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Subject: [Contest Ready] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018} rss

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Caroline Berg
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A solo game of building meandering oxbow rivers populated by otters.



Files:
Components are here!
Rules are here!

Components:
• 64 River tiles
• 14 Otter tokens
• 4 Beaver tokens
• 1 Rule book (3 pages)
• 1 Score sheet (final 4th page of rules)

This is for the 2018 Solitaire Print and Play Contest.

Potential Categories:
• Best Overall Game
• Best Game Designed in Contest Timeframe
• Best Regular PNP Build
• Most Thematic Game
• Best Original Artwork
• Best Graphic Design
• Best Worker Placement
• Best Rule Book
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Scoring in the game:

• 1 point per tile for each adjacent river tile with one otter swimming on at least one of the river tiles, if the entire river is not complete
• 2 point per tile for each adjacent river tile with one otter swimming on at least one of the river tiles, if the entire river is complete
• 3 additional points for each river tile with a cluster of molluscs that has one otter on it
• 5 points for each otter on an otter den
• 10 points for each beaver not used in the game

How to play:

The point of the game is to create a 7x8 tile arrangement with no gaps or holes, with as many otter-filled river, tributaries, or dens and beaver-filled lakes as possible.

Not all the river tiles will be used each game. If a player discards (x) number of tiles, the game ends. The game ends once the player places all 14 of their otters in rivers, tributaries, or dens.

The player draws one tile at a time and places the tile onto a flat surface to build the riparian environment. Once placed, the player decides if they want to put an otter on the tile. Once the player draws the next tile, they may not place an otter on any previously placed tiles.

In order to gain three additional points from a tile with molluscs, one otter has to be placed on that tile. If an otter is adjacent to a tile with molluscs within a tributary or river, the player does not gain the additional bonus from the molluscs.

Rockfall prevent otters in rivers or tributaries from scoring beyond those points even if the river seeps under the rocks and continues on to other tiles. River tiles separated by rockfall do not count towards the adjacent scoring for otters in rivers or tributaries.

Otters have to be placed on an otter den in order to collect the five points from the den. Otters in the river next to an otter den do not get the five point bonus from the den. You may not place two otters on one tile.

If the tile placed has completed a lake, a beaver may be placed on it. You may only place a beaver in a completed lake. One beaver may be placed in each completed lake. Beavers may be placed in completed lakes at any time, they do not have to the placed the turn you complete a lake. If a lake has a river running out of it, the lake is not considered completed unless the river is also completed.

When you place a beaver into a lake, you may exchange one placed tile, removing the tile and replacing it with a newly drawn tile. The tile you remove is out of the game.

Scoring only happens at the end of the game, and not during the game because of how beavers may changes other tiles. This way you do not gain points for a tile that was later removed from the game, and there is no confusion.
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
This is inspired by Carcassonne, and from the this great inspirational thread: Design Diary: Designing based on a word of the day, specifically the post about the word meander.

While I thought up the idea of the game up in March, I haven't actually done anything with it, until now.
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Michelle Skevington-Carter
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Sounds interesting: Carcassonne is my family's favourite game. Subscribed to see how thus develops.
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Israel Waldrom
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Reminds me of carc island, which I play a lot. Very interested in seeing how this develops.
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
mogust wrote:
Reminds me of carc island, which I play a lot. Very interested in seeing how this develops.

I've been reading all your reviews of your plays in the Solitaire Games on Your Table - June 2018 geeklist. And I've been following your Carcassonne Family Carc Island Compatibility geeklist. (I've used your photos as a starting point for the number of different types of tiles to be in the game too, so thanks for the images of all those different versions of Carcassonne!)

I play the Solomo variant a lot (6x7 is the main difference) and I love it! I highly enjoy simple tile-laying games when I'm feeling depressed, as the nature of making everything fit together into one large image is just enough of a puzzle to keep the darkness at bay.

I did want to add the beavers to be able to change the landscape, as sometimes you really regret placing a tile in a suboptimal position later...
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
cattarn wrote:
Sounds interesting: Carcassonne is my family's favourite game. Subscribed to see how thus develops.

Thanks for following! It's one of my favorite light games. Particularly when played solo, as my husband doesn't like to play it nearly as much as I do.
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Also, just want to point out, that as promised, I am not doing a story game this year! *gasp* It can be done...

However, this does mean I have lots of lovely tile art I need to work on instead!
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Israel Waldrom
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
adularia25 wrote:
mogust wrote:
Reminds me of carc island, which I play a lot. Very interested in seeing how this develops.

I've been reading all your reviews of your plays in the Solitaire Games on Your Table - June 2018 geeklist. And I've been following your Carcassonne Family Carc Island Compatibility geeklist. (I've used your photos as a starting point for the number of different types of tiles to be in the game too, so thanks for the images of all those different versions of Carcassonne!)

