24 hours of angels

I haven't taken part in one of the BGG 24 hour contests for a while, and I really wasn't expecting to find the time to do so until the new year.  Furthermore, the December requirement of 'angel' just didn't speak to me (OK, I admit it, I didn't get overwhelmed by a need to make puns in this case), so it looked like I was going to pass again.  But then some inspiration came to me and I figured out that I could find a day where I should be able to spend a reasonable amount of time on the project, so angels are go!

So, the idea was more seasonal than would normally be expected for a grinch like myself: decorating Christmas trees, with the angel requirement being met by players being able to add an angel to the top of the tree to "complete" it and lock the scores in.  The requirement of the contest is just something that has to be incorporated into the game in some (any) way, and not necessarily as a major part of the theme or setting.
Yellow is doing pretty well, despite no angels placed yet.

The game, now it is mostly designed and functional, is essentially a very simple area control game.  At any given point there are four trees that can be decorated, and access to these is restricted by rolling dice.  At the end of the game, points are scored for being first or second place in terms of having the most decorations on each tree, and there are bonuses for anyone who manages to place an angel.

I've already started thinking of places to improve the game -- first among which is the way that the dice are handled and passed between players, as I definitely didn't nail this.  But overall, I think I am reasonably content with how this one turned out, given the restriction.

Incidentally, something that has just occurred to me is that I seem to be becoming more willing to use dice in a game.  I went for a long time wanting to avoid rolling dice, but maybe it is a result of my recent exploration of lightweight games that has shifted my perspective.  Dice are just so widely accepted by "normal" people as a part of games that they can often be slotted in to smooth over aspects of a game that might otherwise need to get far more complicated.  Many "hobby gamers" might push back against their use, but then the games I have been working on lately haven't been aimed at them, so it's fine really.  Maybe I should think about this some more and figure out what is going on here.

If you are interested in this latest game, An Angel On Top, you can look at the files here...
An Angel On Top v0.1 rules on Dropbox
An Angel On Top v0.1 cards on Dropbox

And you can look at the December 24 Hour contest and see what other folk are doing too.


The Knight of the Boogie, 0.3

At last I've managed to get my nose back to the proverbial grindstone and fix up a new version of Boogie Knights, incorporating what I have learnt from the last wave of playtesting.

As discussed previously, the "neutral" equipment cards have been culled as, while they could be of some use, the perception of players is that they do nothing at all and in practice only get played as a last resort.  They clearly do not add to the fun and thus had to go.
Basically the same pic as last time, but now with the new card style.

The magical equipment had to change as well.  The rules I had for them required repeated explanation in any group (always a bad sign for a lightweight game), and the fact that they took the place of more useful equipment just didn't fit with the rest of the game.  As a result, I have removed all that but, as the concept of mischievously swapping equipment around was popular, I have introduced magical scrolls that allow you to muck about a bit.  There are only two each of two types of scroll at the moment, but they should be enough to shake things up.

I have now replaced all the art for body parts with my simple cartoony characters, though there is repetition of parts; I would prefer more unique stuff, but I'll live with that for now.  I still need to do something new with the accessories, but maybe I'll get somewhere with that for the next version.  Similarly, there should really be a load of different art pieces for the various types of challenges so they can be recognised and differentiated more easily, but that will be for another day.

One of my biggest concerns at the moment is that the Kit Inspection cards sometimes cause confusion: "Do I play this now?"  The idea of these is to ensure that every now and then (in practice, usually about three or four times per game) somebody automatically scores something, making the game tick towards an end just a little faster.  I'll need to watch this aspect closely as, if it continues to bemuse people, this is something that may have to be axed.  That said, it is entirely possible that it is my explanation and/or the card design that is at fault, and by improving these we could deal effectively with the whole issue.

I am also pondering the possibility of providing some sort of bonus for anyone who manages to put together a matching set of equipment.  The cards would need some sort of identification to make it easy to figure out, but that's not a big deal.  The reward could be a bonus in challenges, or there could be a third type of inspection, giving prestige for the "best turned out" or something.

See, I've only just sorted out this version and I'm already working on the next.  Need data first...

If you are interested in taking a look (and if you do, I would love to hear any thoughts you have on the game), download links for the latest version are here...
Boogie Knights v0.3 rules on Dropbox
Boogie Knights v0.3 cards on Dropbox