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Subject: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Contest Ready rss

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Nick Shaw
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This is an entry into the 2018 54-Card Game Design Contest.

Designers: Chris Manley, Nick Shaw.

Game Summary: The players are ambitious Lords in the time of King Arthur, all vying to be seen sat next to the most influential people in court at King Arthur’s latest banquet at Camelot. Players manoeuvre themselves, the King's Knights and the other guests around the banqueting hall, and will score influence points based upon who they are adjacent to when the banquet ends.


Game Logo:

Game Image: (mid-game; 3rd round)



Total card count: 54 cards

Player Count: 2-4 (some AIs are used in 2 & 3 player games)

Approximate playing time: 15-45 minutes (depending on player count and gameplay mode chosen)

Categories we would like the game considered for:
- Best Overall Game
- Best Euro Game
- Best New Designer (for Chris Manley, who has done ~75% of the design work).

PnP Files:
- Rules PDF (v1.1)
- PnP of cards (A4; low-ink)
- PnP of cards (A4; full-colour)

Note: The PnP's card backs are mostly optional, however the Common Quest cards have a front and a back simply to add more variability. If you aren't printing the backs, feel free to ignore these extra quests. They're only on the backs to optimise use of the limited card count. You'll just have 4 quests to randomly choose from instead of 8.

PnP Files License: Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial - No Derivatives 4.0 International License. All images used in the PnP files are in the public domain.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest version of the rules, the living document is here, where you can still comment. Note though that this is not part of the contest-ready components.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Ready
Revision history:
- 0.3 - pre-release
- 0.4 - first playtesting release version [all images used now from public domain sources]
- 0.5 - tweaks to powers following more playtesting, and layout changes to unify the look of all cards, and add some flavour text
- 0.5a - very minor card tweaks/corrections after proofreading (hence not incrementing the revision number)
- 0.6 - Change to two of the scheme cards: Both "Move twice" changed, one to "activate adjacent knight's move", and the other to "move adjacent guest 1 space". Also some graphics updates, especially to Quests.
- 0.6a - Minor tweaks to end-game scoring of rows, added wrap-around rule for end-game adjacency scoring, and added note that Player cards can't be moved/swapped as if they were Guests by Scheme cards. No changes to the PnP cards.
- 0.7 - Graphic re-design, and changed 4-player game length to just 2 courses instead of 3.
- 0.8 - Rules changes; a few cards reworded for clarity; game length back to 2 courses, but with option of 3 courses for a "longer" game;
- 1.0 - Changed scheme cards to have their flavour text at the top (as the card title) instead of the bottom, giving more room for the rest of the layout. Also: Rules tweaks & final proofreading prior to declaring the game Contest Ready.
- 1.1 - Final, final edits to rules. Declaring as Contest Ready!
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Dustin Culbertson
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Just reread the rules. Another game printed and ready to try out soon!

One thing I didn’t see (or just missed). What happens if a player moves to a spot that another player is in? Is that allowed?

Also, did you mean to have 2 Dagonet Quest cards?
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
JonasVenture wrote:
Just reread the rules. Another game printed and ready to try out soon!


Excellent! Thanks Dustin!

JonasVenture wrote:
One thing I didn’t see (or just missed). What happens if a player moves to a spot that another player is in? Is that allowed?


Yes; the other players act just like other Guests in that case - they just move to the just-vacated space. I'll add a note to that effect in the rules.

EDIT: Just checked rules, and it is covered already, under the Guest movement bullet. End of that bullet point says "Other players’ Player cards also move as if they are guests (you are good at coercing your fellow players, clearly!)." I might move it to its own bullet point to make it clearer.

JonasVenture wrote:
Also, did you mean to have 2 Dagonet Quest cards?


Yes, that's intentional. We thought it would be an interesting setup to have two of the players working on the same goal, with one player moving the Joker around or getting next to it, while the other player was doing the same thing, possibly screwing up the plans. We originally had two opposing Tristan & Isolde quests too (one to keep them together, one to keep them apart), but we dropped that as it felt a little unfair that one player could end up effectively completely stopping the other player from completing their quest. But we kept in the two Dagonet quests as it's entirely possible for two players to work on that same goal AND both complete it (even when they don't know that's what the other player is doing). Some of the fun is determining what other players' quest goals are, and screwing up their plans.

