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Subject: WIP - Solitaire PnP Contest - Temple of the Feathered Serpent rss

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Cate
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Designed for the Solitaire Print and Play Contest.

Many intrepid adventurers have explored the jungle searching for the fabled and mysterious Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Some brave souls, such as yourself, have even found it and entered, lured by the soft-whispered promise of great treasure. None have plundered its ever-changing hallways and escaped to tell the tale. Will you be the first?

Photos


First turn setup.


Zoey and a close up of the player's mat starting setup.


Found the exit of the 5x5 level.


Close up of the tiles.


Close up of the player's mat.

Components

Small bag (for randomly selecting cubes)
Large bag (for randomly selecting tiles)
Cubes (you may substitute colors and or use other tokens as desired):
Med Kit/Life Point (Blue) – 9 (5 for the small draw bag and 4 for the player’s mat)
Jaguar (black) – 6
Snake (dark green) – 6
Nothing (light green) – 15
Monkey (brown) – 7
Whip (yellow) – 5 (4 for the small draw bag and 1 for the player’s mat)
Net (orange) – 5
Treasure (gold) – 3
Dynamite (pink) – 3

Printed components:

Temple corners – 4 (two with stairs and two without stairs)
Temple walls – 16 (4 walls for each of 4 levels)
Temple tiles - 54 (there are actually more but 54 tiles are the most that will be used in any given game) Each tile shows walls, openings to other tiles and the floor.
Player’s mat – 1
Explorer token – 1 (your favorite token or meeple)
1D8

One Player – Ages 8 and up – about 30 to 45 minutes

Edit: Download links removed. The files for the new version are in the BGG file section.
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W Retert
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I playtested (a slightly earlier revision of) this game and enjoyed it.
Also, I think the last link goes to the tiles and tile backs.
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Cate
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Krikkit wrote:

Also, I think the last link goes to the tiles and tile backs.


Thanks for the catch. I just fixed it.
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Jack K
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I playtested this many times in an effort to give useful feedback to help fine-tune the game, and I think Cate's done a really great job here.

What Cate's ended up with is a challenging little game which is a lot of fun to play and has a nice level of tension. Games which you think you are winning easily can suddenly become a lot harder and games where you feel you are struggling can sometimes still be won with a little luck and some good decisions, while still being a challenge throughout.

The random tile and cube draw ensures that the game has a lot of life in it, as each game will produce a different layout and challenges. If you play it once and lose quickly or win easily, don't give up on it - it'll likely play out very differently the next time you try it.

BTW - you don't actually need two draw bags. We used two, which was nice, but if you only have one then you can just use that for the cubes and spread the tiles out on the table face down and pick them randomly from there.
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Paul Chavez
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Does Zoey come with the game? We didn't list her in the components.

I too was one of the playtesters and I think Jack's comments are spot on. It's a fun little game with plenty of replayability. I think the tension is well balanced with suspense, challenge and a little humor too.

My only complaint was I didn't get first billing in the credits cry
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Nate K
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pchavez wrote:
Does Zoey come with the game?


My wife would pay a lot of money--a lot of money--for this game if it came with an adorable cat named Zoey.
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Cate
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kurthl33t wrote:
pchavez wrote:
Does Zoey come with the game?


My wife would pay a lot of money--a lot of money--for this game if it came with an adorable cat named Zoey.


I am sorry. I love Zoey too much to give her up. She is a sweetheart. kiss

I had to set up game for the photos 3 times because Zoey found the components way too interesting.
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Cate
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I need to add Nate Straight to my Thank You list. He provided the cubes I needed to make the game.
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Chad Mestdagh
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After reading the rules of the game, I am not sure that I understand it. When you are exploring the temple, do you have to draw a temple each turn? And do you have to place it and move on to it? And is it considered a fail if you can't place it?

How exactly are you supposed to escape the temple if you can't move backwards?

Edit: OK, read it for the third time. It looks like you can draw a tile or move. But then how would you get trapped without an exit?

And how do you go up and down the temple?

And where exactly is the exit?
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Cate
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radchad wrote:
After reading the rules of the game, I am not sure that I understand it. When you are exploring the temple, do you have to draw a temple each turn? And do you have to place it and move on to it? And is it considered a fail if you can't place it?


