NaGaDeMon 2012: Long Time Gamer, First Time Designer…

Welcome to the first of several posts as I tackle the daunting task of creating a new card game for National Game Design Month 2012!

On Monday this week I had an idea for a game out of the blue. What if I took the card-based games for Pictionary, added some values to the cards like in Creatures, and build in some storytelling? Because this is Halloween week, I have monsters on the brain. So initially it would be about creating monster stories and we’d call it “Monster Tales”… All I wrote down was a paragraph of details with a list of concepts for cards.

Tuesday I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I did a little research at The Game Crafter online to price
out some cards should I get that far. For a deck of 72 cards and a box it would cost about $10 a pop. And a 60 second hourglass is less than $2. Game Crafter even has some card templates and I already have some clip art I purchased that might work…  At $12 it would even be economically feasible to pull together a prototype down the line if things work out. 🙂

Now it’s Thursday, November 1st, and NaGaDeMon 2012 has begun!

So here’s my concept for “Monster Tales” in a nutshell:

  • This is a party game for 4+ people and teams of 2+. Each player gets a hand of five cards. Each card has a picture and 2-4 words or phrases.
  • Each turn, every team must select an artist (can’t be the same every turn). The artist gets to choose at least one card and as many as all five. The artist has X minutes (I’m thinking 1-2 minutes) to draw the concepts from the cards without using any words or symbols (Pictionary-style).
  • The other member(s) of the team then have to tell a story in X minutes (thinking 3-4 minutes) using what they can discern from the picture. Each time the team uses a word or phrase from one of the cards the artist used, the artist lays the card face up and says which word or phrase was used. For each card turned face up, the team gets a point. For any cards that the artist drew but whose words were not used, the team loses a point.
  • The first team to X (10/25/50) points wins.

A couple of additional things. Originally I wanted to put point values on the terms on each card, with more abstract or descriptive terms earning more points. So if an artist chooses a card, he or she also chooses a single word or phrase from the card and gets more points if their team uses that specific word. Now I’m wondering if I include the points for each term on the cards and it’s more flexible – the more specific the phrase the storytellers use, the more points they get. But that’s open to debate…

Quite honestly this is a very simple concept that won’t require much in the way of “game pieces”: a deck of cards, an hourglass, and some drawing materials. And I love the fact that it engages artistic ability, imagination, teamwork, listening, and a little math. It would make a good family game or educational game and would adapt well for kids or adults. It’s more about what you bring to the table creatively than the game itself.

Plus, the pattern could be adapted to nearly any topic. I’m initially going to apply it to “monster stories,” but I could see it easily applied to any other genre like science fiction or fantasy, crime or mystery, spies, etc. In fact, I might have to come up with a different name for it like “Tall Tales” or “Team Tales” so I could release different sets of cards. You could even mix games to have cross-genre stories if you wanted.

Yes, I’m still excited about this concept!

What do you think?

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