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Subject: Roman Chariot Race Flicking Game Prototype rss

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Mike McDrunk
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This is something I've been working on for the last few weeks or so and I wanted to post some images and start getting feedback from BGG users.

The idea arose out of watching the chariot races in the 1925 silent film Ben Hur and playing Crokinole a whole bunch over the holidays. What I have is a Pitch Car-like Roman Chariot Racing game. The game would support two or more players (probably up to eight or so).

The board is a bit over five feet long and two feet wide.



The two inner rails on either end are for flicking your chariot around the corners quicker however can be hard to get into and they can be detrimental later in the game as debris and dead horses block them.

Player will each have a personal game board representing their chariot and four horses and a playing disc to flick. This is one I made however it would probably be better with a flat wood representation of the chariot instead of a 3-D one.



The basic game is a race around the course four or more times. Sounds easy however your chariot (represented by the flicking disc) can receive damage from other charioteers or hitting debris on the board. Debris can be dead horses, chariot wheels that players have lost, parts from other chariots. The debris is represented by markers placed on the board and held in place by poster putty.



Whenever you hit another chariot or debris, all pieces are returned to the place of impact and the player or players determine any possible damage by rolling dice and checking one of four charts (attacking; defending; unintentional collision; debris).

For example: The black disc representing the gold chariot has unintentionally hit another player's disc. Rolling on the chart gives one damage to the left horse so the character's horse is marked with a red peg. If the horse receives two more pegs it is killed and removed from the chariot. A marker is then placed where the horse died on the board and the player from then on looses 12" each turn from that point on.





Before flicking, a player can announce an attack against another players disc. If the opposing players disc is hit, players roll on the attacking and defending charts to see if any damage has occurred to either or both chariots.

If a player unintentionally hits another chariot, players roll on the unintentional collision chart.

If a player hits debris, they roll on the debris chart.

Each horse will have two holes that are to mark damage - the third damage mark kills the horse and the chariot moves at a hampered speed (-12" each turn after flicking).

Two horses killed and the player loses 24" each turn, etc. until all the horses are gone. Chariot wheels can also take damage and fall off - two damage marks and the wheel is gone (-6" each turn).

Damage can add up, missing a wheel and having two dead horses means your disc is moved back 30" each turn after you flick it. A flexible ruler is used to measure/move the disc back - although your disc can't be moved back further than where you started.

If you're flicking your disc and you have a penalty due to damage (maybe one of your horses has been killed) and you hit debris, move your disc back using the flexible ruler and place a new debris marker at your new location (this would be considered debris that up to this point was unseen).

I'm still making up rules as I go along and will be play testing this weekend with my girlfriend to see how it goes.

Any ideas, comments, or criticisms are greatly appreciated especially for the damage charts (for example, roll a 17 with d20 on the unintentional collision chart, you would get something like:

Lost control of horses, lose next turn and instead move 6" diagonal towards/along outside wall. Next turn proceed normally) .

Another idea would be that each charioteer has a special attribute that can help him/her during combat (maybe a couple of card representing certain weapons or a trick moves?).

I want the game to move fast and not get bogged down with lots of dice rolling.

I hope to have a good working prototype in time for the 2012 Protospiel South held this May in Austin. Texas....

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
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Meaker VI
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I don't like subtracting an arbitrary value from your range when you loose horses; I'd rather see you gain/loose flicks. Maybe you have 4 to start out with per turn, or maybe you start with fractions of a flick gained per horse (you start out with 4 horses at 1/4 flick per turn, if you loose a horse you get to flick 3/4 of the time). I also don't like that you have to move your pieces back to collision points- leave them free-floating (maybe the debris are "sticky" and backed with something that doesn't move as easily - cork or rubber, or are heavier than the regular discs). That way, you can accidentally hit your opponent after crashing. I'd think that this would also play reasonably well for many players, supposing they have sufficient damage tolerance to not die right off the bat.

Your current chariot is pretty nice looking - too bad you can't build those for distribution!
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Ben Pinchback
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Holy Crap that looks awesome!

