• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Jeremy Salo 7 years ago

Jeremy_Salo - A collection of game prototyping work done with fellow students at the University of Denver



Rapid Physical Game Design


Challenge 1: Puzzle Problem



Tommy Benson, Hanna Pardee


This is a game for two players.

  • What You’ll need:

    • A timer or stopwatch

    • A set of playing pieces (provided)

    • A physical barrier that prevents the two players from seeing each other’s materials.

    • Deck of the puzzles (shuffle before playing)

  • The two roles

    • The Descriptor:  Using a set of images that cannot be viewed by the constructor, the Descriptor’s role is to verbally explain the structure they see in their set of images.

      • When the round starts, the descriptor grabs one puzzle from their deck of puzzles. Once the descriptor sees the puzzle, they ask if the constructor is ready. When the constructor says yes, the round begins. Use the stopwatch to time the round.

    • The Constructor: Using the verbal information from the descriptor, they are expected to reconstruct the structure with their set of pieces/props.

    • Players switch roles after each round.

      • Note: The youngest player is the descriptor first.

  • Constraints

    • The two players cannot see what each other has.

      • The Descriptor cannot see what the Constructor is making

      • The Constructor cannot see the images the Descriptor is using.

    • The Constructor cannot ask questions to the Descriptor, but they can ask the Descriptor to clarify what they’ve said.

    • The Descriptor can only communicate the instructions verbally. They can not show any visual information.

  • Rules/Scoring

    • Each round only lasts two minutes and thirty seconds (2:30)

    • At the end of each round, the barrier is put down and the image and the physical set are compared. The two players win if the image matches the constructor’s set.




Challenge 2: 4 Player Game, Zookeepers and Orcas



 Tommy Benson, Stone Fisher, Julia Jones, Jeffrey Mutchnik, Brock Soicher, Hannah Tindal



A zookeeper has fallen in the orca cage and must escape before being killed.


-  -

Overview of board.



-Zookeeper must get to the opposite side in three minutes.

-All players must start at one corner.

-Zookeeper can move forward, backward, side to side, can move back previous spaces, stand still, and move diagonally.  Zookeeper cannot swap spaces with Ocra, if they swap, the Zookeeper loses.

-Orcas can only move forward, backward, and side to side but cannot go to most prior previous square. Two orcas are allowed to swap spaces with each other.

-If two Orcas move to same spot, they must play rock, paper, scissors, to determine who is out of the game, therefore limiting down the number of orcas to the zookeeper.

-Zookeeper must get to the opposite side in three minutes.

-Zookeeper counts down from 3 (3,2,1…) then all move.

PlayTesting Notes:


  • Clarify “opposite side of the square” so they know to go diagonally across

  • Specify that it is 3 (orcas) v 1 (zookeeper)

  • What does opposite side of board mean? (The opposite diagonal)

  • Might add the rule that people need to point

  • Indication of what the cone means

  • “Each player starts in a different corner”

  • Clearer indication of checkerboard (confusing squares for some players)

    • Using ‘X’s to indicate “other” color square

    • Possibly use string to indicate play space

  • Good asymmetric gameplay

  • Movement is kind of an issue

  • What kind of revisions can be made to the pointing?

    • Felt a little rigid/difficult to manage pointing and moving simultaneously.

    • With everybody moving all at once, how can an honor system be maintained?

      • Maybe everyone moves blind?

    • Movement is a skill in our game that can be improved over multiple playthroughs

  • Point, reconcile, move based turns

  • “As we played, it did start to feel more natural”

  • “Became fun once you could move in the space quickly. It did take a while to get to this point”

    • “Pointing takes away a little fun from the experience because it takes away some of the spontaneity of  the game.”

    • “Pointing might actually weaken an honor system between players”

  • Apparently the grid doesn't make sense (More tape? String?)

  • What if the countdown wasn’t as loose? What if it was more rhythmic, interval based moves.

  • Should there be

a penalty for the orcas going back to the previous space?

    • Get sent back to the cone?

