Tag Archives: DIGC310

Buff Dudes!

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Looking at the card game Yu-Gi-Oh there is a specific element that peaked my interest. The power and might of drawing all of Exodia The Forbidden One’s cards and playing such a powerful monster to combat your enemy. Exodia is a powerful monster that cannot be contained to just one card unlike the rest in the Yu-Gi-Oh game. You have to go through your entire deck to get the 5 pieces of Exodia – Left Leg, Right Leg, Right Arm, Left Arm and Exodia (the torso/face).

Exodia

Exodia The Forbidden One from Yu-Gi-Oh. Exodia The Buff Dude.

I wanted to create a game that had elements from both Yu-Gi-Oh card game – particularly the collecting of the pieces of Exodia and the dice game Yahtzee where you roll five dice and try to make combinations to score points. The better you roll in making combinations the more points you get. Both elements are quite simple with each game, draw your deck in Yu-Gi-Oh to gather all the pieces of Exodia and, roll the dice in Yahtzee to get the best combination of numbers.

To combine these games I wanted a card game where players would draw from a deck and try to create there own Buff Dude (my take on Exodia) and with that Buff Dude compete in Weightlifting Competitions to see whose Buff Dude is the strongest and takes home the win. So my idea is a combination of Exodia limb drawing, Yahtzee dice rolling, the ‘healthy’ workout of going to the gym and the competitive scene of Weightlifting.

Buff Dudes 1

First look at separating the portions of the body. Had considered adding Shoulders to the equation though that ended up being a bit clunky on the deck.

Buff Dudes 2

Early planning of what the game would include. Certain changes occurred such as the body board, number of cards players would start with and starting at a level 1 body.

Players would start with the same Head Piece and have to join body parts as they go through the turns. First thought was to create a board where players would place their cards when joining onto the head. This idea was scrapped as it made the game feel rigid as it made the game more a fill-in-the-puzzle style of game play instead of just placing body parts togethers.

The design aspect of this game is meant to be quite like a cartoon as the body pieces and general aesthetic are meant to be sensationalized, much like the proportions of Johnny Bravo.

Johnny Bravo

The Cartoon Network character Johnny Bravo.

The Cards Players need to have for their Buff Dude is a Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest. There are different levels of each of these cards represented by levels as in level 1, level 2 and level 3. Each of these levels corresponds with a more muscular character. Where level 1 is a scrawny muscle, level 2 is a toned muscle and level 3 is a Muscular muscle. Having higher level muscles is beneficial for the competition portion of the game. Ideally having level 3 muscles around the body is wanted. Though that is not always possible.

This game has been designed for 4 players. Each player is given a Head Card to start. Then they are dealt 5 cards each. Of those 5 cards players choose 3 to add to their head and then discard the last 2 in a discard pile. Players are dealt 5 more cards – play up to 3 cards and discard the rest. Deal out the remainder of the deck which is another 5 cards and play up to 3 more cards again and discard the rest. With this mechanic players have to create their own risk as well as be strategic as there are bonuses for getting the same level on limbs that are needed for the competitions, though every limb is not needed for every competition.

The early card design are simply scrap pieces of paper with the limb name and the level number written on. Below is an example of this and a first run through of the game. The game currently has three levels of each limb that every player can make. So there are 3 levels times 5 different body parts times 4 players = 60 cards plus the additional 4 Head Cards.

Buff Dudes play

Four players each able to make their Buff Dude. Though only one player was able to get every muscle to a level 3 musculature.

Buff Dude play 2

A closer look at Player 2 (2nd from our left) from the above picture. Level 3 Right Arm, Right Leg, Left Leg and Chest. Level 1 Left Arm.

Once players have made their Buff Dude, it is time to compete! The competition is in Bench Press, Clean and Jerk, and the Dead lift. Each of these competitions are related to working out and have a work record in some form of competition like the Olympics or Strongman Competition. For this game however the competition is broken down into what parts of the body the player needs to compete and get that edge over the opponents. The more even your body the bigger chance you have of winning.

Buff Dudes 6

A look at the draft for player turn and the muscles needed for the competitions.

For the Bench Press players will be looking at their Chest and Arms.
For the Clean and Jerk players will be looking at their Chest, Arms and Legs.
For the Dead lift players with be looking at their Legs and Arms.

Buff Dudes 8

Players get a benefit when they have Level 3 muscles in the group of muscles that is needed for the competition. This image illustrates my idea of that benefit.

