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Subject: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Contest Ready] rss

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Theodore Karvounis
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Αn entry in the 2018 54-Card Game Design Contest.



Cocktails, is a fast-paced, push-your-lack, 2-player card game, taking place on a summer evening, having players sit comfortably by the pool, tasting delicious cocktails, as they take on a bizarre drinking challenge.

It's quite simple, just 54 cards with numbers between 1 and 12. Players draw cards from the pile and keep guessing if the next one will have a higher or lower number. Stopping just at the right time is crucial in order to get the right cocktails, thus get the most points. Each cocktail has its own value which combined with cards that act or score differently allows players to explore some interesting strategies.

Contest categories
+ Best Overall Game
+ Best Party Game
+ Most Unique Game
+ Best New Designer

Some cards:


PnP files: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/135ciflxbl3pug6N05bc8...
PnP (low ink) files: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1--ccYXKQs2XiI1OhXX8w...
Rules: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tmwSkpjop-L4PdmcLcOdclB5-0b...
Board game geek link:https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/249588/cocktails
Online demo: https://codepen.io/8odoros/full/PENzWB
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest) - Idea Phase
I like the theme a lot and I like the cards with paint splatter on the white background. Seems like a pretty quick and fun little push your luck game.

I'm curious to hear your rationale for assigning point values to the cards. The value 12 card is worth a lot of points and you know that all of the other cards in the deck are lower than it so if you're lucky enough to have that come up when you're guessing you're almost guaranteed to be able to draw another card.
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest) - Idea Phase
Thanks for your kind words, as for the cards with big numbers (especially those 12), there are a couple of reasons not wanting to draw another card. The most obvious is that you'll lose all cards drawn at this round (that my have a lot of value) if the next is either another 12-numbered card (there are four) or a spilled drink card (there are 3 of them), so you may not want to risk any further.

Take note however that big numbers (however great they are) give no extra value after you reach a point. The table on the rules is probably not very clear (maybe I should use a different wording, I could use some help here...) but:
Having 1x 12-numbered card gives 10 points
Having 2x 12-numbered cards gives 15 points
Having 3x 12-numbered cards gives 0(!) points
Having 4x 12-numbered cards gives 10 points

That creates some interesting cases. Like, it may be better for the player to discard that 12 card that he just draw, or send it to the other player (probably when that will be his third, losing 15 points).

It's even a valid strategy to stay at having just 1x 12-numbered card, that gives you 10 easy points, instead of taking a second that will give you +5 points at the risk of the other player sending you a third, making your 12-numbered cards count for zero (whether that's profitable depends on the game state, the cards already drawn, the style of the players e.t.c.). Same goes for those 11-numbered cards.

To sum it up: Big numbers are not that great and there's (almost) always a chance that the next card will make you bust.



Edit: I changed (simplified) the scoring
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Daniel Holz
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest) - Idea Phase
Well done! I love the poison pill mechanism on the highest-points cards. All things in moderation…
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest) - Idea Phase
The watercolor cards are my choice - though if the splatters have no meaning, they probably should be toned down (if they do have meaning, such as designating types of sets for set collection, keep them as is.)
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest) - Idea Phase
If anyone would like to play/test the game online I have written a javascript app, it's here https://codepen.io/8odoros/full/PENzWB. I have to admin though, it's not very user-friendly as it was created mainly for my tests. Hopefully you can enjoy it

I'll have the pnp files ready soon.

adularia25 wrote:
The watercolor cards are my choice - though if the splatters have no meaning, they probably should be toned down (if they do have meaning, such as designating types of sets for set collection, keep them as is.)


Yeah, they have no meaning, I'm working on an a better (more subtle) version.
 
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
PnP files are ready, please take a look https://drive.google.com/open?id=135ciflxbl3pug6N05bc8CwTYEu...

Rules: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wyGAnHPe_GfUcMcUkeyAnCCY...
 
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Mike Smaragdakis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
So checked rules and app for now but this one definately gets printed, it's beautiful! Where did you got the pictures? Did you draw them?
As for the game itself;
Something that either is wrong on the rules or the app; when I read the rules I understand that every card on a won pile from 1-10 goes facedown on your pile without any option. But the application allows you to deal with each one separately. Only for 11 or 12 you get to choose what to do with them. Which one is correct?
Also I would like to know the thought behind point allocation for 11. Given that getting 4+ of them is really bad, I would expect that getting the 3rd should give more than 2 points, especially when the first two of them give 4 each. The card is meant to be given rather than kept?
Other than that this seems a great implementation on the classic mini card game.
Good luck on the contest!
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
schmike wrote:
Something that either is wrong on the rules or the app; when I read the rules I understand that every card on a won pile from 1-10 goes facedown on your pile without any option. But the application allows you to deal with each one separately. Only for 11 or 12 you get to choose what to do with them. Which one is correct?


Yeah, I should change the app in order to match the rules. However, the only case that this is relavant is for the negative 3-points cards. Otherwise it makes no sence to discard or gift a taken 1 to 10 card, you will just lose points.

schmike wrote:

Also I would like to know the thought behind point allocation for 11. Given that getting 4+ of them is really bad, I would expect that getting the 3rd should give more than 2 points, especially when the first two of them give 4 each.

