Sturv Tafvherd
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Saving this top post to contain the latest info on the game

9/22/2012 -- First Draft -- click for more! excerpt below
Stormtower wrote:
Building Under Quarantine
a poor man's Pandemic
(first draft)



Overview
The occupants of a building has been struck by three different diseases! You are in charge of a disease control team. And your task is to treat, identify, and eradicate the diseases before it spreads out of control.

What you need
A standard deck of 52 cards
One of the two joker cards; or a token (like a coin, or the salt shaker)

... (snip)

Victory:
If all three diseases are eradicated (during the Treatment phase), then you win the game.

Defeat:
If you have more than 10 cards in the calamity pile (during the Research phase), then you lose the game; or,
If a floor would have more than 9 cards (during the Infection phase), then you lose the game.


... discussion to follow below.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Re: (WIP) Building Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic
Saving this second spot to contain a historical list of links on the progress / development of the game.

9/22/2012 -- Introduction
9/22/2012 -- First Draft
9/23/2012 -- Feedback Poll - First Draft
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Re: (WIP) Building Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic
Introduction
This is certainly in response to an upcoming contest here on BGG:
Design Challenge - a 54 card deck solitaire game, with the following requirements:
Which listed features of ...
Blue Steel wrote:

1. To be played with a deck of 54 or less cards...
2. Have few, if any, other components.
3. Start with the entire deck shuffled randomly....
4. Offer more strategy and tactics than luck.
5. Be quite difficult overall ....
6. Have many difficult choices throughout the course of the game.
7. Offer tremendous replayability
8. Provide a really rich and interesting theme.
9. Primary mechanism favoring a spatial or organizational protracted "puzzling out of the best move among several options" rather than a mere push-your-luck decision over and over....


I've added a 10th feature, primarily because I wanted to allow people to play the game without having to print out special cards.

10. Uses a standard deck of cards.


I've been played some Pandemic, but more recently, I got into introducing Infection Express to my 6 year old. He enjoys it a lot; but I fear of losing the little cubes to the antics of my 1-yr old who sometimes sits in my lap while I play.

And since the Pandemic game flow just "naturally" plays as a solitaire (ok, call it Alpha Player, if you want) ... I began thinking of a way to make it a game that uses just a standard-deck-of-cards.

This is certainly a work in progress. And I'm not quite sure if I'm going to meet all of the contest's requirements satisfactorily.

One of my main concerns is whether there really is any strategy to this game, or if it is just a bunch of "false decision points" that are already pre-determined once you finished shuffling the cards.

At any rate, the game plays between 5 to 20 minutes, so I hope that anyone interested would be able to quickly play the game and send me feedback!

(yeah, i know ... games that range from 5 to 20 minutes is a red flag for "it's just random!" ... but I'm hoping you guys think otherwise)

... Game Rules to follow in next post ...
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Re: (WIP) Building Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic
Building Under Quarantine
a poor man's Pandemic
(first draft)



Overview
The occupants of a building has been struck by three different diseases! You are in charge of a disease control team. And your task is to treat, identify, and eradicate the diseases before it spreads out of control.

What you need
A standard deck of 52 cards
One of the two joker cards; or a token (like a coin, or the salt shaker)

Setup
Place the joker card or the token in the middle of the play area. This marks your starting position, which is in the middle section of the 2nd floor of the building.

Shuffle the deck, and draw a hand of cards, replacing any card(s) of the club suit until you have seven cards (place any club card into the discard pile). Position these seven cards onto the table, by matching the position diagram below.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xx xx xx xx
xx xx xx xx
xx A K Q J xx 10 9 8 7 6 xx 5 4 3 2 xx
xx of Hearts xx of Hearts xx of Hearts xx
xx xx xx xx
xx xx xx xx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xx xx xx xx
xx xx xx xx
xx A K Q J xx 10 9 8 7 6 xx 5 4 3 2 xx
xx of Spades xx of Spades xx of Spades xx
xx xx (start xx xx
xx xx position) xx xx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xx xx xx xx
xx xx xx xx
xx A K Q J xx 10 9 8 7 6 xx 5 4 3 2 xx
xx of Diamonds xx of Diamonds xx of Diamonds xx
xx xx xx xx
xx xx xx xx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This essentially describes three floors; bottom floor of Diamonds, middle floor of Spades, top floor of Hearts. Each floor has three sections; the Ace and Face cards occupy the left side of the building, values 5-and-below occupy the right side, and the rest are in the middle. You can move from one adjacent section to the next on each floor as an action (described later), but the only way to move from one floor to another is to use the elevator located in the center section.

