Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pixel Lincoln Game Design Challenge

Over at the Kickstarter page for the Pixel Lincoln Playing Cards, we're holding a mini game design contest. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY MAKE A GAME!

Submissions must be posted in the comments at Kickstarter by Midnight on April 15, 2013. You can submit more than one game if you would like. Games cannot use any components outside of the Pixel Lincoln playing card deck.

We're going to publish the rules for the best games, along with my design, Big Head Mode, as a free PDF for all backers and will make the PDF available on the Game Salute page for the Pixel Lincoln Playing Cards. We're looking for submissions of games that use the theme in some way. It can be any style of game (trick taking / set building / solitaire, etc), it just needs to incorporate the theme. 

What is the theme? Well, it's a few things. It's 16 bit retro video gaming with Pixel Lincoln. It's also a deck of good vs. evil with Lincoln on the black cards and enemies on the red cards. Which characters are good and which are evil is totally up to you. 

The Pixel Lincoln playing card deck functions is a standard 54 card deck with a few bonuses that may assist in creating a ruleset. 

  • There are 2 additional Jokers for a total of 4 Jokers in the deck. Each Joker has both red and black colors as well as all 4 suits. 
  • The black cards all feature Lincoln facing to the right, and the black face cards (King, Queen, Jack) feature various Lincoln faces close-up. 
  • The red cards all feature Booth and various enemies facing to the left, and the red face cards (King, Queen, Jack) feature various Booth faces close-up. 
  • The face cards have a background color that could represent money. 
  • King (Gold) Queen (Silver) and Jack (Bronze). 
  • The Aces do not have any characters on them.


To get you started, here are the preliminary rules for my game Big Head Mode. I'm still playtesting it, but I wanted to share it with everyone. 

PLAYERS - 2 players. (3-4 players using a second deck.) OBJECT - Out-bluff your opponent to gain powerful items and score big points. 

SETUP - Each player chooses a black suit (clubs or spades) and takes the 3 Lincoln Face cards (J, Q, K) and sets each card face up in front of him. These are known as his "Big Heads". Each player then takes the A, 2, 3, 4, and 5 card in his suit and forms his starting hand. The remaining red and black cards are shuffled together and placed into the center of the table. Draw the top 25 cards to form the game deck and place the remaining cards back into the box. 

GAMEPLAY - A player flips the top card of the deck. It will either be an enemy (red - provides points at the end of the game) or an item (black - provides power during the game). Players will then bid on this item using a card from their hand. Both players will chose which card they would like to bid with. Ace is the lowest, 5 is the highest. The cards are placed face down and revealed simultaneously. The high bidder will take the card. If the card is red, he will place the card into his score pile. If the card is black, he will place the card into his discard pile. In the event of a tie, the card is not claimed by anyone and it is removed from the game. 

BIG HEAD - After the high bidder of a round is determined, a player may yell out "Big Head Mode" and throw in a big head from his supply of face cards to then become the high bidder. His opponent can yell out "Bigger Head Mode!" and play a bigger head from his supply. This continues until a player does not or cannot play a bigger head card. All used Big Head cards are removed from the game, and the player with the biggest head takes the winnings. This will repeat until the players run out of cards in hand. Then both players draw 5 new cards. If a player cannot draw a card from his draw pile, he must shuffle his discard pile and create a new draw pile. 

BOSSES - Bosses can provide big points! They are red cards with big heads (J, Q, K) of John Wilkes Booth. A boss is defeated as usual but will score differently than the other cards. See below for scoring. 

JOKERS - Jokers get in your way. They have both red and black on their cards, so the high bidder will choose to place a Joker into his discard pile or score pile. If placed into a discard pile a Joker will count as a "0" when bidding. If placed into a score pile a Joker will count as −5 points. 

GAME END - The game ends when the deck runs out and the score is tallied. The winner is the player with the most points. In the event of a tie, it's the winner with the most pairs. 

SCORING - Aces through 10's - Each pair is worth the value on the card, but a single card without a pair is worth nothing. Example: A pair of 5's is worth 5 points. A single 9 is worth zero points. 

FACE CARDS (J, Q, K) - Each card is worth 10 points, but only if you have a pair or a set of all three in the same suit. Example: A pair of Jacks is worth 20 points (10 points each). A single King is worth 0 points. A set of all three Red Hearts Face Cards is worth 30 points. 

3 PLAYERS - choose one red suit, one black suit and two jokers from a second deck. Two of the players will play as the same suit, otherwise the game is played as normal. 

4 PLAYERS - Play with 2 full decks. All of the players will share their suit with another player as the same suit, otherwise the game is played as normal.


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