Completion: National Game Development Month 2012

Game piecesThis is the second of a series of four posts covering my participation in this year’s National Game Development Month. Each post dealing with one of the four rules for NaGaDeMon: Creation, Completion, Playtesting, and Discussion.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve had this idea for a game about food trucks for a while and I thought this month would be a good opportunity to get that back on the drawing board.

After a few days of work and discussion, the concept of the game changed completely and no longer resembles anything that I described earlier. Here’s what the game looks like now.

Working title: Roach Coach

Basic concept: This is a quick and easy to play filler for 2 – 6 players. Players are trying to earn enough money to post bail for their boss. Players begin the game with a simple catering truck that is not quite up to health code. The first player to earn enough money to get the boss out of jail wins.

On their turn, a player will first draw a card which is to be played immediately, and then roll dice to determine how much, if any, profit they make that day and also to check for roaches. Roaches play an important role in this game. Throughout the game, players will accumulate roaches, mostly from other players. Roaches aren’t necessarily bad until a health inspector card is drawn, causing each player to pay a fine based on the size of their infestation.

Most of the cards in the deck deal with various opportunities to either earn more money when rolling dice, or opportunities to move or eliminate roaches. Moving roaches around allows for increased player interaction, rather than having a multi-player solitaire style game.

The accumulated earnings of the players will go up and down until someone has earned enough to post the bail money, which will trigger the final round.

The game is completed except for some minor tweaking with the final amount needed to post bail, which needs to decrease as the number of players increases.

I actually like this game, which is surprising, because I usually hate my designs once they hit the prototype stage. The big question now is where do I go from here? I need some help at this point if I want to turn this into something that I can continue to develop.

First, I need playtesters. I need people to play this and give me honest feedback. I’m not really sure of the best way to do this however. Obviously, if you read this post and you are interested, just say so in the comments and I will send you everything you need. I could also post something on the NaGaDeMon site or on boardgamegeek, which has extensive resources for game developers.

Second, I need an artist to do some basic graphic design. Right now, I have cards with some images I took from Microsoft Word, but I need some simple art that I don’t have to worry about. Unfortunately, I cannot offer much money, but I am willing to negotiate with any artists out there who are interested.

That’s enough for now. I need to play some other games. This is threatening to take over all of my gaming time this month if I don’t put it away for a while.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work by Jeff Myers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

5 Comments

  1. Greg

    Wow, I have to say the theme really confuses me. You’re trying to raise bail money for your boss? Why? Why not just raise enough money to buy your own truck? What does a criminal boss have to do with your food truck? And “roaches are not necessarily bad”? I get that the health inspector fine will keep you from reaching your goal, but shouldn’t roaches also affect your ability to make money? Who wants to eat at a roach-infested taco truck, inspected or not? I get that infesting your fellow players with roaches would be fun, but it seems like there should be more to it than that.

    BUT, please ignore my rantings. I’m just confused. I’m sure it works better in context than your brief description here. I think it’s awesome that you’re participating in the NaGaDeMon, and also sharing your process with us here. Keep up the good work!

    • I don’t think I explained it very well. Roaches are always bad and the number that you have reflects the additional penalty that you have to pay if the health inspector card is revealed.

      When a player rolls their dice, they must set aside all fives and ones. Fives represent a profit of fifty bucks and ones represent a roach. You keep the money but you GIVE the roaches to an opponent(s). I have no real thematic explanation for how that happens, but it made a huge difference in player interaction and it’s fun.

      The whole theme has kind of a dirty somewhat illegal feel to it. You can score additional profit by using cards that use cheap or illegal ingredients. High profit but higher penalties when the health inspector is drawn. That’s why you want to make bail. It’s also supposed to be your grandmother.

      REALLY appreciate the feedback Greg. Do you think you would have any time to play test?

      • Greg

        I almost added that I’d be happy to playtest it for you, but then I thought about BGG.Con and Thanksgiving coming up, and I really don’t know if I’d have enough time to do it properly. I guess if it doesn’t require too much construction, I’ll give it a shot.

        I hope I wasn’t too harsh in my first comment. They really were meant as questions, not criticisms (I’ll save those for after the playtest 🙂 ).

  2. Nathaniel

    Jeff,
    Yes the game has gone the other way. One idea would be that instead of using the boss’ truck (which is in the impound yard,) you have to start from the ground up. realizing that the boss has your last paycheck and maybe willing to give you his business (because he has gotten to old) if you successfully bail him/her out of jail.

    then we get to the fun part. you start off with a random amount of cash on hand and visit a junkyard to get your ratty set of wheels (already equipped with roaches).

    so you have a set of dice you roll to make money or get shut down (also can be done to your opponents). If you roll all 1’s on your daily roll, the roaches are bad and the inspector comes. pay a fine based on the number of total roaches currently living on your truck.

    event cards allow you the opportunity to clean up your truck – making it roach free for so many days. cause infestation in opponents trucks, or generally have a better day in sales.

    if you roll a 6 – you get 50 cash and are able to place one of your roaches on someone else’s truck.

    a roll of a 5 – is 50 cash.

    i would be interested in playtesting.

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