  • Gameplay Tweaks from Playthroughs:

    • Zookeeper going to opposite corner and back

    • Quicker turn intervals

      • Return to their own corner or return to zookeeper corner

    • Time limit

    • Point system

    • Round system

    • Winner becomes zookeeper

      • In a round system players switch/rotate roles : Game variant

    • Cases where Orcas forget to move`

    • A fixed interval for the zookeeper? (3...2...1)







Challenge 3: Game for 5 Players of Equal Roles



Julia Jones, Hanna Pardee


Game Rules:

This game is meant for five players.

Each player will be a designated color: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue and have five beanbags of their respective color.

Each player has 4 rings they can score in. (They may use their last beanbag to score a ring they missed or to eliminate a player’s point)

  1. Each player will be in their respective territory lines

  2. Players may stand in any of the four rings directly in front of them, but must be on one foot

  3. Once the game begins by countdowning from three, players all simultaneously toss their bean-bags into rings NOT within their own territory (one beanbag per ring)

  4. To score a point, one of a player’s bags must land in a ring of the corresponding color; use your best judgement if the beanbag is in or out.

  5. Players may block incoming bags using one foot, and may move around freely within their territory.

  6. Players lose a point if one of the rings in their territory has a bag (of any color besides their respective color) in it. One per ring. (3 bean-bags in one ring is only one point)

  7. At the end of the game, points are tallied. The player with the highest total points wins

  8. TIEBREAKER: if two players or more tie, they will play a game to determine who wins.

-The players must try to score at the furthest ring of their color from the furthest ring regardless of territory. Players must move two arms clockwise (so now players are on the opposite from their respective rings)

(Ie. for the red player, they would move to the blue ring in the orange territory) -They must stand behind the ring and toss.

-The players may not defend this round


First playtesting notes:

-People misunderstood what to do with the extra beanbag

-More than one beanbag in one ring - just one point (clarify this)

-Are beanbags out? - use your best judgement

-Players got into tiebreaker - figured out that they cannot defend


Second playtest notes:

For “best judgement ” players decided upon themselves that 50% in is available

In tiebreaker confusion on where to start and where to score

A way to mark territory

Tiebreaker tiebreaker situation

Ambiguity in what determines the score

Scoring wasn't intuitive, but the rules were quickly referred to and the situation resolved

Tiebreaker caused a bit of confusion -

reclarify that they start on their respective ring and move two arms clockwise from there

“New shape allows for easier blocking. It's more aesthetically pleasing. The space is a little confusing but in a good way.”






Challenge 4: 8 Player Game, 2 teams of 4 in separate spaces



Hannah Tindal, Alex McConnell, Ben Efram, Hanna Pardee, Kelia Murata, Tommy Benson


Object of the game:

This is a game for 8 players, two teams of 4 each in a separate space. Each of the 4 players will start in different corners of the play space. The teams will have to work together to retrieve balls of a certain color from the bowl, this color determines what corner you must return to (the corners color is dictated by its cone, which cannot be moved) as well as arrive there with the matching colored ring. (ie by the end of the game your ball, ring, and cone/corner must all be the same color, but not necessarily the same color that you started with)


Set up:

  • Both teams of four have 5 minutes to set up the opposing team’s obstacles. This includes setting up the string (security lasers) and the location of the bowl of balls (jewel case) within the space, and choosing what rings go in what corner.
  • Each team will have one NPC runner who is able to return the travel ring, determine whether a player touches the trip wire.


  • The string may only have up to 8 anchor points and may ONLY be attached using tape to the four walls around the space. You may not wrap the string around the tables/walls. The tables/board/walls may not be moved.

  • The bowl of balls must stay within the space and not placed inside any of the rings, but may be placed next to a ring.

  • Each corner must have a cone and a ring (red, blue, green, or yellow. They do not need to match) The movement ring (purple) must be placed by any one of the four corner rings(within stepping distance).

    • See image below

During Play:

  • All four players simultaneously attempt to reach the bowl without knocking it over and grab a ball, then travel to the corner with a cone of the same color as the ball they retrieved.