With the competition this is where the Yahtzee mechanic comes into Buff Dudes!. Instead of 5 dice I added one and use 6 dice. The aim is to have the best rolls possible. This is done with 3 attempts at scoring the highest score with 3 re-rolls in each of these attempts. Players can keep the number on some of the dice that they like such as if they rolled three 6’s they only have to re-roll the other three dice. After that last attempt the players look at what they have ended with and correlate that with the scoring chart.

Scoring

Current Buff Dudes! Scoring Chart

Looking at the Bench Press which uses Chest and Arms. Players who have both Level 3 Right arm and Left Arm score an automatic 6 on one of the dice. If they have a Level 3 Chest also this means they get two automatic 6’s on the dice so they would only have to roll four dice. The automatic number is always counted before the first roll. Automatic 6 was made as the game is based on points with 6 being the highest number. I wanted players to aim for the highest score by rolling six 6s.

Buff Dudes 9

This is an example of the Bench Press Competition. Each player is in a different column. With each Attempt a different row of numbers. The sets of numbers are the 3 re-rolled numbers in each attempt with the number in a box the final roll which is then scored on.

Buff Dudes 10

This is the scoring of the Clean and Jerk Competition which uses the Arms, Legs and Chest. The bottom numbers are the total of all three rounds. The overall winner was the player who had made the best Buff Dude! The one with the most equal leveled muscles.

Buff Dudes 11

The Dead Lift competition which uses the Arms and Legs.

Though the competitive aspect of Buff Dudes! comes from the luck of what muscle levels you get and how well you roll the dice. I am looking to add a positive and negative attribute feature that relates to bodybuilding and general gym behaviour. These being items that people would use to build muscle to some degree.

Buff Dudes 3

Items such as Whey protein, Creatine powder, Steroids and Oils to name a few impact on the muscle and the dice rolls.

These items are already on the limbs of the body. Such as a Level 3 Chest with Steroids. Steroids has an effect that would disqualify the user from a competition if he scored 6’s across the board, but if he has managed to get Steroids on every muscle (Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg, Right Leg and Chest) one of these muscles would read “If every muscle you have is affected by steroids the negative affect is nullified”. So if you rolled all 6’s with every muscle infected by steroids you would not be disqualified. You will need that main muscle that nullifies the effect otherwise it still works.

Buff Dudes 12

A look at the placement of information on the card about the illegal items and descriptions of use.

Other items and possible effects are:

Whey protein – Up the level of muscle on this limb at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Creatine powder – Switch one of your Cards with a Random Card from the Draw Pile
Oil – If you end with a 1 or 2 in your final roll attempt half your score
Uneven Pecs – Minus a muscle level to one of your arms at the end of creating your Buff Dude
Bum Bag – Has the effect of both Whey and Creatine

Buff Dudes! is meant to be a quick game where the focus is on creating a Buff Dude and Competing. The idea of Buff Dudes was more of a test to see if I could combine elements of Yahtzee with Exodia.

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Prototyping with a Cyborg Octopus

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Playing my game became the best experience in finding out what works and what does not. As more play tests happened there were certain results that I did not plan for or expect a player to do. The following blog will present those changes and how I changed the game to suit what I preferred.

I intended for my game to be quite long, but as I am happy to grind out playing my game this was not the case for a majority of play testers. The first design of the board had empty spaces that did nothing. This was changed as the first play testers found that the interest in the game came from being able to do something other than just roll. The solution became to fill in the empty spaces with actions that meant every player would be able to do something besides just roll every turn.

board changes

The revamped board

Continuing play tests found that the board was quite slow when starting to attack the Queen. I had designed in a way that the damage to the Queen is exponential as the turns go on. Even though you may not have done any damage to the Queen this turn you are building up your stats to do more damage when you do get the chance to attack.

Card upgrades

An aesthetic upgrade for the cards as well as a colour coordination on the map. Blue = Action, Red = Queen, and Grey = Mechanical Piece

The Significance of the Card draw is to be both beneficial and disruptive to the players. The Mechanical Pieces that you get from the “M” spaces boost your upgrades though as there were Action Cards from landing on the “A” spaces that allowed you to get Mechanical Pieces also it presented itself as a redundancy for the players drawing this Action Card.

Redundant cards

26 redundant Action Cards. Players wanted something more beneficial than just a card that equaled landing on a Mechanical Space. So they were scrapped.

