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Subject: [WIP] The Mint Julep Murder - a 2017 mint tin deduction game rss

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Alex Cannon
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The Mint Julep Murder

Components
36 suspect cards.
10 clue cards
6 dice

Overview
The crowded bar was eerily quiet as inspector Fox arrived at the scene. Death by cocktail: not your usual murder. With so many people there the whole department had been sent to take statements, and everyone wants to get to the best witnesses.


The Mint Julep Murder is a deduction game for 2-6 players. You need to find the murderer among dozens of suspects. Players race to find witnesses that will help them narrow the field, but will they get in each other's way?

In the game there will be an array of possible suspects in the middle, and clues to collect.

Players will try and get clues using a hidden bidding mechanism. Each player secretly sets their die to a number and simultaneously reveal. The lowest unique number gets to peek at a clue.

The player then must flip a suspect card over to show it has been eliminated from the investigation.

The remaining players may take suspects from the centre, giving them an advantage when accusing them.

----------

Very much early stages on this one, but I wanted to get something on paper quickly.

Rules and Cards

This is a really rough prototype version and are standard sized cards - I think it should work well enough with smaller cards to fit into the tin. Print pages 1-8 double sided and 9-10 single.
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Alex Cannon
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Re: [WIP] Guess Clue - a 2017 mint tin deduction game
First things first - I'm going to need a better name.

And can anyone recommend a good cartoon portrait maker online?
 
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Alex Cannon
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Re: [WIP] Guess Clue - a 2017 mint tin deduction game
So I've found a neat website called hexatar.com which game me a fairly easy way of making the appropriate pictures. What do you think of the result?

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Brian Garthwaite
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Looking forward to where you take this idea. I realize that you can't properly store cocktails in a mint tin, but I'm open to bourbon-based suggestions.
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Mark Tuck
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I like that style of image.
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giampiero randazzo
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AlexCannon wrote:
So I've found a neat website called hexatar.com which game me a fairly easy way of making the appropriate pictures. What do you think of the result?


they are not particularly marked but can work ...
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Alex Cannon
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I'll be listing the traits on the card too so it doesn't get too confusing if the card is across the table.

One side job to do is giving these suspects names for easy accusing. Something suitably cocktails could be fun like:

Martin E
Peter Colada
Maria Sanguini

I've also had a thought about two player bidding (it doesn't really work.) The simplest way to help I think is to have a 6 beat a 1 on two player games. I'll update the rules this evening.
 
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Mark Tuck
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AlexCannon wrote:

One side job to do is giving these suspects names for easy accusing. Something suitably cocktails could be fun like:
Martin E
Peter Colada
Maria Sanguini

You should know better than to dangle the opportunity for some punning in front of me
(my sleuthing game from last year's contest, Elemintary, contained a variety of sweet punned characters).

So here goes...

Moe Hito
Cosmo Polittan
Belle Eenie
Mark Arita
Stew Driver
May Tie
Marty Nee
Dai Keery
Mal Hatton
Max Ecanmule
C. Breeze

And some cocktails speak for themselves:
Tom Collins
Jack Rose
and that Bloody Mary
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Brian Garthwaite
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Time to pull Mr. DeGroff from the shelf. Not all of these are puns, of course...

Mary Kahno
Bobby Burns
Brandy Plush
Brandy/Jen Cobbler
Jen/Ramon Fez
Freddie Fudpucker
Harvey Wallbanger
Papa Doble
Harry Kane
Marty Nezz
Mitch Elada
Jen Rickey
Rob Roy
Sid Carr

And if you've got a cocktail-themed murder, you're all but obligated to work a Corpse Reviver joke into the rules someplace.
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G. Uitz
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Finn Jizz
Nina Colatta
Buck Hardy
Zane Grier
Kia Royale
Mai Thai
Brooke Lynn
Kai Piranha


Dark.
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Alex Cannon
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Hah! Those are some great suggestions: I knew I could rely on you lot I'll pick a bunch when the cards need doing again.

The faces are done:



Seems a vibrant bunch. I may restrict the colour scheme later on, to give it a stronger sense of cohesion, but I think it gives enough theme for now. Also there are lots of moustaches! Must be a hipster town

I've added the 2 player dice rule in the files, but no other changes for now.

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Alex Cannon
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Let's have a go at an example of play. The game is fairly rules light so I thought it might be good to describe it in action to give people a better idea about what I have in mind.