  • Players may not share rings (Be in the same ring)

  • Players may ONLY have one ball at a time but may hand another player a ball.


  • You are considered standing  “inside a ring” as long as you have two points of contact within your ring (i.e. if a player must put down a hand when traveling through trip wires, they are allowed to do so if they have two points of contact inside their available rings).

  • Players may ONLY move by stepping into the travel ring, and passing the ring they stepped out of to another player (that ring becomes the new travel ring) .

    • At the start of the game the purple ring is the travel ring. There is only one travel ring at a time.

    • The current player with the travel ring steps into that ring and passes their previous ring to another player to allow the next player to move. The previous ring then becomes the new travel ring.  

      • When the player passes the movement ring, players must move to where the ring lands, they cannot adjust its new location.

      • If the movement ring is unreachable, players can recruit the help of one of the NPCs to retrieve the ring and give it back to the original thrower.

    • Players must slide the fifth ring (the Travel Ring) to each other to allow movement through the space (you may slide in any order).

      • When passing the ring, players cannot slide the ring to move themselves and must coordinate with the other three players to move.

      • Players have a choice to either step into the travel ring or they can pass it to another player.

Player Reset

  • If you are caught outside a ring, touching a tripwire, or if you knock over the bowl players must reset the space (this changes based on what you touch).

  • Note: tripwires only triggers when contacted with the body, not loose clothing. NPC runner judges use best judgement

    • If you fall outside your ring or hit one of the tripwires, you must return to the corner you began the game in with your current ring and must return your ball to the bowl.

      • If you knock the bowl over during this kind of reset, it doesn’t count as a full reset for the team.

    • If you knock over the bowl, all players return to their starting corner and must return all the balls to the bowl.

    • If a player has successfully made it to their correct corner with the correct ball and ring, they become immune to these reset conditions.

Win State

  • Once you have a ball and you are in the same colored space, you must be standing in the ring of the SAME COLOR as the ball you are holding. Once all players have met this requirement they have completed the game. The first team to complete their task wins.
















Programming for Play


Exercise 1: Repurposing an Example Game

For this exercise I modified the example unity project to give the game a clear goal: get the highest score in a limited time period by driving a car over green tokens, and avoiding red tokens (which reduce score). I used only the art assets Bill provided and it looked like this:




Exercise 2: Example Game Remixing



Alex McConnell


The goal of this exercise was to get a partner and create a new game that fused the goals and other elements of both of the games we made for the previous exercise. Since our goals of our games were somewhat similar, we decided to branch out and make a brand new game using the same basic mechanics from the example exercise. The result was a game in which the player plays as a snake traversing the desert, avoiding predatory hawks and eating rodents to maintain energy along the way.





Exercise 3: Game with Social/Narrative/Creative/Imaginative Play




Jeff Mutchnik


In this game we aimed to make a competitive game that involved tossing balls back and forth over a wall, trying to have the least number of balls on your side at the end of the timer. We saw this as a sort of social play since playing catch is a timeless social pastime and our game played with that idea, giving it a competitive edge.



Exercise 4: 5:1 Aspect Ratio and Attraction/Repulsion



Ben Efram, Richard Bui


In this game we employed a magnetism mechanic that allowed the attraction and repulsion of a ball through an obstacle course that was sized to fit the 5:1 aspect ratio requirement





Vertical Slice: Cthulhu Ctharetaker



Tommy Benson, Ben Efram, Quincie Neale


Our Game: 

The requirements for this project were many. It has to take place physically and digitally using projection, require at least 3 three players, use a Microsoft Kinect, and utlize multiple devices communicating with each other. Additionally the game had to fit a theme: either "Unify" or "Tentacle." We decided upon the tentacle theme, and eventually came upon the idea for a game in which Cthulhu (played by a person in front of a Kinect) would maneuver his giant tentacle arms to help lead his children (played by the other two players) to safety. The two "children" players use PS3 controllers to move their avatars around a sunken ship, jumping around obstacles and platforming their way upward. Near them are colored physical pressure pads that when stood on activate certain moving objects in the game necessary for completing puzzles. At the same time, the player playing as Cthulhu moves their arms to control several large tentacles, moving them around the level to provide crucial assistance to the other two players in their ascent out of the ship.


