Marek Kolcun
Slovakia
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A count falls asleep forever in any time and that means the only thing. Waves of newly found relatives that will do anything to make the count change the last will in their favor. Before the candle burns out.


Hello! I would like to present you a 9-card only game where players try to hold the most fitting card at the end of the game, according to one of the 4 different winning conditions.

This game is participating in 9-Card NanoGame PnP Design Contest (2018).

Info

players: 2 - 4
playtime: 5-10 min.
min. age: 10+

status: Contest Ready


Components
- 8 character cards
- 1 candlestick card
- rules

Categories
I'd like to submit the game in following categories:

- Best Thematic Game
- Most Innovative Mechanic Category
- Best Grayscale Printed Game Category
- Best Card only game "no components"

Gallery


A 2-player game is ready to play.


A game progression reflected by candle burning.


Files
Both rules and PnP files can be downloaded here.
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Joseph Propati
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Welcome to the contest
 
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Rachel Bruner
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I like the look of your game and how the candle moves down, very cool! I've subscribed.
 
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Christopher Melenberg
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This does look really cool and I love the simple but very thematic art!

Couple questions:

When a player moves the candle down I was unsure if you flip all cards (any cards face up go face down and vice versa OR if it was only one way: flip all middle cards face up (so they can be used as actions).

Also, you mention setting aside an extra cards. I'd recommend simply always setting up for a 4 player game, though the non-players don't take any actions and you can exchange/shuffle their cards like normal. That's how I'd do it from how I read the rules.

A correction for Preparation:

"Shuffle the character cards. Put one of the in the middle..."

I've subscribed as well
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Marek Kolcun
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lovemyfire wrote:
I like the look of your game and how the candle moves down, very cool! I've subscribed.

Thanks for your subscription. I don't think that candlestick mechanic is any special, but I agree it is kinda neat.

TopherMel wrote:
This does look really cool and I love the simple but very thematic art!

Couple questions:

When a player moves the candle down I was unsure if you flip all cards (any cards face up go face down and vice versa OR if it was only one way: flip all middle cards face up (so they can be used as actions).

Hey, Cristopher! I'm glad you like the graphics - First I wanted to make kinda grimm graphics to resemble Gloom card game, but then I decided that anonymous silouethes work better with the theme.

Your second thought was correct - I updated the wording in the rules so it should be more clear now.

TopherMel wrote:
Also, you mention setting aside an extra cards. I'd recommend simply always setting up for a 4 player game, though the non-players don't take any actions and you can exchange/shuffle their cards like normal. That's how I'd do it from how I read the rules.

A correction for Preparation:

"Shuffle the character cards. Put one of the in the middle..."

I've subscribed as well

Thanks for the rules correction suggestions - I updated the rules a bit, but still need to update the cards - will do it a bit later.

Again, it's nice to see you here!
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Garry Hoddinott
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What happens if when all 3 cards in the middle have round borders? Is meeting any one of them considered a winning position? So if hidden card is 3 then 4 or 2 can win and so can 6.

And do we use the 6 edge wax to determine steps down or the drips in the middle which would make 12 and be a bit fiddly.

Have I understood it correctly?
 
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Philip Mazzone
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Very neat ! Congrats on the idea meeple
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Marek Kolcun
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
What happens if when all 3 cards in the middle have round borders? Is meeting any one of them considered a winning position? So if hidden card is 3 then 4 or 2 can win and so can 6.

And do we use the 6 edge wax to determine steps down or the drips in the middle which would make 12 and be a bit fiddly.

Have I understood it correctly?

To start from the end, yes, you understood everything fine and you also raised interesting questions to consider, thanks!

The #1 winning condition explicitly says that only one condition card has to be revealed in order to determine the winner by this condition. If any other number of condition cards are revealed, none of them is applied.

For counting the steps only the edge wax drops are used - adding more steps would only prolong the game where everybody already has pretty much perfect information about game situation. I am currently thinking about rewording this part of the rules to use "scratches" located near the candle as they are probably better progression refference than wax drops.
 
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Garry Hoddinott
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This is a terrific little game. Lots of player interaction and cunning to position oneself but never really being sure an opponent will not egg you just as you are about to make yourself the winner by choosing GamePlay option 3 - the BIG REVEAL. This is a masterful means of conjuring tension.

The present rules are a bit unclear about the winning condition which after all is the crux of the game. They would benefit by a bit of rewording that includes the previous answer only one condition card has to be revealed in order to determine the winner by this condition. If any other number of condition cards are revealed, none of them is applied. which is a better wording than the rules currently have, and perhaps a mention of how this is effected.