Scrapping these cards caused a significant decline in getting Mechanical Pieces in order for upgrades. A short solution was to give players 5 Mechanical Pieces to start with instead of 3, and for every 2 damage done to the Queen a player would receive 1 Mechanical Piece.

Attacking the Queen is the main objective for the first round of the game. Though early play tests made this quite the struggle as you would have to land on or pass Start naturally to be able to attack the Queen or get an Action Card that would allow you to damage the Queen. Feedback suggested making the other three corner spaces ‘Attack the Queen Spaces if landed on (for your attack stat)’. This change was beneficial for the speed of the game in further play tests.

Start Changes

Landing on or going past Start is the biggest benefit as you get to attack the Queen but also a Mechanical Piece to get further in upgrading your stats.

Play tests also made the change for the purpose of the ‘Movement’ stat. While I had thought that this was to increase your dice roll movement many people; even myself found that it was incompatible with the natural flow of rolling a dice and moving that number of spaces. A simple redesign changed the ‘Movement Stat’ to the ‘Speed Stat’ that benefits in the Second Board Battle Phase. Where the player with the higher Speed Stat goes first when it comes to attacking or defending.

A little playthrough

A Short play test of the game showed that by turn 6 the Queen would be Half Health. This was also the play through where I decided to change the Movement Stat to the Speed Stat.

As the game was played there are a number of Cards that cause a player to lose stats and this made their stats go into the negatives. This was something I did not like as it made the Revenge Map quite redundant. As it is your stats that are your life total so having negative stats meant you were handicapped with both your character and your revenge octopus.

Turn and rules changes

‘Your Turn’ and ‘Rule’ pages were created for some guidance

Some of the Queen cards are specific in that they only heal damage tentacles or the most damaged tentacle. In early play tests players were only focusing on one tentacle at a time which made these Queen cards redundant. So introducing the rule “Three tentacles need to be damaged before the first tentacle can be completely (dealing the 8th damage) destroyed” sorted out this issue.

Damage to the Queen also became significant when players were attacking multiple tentacles in one turn – an overflow of damage from one tentacle to another. I set in place the rule that no overflow of damage is allowed as these tentacles are gigantic compared to the player so there is no way that a single blow from a player would be able to go through multiple tentacles. This rule aided in the game being more strategic but also the Queen Cards being more effective if players are careless.

Something as simple as rolling doubles seemed common and I wanted players want to keep rolling doubles so I made the simple rule of “If you roll doubles have another turn” (taken from monopoly but with no threat of jail). I though this was a fine rule as the board layout prevents a player from continually attacking the Queen as the board is 11 spaces on two sides and 10 on the other two. So consecutive attacks are rare but doable.

battle board changes

The Revenge Board saw a couple of changes to guarantee some progress

First changes on battle board

First Round of changes on the Revenge Board

The Jump Forward Space was added so the Mobile Octopus had a guarantee goal for at least getting into a fight with a player. As landing on this space jumps the Octopus forward on the map (following the layout of the map) to the nearest player and getting in some damage.

Changes of software and hardware

A review of the end of a game and some feedback suggested putting specific stats on the Mechanical Pieces and having them be in certain groups so that players had to coordinate certain pieces from those groups together in order to get a bonus. Above is a little look at setting out that design. I did find it interesting though the implementation seemed quite hard.

Next set of changes

Some changes that I planned to play with on the next play test

The paper clips and elastic bands seem to be the best representation for the Queen and her health. Overall I am happy with my game and how it is turning out.

It’s a Cyborg Octopus life after all – Game Pitch

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Octopus aesthetics

Source. The general aesthetic I would like for the Queen Octopus and the board game itself.

A huge cyborg Octopus stands in the way of salvation. Everything that we once knew is now controlled by the Queen Octopus. The world is a dark place where the only way to survive is to rummage and destroy other cyborg beings for their hardware and software. You upgrade yourself in order to become stronger, wiser and faster to defeat the Queen and the secrets that rest within her body. Yourself and three friends goal is to defeat the Queen’s tentacles and her powerful minions, though not everyone gets to reach salvation.

First progress in the following two images shows the first stages of thinking out the game and its mechanics. I had an idea about wanting to do a two board, two phase game. Where a large octopus is placed in the center of the board to provide both a visual representation of the enemy but also an added aesthetic for the narrative of the game. Drawn in the top right of the first image below you can see the general though for the game. A added change was also a battle mechanic where instead of armour and weapons it became about stats and upgrading those stats through gathering Mechanical pieces.

