Friday, 13 April 2007

A Vision for F:AT's Future

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Michael Barnes and I’m coming to you today with a very special announcement.

I have had a vision. It was a dream, really. In this dream, I was playing an apparently endless game of DESCENT with Matt Thrower, Franklin, and Ubarose. Mr. Skeletor was the overlord. Robert Martin was flying around the table in one of those LOOPIN’ LOUIE planes saying “this game sucks” every time he passed us by. All of a sudden, a mighty figure from out of our collective unconscious burst up out of the table, scattering hundreds of cards and health counters everywhere.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

He held in his hands neither a Hyborian sword nor a comely Cimmerian wench…in his right hand, a white cube. In his left hand, a green cube.

He spoke in the voice of a god. Or at least a California governor.

“Vhat are you dooing? You must go aught and dezine a game. Do not waste tieme! Get into zee choppa!”

Then a helicopter crashed through the ceiling like at the end of the Lamberto Bava picture DEMONS. We got in. The helicopter flew through time. I checked my watch and it was a year from today. The chopper landed and we got out. It looked like we were in Germany. I saw a newspaper. The headline said “MILK UND PICKLE WINNEN DAS SPIEL DES JAHRES ‘08”. I didn’t understand. But then Matt said “wait a minute…that’s us!” Sure enough, on the cover, under the headline, was myself and the other FORTRESS: AMERITRASH writers holding a giant trophy, shaking hands with a bunch of German game bigwigs. I woke from slumber, with a mandate.

This mandate? For a game collectively designed by the FORTRESS: AMERITRASH readers and writers to win the Spiel Des Jahres. What better way could there be to show those turkeys that anyone can cobble together a handful of “clever” mechanics and dress them up in a family game and win international fame, fortune, and acclaim at the same time? Folks, if this works we’ll all be ordering our 2009 Lamborghinis next June. And the dominance of the Eurogame will finally be laid to rest once and for all.

So here we go…add your suggestions/rules/mechanics/artwork/whatever to the comments here…I’ll start us off the AT way with a theme and some box copy text. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you...

MILK AND PICKLE.

In 17th century Bayern, nobles are willing to do anything to sate their hunger for milk and pickles- The players represent the freewheeling milkmongers and picklers of the village and must do their best to impress the nobles with the delicious flavor of their wares. But watch out! If those gluttonous nobles ingest both milk and pickles, they’ll run to the balcony to expunge a nasty mix of brine and curd on their followers below. Of course, no resource can be wasted in trying to impress the nobles so the players must gather the glop and try again!

It’s a taste you’ll never get out of your mouth!

MILK AND PICKLE is a clever family game of cleverness for 2-5 milkmaids and master picklers age 5-99.

So have at it! F:AT for SDJ ’08!

88 comments:

Shellhead said...

Barnes,

Your above salvo at the gaming world deserves an equally bold soundtrack. I propose the song "I Feel Better Than James Brown" by Was (Not Was). Lest ye doubt me, here is a brief excerpt from the lyrics:

"I was attending Mardi Gras with Fidel Castro
Bucksome cross dressers threw fake gold coins at our feet
As we discussed the fate of the revolution
Suddenly, CIA men dressed in bikinis
Tried to stab us with fountain pens
Fidel blew mustard gas from his cigar
And immobalized the lot of them
19 tequilas later we had a deal
Havana goes back to the mob
And Fidel and I open a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken shops

Ain't life sweet? I feel good
I feel better than James Brown"

robartin said...

Don't mind Barnes. He's obviously been doing way too much painting without proper ventilation.

Shellhead said...

In all seriousness, I love the idea, but I hate the Milk and Pickles. Somehow that theme reminds of donkey crap.

If the name AmeriTrash isn't actually claimed by anybody in a legal sense yet, how about we create The AmeriTrash Game? (TAG, for short.) I'm kind of serious about this.

Back in 1996, I was really excited when White Wolf's catalog included an entry for Prince of the City, a soon-to-be-published boardgame in their Vampire setting. Three years passed, and then White Wolf finally dropped it from their quarterly catalogs. I thought to myself, "Dammit, I really wanted to play that game. I guess White Wolf just didn't know how to design a boardgame. Hey, I don't know how either, but I sure love to play boardgames."

In 2002, my friend Dave and I started playtesting our prototype of Prince of the City. At GenCon 2003, we tried to submit the game at the White Wolf booth, but they were afraid to look at it until we signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement. They did love our prototype, but discovered that another department at White Wolf had already advanced some funds to a Mike Nudd for his efforts on a Prince of the City game.