Ummm, as far as input, I'd say less dice rolling is better. If I were playing I'd want to do more flicking than rolling. By a lot. Also, seems like a lot of measuring, which would slow the game down. So, two things, less rolling and less measuring = more flicking. I do like damage and the broken wheels etc. I'd say the broken wheels stuck to the board just become obstructions, and rather than a player moving back to a wheel when he hits one, you just play your disk as it ends up, wherever that is. Damage and losing wheels is cool. Maybe it's quicker than rolling though and simpler. You take damage in a predetermined order, and lose wheels, horses, etc in that order. As far as the penalty for losing wheels and horses, maybe it's something absurdly simply like you have to flick with a worse finger, like your pinky, or even worse, the pinky of your off hand. Just brainstorming ideas to speed things up, cause measuring would bum me out as a player.

The game looks BOSS though. Wow.
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James Torr
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Wow this is a cool idea, and that board/track looks awesome!

As far as feedback, I love:
--the idea of three lanes on the curves
--the idea of debris on the track
--the idea of individual player chariot boards for tracking damage (and maybe weapons, upgrades, special driver powers, who knows what else – seems like a ton of possibilities here)
--the idea of intentional versus unintentional damage, which in gameplay terms seems to amount to having to “call your shot.”

I can’t say that I like:
--having to use a measuring tape (though I appreciate that it would be flexible for the turns)
--having to consult any charts.
I’m not saying that either idea is a total turn-off for me, just that neither sounds fun and so they would really have to be “worth it” in terms of adding something to the gameplay.

I’m with Meaker VI in that my first thought was “number of horses = number of flicks,” though 4 flicks does seem too much. Maybe combine it with Ben’s idea of using your offhand, i.e., 4 horses = 2 flicks with good hand, 3 horses = 2 flicks with off hand, 2 horses = 1 flick with good hand, etc. Or maybe your opponent gets to flick you back one in some cases. I’m not sure what would work best, just echoing Meaker’s and Ben’s comments that I’d explore flicking-oriented options like that rather than relying on measuring.

As for rolling dice and consulting charts, it’s the charts that concern me more than the dice rolling. One idea you might consider is customizing six-sided dice (with stickers) so that the varied results that you would have put on the chart are instead on the dice themselves. (Of course, with this approach you’re limited to fewer types of results, and you have to convey their meaning one a die face.) You could have different dice, e.g., one for intentional damage and one for unintentional damage.

One more idea to consider: Different-sized discs (presumably for horses vs. other debris). Catacombs has used this to great effect. I also like Meaker’s idea of rubber discs that wouldn’t slide, though in practice I don’t know how to make them/where to find them.

Anyway, again, totally cool idea!
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Matt Crawford
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Just from looking...some thoughts without playing obviously.

Are the inner rails actually worth going for? I would just skip them and flick it as hard as I can around the outside. I wouldn't imagine that the inner rails would speed you up very much. Something to watch for in playtesting, I guess.

Could you make the inner rails more elliptical, less of a perfect half-circle? Make the ends point a little bit out towards the side rails (I wish I could draw what I have in mind). More like an outside-inside-outside racing line, instead of a pure circle. That would make it easier to hit the inner rails and would be more likely to shoot the player out in the right direction.
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Mike McDrunk
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I really appreciate everyone's input. I'm off to work right now however I will try and answer the various questions about the game and game play on Thursday. Hopefully the play test on Saturday will answer some of the questions also.

Cheers!

mike
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Meaker VI
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gatchaman wrote:
Could you make the inner rails more elliptical, less of a perfect half-circle? Make the ends point a little bit out towards the side rails (I wish I could draw what I have in mind). More like an outside-inside-outside racing line, instead of a pure circle. That would make it easier to hit the inner rails and would be more likely to shoot the player out in the right direction.


I think you mean parabolic, and yes, that would possibly be an improvement (though there's no way to know without having the board and playing it myself). Something I'd wonder about is whether it's worth it from a damage standpoint; there's not much room in there.

JamesT wrote:
One idea you might consider is customizing six-sided dice (with stickers) so that the varied results that you would have put on the chart are instead on the dice themselves.