Each of the Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds suits is a particular disease, and each card is a victim of the disease matching their suit. (The club suit is used for something else).

In the course of the game, you will be placing new cards (newly infected victims) into their sections, and you will need to remove cards (treat the disease) from those sections.

In the course of the game, you will also have cards in the deck and in various piles (discard, calamity, research, eradicated). The cards in the deck are face-down and will remain unrevealed until you draw from it. On the other hand, you may examine the contents of any of the piles, and even sort or rearrange the cards in the piles.

Gameplay
The game cycles through three phases in the following order: Treatment, Research, Infection. You will be drawing cards from the deck, and occasionally placing them into the discard pile. If you need to draw a card, and the deck is empty, then shuffle the discard pile into a new deck.

Treatment Phase
You may take 4 actions. Each action must be selected from the 3 choices detailed below:

-- Move. You may move from one section (or room) to an adjacent section within the same floor; or, if you are in the center section, then you may move to any center section of a different floor.

-- Treat. You may remove one card in your section; or, if you have at least three research cards of the matching suit in the research pile, then you may remove all cards of that suit in your section.

-- Eradicate. If all cards on the floor have been removed, AND you have at least three research cards of the matching suit, then the disease has been "eradicated". Move the research cards of that suit out of the research pile and into the "eradicated pile".

If all three diseases are eradicated, then you win the game.


Research Phase
Draw 4 cards from the deck into your hand. You must keep any cards of the club suit. You have the option to select any card(s) with a non-club suit, and replace these cards from the deck. You may take that select-and-replace option up to two times each research cycle.

Next, set aside the club cards onto a pile we'll call the "calamity pile". If you have more than 10 cards in the calamity pile, then you lose the game.

Next, from the remaining cards in your hand, select one suit, and set the matching cards aside in a pile we'll call the "research pile".

Discard any cards still in your hand.


Infection Phase
Count the number of cards in the "calamity pile". Draw an equal number of cards from the deck into your hand.

Discard any card of the club suit. Also discard any card of a suit that has been "eradicated". You may also select one card matching a suit of a card in your "research pile" and discard the card from your hand.

Position the remaining cards onto the table, by matching the position diagram (see setup).

Exceptions:
-- if a section has more than 3 cards, the excess cards are placed in an adjacent section instead. (repeat as necessary until you have 3 cards in each of the 3 sections.)
-- if a floor would have more than 9 cards, then you lose the game.


Victory:
If all three diseases are eradicated (during the Treatment phase), then you win the game.

Defeat:
If you have more than 10 cards in the calamity pile (during the Research phase), then you lose the game; or,
If a floor would have more than 9 cards (during the Infection phase), then you lose the game.
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Re: (WIP) Building Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic
Very interesting! I may have to try this next time I have 20 free minutes. I've subscribed as I want to see how this pans out.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Re: (WIP) Building Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic
Tyraziel wrote:
Very interesting! I may have to try this next time I have 20 free minutes. I've subscribed as I want to see how this pans out.


Thanks for reading! I definitely look forward to your feedback.


Just some additional designer's notes below. I enjoy sharing as much as I can about how my game development process progressed. I'm not gloating or bragging about it -- it's far from perfect. But since I know how ignorant I was about how this was done back when I first started reading this forum, I think I'm not the only one who has learned from the other people posting on these forums.

So I want to share how this game developed thus far....



This is definitely just a first draft of the rules, a quick mind-dump of the past 24 hours. I've only played about 10 test-games of this, only the last 3 being of this specific version.

The first 7 games were based on rules as they percolated in my head. It started from having just 5 cards in the starting-setup, and requiring the full 13 clubs in the calamity pile to lose ... and that proved to be far too easy of a game.

So by the time I wrote the first draft, I had already revised it to 7 for starting "infecteds", and only 11-and-up ("more than 10") in the calamity pile to lose.

