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Players: 2-3
Playing time: 15min
Age recommendation: 6+(?)

Overwiew
Object of the game is to be first to connect all your 5 tourist attractions.

Components
* 9" x 6" postcard
* Try-Erase pen(s) - one is sufficient, but each player having their own in their color would be a bonus.

Design Goals
* This game was designed for Postcard Design Contest.
* For personal preference I wanted something with as little additional components as possible. While making markers/tokens from the postcard was allowed, I wanted to keep the postcard whole.
* Obviously there ought to be some interesting decisions in the game so that it is... well... a game.

Files
* Map - PnP v1.1a: latest version

* Rules - PnP v1.1a: latest version


Log
10.7.2019 The general idea
11.7.2019 Some playtesting, the main mechanic "decided"
13.7.2019 More playtesting, better scale + rule tunings + PnP + refactoring the WIP thread
19.7.2019 Playing around with graphics, some playtestins => rule tunings
20.7.2019 Playing around with graphics, rules alternative
25.7.2019 Playing around with graphics ("blind screens" added!) + PnP update
31.7.2019 PnP Update (small tunings only)... and some rules speculation
1.8.2019 Some playtesting => Rules v1.0 (hopefully final... well... probably better language still needed, but contentwise atleast)
4.8.2019 Some tunings to the map + Added PnP for the rules too
17.8.2019 Some tunings to the map & rules layout
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / Idea Phase)
This was original posted on 10.7.2019.

Postcard Design Contest
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2230399/postcard-design-con...
got me thinking something in the spirit of Trans Europa/America: I.e. constructing of common graph with secret nodes to visit. And the actual adding/removing edges is done with dry-erase marker.

Thematically speaking visiting tourist attractions seems appropriate...
and if/when I miss the contest deadline but something playable does emerge, its easier for me to pitch around.

The current layout looks like:

I'll probably try also a regular map view to see which would look more functional/appealing.

Also I haven't done any playtesting yet, so
* good amount of nodes/edges hasn't been fixed yet.
* the main mechanic is also still open. I'm considering few options:
a. start from nothing and add edges -> first to connect all his/her nodes wins.
b. start with "full" graph and remove edges (i.e. constructing a minimum spanning tree) -> least number of edges needed wins.
c. thematically speaking doing circuits would be nice... but that needs some more thinking.
* assignment method of player's necessary nodes is also a bit open still... but I'll probably let player choose his/her needed nodes freely: one of each color; and if multiple rounds are played, then different nodes must be picked.


 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / Idea Phase)
This was originally posted on 11.7.2019.

The layout test for a regular map (urgh... had only 5 orange nodes there):

Managed to do some playtesting too with simple rules:

PREPARATION:
You need a try-erase marker. It would be quite cool if each player has his/her own marker with his/her color, but this is not required.

SETUP:
a. Select your attractions: one from each color (I'm planning to identify nodes with varying features, like color, shape, label, ... so that there are ~15 predefined node sets of ~equal difficulty).
b. Select a starting player randomly.

GAME PLAY:
On your turn you
1. add one edge (draw line from one attraction to another): loops may not be formed
2. mark on edge position invalid (no edge may be added there) by drawing a cross on top of it: each attraction much be reachable affterwards (by adding edges).

GAME END:
A player wins when he/she has his/her attractions in the network. It might be that multiple players reach this simultaneously, in which cause they tie the victory.


=> It's a game . But the scale of the graph needs some scaling down: 5x6 or 5x5 nodes would probably work better. Also the reasonable player amount will probably be 2-3 (while theoretically speaking there's no limit to player amount). Maybe a bit more testing before PnP versio...
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / Idea Phase)
Refactored the thread a bit so that the first post contains the current an relevalent information. Also added rules and PnP v0.1.


Regarding attraction selections: decided to go with predefined sets.
* There are 3 categories with 5 features in each, which gives a total of 15 sets.
* All the sets should have a minimum edge amount of 9... but I did this planning manually so some errors might have lurked in. Also some sets do have more nodes (=3) in common than I'd like to.
* I left the areas (the purple line) visible for now, while they have no meaning in the game play: perhaps they help locating the 5 nodes.
* I'm planning to add list of the attractions to the side(s) of the map, hence the nodes a labelled with an identifying symbol...


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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
I've been playing around graphics a bit to trying to figure out the best (or sufficiently good) layout/style for map, nodes, edges, etc.

Also some of the nodes have been "inched a slightly off" from their real physical locations in order to have a bit longer edges. For other visuals the water areas have been made bluer and parks have been added (sigh... manually, since I did not find suitable map for that).

Here I have grouped all the attractions into one list... but it looks a bit cumbersome (while it keeps the playing are cleaner):


Here I have grouped attractions by "areas" and emphasized game related thins with black background... but the black might make it too heavy:


Well... graphics testing continues...

