Joshua Blaylock
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This entry is for the 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest


by Joshua Blaylock

A worker placement/set collection card game about mining gold during the American Gold Rush.

Fools and Prospectors supports 2 players, age 8+, and plays in about 10-15 minutes.

Put your miners to work in the gold mines. Get as much gold as possible, but watch out – make sure you aren’t wasting time collecting Fools Gold! Trade with the seller at night to get the quality of your gold appraised, so you know just what you’re digging for or hold out for more gold and a much bigger reward. Try to trick your opponent into collecting Fools Gold and avoiding the good stuff. Collect the highest value of gold by the end of the game to win.

Contents:
66 Mine cards - 11 each of 6 sets grouped by the number in the top left corner.
7 quality tiles
You will need components for:
2 workers
First Player Token
Keeping score if you don't think you can keep it all in your head.
I will probably add a printable option for all of those at some point. I'm still working on what I might be able to fit in the tin such as a score tracker maybe a play-mat (one of with probably on the back of the rules)

Downloads:
https://1drv.ms/f/s!AqaaKubyQqVNhPJo6GUf0PQA0Hbzxw

Tabletopia (with slightly different materials)
https://tabletopia.com/playground/a-fools-claim-zmwxhz/play-...

I created this game for May's 24-hour contest, but my wife and I loved the game so much that we've decided to continue to develop it. It seems to me like a good fit for the mint tin contest, though I still have to tweak the components a little to make sure it works.


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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
I have posted the link to the PnP and rules. Any feedback on the rules, gameplay or components would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Jesse Worsham
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Very excited to try this one out! The components look really nice.
Just downloaded the PnP files. Hope to have it ready to go and to be playing it soon!
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
I checked out your PnP files and had some questions. I sent you a PM. Looking forward to trying out the game!
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Well, I just realized after reading TyGuy's email, that I put up the rules for the Tabletopia version I'm working on (which has much of the setup already complete), so I'm working on getting the file updated with the proper setup instructions as well as some updates based on his email.
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
I updated the OP with correct information on what is included and what is needed. I have also updated the rules for clarity and the PnP files for alignment of front/back pages. To clarify, the odd pages are the fronts and the even pages are the backs. of those previous fronts.
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Just grabbed the PnP files. Will hopefully get a chance to play soon!
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Pictures!



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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
I have added the Tabletopia link. The components are slightly different, but the game plays the same. The link doesn't require an account or for you to download any software.

https://tabletopia.com/playground/a-fools-claim-zmwxhz/play-...
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Game looks great - love the art!

Just to note - the rules will need to fit in the tin as well - could be on cards, folded sheet, small booklet.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
tucky60 wrote:
Game looks great - love the art!

Just to note - the rules will need to fit in the tin as well - could be on cards, folded sheet, small booklet.
There's a nice big gap in the front of the tin that should fit an according folded rule sheet. I'll get that all prepared and pictured soon.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
I have updated the rules file. It now is an appropriate size to be printed and put into the tin. The second page of the rules file is actually meant to be the back (if you can print double sided). It contains a mat to place the mine decks on (or one that you could use for placing the quality tokens to be able to keep track of which token belongs to which mine) and a score tracker. For the score tracker, you can use one of your player tokens as this isn't used until the end of the game.

I have uploaded a picture into the main post of the entire game, including the rules, fit into the tin. Again, this is a double-sided print of the rules. There may be enough room, though, for you to print both sides separately and still fit them, but it'll be tight. The rules should be cut to 17cm wide and then cut in half to 8.5cm (or folded, but that prevents you from seeing the scoring part of the rules while using the score track if you print double-sided). The score track should be on the back of the first part of the rules.
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Fools and Prospectors will be receiving a big rules update. The components won't change, but the game is being overhauled to increase the bluffing aspect and lower the effect of blind luck. I'm also planning on including a solo mode. I would really appreciate input on this mode when I've added it. There can't really be bluffing, but I have some ideas on how to use the hidden information to give you some interesting push your luck and strategy options.
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
The rules document has been updated. The game has changed quite a bit, but the printed components are the same. The game now has a solo mode and the 2 player mode has a lot of bluffing the bluffing combined with the shorter turns make it a shorter, easier to learn game that gives players a lot more control over the outcome. The score board is no longer necessary either as scoring is more streamlined.
I still need some input on the rules and game balance. I'm sure there are some things that need to be tweaked, especially in the solo version.
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
The rulebook wrote:
If you tie, you tie.
gulp
Please develop some sort of alternative solution here. You worked too hard on the overall game to let it come down to this. Ties are only acceptable last resort.
A simple solution is to make sure that (1) total gold equals an odd number. And perhaps (2) if the prospectors are left out at the end of the game until after tallying scores, the players could reveal mines to determine who has the most prospectors on the pile with the most gold.
 
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Over-all, the rules are pretty simple, though they could be edited for typos. You switched out Tiles earlier with Tokens later in the rules. I believe in the section on Appraisals you wrote "Times" when you meant "Mines". There was a missing bracket in the solitaire rules, which made the paragraph unclear.
I think with a little more editing, this game could be very, very good, though I must state that Bluffing Games generally don't play well solitaire, and since that's what will ultimately make this game great, I wouldn't dwell so much on trying to please every (ME), and create the best 2 player game this can be.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Hi, Joshua -

Had a chance to take the solo version for a pair of test plays. Haven't had an opportunity to try a 2-player game, but if I do, I'll post separate comments. My initial impression is that they'll feel like substantially different games.



Not my finest hour. Lost the first 31-24, the second by 38-17. Much of the solo game feels like playing a desperate catch-up to the AI opponent, because it's just an unstoppable machine. I do like the push-your-luck element, and the hope that you might be able to slip past with a garbage bid - that actually works pretty well - but the rest of its abilities, as a whole, can get a little demoralizing. Taken individually, they don't seem all that bad, but in concert, you can start to see your impending loss literally piling up before you.

