Thursday, October 31, 2013

Minion Melee: Finished Print and Play

Here's the link to my  finished Print and Play called "Minion Melee". It's been a lot of work, but it's really satisfying to see it at this stage of completion.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Storytelling Illustration: Second Step Sketches

I narrowed my 20 thumbnails down to 5 ideas and refined these ideas a bit more.

  I decided that each color of minion in my game would be a sort of "suit" and have its own theme. So the black minions are sort of hellion, ghostly types, the blue are robotic types, the purple are alien, the yellow are toxic waste mutations, and the green are "monster" or beastly types. All of the types of minions are represented in the sketch below.

These last 3 feature ideas I came up with for the characters that players could choose from in the game, and each villain ties into one of the 5 minion classes. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thumbnails for Concept Painting and Solutions

We're currently in the very early stages of creating an illustration that tells the story of our game. Here are some thumbnails I did based off of my game's concept. I was mostly focused on composition as opposed to specific stylistic elements as I'm still deciding what the minions should look like. 

As for rule changes I fixed a few of the unresolved issues I mentioned in my last post by adding a mechanic called "war phases". Here's how I have these phases currently described in my game's rules:

War Phase Triggers:
In the game there are three war phases. The first war phase is triggered when a player adds their 8th minion to their army. The second is triggered when the 16th minion is added. The final war phase occurs after the minion cards in the face down draw pile runs out and each player has taken their final turn.
How War Works:
In the first two war phases the player who triggered the war phase by adding the 8th or 16th minion is awarded a 2 point bonus. There is no award for triggering war in the final war phase. The player with the highest score when a war phase is triggered automatically wins the round, and receives a bonus of 4 points. Second place earns a bonus of 2 points. Third place must remove one of the minions from their army and reduce their point count based on the value of that minion. Fourth place must remove TWO of their minions and reduce their point count based on the value of both of those minions.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Play Test Results and A New Direction

A lot of changes have occurred with my game since my last blog post. Firstly, I decided to make a minor adjustment to my game's concept or theme. I've decided that instead of mad scientists building an army of robots my theme will be super villains building an army of minions. It is not a huge shift, and there are some similarities between the two concepts but it was a change I felt worth noting. Secondly, I've had a few chances to play test my game and have been tweaking and changing any problems that have arisen from those trial runs.

"You mad, bro?"

First Round of Play Testing 
In this initial round my idea was to simply get the items I needed to play test and go from there. I ended up over printing a lot and came out with many more cards than I needed, which I believe caused the most problems.

Main Issues: 
  • Too many minion and money cards made the draw piles over saturated in terms of specific colors coming up much too frequently, and some not coming up frequently at all.
  • This problem also made the game very monotonous.
  • There weren't enough minion cards on the table, so it made it hard to actually buy minion cards which is an important mechanic in the game. 
  • Players didn't feel like they were really accomplishing or doing much in the game. 
  • The game's play time dragged on for way too long. 
  • Having only a single action per turn was another factor that made the game run too long and feel slow to players.

  • I cut down the number of both minion and money cards significantly. 
  • I upped the number of minion cards on the table from 5 to 7. 
  • I upped the number of actions a player could take per turn from one to two. 

Mad Strats.

Second Round of Play Testing
For the second round I cut down the amount of cards drastically. This significantly improved game play, but there were still problems that arose during this round of testing. The game went faster though still not fast enough and the entire process felt more fun and strategic. I also got a lot of good ideas from the Juniors I play tested the game with in terms of aesthetics.

Main Issues: 
  • The Power Markers were determined to be redundant and more of an annoyance than a necessity.
  • The fight mechanic felt like it could be too easily taken advantage of. 
  • There are too many money colors on the board, which is another reason the game goes so long and hand size is a problem. They should be cut down to 4 as opposed to 7. 
  • The point system is too confusing, the points should just correlate to the actual cards being played rather than scale up. 

  • I've decided to cut the power markers entirely out of the game. 
  • I have decided to cut down the money colors to 4 as opposed to 7.
  • I've simplified the point system to be more straight forward.