White Wolf liked our game enough that they asked us to re-design it as a game for 2-6 players, playable in 30 minutes, with as much strategy, deal-making and back-stabbing as we could cram into it. Two major iterations later, they published our game Vampire: Dark Influences, in October of 2006.

So, our AmeriTrash game... how about a multi-player battle inside a junkyard? There should be vehicles, guns, improvised weapons from the garbage heaps, explosives, and maybe even some heavy car-smashing equipment or one of those big magnet deals. Each player controls a gang, and maybe there is a different advantage and disadvantage for each gang. Cards are drawn for weapons, events (Junkyard Dog Attacks! or Tetanus!), and maybe even vehicles. No victory points, just play until only one faction remains, or at least a certain bodycount is reached. Modular maps would give a different board layout every time, increasing the replay value.

Michael Barnes said...

Shellhead, do not be silly. You are up against the will of CONAN here. I do not recommend you pursue that erroneous line of thinking further.

We must win on their turf, and their turf is SDJ.

I also find your comments about your design fascinating- interesting to here about the secret machinations of a big company like White Wolf. They're headquartered not too far from where Robartin and I live...maybe we ought to go have a sit-down with 'em?

Shellhead said...

Barnes: We must win on their turf, and their turf is SDJ.

Ok. But that Donkey Shit game has really kicked open some thematic doors in the EuroSector. So I propose that our game include a pickle-washing phase, ideally to be performed by the milkmaids, but more often by desperate master picklers.

Professor Euro said...

But watch out boys! Designing a eurogame involves both numbers and thinking! Plus, you'll have to put away your dolls- er... action figures- no... "sculpted miniatures" for a few hours.

Pah, you'll all be in tears within twenty minutes.

Shellhead said...

I'm having trouble getting into the Euro mindset right now. Instead, I'm picturing sort of a re-themed Hearts, where the hearts are milk cards, and the other three suits are all pickle cards.

Each player secretly chooses a role each round, either gluttonous noble, master pickler, or milk maid. They place the chosen role card face down in front at the start of the round. Next, a hand of cards are dealt to everybody. Pass three cards to the right or the left, then play your hand, trying to take tricks or avoid taking tricks. Milkmaids want pickles but lose points for milk cards. Master picklers want milk but lose points for having pickles at the end of the round. Gluttonous nobles get points from either milk or pickles (their choice during scoring), but must subtract the other type of cards from their points.

And, um, I'm already bored with this idea. I yield the floor to anybody with an idea.

robartin said...

But watch out boys!

I knew it. Professor Euro is actually Richard Launius.

Patrick H said...

We should use your base rules and add the kicker.

In each game box of multicolored wooden cubes (In at least three sizes no less) is a large wooden box that is to remain closed until the final point tally. Upon pinpointing the winner of this "game" the real action starts ( which no one truly knows about as the wooden box is to remain sealed until the "victor" is chosen).

The wooden box is pried open with a rusty tool and out pours a multitude of wonderfully crafted tanks, planes and infantry with all manner of supporting weapons, along with a huge bag of six siders. Also within the box is a set of rules titled "End Game", where the players must now figure out how to stop the horde of panzers attacking their pickle and dairy plantations without proper defenses.

The role of the invader is played by a carefully scripted event card deck which basically entitles them to the first move in the new round ( which is sufficient to cover the board ) along with enough attacks to throw all of the dice and effectively eliminate all of the cubes on the board within the first turn.

Optional rules will allow the "winner" of the faux game to cede territory to the invader and then this player gets to push the mini's around and roll the dice while their cubes are not truly "eliminated" but merely "collaborating".

What do you think? I think this will easily have cross genre appeal.

Shellhead said...

I enjoyed that Launius game Miskatonic Madness. (and of course, Arkham Horror) I downloaded the files to make my own copy of MM, and played it several times. Then I gave it away as a doorprize at my first annual The Stars Are Right! day of Mythos-related boardgaming. Now I wanna play again, so it's time to reprint those files and get going with the scissors.

Michael Barnes said...

So I propose that our game include a pickle-washing phase, ideally to be performed by the milkmaids, but more often by desperate master picklers.

Dude, Tom Vasel might be reading this! Won't you think of the children? That's likely the most offensive thing I've ever read in the last 10 or so minutes!

Launius is Professor Euro? Hmm...interesting theory...it could very well be his diabolical AT-hating alterego...