---

Alison, Bernard and Charlotte have just set up and started a game.

-- Turn 1 --

They all secretly pick a number for their die

Alison picks 1, Bernard picks 1, Charlotte picks 2.

2 is the lowest unique number, so Charlotte takes the 3rd clue in the row.

The clue card shows a Hat. Charlotte knows for certain that the murderer cannot be wearing a hat.

She must now (if possible) flip over a suspect card on the table. There are 4 cards on the table. Charlotte flips over Nina Colada (Female, No Glasses, White Hair, Hat) as she is wearing a hat.

The other players now know that one of the clues is on this card, but not yet which one. Alison takes Moe Heatow (Male, Glasses, Dark Hair, No Accessory) as none of these traits have been eliminated. Bernard takes Harvey Wallbanger (Males, Glasses, White Hair, Jewellery) as this only shares 1 trait with the eliminated suspect.)

There's not enough information to make an accusation yet, so all players pass and begin the next round.

-- Turn 2 --

Alison Picks 2, Bernard Picks 1, Charlotte Picks 2

Bernard wins with a 1, so takes the leftmost clue which shows Glasses. He flips over Moe Heatow (Male, Glasses, Dark Hair, No Accessory) as he can be eliminated.

Charlotte takes Tom Collins (Male, No Glasses, Dark Hair, Jewellery)

Alison knows that Charlotte has seen a clue, and takes Maria Sanguini (Female, No Glasses, Dark Hair, Jewellery) as it's the closest match. Because Charlotte has flipped a card with No Glasses and then taken one, Alison suspects this wasn't the clue she saw earlier (or is it?)

There's still not enough info, and everyone passes.

---

Just thinking about the game flow, I think we're going to need a bit more balance with the card draws (especially with a higher player count) and the pacing, and some edge cases need clearing up. Another day perhaps.
 
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Alex Cannon
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Thinking about it I might change the trait from accessory to clothing. Maybe Black, White or Colour? Any other suggestions for which traits might work better, or better suit the theme?

Unfortunately I think this game might be impossible to playtest solo because of the hidden information and bluffing aspect. I might try and make a solo scenario so people can get a flavour of the game.

 
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Alex Cannon
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Logo Added:



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Amanda B
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I'm really intrigued by your game (always on the lookout for a deduction game that plays at fewer than 3 players) and threw together a quick pnp to try out. I played a 2 person game with my husband and wanted to provide some first thoughts.

First, I know you're going to be updating the card look and what not, but just so you know, the "male, no glasses, light hair, jewelry" and male, no glasses, light hair, hat" cards have the wrong pictures on the eliminated side. We just paid attention the words which were correct, so it wasn't a big deal at this point. Similarly the "white hair" clue card just says "white" which threw my husband at first.

Onto the hopefully more interesting comments... So between the rules and the example turns you posted, we have a couple questions on how gameplay should work.

1. When the person who looks at the clue (the "clue see-er") eliminates a suspect, should that elimination be based on just the clue they most recently examined or based on all previously seen clues? We thought it should be based on all previously seen clues, but not on anything you may have deduced so that deduction errors don't cause problems for everyone else.

2. Does the clue see-er also need to include the cards in other player's hands when they are determining if they can eliminate a suspect? Or do they only consider cards in the center?

3. When should you draw new suspect cards to the middle of the table? Our current understanding is to draw after the person who sees the clue (possibly) eliminates a suspect. This draw we took to take place every round. Then, there is a card draw mentioned on each other player's turns when they have the option to take a card from the center or put one back from their hand. We took that rule as only doing the card draw if someone took a card from the center.

4. For the step where the non-clue see-ers can, in turn, move a suspect card from the center of the table to their hand or vice versa, can they choose to do both? And are we correct that the clue see-er does not get this option/action?

5. For the accusations, we understood the process to be that you essentially go around the table twice. First asking if they want to accuse a suspect in their hand. Then on the second go round if they want to accuse a suspect in the center? Is this correct? Does that mean that Player A cannot accuse a suspect in Player B's hand? So Player B essentially reserves that suspect so only they can guess them?

