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Rocco Privetera
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CRASH LANDING is a solitaire game using a traditional deck of cards to simulate a landing space ship, fighting off gravity and landing safely. If it reminds you of "Lunar Lander" that's because it is more or less a clone of the old arcade game concept.

This is an entry in the Solitaire PnP Game Contest!

It's super simple, easy to setup and takes 15-20 minutes per round to play.

What I enjoy about it most now that I've been playtesting it with my group are the variations, especially the race variant. Trying to race down to the surface and back up again has resulted in wrecks nearly all the time, which I approve of.

You can find the rules/example of play file here:
http://www.mightyfistgames.com/design/CrashLanding.pdf

It's not as sexy to show the "art" given that it's just poker cards, but here is a sample shot of a turn starting position:


I suppose this isn't as meaty as some of my other additions to the contest, but there's always room for an additional poker solitaire game, right? Besides, if I travel with a card deck, I gotta do something other than playing Freecell. Rescuing a planet-bound person on a high-gravity world with my out-of-control lander is a better use of my time.

Enjoy it, let me know what you think, critiques always welcome!

-Rocco

Edited 5/21/2012: Rules updated to fix speed crashing issue and a few typos.

Edited 7/24/2012: New Rules, updated rulebook.
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Dustin Rhodes
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
Yay I've been waiting for some traditional solitaire games! I'll play this one tonight and let you know how it goes. After looking over the rules real quick I'm tempted to just use an 7 covered up an appropriate amount by a second card turned over (euchre scoring style) for speed. I can just see myself not being able to tell where the card is on some of the diagonal numbers (ie is that a 1 or a 2?)
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Rocco Privetera
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
I thought of a number of ways for speed - that makes a lot of sense too!
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Chris Hansen
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
The rules say you crash on a speed greater than 3. Does this mean you can land on a speed of 3? If so, does it score anything?
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Rocco Privetera
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
My bad - it should be, on a speed of 1 you "soft" land and score points equal to the remaining value of rocket cards; on a speed of 2 you barely land and score points equal to half the remaining rocket cards, and on a speed of 3 or better the ship is destroyed. I'll fix the rules.

Thanks for the heads up!
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Dustin Rhodes
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
Played the game a couple times, here's some thoughts, hopefully they are helpful.

-the gameplay fits the theme amazingly well. You really did capture the feel of lunar landar

-"The ALTITUDE pile consists of all the nines, tens, and face
cards (20 cards)" The 20 cards thing here messed me up a bit as it's only 18. I'm guessing it's just a typo as later you say 18

-does the "lander" joker do anything?

-the wording for find a rocket seems awkward. At first I thought you could search for the one you wanted (since it used the word find) but after reading it fully I realized it was just a lot of text to say "draw a card".

-burn a rocket makes sense and is great thematically but I might change it to just say play a rocket card. That might be just me though.

-Do I score points for unused rockets in my hand?

-The game seemed like it could use a bit more strategy, the value of rocket cards I drew seemed to have a big effect compared to how I played. I can expand on this if you want but I know it's hard to have much strategy in a solitaire, standard deck of cards only, game so I don't know if you plan on working more on the rules besides fixes

- the variants are fun and to some extent fix the last problem. As long as I kept trying knew things the game stayed fun.
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Rocco Privetera
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
nitsudrhodes wrote:
Played the game a couple times, here's some thoughts, hopefully they are helpful.

-the gameplay fits the theme amazingly well. You really did capture the feel of lunar landar


Thanks!

Quote:
-"The ALTITUDE pile consists of all the nines, tens, and face
cards (20 cards)" The 20 cards thing here messed me up a bit as it's only 18. I'm guessing it's just a typo as later you say 18

Wait... isn't it 4 suits of the 9, the 10, the jack, the queen and the king? That should be 4x5 or twenty cards? The 18 cards was just on the example turn drawing.

Quote:
-does the "lander" joker do anything?

Nope. It's just there to provide a place to put the speed joker to the left and right of.

Quote:
-the wording for find a rocket seems awkward. At first I thought you could search for the one you wanted (since it used the word find) but after reading it fully I realized it was just a lot of text to say "draw a card".

Yeah, I was confusing gameplay with backstory. I can reword that.

Quote:
-burn a rocket makes sense and is great thematically but I might change it to just say play a rocket card. That might be just me though.

See above.

Quote:
-Do I score points for unused rockets in my hand?

I think the scoring says something like "remaining rocket cards" so yeah its in hand and in the rocket pile. I should clarify that.

Quote:
-The game seemed like it could use a bit more strategy, the value of rocket cards I drew seemed to have a big effect compared to how I played. I can expand on this if you want but I know it's hard to have much strategy in a solitaire, standard deck of cards only, game so I don't know if you plan on working more on the rules besides fixes


there's some strategy, mostly with balancing out when to play cards. I might need to add some more hand management into the game (like have a hand limit) to make it more difficult if the basic game too easy. You think it was too easy?

Quote:
- the variants are fun and to some extent fix the last problem. As long as I kept trying knew things the game stayed fun.


yeah - not sure if I should make on the variants the base game instead. I'll consider it based on feedback. Thanks!
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Dustin Rhodes
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
Quote:
Wait... isn't it 4 suits of the 9, the 10, the jack, the queen and the king? That should be 4x5 or twenty cards? The 18 cards was just on the example turn drawing.


Wow I don't know what I was thinking your totally right. My brain just broke for a bit there....


Quote:

there's some strategy, mostly with balancing out when to play cards. I might need to add some more hand management into the game (like have a hand limit) to make it more difficult if the basic game too easy. You think it was too easy?