My Contributions:

I primarily served the role of level designer on this project. The entirety of our level was designed by me, and all the non-character art was implemented into the level by me as well. This meant that I worked on many different versions and tweaked aspects of the level with the team as mechanics evolved and became more fleshed out and certain puzzles were found to be successful or inadequate. 

I think in a soft way I served as a sort of Producer on this project. I certainly wasn't alone in this since the whole team was accountable for communicating goals and progress but throughout development I tried to focus plenty of energy on keeping the team on the same page and time frame and synthesizing all our work into the level I was working on.

My experience in programming was dwarfed by Tommy and Ben so naturally they did nearly all of it, but quite often I helped them both as the three of us would look at snippets of code and pour over each line to try to find the bug/logic error.

I think one of my biggest contributions to the group was simply being a positive team player. Code broke, art was energy consuming to produce, and our last day on the project turned into an all night scramble to make the finished product as good as possible. Throughout it all, I did my very best to be optimistic and encouraging to the whole team, even when things were at their most frustrating, because I felt it was crucial that we all maintain a passion to produce a great game in what time we had. I think I succeeded in raising my team's spirits, and I think we succeeded in making an awesome game. I'm greatly indebted to and thankful for my team members' passion, work-ethic, expertise, creativity, humor, and friendship.














Materials Required:

  • Rear-projection screen
  • Rear projector
  • Alienware Game System
  • Kinect 2
  • Kinect Adapter cable for Windows
  • Computer
  • 4 pressure switches
  • 200 ft black wire (ground)
  • 180-200 ft red wire (live)
  • Hookup cables for Arduino
  • Arduino (and power source for Arduino)
  • USB Connection Cable for Arduino
  • 2 Bluetooth capable PS3 controllers.  



Rapid Paper Game Prototyping


Challenge 1: Story Machine


Constraints: Make a game for 2 players, using an 8" x 8" playing surface (paper or other), 3 geometric solids, and a color spinner or a 30 second timer. The game rules should be written or typed onto a separate piece of paper. The game should be completable in 10 minutes max.



Story Machine


Story Machine is a game about making  great stories with another person.


The Goal:

Make each other laugh! Have fun! Tell a good story! Roll with the suggestions given by the machine and do your best to keep the plot together.


You’ll Need:

3 character blocks, the game board, a 6-color spinner


Setting Up:

Play Rock, Paper, Scissor to determine who goes first. That person takes a character block and creates a simple character for it. Feel free to flex your creative muscles when thinking of a character, or take some ideas from the Character Examples list at the end of this rules sheet.

Then, that player must spin the color wheel, and place the character on one of the corresponding color spots on the outer edge of the game board (you may choose which of the two possible spots to start on).

The next player repeats the process above. For the 3rd character block,  both players have to work together to determine character details, then use the spinner to determine that character’s starting position. Now you’re ready to play!


On Your Turn:

The winner of Rock, Paper, Scissors goes first. Pick any of the characters and start telling a story! You have to incorporate the element written on the spot the character occupies. Keep it a bit brief to let your partner have a turn quickly.


Once you’re satisfied with the chunk of story you’ve told, spin the spinner, move the character one layer closer to the center, and move it clockwise until it lands on the color the spinner landed on. Your turn is now over and it’s the next player’s turn to pick a character and start telling their part in the story, repeating the whole process above.


Play continues like this until a character reaches the Wrap it Up! space. When that happens, move all characters to the Wrap it Up! space. On the next player’s turn they may begin telling the end of the story.


To start this process, spin the color spinner. If it lands on Red, Yellow, or Blue, the characters accomplish their goals in the end. If it lands on Green, Orange, or Purple, the characters don’t accomplish their goals (this doesn’t mean the story can’t have a happy or fun ending).