Perhaps adding dice based on the different charts (attack die, defense die, impact [with walls] die, collision [with objects] die...) or specifying the number of times you roll said die for each type of damage (an impact with a wall results in 2 rolls of the die, an attack from another player results in 4 for you and 1 for them), or specifying a number of numbered die based on damage type + area damaged...

bno70_1 wrote:
As far as the penalty for losing wheels and horses, maybe it's something absurdly simply like you have to flick with a worse finger, like your pinky, or even worse, the pinky of your off hand. Just brainstorming ideas to speed things up, cause measuring would bum me out as a player.


I'm not sure I personally like the idea of adjusting your flicking based on damage; what if you end up with someone who is ambidextrous, or worse, has only one handsurprise

In seriousness though, giving an arbitrary disadvantage (fewer flicks, different flicking abilities, different players flicking for you, loss of flicks at the end of the game [i.e.: if you finish without a wheel, you must wait 3 flicks for the win, if someone else finishes within that you loose], etc.) is much better than measuring to me.
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I don't really know much about Crokinole (never having played it, or even seen it played), so a question: do all players flick at the same time, or take it in turns?

If the latter, then (as others have mentioned) I would go for allowing player 1 to have 'x' number of flicks (depending upon damage) before player 2 has any, and so on ...
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tom brown
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Looks like a fun game, as a subbuteo fan i can see this being fun. I agree with everyones comments about subtracting inches being a bad idea and less flicks being better.

I would also try and get away from dice rolling. keep the whole game based on flicks. If you hit an opponent you get damage and thats it.
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Benjamin Hoy
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Cool concept for a game. I agree with just about everyone that the ruler and charts would be a turn off for me in a game like this. For damage you could keep is simple in that the attacking player takes 1 damage and the defending player 2 or something like that. Hitting debris could cause a variable amount of damage. After a certain point you simply lose the game or perhaps restart the race with a new chariot but start a lap or two back. I'm not against the idea of off handed shots but I'm not sure how well that would work in practice. One other idea that came to mind would be after you take damage you had to shoot a different kind of disc. This could either be a larger disc (hard for you to maneuver around debris or to keep in the inside lane), coarser disc (making you go a shorter distance) or perhaps slightly deformed discs (harder to predict where you were going to go). I'm not sure that solves the problem to be honest but it might be worth giving a shot.

My other concern is how useful the inside track would be. Perhaps adding the debris near the outside of the track would make the inside more appealing.
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P. oeppel
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How about using a smaller, second board where you flick for damage instead of rolling a die? A longish board with a circular scoring/damage area at the end. Center = no damage, increasing damage for larger distance to the center. Think like curling or similar sports.

Or you could put up some kind of obstacle/thing/... that you must hit to prevent damage, maybe with different objects/object sizes for different kinds of damage. You hit it: no damage. You miss: damage (although it might be to easy to prevent damage).

If the first idea should be to easy, you could modify it by using a linear damage area (instead of a circular one) but the player has to hit the back wall first and score damage only on the rebound.


-----------------------------------------------------------
| | | | | | |
| -> | 2 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2 |back wall
| flick here | damage |dam.| |dam.| damage |
-----------------------------------------------------------


(instead of damage points those areas could of course represent parts of your chariot that get damaged).


Oh, if you put the damage track next to your board, it can be 5 feet long as well. That would allow you to have different starting positions for the "damage flick". Shorter distance for chariots in good condition, larger distance for broken chariots (or maybe just the other way round, needs to be tested from what distance it is more difficult to prevent damage).

Hope this didn't get too confusing. It definetly got longer than I expected
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Brent Lloyd
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Great Idea for a Game!
Love it!

I as well would advise against using rulers to move discs back, charts and such.

One issue I see is that the strongest shooter will likely win this game. Flicking games need to have a balance of finesse and strength to succeed.

To get around the strongest shooter wins, how about the debris being heavier discs made out of Stainless Steel (usually a metal shop can make these for a couple dollars each with a water cutter). This way the debris will still move around the board, but it is heavy and will slow down the wooden discs. Now folks have to aim their shots to get around the track.

I would also suggest trying some kind of foam on the rails to slow down chariots, I suspect a strong shooter would be able to go 3/4 of the way around the track with rubber all the way around. This would also increase the finesse by players wanting to avoid the rails, especially in the straight aways.