Patrick H.- the main thing I took from your idea was the pickle plantations. That means slaves, and Eurogamers love slavery. Remember, we have to intentionally craft this game to appeal to them.

Shellhead is sort of on track...if we look at SDJ winners, at least a couple of them take mechanics from simple card games like, say, Rummy. He might be onto something with that. And he's Mr. Tops-n-tails Pro Game Designer so he should know.

TheRankO said...

Attention, Michael Barnes! Steve Weeks has stolen your F:AT password!

ubarose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ubarose said...

You can use action points to use master cards that level up your pickles.

Michael Barnes said...

Now that's a great idea. Each level of pickle can provide a more efficient level of satisfying the nobles. Some pickles will be wider, some longer, some more sour...some crispier, others soggy. Sort of like the locomotives in AGE OF STEAM.

Shellhead said...

We should get Tom Wham to draw the pickles.

Patrick H said...

Your cheesy game is leaving a sour taste in my mouth.

Could this be the essence of a good eurogame...

Michael Barnes said...

We should get Tom Wham to draw the pickles.

Tom Wham doesn't win a SDJ prize.

Doris Matthaus does.

neonpeon said...

A Euro game needs mathy mechanics. [Picks topic from college math book...] OK how about bipartite graphs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipartite_graph

You could probably make a game out of the struggle to create a bipartite graph, where one set is all pickles (Gurken I think) and the other is milk (Milch). The placement of your Gurken und Milch cubes reduces the possible ways in which your opponents - errr, the other players - can place theirs, though you do not conflict with them directly.

Needs a lot of work, but I thought I'd get the ball rolling on the fundamental mathy mechanic. :)

Patrick H said...

Mad Cow Disease will ruin this game.

But wait... then another game of "Lets control the outbreak" can begin. Even though no infections are acceptable - through the clever use of graphs and spreadsheets these losses will take on less of a "Human" feel. We can represent the horribly degenerated rotted brain individual with a little wooden biped we will call a "Sheeple".

Duke Arithmetic Wellington III said...

Neonpeon- please my good man, it's "maths".

Michael Barnes said...

Huh...now that's an interesting idea...a Euro that gradually, over the course of the game, becomes a balls-out AT punch-up...

But that will not win SDJ. Can someone figure out a way to work hot air balloons into this?

Shellhead said...

There should be the potential for a chain reaction of puking patricians.

My friends and I used to mix gaming and drinking to disastrous effect in college. One night, Steve wandered away from the gaming table. After a while, Chris went out to the next room to see what happened to Steve. Steve was lying on the floor, face-up, and his lips were moving weakly like he was trying to say something. Chris kneeled down and put his ear near Steve's mouth so he could hear him, and was rewarded with an earful of vomit.

Totally grossed out, Chris started vomiting, too. Back in the gaming room, Dave heard some noise out there and went to see what was happening. He saw Steve and Chris and lots of puke, and then the smell hit him, causing Dave to throw up, too. It was a whole chain reaction of puking, and only Bill the Teetollaer was spared in the end. (Bill probably plays EuroGames these days.)

Michael Barnes said...

That's a good idea 'head...just make it family friendly. And no luck.

Shellhead said...

Come to think of it, our gaming group gave out puke royalty titles to each other for noteworthy puking incidents back then. We could re-use those titles for the puking incidents in this Milk and Pickles game.

Examples:

The Duke of Puke
Count Chunkula
Baron von Vomit (that was me)
Sir Spew, Knight of the Round Receptacle

Even Bill the TeeTotaller finally got wasted, on a bottle of port. He earned his puke royalty title when I let loose with a loud one at a backyard party, causing him to stumble backwards into the Wednesday morning trash pile. The poor bastard floundered on top of the now-ruptured garbage bags and became violently ill. We dubbed him the Port Authority.

Liumas said...

We should get Tom Wham to draw the pickles.

Tom Wham doesn't win a SDJ prize.
Doris Matthaus does.


I assumed we would use wooden pickles. They would all be wooden cubes - rectangular shaped, really.

I suppose they could have a cute hat or something, and be adorable, and come to be called, um, 'peekles'. That is, if we want the cuddly bits to disguise the inherent dryness of the game system.

If we instead want to emphasize the adult nature of the game - it is a deep game for thinking people, after all - we could stick with the typical basic wooden cubes of varying sizes.

To further paste on the 'theme' we will have a lavishly painted board depicting burghers, meisterburghers, and gentleladies, all tastefully clothed in soft golden browns and pastel mauves. We will of course call these townsfolk 'picklers', 'meisterpicklers', and 'picklewomen'. This attractive work of art will be an irresistible centerpiece on any game table.