Looking forward to any feedback you have after playing!
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
If anyone gets a chance to test this soon, we'd love feedback on the balance of scoring we adjusted in the v0.6a ruleset!
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Working on a graphic design overhaul. Current idea, for Knight cards at least:



The plan is for King's Guests and regular Guests to be in a very similar style (with slightly different background to allow the player to distinguish the types quickly, although there is the icon in the top-left to show the type). Not sure what I'll do for the Schemes, Quests or King/Queen/Servant cards yet.

And at some point, I want to add nice card backs. Not sure yet whether to just keep them all identical on the back, or have something unique for the King/Queen/Servant cards, the Guests + Knights, the Schemes and the Quests, to make separation of the cards easier...
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Alex Bardy
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Hi Nick,


Just had a quick glance, but am not enamoured by the knights graphics -- the rest of them (crowns, etc. are really good), but a suggestion might be to try a knight on a horse with an oversize shield over the top, eg:






Best o' luck!

Alex - ManGo's Gaming

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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
mangozine wrote:
Hi Nick,


Just had a quick glance, but am not enamoured by the knights graphics -- the rest of them (crowns, etc. are really good), but a suggestion might be to try a knight on a horse with an oversize shield over the top, eg:






Best o' luck!

Alex - ManGo's Gaming



Oooh, I like it! I'll see what I can come up with.
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Alex Bardy
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Here's another sample mixing the Lancelot card with this icon.

Just realised it's the wrong shield, but you can see what I mean, hopefully...



Hope that helps... ;-)

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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Thanks Alex. I like it! My problem is finding a decent royalty-free vector graphic like that. I'll see what I can find though, as it would be great to do something like that.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Graphical redesign is complete (for now); do take a look!

- Full-colour
- Low Ink

Card backs are now done too! Woohoo!

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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
After a 4-player playtest last night, we're re-thinking whether 3 'courses' is too much for 4 players. 2 courses may be a little too short to fully manoeuvre yourselves around to score the big goals, but we want the game to last no more than 30 minutes ideally, and we only JUST finished the 2nd Course after 30 mins last night. More playtesting needed at 4 I think! Although the game *should* take the same time regardless of player count (as the AI(s) fill in for the missing player(s)), it seems the AIs are so quick to run, that they don't fully represent the AP some players have when deciding what to do.

Will likely update the rules to limit 4 players to just 2 courses, leaving 2- and 3-players with 3 courses.

UPDATE: Added that note to the rules.
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Jeff Pearce
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
I'll go through your rulebook, reading through each page and remarking on each as I go through. I know nothing about your game and I'll act as a new player, someone keen to get started and reading for the first time. I might come across as snarky, or a little mean, but this is in keeping with seeing for the first time and not a hit against you or your game personally. I hope this is of benefit.

- 13 pages! A4 pages at that! Is this a joke?

PAGE 1:

- I like the font for "Banquet". What is it?

- The quick descriptor gives me a nice background to the game's story. I like that. But I still don't know what type of game this is.

- Nice that you have the Objective and the Components list clearly outlaid. The only thing missing is pictures of the cards next to the type. But that can be added later.

- The Setup (which continues to next page so Ill be remarking on that as well) is very well written. I understand what cards I need to use, what I dont, and how I need to setup the game. Nothing really needs to be changed here except I'd probably bold the card names (King Arthur, Knight etc)

- Why do some of the components say cards, and some don't? Are they all cards? Or am I missing something?

- Why do you switch between typing out one and 1? Choose numerical or alphabetical and stick with it.

By the end of page 1 (and start of page 2), I have a solid feeling about what this game is and what you are trying to convey. There is very little wrong. I'd add in some more colour, examples of the cards in your component list, clean up the differences in numerical and alphabetical, remove "of the game" and just keep it "Objective" and justify your paragraphs (they are all left aligned).

PAGE 2:

- Basically nothing wrong here. The cards look good, the setup is well written, I basically know everything I need to.

The entire page is almost completely taken up by this picture. And that's excellent - a large picture which shows exactly what should be done is a smart use for the rulebook. I dont know why you need Banquet Hall bolded, or any other zone, but perhaps that will come up. It didn't in set up, and perhaps it should. You could easily add that column 1 is the musicians column and column 5 is the kitchen column. Same with Row 1 being an overlapping King and Queens Row. There isn't much to improve here, what is here is well done. I'd make it look a little nicer but that will likely come with your next revision anyway.

