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120

By Zermelo's Theorem, every 2 player game has one of the following: Chance Hidden information (this also includes simultaneous moves) Either first or second player has a strategy that will guarantee them the win Both players can guarantee a draw (or force the game to go on forever) Any game that has (1) is clearly out. Any game that has (2) is also out ...


75

“Agricola” is the Latin word for “farmer” (dictionary). It is derived from “ager” (“field”) and “-cola” (“-tiller”, “-cultivator”). “Agriculture” shares the same root, and so does “acre” (albeit indirectly). That a Roman general had it as his last name is unrelated.


40

I find it a bit odd to include the first move advantage in chess as an element of luck -- it assumes that luck is involved in choosing the color, but that choice isn't usually seen as part of the game, more of the tournament organization. But there are a few ways to fix it. The most obvious and usual is to play multiple matches, with alternating colors. ...


31

The biggest thing I can think of is limited knowledge. Hanabi is a cooperative game where each player has access to different information (no one can see the cards in his or her own hand, but can see everyone else's cards). As soon as different players have access to different information, playing by yourself becomes impossible. The other examples I can ...


26

Consider the game of go, where Black starts, but White gets a number of points (the komi) to balance the advantage of Black's first move. Now, of course this may still not lead to an absolutely balanced game, but the complexity of the game pretty much swamps the remaining difference. From a purely theoretical standpoint the game is still a win for either ...


20

Doing some research shows you will still 5-9 range but it will be slightly more when you are using d4. Now if that difference causes a problem that would be up to you to decide. One other thing to note is you will no longer be able to roll a 2. This comes from https://anydice.com/program/51b6 # | % for 2d6 | % for 3d4 | 2 | 2.777778 | 0....


19

Whatever non-expert game you play (Monopoly, snakes and ladders, etc.), rolling a 6 is good, rolling a 1 is bad. So I'd say "You win if you roll a 4 or more" is the most intuitive way to speak to a non-gamer.


19

Send the rules. Fear of having your idea copied/stolen is a uniquely amateur mentality. Daniel Solis (designer) and Gil Hova (publisher who references other publishers) cover the topic well in their articles about this very topic. Additionally, there is this entry on BGG. They all conclude that you should not worry about someone stealing your idea. The ...


16

Simultaneous choice is another method of forcing players to stumble over each other a bit. Space Hulk Death Angel uses this to great effect - players have to choose between their available actions, placing the card facedown, before all choices are revealed simultaneously and then executed in order. Robo Rally can be played in teams, and there you can really ...


15

Not sure how applicable it is, since it never had an actual physical card-based implementation (and ergo isn't strictly on-topic for this site), but Alteil was an online game based on CCG deck-building mechanics. While the original Japanese game still appears to be in active development, this answer is based on the English localization of it that has been ...


14

Why the phrasing "conceded to X"? A person just concedes, states they will not win. They don't get to pick who wins. Whoever has the most points wins. You can't win by giving up when you happen to have the most points. Imagine on the first few turns I buy a dev card, it's a point, so I concede to a randomly-chosen 2-point player and the game ends ...


13

Designer and sometimes attendee at design group BOGA DAP here. I'll share my personal experiences and preferences. As a tester, to feel good about the event: In general, I prefer the game to be taught as if you were teaching an already-published game. If you are getting a blind playtest, or testing the ability of players to learn from a rulebook, then I ...


13

There are several ways to implement timers in board games Tokens. Games like Paper Tales or Pixel Tactics (starting from 2nd set) use addition/removal of tokens from game components to track passage of time. Like this: this option works well for cards (or other components you can easily store tokens upon) with relatively small number of simultaneous ...


12

The card game "Set" may qualify. (Your requirements are awfully stringent but also not precisely defined, so you may disagree on a technicality—but I believe it fits.) It's described as the "Family game of visual perception," which is a good description. There are no turns. Twelve cards are dealt, and as soon as you see a set you call out "set" and then ...


