The Labyrinth: Remixed

Problem

Our old game, The Labyrinth of Tanaii was first created as a race to the end game, then remixed to become a resource collection game and once more it will now be turned into a full tabletop RPG without using dice.

The original game was about several factions of variable races that are trying to recover an artefact from the Labyrinth.  Players start at 4 corners of a board and must move around the board to move up levels.

This is a variation of what the board looked like, except there were coloured spots for treasures, monsters and chance spaces as well as the ladders to move up a level and the artefact in the middle.  The idea was to roll a dice to move spaces and get to the centre while fighting monsters and other players.

Gameplay Changes

First we need to remove the dice so that all that is left are monsters and equipment cards as well as the chance cards.  Since the cards that are face down add a bit of randomness we can add a few mechanics to remove ALL the chance from the game.  We can remove the chance and item spaces and add more monster spaces as and add rewards for defeating the monsters.  Defeating the monsters will give the player money and he can buy equipment at the store.

Since the players will no be using a die to move, they will all pick races at the beginning of the game  and each race will have its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Humans – Average, start with 3 attack, move up to 2 spaces per turn.  Access to almost every weapon and armour type and receive a 2x multiplier for cash rewards.
  • Orcs – STRONG! Start with 6 attack and gain a bonus when using heavy armour and weapons.  Can only move 1 space per turn.
  • Elves – FAST! Start with 2 attack and can move up to 4 spaces per turn.  Can only wear light armour and gain bonuses when using daggers and bows but get 4x cash reward multiplier
  • Dwarves – TOUGH! Start with 5 attack and can move up to 2 spaces per turn.  They can only wear dwarf armour and have a bonus attack for all weapons
The game can be played in a few ways
  • Race to the end – Each player must reach to the centre of the board to get to the artefact before anyone else
  • Survival – The game only lasts up to (XX) turns and the player with the most attack at the end wins
The new board will have 4 spaces
  1. Monster spaces – each level has its own monster with their own attack power.  They start at 5 attack for level 1 and gain 3 attack for every level you go up.  Defeating a monster will give the player a cash reward
  2. Treasure spaces – cash reward to buy items in the shop
  3. Magic Sphere – gives player magic points for spells to use in battle
  4. Ladders – let players move up spaces to the next level.  Must fight that levels monster.
The way battles work:
  • First player attack is calculated
  • Players can then play spells to buff  or de-buff characters or monsters
  • If the battle is a tie then the player moves back to his old position
  • If one player wins, they get kicked down one labyrinth level.  If they are on the bottom floor they get kicked back to their respawn point (corner of the board)
  • Player then gets a cash reward
Before the player moves to the next space they can enter the shop to spend magic and gold for items and spells.
The spell system will have battle and world spells.  World spells can only be used once a turn unless their effects say otherwise.  For example, a movement increase spell can only be used once every three turns.  Lastly battle spells can only be used in battle once.

Why This Will Work

By removing the dice and random equipment and chance cards every player knows what each persons attack, gold and magic are leaving no hidden information.  The dice and cards remove the chance of luck and magic spells can be used to give their previous effects.  For example, before there were chance cards that increased a players movement for a turn, now a spell would do that.

The game revolves around character development and player vs player conflict.  The development of your character is entirely up to you rather then rolling dice to move to spaces and picking up equipment by chance from  deck.

Thank you for reading

– Moose

Tic-Tac-RPG?

Problem

The original game of Tic-Tac-Toe is easily solvable game based on pure skill.  Chess is a solvable game as well, but the numbers of moves that can be played are so large that we cannot easily comprehend every situation.  My task is to add luck into this game and make it more playable for adults.  Adults like complexity, but I personally don’t find chess very riveting and fun to play. TO MUCH THINKING!  Adults like some complexity and depth, as well as drinking.  I have already seen someone go along the ‘drinking game’ route, so I might as well go with the strategy route.  Playing an intense game of chess at a party doesn’t seem like it will happen in anywhere but the Sims.

Thinking Out Loud

So, what is a fun type of game that includes strategy that adults would like? RPG’s.  The original Tic-Tac-Toe is a 2 player game, Tic-Tac-RPG or TTRPG  should be a group party game.  The original game of TTT is essentially a basic territory acquisition game, once someone acquires a bit of territory in a line they win the game.  Bingo has similar mechanics but it is enjoyed by older people.  In order to make this game fun for younger adults we need to add some social and team elements in there.

One team will be the X’s and the other the O’s.  Rather then rolling boring dice to decide on which team gets the right territory, players will use trivia cards.  These trivia cards will contain positions of X’s and O’s that can be attained by answering a trivia question or performing some action.

Gameplay Changes

TTRPG Trivia Cards

This would be one type of trivia card, where the back would be the space where the X or the O would go

As soon as one team member performs the above action they would be able to place their avatar on that spot.  For example, if one of the items was Planking, each team would tell one team member to start planking, if they manage to beat the other person then they can place their marker on that spot, if they lose then the other team places their marker on that spot.  This idea of risk vs reward along with the randomness of the trivia cards would be the twist this old game would need to play this game.

The trivia and physical challenges can be any number of things.  For the History Trivia the other team would select one person to pick a question, if they manage to get the question right they get the spot, if they get it wrong the other team can get one member to try and save them to earn the spot.  If neither can get the question then the spot remains neutral.  This would add a spice to the game, players can try to mess up the other team but if they pick something too hard then they end up messing up their team as well.