6. A comment/concern: What happens if someone thinks they know the correct suspect characteristics but that card is not yet in play on the table? Do you just have to wait for the card to eventually come out? We thought this seemed like something that was a bit too likely to happen, though we of course haven't played much and our understanding of when cards are drawn will most likely have a big effect on this phenomenon. Maybe the more frustrating scenario would be related to our question 5: the card is out but in someone else's hand and you aren't allowed to accuse it. Just spit balling some ideas... maybe you can only hold a particular suspect for a certain amount of time before you have to either accuse them or release them to the center? Similarly, maybe something that allows you to search the deck if you want to make an accusation and the card hasn't been drawn yet?

I hope at least some of this is useful to you. Like I said, I'm really intrigued by your game and I'll be following along.
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Alex Cannon
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meeeples wrote:
I'm really intrigued by your game (always on the lookout for a deduction game that plays at fewer than 3 players) and threw together a quick pnp to try out. I played a 2 person game with my husband and wanted to provide some first thoughts.
Thanks for trying it! The game is somewhat dedicated to my wife (who loves murder mystery) and we'll mostly be playing against each other, so I really want to make sure the 2-player game is strong.

meeeples wrote:
First, I know you're going to be updating the card look and what not, but just so you know, the "male, no glasses, light hair, jewelry" and male, no glasses, light hair, hat" cards have the wrong pictures on the eliminated side. We just paid attention the words which were correct, so it wasn't a big deal at this point. Similarly the "white hair" clue card just says "white" which threw my husband at first.
Ahh sorry about that. I'll update the files tonight: I'm sure that was particularly confusing!

meeeples wrote:
Onto the hopefully more interesting comments... So between the rules and the example turns you posted, we have a couple questions on how gameplay should work.
1. When the person who looks at the clue (the "clue see-er") eliminates a suspect, should that elimination be based on just the clue they most recently examined or based on all previously seen clues? We thought it should be based on all previously seen clues, but not on anything you may have deduced so that deduction errors don't cause problems for everyone else.
My intention was that you can eliminate any eligible person, as long as they meet the criteria for any clue you've seen.

meeeples wrote:
2. Does the clue see-er also need to include the cards in other player's hands when they are determining if they can eliminate a suspect? Or do they only consider cards in the center?
Suspects can be eliminated in the centre OR in hand.
meeeples wrote:
3. When should you draw new suspect cards to the middle of the table? Our current understanding is to draw after the person who sees the clue (possibly) eliminates a suspect. This draw we took to take place every round. Then, there is a card draw mentioned on each other player's turns when they have the option to take a card from the center or put one back from their hand. We took that rule as only doing the card draw if someone took a card from the center.
This is something I need to work on. I need to make sure there are enough cards to start with, and that they come out in a reasonable amount of time. The rules as written say to draw a card after each player's main action, so in a two player game it would take 16 turns for all the card to come out. I think this might be too long: I'd like to try starting with 12 cards and drawing 3 cards each round.

meeeples wrote:
4. For the step where the non-clue see-ers can, in turn, move a suspect card from the center of the table to their hand or vice versa, can they choose to do both? And are we correct that the clue see-er does not get this option/action?
Move 1 card to or from their hand. I might allow the clue-see-er to take this action too.

meeeples wrote:
5. For the accusations, we understood the process to be that you essentially go around the table twice. First asking if they want to accuse a suspect in their hand. Then on the second go round if they want to accuse a suspect in the center? Is this correct? Does that mean that Player A cannot accuse a suspect in Player B's hand? So Player B essentially reserves that suspect so only they can guess them?
I thought that reserving a suspect might be too over-powered. In second round any visible suspect can be accused.

meeeples wrote:
6. A comment/concern: What happens if someone thinks they know the correct suspect characteristics but that card is not yet in play on the table? Do you just have to wait for the card to eventually come out? We thought this seemed like something that was a bit too likely to happen, though we of course haven't played much and our understanding of when cards are drawn will most likely have a big effect on this phenomenon. Maybe the more frustrating scenario would be related to our question 5: the card is out but in someone else's hand and you aren't allowed to accuse it. Just spit balling some ideas... maybe you can only hold a particular suspect for a certain amount of time before you have to either accuse them or release them to the center? Similarly, maybe something that allows you to search the deck if you want to make an accusation and the card hasn't been drawn yet?
Yeah this is a tricky one. I played a game where you only needed to name the correct traits but it seemed to make the victory a little "hollow". I'd like the player to "catch" the suspect, so they should be visible. I think the card draw rules might help this pacing.

meeeples wrote:
I hope at least some of this is useful to you. Like I said, I'm really intrigued by your game and I'll be following along.
Thanks for the great feedback, it's really helpful.