I play the Solomo variant a lot (6x7 is the main difference) and I love it! I highly enjoy simple tile-laying games when I'm feeling depressed, as the nature of making everything fit together into one large image is just enough of a puzzle to keep the darkness at bay.

I did want to add the beavers to be able to change the landscape, as sometimes you really regret placing a tile in a suboptimal position later...


I'm glad that those posts have been a help to you

adularia25 wrote:
Also, just want to point out, that as promised, I am not doing a story game this year! *gasp* It can be done...

However, this does mean I have lots of lovely tile art I need to work on instead!


Looking forward to seeing it Will definitely be trying it out.
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
ETA to components ready?
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
I'm currently deciding on what tiles I want to have in the game, and that sort of assessment can take up to a month (as it did when I made Sunstarter earlier this year) depending on how in depth I go with probabilities of the different paths that can occur on the tiles.

Then I have to make the art for the tiles.

So, it will be a while.
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Chris Hansen
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Welcome to the contest!

Please remember to add your game to the Game Design Contest Resource Site (GDCR). The reason for the new requirement is that I will be using the GDCR to help manage the contest. This includes creating the official entries list, assigning volunteers to help playtest the games, and voting at the end of the contest.

If you need help, please refer to one of these GDCR guides or reach out to me directly.
GDCR Instructions - 01 Creating a GDCR Account
GDCR Instructions - 02 Adding Your Person Account
GDCR Instructions - 03 Setting GDCR Link Preferences
GDCR Instructions - 04 Adding a Game to the GDCR
GDCR Instructions - 05 Adding Categories in the GDCR

Thank you!
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David Bate
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
I like the sound of this Caroline.
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Thanks!
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
wrrlykam wrote:
I like the sound of this Caroline.

So do I! My wife and I both love lakes, rivers, streams, beavers, and otters!!!

I'm suffering waiting for the components!
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
chansen2794 wrote:
Welcome to the contest!

Please remember to add your game to the Game Design Contest Resource Site (GDCR). The reason for the new requirement is that I will be using the GDCR to help manage the contest. This includes creating the official entries list, assigning volunteers to help playtest the games, and voting at the end of the contest.

If you need help, please refer to one of these GDCR guides or reach out to me directly.
GDCR Instructions - 01 Creating a GDCR Account
GDCR Instructions - 02 Adding Your Person Account
GDCR Instructions - 03 Setting GDCR Link Preferences
GDCR Instructions - 04 Adding a Game to the GDCR
GDCR Instructions - 05 Adding Categories in the GDCR

Thank you!

Until I know how many pages of components I have, I can't enter my game into the website, since that is considered required information. So I'm going to hold off a little longer before adding a game - though I have added myself.
 
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
adularia25 wrote:

Until I know how many pages of components I have, I can't enter my game into the website, since that is considered required information. So I'm going to hold off a little longer before adding a game - though I have added myself.

I think you can edit the information of your game. I am also not sure yet how many pages I will have. I will change it later if needed.

Game sounds interesting btw. Very curious how it is gonna look.
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
BlueChicken wrote:
I think you can edit the information of your game. I am also not sure yet how many pages I will have. I will change it later if needed.

Game sounds interesting btw. Very curious how it is gonna look.

Yes, but why put in a number I don't know only to change it later when I do know it?

I'd rather the number of pages not be a required field if the game is listed as still being in the Idea phase.

Though, I did make a rough mock-ups of the tiles, and it looks like I'll have a mere 3 to 4 pages (20 tiles a page) of components this year - which is by far the least number of components I've ever had for a game I've made for the Solitaire contest!
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Alright, have the first prototype made, now to check if the ratio of tiles I selected works.
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Share! Share!
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
Subscribed and following!
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Caroline Berg
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
stoneleaf wrote:
Share! Share!

It's handmade, so I can't. You'll just have to be patient.
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
I got in 5 playtests this weekend testing:

• Various layouts (6x6, 7x7, 7x8, 8x8)
• Number of otters (7, 12, 14, 15, 16)
• How many otters can be in a river (limit of one vs. no limit)
• How many tiles to discard (no limit vs. a limit)
• Using the same starting tile vs. a random tile each time.
• If incomplete rivers score the same as complete rivers
• If otters can be removed once a river is complete (more like Carcassonne) or if they stay in place for the duration of the game
• If beavers need dams in order to be placed in a lake or if they can be placed in any completed lake
• How otter dens feel in play

Playtest 1 7/7/2018

• 6x6 play area
• Otters can be removed as in Carcassonne
• 7 otters in play
• 1 otter per river
• Incomplete rivers scored the same as completed rivers
• Beavers need dams to be placed
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

117 total points, only one tile space left, felt too easy.

