Friday Update: Green-Circuit Mercs playtest results and ClikB8

Sidenote: Whoooops. This was supposed to be posted last Friday, and I completely forgot about it sitting in my drafts.

So I had a chance to try Green-Circuit Mercs yesterday evening, with the new player-specific decks and the revised Threat values. I have to admit, I was incredibly nervous going into it: previous GCM playtests had left me a bit discouraged and worried that I was going down the wrong rabbit hole for how to address the previous issues with enjoyability of play.

It went fantastically.


Overall, we had four players, and a point spread from 68ish to 97ish points. One player actually didn’t win any bids on Tech/Plant cards, but still came in 3rd. Players said they really enjoyed it, and that the only things that felt like they needed a bit more tweaking were the power levels of the different bidding decks.

I agree, and I also was planning on addressing another aspect of the mechanics with the Plant/Tech cards: I wanted to remove “auto-win” cards for bids, and instead shift them to doubling or increasing bid values. This goes for both bid decks as well as the item cards, and I think will help address a problem I inadvertently exposed early on: my Tech-focused deck became a very formidable powerhouse, and although I came in 2nd at the end of the game, for the first two phases I was able to dictate a lot of how the bid matchups were won thanks to all the cards I was acquiring. Removing the insta-win cards and instead just making them a  boost will help a lot, and if they get re-introduced I think I’ll shift them to be only on Phase 3 cards or high-value bid cards.

In general, however, the game is in a great place. While I’m going to be shifting eventually to focus on Holy Press to get that finalized and ready for publication, GCM will continue to be tested and I hope to have it ready for publication by the end of summer (judging from my speed with other projects and the remaining game design contests I’m still looking to compete in).


So, this was a game idea I had while playing the wonderful “fake news” game Fake It To Make It. I wanted to try and capture some of the frantic “ride the trend” gameplay, along with planning and more cautious and (ideally) more effective aspects of strategy, but also make it a multiplayer game.

Enter the ideas that coalesced into ClikB8; I think this will be my next non-contest design project, but for today I wanted to just go over the general design and concepts.

Cool Text - ClikB8 239540157317714

While I think Boatbuilders and Masuulka may get new logos despite already having ok logos, I absolutely looove this logo

The Parameters

So overall, I want this to be competitive, real-time, and at least vaguely resemble the scrabble and tradeoffs involved in social media-related stuff. No real restrictions to speak of, but as the game design is crisp enough in my mind’s eye, I want to avoid disturbing or breaking it at this point with an incompatible restriction.

Brainstorm: The Mechanics

So nominally this will be competitive, but as the game progresses I want it to become a team-based game. To accomplish this, players will each have their own token, but once half of the player tokens pass a certain point value, the lower-half of the players must buddy-up with the other players in reverse order: so if you have 6 players, when the 3rd player crossed the point, the 4th player joins with the 3rd player, 5th joins with 2nd, and 6th joins with 1st. This happens at multiple points along the board, until you only have 2 teams (with the odd-player-out always going to the farther-behind team).

Gameplay will be to assemble new stories, by drawing cards off of a deck, grabbing the indicated number of dice as shown on the cards, and then rolling them and trying to match them to the cards. All stories must consist of a Introduction and Closer, but can then have one or more Paragraph cards between the edges. Players can draw more cards at any time, but cannot be rolling for more than one story at once, cannot be holding more than a single card at a time, and cannot both hold a card and roll dice at the same time. Basically, players will frantically be trying to complete stories, but can also scrap a bad story and start fresh.

To mix things up a bit, there’s a distinctly limited number of dice, say 3 colors, and 3 of the most-common, 2 of the next-most-common, and 1 of the rarest per player. Some cards worth more points may require use of specific dice, give you fewer dice to roll, have a harder value to roll, or some mix of all three. There will also be Photos, which are basically freebie Paragraphs that give minimal points but also require no die rolls, and Reactions (name subject to change). Reactions are like a tweet; the single card requires (and indeed, can’t use any) other cards, but is easy to do and get a few points in a hurry.

Completed or discarded cards go into the trash pile, and it is flipped over and cut to form new draw deck; I’m not bothering with shuffling for this due to how much longer it would take and how it would probably not be noticed due to the speed players would be drawing and using cards.

First player/team to 100 points wins! I think I may call it “Views” or “Shares” instead of “points”, just to stay on-theme.

Brainstorm: The Story

Players are trying to help in building hype for an election, and are writers and bloggers. The dice are the readers, and they’re a limited quantity so the competition over them will be fierce! Players can focus on smaller or lighter pieces, or even just picture slideshows, or they can go with heavier and denser pieces that might be harder to accomplish, but can provide a massive boost in views and readers.

Brainstorm: The Elevator Pitch

Join a rapid-paced game of news and likes! Can you generate the biggest headlines and help advance your candidate into the limelight with huge breaking stories, or with a storm of messages of support and recruitment? Compete for views from readers, and strive to get your social media organization into the lead as you consolidate and post your way to victory!

Closing Thoughts

This is a fun one I’d definitely like to make into actuality. It will probably have to wait until after the game design contest games are done (the dungeon-crawling one and Bog Box ones), but I think it can be a really fun and relatively-small footprint of a group game.

Please let me know what you think in the comments and reblogs below; Cheers!

One thought on “Friday Update: Green-Circuit Mercs playtest results and ClikB8

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