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Subject: The National Parks Game - a quick, simple deckbuilder rss

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Timothy Goddard
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About a year ago, my wife and I came up with the idea for a card game based on the US National Park system.The idea went through several iterations without even making it to a prototype, but a while ago we hit on the idea of doing it as a quick, simple deckbuilding game, and from there things have seemed to fall into place with a pleasant amount of ease. We've now got prototypes inbound from the printer, so I thought it would be a good time to get some BGG perspectives on the concept and rules, plus (hopefully) playtesters. So, without further ado...

The National Parks Game
A 2-player deck building game.

Object of the Game
Create the greatest collection of national parks by establishing the parks worth the most victory points.

Game Contents
21 National Park cards - each has a combination of natural feature icons required to establish the park (wildlife, tree, water, mountain, geothermal, geology & desert), as well as a victory point value.

85 Feature cards - Each feature card has a set of one, two or three feature icons that can be used to establish a national park, or to claim additional feature cards and add them to your deck.


Setting up the Game
Each player starts with a 10-card deck that includes six Elk cards (1 wildlife icon) and four Northern Red Oak cards (1 tree icon).

Shuffle the National Park cards and deal three to each player. Each player looks at their National Park cards and places them face down. The rest of the National Park cards make up the National Park deck.

The feature cards are shuffled and dealt into a row of five. (the feature row). The rest of the feature deck is placed next to the row.

Everyone draws a hand of five cards and the game begins.

Playing the Game - Turn Phases
Park Phase - At the beginning of your turn, you may trade in one of your park cards by placing it on the bottom of the National Park Deck and drawing a new one, or establish one or more National Parks by matching their feature icons with a combination of cards from your hand and "preserved" cards (see the next step). Place the established National Park card face up on top of the cards used to establish it, and draw a new card from the National Park deck.

Preservation Phase - Save any number of feature cards for later use in establishing a park. Announce the name of a card in your hand and place it face-up on top of one of your National Park cards. These cards can later be used to establish this park (but only this park!) Once cards are "preserved," they may not be returned to your hand or deck.

Explore Phase - Claim one card from the feature row by spending a number of feature icons from cards in your hand equal to the cost in the upper-right corner of the feature card. Put this card, and all cards used to explore it, in your discard pile. After claiming this card, refill the row with another card from the feature deck.

End of Turn - Put all cards remaining in your hand into your discard pile and draw five more cards. If at any point you need to draw cards, but there are not enough cards in your deck, shuffle your discard pile and place it face down as your deck.

Ending the Game
The game ends after twelve total National Parks have been established, or there are no more cards in the feature deck. If a player ends the game by establishing the twelfth park or drawing the last feature card, the next player(s) get one final turn to establish any parks they can, using cards in their hand or preserved cards.

Whoever has established the National Parks worth the most victory points is the winner!

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In addition to the above, there are a few special feature cards with special game effects, but nothing that massively alters gameplay.

I'm open to all suggestions, thoughts and questions. I'd also like to gauge the interest in playtesting, either as PnP or, if you're in the Puget Sound area, I'll have some loaner copies available when they get in from the printers.
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Jack Neal
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Keep us in the loop!
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Timothy Goddard
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Thanks, will do. I'm hoping the general quietness around here is because there are no significant holes in the rules, not because the theme is just uninteresting.

At any rate, I thought I'd add some visual information, because I think that's one of the areas this game shines.

The two card types:


Game setup:

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Matt Olmstead
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I like the theme a lot and am very interested in this. Will be able to look more at the rules this afternoon. First impressions look great. Please keep us posted. Thanks
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Timothy Goddard
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Thanks for the encouragement. This is me, keeping you posted.

The prototype arrived tonight, which means we finally got to play with nice looking cards--the game is a lot more fun when it's not being played with playing cards marked up with sharpies, let me tell you (and honestly, I thought it was pretty fun even then).



I've got extra copies of the prototype, and I'd love to give at least one of them to someone on BGG in exchange for some playtesting. If you'd like a chance at a free game, go here: http://eepurl.com/jcDkD
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Looks great and love the theme.

You should create a BGG entry for this, I will subscribe and put it on my wishlist
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Timothy Goddard
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JohnnyDollar wrote:
Looks great and love the theme.

You should create a BGG entry for this, I will subscribe and put it on my wishlist


Thanks! I've been trying to decide if/when to do this. I just might make it happen.
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Timothy Goddard
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The National Parks Game now has a BGG page! (And I now have a 'game designer' badge that I hope doesn't look too pretentious...)
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Freelance Police
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Have you tried pitching the game to Sierra Madre Games? They do a number of ecologically aware boardgames and are most likely to appreciate the theme better. Ask Phil Eklund if he's like a complimenatary copy of your game.
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Timothy Goddard
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Sam and Max wrote:
Have you tried pitching the game to Sierra Madre Games? They do a number of ecologically aware boardgames and are most likely to appreciate the theme better. Ask Phil Eklund if he's like a complimenatary copy of your game.


Certainly can't hurt. Thanks for the tip.
 
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Mike Fox
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My family and I are huge fans of National Parks and State Parks, thus I find your game concept very intriguing. I'll take a closer look when I have time, but this thread caught my eye if you know what I mean.
 
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Timothy Goddard
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It's been a while, and some other things got in the way, but we're still at work on this. The first round of playtesting produced some really excellent enhancements and I'm pretty pleased with how it's shaping up.

We're looking for another round of playtesters, so if you haven't already, please sign up at http://eepurl.com/jcDkD as we've got some new copies to give away. If you've already signed up there, you'll be getting an email with some updates shortly.

I'm also hoping to do some live playtesting in the Seattle area, so shoot me an email or geekmail if you're interested in that.
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Kenny VenOsdel
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Sounds interesting. I signed up.
 
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James Bentley
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Just signed up. My wife & I really like the theme of this game.
 
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