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Subject: [WIP] Quilt (54 Card Contest-Tile Laying Game) rss

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Perry Kleinhenz
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Designer: Perry Kleinhenz
Game Summary:
Your grandmother’s birthday is coming up and you and your cousin have each decided to make a quilt for her. Of course not just any quilt will do for grandma, she has some very particular tastes!

Players take turns adding tiles to their quilt, placing them within the number and color restrictions of the tiles already in the quilt. New tiles can only be placed adjacent to tiles that are the same color or differ in number by exactly 1. The player who best satisfies the goals laid out at the start of the game wins!


Game Setup

1-4 Players
Playtime: 10-15 minutes/player
Current PnP files and Rules
Rules v1.4
Components v1.4

This was an entry to the 2018 54 Card Game Design Contest.
Competing in:
Best Overall Game
Best Solo Game (6th place!)
Best Euro Game
Best Artwork
Best Graphical Design
Most Unique Game (mechanics and/or theme)
Best New Designer (first entry in BGG design contest)

"Archive" PnP Files
"Low Ink" Goal Cards v1.0 for use with 2 standard decks of cards.
Full Color Cards v1.0



Note: Instead of printing out the cards you can use 2 decks of cards with similar card faces. Take the A,2,3,4,5 of each suit, these will replace the Quilt block cards. You can either remember what the goals are or preferably print out the Goal card file above.

Any and all comments are greatly appreciated!
 
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
So after some play testing last night and in view of play testing I had done before the start of the contest I decided to add wild cards (back) into the game.

I realized that some of the goals (in particular rows/columns of numbers and 2x2 squares of numbers) are incredibly difficult to achieve without wild cards. I'd tested the goals before with wild cards in the deck but wanted to see if I could simplify the game by removing the wilds, I'm not sure that the decreased complexity is worth the increased difficulty of meeting those goals but I'd be happy to hear people's opinions on the matter.

There are 2 kinds of wild cards, those with a particular number (1-5) and those with a particular color (red, blue, green or orange). Both kinds of wild card can be placed adjacent to any other card. However, wild cards that are numbered only count towards goals about number and don't count towards goals about color. Wild cards that have a color only count towards goals about color and don't count towards goals about numbers.

This adds 9 cards to the game so to make room for them I've made all the goal cards double sided.

On another note I'm thinking about withdrawing this game from the 54 card contest and entering it into the 2 player print and play contest. I have rules for, and have playtested the game with 3 and 4 players but it requires more than 54 cards. Anyone have any thoughts or advice?
 
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
So after some additional playtesting I've realized some issues with the goals "Score 3 points for each row or column with 4 different colors in it" and "Score 2 points for each row or column with 4 different numbers in it."

If a player is trying to get all 8 rows and columns to have 4 different colors they will almost certainly fail, there are only a few arrangements that achieve this and they're pretty unstable. Basically the colors need to match along a diagonal like so



I'm pretty sure its not possible to get exactly 7 rows and columns to have 4 different colors This issue is compounded with the fact that it only takes 1 card being out of place to drop a player down to 6 rows or columns, and at the end of the game there's really only a few cards that can be put in the last remaining spot. So if you're unlucky on your last draw you might end up with something like this, which has 6 rows and columns with 4 different colors in them


If the player has another card out of place this can easily drop them down to only scoring 4 rows or columns like so


Contrast this with going for exactly 4 rows with 4 different colors from the start of the game, then a player can build each column with the same color card which makes it much easier to place cards because cards of the same color can be placed next to each other without worrying about their number


I do like the idea of a player being able to score a lot more points by planning ahead, taking risks and making the game harder on themselves. That being said I don't think its immediately apparent how much harder the riskier strategy is and I don't think the reward is worth it. The times I've played with this goal with others they've always planned on getting the goal for all 8 rows/columns and been disappointed and frustrated when they realized they wouldn't be able to.

Some options I've thought of on how to fix this
1) Split the goal into two separate goals, something to the effect of "Score 4 points for each row with 4 different colors in it."
2) Keep the goal as one but increase (maybe double) the number of points player's earn for each row/column that satisfies it to make the risk worth it. If I did this I would also like to make it more obvious to player's that going for the goal for all 8 rows/columns is substantially riskier than just going for 4. I'm not sure of how to do this, I guess I could add something like a difficulty rating to the goals or put how many times a player might expect to satisfy the goal in their grid.

Does anyone have any thoughts on how I might do this?