The player who spun tells the first half of the ending according to the result of the spinner, and then passes play to the other player, who will tell the second half of the ending. Then, you’re done! Hopefully you’ve told at least a somewhat coherent story.


Character Examples


Donna the talking wolf


Tom the sad robot


A clown therapist


A very hungry time-traveler


Jared, the sentient Pizza


A used-knife salesperson


Rachel, who laughs uncontrollably


A person who will die the next time they sneeze


A 3 year old genius


A chicken who just escaped the farm.









Challenge 2: AL-LIES


Constraints: Make a game for 3 players, using an 8.5" x 14" playing surface (paper or other), any (non-zero) number of figurative (looking like people or animals) tokens, with no spinners nor dice, where victory is achieved by (at least) two of the players collaborating. The game rules should be written or typed onto a separate sheet of paper. The game must be completable in 10 minutes max, and learnable in 5 minutes max (a total time envelope of 15 minutes). 





A game about outwitting each other, silently…


The Goal of AL-LIES is to form an agreement with another player to eliminate the third player, all without speaking. You may communicate only through the passing of notes.



You’ll need the game board, pen & paper to write notes with, 20 standard tokens per player, and 3 black elimination tokens per player. Each player must sit down in front of one of the “Eliminate Player X” zones.



A round of AL-LIES involves all three players using any number of their standard tokens in one of two ways:

  • A player may place tokens in another player’s “Eliminate Player X” zone, which counts as a single vote per token to eliminate them from the game.

  • Or a player may hand tokens over to another player to use in the next round. The receiver may not use those tokens in the current round.


You may negotiate the number of tokens you will use with other players by writing and passing notes to them. YOU MAY NOT SPEAK. You are under no requirement to tell the truth in negotiations, ever.


EXAMPLE:“I’ll give you 4 tokens if you use 4 of yours to eliminate the other player. The other player is offering me 5 tokens to use 4 of mine against you so get back to me quick”


Once you’ve received a note, you may not share the note with another player. If you make an agreement with another player using notes, that agreement is NOT binding.


This note exchanging may go on as long as is necessary. Once a player knows how many tokens they will use and how they will use them, they must declare on a note what their decision is, and place that note face-down in front of them. Unlike normal notes, this declaration IS binding.


Once all three players have placed their declarations in front of them, the round is over. All players must flip the declarations face up and use their tokens in the way their declarations state.


Once all three players have used all the tokens they care to use that round, the player with the greatest number of tokens in their “Eliminate Player X” zone receives a black elimination token, which they must place in one of their empty “STRIKES” spots in the center of the board.


All tokens in any Elimination zone are then removed permanently from the game.


After this process is complete, a new round starts and the note sharing may begin again.


The first player to have all three of their “STRIKES” spots filled gets eliminated from the game, and the other two players are the winners.






Challenge 3: Rat Race



  1. Formal Constraints:
    1. Materials:
      1. One sheet of blank paper to record rules
      2. One gridded surface to use for gameplay, you may choose the size of the grid units and the size of the surface
      3. Two figure (i.e. human shaped) tokens
      4. You may use abstract shapes to indicate setting or barriers 
    2. Using one, and only one, mechanic
      1. create a non-violent game that places two players in opposition
      2. each player will be represented by one of the figurative tokens
      3. the gameplay will occur on the gridded surface
      4. movement rules cannot be dictated by a dice roll
    3. Gameplay duration cannot exceed 10 minutes from start of play to finish.




Rat Race

Get to the cheese before the other player



Place both mice on the starting spaces facing forward (where “forward” points toward the cheese), and put all the tokens in a place to the side where both players can easily reach them. Play rock, paper, scissors to determine who goes first.



Each player must try to lead their mouse to the cheese before the opponent’s mouse reaches it.

Mice move on their own, always in the direction they are facing.

If your mouse passes over a black space or goes outside the play area, it is sent back to their start area facing toward the cheese.

At the start of your turn, your mouse moves one space forward in the direction it is facing.