Also, it would be helpful to add a few new mechanics to the territory acquisition. During a mock play test I found out the game can finish in 3-5 turns which is a bit fast for a party game.  There should be rules for contesting spots and fully capturing them.

TTRPG Territory

This is an example of ways people can contest and capture territories to make the game longer.  Each team can place their markers on each square up to 3 times, whoever reaches 3 markers first gains the spot permanently.  If both teams have an equal number of  markers on the spot, then it becomes neutral.  If one player has more spaces then the other, then they maintain control of the spot.  The first player to get a line wins.

Why It Will Work

The idea for making it team based with trivia will entice older people (18+) to try this game.  Strategy is involved in the trivia and deciding where you want to place your marker and teamwork is a huge part of the game.

I didn’t get a chance to test the game on a large crowd, but from what I saw the original TTT tactics were not in effect.  People tried to use them but the new contesting rule for the territories made them sway from that tactic and gave the other team several chances to fight back

TTT Original Tree

Summary

  • Make the game acceptable to adults
  • Team based gameplay
  • Trivia cards
  • Contest squares and let opponent fight back

Thank you for reading

– Moose

WAR! Needs More Skill

Problem

War essentially plays itself, as soon as the players shuffle the deck the game is predetermined.  In order to make this game more compelling and skill based we need to change the rules to allow for skill.

The main problem is that the players have no idea what card they are going to play next and every battle is decided by pure luck.

Thinking Out Loud

In order for the outcome to be determined by skill, we need to make the players make more meaningful decisions.  Instead of completely redesigning ‘War!’ and getting away from the core mechanic, I have a few ideas on how to keep that core with a some few rule changes.

I think the core of ‘War!’ is to become the victor in a battle between two people by presenting a better card.  In order to give the player some choice in picking which card he wants to play in the battle we need to give them a pool of cards they can see and choose what they want to play.  However, rather then playing one card at a time, I think that players should play between 3-5 cards per ‘battle’.  If we were to only let them play one card, the players would only be playing their highest card and there would not be much strategy involved, and the player that lucked out by getting higher cards in their part of the deck would have a huge advantage.

Gameplay Changes

By having more cards in each battle we can add special rules to give added value to lower cards to balance the gameplay a bit.  For example, players can play a variation of poker hands in each battle like sending armies out to a battlefield.  The type of army sent would be the poker hand.  For example, a group of pikemen can be represented by a 4 and a siege unit can be represented by a Jack.  If that battle were to play out the player with the Jack would win and then claim the others card in his pile.  However if the other player played three 2’s against the other players 1 Jack, the player that played the triple two’s would win because a triplet is stronger then a single high card.

Rule Changes

In order to accommodate the need for a pool of cards to play, the players must be able to create armies to send out.  The players should also get their own 52 card decks to make sure each person starts as an equal and no one has a clear advantage over the other.

Players should start with 5 cards, and then draw 3 every turn.  Players should also be allowed to discard any number of cards per turn only once to draw from their deck.  This rule would eliminate the positive feedback loop if one player continues to win in battles while the other player gets garbage cards.

One of the only rules that is the same from the original ‘War!’ is the resolution.  When one player runs out of cards he picks up and shuffles his discard pile and plays using that as his main deck, if the player completely runs out of cards he is the loser.

Rank of Poker Hands

Why This Will Work

By giving the player the freedom to play their own cards we allow them to estimate the value of each card and also let them weigh the risk or the reward for each battle.

When playtesting, I found out that people would not normally send out troops as cannon fodder for the other players stronger hands.  Instead they would discard them so that they would be able to use them later for a better hand.  People felt that this rule needed some tweaking but I personally felt that it was good the way it was.  Since the task was to make the outcome determined by player skill, drawing from the deck of cards seems a bit random and picking any card from the deck would put obvious choices in the game.  Players would obviously pick the best cards and it would be really easy.  However discarding cards  takes out winning by pure luck since every player can modify their hand each turn.

When playing the original ‘War!’ game, one of the great things about the game was how fast the gameplay was and it had a great flow to it.  This version slows down gameplay and makes the game last a lot longer for new players and people who like to create very deep strategies.

I also thought about adding the jokers in the game to act like super cards.  I debated on giving them either:

  1. If you play the joker you automatically win the battle
  2. The joker increases your combination rank by one.  If you have a flush and you use a joker, it ups it to full house.
  3. A joker is a blank card and can be used as a substitute
I thought 1 was pretty overpowered and 2 and 3 seemed to be viable options.  The third one seems fair like the white space in Scrabble.

Summary

  • Use two decks instead of one to balance the start of the game
  • Rather then playing one card at a time players can play a maximum of 5 cards
  • Battles are won using poker hands
  • Players draw 3 cards per turn and can discard and pick up cards equal to what they have discarded
While the hiding of hands and the flipping of cards is still considered random from the other players perspective, removing this element of slight randomness would make the other decisions meaningless.  Having an open hand would provide for obvious decisions.  The skill aspect of the game is knowing how to read your opponent and looking at their discard pile to see what cards they could possibly play.

Thank you for reading,

– Moose