This same kind of problem hasn't appeared for the goals "Score 3 points for each 2x2 square with 4 different colors in it" or "Score 2 points for each 2x2 square with 4 different numbers in it." A couple of players have been able to get the goal for all 9 of the 2x2 squares and getting the goal 6,7 or 8 times is not unheard of. I think this is because there are a lot more arrangements that get the goal all 9 times and misplacing a card might only effect 1 of the squares instead of 2 of them.

I've also been able to test out the wild cards some more and I'm in favor of keeping them. They give players some additional flexibility in placing and can help them get out of a jam, sometimes only 1 kind of non-wild card can be put in a spot and one copy of the card has already been used. I like that players are able to get out of these situations, they'll lose out on some points because the wilds only count for some of the goals but I think its more fun than having to hope for the right card or playing a card face down to the grid.
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
I tried to play a solo game with one deck of cards. It is quite challenging to learn the rules and keep track of which card is what in that case. So, I probably should have followed your suggestion and used 3 decks...

I scored 8 points Rows and Columns of Numbers (E), 10 on Straights (D), 4 on Number Variation (D) and 7 on my personal goal. A bit below par.

I did experience the difficulty of scoring on rows and columns, since 2 of my last 3 cards costs me 8 points on this goal. It would make sense to me to reward these goals more. I am not a big fan of telling how often you might achieve it. I am not sure about the difficulty rating, maybe.

I am not sure if you found this one, but I think I found another way to get all the points with colors in rows and columns:
ABCD
DCBA
BADC
CDAB

Also, I think I found two typos:
In the setup it says mix the 40 cards. But this should be 49, or not?
And somewhere in the end it says mathcing.

I am not sure if I was helpful, but in any case, good luck with the game!!


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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
Thanks for testing out the game!

I imagine it would be quite tough to play with only 1 deck of cards, in early tests of the games I messed around with using A, K, Q, J, 10 and found even that harder to deal with than using A,2,3,4,5.

You're right that is another arrangement. Looking into this a bit more, an arrangement that has 4 different colors in each row and column can be interpreted as a 4x4 Latin Square. Turns out there are lots of different ways to count how many "different" ways there are to fill out latin squares, if you don't reduce out permutations of rows, columns or symbols there are 576 different 4x4 latin squares, but there are 4294967296 ways to arrange 4 symbols in a 4x4 grid. That's not quite how many ways there are to arrange the colors in this game but I don't think its too far off. Point is Latin square arrangements are incredibly rare and so getting all 8 rows and columns is incredibly rare!

Maybe increasing the point value for the goal will help make it clear to players the difficulty of the goal.

Thanks for noticing those typos!
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
First I've added a low ink version of the cards! Everything is in black and white so the four different colors have been replaced with 4 different patterns. They should all be distinguishable but I haven't printed them out and tested them. I'd love to hear feedback on them from anyone who does.

I've been able to get some more playtesting done and have made some changes to the rules.

I've decided to split up the Rows/Columns of Color into two separate goals. Because of the 54 card limit I'm getting rid of the Columns of 4 different colors for now.

Players have been having some trouble with the scoring rules for wild cards. I think that part of that is the design of the cards, the wild cards with numbers are multi-colored which understandably leads players to think the card is any color rather than no color. I think if wild cards counted as whatever a player wants for scoring the game would end up being more about the luck of the draw, right now I really like the flexibility they offer players along with an associated cost. In order to eliminate this confusion I'm going to stop calling them wild cards and find some other word to better convey what they do (maybe compromise cards?), I'm also planning on removing the letters from the colored wilds and the little patchwork squares from the numbered wilds.

People have also been somewhat frustrated by the last turn or two. Sometimes a player is able to get the exact cards they want to finish their quilt without issue but far more commonly players will get to the end of the game and just have to hope that the cards they draw off the top of the deck will work. This is in some sense a feature, players who are able to plan ahead will do better and its possible to deliberately pick and play cards that will allow players to use cards already in their hand. However a certain amount of favorable draws are necessary for this to work out and I've definitely noticed it in play and been frustrated by it as have a number of players.

My current idea for fixing this is to increase the hand size from 4 to 6. I think a slightly larger hand size will increase the likelihood of a player being dealt favorable cards to begin with, will decrease the negative impact of a bad draw from the deck and encourage player's to plan ahead a bit further.