Then you may place two tokens anywhere on the board. If either mouse reaches that token the mouse must immediately perform the action the token describes (details below). This applies whether the mouse reaches the token at the start, middle, or end of your turn. Once the action is performed, remove that token from play.

You may place a token on a space that already has tokens on it. If a mouse reaches that space it performs the actions described by the tokens in the order of most recently placed token first, followed by 2nd most recent, etc. If the mouse moves a space to its left or right as a result as a token, the tokens left on the space the mouse used to occupy aren’t used, but do remain on the board.



green token: Turn mouse left

red token: Turn mouse right

yellow token: Move mouse one space to it’s left

 purple token: Move mouse one space to it’s right





Challenge 4: Frantic Search



     Conceptual Constraint: make a game about nervousness.





Frantic Search


In this game you’ll be searching through a deck of cards for a specific card, and you’ll have to find it before time runs out…


This is a game for 3-6. You’ll need a deck of cards and a timer. Take the deck of cards and completely remove the cards of the suits clubs and diamonds, leaving only the cards of suits spades and hearts in the deck. Then take the deck of spades and hearts and shuffle them. Then, take half of the deck, flip it upside down, and shuffle it into the other half. Any time you play this game, roughly half the cards should be upside down within the deck.


The youngest player will begin. They must set the timer to two minutes. Once the timer has started, they player needs to pick up the deck and find the Ace of spades. They may not change whether a card is upside down or not; they have to physically turn the whole deck over to look at cards they can’t see. Once the ace is found, they must set the deck neatly down in the middle of the play area, and place the Ace face up next to it. Once completed, the player must say “done,” to indicate that their turn is over.


Then the player to their right takes the deck and finds the King of spades, completing the procedure above, then passing play to the person to their right. That person will find the Queen, and the next person will find the Jack, and so on until a player has found the 2 of spades. If the timer has not gone off at this point then the next player will search for the Ace of hearts, beginning the whole process over for hearts.


If the timer goes off on your turn before you can say “done,” you’re out!

Once a player is eliminated the game is over and all the other players are the winners!







Challenge 5: Revising Rat Race


Constraints:  Revisit and Refine one of the previous games.


For this challenge I chose to revise my previous game Rate Race. The version of the game in the Challenge 3 section is the most current iteration, but initially the game had some small but significant differences.


For instance, this was the game board as it was originally designed: 





The biggest difference is that this old board is 9X13 spaces as opposed to the current 7X7. This was much too large; it made the players overwhelmed and it made the game take too much time, since a single turn in Rat Race can involve serious time and consideration. The smaller board is an attempt at shortening the game's length and cutting back the amount of cognitive load on players. Also worth noting is that the black spaces on this old board have a fundamental problem: Players reached them on their second turn every time, and their placement completely undid my rules on the order of actions players take on their turn. The black spaces themselves are uninteresting obstacles here, which was adjusted in the current rules. The old rules themselves also had some important differences. The first set of rules reads like this:



Rat Race

Get to the cheese before the other player



Place both mice on the starting spaces facing forward ("up," "north"), and put all the tokens in a place to the side where both players can easily reach them. Play rock, paper, scissors to determine who goes first.



Each player must try to lead their mouse to the cheese before the opponent’s mouse reaches it.

Mice move on their own, always in the direction they are facing.

Mice cant move through black spaces.

At the start of your turn, you must move your mouse one space forward in the direction it is facing.

On your turn you may place two tokens anywhere on the board. If either mouse reaches that token the mouse must immediately perform the action the token describes (details below). This applies whether the mouse reaches the token at the start, middle, or end of your turn. Once the action is performed, remove that token from play.

You may place a token on a space that already has tokens on it. If a mouse reaches that space it performs the actions described by the tokens in the order of most recently placed token first, followed by 2nd most recent, etc. If the mouse moves a space to its left or right as a result as a token, the tokens left on the space the mouse used to occupy aren’t used, but do remain on the board.



green token: Turn mouse left

red token: Turn mouse right

yellow token: Move mouse one space to it’s left

purple token: Move mouse one space to it’s right



The important differences or omissions in the old rules are in bold or are crossed out if they were added later. Some of these differences are subtle but they ended up making playing the game a bit of a nightmare.


