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Subject: Mow Money - PnP now available rss

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Matt Saunders
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Mow Money is a card game that was a finalist in the recent Protospiel Card Game Design Contest. The game began as a Game Design Showdown (GDS) entry on the Board Game Designers Forum (www.bgdf.com) site in June last year and features a unique lowest-bidder-wins auction mechanic. In an effort to generate more awareness of the game, I have created a PnP packet available for download from the www.mowemdown.com website. If PnP is your thing, please feel free to download, play and share.

A little more about the game...
"Spring has arrived in Walkerville and the lawns are coming back to full life after the long, cold winter. You and up to three other players compete as start-up landscape company owners armed with just a couple of push-mowers, a few bucks and big dreams of growing your businesses into landscaping powerhouses. The property owners in Walkerville look to hire companies that agree to work for the lowest pay, but sometimes they award contracts to companies with a good reputation. This is a game more about earning a good reputation than earning a lot of money, but in the end, having a few extra bucks won’t hurt!"

Follow by Liking "Mow Money" on Facebook or check out the Mow Em Down website if you are interested in the Mow Money story.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Are you creating a BGG entry for it?
 
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Matt Saunders
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Haven't yet because it technically isn't published.
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Guido Van Horn
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did you 'publish' the files?

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Guido Van Horn
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this is really interesting. (one of) the games I'm working on now has a low bid auction aspect to it...I ended up minimizing it in the greater scheme as the game evolved, but my very first idea was to make a game where you low bid for jobs.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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oicu12b12 wrote:
Haven't yet because it technically isn't published.

Plenty of PnP games have BGG entries. If you think it is pretty stable and playable, you should consider creating one. On the other hand, if you're still early in the playtesting cycle, it's probably best not to (yet).
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Matt Saunders
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Yep, it's playable. Thanks for the convincing. Game entry has been submitted. I'll put a link to the entry here as soon as it's approved.
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Matt Saunders
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BGG Entry for Mow Money now posted. PnP files uploaded and will be available after admin approval.
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Kevin Nunn
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I haven't played the game yet. I did read the rules, however. Mow Money looks like an interesting small economic game. The game elements seem to harmonize well. I'm looking forward to trying it.

Replay value is the only concern I would have at this stage. How well does the game hold up to repeated plays? I obviously don't know but I am curious. Can you comment on this, Matt? What are your playtesters saying?
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Matt Saunders
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Kevin,

Thanks for reading through the rules and being willing to give the game a try. I'm interested to read your comments after a play or two.

kgnunn wrote:
How well does the game hold up to repeated plays? I obviously don't know but I am curious. Can you comment on this, Matt? What are your playtesters saying?


The specific topic of replayability hasn't come up in playtests. I can report that a guy from the most recent group of blind playtesters wrote this in an e-mail to me: "I really liked how fast the turns went. All of us had fun and we all agreed that we would play it again (and there are plenty of published games out there that I wouldn't say that about)." - from BGG user
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My personal opinion is that it is fairly replayable due to the random order of the Property Cards each game. The Enhancement Cards also give players a chance to explore different paths to victory.

Would appreciate your thoughts on this topic after you play it a couple of times.

Peace,
Matt
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Kevin Nunn
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And you will have them
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Kevin B. Smith
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oicu12b12 wrote:
BGG Entry for Mow Money now posted. PnP files uploaded and will be available after admin approval.

The files seem to be up and available, in case anyone was waiting for them.

It would be great if you could vote on things like "number of players" and "language dependence", as well as weight, to give people more idea what to expect.

The game is on my "to research" list, so at some point I'll at least read the rules. I definitely like the theme, and the overview makes it sound like a game I might enjoy.
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Matt Saunders
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peakhope wrote:
It would be great if you could vote on things like "number of players" and "language dependence", as well as weight, to give people more idea what to expect.


Sorry, I thought I had already done that when I submitted the game, but those details are now added. Thanks for pointing it out.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I just looked at the components and PnP instructions. I haven't looked at the rules yet. A few comments:

You should probably name the cards file with v214 instead of just 214. It looked like there would be 214 cards, which made me shy away from the game a bit.

The names of some of the special scoring cards don't seem to fit thematically with the bonuses they offer. Why would an Aerator have anything to do with extra scoring for each mowing machine? Wouldn't trailers give an in-game benefit (efficiency, or simply being required to have the bigger mowers) rather than just reputation at the end based on the number of certain types of mowers you own?

The last section of the PnP instructions was confusing, as one who has never seen the game before.

It still looks like a promising game, so my next step at some point will be to read the rules.
 