I've also played around with changing the way that player's draft cards. Instead of just having a flat display of cards I've tried laying cards out in an overlapping grid (in the style of Seven Wonders Duel) with additional cards becoming available to players as others are taken. I've also just looked at replacing the individual cards face up with a stack of a couple cards alternating between face up and face down. Both of these methods worked out well enough, my concern was that the additional depth they provided didn't justify the additional rules or set up time. Something that I think is nice about the game currently is that you just shuffle the deck, deal out cards to each player and then you can start playing.

I've also tried playing the game without the secret goal card for each player and its worked pretty well. Again the balance between rules complexity and gameplay depth is pushing me to cut it. The 3 scoring goals provide plenty for a player to think about, also the collection of a particular number/color is still present in one of the public goal cards.

 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
So I made Wild cards are now called compromise cards. The old art on the numbered cards is removed and the letter "W" is gone from the cards with color. Hopefully this makes the rules on scoring them more clear.

I played the game twice with a 6 card hand and one time with a 5 card hand. The 6 card hand definitely gives a player a bit more room to work with, its possible to have a card or 2 in your hand that you can hold onto for most of the game and play at the end. The down side of increasing the hand size is that it increases the amount of options that a player has to consider each turn. That being said the games I played came in at 11, 10 and 8 minutes which is a bit faster than it usually takes me to play a solo game. I'll play a few more games with 5 and 6 card hands and see what I think.

Secret goal is still potentially on the chopping block.





 
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Components Available
I've been able to playtest the game a with a variety of goals without the compromise cards and secret goal and I've decided to get rid of both of them for the contest. I think its still very possible to complete the grid using only common cards, a benefit of getting rid of the extra cards is that the entire deck is drawn through, I think the fact that every card will at some point come out makes it a bit easier to plan ahead.

A side benefit of getting rid of the compromise cards is that the game can now be played with 2 decks of cards rather than 3, hopefully this allows more people to play the game. It's still a good idea to print out the goal cards, 9 of them fit onto 1 sheet, so if people want to get a feel for the game with a minimal investment they could just print out that 1 sheet.

I'm also thinking about adding a set of goal cards that could be used for a standard deck of cards (replacing the 4 different colors with the 4 different suits). Would that make it easier for people to play the game?
Edit: I have added a set of goal cards for use with a standard deck of cards.

I also added a list of recommended combinations of goals on page 7 of the rules document.

If anyone has a chance to read over the rules and see if they make sense I'd really appreciate it.

I want to double check the rules and all the cards before moving to contest ready.
 
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Perry Kleinhenz
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Quilt 54 is now contest ready!
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Hi Perry,
I have read through the rules and cannot suggest any improvements. They are clear and thorough, and after reading I am confident I could dive in and play without any issues.
It seems a good solid game - well done! I look forward to playing it.
JK
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Can you and your cousin make one big quilt for grandma instead of two small ones? Goal scoring would take place for each card placed according to which patterns it completes.
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Gwarv wrote:
Can you and your cousin make one big quilt for grandma instead of two small ones? Goal scoring would take place for each card placed according to which patterns it completes.


That's definitely a possibility! The game began its life with player's adding cards to the same grid. I was having trouble coming up with a scoring system that I liked for it and when I moved to the idea of these goals I moved to personal quilts. Lost Cities, Sagrada and this contest's Skyline 54 definitely influenced that development.

With the current placement rules and 4 colors of cards with numbers 1-5 its not unreasonable for multiple players to play cards to the same grid.

All that being said I haven't tried these goals on a communal grid. I'd want to do some thinking about the goals and how points are scored, perhaps for a future contest
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
So I was able to get some more playtesting with other people done last night and I think it went really well!

I'd been able to test the game without wild cards on my own a bunch of times after making the change but last night was the first time I got a chance to get other people playing the game with the change. Removing the wild cards worked really well: one less rule to explain at the start, totally removed an issue around scoring which confused people and the entire deck is drawn through so every card gets seen.

The one issue that I found during the playtest is that the "Straights" goal is somewhat difficult for players to count their score on. Because the rules are so permissive of what counts as a straight there are usually a lot of different options for how a player divides the cards up into straights. All these different options end up with different amounts of points and it usually takes a try or two to get the one that maximizes your score. I still really like the Straights" goal but it shouldn't be used in the first game someone plays.

I'm now wishing I had made the card artwork a bit bigger and the numbers smaller, it saves a bit of ink but there's a lot of white space in a completed quilt that diminishes the final appearance.