Other Ideas:

Each Player has Two discs: Horse disc and Chariot disc. The Chariot disc stays on the board and the Horse disc is placed on the board only to shoot. The horse disc is placed at least a discs width away from the Chariot and is flicked into the Chariot. The Horse disc is then removed from the board. The Player starts his turn from where the chariot ends up at the beginning of his turn.

I know, it seems backwards that the horse is "pushing" the chariot, however, it still is the Horses moving the Chariot. I also think it will work in combination with the above changes.

I like the idea of dice with different faces to deal damage. Perhaps each chariot has different zones, horses, wheels, driver and the dice deal different damage to those areas, when one area is full...bad stuff happens. No driver? Chariot still moves but player cannot win. No wheels? Chariot flips damaging all chariots within a certain radius, No Horses? More wreakage on track. That kind of thing.

I am suscribing to this thread and want to see how this turns out!

Peace
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Meaker VI
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Thunder wrote:
...how about the debris being heavier discs made out of Stainless Steel (usually a metal shop can make these for a couple dollars each with a water cutter).


I've remembered the name for something I saw that might fill a debris-type role:



They're called "bench cookies" and you put them under workpieces and over your bench in order to do sanding, staining, etc for woodworking. They don't move at all when on your bench - so perhaps a similar material to what they've got on them could be used for the tops & bottoms of the debris if you really want it to stay put.

Edit: These specific ones, however, are probably too large for use in the game. You'd need to make some that were smaller.
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Brent Lloyd
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I also wanted to add:

The original chariot races were three laps and they tipped elaborate dolphins and Eagles at each end of the arena to mark when the leader had passed. These would look great on your board.

They also used to have the races as teams where each team had up to three chariots. Maybe you could incorporate this idea into your rules. It would add more clutter to the board which would increase the finesse.

I used to love Circus Maximus! I have been thinking about this game since I read your original post earlier. Lots of great stuff to explore.

Three laps, really fast play...oh the excitement of flicking games!

I gotta admit I love Crokinole, Tactika, Catacombs, Snapshot and Ascending Empires, but Pitch Car left me cold for some reason I cannot put my finger on. This idea has me all fired up!

Peace
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Mike McDrunk
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Wow. Lots of posts. I'll have to go through and try and answer as much as possible. As for the flexible ruler. I agree that it won't work, it was just the first thing that popped into my mind. Maybe something like a gridded board? Like this:



Then you would just have to count spaces back instead of measuring.

I really like the idea of weighted metal obstacles/debris. I have good friends who are blacksmiths (I used to do it also as a hobby) so I'll hit them up for scraps and see it that works....
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Mike McDrunk
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Meaker VI wrote:
I don't like subtracting an arbitrary value from your range when you loose horses; I'd rather see you gain/loose flicks. Maybe you have 4 to start out with per turn, or maybe you start with fractions of a flick gained per horse (you start out with 4 horses at 1/4 flick per turn, if you loose a horse you get to flick 3/4 of the time). I also don't like that you have to move your pieces back to collision points- leave them free-floating (maybe the debris are "sticky" and backed with something that doesn't move as easily - cork or rubber, or are heavier than the regular discs). That way, you can accidentally hit your opponent after crashing. I'd think that this would also play reasonably well for many players, supposing they have sufficient damage tolerance to not die right off the bat.

Your current chariot is pretty nice looking - too bad you can't build those for distribution!


I'll have to try the subtracting/gaining flicks this weekend to see if that can work in the game. Thanks for that idea! I really like the idea of rubber obstacles discs that are heavier so they don't move as easy when hit.

The meeple-chariot really wasn't that hard to make however I'll probably just use flat boards representing the chariots. Something like this:

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Mike McDrunk
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bno70_1 wrote:
Holy Crap that looks awesome!

Ummm, as far as input, I'd say less dice rolling is better. If I were playing I'd want to do more flicking than rolling. By a lot. Also, seems like a lot of measuring, which would slow the game down. So, two things, less rolling and less measuring = more flicking. I do like damage and the broken wheels etc. I'd say the broken wheels stuck to the board just become obstructions, and rather than a player moving back to a wheel when he hits one, you just play your disk as it ends up, wherever that is. Damage and losing wheels is cool. Maybe it's quicker than rolling though and simpler. You take damage in a predetermined order, and lose wheels, horses, etc in that order. As far as the penalty for losing wheels and horses, maybe it's something absurdly simply like you have to flick with a worse finger, like your pinky, or even worse, the pinky of your off hand. Just brainstorming ideas to speed things up, cause measuring would bum me out as a player.