None of this will be relevant to the game.

To be clever, we will use German terminology visibly on the labels of the board and bits as much as we can, almost as if we forgot to remove them at the last minute as the game went to press. If we go CUDDLY, this will give our game a familiar charm of European elegance. If we go ADULT, this will serve to further obscure the dryness of the game system by further highlighting its sopisticated obtuse qualities.


Really, though, what we should be doing is designing a game that has NOTHING to do with Pickles and Milkmaids. We should instead be designing a game about, say, Roman Flower Box Designers, then, just as we get that thing tweaked Perfectly, change the theme over to Pickles.

I've seen this work before, really. It is the essence of many Eurogames.

Shellhead said...

So,in game terms, a player caught with a bad combination of milk and pickles (cards, wooden cubes, whatever) will be forced to vomit up victory points. If so, he has the option to hand off one of his items (milk or pickles) to another player. That second player must immediately cancel with an appropriate resource (hot air balloon for the escape?) or else commence vomiting.

Come to think of it, the relative height of the hot air balloons could become a relevant mechanic. Low altitude nobles may become ill when they see vomit plummeting past them, while the highest altitude noble(s) enjoy an untainted view.

Michael Barnes said...

Now we're on track...let's go ahead and start getting some of that material converted to maths.

Michael Barnes said...

Liumas, don't forget that we have to use an "olde worlde" font to fool the Americans into thinking that MILK AND PICKLE (MILCH UND GURCKEN)is some kind of high-minded, sophisticated European fare...it's the same paradigm that worked for those Swedish hardcore porn magazines.

Patrick H said...

We will need to also introduce either a building or shipping mechanic. The pickles er.. "Ghurkens" will need to be sent to some canning or finishing plant to make ready for sale on the open market. At this point the "wonderfully crafted wooden cube of different color and size" element is thrown into the mix alongside all of the other logistical nonsense and track recording necessary to get these babies off to market with minimum spoilage.

Now in order to determine your efficiency in this process all of the other players will score you based on the amount of time it took you to produce your new cubes at the market. This way everyone is encouraged to score evenly lest they themselves be scored negatively. This leaves less time for negative thought and rejection/judgment and more time for mutual admiration.

Or players wishing to completely ignore the other players can merely score the usual "50" that everyone else does and quickly bury their face in their cards attempting to plan out the next two harvests... or more importantly how to get the milk to the bottling plant atthesametimebutjustbeforeeveryoneelsesonooneisupset.

Liumas said...

Liumas, don't forget that we have to use an "olde worlde" font

Right.

MILCH UND GURCKEN rols out nicely!

I got lost on a tangent thinking about how we will have a lavish painting on the BACK of the game board. So people can show their friends, saying,

"oooh, see how sophisticated this is!
It even has a lovely picture on the back!
NO ONE does THEME like EUROPEANS."

Michael Barnes said...

I dunno...having other players score you introduces two things that can't be in a successful Eurogame:

1) Player interaction
2) Detailed decisionmaking

Back to the drawing board!

Michael Barnes said...

Ha ha ha!!! NOTHING says "elegance" like printing an image on the back of the board. That is what separates "games" from "art".

We need to make sure to also include a .05 cent cloth sack in the game too.

Shellhead said...

Patrick H: "This leaves less time for negative thought and rejection/judgment and more time for mutual admiration."

While I think it is very thoughtful of you to allow the EuroPlayers to admire each other's pickles, we must reduce interaction so they have enough time to contemplate the essential maths of our game.

As for the artwork of the game, I would like to see the following images included:

-a portly Bayernian noble with muttonchop sideburns devouring a fat pickle with gusto

-a kindly old master pickler sitting at his work bench, holding a long pickle just above his lap (picture Gepetto from the old Disney Pinochio movie)

-attractive blonde milk maids with low-cut blouses admiring a big pickle

-a foppish young Bayernian with a blatant milk mustache

-a horrified noble watching a torrent of vomit spatter a nearby hot balloon at his altitude

Professor Euro said...

Ah, so this is how a typical AT design session plays out. I assumed, of course, that an appalling ignorance of not just game-theory but basic mathematics would be on display, but now I know that puke-stories and juvenile pickle-humor are the x-factor in elevating your games from the merely poor to the transcendently terrible! Finally, I understand how a game like "World of Warcraft" can come into existence!

Although, I must admit, Gurken Und Milch does have a certain ring to it. Perhaps if there was an auction of some sort...

