It has been a long time since I took part in the BGG 24 hour game design contest -- nearly a year, as it happens -- and I've been meaning to get back into it for some time. While I have plenty of other projects that I work on, the challenge is a fun one and there is a small, but excellent, community built around the monthly contest. But finally I have got myself organised enough to have another go.
As always, the month kicks off with a word or phrase to be used as a "requirement" in the game. This could mean a theme, a component, something mentioned in the game's background blurb, or whatever you like, but it is a useful jumping off point. The requirement for the march contest was... "March". Natch.
After some chat on the forum thread, I was leaning towards something to do with March hares, though I was also considering the Grand Old Duke of York, marching his men up and down a hill. Then over the next couple of weeks, ideas formed around the hares idea, and it was settled in my mind.
Just to go over the basic rules for a moment, this contest allows you to spend as long as you like thinking about an idea, but once you start actually putting anything down on paper, or on a computer, the clock starts ticking and within 24 hours you must post the rules and other files needed for anyone else to play your game. Yes, it is possible to cheat if you want, but what is the point of that?
So, on Thursday evening I cleared the table and started working on a design I had been pondering in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. The idea was for a simple card game for two players about March hares doing battle. I made three "suits" of cards, representing different things that a hare could be doing: boxing, running or jumping. Cards in each suit also had the numbers 1, 2 or 3, and also an action relating to manipulation of cards: draw cards, return a card to your personal deck, or force your opponent to discard. The idea was that you are trying to follow your opponent's played card in terms of either suit or number, and the various actions and penalties for failing to play legally gradually reduce your options, and you lose if you get stuck.
On Friday, Miss B tested the game with me when she came home from school, and S had a couple of plays a bit later. During this process I made a change to the way penalties are applied, and changed the distribution of numbers, but given the nature of the challenge there is only so much testing and revision you can do, particularly when you have to pay attention to real life, so eventually I just gave the rules and card documents a quick once over and submitted my entry.
If you are interested. the discussion/submission thread for the contest is here, and you can get the rules document and the print and play cards from Dropbox.
In retrospect, I'm not entirely sure that my game actually is a worthwhile game; it seems a bit chaotic and unpredictable. It is possible that when you know the game well, you can get in control and have a good duel with your opponent, but I am not experienced enough to tell for sure at the moment. Hopefully I'll get a chance to play it a few times with someone and find out sometime.
Now, back to the "proper" projects...
Edit: the voting list for the March contest is now up.