Showing posts with label spare squares. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spare squares. Show all posts

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Have My US Passport

Yay.

And I went to the police to get the information about the man who hit my car, so my insurance agent can track him down, so we can get his insurance information. Important tip: if you're in an accident, get his/her: name, car number, license number, and insurance policy number. I forgot the latter, which is what's causing me a headache. I got his cellphone number, but it doesn't seem to work; next time, call it before leaving the scene to see that is works. Note down the time and place of the accident, of course.

I should probably add: yes, take the time to ask for the phone numbers of some of the people nearby who could be witnesses. It hasn't come to that yet, and I hope it won't so that I won't regret not having done so.

Yehuda

P.S. I'm leaving on Wed. I will be blogging my trip, with pictures. It's a good month to advertise on this blog (traffic should be up for a while), nudge nudge.

P.P.S. Spare Squares cards at the publisher, ready to cart off to BGG.con:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spare Squares: Rules Revision - RFC

Here are the revised rules for Spare Squares; speak now with any comments or criticism before they go to print! (Unless. like Scott, you simply don't like the entire concept of a game played over the course of the whole con.)

Objective and Play

The object is to submit the best set of arranged cards in one of four different prize tracks (A-D). You start with four cards. Beg, trade, win, or steal cards from other players to obtain the cards necessary for a complete set. Submit a set to any BGG.con organizer before Saturday 5:30 pm. Results will be tabulated and winners announced at 10 pm.

Submission Rules

You must adhere to all of the following rules, or your submission will be disqualified:
1. You may submit only one set of cards. Entries must be received by 5:30 pm on Saturday.
2. The number in the center of all submitted cards must be the same, as pictured.
3. You must submit exactly four cards. You must arrange the cards in a 2x2 grid, as pictured. Mark all cards with their location in the grid as follows: TL=top left, TR=top right, BL=bottom left, BR=bottom right.
4. You may rotate cards as required; mark all cards with an up arrow to indicate the top of the card.
5. Submit the cards in an envelope with your name on it.

Scoring

1. On each exterior edge (b), you score as follows:
• 2 points for the two images matching shape
• 3 points for the two images matching filling
• 4 points for the two images matching color
2. Points are cumulative. For example, the set pictured scores 19 points (maximum is 36 points).

Prize Tracks

Your set is assigned to a prize track based on the following:
• Prize track D: All sets that don't match any other track (easy).
• Prize track C: If adjacent images on all interior edges (a) match in shape (medium).
• Prize track B: If adjacent images on all interior edges (a) match in shape and filling (difficult).
• Prize track A: If adjacent images on all interior edges (a) match in shape, filling, and color (fanatic).

Winner and Prizes

There will be one winner in each of the four prize tracks; the winner in each track is the person with the highest scoring set in that track. Ties will be determined randomly. Check out the list of prizes for the winners of each track by the registration area.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spare Squares: Rules Tweaking

The design goals for Spare Squares include: easy enough that anyone who is the slightest bit interested (definitely not the majority of people at BGG.con) will feel that they have some prospect of winning even if they don't spend a great deal of time on the game; yet rich enough so that those people who enjoy fiddling with the cards will have fun spending a great deal of time on the game and earn some kind of reward for doing so. It's not easy to hit that balance.

An average random but legal arrangement of cards scores yields about 12 to 20 points along the outer edges. The maximum edge score is 36.

Here are some ideas for tweaking the rules:

1. Requirements: I am thinking of removing the requirement for any kind of interior edge matching. All you have to do is match the numbers. In practice, that will require trading with no more than two or three people. This should yield a set with about 16 to 20 points with a bit of rotation. Trading with a larger group, say 12 to 20 people, should yield a decent score of 24 to 30. Those last few points to get to 36 are the hardest.

2. Bonus points: Completing the first level bonus is about as hard as trading with two or three people (up to five, perhaps). That yields the average edge score of 12 to 20points plus the 10 points bonus, for 22 to 30 points. This automatically shuts out a casual number match and rotation submission. A better first level bonus is 6 points, putting you in the same category as the edge match and rotation submissions.

The second level bonus is as hard as the complete edge match. When combined with the average edge score (12 to 20), it should yield a little less than a perfect edge match (36) so as not to shut out edge matchers, so should be around 18. So 6/18 seems to be about right for bonus points.

Of course, if someone has access to hundreds of cards and lots of time (as they will), they're going to raise their scores above 36 and they will win, putting everyone else out of contention. This is a discouragement to the other players. On the one hand, isn't that the way games are? The person who practices more at Chess or Tennis than you is going to win. On the other hand, I don't have the luxury of only catering my game to fanatics; I have to be inclusive of lazy people.

