Gugalicious Games
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This is Gugalicious Games' entry for the 2017 Two Player PnP Contest



MALU
BGG Page
Ages 14+
Players: 2 or 4 Players
Game Time: 10 to 30 min
Designer: Andrew Liaw
Artist: TBD

Components (for 2-player variant)
[1] 10x6 board
[35] Tiles (flat square tiles)
[4] Mountains (pyramid-shaped bit)
[4] Pawns (2x red, 2x black)

Overview
MALU is an abstract strategy game for 2 or 4 players.

Long ago, high in the Himalayan mountains, a group of traveler monks known as the Malu, wandered through the snowy peaks. Their days were filled with prayer, meditation, and training. As part of their training, they played a single board game. The game was elegant in its simplicity, yet complicated in its mastery. For generations the game was a closely guarded secret and used by the monks to train new acolytes in the art of traversing the narrow passages and treacherous peaks of the Himalayas. One day, while the monks attempted to cross a particularly narrow bit of mountain, a copy of the game was swept away in a snowstorm. It was brought down the mountain by an avalanche and eventually recovered by a small boy from a remote village. The boy was so intrigued by the game that he left his home to wander the mountains, track down the monks and learn the ways of the Malu. Many years passed and the boy eventually grew to be an intelligent man. This man has since returned to civilization and has brought with him the game of the Malu. By sheer chance (or perhaps fate), he has deemed you a worthy challenger. It is now time for you to test your skills... Do you have what it takes to out-think and out-maneuver your opponent and cross the mountain pass in MALU?

First one to cross the mountain pass wins! But to get to the end, you will need to muster all your skill and cunning to make it past your opponent and be the first to the other side.

Objective of the Game
Each player starts with 2 pawns. The objective of the game is to move both your pawns across the map to the other side of the board and exit the map. The first player to have both their pawns exit the map wins.

Gameplay Summary
Each turn, a player must move their pawn and place a neutral tile onto the board. As you place your tiles, adjoining tiles create paths that your pawns can move along. As your pawn moves, you have the ability to pick up those tiles and reroute them to your advantage... either as a path to the other side or as a means to block your opponents. But be careful... if you get too close, your opponent can snatch those tiles away from you and use them for themselves! You can also place walls of ice and mountain peaks as obstacles or knock down walls for strategic advantages.

Game Files and Links
BGG Game Page
Full Print and Play .rar file v1.1 Individual PDF links available several posts below.
Rulebook v1.07
Prototype gameplay image
4 Player Variant starting board (prototype)
2 Player Variant starting board (prototype)

Categories for Consideration
Best Date Night Game
Best Game to Play with your Child
Best Casual/Gateway Game
Best Game with Language Independent Components
Best Use of Theme
Best New Mechanic
Best New Designer
Best Game

Changelog
03.21.17 - Entry Created
03.26.17 - Rulebook link added
03.30.17 - PnP link added, temporary logo uploaded, additional prototype images uploaded
05.08.17 - Rulebook files updated
05.08.17 - All PnP files updated


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JK
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
Welcome to the contest!
 
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Gugalicious Games
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
Thanks! This is the first contest I've entered on these forums... and the first (hopefully of many) games I've created.
 
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Sindre Finnøy
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
I like the backstory.
Looking forward to try it.
 
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
I'm glad you like it! The backstory has been a bit of a thorn in my side throughout the development of the game but I'm quite happy with where it's at now. It actually started out as a desert themed game which eventually evolved into a race across the desert in magic carpets, genies, and a sarlaac-like pit. After multiple changes, the whole thing seemed a bit too contrived and forced so the entire backstory got scrapped.

For the longest time, I had no theme and kept the game purely abstract. However, once I began thinking more about graphics and art, I realized, I needed at least some tiny bit of backstory to give the game a cohesive feel. I knew I wanted something that could pass as being ancient/old and the feel of the game had to fit the basic object of the game of getting from one side to the other.

I noticed one of the prototype pieces I was using was in a pyramid shape - which could easily represent a mountain peak. That started the ball rolling and I got further inspiration while watching Iron Fist on Netflix. This eventually all came together with the current backstory we have today!
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
I'm happy to announce the first draft of the Rulebook has been posted.