1st plan part 2

First plans about the board game

actual 2nd phase 1st draft

Continued plans

Playing the Game

First choosing a character out of Human, Shark, Cow and Bottle. Players are given the player-card corresponding that hold details about the beginning stats and the special upgrade ability of that individual character. Players are also given 3 random Mechanical Pieces. Then taking turns moving around the board by using two dice and adding your movement stat (e.g. dice rolls 3 and 4, your movement is +1, so you move a total of 8 spaces) your turn begins.

characters

A write up of the characters and their cards. Each character is different and is played with a different strategy in mind.

1st phase board drawn up

The concept for the board. A simple 4 sided 11 spaces on each side form. Trying to work out the appropriate amount of each different kind of space to balance the mechanics.

Octopus elastic.jpg

A prototype that I’ve been using to represent the Queen and her tentacles. 64 Parts = 64 health.

After rolling and making a move players can land on 1 of 4 different spaces. First is a space labelled ‘A’ which corresponds with the Action Cards. 104 in total, Action Cards aide in both helping and hindering the player. They are the source for dealing damage to the Queen (e.g. deal 1 damage to the Queen). In the case of dealing damage to the Queen the player would add their Attack stat to the damage asked to be dealt with by the Action Card (e.g Action card says deal 2 damage to the Queen, Attack stat is 1 attack, so the total damage to the Queen is 3 damage). Action Cards are the main aide to the player and so needing to find the right amount to come up with to create interaction with the players and the board 104 seemed quite a lot but has been working with the play tests.

Action cards

A look at all the action Card and their design. The design though out is a place holder as I am never happy with what I come up with. So just making it simple seemed easiest.

The second space players can land on is the ‘Q’ space. Which represents the Queen Card interaction. The Queen is well aware of the impending danger that the players can create so she must intervene and cause as much distraction as possible to prevent being defeated. The Queen Cards are a way for the Queen to mess with the players by moving them around, getting them to lose stats and by making the fight go on longer by healing her damaged tentacles. The Queens Health is represented by her tentacles. With 8 tentacles separated into 8 pieces the Queen has a total of 64 Health.

queen cards

A look at the first progress of Queen Cards and Design. Currently the game play consists of 27 Queen Cards.

The third space players could land on is the ‘M’ space which is in relation to the Mechanical Pieces Cards. These pieces are what players collect in order to upgrade themselves to be having higher Attack, Defense and Movement. Mechanical Pieces are used in pairs to upgrade any one stat by 1 point. Some Mechanical Pieces can be used with other Pieces to double the benefit but players must use them at the same time in order to get that benefit (e.g. A ‘Key’ used with a ‘Keyseat’ doubles the stat upgrade from 1 to 2, so a player would add 2 stat increases to any skill instead of 1)

 

mechanical cards

Here is a preview of all the Mechanical Pieces in play. A total of 60 are used throughout the game.

cards

The first round of cards. Simple writing on paper. Around 180 all up.

The fourth space is just a blank space that does nothing. Looking at played games these spaces will be filled with the previous cards mention to level out the mechanics of the game.

 

Once the Queen has been defeated players should notice that the Queen never attacked the players back just messed around with them. The Queen was focusing on giving birth to a new spawn of Cyborg Octopuses that become mobile and are a danger to the players. Throughout the game the Queen kept an eye on every stat change that the players made and created babies that reflect those stats.

The Queen has been killed. A huge Explosion erupts all over the battlefield. The land has been changed. Out of the dust of the Queens remains 4 Mobile pissed off Octopuses await the players and are the final battle to determine who reaches salvation. The Octopuses want all of the pieces of their mother back but you have been using them as upgrades. So something needs to be done about that.

Battle Phase

revenge map big version

The first design of the Battle Board. Quite Large.

revenge map smaller version

Resized the Battle Board. A more intimate field that allows multiple paths so players can both attack and defend against the enemy.

phase 2 revenge

The first print of information about the Battle Phase

The board has flipped and a new battle has begun. Players now have to control now just there original character but one of the Octopuses also (Players would be a different colour and so would control the octopus of the corresponding colour). Turns are now a round of two phases. First phase is the players original character, go around the circle. Second phase is the movement of the corresponding colour octopuses. These Octopuses are what players use to capture the opposing players in a fight to weaken them.