I'm considering have a basic game and an advanced game. The basic game would be mostly what is there now, and the advanced game would push the bluffing/induction aspect further (all of these are just ideas at the moment and need testing):

1) The players would take the clue into hand, making it unavailable to everyone else.
2) If you have a clue in hand you need to swap it for one in the centre to get a new one (when you win the dice round.)
3) If you have a clue you must eliminate a suspect in order to take a suspect in hand.

This would be on top of the changes to both game modes mentioned above:

4) Start the game with 12 suspects in the centre. Draw 3 cards at the start of each round.

5) The game doesn't end when all cards are drawn.

I'll update the rules and cards tonight. Stay tuned!

Edit: Finished.
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Alex Cannon
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Managed to get a chance for some playtesting at a higher player count, and had quite a good time actually. It also highlighted some possible issues so I'll be working on a new version over the next few days.

1) with more players you can have a runaway leader when someone wins a few times. To combat this you'd have the winner of the last round drop out of the dice phase. I may also try giving everyone a clue to start with, or having multiple winners each round at higher player count.

2) the bluffing and deduction aspects were diminished when a player declined to take suspects into hand at all. In the next version accusing won't be possible until the 6th round, giving extra incentive to take suspects.

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Nigel Kennington
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Hi!

I'm reading over the rules in advance of a playtest tonight and I have a couple of suggestions just from the read:

I think the following could stand to be in bold:
Quote:
Any cards the player receive should be laid open on the table.
The convention is for a "hand" to be hidden information, so if you're having an "open hand" game, it's good to have that emphasised. Or maybe change the word? You could call it the player's "Case Notes" for a more thematic element.

Quote:
Shuffle the remaining clues and lay them face down in a line on the table.
In fact, you might want to add "without looking at them" to this and the "Draw one of each to form the “murderer cards” and set them aside." line. I mean it's obvious after the first time you play the game, but if you're setting up for the first time and don't know the rest of the rules, it isn't necessarily.

Quote:
Dice Phase
It would be nice to make this more thematic, even with just flavour text. You could call it the "Leads Phase" and start with some flavour text: "You've got to be quick, but you've gotta be smart too. Nothing's worse than some ham-fisted palooka gettin' between you and the stiff." Course, if you do one for the dice phase, you'd have to do them for the clue and accusation phases too!

Quote:
If they are incorrect they are eliminated from the game.
I know its a short game, but is there any alternative to elimination? Maybe they lose their detective licence and have to go "rogue", return their hand to the centre and cannot take suspects anymore, can only accuse once, last, in the accusation phase.

Looking forward to giving this a try! It reminds me a bit of Checkpoint Charlie that we quite like and I really like your logo too!
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Alex Cannon
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Thanks for your comments Nigel

Nigel_hmg wrote:
I think the following could stand to be in bold:
Quote:
Any cards the player receive should be laid open on the table.
The convention is for a "hand" to be hidden information, so if you're having an "open hand" game, it's good to have that emphasised. Or maybe change the word? You could call it the player's "Case Notes" for a more thematic element.

Quote:
Shuffle the remaining clues and lay them face down in a line on the table.
In fact, you might want to add "without looking at them" to this and the "Draw one of each to form the “murderer cards” and set them aside." line. I mean it's obvious after the first time you play the game, but if you're setting up for the first time and don't know the rest of the rules, it isn't necessarily.

Quote:
Dice Phase
It would be nice to make this more thematic, even with just flavour text. You could call it the "Leads Phase" and start with some flavour text: "You've got to be quick, but you've gotta be smart too. Nothing's worse than some ham-fisted palooka gettin' between you and the stiff." Course, if you do one for the dice phase, you'd have to do them for the clue and accusation phases too!

Great suggestions. I used the term "hand" because it gives the player the idea that this is their personal stash of cards, and makes it familiar that there may be a hand limit, but you're right it does imply it's hidden. I'm currently updating the graphics but afterwards I'll go through the rulebook again and try and get more clarity and theme in there.

Nigel_hmg wrote:

Quote:
If they are incorrect they are eliminated from the game.
I know its a short game, but is there any alternative to elimination? Maybe they lose their detective licence and have to go "rogue", return their hand to the centre and cannot take suspects anymore, can only accuse once, last, in the accusation phase.

