Fish Rabbit Race

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