Rey Alicea
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KATHMANDU

2 players ages 10 and up about 30 min

REY ALICEA

2017 Two-Player Print and Play Game Design Contest

BEST CASUAL/GATEWAY GAME
BEST GAME TO PLAY WITH YOUR CHILD
BEST DATE NIGHT GAME



KATHMANDU is a cross between Rummy and Jaipur

The Object

To score the most points after three rounds by arranging the entire hand into melds.

Materials

52 card regular deck
22 tokens in two colors, 5 red and 17 blue
A way of keeping score

The Deck

A 52 card regular deck, ranked A-K-Q-J-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-A.

The Deal

The dealer shuffles the deck and one at a time deals out face down 10 cards to each player. The rest of the cards are placed face down in the center of the table forming the draw deck. Also each player takes 1 red token and places it in front of them.

Next place the remaining 3 red tokens adjacent to the draw deck and spaced about a card width apart from each other on the tableau. Then draw 2 cards from the draw deck placing them face up and adjacent to the red tokens.

The blue tokens are placed nearby so that both players can easily reach them.

Melds

Melds come in two flavors.

Group – Three or four cards with different suits and the same rank.
Sequence – Three or more cards of the same suit with ranks in sequential order.

The Play

The game is played in three rounds.

The non-dealer starts, turns alternate.

A player on her turn must take one of the following actions.

1. Exchange a meld from your hand with a blue token, these cards are placed face down forming a discard pile or

2. Exchange an equal number of cards from your hand with red tokens from the tableau, these cards are placed face up to the tableau or

3. Take all of the red tokens from the tableau, replacing them with an equal number of cards from the draw deck, these cards are placed face up to the tableau or

4. Exchange any number of red tokens with an equal number of cards to the tableau face up or

5. Exchange any two cards from the tableau with two cards from your hand or

6. Take a red token from the tableau and replace it with a card from the draw deck placed face up to the tableau.

Players may have no more than 10 cards in their hands during play.

The game ends when either the draw deck is empty or all the blue tokens have been taken.

Scoring

Each blue token is worth 5 points each. Each red token is worth -2 points each and each card left in a player’s hand is worth -1 point each. Tally each player’s scores per round. Then tally each player’s final scores per round, the player with the highest score wins.
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JK
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Hi Rey and welcome to the contest!

Good to see a game using a standard deck.

Best of luck!
JK
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Rey Alicea
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JohnKean wrote:
Hi Rey and welcome to the contest!

Good to see a game using a standard deck.

Best of luck!
JK


Thank you happy to be here, thank you for setting this up!
 
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Garry Hoddinott
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Was keen to play this but disappointed. We found that there were a lot of options but the game moved very slowly as the cards did not cycle very quickly. Further as melds were made, cards were not replaced in a hand and I ran out of cards.

Seems draw pile is very slow to go down.

Interested to see what we were doing wrong as it looks like a good concept.
 
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Rey Alicea
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
Was keen to play this but disappointed. We found that there were a lot of options but the game moved very slowly as the cards did not cycle very quickly. Further as melds were made, cards were not replaced in a hand and I ran out of cards.

Seems draw pile is very slow to go down.

Interested to see what we were doing wrong as it looks like a good concept.


Sorry to hear that you were disappointed, I need to know some details of how you played a round. How many tokens did each of you have when you ran out of cards etc.

A playtester had this to say...

Quote:
Gave this a go, and enjoyed it very much.

I was very unclear from a reading of the rules how it should play out. It was not obvious how cards would be drawn or hands replenished once melds were turned in.

But once we got through our first moves, things become more obvious.

My opening move was to take all the red tokens, and deal out five cards. I then hoarded the red tokens for the first third of the game, until I was able to turn in some melds and then spent red tokens to replenish my hand. My opponent then claimed those tokens to draw cards to the tableau.

I very much liked the card drafting from the tableau, and the give and take of the tokens, as well as trying to remember what melds had been turned in to determine what else was available.

There's a school of thought about hiding information that was public, but I think in this case having an face-up discard pile would cause too much analysis and forcing you to rely on you your memory or your intuition makes for better flow.

Our game ended with the draw deck depleted, but it seems like an even number of blue tokens could cause a tie, so I'm wondering an odd number might be an improvement.

Like most around here, we have a house full of exceptional games to be played at a moment's notice, so that we're eager to play this one again is high praise, indeed.

 
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JK
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PLAYTESTER SPOT PRIZES

This game is eligible for a playtester spot prize for the next week!

See this post for more details.
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andrew dunbar
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Did two play tests - one to learn the rules and then one to really play the game. Very different results:

Game 1 - 30 mins
Missed the bit about the game ending when the draw deck was exhausted. Recycled it and realised that mangled the game horribly. Then checked the rules again and realised my mistake. Game would have ended 5 mins earlier (at 25 mins played) with Player 1 winning at 6 v 5

Game 2 - 25 mins as well
This was very different - now I knew how it was played it was much more tactical in terms of hoarding melds, playing for specific sets. However it also ended in a loop.