Issues I'm still working on resolving: 
  • A Problem with hand limit came up in both play testing sessions. It was too easy to hoard money cards, and it got complicated to have essentially two separate hands between money and minion cards. I'm not sure how to resolve this yet, I am considering mandatory discards. 
  • The fight system is currently not quite working properly. Someone suggested instead of having the fights occur while the minions are in a player's hand, eliminate the hand step all together and just have them be instantly played in the player's army, and then having the armies actually fight. 
  • There is currently not enough player to player interaction within the game. Fixing the fight mechanic would likely resolve this issue. 
  • Because the "power markers" were deemed redundant, my method for ending the game has essentially been removed. I'd still like to keep the goal to be achieving the most points by the end of the game, but I need to figure out another way to end the game without the markers.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

First draft Rules

Army of Minions

Only the most maniacal will conquer!

Sarah Lynn Reynolds
20 minutes, 2-4 Players
Goal: To Score the most points by the end of the game

You are an evil super villain trying to build your army of minions in order to conquer the world. But other super villains have heard the news and are building armies of their own. Who will conquer their peers and ultimately the world?
Game Components
-Board for drawing cards
-Board for Keeping score
-Minion Cards
-Power Markers
-Money cards
-Player score markers
-Printing Instructions
Setting up the game
The player with the most recent death of a pet goes first.
Each player starts with 4 “money” cards and all of their own colored score markers.
Money Cards are shuffled and 5 are drawn from the top of the deck and placed face up in the bank. The remaining money cards stay face down in the deck next to the face up cards. When a player draws from the 5 face up cards, they must fill the spot of the card they took with cards from the top of the face down draw pile.
Minion cards are set up in the same way in their own “bank”.
Players place their score markers on number 1 of the score board.
Turn Order
Players can take one action every turn
Action 1: Drawing Money Cards
You may draw 2 cards per turn either from the face up pile or the random pile. Or one from each.
Action 2: Fight!
A player may instigate a fight as their turn action. Both the challenger and the challenged player choose randomly from each others hand to pick who fights who. (Have players shuffle their hand before doing this so that people can’t just choose the last card they pulled) The minion with the highest value wins. The winning minion is placed face up in the player’s army, while the losing minion must be discarded. Cards already in a player’s army face up on the table may not be challenged. Only cards in player’s hand can be challenged.
Action 3: Buy A Minion
Each minion card has a value between 1 and 6 and a color of either red, green, blue, violet, black, grey, orange. Players can purchase a minion when the have the corresponding color and amount of cards indicated on a particular minion card. They may only purchase minions that are face up on the table. When a minion is purchased a card from the top of the draw pile replaces it.

Action 4: Add a Minion to your army
Minions are not officially in a players army until they are played face up on the table. Thus, at the end of the game minions in your hand are not added up for point value. Only the minions on the table are added to a player’s score. For this action a player simply places one of their minion cards on the table in front of them to add to their army. When they add a minion card to their army they compare the card’s value to the point scale and move their score marker the number of points indicated on the scale.
Check for Victory

-The game ends when a player has two or less power markers left.
-Each player takes a final turn, ending on the person who ended the game.
-Player with the most fight wins gets a 10 point bonus
-Player with the most minions gets a 10 point bonus
-Scores are counted
-Player with the most overall points wins the game.
End of turn

-Replace minion and money cards if drawn
-Move score marker if points were scored during turn
-Make sure everyone has enough power markers left to continue the game
-Play passes to the left

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Theme And Concept Statement: Robot Army

"Only the most maniacal will conquer!" 

For my theme I'm playing off of a fantasy that everyone holds deep down in their hearts: The desire to conquer the world with our own personal robot army. In "Robot Army" you are a mad scientist scheming and building your army of androids to enslave humanity. Robots, armies, and mad scientists are all elements of my theme that would fit well into a more serious and gritty sci-fi motif, but I want to take a more lighthearted approach. Maybe it's the fact that I was born in the 90's but for me things like mad scientists, robots, and conquering the earth bring up images of Saturday morning cartoons like Dexter's Lab and Invader Zim. The main characters in both of these shows had lofty ambitions and schemes of a scientific nature, that in real life could have seemed very serious. However, what really worked about both cartoons was the way in which the serious situations the characters found themselves in was juxtaposed with things like the cartooniness of the art style and the characters' wacky personalities. 

A great example of this motif can be seen in both Dexter's Lab's opening and closing songs.

Both songs reflect the idea I mentioned above. The songs, like Dexter in the cartoon, take themselves too seriously. They're both very dramatic musical pieces,and this same drama makes them over the top and silly. 