I decided to make the 3rd card less powerful in order to be more flexible, allowing more options. Especially in these common cases:

Case 1
Jim (1x11) 4points - Pam (2x11) 8points
Jim draws a new 11. Options:
Keep --> new score = 8 - 8
Gift --> new score = 4 - 10 but with a high possibility of a 8 - 0 (or at least 4 - 0) if Jim draws more 11 (which will give to Pam).


Case 2
Jim (2x11) 8points - Pam (2x11) 8points
Jim draws a new 11. Options:
Keep --> new score = 10 - 8
Gift --> new score = 8 - 10 but with a high possibility of a 8 - 0 if Jim draws another 11 (which will give to Pam).

I may be wrong but I think that if the 3rd card was another 4 points Jim would probably keep it in both cases.


Edit: I changed (simplified) the scoring


schmike wrote:

So checked rules and app for now but this one definitely gets printed, it's beautiful! Where did you got the pictures? Did you draw them?
Thanks, I'm glad that you liked it, means a lot to me. I almost went for a racing/speed theme but almost everybody was fond of the cocktails The drinks are vector images, taken from freepik.com (an amazing source of images), I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for the rest of the artwork.
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dimitris varrias
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
Seems like a cool idea!Well done.
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
If there's any cocktail expert around here, willing to suggest better names for the cocktails I'd be glad to know.
 
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Brian Garthwaite
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
Given the poolside cocktail theme - which I love, especially as it's snowing here right now - you might want to consider using some of the classic tiki cocktails. They're the epitome of southern California, mid-20th century, poolside relaxation. Fruity, summery, and oh, my, the garnishes. Although they won't get you all of the colors - green and purple (and still appealing) being especially tough in the cocktail world - there's plenty to choose from.

Here's a short list of good ones: Mai Tai, Zombie, Hurricane, Rum Runner, Blue Hawaiian, Beachcomber, Painkiller, Scorpion, Bahama Mama, Fog Cutter, Pina Colada, Rhum Swizzle. Daiquiris and mojitos (but maybe only one?) are poolside-friendly, too. Some quick internet searches ought to give you an idea of drink colors, glass shapes, and typical garnishes. Or check out what you can from Jeff "Beachbum" Berry; maybe your local library can get copies of his books for you. (He's also got a well-regarded phone app, but you'd have to shell out $10.)

The only cocktail that seems out of place is the Dry Martini. I love 'em, but they're not at all a pool drink. (And the spills look alarmingly blood-like. Especially with the skull & crossbones symbol.)

The press-your-luck mechanic's simple enough that I could actually see playing this a few cocktails in. Have you tried it with 3 or 4 players? It seems like there's a possibility of scaling up that would be worth testing, at least.
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (54-Card Contest)
bgarthwaite wrote:
the spills look alarmingly blood-like. Especially with the skull & crossbones symbol.
Well...maybe there's a shark in the pool then? All of your suggestions are right on the spot, made me think how much this game needs a real artist. Anybody interested to work on that please, send me a message...

bgarthwaite wrote:
Have you tried it with 3 or 4 players? It seems like there's a possibility of scaling up that would be worth testing, at least.
I'll definitely try this. However, the game is already very quick, so in order to support more players I'd probably need to have 2 decks which is not for this contest.
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JK
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
The cards are beautiful (I love watercolours!)

Any chance of a low-ink version? That would bump it up my playtesting queue....
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
JohnKean wrote:
The cards are beautiful (I love watercolours!)

Any chance of a low-ink version? That would bump it up my playtesting queue....


Thanks, me too! I'm working on it...
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
Updated rules and PnP files, added a low-ink version too. Check it out!

Streamlined the game a fair bit after some playtesting sessions. Removed the "instant-death" cards but added more negative ones. Also simplified the high number cards' scoring.
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Rachel Bruner
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
Did you make the artwork? It's beautiful!

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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
Hi, Theodore!

Had a little time last night, so my wife and I took Cocktails for a quick test. It's quick, silly fun, and I'm terrible at it. Not only do I excel at drawing cards of matching values, but my wife used me as the dumping ground for 11s and 12s. Neither of us remembered to use our 2nd Chance.

The quick and easy play worked well, and suits the randomness of the deck. I've drawn a 1 following a 2; an 11 after an 11; and guessing anything after drawing a 7 is a crapshoot. Having a hint of strategy with the 11/12 cards gives a little more structure to things, though you're still at the mercy of luck and how much your partner's going to push them on you. Also, it felt good, when you've drawn several dropped drinks in a row, to be able to intentionally discard with a "bad" guess.

There is the opportunity for some serious scoring discrepancies, though. Those 1-point cards are so far removed from a 5-pointer that they feel effectively worthless. A smaller range might even things out more. And placing high-value cards in the middle of the number range, where guessing higher/lower correctly is much more difficult, might better match the points to the challenge. The negative points cards can be harsh, but you're able to deal with them well enough. If you were to adjust points values, I'd be curious to see the effect that offset values (say, +3 drink/-2 dropped pair) had on gameplay.

