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abasm
01-27-2011, 07:32 PM
SO, I'm currently in the process of designing a board game, and have reached the stage where the game SEEMS balanced, but needs play-testing to ensure that all of the mechanics are airtight. If you would be so kind as to play this game with some friends (or here on the forum, as the game supports asynchronous play) and report back here, you would have my eternal, undying, FOREVER gratitude.

I assure you that it is fun. Maybe super-fun. I'll leave that to you.

The name of the game is MainFrame, and the rules are as follows: (copied from the PDF linked below.)

-------------------------------------------------------

MAINFRAME
3 PLAYERS

STORY:

A rogue HACKER has broken into the MAINFRAME! If the ADMIN doesn’t stop him soon, the SYSTEM will crash, taking exabytes of valuable data with it!

As the HACKER, your goal is to make your way to the core (the green X space) of the MAINFRAME, and steal the data housed there!

As the ADMIN, your goal is to catch the HACKER before he can reach the core, and do it before the SYSTEM crashes!

As the SYSTEM, your goal is to crash (what else are computers good for?) before the ADMIN can catch the HACKER, and before the HACKER can reach the core!


MATERIALS:

• 1 – 6x6 gridded whiteboard
• 1 – blue HACKER piece
• 2 – orange ADMIN pieces
• 1 – black dry-erase marker
• 1 – red dry-erase marker
• 1 – green dry-erase marker
• 1 – dry-eraser
• 1 – 6-sided die


RULES:

First, the SYSTEM must build the MAINFRAME maze (the whiteboard). Place the HACKER piece and the core (draw a green X) on opposite corners of the board. Then place the two ADMIN pieces on the remaining corners.

Next, the SYSTEM must assemble the walls of the MAINFRAME (black dry-erase marker). The MAINFRAME contains exactly 25 walls. Walls must be placed along the grid. There is, however, one restriction. The SYSTEM may not produce closed loops. A closed loop is produced when one section of wall (including the outer edge of the MAINFRAME) is continuous. (Or, to put it another way, when all 36 squares of the maze no longer comprise one large, connected shape.)

...once the MAINFRAME has been assembled, the game can begin!


The turn order is as follows:
HACKER -> ADMIN -> SYSTEM


HACKER TURN:
1. Roll the die
2. If the HACKER rolls a 1, 2, or 3, then move that number of spaces.
3. If the HACKER rolls a 4, 5, or 6, then the HACKER may choose between moving the number of spaces rolled OR moving three spaces less than the number rolled, with the ability to cross through ONE wall during the move.
4. If the HACKER lands on the core space, the HACKER wins!

NOTE: The HACKER may move through the ADMIN pieces, though he cannot occupy the same space as them at the end of his turn.

ADMIN TURN:
1. Roll the die
2. Split the number rolled between the two ADMIN pieces as you see fit. (ex: if a 6 is rolled, one piece may move 6 and the other 0, 3 and 3, 4 and 2, etc.)
3. ADMIN pieces cannot occupy the core space at the end of their turn. They can, however, pass over this space freely.
4. Two ADMIN pieces may not share the same space.
5. If the ADMIN passes over or lands on the HACKER, the ADMIN wins!

SYSTEM TURN:
1. Roll the die
2. Erase the number of black walls rolled, then redraw them elsewhere in the maze in red, one at a time. (i.e. erase a wall, draw a wall, erase a wall, draw a wall...)
3. Walls in red may not be moved.
4. The SYSTEM may create closed loops during its turn, but there must not be any closed loops at the end of its turn.
5. If any players spot a closed loop outside of the SYSTEM’s turn, they may choose a wall in the loop to be redrawn in black elsewhere. (It may not create another closed loop.)
6. Try to keep the HACKER and ADMIN from winning, because...
7. Once all 25 of the walls in the maze have been redrawn in red, the SYSTEM wins!

//END OF LINE//

-------------------------------------

And that's it. The game can be played with pen and paper, or you can use a the layered .psd enclosed with the .pdf rulesheet below, provided you have Photoshop. (If you can suggest a better way of distributing this, I am all ears.)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO PLAY (THAT I CAN PROVIDE DIGITALLY) (http://www.mediafire.com/?qgncvpotux1rhlw)

Thanks! And have fun!

Lucas
01-27-2011, 08:04 PM
I'd be down to try playing this online.

It would probably be pretty easy to build a maze in Excel or (probably) a Google Docs spreadsheet. That wouldn't be particularly easy to distribute compared to a .psd, though.

abasm
01-27-2011, 09:02 PM
Yeah, it's not a terribly elegant solution.

namelessentity
01-27-2011, 09:21 PM
seems interesting. I'll try and see if I can get people to test this and get back to you.

Luana
01-27-2011, 10:57 PM
If I can find a third player, I'll run a game and give you some feedback. :D

Merus
01-28-2011, 07:44 AM
One point: the hacker movement rules could be clearer. It's implying a special case when really nothing much changes when the hacker rolls 4, 5 or 6. If it's worded in a way that the hacker understands that they need a lot of movement points to move through walls, I think it'll be easier to remember, and you won't need to point out that hackers aren't allowed to move through two walls.

They could read something like: the HACKER rolls a die and moves that many spaces. The hacker may also move through a wall; this counts as moving 4 spaces.