Patrick H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Professor Euro said...

Oh, and before you defend yourself by saying that you're only trying to emulate a euro game design, let me tell you this:

A sheep trying to quote Hobbes still sounds like "Baaaa" to me.

Michael Barnes said...

Tom Selleck- why is your "flavor savor" upside down? How's Higgins these days? Will Hawaiian shirts be "in" for gamers again for the summer?

Professor Euro unmasked!

Professor Euro said...

Piffle, sir.


Yes, you heard me. I said "Piffle" and I meant "Piffle".

Shellhead said...

Professor Euro: "Perhaps if there was an auction of some sort..."

Ah, thanks for steering us back on course. Yes, an auction, or some similar mechanic.

Each turn, one player is a pickle-eating noble, with this position shifting clockwise around the table with each successive turn, unless we can tie the role to a different aspect of the game, such as balloon altitude. (Maybe the highest altitude player gets to eat, or more than one if there is a tie.)

Everybody gains 10 victory points at the start of each turn, to continually move the game towards a rapid resolution, no more than 45 minutes after the game started.

The other players each play a single card face down in front. The pickle cards have a positive value while the milk cards have a negative value. After everybody has played a card, they are all revealed.

If the net point total is positive, the player who played the highest point value pickle card scores that many victory points, to be tracked by his wooden cube moving along a track on the border of the board, representing the altitude of his balloon. The noble player of that turn loses an equal number of points, representing his higher body weight causing his balloon to plummet.

If the net point total is negative, it is immediately converted to a positive number of victory points, to be awarded to the player who played the highest point value milk card. The noble player loses that many victory points, due to weight gain.

However, if the net point total is zero, the players who played the highest value pickle and milk cards lose victory points equal to their respective cards, and the noble player gains altitude (victory points) due to sudden weight loss inflicted by vomiting. The player with the lowest altitude gains the same number of points due to sympathetic vomiting. This serves to reduce a runaway leader problem and make everybody feel like they have a chance of winning.

Using my earlier artwork suggestions... every player gets a turn sequence summary, which they leave face-down except when consulting it. The artwork on the back depicts the Master Pickler at his work bench, except for the player who will be eating this turn. That player gets the card with the muttonchops guy. The pickle cards show milkmaids admiring the big pickle, while the milk cards show the guy with the milk mustache. The artwork on the back of the board as well as the box cover shows a tasteful vista of Bayernian nobles in colorful balloons, with a stream of vomit from the highest balloon spattering the lowest. In the foreground, beautiful German women wear elegant clothing in pastel colors and sport delicate parasols.

Liumas said...

The vomit thing is too disgusting. even though it is well worked out, and allows for the elegant addition of Balloons, I suggest we toss out the vomit if we are serious about winning a Spiel des Jahres.

I was thinking on an action point system with an auction variant. But I'm not really sure if those have much chance at a Spiel des Jahres these days, what with their particular focus on Family Games.

Looking over past Spiel des Jahres winners is helpful at this point.

I'm now thinking wooden pickles similar to Niagara canoes. Turns out it's okay to have plastic (eg: Ticket To Ride, Torres), so the Milk cannisters will be plastic bits (Milk Cans).

The Milkmaids themselves will be represented on the board, like the 'roles' from Thurn Und Taxis, only these maids will have a use other than looking pretty (elegantly muted in golden browns).

NOTE: We will never USE the word ELEGANT. Our entire game will scream of it, drip of it, unspoken.

RULES NOTE: It is important, for the sake of elegance, that MILCH UND GURCKEN has rules that fit onto an index card. We will stretch these to 4 pages by repeating rules we have previously defined and generally making sentences as verbose as possible as if the rules have been translated from German. We'll fill any extra white space with colorful but unclear diagrams that aren't particularly needed (nor helpful).

The Milkmaid figures, who are painted onto much of the board, have large grasping hands. Initially, these large grasping hands will be 'seeded' during setup with the Milk Cans in the various player colors, all tastefully arranged.

One of the MULTIPLE WAYS to score Pickle Points (there will be precisely THREE ways to score PPs) Will be to use our Resources to get the Milkmaids to drop our plastic Milk Cans (penalized 3PP for each they are holding at the end of the game). The trick then will be to insert our Pickles into the groping Hands of the pretty Milkmaids.

IMPORTANT: There will be Absolutely NO stacking of Pickles once they are in the hands of our Milkmaids! Never during the game may Pickles of more than one player color stack.

Shellhead said...