You might clarify as either
1. Only one round border card (winning condition) can ever be face up at a time. If a second or third ever appears it should be left face down. (This might be a bit awkward if it should happen at the start of the game)
2. Round border cards carry the winning condition. Only the first one revealed is the effective win condition, any others revealed are ignored.

Would shuffling the 3 table cards on a Renew step be useful?

As it stands the game must be played thru to the end of the candle - (that needs to be specified as the candle actually disappearing from view I think). Players should know the position of cards well before then as 3 cards are known at the beginning and only 4 need to be discovered. The end game could be very foxy.

Perhaps the round card border condition should be mentioned earlier in the rules, perhaps in the objective phase, currently called "About".

I'm seeing it as something like, "When the flickering candle dies and darkness descends only then will we know the Count's beneficiary. His True Will, represented by the first round border card displayed, becomes apparent and only the potential heir that best positioned themselves inherits the estate. Should no Will be found, the holder of the highest seat at the table, (Card Number) inherits."

The rules should also be very specific about players not claiming to have won the game prematurely as the winner is only apparent after the candle is extinguished and jumping the gun might spoil the game.


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Marek Kolcun
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GarryHoddinott wrote:
This is a terrific little game. Lots of player interaction and cunning to position oneself but never really being sure an opponent will not egg you just as you are about to make yourself the winner by choosing GamePlay option 3 - the BIG REVEAL. This is a masterful means of conjuring tension.

The present rules are a bit unclear about the winning condition which after all is the crux of the game. They would benefit by a bit of rewording that includes the previous answer only one condition card has to be revealed in order to determine the winner by this condition. If any other number of condition cards are revealed, none of them is applied. which is a better wording than the rules currently have, and perhaps a mention of how this is effected.


Thank you, Garry for your suggestions and appretiation of the game! Today I made some rewording and rules clarification to make it easier to understand.

Main changes:
- Available player actions are described better.
- Starting height of the candle to burn depends on player count.
- Winning conditions are written much more understandable.
- Rules are written with more theme in mind.

The game is still playable with latest printed version, players only need to keep in mind the starting candle height:
- 5 scratches for 2 players
- 6 scratches for 3 players
- 7 scratches for 4 players (full candle height)
- A No. 2 card has upgraded ability to swap or not to swap the cards with other player. I made the change because there is only 1 card that can cause a deception - a shuffle card (No. 5). When playing with fewer players it is just not enough and with such small change there is higher chance to mislead the opponent when "exchanging" the non-player cards.

During 2-player playtests I found out that the candle seems to be too high, making the game unnecessarily long. In that time both players already have almost perfect information about the situation and repeat the moves only to move forward the game end. Lowering the initial candle height the game is a bit shorter, but still, it takes 7 to 13 minutes to play, which is pretty enough for such small game.
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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 cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Just wanted to stop by and say the burning candle mechanic is wonderfully unique!
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Marek Kolcun
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adularia25 wrote:
Just wanted to stop by and say the burning candle mechanic is wonderfully unique!


Thank you for your kind words, Carolina. I am glad that you like the candle mechanic; I like it too, especially because it suits the theme perfectly, however I see whole game more like well sewed Frankenstein's monster:

- candle mechanic = health/bullets in Bang!
- multiple win conditions = Love Letter
- various card actions = Masquerade

I am sure someone finds more similarities with other games. But in the end I don't think it matters - the key point it that mechanics in this incarnation work together pretty well and provide interesting gaming experience (in 9 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 cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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But none of those games have an actual candle card that shortens as a mechanic. It's that particular distilled idea that makes it work for this game.

Health/Bullets just don't have the same connotation for me as a candle burning down.
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Marek Kolcun
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adularia25 wrote:
But none of those games have an actual candle card that shortens as a mechanic. It's that particular distilled idea that makes it work for this game.

Health/Bullets just don't have the same connotation for me as a candle burning down.


I have to say, you are right in this, 'cause the candle here works well in multiple ways. It shows how many time players have until the game ends. It helps to build the atmosphere. I also builds a tension, because player with relatively good card forces the candle to burn quickly, with other players trying to get better card combinations on hand.

Sometimes I surprise myself

I need to playtest the game in higher player counts though, to make sure the gameplay quality is stable.
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I love the idea and representation of the candle going out - simple but really effective!
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Damian Olczak
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Answering your question from the main thread - silhouettes look better in my opinion. It gave the game a certain sense of mystery.
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Jesus Delgado
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Olekman wrote:
silhouettes look better in my opinion. It gave the game a certain sense of mystery.
I'm totally agree with Damian!

