Posts Tagged ‘board game’

This post is a continuation of my original post of ideas: Magic Elves Taking Turns Breaking Rules Chasing Fine Art: Ideas for a Prototype

Sorry for the delayed post for the update on the board game, but it was presented last week and submitted. Here I will elaborate on the original ideas, with rules and concepts for the game.


The world is in ruins in the medieval era, where nations are battling to take over territory and gain an edge on each other. There is one epic wizard in this land; Merlin. In his possession are ancient art pieces that can give it’s wielder unimaginable powers. Merlin, knowing that the nations would be on the hunt for these artifacts, destroys them into several pieces and goes into hiding.

The nations have already heard of these mystical pieces and are on the search for Merlin to gain the power to take over the other nations. The Humans, Elves, Orcs and Unicorns scour the world in an attempt to find Merlin. Occasionally scouts spot the mystical hermit wizard and the nations race to find him and the art pieces.


Collect all pieces of the ancient artwork before the other players do.



  • Turn-based roll of the dice (higher roll wins)
  • Similar rules to Risk
  • Attacker has 2 dice, defender has 2
  • Dice are picked highest-to-lowest
  • After every roll, the player with the lowest roll will lose 1 unit from their territory
  • First player to lose all units in a territory forfeits the territory
  • If there is an art piece being held by the units, the art piece is dropped and forfeited


  • The last player in the turn cycle will draw a card at the end of the cycle
  • Cards have special characteristics which alter the way the game is played, which can also overwrite some of the major game rules
  • Example: One card changes the boundaries of one nation to encompass others (sublimation), another breaks a bridge between two nations (tsunami), etc.


  • Players must collect the art pieces
  • Art pieces are represented in their own deck of cards
  • At the start of a game, a player draws a card from the “art” deck and that card determines where the first art piece is placed
  • When the first art piece is collected, a player draws from the deck and a new art piece is placed on the board
  • Any units on that space where the art piece is found on are immediately destroyed
  • Players have to collect four pieces to win
  • When a player collects an art piece, the art piece is now considered part of a “unit” and other players can steal this unit by defeating it in battle
  • The art piece unit gains a +1 on their roll, as well as any other units on the same square


  • Capture-The-Flag/Turn-Based board game
  • When crossing continents, you must have a squad containing 5 or more units
  • You can only move your units to adjacent territories (or to any territory connected via a bridge)
  • You must have at least 1 unit on a territory to have it considered yours
  • For every territory you acquire, you can move one more unit (get more movement per turn)
    • Ex: If you own 5 countries at the start of your turn, you can move any unit 5 times


The Board and Cards:



Note: It seems I overwrote deleted the final draft of the write up for the games rules. I also submitted the final draft to my TA when presenting the game. Please excuse me if some of the rules seem confusing as I had to write them from an old document+memory. Thanks!


Ahh nostalgia. There’s just something about old games that have a charm. The simpleness of the games, yet the amount of entertainment they can provide.

Today I’m going to talk about an old classic, Dig Dug.

A little about Dig Dug:

The game was made originally for Atari which was later ported to other consoles such as the NES. The game was made for up to 2 players where the players would dig into the earth to kill monsters. Dig Dug is what the main character is coined, his objective is to eliminate all the underground dwelling monsters that live in the pockets of space under the earth. He will inflate them until they pop, which gives him some points.

Our little protagonist, Dig Dug, wearing a fashionable white and blue attire. Underground monsters also sporting quality outfits. Are those snorkeling goggles I see?

How to play Dig Dug?

Playing Dig Dug is pretty simple. It’s a simple up, down, left, right movement layout for the game, and mashing a specific button to shoot the speargun he has at a monster. After hitting a monster you must mash the button to inflate the monsters and pop them. Here’s a nice online version, arrow keys to move, “x” to shoot and inflate!

Requires Java:

Now let’s turn it into a board game!!!

Well, we decided for a board game we would make a board that looked like the Dig Dug playing screen with the layered soil. After making a board to resemble the video game we overlayed a grid on top of the board so it would look like the following:

Similar to this, not exact. Keep in mine we can’t have a working live score counter on cardboard!