You draw a tile, you place it and then you move onto it. I don't understand how you can not place it. Why would you not be able to place a tile?

radchad wrote:
How exactly are you supposed to escape the temple if you can't move backwards?


Oh my, did I leave the "no moving backwards" stuff in? It was in an early version. I thought I deleted it and replaced it with the Movement stuff. Sorry. blush

Let me look over the rules again.

radchad wrote:
Edit: OK, read it for the third time. It looks like you can draw a tile or move. But then how would you get trapped without an exit?


Yes, you can move or draw a tile.

radchad wrote:
And how do you go up and down the temple?


Once you make it to the exit of one level (and decide to exit), the stairs take you to the next level.

radchad wrote:
And where exactly is the exit?


The exit is on the top floor (the 2 x 2 level). You start on the 5 x 5 level, then you explore the 4 x 4 level, then the 3 x 3 level, and finally the 2 x 2 level. When you make it to that, you exit.
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Chad Mestdagh
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Still not sure how you would get trapped without an exit. This game is next on my Vassal Creation list. Just trying to make the peices now.
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Cate
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radchad wrote:
Still not sure how you would get trapped without an exit. This game is next on my Vassal Creation list. Just trying to make the peices now.


Some of the tiles can be combined so that the way to the exit can be blocked. Look at the pieces and you will see some that are dead-ends and others that have walls all the way across. It is particularly easy to get trapped in the final 2x2 floor.

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Chad Mestdagh
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The Vassal Module for Temple of the Feathered Serpent is ready and can be downloaded here:

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B0WBVnUE4NbHMjUxNjZlYzUtNDZ...
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Richard Morris
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I still don't think the movement stuff is very clear in the rules. The confusion is helped by the drawings of the tiles which have small squares on them, and then references to moving "spaces" or "tiles" interchangeably in the rules. I am pretty sure that you move whole tiles, and the squares on the tiles are irrelevant, but it could be much clearer.

Then there is the move three spaces/tiles on a turn bit. Is that "up to three" or "exactly three"? If 'exactly' can I backtrack to waste two of them?

... and to further add to the confusion, on your turn you can, it seems, either move three spaces/tiles, or place a tile. But if you place a tile where you can move forward, you have to. But it does not say how far you can/must move (and if I was being really picky I would ask exactly what you mean by 'forward'. I assume that you mean 'move on to the tile just placed' but in a thematic sense that could well be backwards (i.e. away from the stairs that leave the level)).

Indeed, it is not obvious why there are turns at all (other than when a snake has poisoned you). The 'AI' does not have a turn - events are triggered by your movement. There is no countdown or limit to the number of moves allowed. Why can't you just move and keep moving and slap down a tile when you need to?

Not to mention the movement of the creatures. I assume that the 'movement rates' mean that you will have an encounter with the creature (and it will come to you), when you get within that number of 'tile moves' of where the creature is. That is, they must respect walls, etc., so a creature on an adjacent tile (or even the same tile) may not encounter you if there is a wall in the way.

So, quite a lot that could be much clearer, IMHO. But then I am a rules lawyer whistle
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Richard Morris
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Have you got to do anything special on the printing to get the frame size correct?

I just printed the PDFs with no fiddling around with margins, etc, and the frame bits are much too small to fit the tiles in. In Cate's pictures, you can see that there is plenty of room, plus wriggle room, to fit 5 tiles across when in 5 x 5 mode. On mine, just printed as is (but on A4 - is this an American size issue?), there is room for no more than about 4 and a half tiles. A tile is bigger than the black space shown on the corner pieces of the frame.
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Richard Morris
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I think the 30-45 minutes estimate may be pushing it. My first two games each took approx 15 seconds. First tile was a dead end, no dynamite, threw for secret passage, no luck. Twice.

The next two were much better, though. In the first I struggled to the 2x2 level with 2 treasures before running out of health, despite successfully punching a jaguar on the nose. In the second I flew through it - found all three treasures on the 5x5 level, on which I trapped several creatures, so just had to race through the other levels. Exited without ever taking a single hit, with a full rucksack.
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Cate
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Hi Richard,

I appreciate the comments. I will address them in more detail when I have a few moments.

Thanks,

Cate
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Cate
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
I still don't think the movement stuff is very clear in the rules. The confusion is helped by the drawings of the tiles which have small squares on them, and then references to moving "spaces" or "tiles" interchangeably in the rules. I am pretty sure that you move whole tiles, and the squares on the tiles are irrelevant, but it could be much clearer.