In fact, a few days ago I did a color sketch of your game (just for fun!) and I kept the silhouettes

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Damian Olczak
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Muhrnalion wrote:
I'm totally agree with Damian!

In fact, a few days ago I did a color sketch of your game (just for fun!) and I kept the silhouettes



Oh my, that's a great design! Look like a professionally published game. And that count on his deathbed in the corner - a fantastic detail.
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Rachel Bruner
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Muhrnalion wrote:
Olekman wrote:
silhouettes look better in my opinion. It gave the game a certain sense of mystery.
I'm totally agree with Damian!

I also prefer the silhouettes.


Quote:
In fact, a few days ago I did a color sketch of your game (just for fun!) and I kept the silhouettes


Wow, gorgeous! I'd love to use those too *hint hint* if the designer doesn't mind *hint hint*. whistle

It's so fun seeing everyone's games and other people's graphic interpretations.
 
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Marek Kolcun
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Muhrnalion wrote:
Olekman wrote:
silhouettes look better in my opinion. It gave the game a certain sense of mystery.
I'm totally agree with Damian!

In fact, a few days ago I did a color sketch of your game (just for fun!) and I kept the silhouettes



Thanks, man, for your suggestion and time you invested! I like the artstyle (even if it is just a sketch) and that made me think about game alignment; whilst having quite morbid theme I originally wanted to make it a bit of grotesque. I like the seriousness coming from your art style, but did you consider how it will affect the gameplay itself? The gameplay is quite mean and lighter artstyle can open the game to wider audience. Or am I mistaken?

There is also second reason why I'd stick with "funkier" artstyle - sillouethes, despite being much more thematic (they greatly enhance the sense of anonymity and seriousness, hands down) are distinguishable only via their borders. I played the game with original sillouethes and often had to align the card to see its effect. Personally, I believe that players tend to match the artwork to the effect of the card more likely than to the number.

On the other hand I am glad someone tried to give the game more colors - I tend to use minimalistic graphics in my prototypes (to easen the production), but it'd be nice to have this game in full color.
Also, I will probably change the candlestick card to match your design, because smaller candlestick leaves space, for example, for list of possible actions a player may take during their turn.

Thanks again and if you make some playtests, let me know!
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dylan coyle
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Hi, I was checking back here because this project seemed super interesting and I'm excited there is some good progress on this! Looks tighter and more clever than the similar themed Hoax. Here's my unsolicited two cents.

LOVE the new art. Awesome job, Jesus, love your work! I love both the Gloom style and more Hitchcock style, but I'm a little more biased towards Hitchcock. The silhouettes evoke the suspense and double down on the candle theme. I like the table, but I miss the rest of the candle stick. The doilies in the corner are ok, but I like the original frames better, even if I don't understand what they are. The stripes and sleeping dude in the corner are genius. The new logo font is funny. I looks like it says 'until the candle bums out.' Cheer up candle, it's only a game.

Ok, the juicy feedback for gameplay/card reads.
#2 is worded weirdly. I think I get it because I've played a lot of Masquerade. Maybe something like 'steal any card, look at it, then replace it with one of your cards face down. (You may return the the same card.)'
#3 might be more strategic if you had to pick one, like 'Set all the cards in the center to either all face down or all but one face up.'
#7 #8 typo 'with the card'

Rulebook
'that is the count's card' might sound better as the 'countdown card' or 'timer card'... Ooooh, The count is the person dying. That's confusing because of the double meaning. Maybe Viscount? Duke?
'game as for 4 players' -> 'game for 4 players' or
'Put remaining 3 cards' -> 'Put the remaining 3 cards'
It's better to choose a way for how the players will start. It's a good chance for flavor at the very least.
The ending is a little ambiguous. There are a number of rounds equal to the number of players, right?

Flavor
Maybe more punchy?
"A count falls asleep for good in any time and that means the only thing. Waves of newly found relatives that will do anything to make the count change the last will in their favor. Before the candle burns out." ->
"The count has fallen ill and may fall asleep for good at any time. Waves of newly found relatives are ready to do anything to make the count change his last will and testament in their favor. Who will inherent the count's fortune when candle burns out?"

All in all, good job so far. I might try it with more than 4 people to see if it still works. cool

 
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Marek Kolcun
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dylancoyle wrote:
Hi, I was checking back here because this project seemed super interesting and I'm excited there is some good progress on this! Looks tighter and more clever than the similar themed Hoax. Here's my unsolicited two cents.