PAGE 3:

- Page 3 is another page dedicated to a single image. And it's perfect. There is basically nothing that needs to be fixed here - you've even ensured you have one of each actual card type there, and pointed out each element well. The only change I can think of is to put a descriptor under each card explaining what type of card it is. For instance, Guest under Lord Robin and Knight under Sir Lancelot. Additionally, "wannabe knight" doesn't sound right. You could use ambitious knight or aspiring knight. Wannabe sounds to modern.

PAGE 4:

-It's smartly written, and I was halfway to the next picture before I realised I needed to comment on this page. Which is exactly what you want. It flows really well, and I can see that the following page has a demonstration, which is also what you want. The only changes I can think of is to have Scheme Clarifications for all cards.

PAGE 5:

Simple to understand picture, I got nothing to add.

PAGE 6:

Fairly simple. A little more complex, and you probably want to show the actual cards being moved, but easy enough to understand.

PAGE 7:

Another easy to follow picture. I have nothing to say here.

PAGE 8:

A lot of information here - so it's good that it is on it's own page. I can see this being a page that a lot of players may refer to. Clear and mostly concise, so I have no real issues. There is a lot to digest, and quite a lot of rules.

PAGE 9:

There is quite a bit of information here but it is pretty succinct. Nice way to show the passage of time with the servant.

PAGE 10:

- It says after the servant returns twice game ends. But on previous page it says he makes three rounds for 2 or 3 player games. So, which is it?

- Why aren't the Row names used for the set up image? I can see it only matters in points, but can be handy.

- My nearest lake is pretty big, it might have a crazy lady with a sword. I love a little humour in scores being tied conditions. And it works.

Well written, easy enough to understand. Nothing really to add.

PAGE 11:

One issue I can see is that scores can be very close. You are likely to have many ties. Otherwise, the image explains the scoring well.

PAGE 12:

Nothing to add.

PAGE 13:

Nice to have this as part of your rule book, but theres nothing here for me to review.

---

Overall, you've got what looks like a pretty enjoyable game. It has enough art, flavour text and design that it shouldn't take long for players to get involved. I have a suggestion that you could double side the player cards so the other side could be another guest, and that would save you having to play another character, or players all fighting about how best to play their scheme card and the results from that.

Apart from that I can't see much that would make the game better or the rulebook that much better. You have smartly kept to a design that players can understand fairly quickly, and can play quite quickly as well. The addition of Secret Quests is good, but you have enough for two for each player, maybe you could use both? Or players could be dealt two and keep one? Some seem much harder than others and some offer a win condition but no loss condition, which means someone with Mordred's Revenge is going to have a much tougher game than someone with Music Lover, even though they are much the same in terms of design.

Another minor issue is scoring. Basically, points are really small, which means even at the end of a game of 30 minutes, players will likely finish with less than 5 points, making essentially all of their moves except their last 2 or 3 really the main scoring decisions. This can be fixed by adding more points to the game. I'd recommend doubling everything, and then playing around a little with the secret mission scoring.

Finally, although a lot of work, you could double the number of guests by making them double sided. You will always need the knights and as such they can be double sided, perhaps with slightly different rules. An A side and B side for players who are more familiar with the game.

Nothing more to add. I like what you've done, you have made a historical game where the theme is strong, and yet the gameplay is also well thought out.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Thanks Jeff, that's super useful. Chris has gone through and amended/edited some parts of the rules per your feedback.

About your suggestions: A lot of those we have actually thought about trying, and just haven't had the chance to. So we'll see if we can give them a test.

One quick response:

Quote:
- 13 pages! A4 pages at that! Is this a joke?


Well, technically pages 12 and 13 are irrelevant to the gameplay, so can be ignored. But I would expect people to be printing this in booklet form, so if you skip the final page, which is really only revision notes for us to keep track of changes, it would fit on 3 sheets of paper (2 pages per side, double-sided).
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Chris and I had a great playtest last night. Some rules tweaks to come, once I get a moment to put them in the rulebook, but to summarise:

- All players now get 2 Quest cards each at the start of the game. They may choose *at game end* which of the two they wish to score (everyone should choose simultaneously and reveal so you can't "game" the other players' choices, but I'm not sure that would ever happen); because of this, I'll remove the 'failure' penalty which is on two of the quests and reduce their success VP to balance it.