Liumas: "IMPORTANT: There will be Absolutely NO stacking of Pickles once they are in the hands of our Milkmaids! Never during the game may Pickles of more than one player color stack."

Excellent point. A player's pickle must never come into contact with another player's pickle and must remain in the firm grip of the milkmaids.

robartin said...

Colored, numbered cards guys. Very important. Work it in somehow.

Liumas said...

Nice avatar, 'Bogartin'.

Squigherder said...

How long till this gets a Geek entry so we can start the Shill voting?

alan polak said...

Represent the altitude of each 'participants' balloons with coloured cubes or maybe wooden discs. Oh and nobody has mentioned tuck boxes yet. Or do we let people make their own? Otherwise sounds like a winner. World of Warcraft has pickles and puke in it?. GOTTA get it now!! Or is that some house rule Prof. Euro is using????
regards

adrianbolt said...

patrick h's excellent tank endgame suggestion seems to have been forgotten. The balloons should fit perfectly with this.

For a sense of euro-style, the box should be designed to look like a book.

I feel only having milk and pickles makes the concept too short on commodities. You're aiming for a German audience yet the game unbelievably lacks beans and pigs! (And vomit jokes without fart jokes.)

The addition of these gives some nice symmetry and alternative scoring possibilities. Pickles produce vomit VPs. Beans produce fart VPs. Pigs eat vomit so that could be positive VPs, making fart VPs negative. Maybe there could some sort of meal production system (waiters could be added as a character type) where you grow the beans and pickles to eat to get the vomit to feed the pigs to put pork on the plate. You'd need three types of field, bean, pickle, and grass (for the cows).

Someone mentioned an auction system, so you could have two types, one for fields and one for produce.

We're not doing anything with the produced farts, could they be used to fill the balloons?

And with Doris artwork you obviously have hedgehogs, giving another use for the milk.

Can someone suggest a Knizia secondary/tertiary/whatever scoring system that conflicts, err sorry complements, the scoring systems already mentioned?

Patrick H said...

What we need first is some sort of artwork and a thinly worded publishing "deal" so then we can pimp this over at BGG. The Professor will surely do his best to derail our most elegant production, thus exposing its trashy roots...

Even now I find it difficult to not suggest a trailer park setting or the introduction of bullets at some point. It is causing my brain measurable pain and difficulty to try and work around the concept of something so elegantly clever. Just last night I was haunted with dreams of wooden Peekles vomiting all over my plastic fighter planes.

Ken Bradford said...

I demand whoever is behind "Professor Euro" to email or geekmail us so you can get your own column on the upcoming F:AT website.

Malloc said...

SDJ winners have to be family/kids games. This thing needs to be mindless. I suggest some sort of rummy game where you move things around and pick up stuff.

Over the top art work/bits is also a must. Maybe real pickles!

-M

Patrick H said...

"Bogartin"

Hehehe, that's good.

eeer...

hacksword said...

Over 50 posts and no one has suggested individual player mats? How are you supposed to prevent player conflict and interaction if the player mats aren't individual? Otherwise, one player's pieces might end up adjacent to another player's pieces, and then you have to add a bunch of rules preventing one player from moving into or removing the pieces of another player.

One other suggestion: pickles have too much flavor, please replace them with cucumbers. Thanks.

Liumas said...

hacksword Makes some really good points. Particularly with regard to keeping everyone's pickles safely tucked away (on their own player mats).

I kinda envisioned a more Turn Und Taxis sort of thing, rather than a Puerto Rico sort of thing, though. Everyone's pickles right out in the open sort of thing. Maybe that's just too gay, I dunno.

But this won't work with Cucumbers and Cucumber Points (CPs). There is just something too poetic about Pickle Points being PPs.

Liumas said...

Glad to hear a FAT website seems to be really in the works.

It was a cool idea to use google blogger for a quick get-up-and-go thing, but it is tragically poor.

Great that Bogartin wasn't just blowing smoke on this.

Hope it happens sooner rather than later.

Best of luck!

Michael Barnes said...

Good point Hacksword, but player mats don't win SDJ. No, games where you have one choice each turn that come in a pretty box do.

Maybe the thing to do would be to take the "oh my, how clever" mechanics of GO FISH or OLD MAID and apply them to a board that functions only as a score card?

I like the inclusion of an actual pickle in the game. When we go into production I can run down to Costco and get one of those big convenience store-sized jar of pickes and some baggies.

Michael Barnes said...