LOVE the new art. Awesome job, Jesus, love your work! I love both the Gloom style and more Hitchcock style, but I'm a little more biased towards Hitchcock. The silhouettes evoke the suspense and double down on the candle theme. I like the table, but I miss the rest of the candle stick. The doilies in the corner are ok, but I like the original frames better, even if I don't understand what they are. The stripes and sleeping dude in the corner are genius. The new logo font is funny. I looks like it says 'until the candle bums out.' Cheer up candle, it's only a game.


Hey, Dylan! I also checked the HOAX game and I am really pleased when you think this is a bit more streamlined game... because it is

dylancoyle wrote:
Ok, the juicy feedback for gameplay/card reads.
#2 is worded weirdly. I think I get it because I've played a lot of Masquerade. Maybe something like 'steal any card, look at it, then replace it with one of your cards face down. (You may return the the same card.)'
#3 might be more strategic if you had to pick one, like 'Set all the cards in the center to either all face down or all but one face up.'
#7 #8 typo 'with the card'


I tried to write the card rules as simple as possible. At the beginning I was playing with an idea to use icons, but it just wouldn't work. I believe that more detailed card explanations in the rules would be enough to keep this wording as is.

I see that your idea to update #3's effect would give player more options what to do, interesting. I'll think about shorter wording of it.

Thanks for typos corrections.

dylancoyle wrote:
Rulebook
'that is the count's card' might sound better as the 'countdown card' or 'timer card'... Ooooh, The count is the person dying. That's confusing because of the double meaning. Maybe Viscount? Duke?
'game as for 4 players' -> 'game for 4 players' or
'Put remaining 3 cards' -> 'Put the remaining 3 cards'
It's better to choose a way for how the players will start. It's a good chance for flavor at the very least.
The ending is a little ambiguous. There are a number of rounds equal to the number of players, right?


I will give a closer look to the rules sometimes during this week. As you may have noticed, I am not a native, so some typos may be a pretty frequent in whatever I write

I didn't understand your question about rounds being equal to number of the players. At the beginning you'll setup the candle to be just as high
to show little ghosties equal to the player number. Game ends immediately as the candle is completely slided under the candlestick card.

dylancoyle wrote:
Flavor
Maybe more punchy?
"A count falls asleep for good in any time and that means the only thing. Waves of newly found relatives that will do anything to make the count change the last will in their favor. Before the candle burns out." ->
"The count has fallen ill and may fall asleep for good at any time. Waves of newly found relatives are ready to do anything to make the count change his last will and testament in their favor. Who will inherent the count's fortune when candle burns out?"

All in all, good job so far. I might try it with more than 4 people to see if it still works. cool


Thanks for constructive feedback! However I am affraid it won't be very playable with 5 people as the common cards in the middle of the table should be at least 3, so players have more strategic possibilities.
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Marek Kolcun
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Announcement

I applied some of the Dylan's suggestions (mostly typo corrections). I also enhanced the rules with illustrations and more detailed descriptions of the available actions and card effects that should prevent incorrect effects usage.

Therefore I also updated PnP files with edited wordings of the effects and - I believe - more intuitive card backs.

For 90 % I will keep the sketchy graphics as I made a word to provide the reviews of the others' competition entries and therefore I have no spare time to provide better graphics. And, in the end, I am still pretty content with current graphics.

I'll wait a week for somebody to find a critical error in the provided files or gameplay itself; after that I'll call the game contest ready.

Thanks for your attention, suggestions and feedback!
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Allan Vendelbo Gori
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During our first game (2 players) we experienced the situation shown on the photo:



The two non-player cards were of course with hidden faces and thus we felt that the game were "frozen" and we just moved too well known cards back and forth. The hidden cards, nr 5 and 7, could have made some dynamic card exchanges all over the table, but they were "lost" - or have we misread the rules?
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Marek Kolcun
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Allanvg wrote:
During our first game (2 players) we experienced the situation shown on the photo:



The two non-player cards were of course with hidden faces and thus we felt that the game were "frozen" and we just moved too well known cards back and forth. The hidden cards, nr 5 and 7, could have made some dynamic card exchanges all over the table, but they were "lost" - or have we misread the rules?


Hey Alan, thanks for playtest!

As I can see, you probably missed the small text on the No.2 card, that says that you can also choose any non-player card for exchange.

In 2-player game there is a chance for having cards number 2, 5, and 7 being stuck as non-player cards or countdown card (under the candlestick), making it impossible to get them into play. I am working on 2-players rule variant that would fix this issue (probably just raising number of argument cards from 3 to 4).
 
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