The Friday Game: Quartet of Hours

Apologies for the quiet week! I’ve been doing some creative writing, and didn’t manage to quite coordinate to get in a playtest of Mistgore last night. Next week will see game testing resume as normal, ideally, and I’m hoping to get some blind playtests going for Holy Press and Green-Circuit Mercs, so their rules can be refined to the point that they’re only waiting for final art for production/publication!

Today, I’m going to get the game design I meant to do earlier up! We again return to good-old Boardgameizer for the design prompts.

The Unused Prompts

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To be honest, this one is just too open-ended. I feel like this is possibly a solve-a-maze game but with hidden or partial information, but not sure and not really feeling that the prompt “grabs” me. That said, given the constraint a perfect name would be “Sneaky Buggers.”

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I don’t know what it is, but the idea of math and word games tends to give me hives.  The Theme and Victory condition here don’t help much either. Presumably there could be a game somewhere in here about trying to lie in a classroom vocabulary test and basically other players trying to sabotage your efforts to BS through the test, but again it doesn’t really grab me.

The Winning Prompt

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Here we go! This idea has ignited the creative juices, and already I want to get banging away at it.

I’m going to be recycling an idea I had with a previous game, one which was super-artsy and based around the idea of collecting memory fragments as time collapsed in a fantastical realm. The base idea there was 3 sets of 9 cards, designed to stack on each-other, but it also had a clock element to it as well along with sewing and tailoring themes. I think I’m going to steal the clock element from it, so as to both provide a strong visual and core gameplay element for this game as well as helping tighten the focus of the work-in-progress game.

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Definitely loving the idea of old-fashioned visual styling here as well, and would use that in a final design

Brainstorm: The Mechanics

I’m going to crib the “draw visible or draw random” element of Ticket to Ride card selection: The goal of the game will be to complete a set of 4 hours: either 12-3, 3-6, 6-9, or 9-12. The trick is that they have to be either during the day or during the night, and you can replace existing cards with cards from your hand. A round ends when someone scores, or when the draw deck runs dry. Whoever wins the most rounds (out of 3) wins.

For cards, we’ll have 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 all be just numerals and color-coded for day or night. 12 will be Midday or Midnight, 6 will be Sunrise or Sunset, 9 will be Dawn or Dusk, and 3 will be The Witching Hour or Afternoon. On a player’s turn, they draw 3 cards and choose 2 to play, one faceup and one facedown, and 1 to discard face-down. They can draw any one of the revealed set of 3 sideboard cards, but if they take a Named time (Midday, Midnight, Dawn, etc) they can only take 2 cards instead and must discard one of the two, playing the other face-up.

All face-down cards are revealed when all players have had a turn, and scoring occurs if a player completes a Quartet of Hours (great segue into a name too!). At the end of a round, reshuffle the cards and start anew. A player scores 1 point per Quartet of Hours they complete, and can score more than 1 point in a round. If multiple players are tied for victory at the end of the game, then it is a shared victory.

Brainstorm: The Story

Players are all Timesmiths, attempting to create the perfect day. Of course, opinions vary about what parts of a day are perfect, so a bit of competition is inevitable!

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Like this, but for clocks.

Brainstorm: The Elevator Pitch

You and your fellow Timesmiths are attempting to craft the perfect day! Using careful application of hours, attempt to form the all-important Quartet of Hours to score, and maneuver your way into completing great swaths of the perfect day in one go! Can you outwit your fellow smiths and craft the perfect day you desire?

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You didn’t think I’d forget a Cooltext logo, did you?

Closing Thoughts

This one I think has a ton of potential, but would also be really quick and easy to setup and playtest. I think I need to stick a pin in this one until after the next set of playtesting for other contest games later this summer, but this and a few other games from Monday Game Design could be seeing their way into my docket for working on this fall!

So, what do you think? Please let me know what you think of the prompts and of the game design in the comments and reblogs. Cheers!

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