For instance, the old rules describe mouse movement by saying "You must move your mouse," while the new rules say "Your mouse moves." The problem with the old wording is that it conflicts with the line "Mice move on their own." With the old wording the players got confused by the conflicting implications of these rules and they never felt totally comfortable with how the mice moved around the game board.


Similarly, the old rules say "On your turn" after the previous rule says "At the start of your turn." This small detail lead to a fair bit of confusion as to when a player's turn actually started, and really exacerbated the problem of players not understanding the movement rules.


A large change from the old rules to the current ones is how the black spaces effect gameplay. Originally they were just barriers the mice couldn't move through. This wasn't particularly interesting or engaging to play around for either player. In the current rules however, the black spaces represent "holes" in the game board that send mice back to their starting space is passed through. This added exactly the three things I thought the game needed to be more engaging: tension, reward for strategic play, and a secondary goal. This change introduced a bit of tension to the game since players don't want to be sent back to the start and risk losing, it rewards strategic play since it provides a clear benefit to sabotaging and out-thinking your opponent, and it introduces a secondary goal which creates more meaningful choices for a player on their turn. They could invest both of their tokens that turn on moving their mouse forward, or instead prioritize sabotaging their opponent, or even (with some luck and skill) accomplish both in a single move.


Generally all the changes made to Rat Race are an attempt to make it shorter, easier to understand, and more rewarding when players mine the depth of the game to make strategic plays. Further changes can be made to get closer to these ideals; for instance the game still takes longer than I'd like to get started. The way the rules culminate make for a game that seems to demonstrate good strategic depth, at the cost of long turns filled with thinking from the players. I'm not sure that the balance of depth to mental complexity is quite right yet.



Challenge 6: Pushing It



          Conceptual Constraint: make a game about rules. 





Pushing It


The goal of the game is simple: Create a set of stipulations for walking to a cone and back, such that YOU can do it, but your opponent can’t.


Play rock paper scissors. The winner will create a rule that changes the way both players complete the task. For example, you might set the rule that when walking to the cone and back you have to take exactly 11 steps, or set the rule that you have to balance a bean bag on your head while doing it.


When choosing a rule, you can use any stipulation you want, using any of the objects around you, as long as you think you can still complete the task.


When a rule is chosen, the person who made it goes FIRST. If they can’t get to the cone and back with the current rules in two tries, the rule they suggested is cast out from the game and that player gets a strike.


If you get three strikes you lose and the other player wins.


If the person who suggested the rule completes the task successfully, the other player has two chances to complete the task with the given stipulations or get a strike.


After both players have either succeeded or failed at the task, the other player ADDS a new rule to the current set of rules and has to try getting to the cone and back given all the rules.


Play continues like this until a player has 3 strikes.



Challenge 7: Puzzle Pyramid



          Conceptual Constraint: Make a game that consumes itself.




Puzzle Pyramid


You are a treasure hunter at the top of an ancient pyramid. Your goal is to collect all three pieces of treasure and make it to the bottom on the pyramid in the fewest number of moves possible, while the Pyramid changes around you...


Setting Up:Find the card with the word “Player” on one side and an adventurer on the other and set it aside. Shuffle the rest of the cards, face down. Take those cards and place six of them next to each other horizontally, face up. This is the bottom layer of the pyramid. Then place five cards above that layer, then four above THAT layer, and so on until you’ve built a pyramid of cards. Then place the Player card at the very top of the pyramid.


How to Play:Each turn you may either remove a card from the pyramid, or swap the position of two cards. You may NOT swap the position of any Treasure card or swap the Player card into a position where it is automatically right next to a Treasure card.