Dropbox Link:
Here

All graphics and layout are currently prototypes/placeholders until we contract for an illustrator/graphic designer.

Please take a look and any feedback you have is appreciated!
 
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C. L.
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
Hi. What size is the board?
 
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
The board is a modified 10x10 grid for the 4 player version. The 4 tiles in each corner (2x2) are removed so that the board is in the shape of a + sign. Think of it as two 6x10 boards on top of one another. The production version of the game will use this version of the board since a 2 player game can be played on it by just ignoring the field of 2x6 squares on either side and just using a single 6x10 space. Think of it as ignoring the alley's when playing singles tennis!

The board for this contest is much more straight forward. For the 2 player only version, I suggest using a simple 6x10 board. The starting/end points would be each of the corners. Keep in mind that your pawns start OFF the board (or in the case of the pictures below, your pawns start on the triangle spaces) and it takes one turn to bring them onto the board.

I have posted a few pictures that clearly show the board configurations and setup.

Prototype board for 2 or 4 players. (can also be used for 2 players with a slight modification below)

2 Player setup (you will noticed I used a couple strips of pink paper to mark the edges so that the 2 player board is just a 6x10 grid)

4 Player setup
 
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
For those of you waiting on a print and play file... it is in progress - thanks for your patience!

In the meantime, if you absolutely want to play now and can't wait (I don't blame ya! )... you ought to be able to build this game quite simply with a few common household items:

1. You would first need a 6x10 grid (easily drawn on a sheet of blank paper).
2. Next you need 2 pawns per person (4 total) which can be anything you have laying around the house like bottle caps or dice. You could even just use cardboard squares colored either red or black (2 for each player).
3. You need 2 mountains per person but again, can use any object that is distinguishable from the pawns. In fact, for my first prototype, I just used cardboard squares with a red X drawn on them.
4. From there, I suggest using cardboard square cutouts for the tiles - for most 2 player games, you will probably need around 25-35 tiles. Unfortunately, this would be the most tedious part of the setup but you can even cut out the pieces as you need them, as you are playing. I suggest cardboard because they have a bit of thickness to them which will be necessary since you will be picking up and putting down these pieces often.
5. In the production version, the tiles will also serve as walls, but for PnP purposes, you can simply cut out a rectangle piece of paper and fold it in half so that it can stand up. You could try to use cardboard but that might be too thick. Some games don't use any walls, other games might use up to 10+ walls. It all depends on each player's individual strategies.

If you do end up playing the game this way, please let me know! I'd love to hear your feedback!
 
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Gugalicious Games
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
We are currently contracting for art/graphic design for the final production version of MALU. Please let us know if you are interested in working with us!

gugalicious.games@gmail.com
 
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry


I'm happy to announce that the MALU Print and Play files have been uploaded!

In the Print and Play .rar file, I have included a pdf of the main print file, a pdf of the full rulebook, a pdf of the rulebook with essential images only, and a pdf of the rulebook with text only. Each individual pdf is also available for download.

Here are links to all the files you need to get started:

Full .rar file with everything included!
PDF of printable files
PDF of full rulebook
PDF of rulebook with essential images only
PDF of rulebook with text only
PDF of rulebook in printable booklet form

Please let me know if you prefer to have any of the files in a different format or make any changes to what I've provided.

And of course - any feedback, both positive and negative is very welcome! I hope you enjoy playing as much as I enjoyed creating it!



---
art credit for border: clipartfest.com
 
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JK
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
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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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
Awesome! Let me know what you all think - looking forward to some feedback!
 
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
After some feedback - I've decided to upload a booklet version for the ease of printing.

Simply print this pdf double sided and fold in half! Let me know if anything is getting cut off and if the margins need adjusting.

Enjoy!

MALU Rulebook v1.06 - Booklet Version
 
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Marty Lund
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Re: [WIP] MALU - 2017 Two-Player PnP Entry
Good luck!
 