The game looks BOSS though. Wow.


I agree the measuring would be a pain, it was just the first thing I thought of. I might try the grid to see if that would be easier/quicker. Then you just have to count spaces back and it'd be quick and not hold up the game. I like the idea of predetermined damage order, I'll have to keep that in mind this weekend. Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it!
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Mike McDrunk
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JamesT wrote:
Wow this is a cool idea, and that board/track looks awesome!

As far as feedback, I love:
--the idea of three lanes on the curves
--the idea of debris on the track
--the idea of individual player chariot boards for tracking damage (and maybe weapons, upgrades, special driver powers, who knows what else – seems like a ton of possibilities here)
--the idea of intentional versus unintentional damage, which in game play terms seems to amount to having to “call your shot.”

I can’t say that I like:
--having to use a measuring tape (though I appreciate that it would be flexible for the turns)
--having to consult any charts.
I’m not saying that either idea is a total turn-off for me, just that neither sounds fun and so they would really have to be “worth it” in terms of adding something to the gameplay.

I’m with Meaker VI in that my first thought was “number of horses = number of flicks,” though 4 flicks does seem too much. Maybe combine it with Ben’s idea of using your offhand, i.e., 4 horses = 2 flicks with good hand, 3 horses = 2 flicks with off hand, 2 horses = 1 flick with good hand, etc. Or maybe your opponent gets to flick you back one in some cases. I’m not sure what would work best, just echoing Meaker’s and Ben’s comments that I’d explore flicking-oriented options like that rather than relying on measuring.

As for rolling dice and consulting charts, it’s the charts that concern me more than the dice rolling. One idea you might consider is customizing six-sided dice (with stickers) so that the varied results that you would have put on the chart are instead on the dice themselves. (Of course, with this approach you’re limited to fewer types of results, and you have to convey their meaning one a die face.) You could have different dice, e.g., one for intentional damage and one for unintentional damage.

One more idea to consider: Different-sized discs (presumably for horses vs. other debris). Catacombs has used this to great effect. I also like Meaker’s idea of rubber discs that wouldn’t slide, though in practice I don’t know how to make them/where to find them.

Anyway, again, totally cool idea!


Some great ideas. I really like the idea of customized dice with stickers. The really gets me thinking. And as for the different-sized discs, you read my mind - I was planning to do something that however I just haven't made it to that point yet.

Thanks for your input!
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Mike McDrunk
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gatchaman wrote:
Just from looking...some thoughts without playing obviously.

Are the inner rails actually worth going for? I would just skip them and flick it as hard as I can around the outside. I wouldn't imagine that the inner rails would speed you up very much. Something to watch for in playtesting, I guess.

Could you make the inner rails more elliptical, less of a perfect half-circle? Make the ends point a little bit out towards the side rails (I wish I could draw what I have in mind). More like an outside-inside-outside racing line, instead of a pure circle. That would make it easier to hit the inner rails and would be more likely to shoot the player out in the right direction.


I agree with you, I should have made the inner rails more elliptical as it's pretty hard to get into the innermost one. However if you do hit it right you can get some really distance on the disc and be set up to hit the opposite innermost rail. The downside is, if you miss your shot and hit the edge of the rail, you bounce back and could hit another chariot or debris.
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Mike McDrunk
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dmcke013 wrote:
I don't really know much about Crokinole (never having played it, or even seen it played), so a question: do all players flick at the same time, or take it in turns?

If the latter, then (as others have mentioned) I would go for allowing player 1 to have 'x' number of flicks (depending upon damage) before player 2 has any, and so on ...


Crokinole is back and forth between players, one player goes and then the next. It's really fun to play and I highly recommend it if you get a chance to play. Plus the boards are beautiful.

