I just finished the first assignment for MIT’s Introduction to Game Design course on edX and it was quite eye-opening and a lot of fun.
The assignment involved creating a quick and dirty paper prototype with a simple mechanic. The idea was just to create something and not worry about fine-tuning and balancing it too much at this point.
Of course, I had to take the opportunity to come up with the most ridiculous and convoluted idea that I could.
Fish Rabbit Race!
- Fish Rabbit Race is a 2 player competitive board game where 1 player is a fish and the other player is a rabbit and the aim is to be the first to get to the END square of the board.
- Fish: fish’s special ability is laying down POND tokens to portal across the board, however, should he come across a BURROW token he will become stuck. Poor fish!
- Rabbit: conversely, rabbit can lay down BURROW tokens to portal across the board but will get stuck should he be confronted by a POND. You know, cause rabbits can burrow but not swim? See the rationale?
- The major twist is that if either player lands on a SWAP card they will need to swap the fish/rabbit cards with one other. Suddenly player 1 is no longer a rabbit – he is now a fish – and the awesome BURROW he created for his rabbit to get ahead is now an obstacle!
Here’s a quick and dirty video I edited together showing gameplay:
What I liked about it:
- The swap mechanic means everything can change at any time
- Nice momentum/feel involved in ‘portaling’ across the board
- Quirky theme
- I think its pretty neat that the same token will help one animal yet hinder another
What I didn’t like about it:
- Tried to be too ambitious from the start with too many rules and actions which meant it got a bit confusing
- Need to improve the balance between portals, swaps and excavations for optimal fun
- Excavations’ need to be better thought out to ensure they don’t give too much of an advantage
- Possibly simplify some of the actions and rules