Jason Meyers
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Entry thread for Laser Battlefield, a two-player space battle across a battlefield filled with mirrors.

This is an entry into the 2017 9-card nanogame contest details here.

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Players: 2
Ages: 8+
Game time: 10 min

In this game, each player takes control of a ship skirting the outside of a battlefield grid. Initially, the grid is full of unknown cards, but as they are hit with your laser, they are revealed and can be moved to help you attack your opponent. First player to hit their opponent twice wins.

I've also added a Solo variant where a pesky drone is racing you around the battlefield. Can you destroy it before it gets home?

Components:
9 PNP cards (front and back)
Optional: 6 coins/cubes/markers for a variant ruleset

Cards: Cards ver. 1.1
Rules: Rules ver. 1.1

Categories:
Best Overall Game
Best 2-player Game
Best Thematic Game (Sci Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Dungeon Crawl, etc)
Best Written Rules
Most Innovative Mechanic Category
Best Card only game "no components"
Best Solo Game
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Joseph Propati
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Welcome to the contest!
 
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Scott Allen
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Hi Jason,
Looks like a clever little game.

When I first looked at the cards, I wasn't really excited, but reading the rules, I could see this as a fun game. I will try it soon and report back.
 
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Jason Meyers
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Scott,
Thanks for being willing to give it a go. I admit that the graphic design here leaves a lot to be desired and there's not much going on. If the game works, I'll try to make it look a little better. I was trying to make a sort of asymmetric shooter where each player has to move elements around to get at their opponent. My son won both times because of some sneaky combinations he pulled together....
Look forward to your feedback!
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Scott Allen
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My point on the graphics was really just to say the graphics didn't pull me into the game, the rules/game did. That's a good problem to have. Much better than great graphics with a bland game.

Anyway, played a couple games against myself. The only rules question I have is MUST a player take all 3 actions, or can they stop at 2 (or 1) actions on their turn?

Although it didn't happen to me, there might be a risk of an endless loop where the players keep moving the same cards back and forth. Not sure if it's a big enough potential problem to worry about though.

The winning shot by Blue:


Overall, it's an elegant little game. I'm a fan of fun games that can be explained concisely.
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C. L.
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Looking at Scott's image, I just realized I played wrong when I tried because I played too late at night and intuitively, I wanted the off-color to block. I wonder if switching colors would make more sense. Red lenses reflect blue shots, but let red beams pass through? Like, physics...?

And simple designs rule!
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JK
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Hey VERY cool concept! I haven't tried it yet but I already know I will love it.

I reckon you could come up with a solo mode - maybe the enemy moves are dice controlled?

I can imagine a multiplayer version on a bigger grid e.g. 4x4 or 5x5 tiles and maybe with a couple of ships with different powers each. Also could have planets in there which explode when hit to let the beams through next time (flip to empty card back), or friendly ships/planets that you must avoid hitting... Lots of cool possibilities here for a full size game. Awesome!
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Michael Sewall
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Oh this looks really cool!

+1 to the suggestion to come up with a solo mode!!
 
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Jason Meyers
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Thanks all for the feedback! This went from vague idea to prototype quickly, so I appreciate people taking a look and having some fun with it!
Narrow Gate Games wrote:
My point on the graphics was really just to say the graphics didn't pull me into the game, the rules/game did. That's a good problem to have. Much better than great graphics with a bland game.

Thanks! At some point, I'll find a way to make the graphic design a little better (probably spent 2 minutes on graphic design other than the ships: center a 45 degree line and color it!).
Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Anyway, played a couple games against myself. The only rules question I have is MUST a player take all 3 actions, or can they stop at 2 (or 1) actions on their turn?

I definitely meant to include UP TO 3 actions, but clearly didn't spell that out. There are times it is better to sit and wait.
Narrow Gate Games wrote:
Although it didn't happen to me, there might be a risk of an endless loop where the players keep moving the same cards back and forth. Not sure if it's a big enough potential problem to worry about though.

I had debated about this when drafting the rules. Perhaps something saying that you couldn't use your slide actions to revert all of your opponent's slide actions. I didn't put it in because I felt the wording was going to be longer and more confusing than the few times it came up, but worth keeping in mind as I revise....
Quote:

The winning shot by Blue:

Thanks for the action shot! Red had some nice possibilities on the next turn, but blue had the clear shot first! One thing I was worried about was whether 2 hits was too few or was about right. For nano-games like this, I tend to prefer playing several short rounds, but wasn't sure if two was too short.
GreenTea532 wrote:
Looking at Scott's image, I just realized I played wrong when I tried because I played too late at night and intuitively, I wanted the off-color to block. I wonder if switching colors would make more sense. Red lenses reflect blue shots, but let red beams pass through? Like, physics...?