I really feel this is necessary, as once you've checked your accusation you know the answer. I might try and give players something to do (eliminating suspects maybe?) if they're knocked out, but I also think it's a good point of tension, when you're racing to deduce the last trait, do you take a risk when it's down to 50/50? By that stage there's not too much of the game left hopefully.

Nigel_hmg wrote:
Looking forward to giving this a try! It reminds me a bit of Checkpoint Charlie that we quite like and I really like your logo too!

Thanks! I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on the gameplay, I hope you enjoy it.
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Alex Cannon
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So I've adjusted some of the faces. Still the same categories but hopefully these are overall a little more cohesive and stylistic:



Next job is making the mint tin sized cards!
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Best of luck making the cards!

I've been following along - I'm a sucker for a good deduction game. And the name you came up with is awesome. I'll have to think about how to make this solo...

I've been reading through the rules, and ran into some edits:

In the Clue Phase, page 2: "2 Eyewears Glasses/No Glasses" I'm guessing there should be a space between "Eye" and "wears" and "Eye" should possibly be plural to match the other traits?

On page 3, there should (probably?) be a space between the first two paragraphs - since all the other paragraphs in the rules have a line between them, and those don't.

Just a stylistic thing, but I've always been told not to include "will" in the rules of a game. So a sentence such as: "The lead investigator will then look at the revealed suspects" could be phrased: "The lead investigator looks at the revealed suspects" But, as I said, it's stylistic, so feel free to ignore (though it does save you from typing more words).

And then just a question for clarification:

When you say "The lead investigator doesn't play in the next dice phase." how does that work in 2 player games? Does it just alternate with one player being lead one turn, and the other player being the lead the next?"
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adularia25 wrote:
Best of luck making the cards!

Thanks. I've not made mini cards before. I might have to try printing my standard cards scaled down but I want them to look nice still. Hoping to be done soon!

Quote:
I've been following along - I'm a sucker for a good deduction game. And the name you came up with is awesome. I'll have to think about how to make this solo...

I have thought about it too, but I'm having some issues with how to make the deduction interesting for solo play. Currently the best part of the deduction element (for me) is trying to decode the moves of the other players. If you have any bright ideas please let me know!

Quote:
I've been reading through the rules, and ran into some edits:

In the Clue Phase, page 2: "2 Eyewears Glasses/No Glasses" I'm guessing there should be a space between "Eye" and "wears" and "Eye" should possibly be plural to match the other traits?

On page 3, there should (probably?) be a space between the first two paragraphs - since all the other paragraphs in the rules have a line between them, and those don't.

Just a stylistic thing, but I've always been told not to include "will" in the rules of a game. So a sentence such as: "The lead investigator will then look at the revealed suspects" could be phrased: "The lead investigator looks at the revealed suspects" But, as I said, it's stylistic, so feel free to ignore (though it does save you from typing more words).

And then just a question for clarification:

When you say "The lead investigator doesn't play in the next dice phase." how does that work in 2 player games? Does it just alternate with one player being lead one turn, and the other player being the lead the next?"

Yeah good points. I need to update the rules again. I rushed the last update while it was fresh in my mind. The dropping out rule should be for 3 or more players.

Thanks Caroline
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Caroline Berg
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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AlexCannon wrote:
adularia25 wrote:
Best of luck making the cards!

Thanks. I've not made mini cards before. I might have to try printing my standard cards scaled down but I want them to look nice still. Hoping to be done soon!
You and me both! I'm rushing to finish the last page of cards (and some tokens) for my game.

I actually am using the scaling technique for the larger cards in my game. They are full poker sized as I make them, but I'm scaling them down to bridge size to make them fit in the tin. Though I'm also using mini cards which don't need to be scaled further.

AlexCannon wrote:
Quote:
I've been following along - I'm a sucker for a good deduction game. And the name you came up with is awesome. I'll have to think about how to make this solo...

I have thought about it too, but I'm having some issues with how to make the deduction interesting for solo play. Currently the best part of the deduction element (for me) is trying to decode the moves of the other players. If you have any bright ideas please let me know!
As soon as I hit upon a solution, I'll let you know!

AlexCannon wrote:
Thanks Caroline
You're welcome!
 
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Alex Cannon
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After an evening wrangling with nandeck I have some tentative results. I really like the font used for the suspect names but not sure if it will be readable.

Haven't figure out how to make a printable deck yet but here's a preview!


 
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Cards are updated:



Download Link:
Rules and Cards
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