12

In general, rolling more, smaller dice will give a narrower range of possible answers and a distribution that's more concentrated around the average value, compared to rolling fewer, larger dice. This is easy to see by looking at the extremes: rolling a single d12 will give every value between 1 and 12 with equal probability (broad range, no peak at all)...


11

No matter what method you decide on, you will need to keep track of two things, the current turn order and the next turn order. I have a few options you could try: Two Tracks You can simply have two tracks that will show current and next turn orders. This is a simple solution, players can all stay in their seats and the turn will just jump around the table,...


11

Is there any way to design the end of the track such that over-rolls do not lead to any confusion? Write "If your roll is enough to move up to or past the end, you win. If you roll 5 when you're 3 spaces from the end, that counts as winning." on the board, or in the game rules, or even on the end tile itself (with slightly different phrasing). Designing ...


11

When I've put out games in the past, there have usually been two goals in font selection: Fonts that are easy to read at the angle the player will be looking from. Fonts that evoke the setting of the game. For example, The Golden Wilderness is set in colonial California, so a typeface that was widely used in the 1700s helps evoke the setting. There's ...


11

If you are looking to prototype a game there are really three options, you'll want to weigh Expense vs Effort vs Polish. Obviously if you are just playtesting (especially early in the process) Polish is not important, and keep expense and effort low will probably be helpful if you're going to be iterating your design a bunch! There are three main options: ...


10

One issue is staring at this blank canvas of a rule book and not knowing where to start. To find out where to start, first realize exactly what you're trying to accomplish: Tell someone how to play. I might suggest you show the game to a few friends, preferably the most interactive ones. If they ask questions, then when you explain it to another friend, ...


10

I prefer BLUF (bottom line up front): first tell me the objective of the game (in one sentence). Tell me how to win. Tell me how / when the game ends. From that tell me more about the turn sequence. Describe what a turn looks like. Describe my options. Show me examples with pictures and special cases.


10

You could consider having the "track" continue past the finish and mark the end as a line rather than a space. It should be clear then that a player has crossed the finish line, even if they've rolled more than enough to do so.


10

Yes. Though it's rare, some games mix up what it means to win and to lose, because why not? Games typically treat everyone as either 100% winner or 100% loser, but it doesn't have to be that way. In real life, there are many situations where you don't just win or lose, and a lot of people are satisfied if they're able to maintain their situation. Some games ...


10

You simply need a mechanic that makes it impossible for a player to see the other players' token counts until they are all simultaneously revealed. There are quite a few ways to do this, so you have the freedom to choose something that fits with the theme of your game. Many games (ex: Robo Rally, The Resistance) use cards for this mechanic. It is one of ...


10

You're actually asking two questions: How can I design a function that computes a result on a dice roll that gives asymptotically decreasing benefit to adding more dice? How can I have a system where adding more dice doesn't lead to a predictable result? The first question is simple. Take the highest X dice of a roll. Alternatively, set some threshold ...


9

Zatch Bell The Card Battle TCG (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/18287/zatch-bell) is a TCG with no shuffling. It also features deck as health and deck as resource.


9

A game with a similar mechanic is Lifeboat. In that game normally you get points if your target dies, but if your target is yourself then instead you are a "psychopath" and get points for anyone who dies (but fewer points in other ways). One solution for your setup could be to put both player ID and target on a single card: "You are player 1; kill player 2",...


9

I can imagine this system working better if implemented as an additional layer to the general action system, rather than a standalone concept of managing actions - let me outline what I have in mind: each action a unit can take has a cost each player has an amount of action points that regenerate each turn (not all have to be used, but you can't save any ...


9

If your game doesn't need any materials (or those would be more easily to come by on their own, such as graph paper), I would suppose the elements of your game you're trying to ship would be the rules. Since you're not trying to distribute them commercially, the only real problem is to get it out there. If I'm correct so far, here's what I'd do: Pick a ...


9

For perfect symmetry, you need both players to have the same opportunity to make moves. This suggests that either: Players play the game twice, rotating the first player position between them, with the final score of the game being the score differential between the two games. Players play a game in which moves are played simultaneously. Either their moves ...


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