Unrelated to that is an idea is to put numbers or symbols on the goal cards that tell you what recommended combination the goal belongs to (I got this idea from Istanbul which uses this to tell you how to layout a 4x4 grid of tiles). I'd still have the page of recommended goal combinations in the rulebook but players wouldn't have to go searching through the rulebook to find it.

Also I have rules written and tested for 1-4 players, but you need more than 54 cards to play so I won't post them until after the contest is over.
 
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Garry Hoddinott
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
G'day Perry. First off I want to say good on you for iterating this little game, testing it well and looking at lots of options. I always like when I see the designer putting that kind of love into their game.

I like pattern things. Probably goes back to 3 year old me sorting mum's button jar. And my old mum was a bloody talented quilt designer/maker. It's always a bit of a treat to visit her and see different quilts laid out on the beds.

With those thoughts in mind I do agree with you about increasing the visual element on the cards. The individual patterns are neat, and deserve a bit more prominence. Here's what I'd like to do. Make a toned down colour as a surround for each pic, enlarge the pics, use a softer font and make the numbers white or off white. even use a bit of fuzz around their edge, certainly not the black edge If the number was 70% smaller it would still serve its purpose I think. [Edit: Sorry, I also wondered why the names of the pieces "pinwheel" etc should be on the cards. I like the images a lot]

In short its a quilt game not a number game, upping the visual effect is going to bring lots more "grandma" into the game, the feeling things, the warmth of the game.

Cheers
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Thanks Gary! I've definitely put a lot of work into the game so I hope people take a chance to check it out.

After thinking about it for a while and playing around with some paper prototypes I'm going to change the game to tile laying after the contest is over. Square tiles take up way less table space than poker cards do and putting them into a grid is a more satisfying tactile experience. When I make the change I'll redo the graphic design of the pieces.

I'll continue to have the card files available for people who prefer to print that format.

I added the names of the patterns to the cards for a two reasons. I don't currently have outlines on the artwork and I wanted to make sure people could tell them apart if they're color blind. I also think its slightly easier to remember the 4 colors/patterns when you have a name to call them that's not just the color. That being said I don't think they're necessary and they might end up getting cut.
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready

I did these a while ago - yours really - just played with size and number- and included them in a post on the rival quilting game Quilterful. (I got confused). Anyway I just wanted to say most of your original graphics are great. Lovely stuff. The pinwheel didn't grab me but it wasn't "'wrong" at all. There is sufficient variation in the patterns that even fully colour blind folks would be ok, but truly the aim here is to attract players and frankly a visual game like Quilt 54 needs decent visuals. I didn't make up the full set but I feel the game deserves a little love and it would not kill me to do a full set in the same fashion. I'm a fan!
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
I definitely like this style better. More color and theme while still having the numbers stand out.

If you go for square cards, maybe the number can go in the center of the card? It's typically not ideal since you want players to fan their cards and see all the number, but aesthetically it might make more sense.
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Added some comments to the rules.

Still haven't played the game, but just thinking through the possibilities, it seems pretty easy to always play a card to your quilt because you have 4 in hand and can play a card if it's the same color or the number differs by 1. Have you had games with a lot of facedown cards?
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Thanks for reading over the rules and leaving comments!

Thanks for pointing out the setup image issue, it was a hold over from an earlier version of the game when players got a facedown card as a personal goal. I forgot to make the change when I changed the rules but I've gone ahead and done gotten rid of that.

I agree that the placement example should be in the same section as the placement rules so I've moved it up there.

The placement example is correct, I think there's a lack of clarity in the placement rules as written. If a card is being placed next to multiple cards it must satisfy the constraint for each card. That is each card adjacent to it must either share its color or differ from in number by 1.

I added a new line to that section "If the new card is placed adjacent to multiple cards then each card the new card is adjacent to must share its color or differ in number from it by exactly 1." Do you think that helps clarify the rule? I'm open to suggestions on how to improve it.

Having to add a facedown card is a pretty rare occurrence, its happened once in four different games out of the 61 solo games I've done. It didn't happen in the two games with two players, the two games with three players or the three games with 4 player I've played.

I'll have to think about putting the numbers in the middle of the tiles/square cards. As you said it'll definitely pose an issue with fanning cards in hand and I'm also a little worried the middle will be visually busy on the Pinwheel and Birds in Flight patterns. I guess I could change away from those to something with a more neutral/open center but that might make the patterns too visually similar.
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Thanks for taking my feedback into consideration. Yes, the rules are a lot more clear if you say that it has to satisfy that criteria for all adjacent cards.

