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Subject: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Contest Ready rss

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Dustin Culbertson
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This is an entry for the 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest



Bookworms
by Dustin Culbertson

Players: 1-4
Game Time: 30-60 minutes
Components:

50 Letter Cards
2 Scoring Cards
4 Worm Pawns
8 Scoring Cubes

Links to Game Files:
Rules at Google Drive PDF
Game Files at Google Drive PDF


Current Phase: Contest Ready

Summary
In Bookworms, players create paths of letters for their bookworms to travel down in order to make new words. Points are scored based on the values of the letters you use on your path. As words are made, bookworm pawns move along the word path so careful planning is needed to make sure that a new word can be formed from where you left off.

UPDATE:

Finalized the rules with a fix to situations where you bump an opponents pawn off of a letter square completely. Didn’t have a chance to pretty up the rules but they’re functional.

Let me know what you think!
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Having the same reversed letters/words proved to be awkward in Codenames. Unless the letters are different on each side, I suggest to not double and reverse them.
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Dustin Culbertson
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
toober wrote:
Having the same reversed letters/words proved to be awkward in Codenames. Unless the letters are different on each side, I suggest to not double and reverse them.
The more I look at them the more I tend to agree. I usually don't have a problem with looking at letters/words upside down or sideways but I'm not 100% sure if I'm in the norm on that. I think I'll put together a set that only have the letters and see how it plays out.
 
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Joshua Blaylock
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
I feel like if you are going to have the double letters, you should switch the order. Having to look past the upside down one to get to the right one is jarring on the eyes.
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Dustin Culbertson
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Here's a quick example of how the cards could play out (word made in this case is "germ"). I think I like single letters much better in this case.

Option 1:



Option 2:



What's the verdict?
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Definitely option 2. With this kind of layout, the only option I think that would work with duplicates would be if you have 4 (put the letter on each edge), but I think option 2 is easy enough to read. Option 1 is confusing due to the different directions of the cards (even though they're the same letter(s) on both sides of the line, my brain is confused about which way to read and has to reorient itself for each letter).
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Jesse Worsham
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
I agree. I think that option 2 has a much cleaner look to it. I think it will also allow for larger letters on cards that you've had to shrink down a tad for size requirements.

Really excited to see that a word game has wormed its way into the contest! I think the mechanism of having to plan ahead with your worm pawns as you make new words will make for an interesting twist!
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Dustin Culbertson
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
jdub027 wrote:
I agree. I think that option 2 has a much cleaner look to it. I think it will also allow for larger letters on cards that you've had to shrink down a tad for size requirements.

Really excited to see that a word game has wormed its way into the contest! I think the mechanism of having to plan ahead with your worm pawns as you make new words will make for an interesting twist!
Thanks! I've always been a fan of word games and when I saw Honshū's mechanic of laying cards on top of other ones to make patterns I thought that would be a cool twist. I'm hoping to refine the mechanics so that there are some good tactics between what path to create and planning your next move vs. leaving easy paths open for your opponents.
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Option 2 for sure. Much easier on the eyes.

I too like the partial layering over cards idea! Looking forward to reading your rules. Are players layering on a new letter card to the "board" on each turn? This reminds me a bit of the mechanic in Word Domination. It's a newer word game with some area control that you may find inspiring.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
TyGuy22 wrote:
Are players layering on a new letter card to the "board" on each turn?
Yeah, that's the current idea. I'm leaning towards a mechanic where you must place 1 card anywhere on the current "board" and have the option to place a second. Here are the options for placement (example spelling "waters")

Place 1 block next to 1 block


Place 1 side next to 1 side


Overlap 2 blocks


Overlap 1 block


And, if you had some good cards, you could place an optional 2nd card for "watershed"


TyGuy22 wrote:
This reminds me a bit of the mechanic in Word Domination. It's a newer word game with some area control that you may find inspiring.
I hadn't seen this one before. It looks pretty cool! I'll have to see if I can find it somewhere and check it out.
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
So here's a work out of 2 example turns for a player.