3. To solve this, I could make each point an "entry" into a random draw. In this way, a casual submission counts as 16 entries if it is worth 16 points. A fanatic entry of 40 points is 40 entries, but still not a guaranteed win. This neatly solves the problem ... except that I hate lotteries. I may have to swallow my pride.

4. Another solution is to divide the field up according to play tiers: one prize for sets with no matching middles, one prize for sets with first tier matching, and one prize for sets with strong (perfect) matching. Fewer people will play in the strong match tier, and one of them will get their prize. Many people (one hopes) will play in the no matching middle tier, and the winner can be chosen randomly among top scorers of this tier.

This option still requires the number matching for all tiers, however prizes are not given out based on the number, but based on the tier (three prizes instead of four).

I'm still thinking about it. Any other suggestions (that don't involve changing the entire concept of the game, or the design of the cards) are welcome.

Yehuda

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spare Squares: A many-player social strategy trading game for BGG.con 2011

I created a new game for the next BGG.con. The game will be produced by Blue Panther LLC in a limited run of one. I struggled to figure out how pay for its production, since it was going to cost more to produce than BGG was willing to spend. I came up with the idea of asking BP to sponsor the run and put their logo on the game, to which they agreed. Win-win-win.

I'm having fun with this design genre: "many players" social-strategy-trading games. I'm pleased with this particular design, which has strong design integrity. Designing for this genre has a kind of  artistic integrity. Not many people are doing it. To make money, I would have to get hired by convention organizers or large companies or organizations who want a brainy activity for their employees during the yearly company kickoff meeting. However, the game could be adapted for a smaller group of players, say as few as three.

Here is the game:

Spare Squares


Created, designed, and illustrated by Yehuda Berlinger for BGG.con 2011. Published by Blue Panther LLC. © 2011, Yehuda Berlinger. To obtain a copy of this game with customized rules and components, contact Yehuda at shadjon@gmail.com.

The BGG.con print run is 5000 unique square cards.

Objective and Play


The object is to submit the best set of arranged cards in one of four different prize tracks (1-4).

You start with four cards and an envelope. Beg, trade, win, or steal cards from other players to obtain the cards necessary for a complete set. Submit your set to any BGG.con organizer before Saturday evening 8 pm. Results will be tabulated and winners announced at 10 pm.

Entry Rules

You must adhere to all of the following rules, or your entry will be disqualified:
  1. You may submit only one set of cards. Entries must be received by 8pm on Saturday night.
  2. The number in the center of all submitted cards must be the same, as pictured. This number determines the prize track.
  3. You must submit exactly four cards. You must arrange the cards in a 2x2 grid, as pictured. Mark all cards with their location in the grid as follows: TL=top left, TR=top right, BL=bottom left, BR=bottom right.
  4. You may rotate cards as required; mark all cards with an up arrow (↑) to indicate the top of the card.
  5. Adjacent images on each of the four interior edges (a) must be the same shape. Filling and color do not have to match.
  6. Submit the cards in an envelope with your name on it.

Scoring

  1. On each exterior edge (b), you score as follows:
    • 2 points for matching shapes
    • 3 points for matching interior
    • 4 points for matching color
  2. Points are cumulative. For example, the set pictured scores 19 points.
  3. Bonus points:
      If all adjacent images on the four interior edges (a) match in shape AND filling, add 10 points to your score.
    • If all adjacent images on the four interior edges (a) match in shape, filling, AND color, add 20 points to your score. (Note: This is not cumulative with the previous bonus.)

Winner and Prizes

There will be one winner in each of the four prize tracks; the winner in each track is the person with the highest scoring set in that track. Ties will be determined randomly. The prizes are as follows: [TBD, but each is generally a donated game of around $100 in retail value]

Thoughts

Your thoughts? I will be playing around with the bonus scores to find the exact right values, but as long as it's in the ballpark it should be ok. I was considering a doubling bonus for matching the interior edges exactly, but doubling got me in trouble in the first game for being too strong.

Does it look fun?

The players write on the pieces to play; this is required for a large convention like setting, but would not be required for a game played by 3 to 10 people around a table. For only three or four people I would start them off with more cards.

Part of the integrity of the design is that the tiles and the rule-set are separate. The game can be made easier or harder on demand (by requiring no or all edge matches, or by requiring or ignoring matching fillings), or varying the point values (for instance, matching specific colors can yield different points).

My inspiration comes from my previous BGG.con games, which were in turn inspired by Sid Sackson's Haggle. When I first saw the larger games that were to be played at BGG.con, they were all lotteries or tournaments. I thought that a convention of strategy gamers should have a single game to play with upwards of 100 people at a time that was not a lottery, trivia, or quiz games or a tournament of smaller games.

I also drew inspiration from Eternity II, a game/puzzle I haven't actually played and whose name I actually forgot. Still, I remembered the idea of matching pieces and that there was some math behind it.