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Matt Saunders
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Kevin, thanks for this first impression feedback. I'll change the filename soon so it isn't confusing, and clear up the instructions file for new users. Thanks also for the feedback on the enhancement cards. I'll take your questions into consideration.

Peace,
Matt
 
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R.J.
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Love the name... you seriously are getting at least a rules read from me because of the awesome name... I may even print it out tomorrow if it sounds cool enough after a rules reading!
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Matt Saunders
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breakaway11 wrote:
Love the name... you seriously are getting at least a rules read from me because of the awesome name... I may even print it out tomorrow if it sounds cool enough after a rules reading!


Thank you, sir! I appreciate the kind words about the name, and hope the rules read entices you to print and give it a try. Please post any thoughts or feedback you have.

Peace,
Matt
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Matt Saunders
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I had a game night on Friday night and Mow Money hit the table a couple of times. I took a picture of each game as well as a picture of the cards laid out on a table. They are now linked to the Mow Money entry.
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Matt Saunders
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peakhope wrote:
You should probably name the cards file with v214 instead of just 214. It looked like there would be 214 cards, which made me shy away from the game a bit...The last section of the PnP instructions was confusing, as one who has never seen the game before.


An updated package has been submitted. (yesterday, but hasn't posted yet) I changed the file name to clearly imply version number and not card count. Thanks for catching that. I also changed up the instructions file to be less confusing. One more thing we caught at Friday's game night was that some of the text the Red "Turf Trimmers" had accidentally been deleted. The text should indicate that you can also trade in two Sod Snippers (green) for one Turf Trimmer (instead of paying $15). The new packet has the correct cards.

I'll post in this thread when the new packet posts on the files page.

Thanks,
Matt
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Matt Saunders
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Updated PnP Cards packet now posted: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/70746/mow-money-cards-pnp-...

The updated version has corrected "Turf Trimmer" Cards (they were missing the 2-for-1 trading clause) and a new pnp instructions file.

Enjoy!

Matt
 
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Kevin Nunn
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My design group got in a full play of Mow Money last night. Here are the comments and suggestions.

Playtesters were (in player order) Kevin Brusky, Kevin Nunn, Jenny Curry, David Infortunio.

Scores were David = 25, KevinB = 23, KevinN = 22, Jenny = 19.

Comments
The overall consensus was that the game has some interesting elements but needs a bit of polishing up.

Play time was 1:10. Most players felt that was a bit too long for what the game offered.

Overall, the play is interesting but not interesting enough to support its play time.

1. It seemed problematic that Hired Help costs $5.00. This meant that the start player could purchase it for no reason more than having the good fortune to be the start player. Paradoxically, the MOST money a player can scrape up on turn 1 is $8.00 total which is not enough to buy that juicy third green mower. Whether or not this was really a winning strategy was a point of some debate, however.

2. The Enhancements lack variety. All but three are irrelevant until final scoring. Of those three, two must be returned every time they are used. Thus, only one enhancement truly affects your play for the duration of the game.

3. The sequence of events in the turns id dead-on correct.

4. Player down time was a major hurdle. The players suggested introducing a start player marker and breaking up the round into smaller phases with each phase being executed by all players before moving on to the next. A round of play would then look like this:

Step 1: Start player PLANs, then player 2PLANs, then player 3PLANs, then Player 4 PLANs.
Step 2: Start player PURCHASEs,..., player 4 PURCHASEs
Step 3: Start player bids,..., player 4 bids
Step 4: Resolve all auctions
Step 5: Cycle all unbid property cards
Step 6: Pass the start player marker.

5. The player on the Sod Snipper strategy was bothered that there were only 9 Sod Snippers to be had. Since each player begins with two, this meant only a single additional Sod Snipper was available.

6. Rule question: It is clear that you players cannot trade up and down with the same mowers on the same turn. Is it permitted to downgrade a NEWLY PURCHASED mower on the turn it was purchased?



You've got a good start here. I hope you're able to get the kinks worked out.

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Matt Saunders
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kgnunn wrote:
You've got a good start here. I hope you're able to get the kinks worked out.


Kevin,

I truly appreciate you, Kevin, Jenny, and David taking the time to print out the game and giving it a full play. And thank you for the excellent feedback.

The issues of the cost of Hired Help has come up recently, and so I'm glad to hear it from another perspective. It might be that a simple tweak of the cost (say, bumping up to $7) helps make this card more fair to other non-start players. You are right about it being the only "duration card" in the mix of the enhancement cards. If I understand your suggestion correctly, your group would like to see more "duration cards" in the mix, rather than just end-of-game enhancements, right?

I'm going to try the rotating-start player suggestion tonight with my group. I had thought of it before, but never tried it, writing it off because I assumed it would make the game last longer. I really want to hit that 35-45 minute sweet spot, so we'll see if that tweak speeds things up, or at least creates a greater sense of player involvement.