Oh yeah there is some strategy for sure. I can't just play randomly and hope to win. I guess what I meant to say is that there is really only 1 good strategy when going for a high score. You want to use as few rockets as possible so it's a good idea not to slow yourself down whenever it won't cause you to crash. Then on turns you will crash attempt to slow yourself down just enough so that you can have 1 altitude left and then play a rocket matching your speed.

I did think it was to easy to win (for the base game, not the variants), and when I lost I felt like it was just because I was going for a high score and took unnecessary risks. 2 player "race" worked especially well as I had to measure my altitude against my opponents and judge if it was riskier to not fire a rocket and possibly crash next turn or to fire a rocket and have my opponent get to the ground faster.

I think hand management is a great idea for a variant version. Not sure exactly how it would work but I can see it adding some choices. I was also considering a variant where I had 2 piles of rockets 1 small (1-4) and 1 large (5-8) so I can have some choice as to what rockets I'm getting. Or playing it with a gin style 1 card up or top card of the deck type choice.
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Chris Hansen
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
I played through the basic game tonight. I won using only three cards and landing with a speed of one. I need to try out some of the advanced games since the basic seemed a little too easy. (Then again, maybe all my Lunar Lander experience gave me an unfair advantage.)

I liked the game, but on future plays I'll definitely use some of the harder varieties.

I think one other modification you could make to increase the difficulty is to limit the hand size. I was able to get a very large hands with all the varieties of rocket size I could possibly need.
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Rocco Privetera
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
Whoa, only three cards? You mean you accumulated a big hand and then only burned three rocket cards to slow down enough to stop?

I played a number of games of it when I tested, and while the basic game seemed straightforward, I never had one that easy, but I was more just playing for fun, not to do as little as possible. I better look at it again.

One thing I can easily check is the acceleration/drop rates. for example, if you work out the following:
turn/final Speed/Altitude
0 - 1 - 20
1 - 2 - 18
2 - 3 - 15
3 - 4 - 11
4 - 5 - 6 player plays five card in hand
5 - 1 - 5
6 - 2 - 3 player plays ace in hand
7 - 2 - 1 player plays two in hand
8 - 1 - 0
...yeah you can win with three.
I'll try a couple of hand limitation variants I've been toying with. Two of them are:
1. You have to fire *pairs* of rockets (i.e. you need a pair of cards to use them)
2. You have a hand size of two, maximum (the one you find and the one you are carrying thematically).

Thanks for the feedback!

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Chris Hansen
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Re: WIP: CRASH LANDING (2012 Solitaire Traditional Card entry) Public Playtesting phase
Rocconteur wrote:
Whoa, only three cards? You mean you accumulated a big hand and then only burned three rocket cards to slow down enough to stop?

Yes, I had a huge hand but only actually used three cards. I drew and played an 8 early in the game which put me in the negative for quite a while. I used this time to just draw cards while the speed gradually increased. When I had only one altitude card left, I was descending at a speed of 4 so I played a four card (I had two or three in my hand) and easily won. I'm sure there was some lucky card draws in there. I thought the game captured the feel of Lunar Lander pretty well.

By the way, you can get a copy of Lunar Lander from Taco Bell right now. They are giving away old Atari games as Kid's Meal toys. I have all of them except Centipede. My three-year-old daughter sat on my lap and watched me play Asteroids and Lunar Lander for about half-an-hour yesterday.
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Rocco Privetera
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Now that I got some of my more complicated games out of the way I spent some time working on CRASH LANDING. This new version seems pretty solid - you don't always win, you don't always lose. And well the end of the month is coming so here it is.

Basically what I changed was:

1. You can only have 6 rockets in your hand at any one time.
2. You can both draw a new rocket and burn rockets in the same turn. So you draw a rocket, maybe discarding one if your hand is now over 6, and then you burn rockets (if you want).
3. When the speed Joker is ON the lander, the speed is zero. When the Speed Joker is to the right of the lander that represents speeds from 1-8. When the speed joker is to the LEFT of the lander that represents speeds from -1 to -8. This seemed a little more uniform than the old way.
4. Most importantly: When you burn rockets, you have to burn them in pairs. So to get 3 points of burn, you need to burn a 3 card on the "left" and a 3 card on the "right" (otherwise the Lander tips over, dontcha know).
Of course you don't always have pairs handy, so your other option is to burn more than 1 card on a side to make both sides match up (a 3 on the left and a 2 and an Ace on the right for example).

The new rules and examples are up a the links at the thread start.

This seems like it's pretty well done. If anybody has feedback, much obliged. Now: off to save the astronauts!
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Simon Woodward
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When I saw the graphic, I thought, "Hey look it's a game with a traditional card deck that uses a cool play mat to provide structure and theme. What a great idea!". It made me think, wow, you could make all kinds of play mats that work with traditional cards...

... but it's not a play mat, is it...

... yet ...

Edit: I really like playmat driven games, like Lord of the Rings: The Adventure Deck Game and A.D. 30.
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St.John McCloskey
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I know I'm late to the party, but this game is fun!
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Gord Pratt
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manukajoe wrote:
... but it's not a play mat, is it...... yet ...


That's an interesting idea. I can see how you could make a play mat to track altitude and speed and then just use the "rocket" cards in actual play. I'll have to try the game a few times first, but I might experiment with making a fan-inspired mat.
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Rocco Privetera
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A lot has happened to me in almost 4 years since this game was made for the contest. including me actually having games published (Ninja Dice) but seeing folks enjoying this game is giving me a kick like you won't believe.
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Gord Pratt
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I did make a fan inspired mat for this one!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/c4kzqtt63v04a4t/Crash%20Landing%20...
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