I also did some playtesting... and the approach "connect one + block one" does not quite work (it drives game towards stalling and ties). So for now on it's only adding edges + once/twice per game one can also block as a special action.
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Yet another graphical try


I've been wondering a rules variant... really need to do some playtesting to nail "the final version" down:

* The current idea
-> Add one edge anywhere
=> Extra on your turn: Twice per game block an edge anywhere

* An alternarive idea
-> Setup: The last player chooses the node, the first player chooses the first edge from it
=> From then on add one adjacent edge and block one adjacent edge on your turn

And regardless of the gameplay details, the current player wins if there is a tie.
 
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Wey Scoggin
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Cryptid light meets Scotland Yard light.
It's great that it works well with so little happening. I think the iconography still needs some work though.

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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
weyscoggin wrote:
I got to try this as a two-player game last night. We really enjoyed it and I think it works pretty well for a postcard game too!
From a design/aesthetic standpoint, the icons get a little jumbled and feel out of place. I think I have a small suggestion that could help. Let me think about it.
Overall a really fun game. I'll have to try the alternate rules next.

We were able to ascertain each others secret route before the game ended and placing the x's really helped. It reminded my a little bit of Cryptid, except much shorter and competitive.

I'm impressed!

weyscoggin wrote:
Cryptid light meets Scotland Yard light.
It's great that it works well with so little happening. I think the iconography still needs some work though.

Thanks for the feedback!

I was not familiar with Cryptid, but it might be something I'd like. On a side note I did consider making an app/a website from which could initialize the game (the 5 attractions would be send by email for each player), as it would kind of support the theme (some attraction info like opening times, prices, etc could be included in the mail)... but decided against (for now atleast) as it feels a bit excessive for the scale of the game + I'm bit short on time (well... aren't we all).

I wasn't actually aware of that Scotland Yard has places written directly in the map. That could work here too (I was kind of trapped into thinking tourists maps), as then the attractions would not "need" to be identified by a label... which would leave more working room for improving iconography.
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Yet another graphical try:


Attractions were put into the map directly, so that one symbol could be used for all the 5 attractions... added some color to it too so that spotting them would be easier. Also some shapes were tuned a bit so that they would differ from the other shapes more.

Finally feature categories were moved to different sides: the idea here would be, that by making partial cuts and then folding up and down it is possible to make a blind screen (which is still part of the game board) to which a player can mark his/her chosen feature...
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
So the iconography still feels really “busy”
It can detract a little bit from the gameplay while you are trying to determine the other players secret.

What if the shapes were
Square
Circle
Triangle
Hexagon
Diamond

And the symbols were just numbers in black font
1
2
3
4
5

I think it would give it a cleaner look, and make the gameplay smoother.
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Thank you for the suggestion! I played around with the graphics quickly a little bit.
Using numbers as symbols (but no shape tuning):


Scaling shapes smaller and using outer halo instead symbols:


I think the latter is easier for ogling the five attractions for a given feature (although perhapse rectangle should be a bit flatter and octagon thinner to make them stand out a bit more from other shapes).
 
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Updated PnP... nothing that special: some color tunings, adding 100meter measurement and North indicator.

On rules front I'm still wondering... there's a bit more complex variant I'm most fond of, but it's also a bit more complex to explain as well as it makes the game longer. As indecisive as I am, I'll probably end up including both rules (if I can make them fit to the back side of the card and leave some space for holiday greetings too.
 
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...124 to run fleeing from the mountain. ...125 to use a rope to climb the steep cliff. ...126 to quickly cast "summon stairs." ...127 to dodge under the falling rocks.
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
Just wanted to say that I think this idea is really clever, and could work with any number of cities that have some kind of metro/lightrail/transit service.

Nicely done!
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Re: [WIP] Helsinki Tour 2020 (Postcard Design Contest / PnP Ready)
adularia25 wrote:
Just wanted to say that I think this idea is really clever, and could work with any number of cities that have some kind of metro/lightrail/transit service.

Nicely done!
Thanks!

Although I must say that the connections on the map do not match the reality at all (it would be cool, if they would). The attractions are real and they are at they correct locations (more or less). And making such graph with other cities, malls, countries, etc. would definately be possible.

On a side node I finally got to do some playtesting and I think I can now settle to a single ruleset: the idea is to throw in some "Dots and Boxes" too, i.e., if there's an edge that can not be blocked, it is added automatically. So in player's turn he/she adds an edge and blocks another one, but with blocking you can choose to slow down your opponent(s) or aim to connect your own attractions with forced edges.

Victory for red player (blue attractions) while green player was a bit short (green halo attractions):


Also archiving the previous rulesets here...
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Rules / 2-3 players (v0.3)
Setup
a. Randomly assign each player a feature category (out of colors, shapes, labels). Pick one of the five features from your category, which identifies your 5 tourist attractions. Your category is known but you should keep your chosen feature secret (don't chance it during the game).
b. Choose the starting player randomly.