I found myself spending very little on actions - appraisals, swapping mines, even removing workers - because all of that went to the AI's coffers. Get burnt a few times on Cheap Skate calls, and you're paying a powerful double penalty. Feeding the opponent points makes all of the game's more interesting options inherently less appealing to use.

Likewise, removing opponent workers from a mine so you can enter ends up - often enough - by seeing yourself booted out without collecting a thing. Unlike the push-your-luck rolls, the worker placement feels capricious, because you don't have choices with different risks and rewards. Just bad luck. (Except when a mine is closed, which makes the next mine in line an extra-difficult option.)

The eventual result of both games was an early dash to sort out as many mine qualities as I could, before a gradual slide into just grabbing whatever cards were left. Based on sheer stack size, I could tell I'd lost before counting, unless some amazingly fortunate fool's gold placement swooped in to save me. I wouldn't want the game to be easy to win, but making some tweaks to the AI juggernaut so that it doesn't feel so punishing halfway through the game would go a long way to improving the experience. I'd much rather tally up a loss at the end than know I'm just going through the motions mid-game.

The inherent balance of the 2-player version shouldn't suffer from any of these issues, so I hope I can wrangle a willing player at some point.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
XendoBreckett wrote:
Over-all, the rules are pretty simple, though they could be edited for typos. You switched out Tiles earlier with Tokens later in the rules. I believe in the section on Appraisals you wrote "Times" when you meant "Mines". There was a missing bracket in the solitaire rules, which made the paragraph unclear.
I think with a little more editing, this game could be very, very good, though I must state that Bluffing Games generally don't play well solitaire, and since that's what will ultimately make this game great, I wouldn't dwell so much on trying to please every (ME), and create the best 2 player game this can be.
I'll need to go over it again. It usually takes me a few times over to find all the typos, and I have a bad habit of changing what I call throughout the rules.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
bgarthwaite wrote:
Hi, Joshua -

Had a chance to take the solo version for a pair of test plays. Haven't had an opportunity to try a 2-player game, but if I do, I'll post separate comments. My initial impression is that they'll feel like substantially different games.



Not my finest hour. Lost the first 31-24, the second by 38-17. Much of the solo game feels like playing a desperate catch-up to the AI opponent, because it's just an unstoppable machine. I do like the push-your-luck element, and the hope that you might be able to slip past with a garbage bid - that actually works pretty well - but the rest of its abilities, as a whole, can get a little demoralizing. Taken individually, they don't seem all that bad, but in concert, you can start to see your impending loss literally piling up before you.

I found myself spending very little on actions - appraisals, swapping mines, even removing workers - because all of that went to the AI's coffers. Get burnt a few times on Cheap Skate calls, and you're paying a powerful double penalty. Feeding the opponent points makes all of the game's more interesting options inherently less appealing to use.

Likewise, removing opponent workers from a mine so you can enter ends up - often enough - by seeing yourself booted out without collecting a thing. Unlike the push-your-luck rolls, the worker placement feels capricious, because you don't have choices with different risks and rewards. Just bad luck. (Except when a mine is closed, which makes the next mine in line an extra-difficult option.)

The eventual result of both games was an early dash to sort out as many mine qualities as I could, before a gradual slide into just grabbing whatever cards were left. Based on sheer stack size, I could tell I'd lost before counting, unless some amazingly fortunate fool's gold placement swooped in to save me. I wouldn't want the game to be easy to win, but making some tweaks to the AI juggernaut so that it doesn't feel so punishing halfway through the game would go a long way to improving the experience. I'd much rather tally up a loss at the end than know I'm just going through the motions mid-game.

The inherent balance of the 2-player version shouldn't suffer from any of these issues, so I hope I can wrangle a willing player at some point.
I appreciate the feedback. I still have some balancing needed for the solo game for sure. To be honest, the exact ruleset posted I hadn't tried yet. The last version I played was a bit easy, so I may have made too many changes to increase the difficulty. I don't like that the current rules dissuaded you so much from doing the other things. The swapping action is actually very important to the strategy in this version, as it allows you to control the final value of the mines. You could pay your money from a mine that is currently real gold and keep collecting from one that isn't, then switch the values just before you close the mines. Timing of the switch can be very beneficial, as doing it right before you clear out a mine will help you lock down the value of that mine. The focus here should be less on trying to mine the best gold and more on trying to make the gold you did mine the most of be the best. Thematically, think of it as if all the gold has been appraised already, and you're paying someone to tell you what the appraisal is and fudge their records so they'll pay you more for your take.
Anyway, one rule I wasn't sure about is giving the opponent the money that you pay out. You could definitely try discarding gold you pay instead. I'll be doing a couple playthroughs tomorrow, and I'm sure some more rules changes will be coming soon.
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
Solo mode is now called Fools and Prospectors: Sabotage

Face off against Goldtooth Jackson, a corrupt tycoon who's taken over your home of Minetown! Beat him at his own game by sabotaging his corrupt business practices and twisting them to your own advantage.

The rules have been updated, though they are mostly unchanged functionally. I have played through a few times and almost always had a close game. I won about half of the time, and I could usually see what I could have done better. It's a little insane with the guys moving around and trying to keep up with everything and figure out when to take certain actions, but if you remember that the purpose of the solo mode is to sabotage the appraisals to your own advantage, then you should be able to find a way to beat the game. I hope you enjoy it!
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Re: [WIP] - Fools and Prospectors - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Components Ready
I have updated the rules file so it's all on a single page, which now fits inside the tin.
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