A Paper Prototype, or a Quick Break from Larp.

As work continues on the 4x Larp, let’s take a little break to look at a prototype game. When I first started this blog digital game design was the focus where pretotyping and prototyping was big parts of that process. Here is a game idea which reached the prototype phase and is going to TempleCon with me to play test. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with an old acquaintance from larp who started a new game company, Gooder Games.

The general idea is that we have two groups exploring and settling a lush green land. The winner is the player who controls the most terrain by placing huts. Each player has three huts. There is one tile (lower right quadrant of the picture) which is a Mountain with a spring. This is the start tile. Sound like Carcassonne? Yup. I made this game because I wanted more Carcassonne. I also wanted to capture the feel of D&D maps.

Shuffle all the other tiles. Each player draws a concealed hand of three tiles. Choose who goes first. That player may either place a tile or place a hut. Huts can only be placed on Hill tiles or Plains tiles. They may not be placed on River or Mountain tiles. Play continues until all the tiles are played.

The winner is the player who controls the most contiguous terrain. Contiguous Terrain is an tile of a similar terrain type touching a hut. So if a hut is placed on a hill, count all hills connected to it as one group of terrain. Like Carcassonne you cannot play into a group of tiles already controlled by another player. You could merge fields or hills together. Its pretty bad if you do it to yourself (it means you wasted a hut), but forcing another players terrain to merge is a pretty potent strategy.

This is a terrible description and covers no edge cases whatsoever. Part of showing off the game and having people play it is to find the emergent strategies, make sure there are a couple and they are fun, and to practice telling people the rules. Eventually that will happen enough times that they can be written clearly.

A surprisingly large amount of game design is communicating clearly. Creating the concept, building a prototype, and testing the game are all easy compared with communicating the rules. There are so many reasons why I’m looking forward to TempleCon, working on a game design for fun is one of them. My wife suggests I do a kickstarter, and shoot for 2 million like Exploding Kittens. A full TempleCon report when I return. But until them more 4x larp.

P.S. Note to self: Do not write blog posts at 9:00 pm. You accidentally publish rough drafts.

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