Sorry about the confusion. I meant tiles not spaces.

AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Then there is the move three spaces/tiles on a turn bit. Is that "up to three" or "exactly three"? If 'exactly' can I backtrack to waste two of them?


As I mentioned in the instructions, the three tiles rule is really only important when the explorer is poisoned. The three tiles can be in any form you want them to be. It can be "up to three" if you want. We had an incident in play testing where the explorer was looking for a med kit. It was quite suspenseful to see if he could make it to one (he didn't - darn!).

AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
... and to further add to the confusion, on your turn you can, it seems, either move three spaces/tiles, or place a tile. But if you place a tile where you can move forward, you have to. But it does not say how far you can/must move (and if I was being really picky I would ask exactly what you mean by 'forward'. I assume that you mean 'move on to the tile just placed' but in a thematic sense that could well be backwards (i.e. away from the stairs that leave the level)).


I should have said,'move on to the tile just placed.' I agree that it would have been clearer.

AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Indeed, it is not obvious why there are turns at all (other than when a snake has poisoned you). The 'AI' does not have a turn - events are triggered by your movement. There is no countdown or limit to the number of moves allowed. Why can't you just move and keep moving and slap down a tile when you need to?


You can. As it says in the instructions, the three tiles rule is really only important when the explorer is poisoned.

AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Not to mention the movement of the creatures. I assume that the 'movement rates' mean that you will have an encounter with the creature (and it will come to you), when you get within that number of 'tile moves' of where the creature is. That is, they must respect walls, etc., so a creature on an adjacent tile (or even the same tile) may not encounter you if there is a wall in the way.


You are correct.

AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
So, quite a lot that could be much clearer, IMHO. But then I am a rules lawyer whistle


I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with my first attempt at designing a game. Perhaps you should apply your efforts to some of the other better-designed contest entries.

I stated that this is my first attempt at making a game on the very first page of the contest announcement. I am an inexperienced designer who made this game on a lark.

I had fun trying to figure out how to solve some of the design problems (how to make the maze and how to design it without cards (cards were my first idea)). I also enjoyed hand-drawing the tiles.

Again, big thanks to my play testers. The greatest fun was watching them play with and brainstorm about the game.

Cheers,

Cate
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Cate
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Have you got to do anything special on the printing to get the frame size correct?

I just printed the PDFs with no fiddling around with margins, etc, and the frame bits are much too small to fit the tiles in. In Cate's pictures, you can see that there is plenty of room, plus wriggle room, to fit 5 tiles across when in 5 x 5 mode. On mine, just printed as is (but on A4 - is this an American size issue?), there is room for no more than about 4 and a half tiles. A tile is bigger than the black space shown on the corner pieces of the frame.


I hand drew the frame on the same graph paper that I drew the tiles. I suspect that this is a A4 to American size issue as you suggested.

Would it be helpful if I combined the tile and the frame PDFs? Would that help with this scaling issue? I will ask my friend Troy to see what he can do to solve this problem.
 
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Cate
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AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
I think the 30-45 minutes estimate may be pushing it. My first two games each took approx 15 seconds. First tile was a dead end, no dynamite, threw for secret passage, no luck. Twice.

The next two were much better, though. In the first I struggled to the 2x2 level with 2 treasures before running out of health, despite successfully punching a jaguar on the nose. In the second I flew through it - found all three treasures on the 5x5 level, on which I trapped several creatures, so just had to race through the other levels. Exited without ever taking a single hit, with a full rucksack.


Yup, I have had short games and I have had long games. I have had the maze dead end in the middle. I have died from snake bites and had a series of cats maul me to death (I think I stumbled upon a jaguar family reunion). I once sailed through the maze as if my guardian angel was dropping at my feet what I needed at that moment.

30-45 minutes was my guess for the longest a game might last (including set-up and tear-down). I hate it when a game says 30 minutes but actually lasts several hours.

Here is evidence of my dislike: laugh

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/68417/one-hour-they-li...
 
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Cate108 wrote:
AnnuverScotinExile wrote:
Have you got to do anything special on the printing to get the frame size correct?