Ha! I actually do a bunch of work with lasers and dichroic mirrors, so initially had everything the way you describe it and how the physics would work if they were dichroics, but thought it might be more confusing, and easier to just match mirrors and beams. Fortunately, since the pieces are all symmetric and equal in number, gameplay is identical if you play consistently with either ruleset (bounce off your color or travel through your color). So I don't think it was played wrong (no asterisk needed on the victory).
JohnKean wrote:
I reckon you could come up with a solo mode - maybe the enemy moves are dice controlled?

I do have a solo mode part way developed, based on a consistent and predictable move pattern (fire-move right-fire), where the automaton victory comes either from destroying you or from reaching a certain position (e.g. into your home row). Trying to figure out a good balance to keep the game challenging yet winnable (may have to balance action numbers a little...). I worry the dice rolling might be too drunken walky, but have to think a little more about that (maybe the dice determine only whether you move right or fire, sliding tiles could get wonky fast). Hmmm....
JohnKean wrote:
I can imagine a multiplayer version on a bigger grid e.g. 4x4 or 5x5 tiles and maybe with a couple of ships with different powers each. Also could have planets in there which explode when hit to let the beams through next time (flip to empty card back), or friendly ships/planets that you must avoid hitting... Lots of cool possibilities here for a full size game. Awesome!


Yeah, I initially had a few other tiles I played with (wormholes that moved the beam across the board, an asteroid that was like the exploding planet, etc.). Kept it simple for this (not much space in 3x3 and 9 cards!), but agree there are some interesting possibilities for further development. With some square tiles, the ships could move into the grid, rotate around, etc. I like your idea of things you need to protect too, and possibly heading to multi-player, there could be things that give you additional directions of lasers or new colors (orange mirrors bounce yellow and red beams, though the physics would start to fall apart there!). Lots to think about! I'll have to see where this goes.

Thanks again for all of the feedback everyone! Really appreciate you giving it a try!
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JK
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Jason,

I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint and go for broke - use square tiles, bigger tableau (4x4 or 5x5), more tiles than you need (shuffle and leave the extras out = every game is different), add asteroids that disintegrate when hit, planets that explode and destroy the surrounding cards when hit three times, friendlies that should not be hit, beam splitters, teleport windows, rainbow mirrors that reflect all beams, one-sided mirrors, black holes that absorb all beams, more players, tile rotation, tile flipping, two ships each, more chaos...!

And then enter it in the 2017 Two-Player Print and Play Game Design Contest instead.

Sorry, Joseph , but I really love the concept of this game and want to see it grow beyond the 9 card constraint. So, yes, I am attempting to pirate your contest arrrh

But seriously - Jason, think about it!

Bad JK! ninja
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Scott Allen
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JohnKean wrote:
I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint


Or, keep this game as is (I really like a simple game that could fit in a wallet), and create a separate bigger game: "Laser Battlefield - Expanded Universe" or something for the other contest.
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Joseph Propati
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Narrow Gate Games wrote:
JohnKean wrote:
I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint


Or, keep this game as is (I really like a simple game that could fit in a wallet), and create a separate bigger game: "Laser Battlefield - Expanded Universe" or something for the other contest.


I'm ok with moving the game to another contest if you think you can make the game better by having different component constraints. Sometimes the 9 card constraints are just too much for some game designs.
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Joseph Propati
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JohnKean wrote:
Jason,

I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint and go for broke - use square tiles, bigger tableau (4x4 or 5x5), more tiles than you need (shuffle and leave the extras out = every game is different), add asteroids that disintegrate when hit, planets that explode and destroy the surrounding cards when hit three times, friendlies that should not be hit, beam splitters, teleport windows, rainbow mirrors that reflect all beams, one-sided mirrors, black holes that absorb all beams, more players, tile rotation, tile flipping, two ships each, more chaos...!

And then enter it in the 2017 Two-Player Print and Play Game Design Contest instead.

Sorry, Joseph , but I really love the concept of this game and want to see it grow beyond the 9 card constraint. So, yes, I am attempting to pirate your contest arrrh

But seriously - Jason, think about it!

Bad JK! ninja


Read through the rules and the game is a very nice simple yet elegant abstract game. I really like it and will be trying to work on a solo variant. I would suggest staying in the contest with the game as is "or whatever additional changes you may see fit" and then after the contest go with the above suggestions. I also see how square cards are much better for this game! You can also add so many more additional card to increase the difficulty, add more challenge and make it easier to create solo rules.

Great job!

One suggestions: I think 3 actions per turn is a little much and could cause a situation of an immediate win. You could have a player move into position and on the opponents turn fire, move any none affecting mirror card and then fire again for the win. I would suggest just allowing 2 actions to completely avoid this situation from ever happening.
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JK
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kingspud wrote:
JohnKean wrote:
I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint


I'm ok with moving the game to another contest if you think you can make the game better by having different component constraints. Sometimes the 9 card constraints are just too much for some game designs.


