Don’t wake the dragon!

boardgame, boardgame prototype, competition, Don't wake the dragon

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“Don’t wake the dragon” is a dexterity game created in a day for GameCraft UnPlugged at Pulse College. The theme and restrictions were:

  • Fairy Tale
  • 2 players
  • 3 rounds

I had a backpack filled with standard game components (cards, sleeves, dice) to allow me to adapt to any theme, but wouldn’t it be fun to make something different from the rest of my portfolio? That means cards, cubes and dice are out!

What else is there?

The first thing was to play with them. Stacking them, throwing them at each other.

…hey, turns out they’re thick enough to flick around!

That’s a mechanic I really enjoy. It reminds me of playing marbles as a kid, and it’s so self-explanatory when you see it in action. The laws of physics do most of the work, creating interesting situations and choices without adding rules and exceptions.

In the game your command your soldiers to steal from a dragon who’s asleep on top of a pile of gold.

To do so you order(flick) your group of soldiers (blue or red disks) to steal gold coins (white and orange) from the dragon (black disk). If you take coins out of the arena they’re yours, but as soon as the dragon touches the table it wakes up! Game over. Not only that, but the dragon steals back your most valuable coins!

The level layout is just the beginning, and it changes as players take their turns. Coins fall from the tower and litter the arena, so you don’t always have to shoot for the tower. If a soldier leaves the arena (either you miss or someone pushes you out) then it stays out for that round.

You add up your coins for the level and proceed to the next one. At the end of three levels the player with the highest total wins!

With the simple components there was no need to create anything other than the game’s rules, so there was plenty of time to playtest.

Brainstorming (“playstorming”?) the levels with Sara was excellent. Build something, play it. Is it fun? Keep it! Not fun? Why? Edit the level. Test it out. Repeat.

In the end we got three different levels which presented the players with different challenges.

There was even some time to write a rulebook!  Not sure it was necessary, but it was good practice.

Did the players like it?

Yes they did!

It was the most relaxing game jam I was a part of so far, and picking a game I could finish comfortably in the available time was certainly a big part of it.

You can see the other games (and the winning entry!) at their official Storify!

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