The problem I see with having one player 'x' number of flicks per turn is that could could easily lap someone with two flicks and if there are a bunch of player (say eight) it could mean down time while players wait their turns and I want this to keep moving at a reasonable pace.
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pinoeppel wrote:
How about using a smaller, second board where you flick for damage instead of rolling a die? A longish board with a circular scoring/damage area at the end. Center = no damage, increasing damage for larger distance to the center. Think like curling or similar sports.

Or you could put up some kind of obstacle/thing/... that you must hit to prevent damage, maybe with different objects/object sizes for different kinds of damage. You hit it: no damage. You miss: damage (although it might be to easy to prevent damage).

If the first idea should be to easy, you could modify it by using a linear damage area (instead of a circular one) but the player has to hit the back wall first and score damage only on the rebound.


-----------------------------------------------------------
| | | | | | |
| -> | 2 | 1 | 0 | 1 | 2 |back wall
| flick here | damage |dam.| |dam.| damage |
-----------------------------------------------------------


(instead of damage points those areas could of course represent parts of your chariot that get damaged).


Oh, if you put the damage track next to your board, it can be 5 feet long as well. That would allow you to have different starting positions for the "damage flick". Shorter distance for chariots in good condition, larger distance for broken chariots (or maybe just the other way round, needs to be tested from what distance it is more difficult to prevent damage).

Hope this didn't get too confusing. It definitely got longer than I expected


I like this idea, I have a Glide: Tabletop Shuffleboard that I got real cheap that I could convert to something like this or just build something with the scraps left over from constructions of the board.
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Mike McDrunk
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Austin
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Thunder wrote:
Great Idea for a Game!
Love it!

I as well would advise against using rulers to move discs back, charts and such.

One issue I see is that the strongest shooter will likely win this game. Flicking games need to have a balance of finesse and strength to succeed.

To get around the strongest shooter wins, how about the debris being heavier discs made out of Stainless Steel (usually a metal shop can make these for a couple dollars each with a water cutter). This way the debris will still move around the board, but it is heavy and will slow down the wooden discs. Now folks have to aim their shots to get around the track.

I would also suggest trying some kind of foam on the rails to slow down chariots, I suspect a strong shooter would be able to go 3/4 of the way around the track with rubber all the way around. This would also increase the finesse by players wanting to avoid the rails, especially in the straight aways.

Other Ideas:

Each Player has Two discs: Horse disc and Chariot disc. The Chariot disc stays on the board and the Horse disc is placed on the board only to shoot. The horse disc is placed at least a discs width away from the Chariot and is flicked into the Chariot. The Horse disc is then removed from the board. The Player starts his turn from where the chariot ends up at the beginning of his turn.

I know, it seems backwards that the horse is "pushing" the chariot, however, it still is the Horses moving the Chariot. I also think it will work in combination with the above changes.

I like the idea of dice with different faces to deal damage. Perhaps each chariot has different zones, horses, wheels, driver and the dice deal different damage to those areas, when one area is full...bad stuff happens. No driver? Chariot still moves but player cannot win. No wheels? Chariot flips damaging all chariots within a certain radius, No Horses? More wreckage on track. That kind of thing.

I am subscribing to this thread and want to see how this turns out!

Peace



I really like the idea about the debris being heavier discs made out of Stainless Steel. I will definitely be looking into that. Thanks for the idea. I really think the idea of the horse pushing the chariot as brilliant and will be trying that out this weekend! I didn't think about rubber around the outer rim. I'm using very cheap bendable foam molding from Home Depot however rubber strips would work really well. Thank you very much for the ideas!
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Brent Lloyd
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League City
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mcdrunk wrote:
I really like the idea about the debris being heavier discs made out of Stainless Steel. I will definitely be looking into that. Thanks for the idea. I really think the idea of the horse pushing the chariot as brilliant and will be trying that out this weekend! I didn't think about rubber around the outer rim. I'm using very cheap bendable foam molding from Home Depot however rubber strips would work really well. Thank you very much for the ideas!


Yer welcome.

I love these kinds of games.

Peace
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Brent Lloyd
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So how did your playtesting work out?

Peace
 
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P. oeppel
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Thunder wrote:
So how did your playtesting work out?

Peace


I'm soo curious as well.....probably he's still busy testing all the numerous suggestions people made
 
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