Aww! Don't go being all reasonable about this! I want a fight to the death... arrrh
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Joseph Propati
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JohnKean wrote:
kingspud wrote:
JohnKean wrote:
I'm going to be really bad devil and suggest you ditch the 9 card constraint


I'm ok with moving the game to another contest if you think you can make the game better by having different component constraints. Sometimes the 9 card constraints are just too much for some game designs.


Aww! Don't go being all reasonable about this! I want a fight to the death... arrrh


Ummm...ok... I forbid him from doing this! arrrh

 
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Jason Meyers
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kingspud wrote:

One suggestions: I think 3 actions per turn is a little much and could cause a situation of an immediate win. You could have a player move into position and on the opponents turn fire, move any none affecting mirror card and then fire again for the win. I would suggest just allowing 2 actions to completely avoid this situation from ever happening.


I thought about this some in writing up the rules, and would be interested to hear other's comments. From my count you listed 4 actions:
1) Move into position
2) Fire
3) Move something else
4) Fire
The only way to get two hits in one go is if the prior player leaves themselves in position to be fired on as the first turn of the next player. It could happen, and would be really punishing. The laser cooldown was an attempt to prevent two quick shots. I liked three moves as it gave a chance for a move of the ship, a tile, and then firing which allows a wider range of sneak attacks. I'd love to hear anyone playtesting a 2 turn variant whether it limits things too much, or if people actually run into the double hit problem.

More to think about!
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Jason Meyers
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kingspud wrote:

Ummm...ok... I forbid him from doing this! arrrh

I'm just going to edit rules while you guys fight this out! whistle

I do think that this version of the game works well within the 9-card limit, and makes for a nice, compact game worth keeping in this contest. I also think there probably is a bigger game here that expands on it, but takes some different forms and rules. So for now, I'll keep this in the 9-card contest.
JK, what are the rules for your contest in terms of developing related games? If a new game arises from this in time for your contest, would it be allowed in (assuming that the new version was substantively different with bigger grid, more cards with more powers, etc.)? Either way, I'm sure I'll keep screwing around with the concept, just don't want to put it into a contest where it's not entirely appropriate. (And I've got another rondel based space-themed game that's almost ready to go up for the 2p contest...)
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JK
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I was thinking Joe and I could square off in a round of the game...

Anyway, enough of that. A modified version would be welcome in the 2 Player Contest as long as it is substantively different - we would need to assess that, but I think a larger grid + new card types etc would be sufficient. I was really just trying to encourage you to develop the bigger game, as it would be awesome! If you need a contest as incentive there's also the 1 Page and Solitaire contests coming up soon, either of which might work. A solo version would be easy to develop, and if you used smallish tiles you could fit up to 5x7 on a sheet which would give you a lot to play with...

Anyway, your rules look good and the illustrations are helpful.

When I first saw them I thought your shields were distress "I'm hit" marks. How does just a circle around the ship look?

What happens if you hit yourself?

Need to clarify whether the laser beam continues after hitting a facedown card and flipping it up (I suspect not).

Great job!
JK
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Robin Gibson
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I was working on something very similar to this for the Buttonshy 9-card contest last year. Yours is better in every way.

I really like the alternate set-up.
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Jason Meyers
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Have been working on thoughts of how to expand the game, but this time of year is insanely busy (academic schedule). Anyway, I've put up some nearly final rules that clarify a few of the questions that arose, and I've also thrown together a solo variant where a drone is chasing you around the battlefield, and you have to destroy it before it gets home. There are some other little fixes and I took the text off the cards to give a little cleaner view (the choices don't seem hard to remember, so I felt the text just distracted from the game).
Anyway, thanks for all of the feedback! I've got some ideas of how to play further with this little game and we'll see if it reappears again in the near future with some new mechanics, sizes, etc.....
Thanks to everyone who playtested!
Jason
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JK
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Cool! I've been playing around with a 33 tile version printed from a single sheet of paper. Lots of potential here and I just love the mechanism! Can't wait to see what you come up with, and happy to share my version and ideas.
JK
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Marty Lund
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Good luck! Looks cool!
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Josh L.

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Quick, dead simple to print and play, fun. Just all in all wonderful. It isn't super deep but not every game has to be. Be cool to see it expanded, along the lines of a card/pocket Khet or something, but as is it just works. Thanks for the great game.
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Bogumił Koszałka
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About pdf:
they are not centrally, on some cards graphics are lower than on others.

Besides, It would be better if on the 6th card the red one was on top, since it was blue before.
 
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