Since putting a card facedown is pretty rare, then I would say that the game is too easy at the moment and maybe your goal cards are too complex. It seems like you're playing to the game to make a quilt that best fits the goals, instead of making it a tough choice on a given turn. My suggestion would be to decrease the amount of cards in a players hand (putting more emphasis on the draft line and the second part of your turn). You could leave the goals the same, but making the hand size, say 2, would make them a bit harder to always accomplish. Just an idea.
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
That's an interesting perspective. In designing the game one of my goals was actually to make face down cards quite rare, I think its a bit more satisfying and visually appealing to end the game with a complete quilt. Trying to make placement in the game more difficult wasn't something I had thought of or tried to develop, I wanted the focus to be on achieving the goals (which is not a foregone conclusion). Its something that I'll think about.

Are there specific goal cards you think are too complex?
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Face down cards don't necessarily need to be a bad thing. They can still have pretty art on the back, just not one of the goals. You're still completing the quilt. I guess it's a matter of taste on where you go with it. I prefer some tension throughout every choice you make in a game.

For goals, I would say any goal that requires you to count a card more than once in a specific goal might be too complex. Again, this has to do with your taste and what audience you're going for. But if you're going for a broad audience, than anything where your less experienced player would have to turn to the more experienced player and say, "I think I got 8 points, can you double check?" Like the kitty corner stuff.
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Based on the playtests I've done I think there is tension throughout the game. Players have usually considered the cards available to draft when making their decision on what card to add to their quilt and the choice of what card to select is usually not trivial.

Thanks for expanding on your point about the complexity of goals. The difficulty of actually counting points for some of the goals for someone not familiar with the game is something I hadn't given much thought to, but is definitely important so I appreciate you bringing up the point.

I do like the idea of simplifying the scoring (while doing something to ensure the game still has tension and meaningful decisions), I think this game isn't so complicated or deep as to justify a protracted scoring calculation, which goals like kitty corner and Straights can engender. It might be nice if players could read off their score for most individual goals at a glance.
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Cool. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
 
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Re: [WIP] Quilt 54 (2018 54 Card Design Contest) - Contest Ready
Some updates
0) The 54 card contest voting deadline got extended to April 10th so I'll hold off on posting major changes to the rule/PnP files until then.

1) Not releasing new files but here's a picture of the artwork on 51mm tiles with a colored border

Its my first experience using cardstock in a prototype. Its definitely a bit harder to work with then paper so the cuts aren't perfect but I'm pleased with the new look and reduced table footprint.

Something I noticed just in messing around with the tiles is that its much harder to drop a tile into a spot bordered on all 4 sides then it is to place a card in such a configuration. That's not a terribly profound insight but its something I'll keep in mind. That being said I'm definitely pleased with the feeling of placing tiles on the table as opposed to cards.

2) I did 3 solo playtests using a hand size of 2 and I wasn't crazy about it. The limited options made it harder to achieve the goals but in a way that I just thought was frustrating. I don't plan that far ahead when I'm playing the game and a few times I accidentally ended up with a card in my hand that I knew I wouldn't ever want to play, this felt too punishing to me.

3) Two goals that I've thought of that might provide a better/easier on-ramp for the game are "Score 3 points for every different color in your quilt" and "Score 2 points for every different number in your quilt." They're similar to the existing Number/Color variation goals in that they encourage breadth but they're much more forgiving. They probably too easy for serious hobby gamers to find them interesting but might be appropriate for more casual players.

4) I haven't been able to come up with other simpler goals that I really liked. Some thoughts I've had
a) Flip over a tile at the start of the game. The player with the most tiles of the same color at the end scores 15 points, 2nd most 10 points, 3rd most 7 points. (This is similar to an existing goal and I think a bit worse)
b) At the end of the game add up the face value of the cards in your hand. Score this many points. (could be interesting, adds some more hand management to the game but feels very orthogonal to the core actions/appeal)
c) Add together the number values of the four cards at the corners of your quilt, score this many points. (will give this one further thought)


I'd like to figure out a simpler goal for diagonal arrangements but I haven't been able to nail one down.

5) I got a chance to check out the Chicago Art Institute's collection of quilts which gave me some cool images and background info to mull over. An tidbit I learned is that before the industrial revolution quilts would often be created by communities as mementos for individuals who were leaving. I also saw this wonderful meta-quilt depicting 13 women showing quilts they've made

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