The board game version is designed for 2-4. One player will get to be Dig Dug while the other players will be the monsters. If 2 people are playing, 1 Dig Dug, 2 monsters. If 3 people are playing, 1 Dig Dug, 4 monsters (2 monsters per player who are not Dig Dug during the round). If there are 4 people playing, 3 monsters (1 monster per player that isn’t Dig Dug).

There will be 1×4 black strips to represent starting pockets for the monsters on the board. These will be placed randomly, to be determined by coordinates given by a roll of the dice. Dig Dug of course starts at the top of the board, the surface of the world.


Dig Dug will get to roll first and he is able to travel in any direction he pleases. Every time he moves into a new patch of dirt, it will be replaced with a black tile to signify that he has traveled on that patch and monsters can travel there as well. After moving, it will be the monsters’ turn to roll. Normal numbers mean they travel only on the black tiles, back and forth. If a monster player rolls a ‘3’ or other specified number, it means they are allowed to travel through the dirt as “ghosts” like in the original video game. A subsequent roll will indicate how many tiles they can travel, horizontally, vertically or even diagonally. (Ex. Monster player rolls a 3, player rolls again and gets a 4. Monster can travel 4 tiles in any direction).

Whenever Dig Dug lands or crosses a monster on his turn, he must inflate the monster to pop it. How do we pop monsters on the board game? There are several systems but this is a prototype idea:

  • Dig Dug gets 5 chances to roll a dice
  • He must roll 3 even (or odd numbers, but only one or the other) to successfully pop the monster
  • If he fails to pop the monster, he will move 1 tile back or forward. His choice.
  • If he succeeds, Dig Dug is awarded 500 points

Pump that monster up! 

When a monster stumbles onto Dig Dug, Dig Dug loses 1 life and must restart back at the top. Dig Dug only has 3 lives. Once his 3 lives are used, it will be time to rotate Dig Dug players. The monster that kills Dig Dug will be award 200 points.


Once everyone has had a chance to play as Dig Dug, the player with the highest score wins!!!

Additional thoughts and notes:

This gameplay and system of playing the board game is still a rough prototype. Things can/will be added, or changes will be made to improve gameplay. If you have any suggestions to improve it, feel free to leave a comment!!! Thanks for reading!

War, Spies, and Briefcases.

Posted: January 29, 2012 in INFR 2330
Tags: , ,
Update: Pictures of the physical prototype will be added later, after it is made/completed. 

When people think of war, or even World War II, they often think of gunshots, rifles, machine guns, dogfights and anything that makes a bang. There is also another side to the war where the objective was to be as quiet as possible pretty much. And this is what brings us to the espionage based events of WWII mainly between the US and the Soviets. This espionage activity was mostly due to the nuclear arms race and the soviets were trying to get information on the US’s infamous Manhattan Project. Likewise the US tried to gain information on its enemies and their nuclear arms/plans as well.

This leads us to the theme of our board game. Players will try to collect intelligence placed in briefcases from the opposing team.

There will be no violence/death in this WWII game!


Each team will have a total of 3 briefcases which contain intel from each country. Players will try to collect the enemy team’s intel and head back to their base with it. First team to get all 3 briefcases will win.

Game Mechanics and Dynamics

This game uses a similar Collection dynamic that was used in my previous post of Cats and Mice. Players will use the collection dynamic to pick up suitcases and bring them back to their Headquarters (starting box of each team). In a way this will also include a race to the finish dynamic, as players want to reach the other side of the board to receive a briefcase before an enemy reaches their briefcases.

Yes we will be using the cliche briefcase full of Top Secret information. Similar to getting enemy intel from Team Fortress. 

Player Conflict

The game will also be a team based competition between the US team and Soviet team. The players will be travelling across the board trying to reach the other side. There will be conflict between the players if a player moves across a tile with an enemy player on it. This will break out into a sequence of a “War” type scenario with cards or dice, more on that later.

Kind of reminds me of Spy vs. Spy. Anyone else remember that? The good old days. 

