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Race Game

Page history last edited by Andrew Perry 12 years, 3 months ago

Race Game

 

(Andrew Perry)

 

A simple board game with race cars, for two players (~ created in about 15 mins).

 

  

Goal

Be first to cross the checkered finish line.

 

Gameplay & Rules

Players start on the checkered grid square (labeled "FINISH!") and can choose either lane on their first roll.

 

Players roll a single die and must move forward the number of spaces shown on the die, unless blocked by the other player.

 

Players cannot (usually) switch lanes, unless the final square they land on is an arrow, in which case they must switch lanes (in the direction of the arrow). If players land on a square with a forward pointing arrow (the straights), they must move forward one extra square.

 

Players tokens cannot move or jump over each other .. they can only pass if they are in different lanes. This means the player who is in the lead will block the player behind them from moving past, unless the players are in different lanes.

 

If a player rolls a six or a one, they can choose to change lanes once in their sequence of moves (ie, a lane change counts as one move, so if they roll a six they can move forward five spaces with one lane change).

 

The first player to land on or cross the checkered grid wins.

 

The game can be played with a single lap, first to three laps, or other similar variations.

 

Extra rules and corner cases (discovered after a playthrough):

There is one part of the track with only a single lane. Only one player can occupy this square at one time, and the other player cannot pass them on this square. Players exiting this square, only after landing on it, may choose which lane they continue in.


Arrow squares always push the player to another square, and the players final resting place at the very end of a move can never be on an arrow square (they can land one one, but will be pushed off, typically in the direction of the arrow). If the 'push' after landing on an arrow would be blocked by another player, the final jump to the arrow square cannot be made.

 

Assests

The game board

One die

Two racecar tokens

 


Playtesting, Iterative Design

 

In playtesting this game (as per the task for "Level 2") I found that a single lap game didn't give time for a losing player to catch up again ... playing three quick laps is more fun as it allows for more dramatic come-backs. I also felt like it was too easy for one player to get ahead and stay ahead, partially due to luck of the dice, and sometimes due to the assymetry imposed by not allowing the following player to pass the leader unless they occupied different lanes.

 

Proposed new rule: If the player coming last rolls a one or a six, they can choose to change lanes as one of their moves, or they can choose to roll again.

 

This should provide a "catchup" mechanism (similar to many racing videogames, like Mario Kart), and also provides the player with another interesting choice ... do I change lanes to potentially allow me to pass on the next roll, or do I catchup by taking the second roll ?

 

(I also discovered a few corner cases and rules I intended to add to the initial description .. I've added these too).

 

I feel like a computer simulation of this game could help speed up the iterative design process, by simply simulating many play-throughs with AI players that have a few simple decision rules ("always change lanes to become 'unblocked', when the opportunity arises"). Using different tweaks to the rules, I would look for statistics that may indicate exciting game moments ... eg On average, how many times did the players switch from losing to leading ? Physical playthroughs would be important in order to identify events in the game that made it more fun, exciting or satisfying, so that the stats for these types of event could be determined under different game variations. (Actually, some of these probabilities could probably be determined without simulation, using basic probablility theory, but in the long term I feel like a simulation would be more versatile).

 

Comments (1)

Andrew Perry said

at 6:52 pm on Jul 2, 2009

My main goal here was to make a dice-driven game of chance that still contained some element of decision making ... here it is to change lanes, or stay in the same lane. Except when I was a very little kid, I always found games like "Snakes and Ladders" (aka "Chutes & Ladders") pretty boring, since I once I figured out that everything was determined by chance, there was no excitement in 'getting ahead' by a ladder or the misfortune of your opponent. Once I understand it's all about luck and nothing about the skill of the player, I lost interest. This is highlighted by the first main element of a game in Greg Costikyan's essay "I Have No Words and I Must Design" - decision making. In fact, the more I think about it, I would be reluctant to personally define "Snakes and Ladders" as a game these days - it's more of a human powered random simulation. It's interesting that young kids enjoy the process of playing it, even though they have no real control of the outcome - I guess it's because it plays out like a simple story, in a social context, with ups and downs as players "unexpectantly" land on ladders or snakes.

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