The mad-genius science theme of Dexter's lab is also reflected in the art style. 
The art is very angular, clean, and calculated. 

This clean art style is also reflected in other cartoons with science and robots as the theme. Here are some examples from Invader Zim and My Life as a Teenage Robot. 

Invader Zim:

My Life as a Teenage Robot:

At first I thought about going with a monochromatic color palette for my game, but I don't think that reflected the theme I mentioned earlier so I ended up with this analogic palette. I feel like these are colors you could find both in a chemistry lab and a cartoon, so they seemed to be a good fit. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


My Game Design classmates and I are just beginning the process of creating our board games. This week is all about brainstorming and generating ideas. 

The first thing I did when I started brainstorming was consider the fundamental problems that need solving, and the guidelines we are required to follow in creating our board game.
So I asked myself: 
How do I make a game that's easy to learn but difficult to master? That is playable by as few as two people? That has a good balance of chance and strategy? That takes 20 minutes or less to play? With less than 100 pieces? 
Walk Of Shame 
Theme/Concept idea: A game about those awkward "morning after" walks.
Mechanic Ideas:
1. Players start out from the "One night stand's dorm"
2. Players much reach their own dorm at the other side of the board.
3. Whoever reaches their own dorm first wins.
4. There could be draw cards that say things like "Stop for coffee, do not move for two turns" or "You find an abandoned children's scooter, advance 3 extra steps" or
5. Maybe there's a mechanic like a shame-o-meter that affects players.
6. Maybe if the shame-o-meter is something that affects point count game could end when ALL players reach their final destination but winner is determined by how high the shame-o-meter reached.
7. An idea for a card that could effect both the shame-o-meter and player advancement in the game could be "You forgot your cell phone at the one night stand's dorm, go back to start and add +10 to your shame-o-meter"

Robot Army
Theme/Concept Idea: You are a mad scientist building a robot army!
-Each army unit could have a certain amount of points, so that whoever's army adds up to the highest amount of points at the end wins.
-Probably wouldn't need a board for movement in this game, just a score keeper board and a dock for the cards players would be drawing.
-Might be interesting to have a mechanic which requires players to budget and manage money in order to afford their army.
-Potential card types could include robot units, robot special units which would be like normal robot units in terms of point count but perhaps they also have special abilities of offensive or defensive variety. Maybe there are even "disaster" cards scattered throughout the deck which cause players to sacrifice pieces of their army or pay a certain amount of money to fix a problem.
-If budget is a factor maybe the turn system could be simply each player gets one action per turn, they can either draw money from the research funding bank, or buy robot army units, or draw from a stack of goal cards.
-Research funding bank and robot army unit bank could be 4 cards placed face up on the table that gets replenished whenever someone draws from them. Could also allow players to draw from the face down piles, though that may encourage cheating for my next mechanic idea.
-If disaster cards/random cards are a factor it could be a situation where either they are spread throughout the robot army or funding bank (Or possibly special/disaster cards tailored for each deck) that whoever draws one of those cards while they are replenishing either banks or drawing from the face down pile MUST play immediately when drawn.

Elemental Warfare
Theme/Concept Idea: 2-4 players are dueling Wizards of either Earth, wind, water, or fire.
1.To keep things manageable for print and play version cards could be in black and white but with a little marker or symbol in color to determine which deck is which.
2.A Deck for each element each featuring a slightly different play style/have advantages and disadvantages depending on which element.
3. Card types: Magic, monster, and action.
4. First player to a certain amount of points wins OR maybe game end is triggered by whoever runs out of their deck first.
5.Board or "base" card would have a slot for each player to play their cards with a score marker around the board to keep track of who has what score.

Mage's Way 
Theme/Concept idea: 2-4 Novice Magi set out on their own harrowing quests to win the title of Archmage.
Mechanic Ideas:
-Game board could look like the map in a fantasy book.
-The journey could be marked by game pieces called "journey markers". The idea would be that players connect destinations by using these journey markers and stringing them between certain destinations on the board. Just like how Ticket To Ride's destination system works. This could also set an end game. Also like ticket to ride it could be interesting to have path goal cards.
-Maybe specific points on the map could have "Confrontation points" in which they are required to fight whatever monster or thing is indicated on the board. Maybe the player needs to roll dice to determine whether or not they win the fight.