24 hours of mammoths

I missed out on the 24 hour game design contest, partly due to struggling for inspiration given the requirement ("Geisha"), but mostly because August was a bit of a manic month, comprising school holidays and trips all over the place meaning that I didn't manage to arrange for the time to put together an entry.  However, this month life afforded me a little space, and at some point I started thinking about mammoth races, given the contest requirement of "Ice Age".

So, my 24 hour window arrived, running from Thursday evening to Friday evening, I got everything I needed lined up, dealt with the evening's chores and settled down to work.
A pile of components and a beer. In retrospect, the beer may not have been ideal for productivity.
I had figured out a basic plan: a race course made up of tiles, each with a 3x3 grid of squares, this course extending during play, and some form of dice drafting for movement.  After my first couple of entries into the 24 hour contests being pretty much straightforward (ish) card games, I have been trying to do something very different each time, and it occurred to me that given the title of this blog I have been very remiss as regards dice.  Dice are an excellent piece of kit, and I keep hearing people talking on game design podcasts about how "roll and move" games are bound to be rehabilitated and become the new Big Thing, so maybe it's worth exploring that design space, right?

So half an hour with some bits of card, scissors, a ruler, sharpies, and a box of assorted spare components, I have a prototype, and a rough idea of some rules, so I set up for a solo playtest...
A solo playtest of one of the first attempts. The squared cutting board is irrelevant.
...Which sucked.  Royally.

Actually I spent the next couple of hours thrashing around, tweaking rules, occasionally hitting rules with a sledgehammer, and generally looking for a game that I was certain was somewhere in the vicinity.  In the end, I think I found it, so quite tired by this time, I noted down the rules I had arrived at and got some sleep.

The next day, after doing the school run, I looked at my barely coherent notes and started trying to tidy them up.  A little experimentation suggested that the game was in reasonable shape and I was happy with the component requirements, so I got onto the computer to start on some print and play files.

So, tools used: Pinta for knocking up some simple graphics alongside one picture of a mammoth from pixabay.com, nanDECK for creating tiles and mammoth tokens (I fancied making little stand-up mammoths), pdfmerge.com as an online tool to combine the tile and token files into a single PDF to meet the requirements of the contest, and Google Drive/Docs for creating the rulebook.

After school pick-up, Miss B agreed to have a play of the game with the PnP components, and I think the game isn't best for two, but it basically went pretty well.  There are definitely decisions to be made and we had some fun playing.  To make it work properly, there definitely needs to be a LOT more playtesting, but no such luxury is available when doing this contest, so I spent some time finishing off the rules and submitted the files.
...And Miss B helping me try out the print and play version.
So, that's the challenge done for another month.  It's pleasing that I have managed to get several games "out there" this year, even if they are all half-baked.

If you would like to check the game out, the entry is here, along with the discussion and entries from other players.  And for convenience, the download links...

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