I just printed the PDFs with no fiddling around with margins, etc, and the frame bits are much too small to fit the tiles in. In Cate's pictures, you can see that there is plenty of room, plus wriggle room, to fit 5 tiles across when in 5 x 5 mode. On mine, just printed as is (but on A4 - is this an American size issue?), there is room for no more than about 4 and a half tiles. A tile is bigger than the black space shown on the corner pieces of the frame.


I hand drew the frame on the same graph paper that I drew the tiles. I suspect that this is a A4 to American size issue as you suggested.

Would it be helpful if I combined the tile and the frame PDFs? Would that help with this scaling issue? I will ask my friend Troy to see what he can do to solve this problem.


I suspect that will solve the issue, because at least then if the sizes get scaled up or down due to paper size issues, both bits will get sized up or down together, and so still be correct relative to each other.

Since I have already printed and mounted all the tiles, I will have to get my calculator out and work out how to resize the images for the frame to get them to fit. Of course you CAN play the game without the frame - all you have to do is keep track of the entry and thus exit tile positions. But it is worth doing it properly, I think.
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Cate108 wrote:
I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with my first attempt at designing a game. Perhaps you should apply your efforts to some of the other better-designed contest entries.


On the contrary, I am not dissatisfied with the game at all. I do think that the rules could be better written, though. But they are certainly not a train wreck - after all, it certainly looks as if I did play the game correctly.

Writing a good set of rules is not easy, even for people who are not new to it. Rules need feedback just as much, if not more, than the game does - when I get new playtesters to try out my games in my presence, I try to just leave them to get on with it from the rules, and not tell them anything about the game. That helps to throw up things that I have missed, or are not as clear as I thought they were, or things that are not mentioned where they need to be, but somewhere else, and so on.

And you may be delighted to hear that I am not picking on you - I have given what I felt was constructive criticism to several sets of game rules in this competition.
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Now I do have a couple of genuine questions that do not seem to be covered.

After a few plays, it seems to be very obvious that you need to 'block in' creatures, especially the monkeys, whenever you can. I say especially monkeys because they effectively cause extra cubes to be in the draw bag, increasing the likelihood that you can have explored every room, and still not found all three treasures. But blocking in snakes and jaguars is good, too. And if you cannot block them in, then placing tiles in such a way that if there is going to be a creature on it, it cannot attack you, makes sense. So those tactics lead to a couple of questions:

1) The rules say that when you place a tile, you must place it next to the tile that you are on, and that you must then move on to it if you can. I have been assuming that I can, if I wish, place the tile so that I cannot move on to it, even if there is a placement or orientation where I could move on to it. Is that correct? In some circumstances I have deliberately placed tiles the other side of a solid wall on the tile that I am on, because to place it next to an open edge would be more risky.

2) There is a timing issue with the movement of you, and the creatures. We know that you must move on to a placed tile if you can. And we know that creatures will attack when you are in range. If it matters, which happens first? Assume that you are on a tile with an open edge. You draw a tile with a wall down the middle, and place it against that edge. Now I assume that the next thing that you do is draw and place the cube (rather than move). Assume the cube is a snake. Now, if the snake moves first, I am in range, so we have to resort to fisticuffs. If I move first, I move into the side of the tile without the snake. It is now two moves away, not one, and so I am not in range, and it does not attack. Which is right?

I played a couple more games tonight. The suspense of rummaging around in the bag to get a cube, and hoping it is a good'un, is great. On the second, I got to the final room on the 2x2 level, to find it occupied by a monkey that I could not get around. The ****** thing stole one of my treasures. As it happens, I had left 3 or 4 tiles unexplored on an earlier level, because they were guarded by a jaguar, and by the time I left that level, I had all three treasures, so did not need to go there. So I backtracked to that area, got past the jaguar, and was lucky enough to find my stolen treasure in one of the rooms, enabling me to win. I assume that going back and forth between levels is allowed - the rules say nothing about it.
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todd sanders
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i think this game as a lot of interesting things going for it. and some ideas worth exploring in terms of mechanics. and i appreciate the time it took to hand draw everything
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dumarest123 wrote:
i think this game as a lot of interesting things going for it. and some ideas worth exploring in terms of mechanics. and i appreciate the time it took to hand draw everything


Well, put it this way. I have build half a dozen of the games from this comp, and there are several I have looked at and decided not to bother. There are three I keep going back to, and this is one of them.
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