You know, I honestly started this business under the assumption that we would all be sophisticated, elegant, and mature enough to avoid the "pickle=dick" jokes...oh well!

robartin said...

Hey Lorenzo Liumas - Falcon Crest is calling. They want their cheese back.

Julian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julian said...

I hate to say it, but this whole effort is doomed. You've started with the theme first, and your mechanisms keep being connected to the theme. That's all wrong wrong wrong! You're designing a Euro.

You need to take an existing simple card game, add a board to it, and a horrendously complex scoring system (hopefully, where you divide by negative numbers) and then you can add the theme. Milk and pickles should do fine, because it should turn out to be totally irrelevant to the game.

May I suggest you base the game on a luckless version of War. Remember the law of inverse bgg rankings: The lower ranked the traditional game is on BGG the higher ranked the Euro based on it will be.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, interesting discussion, but I think I'll go back to jerkin' my gurken.

Liumas said...

Hey Lorenzo Liumas - Falcon Crest is calling. They want their cheese back.

Hey man, save a hit for me, will you?

Anonymous said...

I think I may have something along the lines of a card game with simple, "elegant" mechanics that can be played by 2 to 4 players in 30 to 45 min.

Funny thing is that I'm fucked if I can actually remember what the game is called, which means that you poor bastards actually have to sit through an in depth explanation.

it's essentially a bidding/tricktaking game in which each player tries to keep the other player from making book. You begin by having each player draw a card at random. Highest spade deals first. The game consists of 19 rounds of play in which the beginning hand size is twelve and is reduced by one on each subsequent round until the smallest hand of three cards is reached in round 10, after which each subsequent round an extra card is dealt until you get back up to twelve- which is the final round. Trumps also play a part in this game and they are determined as follows: hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades, and no trump. In other words round one (12 cards) trump is hearts, round two (11 cards)trump is clubs, round three (10 cards) trump is diamonds, round four (9 cards) is spades, and round 5 (8 cards) there is no trump. Once a round is over the player to the current dealer's left becomes the new dealer.

Bidding works as follows: the player to the dealer's left is the first bidder. He may bid between 0 and the number of cards he has in his hands (representing the max number of tricks possible...duh). Then the player to the first bidder's left makes a bid until all players have bid. However, whomever happens to be the last bidder has to bid according to the following condition: he cannot make a bid which is the value of the remaing possible tricks. For example:

ROUND 1, TRUMP IS HEARTS
Player 1 is dealer

1st bidder (Player 2): I bid 6
2nd bidder (Player 3): I bid 3
3rd bidder (Player 4): I bid 2
last bidder (Player 1) can't bid 1 since 11(6+3+2=11) out of he twelve possible tricks have been accounted for in previous bids--leaving him with the option of bidding 0 or higher than 1
: I bid 0

Scoring is simple enough: If you make book you score 10 + your bid, you score a big goose egg if you don't make book. Using the previous example as a guide, if Player 2 had made book he would have scored 16 points (10+6). The player with the most points after the final round wins.

The basic strategy of the game is to gauge your bid according to what the first bidder's bid under the assumption that, since he is bidding blind, he is bidding honestly-- which is where the game gets interesting.

Surprisingly, this simple game can produce some intense moments where you hope to god the rat bastard sitting next to you didn't misrepresent his hand, draw out all your trumps and fuck you out of making book.

What do you guys think? I can't help but get the image of a bunch of Bayernian nobles having a milk and pickle eating contest where those who don't pace themselves ralf all over the floor.

Okay... so I have to work on how to tie in the theme- I'll sleep on it and let you guys know what I come up with.

Billy Zavos.

Albert said...

Instead of Lamborghinis, maybe you should the fortune you are going to make for research, to find a cure?

Michael Barnes said...

Dude, we're talking BIG TIME here...SDJ means you sell at least _10,000_ copies of the game- that should be PLENTY enough for the Countach and to find a cure for Cube Confusion.

Anonymous said...

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/27848

Liumas said...

Hey Lorenzo Liumas - Falcon Crest is calling. They want their cheese back.

Hey BOGARTin - is that all you got? This whole post is CHEESE, my man. You missed it.

You're disappointing the rest of us here, dude.

Michael Barnes said...

Damn it...I had a prototype all ready but it looks like that AGE OF CONAN game pretty much stole all my ideas...it looks like the Nexus boys just exchanged the MILK AND PICKLE theme with Conan chrome. Oh well, back to the drawing board!

robartin said...

Hey man, save a hit for me, will you?

I'll have Fidel send you a box.

dbuel said...