The Symbols: Cards with arrows on them are Direction cards. If there is an empty space in the pyramid, Direction cards must automatically slide to fill it, if their arrow points toward the empty space. If there is more than one Direction card that could possibly slide to fill the space you may choose which will do so. The card with the figure on it is the Player card, which slides into empty spaces below it but not above. Cards with squares on them are Block cards; they cannot slide into empty spaces. Cards with stars on them are Treasure cards, you’ll need to collect all three and reach the bottom layer of the pyramid to win the game. If the Player Card is next to a Treasure card in any direction at the start of your turn, remove that Treasure card from the pyramid and set it aside, the adventurer has successfully retrieved it.


When you have collected all three treasure cards and navigated the player card to the bottom layer of the pyramid, you’ve won! Try to accomplish this in as few moves as possible.









Challenge 8: Secret Plans



               Formal Constraint and Conceptual Constraint, at the same time: Unfolds, that is to say... the mechanic should be "unfolding", and the idea should be about unfolding.




Secret Plans


Setup: There should be 25 red chips, 25 blue chips, and 25 yellow chips in between the two players. Each player will need one of the Plan Packets


The Goal: Your goal is to have the most number of valuable chips at the end of the game. Certain color chips are more valuable for you than others. The value of different color chips to you will be outlined in your Plan Packet, and those values WILL CHANGE as the game goes on…


How to Play: Play Rock Paper Scissors to determine who goes first. When that is determined both players open their Plan Packets. The information therein is secret, and DIFFERENT for both players. On your turn, three things happen, in the following order:

  • You take 2 chips of different colors from the central pile for yourself

  • The other player ASKS for you to give them a chip of a certain color

  • You give the other player a chip of any color from your pile. You may choose to obey their request, or give them a different color chip.

Then it is the other player’s turn, during which they will take two chips for themselves, you will ask for a chip of a certain color, and the other player will give you a chip of whatever color they want.


When to Unfold: Once both players have had 5 turns, they must unfold their Plan Packets. Within the packet there will be NEW information about both players secret plans, which will overwrite the old information. Then both players will take another 5 turns, after which they’ll unfold once more, and so on until the Packets are fully unfolded and the game ends.


When the game is over the player with the most points gained from their chips wins. Share the information within your packet with the other player once the game is over, but not before then.







                              Secret Plan Packet: Do not open til you understand the rules and are ready                         Round 1: 

                              to start. Keep your plan secret from your opponent til the end                                                       For You: Yellow is worth 1 point. Blue costs you a point; it's bad for you to have. Red does nothing for now.

                                                                                                                                                                                        For Your Opponent: Blue chips earn your opponent 1 point when they have them. Yellow does nothing for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                        When you unfold this for new instructions, make sure your opponent doesn't get a peek at your plans, old or new.








                              Round 2:                                                                                                                             Round 3:

                                   Your old plans are on the back of the packet now, don't let your                                        Don't let your opponent see your old plans!                               

                                   opponent see them!                                                                                                              For You: Yellow chips now lose you a point. Blue gains you 1 point. Red gains you 1 point.

                                   For You: Yellow chips earn you 1 point. Blue does nothing for you.                                     For Your Opponent: Red chips cost your opponent 1 point when they have them. They think that blue does nothing for you, but that's not true.

                                   Red chips cost you a point (they subtract your point total by 1).                                         They know red chips earn you points.

                                   For you Opponent: Blue chips cost your opponent 1 point when they                                Do you think you are winning or losing? You'll know soon enough...

                                   have them. Your opponent THINKS that blue chips hurt your point total,

                                   but that's not true.

                                   Be tricky with what color chips you ask for, your opponent might guess

                                   things based on what you ask for. Again, keep all your plans secret

                                   when it's time to unfold.








                                                                                                                                                                        The Plans Have Fully Unfolded

                                                                                                                                       Add the number of your blue chips to the number of your red chips, and

                                                                                                                                       subtract from that the number of your yellow chips. The result is your point total.

                                                                                                                                                                    Whoever has the most points wins!

                                                                                                                                       Figure out who won, and THEN share the contents of your Plan Packet with your

                                                                                                                                       opponent. You may want to keep things a bit quiet in case there are people around

                                                                                                                                       who don't want to know what's inside these packets.




Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.