First up, the blue player starts his turn on the 'W':



He decides to place 2 cards like our option above and create "watershed":



He moves his pawn along the path to score 11 points:



If his area of the board doesn't change (or he's playing solo - yes, I think I have a cool solitaire variant!) he then places 2 more cards on his next turn:



he has the option of either using the block he's on, or starting from an orthogonally adjacent block for his next word. He starts on the 'M' and creates "mutts" scoring 6 points:



Let me know what you guys think! Does the word creation mechanic make sense? Are the orientations changes in the cards too hard to follow? I can see word options but I've been working on it for a while so I just may be used to it.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
I like it. Especially having the double letter blocks on each card. Have you considered playing it so that a player places a card before they spell their word and then one after they spell and score their word? This would allow the player the option of playing the second card in hopes of setting themselves up better for their next potential word or allow them to upset their opponent's last card by covering 1-2 of the letter blocks.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
TyGuy22 wrote:
I like it. Especially having the double letter blocks on each card. Have you considered playing it so that a player places a card before they spell their word and then one after they spell and score their word? This would allow the player the option of playing the second card in hopes of setting themselves up better for their next potential word or allow them to upset their opponent's last card by covering 1-2 of the letter blocks.
Ooooooh, I like that idea. At first I was thinking you'd have 3 cards in your hand and could place 1-2 of them before your word. Maybe the 2nd card option can happen before or after you make your word. That way you can drop a 'Z' or 'X' right by your opponent's pawn! cool
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
So another design question/issue. I'd like to get some interaction between the worm pawns. I've thought of a few options that could be interesting, but they all tend to go to extremes of aggression or passiveness.

One set of ideas is to try to run into your opponents in order to either get extra points or even bump them off of their current space. The other set leads to either you can't occupy a space the other pawns are in or you don't get the points if you take your path through them.

I like the idea of aggression since you rarely see that in this type of game but maybe there's a reason for that. Any ideas or preferences out there?
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
I like the aggressive idea better. I think it'd be fun to knock your opponent back a letter or two and devastating to have the same thing done to you only a few turns later.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
jdub027 wrote:
I like the aggressive idea better. I think it'd be fun to knock your opponent back a letter or two and devastating to have the same thing done to you only a few turns later.
What if you could knock your opponents off of their spot and you got bonus points for doing it? Maybe like a double letter or double word bonus?
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
JonasVenture wrote:
What if you could knock your opponents off of their spot and you got bonus points for doing it? Maybe like a double letter or double word bonus?
Yes, but only if they can get a triple letter/word bonus for knocking me off of my spot on the subsequent turn. I think an snowball effect could be interesting and make you seriously consider which letter should complete your word.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
jdub027 wrote:
JonasVenture wrote:
What if you could knock your opponents off of their spot and you got bonus points for doing it? Maybe like a double letter or double word bonus?
Yes, but only if they can get a triple letter/word bonus for knocking me off of my spot on the subsequent turn. I think an snowball effect could be interesting and make you seriously consider which letter should complete your word.
A snowball effect could be cool, but may be tricky to track. I think we'll playtest both and see how it works out.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Idea Phase
Here's the first draft of the game rules. If you have any initial feedback let me know. I'm going to work on putting together a document w/ pictures tomorrow or this weekend.

Bookworms Rules

Components:
50 Letter Cards
2 Score Cards
8 Score Cubes (2 of each color)
4 Pawns (1 of each color)

Setup:
• Select the number of letter cards based on the player count
-- In a 2-player game, randomly select 20 letter cards and place them back in the game tin.
-- In a 3-player game, randomly select 10 letter cards and place them back in the game tin.
-- In a 4-player game, all letter cards are used.
• Shuffle the letter cards and deal 3 cards to each player; set the remaining cards to the side of the play area face down to form the draw deck
• Take the top card of the draw deck and place it face up in the middle of the board; this is the starting card
• Place each player’s pawn onto the digraph (double letter) square of the starting card
• Place one of each player’s score cubes onto the ‘00’ space of score card 1; place the remaining score cube onto the ‘0’ space of score card 2
• Whoever’s first name comes first alphabetically is the first player; play will continue clockwise

Gameplay:
• On your turn, you must place one letter card from your hand face up anywhere into the play area
-- The card may be placed in any of the following ways
1. Side to side with 1 square touching another letter card
2. Side to side with 2 squares touching another letter card
3. Overlapping with 1 square covering another letter card’s square
4. Overlapping with 2 squares covering another letter card’s squares
-- Cards may overlap or touch multiple cards after placement, but a card cannot completely cover another card
-- Cards may be placed in any orientation
-- Cards cannot be placed in a manner that would cover a square occupied by a pawn
• You may place a second card into the play area following the placement rules annotated above
• Starting with any square that is orthogonally adjacent to your pawn’s current location, create a word by moving along a path with your pawn stopping on the final square of the word created
-- You can move your pawn to any orthogonally adjacent square when creating your path
-- You cannot move diagonally
-- You cannot move onto a square more than once in your current created word
-- The same word cannot be made twice in the same game by any player; however, plurality, tense changes, and compound words are allowed
---- For example, “hat” and “hats”, “buck” and “bucked”, “water” and “watershed”, etc.
-- If you cannot come up with a word to create, you may pass your turn and discard any remaining cards in your hand
• Calculate your word’s score by adding up the point values of each square used to create the word, applying any applicable modifiers (see Bump Boosts section below)
• Add your word’s score to your current score by moving the cubes on the score cards accordingly
-- For example, if your current score is 8 you will have a cube on the ‘00’ space of score card 1 and a cube on the ‘8’ space of score card 2.
-- If the word scored is worth 11 points, you would move the cube on score card 1 to ‘10’ and the cube on score card 2 to ‘9’ to show you now have 19 points
• If you did not place a second card earlier in the turn, you may place it now into the play area following the placement rules annotated above
• Finally, you must draw cards from the draw deck until you have 3 cards in your hand; this ends your turn
• After each player has completed a turn, the round has ended and play continues with the first player