2 beavers were used to remove difficult tiles.

Otters were placed in 3 dens. Incomplete rivers were worth the same number of points as completed rivers. Lakes score no points.

Breakdown of board: 7 completed rivers, 12 incomplete rivers, 3 completed lakes, 2 incomplete lakes.

Playtest 2 7/8/2018

• 6x6 play area
• Otters cannot be removed once placed
• 12 otters in play
• Multiple otters per river
• Incomplete rivers scored different from completed rivers
• Beavers do not need dams to be placed, just need an enclosed lake
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

122 total points, only one tile space left, still felt too easy.

No beavers were used - though if one had been probably would have been able to complete the 6x6 tile arrangement.

Otters were placed in 3 dens. Incomplete rivers were worth 1 point per tile, not 2. Lakes score no points.

Breakdown of board: 6 completed rivers, 11 incomplete rivers, 3 completed lakes, 4 incomplete lakes.

Playtest 3 7/8/2018

• 7x7 play area
• Otters cannot be removed once placed
• 14 otters in play
• Multiple otters per river
• Incomplete rivers scored different from completed rivers
• Beavers do not need dams to be placed, just need an enclosed lake
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

148 total points, two tile spaces left, felt more difficult (but not terribly hard), used more of the tiles.

1 beaver was used to remove a difficult tile.

Otters were placed in 4 dens. Incomplete rivers were worth 1 point per tile, not 2. Lakes score no points.

Breakdown of board: 6 completed rivers, 10 incomplete rivers, 2 completed lakes, 7 incomplete lakes.

Playtest 4 7/8/2018

• 7x8 play area
• Otters cannot be removed once placed
• 15 otters in play
• 1 otter per river
• Incomplete rivers scored different from completed rivers
• Beavers do not need dams to be placed, just need an enclosed lake
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

162 total points, three tile spaces left, felt more difficult and used more of the tiles - felt like a good size for the number of tiles in the game.

1 beaver was used to remove a difficult tile.

Otters were placed in 6 dens. Incomplete rivers were worth 1 point per tile, not 2. Lakes score no points.

Breakdown of board: 7 completed rivers, 19 incomplete rivers, 8 completed lakes, 4 incomplete lakes.

Playtest 5 7/8/2018

• 8x8 play area
• Otters cannot be removed once placed
• 16 otters in play
• 1 otter per river
• Incomplete rivers scored different from completed rivers
• Beavers do not need dams to be placed, just need an enclosed lake
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

166 total points, six tile spaces left, felt too big - mostly for the space on the table it took up.

1 beaver was used to remove a difficult tile.

Otters were placed in 7 dens. Incomplete rivers were worth 1 point per tile, not 2. Lakes score no points.

Breakdown of board: 11 completed rivers, 16 incomplete rivers, 5 completed lakes, 6 incomplete lakes.

Some changes or clarifications based on the preliminary test plays:

• Beavers can be placed in any completed lake, dams are not necessary and will be removed from the game.

• Incomplete rivers/tributaries with otters will be worth 1 point per tile (molluscs still give 3 points if an otter is on the tile with molluscs).

• Otters cannot be removed once placed on a tile.

• Can have multiple otters per river.

For the next playtests:

Playtest more with a 7x8 size board - is that the right size for the game?

Still have to nail down the exact number of otters per game, looking at 14ish at the moment.

Does starting with any random tile make the game harder than using the same start tile each time?

Wondering if dens have the right mechanic - right now players have to choose between placing an otter on a den or in a river, and it sort of feels right, since a small river will not get the same points as placing otters on dens.

What should the limit on discards be (3?, 4?, 5?) Should it be looped into the mechanics for otter dens or placed beavers? For each otter placed in a den, you gain an additional discard? Need to test this, but I'm liking the idea of linking it to the otter dens and for each otter in a den, you get an additional discard where if you draw a tile and you can't use it, you can set it aside.
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
adularia25 wrote:

Playtest 3 7/8/2018

• 7x7 play area
• Otters cannot be removed once placed
• 14 otters in play
• Multiple otters per river
• Incomplete rivers scored different from completed rivers
• Beavers do not need dams to be placed, just need an enclosed lake
• Start tile used
• Infinite discards - discarding tiles does not end the game

148 total points, two tile spaces left, felt more difficult (but not terribly hard), used more of the tiles.

adularia25 wrote:

Some changes or clarifications based on the preliminary test plays:

• Beavers can be placed in any completed lake, dams are not necessary and will be removed from the game.

• Incomplete rivers/tributaries with otters will be worth 1 point per tile (molluscs still give 3 points if an otter is on the tile with molluscs).

• Otters cannot be removed once placed on a tile.