Our game ended with a massive gap between our scores, and it was apparent that I'd need amazing luck to bring that around in a follow-up match. The rules ask you to keep score - presumably getting a sum total at the end? - over three games, but perhaps adjusting that to be a best-2-of-3 would be better. You don't have to carry a run of bad luck with you, and you won't need pen and paper to track the scores. (Who keeps pen and paper at poolside, anyway?)

Also, as the repeat victim of 11/12 card "gifts," I might like to be able to use my 2nd Chance card to reject one of those at an opportune moment.

My wife also had a suggestion about a "shoot the moon" option, where, if you could collect enough dropped drinks, you could convert their negative points into a big bonus. Might give players a little something else to contend with.

A few typos and rules clarifications:

- Under "The 2nd Chance card," the text reads: "Then they can choose
either to stop their turn or keep playing but" and abruptly ceases. Is there a rule missing?

- The list of cocktails includes a "Levander Dash" and a "Run Sunset."

- Most cards go face-down when collected. I assume this is so that you can't see them, but you may want a rule about looking at cards in the player's collections and the discard pile.

- Discard pile face-up, -down, or doesn't matter?

Hope that's of help!
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Theodore Karvounis
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
Hi Brian! That's great, thanks a lot for your time and your kind suggestions. I updated the rules, correcting the various things you noticed. Some questions:

bgarthwaite wrote:
Those 1-point cards are so far removed from a 5-pointer that they feel effectively worthless. A smaller range might even things out more. And placing high-value cards in the middle of the number range, where guessing higher/lower correctly is much more difficult, might better match the points to the challenge.

Are you suggesting something like this?
1-2: 1point
3-5: 2points
6-8: 3points (since 7 is the center)


bgarthwaite wrote:
The negative points cards can be harsh, but you're able to deal with them well enough. If you were to adjust points values, I'd be curious to see the effect that offset values (say, +3 drink/-2 dropped pair) had on gameplay.

I'm not sure I understand that rule, can you please explain?

bgarthwaite wrote:

The rules ask you to keep score - presumably getting a sum total at the end? - over three games, but perhaps adjusting that to be a best-2-of-3 would be better. You don't have to carry a run of bad luck with you, and you won't need pen and paper to track the scores. (Who keeps pen and paper at poolside, anyway?)

Yeah, I used the Lost Cities format, "Best-2-of-3" meaning that the players compare their best scores after three games? Seems better, so for now, I put that in the rules.

bgarthwaite wrote:

Also, as the repeat victim of 11/12 card "gifts," I might like to be able to use my 2nd Chance card to reject one of those at an opportune moment.

My wife also had a suggestion about a "shoot the moon" option, where, if you could collect enough dropped drinks, you could convert their negative points into a big bonus. Might give players a little something else to contend with.


Sure, I'll look into these! A valid strategy though is to discard the 3rd 11 card (same with the 2nd 12 card) if there are still many of those in the game, as it's almost certain that your opponent will send them to you. Did you tried that?
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Re: [WIP] Cocktails (2018 54-Card Contest) [Components Ready]
8odoros wrote:
Are you suggesting something like this?
1-2: 1point
3-5: 2points
6-8: 3points (since 7 is the center)

Something like that, but also reducing the value of higher-number cards. There's some value in the riskiness of the 11/12 cards, but if 7 is your center, maybe 9 should be worth as much as 5? 10 as much as 4?

8odoros wrote:
I'm not sure I understand that rule, can you please explain?

Just tossing out thoughts. I wouldn't change anything without testing some variations. But here's the gist of the idea: as it currently stands, some of the negative-point cards can quickly make a potential open pile junk. Especially the -3 cards. If your dropped drinks for the higher-value cards had a reduced negative impact - if your Blue Lagoon is worth 3 points good, but only -2 points dropped - would that encourage players to draw more cards? The crux of the game is the push-your-luck element, so anything that encourages players to push a little further, and to do so enjoyably, ought to improve it.

It's less the arithmetic of it all than the feeling you get as you play.

8odoros wrote:
Yeah, I used the Lost Cities format, "Best-2-of-3" meaning that the players compare their best scores after three games? Seems better, so for now, I put that in the rules.

That works. Anything that doesn't discourage anyone who just happens to have a run of rotten luck. You always want to feel like you can turn it around and succeed in the next game.

8odoros wrote:
Sure, I'll look into these! A valid strategy though is to discard the 3rd 11 card (same with the 2nd 12 card) if there are still many of those in the game, as it's almost certain that your opponent will send them to you. Did you tried that?

Oh, I tried. But she had the luck of drawing them all in the second half of the game, which left me with no recourse. My relative safety of 2 11s and 1 12 were for naught. (I did draw an 11, followed by the next 11, which meant I couldn't return the "gift.") It's just bad luck, of course, but the combination of that random luck and the immense point value of those cards makes it a harder pill to swallow.
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