Game End:
The game ends when one of the following conditions are met:
1. A player reaches 100 points.
-- In this case, play immediately ends with the player who reached 100 points declared the winner
2. The last card is drawn from the draw deck.
-- In this case, play will continue until the round is completed (with remaining players skipping drawing cards at the end of their turn), ensuring every player will have the same number of turns in the game.
-- After the round is completed, the player with the highest score is declared the winner. In case of a tie, both players are declared the winner.

Bump Boosts:
When creating words, a player’s pawn may move through a square occupied by other player’s pawns. If this occurs, the pawn will “bump” his opponent’s pawn and gain a point boost on that square.
• Move your pawn onto the opponent’s square
• Push your opponent’s pawn 1 square in the same direction of travel that your pawn took
• Continue along your path creating your word
• When calculating your word score, double the amount of points for each square in which you bumped an opponent out of
-- Note: Depending on the path, you may be able to bump multiple opponents or the same opponent multiple times! There is no limit on the number of times this can occur when creating your word

Disputes:
Any disputes on the validity of a created word can be settled with a nearby dictionary, or by utilizing http://www.merriam-webster.com
 
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Dustin Culbertson
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
UPDATE!

Finally got draft rules and game files loaded to Google Drive. Hoping to insert graphics into the rules & tinker with the formatting next week.

I also got in a quick playtest today. The mechanic for knocking around pawns was very interesting and made it fun to try to find ways to push the opponent across multiple spaces. I do think we may need to remove the restriction regarding completely overlapping a card since there were a few instances were it was hard to avoid if you were in the middle of a bunch of already overlapped cards.

Let me know if you have any initial feedback!

Rules at Google Drive Doc
Game Files at Google Drive PDF
 
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giampiero randazzo
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
Hi Dustin, we tried the game, but for linguistic reasons, we found it difficult to use some tiles, especially those with double letters ... apart from this it works!

By the way, I have a graphic idea for the cover of the box ... you are interested?
 
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
etacarinae1965 wrote:
Hi Dustin, we tried the game, but for linguistic reasons, we found it difficult to use some tiles, especially those with double letters ... apart from this it works!

By the way, I have a graphic idea for the cover of the box ... you are interested?
Thanks for taking a crack at the game! Could you elaborate on the issues you had linguistically? I tried to make the placement of letters on each tile more challenging by trying to stick with the rule that you couldn't make a word from just one tile. I may have overcorrected and made it too difficult. Any more specific feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I'd definitely be interested in any graphic ideas you have. That is definitely one of my weakest skills when it comes to putting games together.
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
JonasVenture wrote:
etacarinae1965 wrote:
Hi Dustin, we tried the game, but for linguistic reasons, we found it difficult to use some tiles, especially those with double letters ... apart from this it works!

By the way, I have a graphic idea for the cover of the box ... you are interested?
Thanks for taking a crack at the game! Could you elaborate on the issues you had linguistically? I tried to make the placement of letters on each tile more challenging by trying to stick with the rule that you couldn't make a word from just one tile. I may have overcorrected and made it too difficult. Any more specific feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I'd definitely be interested in any graphic ideas you have. That is definitely one of my weakest skills when it comes to putting games together.

I tried to consider the game as a teaching tool and have tried it childs ... because they are good at finding some problems in running a game ...
I was told not to be able to use two-letter tiles because in Italian words they are not found (eg TH, HA, EE ...)

I have a little idea on the cover of the box that I'll show you later
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
etacarinae1965 wrote:


I have a little idea on the cover of the box that I'll show you later
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Re: [WIP] Bookworms - 2017 Mint Tin Design Contest - Component Ready
etacarinae1965 wrote:
etacarinae1965 wrote:


I have a little idea on the cover of the box that I'll show you later
I love it!
 
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