Thanks for the rule clarification question. Yes, the intent is that players can have the ability to trade up or trade down (even with new purchases) as much as they want (e.g. go from 4 greens to 1 yellow or vice versa), but there is a problem of an endless loop that can occur if someone is permitted to trade back down with mowers that were acquired through a trade up on the same turn. (e.g., someone who has three green mowers can exhaust the green bid cards in one turn simply by trading back and forth between two of the greens and one red.) I'll tweak the language to make that more clear in the rules.

One final question for you. Earlier you had asked the question of replayability. What thoughts do you have about its replayability, especially if the game-length was tightened down?

Again, I understand how precious and valuable time is, and I want to thank your group for giving some of its time to play a full game.

Peace,
Matt

 
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Kevin Nunn
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oicu12b12 wrote:
The issues of the cost of Hired Help has come up recently, and so I'm glad to hear it from another perspective. It might be that a simple tweak of the cost (say, bumping up to $7) helps make this card more fair to other non-start players. You are right about it being the only "duration card" in the mix of the enhancement cards. If I understand your suggestion correctly, your group would like to see more "duration cards" in the mix, rather than just end-of-game enhancements, right?


Yes, absolutely. The player who purchased it did not win and wasn't sure that it was necessarily worth buying right out of the gate if he wasn't pursuing a "odd jobs"-heavy strategy. All of us wanted to see more enhancements that would have continuing effects throughout the game.

A few quick suggestions off the top of my head:

* All red bid cards assess as -1 value for determining the winner of an auction

* All yellow bid cards assess as -1 value for determining the winner of an auction

* When you draw bid cards, draw one extra card.


oicu12b12 wrote:
I'm going to try the rotating-start player suggestion tonight with my group. I had thought of it before, but never tried it, writing it off because I assumed it would make the game last longer. I really want to hit that 35-45 minute sweet spot, so we'll see if that tweak speeds things up, or at least creates a greater sense of player involvement.


This issue came up in one of my designs recently (which is probably why it's fresh in my mind). Play time might indeed increase. In many cases, it actually goes down. What will certainly decrease is player down time. And it has always seemed to me that keeping players engaged is our primary job as designers.

oicu12b12 wrote:
One final question for you. Earlier you had asked the question of replayability. What thoughts do you have about its replayability, especially if the game-length was tightened down?


Assessing the game exactly as it was when I printed it, the game has extremely limited replay value. With deeper options during play, with reduced player down time, then it would be a game worth revisiting.

oicu12b12 wrote:
Again, I understand how precious and valuable time is, and I want to thank your group for giving some of its time to play a full game.


You are very welcome. I will make sure to pass your words of appreciation on to the rest of the group.

This hobby demands that we all work together, that we all help one another. It was a pleasure to try your game out. I'm just glad to know that our feedback was helpful to you.

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Matt Saunders
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kgnunn wrote:
The players suggested introducing a start player marker and breaking up the round into smaller phases with each phase being executed by all players before moving on to the next. A round of play would then look like this:

Step 1: Start player PLANs, then player 2PLANs, then player 3PLANs, then Player 4 PLANs.
Step 2: Start player PURCHASEs,..., player 4 PURCHASEs
Step 3: Start player bids,..., player 4 bids
Step 4: Resolve all auctions
Step 5: Cycle all unbid property cards
Step 6: Pass the start player marker.

My game group implemented this suggestion last night, and it was a big improvement! We had a four-player game. The game time was just under 45 minutes, and everybody felt they were in the game the whole time. Now, I want to try this out with a few 2 & 3-player games and see how it works. Will post updates here.

The one thing I noticed is that the Bookkeeper card may need to be tweaked if this play-order is kept. This card only benefits those who are not last in the player order.

Kevin, thanks for your thoughts on "duration effects" for the enhancement cards. I'll put some thought into it and test out some ideas.

 
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Matt Saunders
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Two updates:
#1 - Father Geek (Cyrus Kirby) has posted a fantastic review of Mow Money on his site: http://fathergeek.com/reviews/mow-money/ (Note, I submitted a review copy a few months ago. The game has had three significant updates since this version was sent.)

#2 - A new version of Mow Money (v2.2) is now available on www.mowemdown.com and has been submitted here on bgg, pending admin approval. The latest version contains two significant updates (a great deal of thanks should be extended to Kevin G. Nunn for his suggestions that are implemented):
a) Phases are now played one at a time in player order. This has greatly increased the speed and interaction of the game, thus decreasing player down-time.
b) Enhancement cards now feature both In-Game effects as well as End-of-Game bonuses.
 
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