Return to Fortune Tellers

boardgame prototype, Fortune Tellers
The second prototype for Fortune Tellers, 2013

Fortune Tellers is a game I’ve been thinking about for eight years.

Back then I tried two different prototypes. The concept had potential but the gameplay had flaws that I didn’t know how to solve at the time. It was enticing and intimidating, much bigger than the ones I had made before. Shortly thereafter I had to move out of the country and left it behind.

I still think of it regularly because the theme makes me laugh and because – as far as I know – there hasn’t been another game like it. Since it’s something I’d still like to play, I guess I’ll have to make it myself. I hope the added experience will help to cross the gameplay bump.

So, what is this game about? Here is the synopsis:

You are the village’s fortune teller. For years people have come to you in search of insights about health, relationships, business and more.

…until there was something you didn’t see coming: a second fortune teller set up shop in the village and your steady stream of clients has turned into a drip. It’s time to put your skills in practice and regain your reputation!

The only way to make points is by correctly predicting the future. You’ll write predictions, place them face down on the table and then will try to get the other players to do the things you wrote. When they come true, you get to say “Aha!”, show them the prediction and get to feel very smug.

The main design challenge in this project is that there needs to be another game to make predictions about. One lives inside the other and they need to work together. The game needs to have actions that can be predicted, but can’t feel too constrained.

I’m swapping the worker placement mechanic of the original for a rondel and an area majority game to emulate word of mouth around the village. Just like with Cortiça, I started by making a mockup “screenshot” of what it could look like during play to help visualize the full game and how many components it would require. This is what it currently looks like:

Current mockup for Fortune Tellers, 2021

The next step is to turn it into a prototype so it can be playtested. Since the pandemic is still going it will have to be digital, which is a good excuse to finally learn my way around Tabletop Simulator to playtest online. Maybe you’ll get to play it!

Stay tuned!

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