Monday, June 02, 2014

Watch It Played promo game

I saw that Rodney Smith is going to be running a kickstarter campaign to fund the next season of his Watch It Played YouTube series. Rodney does the best job of anyone I know at clearly explaining how to play a game, myself included! I fully support his series, and to show that support I thought I would try and do something nice to help his kickstarter project.

Rodney said that he would like to have more concrete rewards this time, and as he creates videos about games for gamers I thought "what would be a better reward than a game people could download, print, and play?"

"Well," I thought, "I design games - maybe this is something I could make happen." Maybe I could design a game that would fit the bill. It should be a small game, easy to print out - so probably a card game. It doesn't have to be deep and complicated, just a light filler type of game seems right.

"What should the game be about?" I asked myself. "Why, about making videos about games, of course!"

 So I have put together the basics of a game design. I was going to keep it a secret until it was complete, then send it to Rodney lock, stock, and barrel. But I feel like the odds of it becoming complete anytime soon are much increased if I post about it, and maybe solicit the help of the community - or at least my 5 readers. Here's what I have so far...

[Edited 6/22/14]

Watch It Played: The Card Game

A game of reviews and how-tos for 2 to 4 video gurus

18 Game cards (depicting a game box on the back and a YouTube video page on the front)
36 Comment cards (Depicting a thumb icon on the back and an Action and Comment on the front)

Shuffle the Game deck and place it in the center of the play area. Place the top 2 cards of the deck in a row beside the deck, game box side showing.

Shuffle the Comment deck and deal 2 cards to each player. Set the remaining deck beside the Game deck.

The player who most recently posted a video online is the start player.

The object of the game is to post videos online about games, and garner comments on those videos, striving to increase our View count. Views are victory points in the game, and at the end of the game, the player with the most Views will win! Each game will be a member of one (or more) categories, and at the end of the game bonus views will be awarded to the player with the most Thumbs in each category.

Over the course of the game, you will obtain games, post videos about those games, get comments on those videos (some positive, some negative) which will raise (or lower) your view count and thumbs. You'll build an audience, and score a bonus for each genre of game that you have more thumbs than anybody else.

Game Play:
Begin with the start player and take turns clockwise. Your turn consists of 2 parts, DRAW, and PLAY.
DRAW: Choose one of the following options:
a) Draw 2 cards from the Comment deck
b) Draw 1 Game card, paying the cost by discarding Comment cards.
- It costs 0 Comment cards to take the Game card furthest from the deck. Slide the other two cards over so that there are again three to choose from.
- It costs 1 Comment card to take the Game card adjacent to the deck. Slide the top card of the deck over so that there are again 3 to choose from.
- It costs 2 Comment cards to take the Game card on the top of the deck.

Place any discarded Comment cards into a common discard pile next to the Comment draw pile.

Game cards drawn by players are placed face down (game box showing) in that player's tableau.

PLAY: Choose one of the following options:
a) Post a video, paying the cost (listed on the card) by discarding Comment cards.
b) Add a Thumb to a video by tucking a Comment card face down (Thumb icon showing) under a video in play
c) Play a Comment - execute the text on the comment side of a Comment card, then tuck the card under a video in play so that the comment shows. Comments will increase or decrease your view count and thumbs.
d) Draw 1 Comment card.

Game End:
As I've mentioned, I'm not too good with end game triggers. I would think this game should end when the Thumb deck runs out a 2nd time (when it runs out the first time, you'd shuffle the discards and create a new draw deck). Or possibly when the last Game card is drawn. Or maybe either of those things should trigger the game end.

I imagine having actual images of board games on the back sides of the Game cards (I bet Rodney could get permission from publishers fairly easily), and I think the YouTube video side of the card, with columns of comments sticking out below the card, would be highly thematic. I plan to put actual (though generic) text comments on the Comments section as well for flavor.

Let me know if this sounds interesting to you, if you'd like to work on it with me, or if you're an artist or graphic designer and would consider donating a little time to putting cards for this together once the game is ready.

I feel like this could work, and make for a short, fun game that Rodney could give away as part of his kickstarter project. If Rodney wants to look into printing and mailing the game to people, more power to him, but I suspect it would be better to just send people a PDF and put the money toward Watch it Played.

So tell me, what do you think?


Chris Renshall said...

Since the takino away of views is against the theme, what about a slide scale of positive/negative reviews. You could add a troll card for a negative review that is really just a guy having a bad day

Chris Renshall said...

You could have an end game card called "Internet down" shuffled into the last 1/4 of the draw deck....I hate auto correct btw. Count points when the internet goes down

Jamey Stegmaier said...

This is a really neat idea! I'm guessing that any publisher is going to be more than happy to have images of their games included in this game (including Stonemaier).

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to feature games from the past. Like if we had 18 games, we could take the first 18 games Rod ran through, unless there is good reason not to? Perhaps pick from as many publishers as possible? Or perhaps even have parody names for games, like Imminent Dominance?

Seth Jaffee said...

For those interested, here's a first draft of the Video cards...

The first page is the backs of the Comment cards. The black Thumb icon can be tucked behind the Video cards, sticking out to the left, adding a thumb to the video. I'm thinking a Black thumb can count as any 1 color that video supports.

The other pages are the fronts and backs of the Video cards. The backs show the game box, the cost (in comment cards) to post the video, and the distribution of thumbs you'll find on the other side of the card.

The fronts show number of views (points), and some thumbs - color coded by category:

Red = Gateway game,
Orange = Cooperative game,
Purple = Card game,
Yellow = Euro game,
Light Blue = Train game,
Green = Complicated game... which I apparently didn't put enough of on these cards!)

I sorta messed up a bit - I think the score + thumbs should add up to 500 (counting thumbs as 100), 700 on the cards that cost 2.

Chris Renshall said...

The 18/36 distribution makes a lot of sense. As far as the thumb cards go, what about making 30 of the cards generic thumb cards and have 5 special cards. "Hot New Game", "Celebrity Endorsement" and others to add some spice to the thumb cards. These special cards would be a way to add multipliers to the videos rather than stick with a generic thumb. The 36th card could be a deck timing card. Shuffled into the last 10 cards at the start of the game, when it appears, that players turn is played and then all discarded thumb cards are reshuffled and the timing card is then shuffled into the last third of the new thumb deck. The second time it appears that players turn is played out and the game is over. Thoughts?

Seth Jaffee said...

@Chris - I think that's not outside the scope of the thumb cards... the Thumb cards are the same as the Comment cards, which will be attached to videos and will add or subtract views or thumbs of various colors.

The BACK of the cards will have generic thumbs, so if you have nothing better or really need 1 more thumb of a particular color to win majority, then you can spend your turn tucking any card face down as a generic thumb. Since that's the back of the card, I don't think it makes sense to make any of them unique. The card names that you mention would be what the other side f the card does when you play it.

Interesting idea on the game end card. Is it much different than just playing until the deck is out? I guess it would introduce some variability to the game end.

Thanks for the comments!

Seth Jaffee said...

For those interested, Watch It Played card game got an inaugural play at Origins last weekend... Andy and I played a 2 player game, and then I played a 4 player game as well.

Let me begin by saying that, as any game designer knows, the first live playtest of a game is not always pretty. But I'm happy to report that as first tests go, this actually went very well!

I'll certainly have some tweaking to do, and there's a question as to the game length (and how exactly the end of the game should be handled), but so far so good!

Game Development Institute said...

Interesting to know about the gaming industry! Thanks for the share!