A Mechanic in Need of a Theme

  • A Mechanic in Need of a Theme

     Ben Morayta updated 1 year, 6 months ago 2 Members · 6 Posts
  • Johnathan Proctor

    August 30, 2021 at 5:51 pm

    So Chantun Rey’s post about a game with his kids has encouraged me to post here with a challenge. The picture here is of an origami cube that my 7yo daughter got at school (teacher demonstrated the folding for her). She used this with the board on the left (colored in with similar colors) and tried making a game.

    I’ve been inspired by this and the recent BGDL Print-N-Play (PNP) podcast to try and build something that could be a PNP which could be a cool craft project for kids. So the core mechanic will be constructing your die (6 colors, 3 colors per side with one color appearing twice on each side) and then rolling it to see what colors you can move to. You can move up to 4 spaces assuming that you can move up, down, left, or right to an adjacent space. So 2-n players will be moving around the board to race to different objectives.

    I’m trying to think of a cool theme to put this up against and have two ideas that may be cool or dumb. Thus, I’m posting here. Idea one is that two players will be cats on a bed quilt. Six spaces along the edge of the board will have icons in them, and you roll the die to see which color is dominant (2 of the 4 quarters). That colored space with an icon gets a red dot, which is the laser pointer. Your objective is to get the laser before the other cat.

    Idea two is a patchwork rug under at table and you play cooperatively as mice trying to pick up crumbs that fall from the table before the playful dog can get to them. The dog would be an AI mechanic that moves along the periphery of the board.

    Option 1 is competitive while option 2 is cooperative. What do you think of these, and are there any other thematic options for kids that you can build around these materials?

  • Ben Morayta

    September 5, 2021 at 5:22 am

    As I said before, I love those origami cubes. So much so that after the “assignment” to make one in elementary, I kept making them for myself as a kid, just to use as construction blocs, or to play around… And later in life I’ve made XMas ornaments out of them…

    As a note, I’m not sure HOW you have 3 colors per side – the construction I know only allows for 2 – if you have a reference of how to construct these, I’m interested! 😉

    I like both your ideas, and while for kids the “place a laser token” or “place a crumb” on the color would be the simplest, it might be interesting to constrain the movement to only the colors of the die instead. The player can move as many spaces as they want, but only using patches of those colors. This would teach the kids planning and pattern recognition.

    Something for the co-op: How are players cooperating to get the crumbs? I think that’s what I’m missing of that idea. Just “the closest can get the crumb”, or “lets both try to get to it” might still create competition (if one player never quite gets first). I feel that co-op games need for one player to be able to help the other in their turn. Could be something as simple as “if you land on another mouse you get to roll/move again”, or maybe “borrowing” colors from the other players, but the important part of this is that one player must voluntarily give something up for the “greater good” (like positioning their mouse where the other player can benefit from it, even if that’s not the best move).

    BTW, if you lay the squares/rectangles “slanted” (like bricks on a wall), you’d have 6 adjacent squares, not only 4, effectively turning them into “hex” spaces, in case that helps with the layout of colors…

  • Johnathan Proctor

    September 5, 2021 at 10:10 am

    @bmorayta … here’s the video I found: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=337QxhfpY4w

  • Ben Morayta

    September 6, 2021 at 5:00 am

    Yeah, I googled it, and found the same – it’s -almost- the same method I use, but not quite.
    Very interesting… Thanks! 🙂

  • Johnathan Proctor

    September 6, 2021 at 7:28 pm

    So here was the initial playtest session today. 🙂 Initial reviews were good (they asked to play again), but I think the crowd might be biased towards me.

  • Ben Morayta

    September 6, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    I love it when that happens! 😉

    Did you finally find a theme, or is it just abstract still?

    And what mechanic did you go with in the end? Coop or competitive?

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