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Subject: Up for a stupid challenge? rss

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Pablo Schulman
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First things first: happy new year!

Now, onto something a little bit more serious. I was thinking about a little challenge/designer contest just for kicks and would like to know if you guys (the abstract game designers community) think it is interesting.

We certainly have seen the approach of designing an abstract game based on a mechanic, but can we create a combinatorial game based on a theme?

I've got a little girl and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could get her interested in abstract games if they were loosely themed on animals (just like Hey,that's my fish ; Battle Sheep; even Volo). Would you be interested in try to design an abstract game based on a single animal behaviour?

Sorry if it sounds stupid!?!
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Martin Grider
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I think this is sweet. (I also have a little girl, & she's 8.) She'll play games with me sometimes. Earlier this week we played 20 or so minutes of Tak, (on a 3x3 it feels a lot like tic-tac-toe, but we also played maybe one or two games on a 4x4) and then she grew bored of it and just stacked the pieces for another 10 minutes.

Snakes and butterflies come to mind immediately for some reason. (I guess there's already Slither.) I'll think on this.
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Stephen Tavener
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Web of Flies
Mutton
Hippos & Crocodiles

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christian freeling
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Bill Taylor made Slimetrail. I got snakes (and ladders) but their behaviour in conflict is to be avoided.

Hare and Tortoise is nice too.
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Julien Griffon
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Let's Catch the Lion!
Yōkaï no Mori

If time allows, I'd take part in the contest.
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Craig Duncan
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Daisy Chain

EDIT: This can be played as a combinatorial game without the dice.
 
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Peter Ward
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This sounds fun. What age group/range are you considering?
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Eric Farmer
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Stupid challenges are my favorite.
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Pablo Schulman
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Good to know I've got some of you guys interested.

I was thinking in a set of parameters, let me know what you think.

* 8 and up
* combinatorial
* Takes about 10-20 minutes to play

* Choose a single animal and try to make a game about them. Or just make a game and later pick an animal, whatever it works, but remember that game must make thematic sense, even if in a loose way. So, frogs jump (too many games around frogs jumping to cite), octopuses (?) have tentacles and tangle their own species (Tako Judo), sheep move in flocks (that's how I view the stacks at Battle Sheep), wolves in packs, and the list goes on and on.

* Players avatars should be the animals. So for example, Feed the ducks would be disqualified, because players aren't the animals but "humans who have chosen a group of ducks in a lake".

I don't know if this going to become a design contest mostly because I don't know how much interest this challenge can muster, but I've got some geekgold lying around that I can spend in either case.
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christian freeling
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I once made Monkey Trap as a joke that Corey might remember
 
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David Bush
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The software Zillions of Games comes with Sidewinder

This is different from both Sidewinder games listed in the BGG database.
This is like Breakthrough on a hexagonal grid. The board could be various sizes, in the shape of a rhombus or a hexagon. Pieces move one at a time, diagonally forward only, not straight forward, not backward, as far as desired along an unobstructed path. Capture is by replacement. The object is to occupy the opponent's obtuse corner cell.
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Pablo Schulman
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christianF wrote:

I once made Monkey Trap as a joke that Corey might remember


Yes, I'm aware of this one and I also read the story behind and early theme LOL. To be frank, I rethemed that game to be about chicken laying eggs (I bought a game called Wingspan that comes with little wooden eggs, so it inspired me to do that retheme)).
 
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christian freeling
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PSchulman wrote:
christianF wrote:

I once made Monkey Trap as a joke that Corey might remember


Yes, I'm aware of this one and I also read the story behind and early theme LOL. To be frank, I rethemed that game to be about chicken laying eggs (I bought a game called Wingspan that comes with little wooden eggs, so it inspired me to do that retheme)).

Those were the days
 
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Nathan James
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I would likely participate.

Do you have a time frame in mind for the challenge?
 
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Chris Huntoon
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I originally created "Cats & Dogs" as a children's game for my young nephew.

I initially spent more time and thought on the theme than I ever did on the mechanics. I wanted a theme that was not only engaging for children (i.e. animals) but one that also helped convey the basic concept of the game.

The original version was played on a 8x8 board. There were a couple of reasons for this. One was that my nephew already owned a Checkers set - and he could easily adapt that to be used to play "Cats & Dogs." Also, while an 8x8 is an ideal size for many ASG's - for a territory game its a bit on the small side. And small is good for children's games - because you don't ever want them to feel overwhelmed or that the game drags on for too long so they become bored of playing.

It was only after it had been published for awhile that I decided to go back and give the game a second look. That was then I realized that a game I had initially dismissed as too simplistic and only suitable for children was actually quite interesting - and even some adults might want to play it. So I redid it as the slightly more advanced 11x11 version.

BTW, I like when a game can be played in two different versions: a simpler, basic version for beginning players, and a more complex, advanced version for experienced players.
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Chris Huntoon
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Besides animals - another good subject matter for children's games is fairy tales. One of my games that is noted for its charm is appropriately named "Fairy Tale Draughts." There is a rock/paper/scissor relationship between its three types of pieces: Princesses, Dragons, and Knights.

Dragons abduct Princesses.
Knights subdue Dragons.
Princesses beguile Knights.

Which just goes to show that Abstract Strategy Games don't always have to be dry and academic.
 
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Pablo Schulman
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Sorry about the delay, everyone.

NJames wrote:
I would likely participate.

Do you have a time frame in mind for the challenge?


Not particular, no. The first thing that I thought is to gauge interest and see if there is enough to be a full fledge contest. If not, I'll let it stand as a designer challenge.

If it becomes a contest, I'll set up a first, second and third place geekgold reward and see if we can come up with some sort of jury.

If it becomes a challenge, I'll reward a amount of geekgold to everyone that takes up the challenge and present an original design for it.

The idea is to get things going, try to engage the abstract community in a diferent way than just having a new post once in a while.
 
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christian freeling
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hartunga wrote:
Which just goes to show that Abstract Strategy Games don't always have to be dry and academic.

Indeed, throw in a couple of princesses and frogs and it becomes interesting! But fun aside, I notice I'm thinking games anyway so I may be in. My strategy however is still to wait till something presents itself in terms of mechanics so deadlines don't really work for me.
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Adam Rehberg
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Yes, dibs on the dung beetle.
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