Every Octopus has the same stats that the player that controls it has. A red human has the stats of 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. Their Octopus now has those stats also – 10 Attack, 8 Defense and 8 Movement. To move around the board is the same as before, roll two dice, add your movement and then move that allotted spaces. Players want to avoid landing themselves on Octopuses but what their Octopuses to land on opposing players as that is how you win the game.

octopus vs player

This image showcases the battle system that the game follows. Every encounter causes some damage to the player if they are caught by an Octopus

After every fight the damage dealt to players is taken away from their stats. Once a player has run out of stats they are out of the game. However their Octopus remains on the field and is now classified as a ‘Bomb’ which has 50 Attack. This is so people that get knocked out early can avenge themselves and keep them engaged with the game. The last player with stats remaining wins the game.

(Through constant test playing some of these aspects have/will change, but these are how they stand as for now)

Connect 4 – Fear my Vertical play!

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Connect 4

My own picture of Connect 4 (No line of 4 can be seen. Don’t want to give away the ending)

Oh, how I spent many hours upon hours playing Connect 4. Not the analogue copy you see in the picture above but a digital one in the MMORPG RuneScape, at the Burthorpe Games Room which was members only access. So, I was paying a $14 (landline phone) monthly subscription at the time to play RuneScape, all so I could play Connect 4 (they called it Runelink) with some buddies around the world. There was a ranked mode within the Games Room so you could attain a higher and higher rank by defeating your foes and be a huge competitor for everyone to see. Your name would travel far and wide within RuneScape and you would have a target on your back!

Connect 4 is a simple and straight forward game that utilizes the vertical plane where 2-players, one at a time place a disc into any of the columns in-turn to line-up 4 of their own colour. The player that connects 4 of their colour is the winner. Easy as that!

Connect 4b

Designed by Howard Wexler and released under the brand of Milton Bradley (now Hasbro) in 1974. Connect 4 has had many brand variations and different names but still maintains popularity; as I was just able to pick it up from Kmart for $25. Other names include Captain’s Mistress, Four Up, Plot Four, Find Four and Four in a Line. Below is an interview with Howard Wexler about how he came up with the game with the use of dropping spheres into pipes.

Numerous websites claim that the origins of the connect 4 style of game is ambiguous, though there are rumors of Captain Cook being obsessed with the game – claiming he would always play Captain’s Mistress to relax with his fellow officers which gave it its name. Captain’s Mistress is the predecessor to Connect 4.

captains mistress

Captain’s Mistress. Source

Robert Charles Bell who is an author of books on Board Games and related material provided an image in one of his books (the exact book does not seem to be known) that shows the first use of a connect 4 style of game play from the Edwardian Period. The Edwardian Era relates to the reign of King Edward VII (1901 – 1910) which was a time prosperous for trade and manufacturing. The game used wooden balls to fall into the open slits on the lid of the box.

The materials for Connect 4 are the Grid (6×7), two legs (which aide the grid for vertical play), 21 red and 21 yellow chips. These bits are made from plastic which fit together smoothly and securely with each other and are easy to hold. As you play the game with dropping the discs into the columns they make a lot of noise so you can’t get away with playing this game late at night while trying to write about it and not wake people up (sorry). With ease assembling and disassembling the lid only fits on when the legs are off.

The game play is around 10-15 minutes long. That time can change when going against someone who is looking to always win and has a strategy in play. When rating is on the line you must make sure you always play the best move possible. However, since the release of the game a computer has solved the game. As to mean that there is such a thing as a “Perfect Game”, where the player that starts first is capable of always winning when they play correctly. Below is YouTube channel Numberphile explaining the computer process and the perfect game play.

“Perfect Game” is easy to execute when you have learned the moves that it requires. This knowledge takes away from the challenge and credibility of the game when playing it competitively. If the competition is one-game-win and elimination, then the player that goes second automatically loses. The game could already be decided by the first couple moves as the players would be knowledgeable enough to know how the game will end. Unlike Checkers or ever to some extent Chess which have a larger variance of first play moves. There are the occasional Connect 4 tournaments around that have prizes so if you are dedicated enough, go for it. Do with this information what you will.

Overall I enjoy Connect 4. It is easy to learn and understand. I would always be up for a game [if I go first], especially if a cash incentive was involved. The replay-ability was more prevalent when I was a child. Though there are added incentives that are popping up in bars today when having an old-school games-night with cash and vouchers. Suggests that I dust off my skills and try and win. Nowadays though Connect 4 is more just to pass some time or revisit some nostalgia. Connect 4 is a good basic abstract strategy game to get kids involved with strategy gaming.