Alright, first attempt at the game was as follows. It was an attempt to modify Battle Line in a way where powerful cards are retrieved by being the first to complete a meld on a central location. The rules, which fit under 5, would be as follows.
Setup – The deck has 5 “suits”, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Alto and Soprano.
- Each player begins the game by drawing three cards. On your turn, you play one to one of the five central objectives and then draw a card from the draw pile.
- If you are the first to finish 3 cards in an objective, you claim the card on top of it instead of your draw for the turn. This can be used as a wild in the appropriate suit.
- At any point you may discard any two cards with the same numerical value. Immediately draw three cards from the draw pile. This does not count as your turn.
- The game is over when all cards have three cards on them.
- At the end of the game, score each central objective and give it to the winner. The player with the most objectives wins. A player’s score for each objective is determined by subtracting the highest numerical value card played on it from the lowest – The objective is awarded to the player who had the lowest difference.
How did this stack up to our rules (let’s forget for a moment the quality of the game itself)
- Rule Number 1. Game can be explained in < 5 rules. Passes, just barely. though the rule that you can’t draw a card if you get the central objective card is a little wonky
- Rule Number 2. The Player Choices are the Theme. Maaaybe. I like the idea that you have a pull between finishing a meld (making a performance ready to show) – which gives you a one time bonus – and actually holding off on what you will put down until you know what your opponent will show. I think this mimics the real world decision of getting something out there and benefiting immediately vrs waiting until you can put out something lasting.
- Rule Number 3. Simple Components. Yup.
- Rule Number 4. One Small Twist on an Established Genre with Massive Consequences. Nope. I was hoping I could think of Battle Line as the established Genre, with the scoring based on the difference of the top and smallest card being the differentiating factor. Not quite. It made the decision obvious that if you have two cards of the same numerical value they should always be played together (which is why I put in the rule that you could discard any two with the same value to increase your hand size by one, to introduce pull int he other direction).
- Rule Number 5. Players Make Tradeoffs in Revealing Information as the Game Goes On. Nope. Three card hands are way too few to be able to keep enough information in your hand to reveal as you go along. Also, there are so many more options for what to place on each card to get a really good meld when they just have to be different suits, that you don’t need tremendous planning. I think making it so that each meld has a much more restrictive condition is necessary.