Rules and Mechanics:


There will be 3 briefcases on each side on the board, which is divided in 2 with one being a US area, and the other is Soviet area. Players will put their pieces on the starting tile for their respective teams. Try to keep it even, with 2 vs. 2, 3 vs. 3, etc. Teams will choose one person from each side to do the starting roll with the dice, highest number means that team gets to go first. The sequence of players will be all players of one team will roll, then the other team’s players can roll. It will not be US player rolls, Soviet player rolls, US player rolls etc. It will be a team based sequence (Ex. US player 1 rolls, US player 2 rolls, Soviet player 1 rolls, Soviet player 2 rolls).


Players will have their usual dice rolls to move the number of tiles represented on the dice. There will be alternate paths along the board, some with forks. Direction to take on a fork will result in a deciding action, such as rolling a dice, even number goes left, odd number goes right on the fork. This type of movement will only occur when players are on enemy tiles. So if a Soviet player reaches a fork in the path while on US soil, they must let the dice decide the path they take. While if a Soviet player is on their own turf, they can choose which direction to take.

Players will reach enemy briefcases, and must return back to their base with the briefcase.

What happens if I cross an enemy player?

Good question. You will break out into a “War” sequence. It will be a best 2/3 situation with dice rolls, where players must roll a higher number than the other player. Losing player will be sent back to their starting tile (they didn’t die! They just got sent back to HQ due to.. injuries).

If the player that lost is holding a briefcase, the briefcase will be dropped onto that tile where they once stood. If the briefcase belongs to your team, a player can go by, pick it up, and return it to HQ. While if it is an enemy briefcase, you can go retrieve it and bring it back to your HQ.

Some tiles will contain “Event Cards” which will affect the player drawing a card. Cards will pertain to the WW2 theme, such as “Your pen gun misfired into you food, you have been slowed. Next 2 turns -2 from your movement rolls.” There can also be beneficial cards such as “You’ve received false identity documents for your enemy team’s country. Going through enemy checkpoints just got a whole lot easier. +1 to all your dice roll in their territory.”

What? I’m totally a real officer for your army…


First team to get all enemy briefcases back to their HQ will win the game! Success, all their nuclear planned goodness is yours!

After working away and meeting up late into the night, the “Race to the Finish” style board game for Game Design and Production was completed as a polished prototype. An attempt was made to make it look pretty, trying to mask what it really was; the lid of a pizza box.

Me and my group members Sascha Maurer and Jason Poirier played a quick round of the game dubbed “Race from the Aces” after they explained the rules of the game to me. Took 15-25minutes to complete the game, with Sascha quickly dominating the round. But realizing the game was pretty much complete and spitting out a few new ideas for the game board for a later version, we cracked down to business on ideas and planning for the “Territory Acquisition Prototype.”

What our initial ideas were:

The Board:

The original drawing for the board was kind of a squiggly cloud looking board with squares/drawn areas on it. But it was decided to keep the board simple and base it on a square grid. Now what size should we use? We first wanted a 20×20 grid, but realized this meant there would be a total of 400 squares. That’s a lot of territory to try and conquer am I right? So that’s a no go. We reduced the large number of squares into a 12×12 grid, meaning there would be a total of 144 squares. Not a problem. This worked perfectly with the game system/ideas we thought of for the game.

Thus we agreed upon a 12×12 grid board, with certain sections as different terrain, which includes water, volcano/magma, grasslands, air, forests etc. (Final elements still TBA). We pretty much want to base the elements/terrain sections of the board on the 5 basic elements for the tribes in the game (more details later).

Here are some example boards to give a rough idea of what it may or may not look like, refinements will obviously be made:

Board will look differently depending on incorporated elements on each tile plus it will be in a 12×12 grid dimension.

In the final stages, if time/budget permitting, the board can be made “pretty” by making it somewhat 3D/textured with a 12×12 grid overlay upon the terrain.

The Players: Setup:

This territorial game will be for 2-4 players as requested.