(depending on what I perceive to be the difficulty level of the game, I may push it to a "you lose when calamity pile has 10-and-up")

exception/border testing during the first 7 games also led to the "lose when floor is more-than-full rule ("more than 9"). I waffled a bit on letting infections spread beyond the floor, but the number of cards in each suit prevented that (thankfully leading to an easy design decision).

(note: switching to the tougher calamity pile would make it "match" the "more-than-9" floor rule)


SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
(do not read if you want to figure out strategy/tactics)
Spoiler (click to reveal)

From what I can see, the crucial strategy/tactics in this game are:
-- in the way the player selects movement vs treatment actions;
-- in the selection of research options (focus on existing suit in research pile? push your luck in the re-draws?)
-- and in the selection of the card discarded during the infection phase (the one that matched one of your research pile suits)


There is also some "awareness" or card-counting skill involved, since you can review the contents of the various face-up piles, and determine your risks of drawing cards from the deck.


SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!
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changed subject line to

(WIP) Building Under Quarantine; a poor man's Pandemic (Light Solitaire, standard deck)


Also ... a Poll!

Poll
For those who don't want to make a long reply, but have played a few games of the first draft, here's an easy way to leave me some useful feedback!
Did you enjoy the game?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
1 -- Hate it, I won't play this anymore
0.0% 0
2 -- It can use improvements (please post suggestions!)
0.0% 0
3 -- It's okay, good to scratch that Pandemic itch
0.0% 0
4 -- I love it as-is!
0.0% 0
Voters 0
number of games (first draft version) played ...
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
just 1 or 2 games
0.0% 0
3 to 5 games
0.0% 0
6 or more games
0.0% 0
Voters 0
How long did it take to play? (if it took you more than 30 minutes, please let me know what happened ... maybe the rules were not clear, and that led to complications during the game)
  between 5 and 10 minutes between 10 and 15 minutes between 15 and 20 minutes between 20 and 25 minutes more than 25 minutes Vote Count
one of my games took ... 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0
two of my games took ... 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0
three of my games took ... 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0
four of my games took ... 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0
five (or more) of my games took ... 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0.0% (0) 0
Total Voters 0
This poll is now closed.   0 answers
Poll created by Stormtower
Closes: Mon Oct 15, 2012 6:00 am
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Ronald Pehr
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Several times in the rule, and then in your comment, you refer to "seven" starting infections. But the set-up diagram has nine spaces. Is "seven" a typo or am I misreading something else in the rules?
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Josh Bodah
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I tried to play through this, but the rules were really confusing. There are too many discard piles, and the rules don't really specify which ones to use when. Does my calamity pile start with cards? I went 3 turns before I added any cards to it (if I played correctly)

On a side note, something to think about: one of the things that makes Pandemic work (and Forbidden Island) is the fact that the location deck gets added back to the top of the location pile on an Epidemic causing locations in trouble to be infected again. This game has more of a Red November feel where things happen all over the place and you need to take care of them all.

So I'm not sure I'd say this scratches the Pandemic itch for me without that component (I may have been playing wrong and not noticed it)
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Sturv Tafvherd
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ravensron wrote:
Several times in the rule, and then in your comment, you refer to "seven" starting infections. But the set-up diagram has nine spaces. Is "seven" a typo or am I misreading something else in the rules?


There are nine sections, but only a few of them will get filled at setup. (seven at the most, more likely to be 4 or 5, with some sections having two cards)
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Sturv Tafvherd
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hiimjosh wrote:
I tried to play through this, but the rules were really confusing. There are too many discard piles, and the rules don't really specify which ones to use when. Does my calamity pile start with cards? I went 3 turns before I added any cards to it (if I played correctly)

On a side note, something to think about: one of the things that makes Pandemic work (and Forbidden Island) is the fact that the location deck gets added back to the top of the location pile on an Epidemic causing locations in trouble to be infected again. This game has more of a Red November feel where things happen all over the place and you need to take care of them all.

So I'm not sure I'd say this scratches the Pandemic itch for me without that component (I may have been playing wrong and not noticed it)


I will work on making things clearer. but to address your question, there is only one discard pile. the calamity pile is a separate pile.

i like that idea that an epidemic causes a reshuffle... completely forgot that feature of pandemic and forbidden island! i will have to consider adding that in. thanks
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