(The 4 spaces = 3 for moving through the wall + 1 for moving to an adjacent space)

Am I right in thinking that the hacker is able to get in a position where they're next to the core space but can't win because they rolled a 2?

abasm
01-28-2011, 09:06 AM
One point: the hacker movement rules could be clearer. It's implying a special case when really nothing much changes when the hacker rolls 4, 5 or 6. If it's worded in a way that the hacker understands that they need a lot of movement points to move through walls, I think it'll be easier to remember, and you won't need to point out that hackers aren't allowed to move through two walls.

They could read something like: the HACKER rolls a die and moves that many spaces. The hacker may also move through a wall; this counts as moving 4 spaces.

(The 4 spaces = 3 for moving through the wall + 1 for moving to an adjacent space)

Am I right in thinking that the hacker is able to get in a position where they're next to the core space but can't win because they rolled a 2?

You're not the first to bring up the issue of wording on that rule. I'll get that fixed.

And, the Hacker wins if he touches the core space. He doesn't have to explicitly land on it. However, if the Hacker is next to the core space, and there is a wall dividing the two, then the hacker would have to roll at least a three to travel around the wall.

Kirin
01-28-2011, 09:57 AM
Sounds nifty! I have no idea when I might have the appropriate combination of people and materials to play, but I'll report back if I do.

The cool thing is, this is just simple enough that I can probably keep the rules in my head for future reference.

Traumadore
01-28-2011, 10:23 AM
I'll try it on my battle grid, but right now I think being the System player would be a headache, and that's just laying out the wall initially. Moving them is no big deal.

Karzac
01-28-2011, 11:07 AM
I'll try it on my battle grid, but right now I think being the System player would be a headache, and that's just laying out the wall initially. Moving them is no big deal.

Yeah, laying out the wall seems like it would take a long time. Maybe have it start with a pre-determined layout?

Traumadore
01-28-2011, 02:19 PM
I was thinking it would depend on the personality of the person doing it. Some people I know I could see doing it randomly, while others will overanalyze how it will interact with the two other players.

Basically the System has to observe and react to the other two players equally, and in an indirect way that leaves room for a lot of second guessing. The other players have a single minded play style that's very different.

I think if possible testers should record the layout of their maze at the very start of the game and maybe we'll start seeing if it drastically effects how it plays.

abasm
01-28-2011, 04:54 PM
I was thinking it would depend on the personality of the person doing it. Some people I know I could see doing it randomly, while others will overanalyze how it will interact with the two other players.

Basically the System has to observe and react to the other two players equally, and in an indirect way that leaves room for a lot of second guessing. The other players have a single minded play style that's very different.

I think if possible testers should record the layout of their maze at the very start of the game and maybe we'll start seeing if it drastically effects how it plays.

I take a semi-random approach, in that I lay down some initial paths that keep the Admins away from the Hacker, and I layer a few walls to keep the Hacker from crossing onto a straight path to the goal.

Of the people I've played with, they tend to take more time deliberating on their turn-by-turn moves, rather than the initial maze layout, as the maze will have dramatically changed by the game's conclusion. The initial maze doesn't have to be perfect as long as it doesn't give the other players an early upper hand.

That being said, I do intend to create some pre-built mazes for those who want to start the game with a minimum of fuss.

Stiv
01-28-2011, 11:42 PM
I'm going to try and play this game with friends sometime soon, but I've just got to say, the theming isn't that interesting. Have you considered doing something else with it?

abasm
01-29-2011, 06:23 AM
I'm going to try and play this game with friends sometime soon, but I've just got to say, the theming isn't that interesting. Have you considered doing something else with it?

Not really. The theme, in this case, was more of an afterthought. For the longest time, the game was a "cat-and-mouse" affair.

Do you have any suggestions?

Merus
01-29-2011, 07:29 AM
The tricky thing about the theming is the 'server' player. Nearly any cat-and-mouse theme works for the other two players, but what rearranges a maze and succeeds when it's done so?

Edit: maybe an ancient temple? The 'hacker' is the treasure hunter, the 'admins' are the Expedition (because calling them the Indiana Jones Nazis would be problematic) and the 'server' is an ancient temple that's either re-configuring its wall using bamboo technology, or collapsing, with walls coming down in some places and ceilings collapsing in others.

gahitsu
01-29-2011, 10:11 AM
I bet you could make something like this easy using RPG Maker or its ilk. Unfortunately, I don't know how to implement player v player, or any kind of internet connection gameplay, using RPG Maker, but maybe Brickroad does?

Stiv
01-29-2011, 12:32 PM
Not really. The theme, in this case, was more of an afterthought. For the longest time, the game was a "cat-and-mouse" affair.

Do you have any suggestions?

The gameplay seems to lend itself pretty naturally to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. There's even a direct correspondence between the existing pieces on the board to elements of the myth.

Of course, there's a handful of games with this theming already, but I can't think of any of them that play quite like this one.

abasm
01-29-2011, 04:56 PM
The gameplay seems to lend itself pretty naturally to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. There's even a direct correspondence between the existing pieces on the board to elements of the myth.

Of course, there's a handful of games with this theming already, but I can't think of any of them that play quite like this one.

Someone I played with suggested that! That is also a possibility.