- The General can now be moved by Knights and King's Guests (so really, it can only NOT be bumped/moved by guests and players now). This avoids situations where the General is on Royal Row and Lancelot or Merlin are in the same column as the General and can't ever get to Royal Row because of it, which completely blocks some quests from completing without getting just the right schemes - we felt that was too harsh, so we're relaxing the General's movement to compensate.

- AI players that bump Knights/King's Guests will now activate their movement abilities, like real players would. We decided that to avoid having to make complex decisions on behalf of the AI, the simplest way to achieve this is that the bumped Knight will always move towards Royal Row if it has a direction to move in, or be as close to Royal Row as it can (e.g. Tristan moving to be next to Isolde will always place above Isolde if he can).

- We're changing the # courses back to 2 as a default; 3 works ok at 2-players (who know the game well), but otherwise takes longer than we'd like the game to play for. So 3 courses will be an optional variant to make the game last a bit longer, at players' discretion (but must be agreed upon before the game starts!).

There are a few more minor changes, but the above covers the main points.

We're also planning on adding Common goals/rules-changes that will change up the game rules each game. I'm still working out how/where we'll fit these within the card count limitation, but current plan is to put *2* secret quests on each of 4 quest cards so we have 4 cards 'free' to put the common goals on (which would be double-sided and 2-per-side, so 16 total possible common goals), and the player then chooses which of the two shown will score at the end. Need to play around with the card layout to see if this will work though, or whether it'll make the text & illustrations too small.




EDIT: Rules have been updated to v0.8, and I've linked to the Google Doc directly now, so I don't have to create the PDF every time. Feel free to add comments to the doc if you have any queries.
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
PnP updated to v0.8:

- Clarification on the "Move Knight 1 space" Scheme, that the Knight's special movement is ignored;
- The General: he can be moved by Knights/VIPs who are displacing him;
- Dagonet's Quest: Reword to say the Jester scores +3 instead of -3, and adjust quest's VP to +3 instead of +6 (avoids confusion about whether the Jester's -3 still applies);
- Quests which previously had failure conditions have had those failure conditions removed.


I still need to combine the quests onto 2 per card, to make room for the common goals on the 'spare' 4 cards, and add those common goals. That'll be coming in v0.81
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Ok, mocked up the two-quests-on-one-card change. Which do people prefer: The portrait one or the landscape one? I'm leaning towards the landscape one myself...



The quest-specific graphic is larger on the landscape, hence my leaning towards it, but it makes those cards a different orientation to all the other cards in the deck.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
And here's a mock-up of the Common Goals we're thinking of including, which would be one-chosen-per-game (and the chosen card slid under the King or Queen card so the chosen side only is showing):

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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
I prefer the landscape as well. I don't think there's a problem with them being a different orientation than the other cards.

Another point in the current design landscape layout is that both of the quests are oriented the same. Since players don't choose which of their secret quests they want to score points from until the end of the game they'll probably want to refer to the card during the game, having to rotate the card in their hand to read both quests seems pretty annoying.

I'm not crazy about the Flavor text on the secret quest cards. With two of them on the same card I'd prefer to have the graphic and rule description slightly larger.
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Ok, new PnP with the quests two-to-a-card, and the new common goals, is up. We've put the common goals as normal-sized, not two-to-a-card, as the text was a bit small to justify when it's a card that's going to possibly be the opposite side of the table from some players. The quests are small, but as players have them hidden in their hand the whole game, they can stare at them as close-up as they like.

Note: The PnP's card backs have previously been optional, however the Common Quest cards now have a front AND a back simply to add more variability in the choice of common quests. If you aren't printing the backs, feel free to ignore these extra [back-side] quests. They're only on the backs to optimise use of the limited card count. You'll just have 4 quests to randomly choose from instead of 8.
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
Final update just prior to marking the game contest ready - scheme cards now have the flavour text as the card title.

If anyone has time to give the rules a quick proofread, please do!
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Alex Bardy
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available

The cards look awesome, Nick -- well done!
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Nick Shaw
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Re: [WIP] Banquet (2018 54-Card Game Design Contest) - Components Available
mangozine wrote:

The cards look awesome, Nick -- well done!


Thanks! It's stretched my graphic design abilities to their max!
 
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Nick Shaw
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The game is now Contest Ready.
 
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Dustin Culbertson
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Was printing out the cards to give the final version a run. Noticed on some of he secret quest cards it says “+ve”. Is that a typo or am I misinterpreting what’s going on?
 
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