"Puerto Rican Settlers Of Carcassonne"

Anonymous said...

Am I the only asshole that thought this thing was serious?

oops... lol.

Billy.

Michael Barnes said...

It is serious.

Patrick H said...

Let's put the Carcass back in Carcassonne.

Anonymous said...

(in response to Barnes)

Oh... well in that case what do you think of my previous post?

It was the one by Billy Zavos

Only as a part of the game mind you... something about that particular bidding/tricktaking/bookmaking/fuck -your-opponent-but-in-a-"nice"- way mechnic realy clicks.

Not to mention the Euro crowd seems to dig that shit.

Yes?
No?
Maybe so?

Billy.

Michael Barnes said...

The problem with your concept, Billy Zavos, is that your rules are too long and offer the player more than one optimal choice each round.

Remember- use either primary colors or shades of brown, no numbers over 9, and all rules on one page accounting for extended examples of play.

Patrick H said...

Dont forget to leave space for a picture or two.

Also the rules should have an apology prited on it. Just a genreal apology for anyone who may take offense towards anything while playing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah... you can drop the using my whole name shit, just Billy is fine *chuckle*.

But seriously, the game I proposed is dirt fucking simple, and has some deceptive depth. Unless of course your just trying to make some shit game that the Eurosnoot crowd'll fall in love with--and you know that won't work.

Billy.

Jeb said...

Goddammit. You are obviously a bunch of Ameritrash players. Don't you see the inherent flaws at approaching this from a THEMATIC perspective, albeit a milky picklish one? Real Euro games are exercises is abstraction with intense post-game scoring rules and utterly bolted-on theme. You need to think of the game play first, the theme second.

Imagine a game in which small discs move diagonally and can "jump" to capture adjacent opponent pieces if the board configuration allows it. In the endgame, perhaps some pieces could become more powerful and be allowed even more thought provoking opportunities to capture opponents' pieces. Obviously, this is modeled on the line of succession to the Holy Roman Empire circa 1150 or so (the founding of the Hohenstaufen line). The pawn-like original pieces of one player will become Conrad III and Barbarossa in their powerful final form! The other player represents the prince-electors, with William of Holland and perhaps Rudolph I (Hapsburg--cha-CHING) appearing in the late game. Powerful stuff. Powerful stuff.

Mr Skeletor said...

So who is going to put this game up on BGG and get the geekgold?

Patrick H said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick H said...

The professor.

Billy said...

Why is there another Billy on the board?

robartin said...

There's only one Billy Sparkles.

boner teasdale said...

Im really enjoying this thread.

pickle.

boner teasdale said...

im playing a game with a pickle right now.

Anonymous said...

Who the fuck is Billy Sparkles?

Billy Z.

Liumas said...

Hey, wow, this is good. I am amazed at how much people understand this crap. Getting rid of the Vomit is a plus though (sorry, Shellhead, I know you worked it out well enough).

Work within the limits - this seems to be an elegant no-brainer. Single digits, muted golden browns, [comment deleted] (I mean "I'm a big friggin pussy"), yeah, we about have it. Looks to be building up to a typical Eurogroup game. Don't forget we have to expand that page of rules to 4 pages (exactly).


Hey man, save a hit for me, will you?
I'll have Fidel send you a box.


I'm going to hold you to that, ROBARTin, count on it. At least hold onto one or 2 for me, will do well enough.

Get that web site going (um, 'please'). When you can, of course.

Meerkat (Lynette) the Eurogamer said...

You guys are missing out on all the pickle puns. Much like the Bean Game you need cards with pun fun pictures on it for your people.

Like
Dilly Dally (the planter)
Sweetie Gerkin (the trader - sweet things for trade)
Bread and Butter me up (The politican)

Buttermilk (the milkmaid)
Whipping Cream (The dominatrix) Oh wait that would be a different game. ;-)

Or course you guys can run with this in a much more creative way than I... so I will check back later to see what you come up with.

However I would note, if you really want to Milk those Briney Germans... well you should switch the game to dealing in Sauerkraut and Beer!

Michael Barnes said...

Quiet Meerkat! BIER UND KRAUT is the expansin to MILCH UND GERKEN!

Good ideas on the character cards...nothing says Euro like cutesy-poo artwork...studies have shown that a large number of Eurogamer households also contain Precious Moments or similiar porcelain figurine collections so it's a good idea to have the "cute" factor working...it appeals to children, fat ladies, and lonely middle aged men equally.

Billy Z.- Billy Sparkles _is_ excitement.