Each player will control a certain tribe at the beginning of the game. Depending on what 4 elements we choose to incorporate into the board game, this will then lead to further perks and benefits depending on your tribe. The selection on the type of tribe a player is is still to be declared. Possible ways to choose are:

  • Have element cards face down, shuffled/rearrange them on a tabletop and have players select a card. Players roll a die and selection order will be highest number to lowest number on the roll
  • Whatever element of the square you start off on will be your tribes element (more details on where you start on the board later)
  • Players simply choose what element they want to be

After certain elements are chosen, players can then also choose a certain “Hero” card. Heroes are certain types of characters that will be given to players, each with a unique buff and is the commanding/lead character of the player’s army. The Heroes we have thought to include are the following, each with unique abilities/buffs for one’s army:

  • Warrior (Offensive buffs)
  • Healer (Defensive buffs)
  • Leader/General (Reinforcement buffs)
  • Assassin/Thief (Offense/Defense buffs)
  • More to be thought of/added; TBA

The selection process will be similar to one of the element selection ideas. Hero cards will be placed face down on a tabletop and shuffled thoroughly so selection will be random. Order of selection process will be dependent on dice rolls. Highest roller picks first, descending to lowest roller picking last.

Gameplay: How do I work this thing?

To setup the base/camp/starting positions, using 12 sided die, players will roll them to get values. One die will represent the grids X-Axis, then other die represents the Y-Axis, thus providing us with an X,Y coordinate. This coordinate will be the starting tile position the player will be on. In the event of the same coordinate as another player, the player will simply roll again. If a player is right beside another player, you must take that position. The game goes on! It’s part of the challenge depending how lucky/unlucky you may be.

A twelve sided die.

A twenty sided die. Remember this is bad, as we are not playing on a 20×20 board with 400 tiles!

Next we will talk about the game mechanics. After setting up camp on whatever tile you may have gotten, players will start off with 5-10 soldiers (TBA) on the tile. The player to make their first person will be the one who rolled the lowest number from the selection process. So pretty much you will go in ascending order based on the dice values you rolled, lowest to highest. Opposite of the selection order.

Players must follow the phase pattern that structure every turn.

  1. Reinforcement – At the beginning of every turn (excluding the first round of turns), every tile occupied by that player will receive 1 additional soldier up to a maximum of 5-10 (TBA)
  2. Movement – Player is allowed to transfer troops to different tiles that are adjacent to the tile the soldier is originally on. This means if a tile of 5 soldiers, a player can only transfer soldiers to another tile touching that tile in a turn. This can be repeated for any tiles you want that you already occupied in the previous round. I.E you cannot transfer soldiers to an unoccupied tile, then transfer those troops to another unoccupied tile.
  3. Battle – Players can choose to attack tiles that are occupied by other players. Battle system will be discussed further down

The battle system of the game will either incorporate cards or dice. This will essentially be a player playing war with another player. Player 1 (challenger) will draw a card or roll a die. Player 2 will draw a card or roll a die. Whoever has the highest value (Ace to King or 1-12 lowest to highest) wins, and loser deducts 1 soldier from the soldier count of their tile. This will continue until one of the tiles reaches zero. If the challenger wins, the player can choose to move troops into that tile immediately, but only using the tile that just fought. If troops are unavailable, the tile will remain unoccupied.

This brings up another point. You must have at least 1 soldier on a tile to occupy it and gain reinforcements.

When occupying a tile, there will be chips available to place on tiles. Players must place 2 chips on a tile to indicate a) the tribe and b) the soldier count. Tribe colors will be dependent on the element they belong to and soldier count will range from 1-5 or 1-10 (TBA). The chip placement will look like the following:

This will continue until players are all defeated, or whoever owns the most territory after a certain number of turns (ex. 30) wins the game. The choice of how to win has not been declared yet.

Important Tip!: Depending on your tribes element, the tile you occupy can give you a buff (TBA) So water tribe on a water tile can give you the advantage you need!

Well that’s cool, anything else?

Yes! Actually there are many other features that were discussed, but not 100% decided upon how to implement it into the game, or organize it into the game mechanics. This includes “Event Cards”, “Item Cards” etc. This will add buffs are other neat things that will help players get an advantage in the game and acquire more territory faster. The type of cards have not been created/discussed entirely yet but we hope to add more features to the mechanics of the game.

We must establish and develop/iron out the core features of the game, gameplay, and game mechanics.

That is our territorial acquisition prototype for now. Let’s just call it “That Territorial Acquisition Game With Tribes And Elements” (TTAGWTAE) Sounds cool huh?

Pronounced: tag-wuh-tay