caps looked more like the metal bottle caps that come on single serve glass bottles and less like the caps on plastic 2-liter bottles.

Thanks a lot. I do like the idea for the metal caps.

And yes. I was very pleasantly surprised when Mark Tuck offered his logo from out of the blue (pun intended).

Quote:
Clear up the rules for me so I can play this baby.


I hope I have
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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Thanks, I'll give it a go. I've printed and taken a blue crayon the them.
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Douglas Rees
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In case anyone is interested in the game beyond the contest. I've been working on a 32 card version with a few changes:

- New actions: some cards let you perform an action twice
- New scoring patterns: 4 of a kind, bttb, tbbt, all blue on the whole card. Plus different patterns for scoring: straight: '''', zigzag: ',', fan '',, and u ',,'
- Scoring is harder, with less than 10% (more like 7% from memory) of possible bower configurations matching any given scoring pattern.
- I've been learning how to use squib to automate the card layouts from the spreadsheet I use for development

I'll post the new version after the contest closes (or if you're interested, I can send you the files now). I haven't yet worked out how to change the rules, I'm really hoping to get some feedback from the contest version .

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James Ronald Lo
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I'd be interested in a post contest version Will you be adding more goodies for solo players like moi?

Also, feedback on the contest version to follow, I'm all set to play your game this weekend

What is squib? Sounds useful.
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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My husband and I played 2 games. We each won 1 game. The first player one each game. It was too easy to score. We scored on nearly every turn. It was a huge advantage to be first player. I'm sorry to say but my husband compared it to Tic-Tac-Toe.

I started a solo game but got interrupted. It seemed more interesting. I'll give it another try solo and report back.

In the rules, when you shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw pile it says to rotate some of the cards 180 but doesn't seem like it matters as when we add them to our hand we rotate them to be right side up so we can read the text.

Also for the draw and discard piles, should the front (with items) or the back (with actions) be showing?
 
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rainbowrose wrote:
My husband and I played 2 games. We each won 1 game. The first player one each game. It was too easy to score. We scored on nearly every turn. It was a huge advantage to be first player. I'm sorry to say but my husband compared it to Tic-Tac-Toe.


Eeep...I knew that the scoring was too easy, but that does seem way too much so . I haven't had a chance to play two-player yet (only solo and 3 players) so I wonder if it's due to the bower not being manipulated as much between turns.

Quote:
I started a solo game but got interrupted. It seemed more interesting. I'll give it another try solo and report back.


That's good to hear. The solo game is also very easy to score (and fairly difficult to lose), so it may be best to think of it as beating your high-score at the moment.

Quote:
In the rules, when you shuffle the discard pile to make a new draw pile it says to rotate some of the cards 180 but doesn't seem like it matters as when we add them to our hand we rotate them to be right side up so we can read the text.

Also for the draw and discard piles, should the front (with items) or the back (with actions) be showing?


- Rotating doesn't matter so much, it adds a bit more randomness to the solo games and initial bower. I'll probably get rid of the rule or add it as a 'if you like'

- Draw pile: item-side up, Discard pile: action-side up...well, the discard doesn't really matter


Thanks so much for playing and giving feedback . Hopefully the post-contest version will make it more of a challenge.
 
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countdown321 wrote:
I'd be interested in a post contest version Will you be adding more goodies for solo players like moi?

Also, feedback on the contest version to follow, I'm all set to play your game this weekend

What is squib? Sounds useful.


Thanks a lot, . I'll GM you a link when I upload the file (probably tomorrow).

Solo changes I'm playing with are:
- having a 'conveyer-belt' for AI scoring, probably with three scoring conditions (at the end of the turn you discard the end scoring card and draw a new one to the first position)
- having two AI numbers on each card to reference positions
- I'm still trying to work out a good AI 'special' action

It seems that the solo experience is probably the best at the moment (funny thing, when testing solo, I was thinking 'this will be better multi-player')

Squib Introducing Squib: a Ruby gem for prototyping games (latest is v0.13.4, 2017-07-17) is a way that you can script the conversion of a spreadsheet to a set of cards. You tell it where the data is, and how each data-type should appear on the cards. It should make it quicker to develop new prototypes if I want to try something different.
 
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Laura "lelo" D. Arrowsmith Deddens Gerard
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One of the problems we were having was that
If on my turn I manipulate the bower and then score say bttb, then on his turn he would also score bttb. If there were more scoring conditions, it would be less likely that he would also have bttb in his hand.

I have a question about "no pair". It's two next to each other in a row, yes? Not in a column. There are so many cards where the two items are the same that getting no pair is very hard if you disallow pairs in columns. Not that making it hard to score is a bad thing but it seemed so much harder than the the other scoring conditions.

If the deck was larger, you could keep score by keeping the card that you scored with.

Also, with such a small deck, I think with enough plays you would memorize which backs go with which fronts. Would not be as big of an issue with larger deck.

But a larger deck would change how solo works with new scoring conditions coming out at reshuffle.
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