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Thanks!
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Alek Erickson
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Rules that apply to pawns entering the board may be a little unclear, because it states that a pawn at the start site does not block a pawn trying to exit, but you can't move a pawn onto a square occupied by another pawn..so, what is going on here? Are the pawns on the board or not at the beginning, and if so, why can't they block exiting pawns, and if not, how do they get on the board because I don't see that as an option for either movements or actions (getting a pawn on the board)
 
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Alek Erickson
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I think i just broke Malu....unless I'm totally mistaken.

You're not allowed to place a mountain right in the exit...
But it only takes 2 mountains to create a wall that , while leaving that exit square blank, would totally cut off access to that square.

I see no restrictions on placing mountains next to other mountains.
Therefore, the game-breaking strategy would be to get your pawn out of the exit, and place two mountains adjacent to the exit square.

Maybe I misread something, but I would recommend abolishing adjacent mountains (at least diagonal adjacent mountains)

Also, what constitutes a string of connected tiles/pawns? I see that in the rules you can't place walls in that...but how long is a string? 5? 10?

I haven't played the game yet but I am happy to...especially since i can just draw the board and use things around the house to make the components. But This mountain thing! makes it hard to finish a game.

Alek
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example...maybe this shouldn't be possible?
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Hi Alek
Thanks for your comments and apologies for my late replies! I have been travelling overseas.

For your first comment about the pawns, they technically are not actually on the board at the start of the game. It takes one turn to place your pawn onto the board. So at the very start of the game, the board is empty and the first turn will always be to place one of your pawns in the corner. Once your first pawn has been started in one of the corners, the other pawn must eventually be started in the other corner (as in, you cannot start both pawns from the same position).

Opponents cannot block you from exiting if they do not start their pawn. But a legal strategy would be to start a pawn (by placing it in the corner) and not moving it. This would effectively block ypur opponent from exiting out of that space though this strategy would be self defeating because at some point you must move it to win.

As a related side note, if you have not started one of your pawns, and have placed a string of tiles beginning from that pawn's starting position, you can start that pawn and pick up and subsequently drop those connected tiles in the same turn (same as you would if the pawn was already on the board),

Related to the mountains issue... that is an update that needs to be added to the rulebook. A rule is meant to be in place that you may never place a mountain in a position that would permanently block an exit (such as what is illustrated in your picture - one of the mountains would be a legal move but the second one would not). A wall can be placed that blocks an exit, but walls can be removed so it is not a permanent block.

Related to the strings of pawns and tiles, the number is unlimited. Another way of stating the rule is that walls cannot be placed between any two spaces if both spaces are occupied by a tile and another tile/pawn. The exception/clarification would be that you are allowed to place a wall between two pawns. If it is still unclear, you can think of any tiles connected to a pawn as creating a road and an existing road cannot be broken by a wall.

Hope that clears it up!
 
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Alek Erickson
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sounds good! when I playtested I assumed these things! and it was fun!

alek
 
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Awesome! Glad you liked it

If you wanted to play again, there are a couple good rule changes I will likely be oficially incorporating for the 2 player game. The first is to allow 3 mountains per player. When mountains are placed it tends to turn the tide and they have the potential to be game changers. With 2 mountains, players tend to save them and often never end up using them. By adding an additional mountain, players will feel more free to use them and not try to wait until the absolute most optimal time.

The second change would be to require pawns to cross the board diagonally and exit off the opposite corner. What this means is the pawn that starts in the bottom left corner must exit out the top right and the bottom right pawn must exit out the top left. This forces players to utilize the center section of the board. I found that with new players, their strategy is often to just go straight ahead and the game becomes quite boring if two new players are going head to head. By both players just moving straight ahead, it minimizes the conflict between pawns and thus also decreasing the interesting-factor. By forcing players ton go to the opposite corner, it forces the pawns into conflict which should hopefully create a more interesting game!

Let me know if you do decide to play again and incorporate those changes. I think you'll really enjoy the game a lot more with those rules changes!
 
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All MALU files have been updated!

PnP files are now v1.1 and rulebooks are now v1.07

A few major changes include specific rule changes for 2-player variant and several clarifications on starting positions and other rules.
 
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