The game was one where players are trying to flip over their opponent's cards. When all of an opponent's cards are revealed they are eliminated. I've gone through several iterations of the game and picked it up again to see if I could get something that could work for the contest on The Game Crafter. After picking it up again, I've realized it just isn't anything fun. I tried to add player powers. I tried changing how the players interact with each other. It all just falls flat. It works okay but there isn't the "haha I got you"moment I wanted. There isn't as much tension when flipping the card as I wanted. There is some but it's more of a "what's this card" not a "don't be mine, don't be mine, don't be mine" thought when doing it.
The game play was simply that each player had 3 gems they didn't want revealed. There were also spell cards and nothing cards. Each player had a card in hand they would trade. There was a grid of face down cards in the middle. On a player's turn he would flip a card in the middle, peek at a card, and then swap his card in hand for one in the middle. If he flipped a gem, then that opponent was one step closer to defeat. Flipping a spell caused it to activate. Some of these were looking at cards, flipping cards face down again, swapping cards, etc.
I tried changing the game so that each player was a certain wizard that would be able to do something extra with each spell card. I changed the spells to be more thematic. It played a little different but still felt like something was missing. I really wanted to have an 80s style fantasy art. I hoped during the process something else would click and fun would get injected into the game. This was not the case.
I am just letting this game go. It works but it's just not fun. There is not a lot of strategy and it just boils down to who can flip the random cards best. There might be a time when a mechanic or the theme comes back, but I'm done with this game as a whole.
It was a good exercise in the design. I wrote about before on how far to take a game that you know wasn't the greatest. This was one of those games and it was time for it to be let go. I've had some other ideas that I had to let go a little sooner. They had mechanics I just couldn't see working on the table. I never made a prototype for them either.
The name of the game was Saucy Jack and one player would be Jack the Ripper. The other players were working to catch Jack while he was still carrying out his dirty deeds. The game would start by getting Jack a special set of cards that were different than everyone else; however, I wanted it so that no one knew who Jack was. This was tricky to give someone a special deck without anyone knowing. I think I came up with a solution that works for it. I tested the dealing mechanic and it worked but I didn't go much further with it because of other problems with the game.
You have to figure who Jack is by collecting clues about his attributes. There were 4 attributes each character had. There was some variety in those 4 attributes, but what would happen is that one character would have a unique attribute. That would cause a player to know who someone was after seeing just 1 card and that was a problem. I thought about increasing the amount of attributes but there was always a small amount of cards needed to guess because of the 1 unique attribute.
I’ve realized that this was the wrong way to do a deduction game. Most other games have it where you figure out the missing card. This is a much better way of doing it. You need to see almost all the clues in order to determine what is missing. Now you would need to see 3 cards out of 4 instead of 1 out of 4. I haven’t taken the game to a prototype stage yet though. I’m still working through some other games first and want to get them out first. I think I have a different variation on how to do the theme also.
All the players would move around the board and visit places. They would place cards at different location and when a location had enough cards they would be revealed. If there were enough Jack cards there then there was another murder. Players would need to figure out who was there and try to figure out who Jack is based on where the murder occurred and where the other players were. Jack would then want to try and make it look like another player is the one committing the murders. The game would end after so many murders or if Jack had been caught. I think the non-Jack people would get 2 guesses and after the 2nd guess they would lose. There would be some penalty after the first guess too.
I’m not sure which game would work better. They both might end up in different mechanics, but I really want to do a game with that theme and call it Saucy Jack. The core game would be identifying Jack with the secondary part of catching him. White Chapel is a fun game; I just think it might add some more fun and change it a little more to need to figure out who Jack is.
The main point of this was to say that you need to be able to let ideas go. Some ideas just won’t work and there is no point in wasting too much time on them. Let them be an exercise, but then be able to let them go if nothing good is coming out. At the same time, don’t completely forget about the idea. Someday you will think of a new idea about that old game that wasn’t working. You’ll start working on it and after a while you’ll realize it’s not any better than what it was before. That’s okay though. The mistakes you make while designing the broken and unfun games will teach about what doesn’t work and hopefully moves you one step closer to making your perfect game.
I lost half of what I had written and had to rewrite it because Weebly crashed so I apologize if some of it doesn’t make any sense.
Play games. Always.