We got down to very small hands and 1 card+4 red tokens on the table.
3 cards left in draw deck but noone wanted to pick up red tokens due to how close the end was and game stalled. Decided to push ahead to see if we could force a close -

3 repeating rounds and then reduced to working out score to decide if it was worth it (literally adding up current positions and working if I were left with 2 red tokens would I still win etc)

If you want to play it out yourself - here's where we were:
Some careful play and we were down to 7 blue tokens each, 3 cards in hand each, 5 red on table, 1 card left in draw deck. No obvious melds.

Player 2 swapped a red for a card
Player 1 swapped a red for a card
Noone wanted to take all the tokens due to high cost penalty (but thats the only way to get the last card)
(we could carry on trading cards for reds but person to instigate would lose)

hit an impasse - whoever gave in would lose.

General feedback
I really liked this - its a simple concept that plays well.
It definitely has different paces during the game - sometimes it drags a bit and you feel at the mercy of your opponent to get it going again. At other times it moves really quickly. I'm not sure if thats good or bad! Its interesting for sure so probably good but a bit frustrating when you can't do much.
I did find that the hand limit was the only thing stopping people taking ALL red tokens constantly - it fixes an issue to some extent but not completely. (the back and forth is a bit odd - there's no reason to trade less if you have only a few cards)
Sometimes you feel like there is literally nothing you want to do - no cards you want, no red tokens in hand and some good cards you're trying to hang on to but are forced to swap. Its ok but happens a little too much for me. Doesn't feel like you can set up long term plays - its very reactive. The longest play I managed was with 3 melds in hand allowing me to control(stall) the opponent quite well.
It feels like its hard to get cards onto the table - you essentially have to "take one for the team" to get the cards on and I think if you were playing aggressively it would become less fun. You could stall fairly easily and force your opponent to do this.

So in summary -
I really like this game - felt like something different and was nice that it was easy to play with a standard deck and poker chips. Felt like something I could play with casual gamers as a bit of a break from the norm without getting too boardgame nerdy!

However...

I think you have some fatal flaws around stalling. I think the pace changes are probably quite good but I think you can intentionally stall a game indefinitely if you want to.

I hope that helps - if I was doing something wrong, let me know - happy to give this another shot!








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Rey Alicea
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krone9 wrote:
Did two play tests - one to learn the rules and then one to really play the game. Very different results:

Game 1 - 30 mins
Missed the bit about the game ending when the draw deck was exhausted. Recycled it and realised that mangled the game horribly. Then checked the rules again and realised my mistake. Game would have ended 5 mins earlier (at 25 mins played) with Player 1 winning at 6 v 5

Game 2 - 25 mins as well
This was very different - now I knew how it was played it was much more tactical in terms of hoarding melds, playing for specific sets. However it also ended in a loop.

We got down to very small hands and 1 card+4 red tokens on the table.
3 cards left in draw deck but noone wanted to pick up red tokens due to how close the end was and game stalled. Decided to push ahead to see if we could force a close -

3 repeating rounds and then reduced to working out score to decide if it was worth it (literally adding up current positions and working if I were left with 2 red tokens would I still win etc)

If you want to play it out yourself - here's where we were:
Some careful play and we were down to 7 blue tokens each, 3 cards in hand each, 5 red on table, 1 card left in draw deck. No obvious melds.

Player 2 swapped a red for a card
Player 1 swapped a red for a card
Noone wanted to take all the tokens due to high cost penalty (but thats the only way to get the last card)
(we could carry on trading cards for reds but person to instigate would lose)

hit an impasse - whoever gave in would lose.

General feedback
I really liked this - its a simple concept that plays well.
It definitely has different paces during the game - sometimes it drags a bit and you feel at the mercy of your opponent to get it going again. At other times it moves really quickly. I'm not sure if thats good or bad! Its interesting for sure so probably good but a bit frustrating when you can't do much.
I did find that the hand limit was the only thing stopping people taking ALL red tokens constantly - it fixes an issue to some extent but not completely. (the back and forth is a bit odd - there's no reason to trade less if you have only a few cards)
Sometimes you feel like there is literally nothing you want to do - no cards you want, no red tokens in hand and some good cards you're trying to hang on to but are forced to swap. Its ok but happens a little too much for me. Doesn't feel like you can set up long term plays - its very reactive. The longest play I managed was with 3 melds in hand allowing me to control(stall) the opponent quite well.
It feels like its hard to get cards onto the table - you essentially have to "take one for the team" to get the cards on and I think if you were playing aggressively it would become less fun. You could stall fairly easily and force your opponent to do this.

So in summary -
I really like this game - felt like something different and was nice that it was easy to play with a standard deck and poker chips. Felt like something I could play with casual gamers as a bit of a break from the norm without getting too boardgame nerdy!

However...

I think you have some fatal flaws around stalling. I think the pace changes are probably quite good but I think you can intentionally stall a game indefinitely if you want to.

I hope that helps - if I was doing something wrong, let me know - happy to give this another shot!



First off let me start by saying thank you!

This was very helpful, I have a tough time in my household getting anyone to play test my games. My wife is the only other good card game player and is nearly impossible to get her to the table.

So the stalling issue you encountered can easily be remedied I think by adding this sixth rule...

6) Take a red token from the tableau and replace it with a card from the draw deck placed face up to the tableau.

I've edited the rules to reflect this.

Please let me know what you think, thanks.
 
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