15 July 2009

GDC: Early Stages of the Design Process

Today another of my Game Design Concepts class assignments, which I re-posted from the GDC class forum.

CraZy cLImBEr the Boardgame

Objective: Players try to be the first to reach the top of the building, avoiding hazards along the way.

Components: (I really did create a board and a full set of cards, but my photos didn't turn out. I'll try to recreate the board in a spreadsheet and post it for viewing).

A Board representing a building with 25 "stories", there are five Segments with five levels each. Along one side is a "Grip Track" labeled "fall" at the bottom, then numbered upwards sequenttially 1 through 15. There are also marked area for the card draw stack and discard pile. A small image follows to right, or follow the link for a larger version in an Excel spreadsheet.

Tokens: 4 colored Climber Tokens, and 4 like-colored grip tokens.

Cards: A deck of 80ish cards, all are identical on the back:
Climbing cards -
16 Climb +1 level cards
8 Climb +2 level cards
4 Climb +3 level cards
2 Climb +4 level cards
6 Dodge Hazard cards
3 Dodge Hazard and Climb +1 level card
1 Dodge Hazard and LOSE 1 level card
1 Dodge Hazard and LOSE 2 levels card
4 "draw 2 extra cards" card
3 "draw 3 extra cards" card
2 "draw 4 extra cards" card
(Hazard cards also list the remedy to the hazard)
6 Windows Closing, Climb +1 level or lose 1 grip
5 Falling Flower Pots, Dodge Hazard or lose 2 grip
4 Falling Dumbells, Dodge Hazard or lose 5 grip
3 Angry Birds, Dodge Hazard AND Climb +1 level or lose 3 grip
1 Wild Electrical Wires, Dodge or lose 3 grip
1 Big Bad Monkey, lose 4 grip
1 Falling Stock Broker, Dodge or lose 6 grip (not in the arcade game, but I couldn't resist)
(Bonus item cards give extra Grip, move the players grip token up the grip track to a maximum of 15)
Climbing Gloves, +5 Grip
Climbers Chalk, +5 Grip
Rope, +10 Grip (Max 15)
Climbers "Friend", +5 Grip
Tape, + 5 Grip
Suction Cups, +10 Grip (max 15)

Sequence of Play
Determine Player order randomly.
Shuffle the deck, and deal 4 cards to each player.
Player Climbers tolens begin on "Ground Level" at the bottom of the board. Player Grip tokens begin at "10" on the Grip Track.

Repeating steps
1a) If there are no cards left to draw, reshuffle the discard pile and replace it on the Draw stack.
1b) Players draws a card and adds it to their hand. Exception: Players at the top of the building may not draw more cards.
2a) If a players has at least 4 cards "in hand", then the player may play 1 or more cards, or none.
2b) Players chooses cards to play and lays them on the board
3a) Resolve any Hazards for the player, including Hazard cards already in play for that section of the building. Adjust the Players Grip Track. If a player lays down enough Climb cards to move completely past the next section of the building, apply any in play Hazard cards for that section as well.
3b) If the player's Grip Track is at zero or below, they Fall (Lose 10 levels and any bonus items, Return Grip Track to 10). If a Hazard causes a player to fall, they are no longer subject subject to that type of Hazard for the rest of the game.
4) If the players has not fallen, apply any Climb cards. If the player climbs into a new section of the building, do not apply any Hazard cards in play for that section until the next turn.
5) If a player has more then 8 cards in hand, they must discard 4 cards. If they have reached the top of the building, they may discard one card.
6) Place all played or discarded cards in the Discard Pile.
7) If the player is at the top of the building and has no cards left, they win.
8) Repeat steps 1-8 until a player wins.

Player may climb up the building by the number of indicated levels on the Climb card they play. I play may choose to move sideways instead of up, but may not move down unless a card specifically states this. Players may not move into the Blacked Out squares.

If a player's Grip is reduced to zero the players falls. Place their token on any open square (player choice) 10 levels below the level they fell from, or on the ground level if they fell from less than 10 levels. If there is no open square on the level on which a player should be placed, then go down to the next level with open space.

Hazard Cards:
Hazard cards must be played on a section of the building where at least one player token is located. When these are played, they affect all players in that section of the building when that players turn comes up. Place the Hazard card next to one section of the building. If at the end of a players turn there are no Climbers below that section of the building, remove that card from play and discard it.

Bonus Items:
These give a players extra grip. Move they players Grip Token up by the indicated number. The players Grip Track may not go above 15.

End notes and conclusions

Some preliminary testing reveals some card balance issues which will need further playtesting to resolve. Despite this, I already see some of the dynamic I was hoping for. Players quickly build up a large number of hazard cards and are forced to play them. Players rapidly lose Grip and Fall. Falling make a player immune to the hazard that made them fall, and it is harder to knock them of the building each time. A good strategy is to intentionally fall several times, perhaps even playing Hazards on yourself, before making a run to the top of the building.

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