Playing
a. Current player connects two attractions with an edge anywhere (draws a line along the dotted line which does not have X on it). You may not create loops.
b. Twice per game player can also block an edge (draws an X on a dotted line). It must be possible to connect to any attraction afterwards.
c. The next player in the clock wise direction becomes the current player.

Game End/Winners
The first player with all their 5 attractions connected together is the winner. If tied, then the current player is the winner. Note that there can be multiple winners.

Alternative Rules / 2-3 players (v0.1)
Setup
a. Randomly assign each player a feature category (out of colors, shapes, labels). Pick one of the five features from your category, which identifies your 5 tourist attractions. Your category is known but you should keep your chosen feature secret (don't chance it during the game).
b. Choose the starting player randomly.
c. The last player chooses an attraction (circle it) and the first player connects it to another attraction.

Playing
a. Current player connects an attractions with an edge to a currectly connected attraction (draws a line along the dotted line which does not have X on it). You may not create loops.
b. Current player blocks an addjacent edge (draws an X on a dotted line). It must be possible to connect to any attraction afterwards.
c. The next player in the clock wise direction becomes the current player.

Game End/Winners
The first player with all their 5 attractions connected together is the winner. If tied, then the current player is the winner. Note that there can be multiple winners.


 
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Made small graphical tunings to the map and added rules in a "postcard format".

Considering this to be "ready" now (with the given value of anything being ready). Well... I'll be carrying this around (along with other protos), so something might always pop up while the playtesting.
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JK
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Moi Esa,

This looks very slick. The graphic design is clean and attractive (just like Helsinki).

The fold up mini screens are a very cool innovation. You could put the check boxes on the back side of the card, halving the size of the area that would need to be folded up and making the secret marking more secure (if the folds straighten out a bit).

I've only played one game so far and was impressed! There's more here than meets the eye, with trying not to give away your goals while trying to connect them and deduce and block your opponents. A laminated version would be a great travel game, even for the kids in the back seat of the car since there are no moving parts.

I had one small problem with distinguishing between the two oblong shapes, even though they run in different directions. I wonder if it might be clearer to replace one with a square.

Nice job!
JK
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Thanks JK!

Regarding checkbox on the back side instead of the front:
* You're right that a smaller areas with single bend would be better in PnP
=> I guess I should do that at some point (+ I want to tune the layout a bit so that the rules wouldn't get cut&bend with the areas).

But for the postcard I'd want to keep everything on one side, because:
* I'm assuming that the backside of the postcard is not coated so you can not erase markings off it
* Assumably with 1/8" bleed the worst case drift (w.r.t front side matching back side) would be 1/4".

Regarding shapes: I guess the shapes do have few properties like
* size
* symmetry/regularity
* "roundness" (e.g. circle vs star)
* multitude
* orientation (I guess the oblong shapes don't differ that much besides orientation... and generally speaking we might be good at ignoring orientation)
=> so I' guessing square might work as long as its sufficiently different size than circle
=> something like ≈ could be good too
=> or something irregular like ▜
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weyscoggin wrote:
I really don’t prefer abstract games, and I don’t like the color/design on some of this game.
With that being said, it was an impressive enough game to get me to look past it and enjoy it a ton!
Fits perfect as a postcard game.
Thanks for the comments!

Did some minor tunigs:
* Changed one of the shapes to ≈
* Added versio to the files (i.e. 'v1.1a')
* Switched rules layout around so that cutting and folding misses text
(+ added checkboxes to the rules side too for PnP & lamination)
* Added QR-code (pretty much only a placeholder though)

What next?
* Playtesting, like...
=> ...is 3 players ok (or should game be jus for 2 players)
=> ...are colors/shapes ok (or would there be a better solution for features)
=> ...is network ok (maybe there should be more variety in nodes and connections, like some hubs (5+ paths) and more "trails" (2 paths)
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Wey Scoggin
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Congratulations!
This game won the postcard contest!
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Thank you! And thank you for organizing!
 
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weyscoggin wrote:
Congratulations!
This game won the postcard contest!

Woo hoo! Congratulations.

BTW, I've visited Helsinki a couple of times but want to go again now to visit all your postcard locations...
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JohnKean wrote:

Woo hoo! Congratulations.

BTW, I've visited Helsinki a couple of times but want to go again now to visit all your postcard locations...
Thanks!

Visiting all 25 attractions would make a rather busy visit, especially if one would spend some time in them .

Btw. vising the parliament house is a bit trickier (if one wants more than observing a plenary session): there are guided tours but those need to be prebooked and you need a (smallish) group of people to make a reservation.

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