• Can have multiple otters per river.

adularia25 wrote:

For the next playtests:

Playtest more with a 7x8 size board - is that the right size for the game?

Still have to nail down the exact number of otters per game, looking at 14ish at the moment.

Does starting with any random tile make the game harder than using the same start tile each time?

Wondering if dens have the right mechanic - right now players have to choose between placing an otter on a den or in a river, and it sort of feels right, since a small river will not get the same points as placing otters on dens.

What should the limit on discards be (3?, 4?, 5?) Should it be looped into the mechanics for otter dens or placed beavers? For each otter placed in a den, you gain an additional discard? Need to test this, but I'm liking the idea of linking it to the otter dens and for each otter in a den, you get an additional discard where if you draw a tile and you can't use it, you can set it aside.


Not having played the game yet whistle I would suggest:

• 7x7 grid -- for me, at least, keeping track of a square is easier (assuming we build the square and are not playing on a pre-built board)

• number of otters: have you had to choose whether or not to place an otter because of a limited supply? If not, reduce the count further

• I would use a random starting tile just because it makes setup easier, and makes each game a little more unpredictable

• I like the idea of having discards linked to either otter dens or, if you bring them back, beaver dams: for each one you build, you can discard a card (one-time use, of course). Whichever one you choose (dens or dams) I think they should either be discard bonuses, or points, but not both. If you bring the beaver dams back for discard purposes, you may want to look at only being able to place a dam or a den on any one river, so the player has to choose between points now, or possible future points by making the game last longer.

---

Very excited to read your play tests, looking forward to the components!
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Re: [WIP] Twisting Tributaries {Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest 2018}
stoneleaf wrote:
Not having played the game yet whistle I would suggest:

• 7x7 grid -- for me, at least, keeping track of a square is easier (assuming we build the square and are not playing on a pre-built board)

• number of otters: have you had to choose whether or not to place an otter because of a limited supply? If not, reduce the count further

• I would use a random starting tile just because it makes setup easier, and makes each game a little more unpredictable

• I like the idea of having discards linked to either otter dens or, if you bring them back, beaver dams: for each one you build, you can discard a card (one-time use, of course). Whichever one you choose (dens or dams) I think they should either be discard bonuses, or points, but not both. If you bring the beaver dams back for discard purposes, you may want to look at only being able to place a dam or a den on any one river, so the player has to choose between points now, or possible future points by making the game last longer.

One reason I don't want to use 7x7 because the Carc Island solo variant uses it and even though I haven't played that solo version of Carcassonne (I play the Solomo variant) I don't want to be seen as borrowing too much. However, I also don't have any issues building a non-square board such as 7x8 (the Solomo variant is 6x7). I also like how many tiles 7x8 uses vs. 7x7. Of course, I'll need more playtesting to nail down the size. What I can say is that 6x6 felt too small, and 8x8 felt too big.

For the otters, I have had to choose whether or not to place an otter in every game so far. Which is partly why I kept increasing the number, and even with 16 in play I still had to make choices. However, I don't want as many as 16 in the game, because I want the choices to feel like they matter more. With 12 or 14 otters that is close to how I want it to feel - BUT, and this is big - without a discard mechanic in play, it sometimes felt like placing otters ends the game too soon - that you haven't had enough time to build the board. So I need to balance that - which is why I'll be doing playtests including discard limits.

I'm not sure how well a random starting tile would work, given the types of tiles in the game. That is why this needs to be playtested. There are more types of tile edges in this game than in Carcassonne, so a random starting tile might truly hurt you if you get a string of bad randomly drawn tiles and there is a discard limit. There are two starting tiles that have all types of edges - one of those is what I'm using as a starting tile.

I'm not bringing back the beaver dams. They didn't add anything to the game, and put too much focus on something that was a minor part anyway (they were only used for beavers and only on lakes when the focus is on otters in rivers).

The dens are part of the tile art - they are not placed. You do not build them (and dams were the same way). Instead, you place otters in pre-made dens.

From your suggestion what I could do is have each otter den that isn't occupied give you an extra discard. So you have to decide if you want the points (put an otter in the den now) or if you want future discards. Which adds to the choices players have to make in the game, and gives a reason to leave some otter dens empty - though there might be too many dens for this to work (give too many chances for discards). I'll have to see how this works out in play.

Another thought would be that beavers when placed in lakes can either remove a tile or give you an extra discard, your choice. I found it very rare that I'd use more than two beavers in a game, and I like the idea of having four beavers available, so that could give them more purpose. In fact, this might work better than using the dens - as it also gives a reason to focus on finishing lakes.

Random fact - did you know that river otters dens are often beaver dens that otters have taken over? Otters make them so messy, the beavers abandon them and go off to make new, nicely ordered dens.
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