Other Wise

Twitter Week: 2009-06-20

Twitter Week: 2009-06-13

  • Yep, #twitter is a performance art more than a participatory or discourse system: http://tr.im/nEMD #
  • Common wisdom and the symmetry of popularity: http://tr.im/nEZh (via @andrew_chen, @jhong) #
  • @neilhimself So would that be the blessed schizophrenic duality of the beast or merely a squared beast, perhaps framed in fearful symmetry? in reply to neilhimself #
  • Piracy becoming the centre: http://tr.im/nJdZ If you outlaw piracy, only everyone will be a pirate. Ergo, you become what you resist. #
  • Blind search engine result testing: http://blindsearch.fejus.com/ Surprised? #
  • No, this is the onset of active data. RT @hnshah: RT @timyoung The web “page” will soon be dead. It’s days are numbered. #
  • @seo1970 And are the cows winning? Told Michael last night to not make a decision on the render, but to paste-up a real box. Light dawned? in reply to seo1970 #
  • @seo1970 Send me an URL? in reply to seo1970 #
  • http://twitpic.com/6zs9s It seems the hummingbird eggs by my door have hatched. http://twitpic.com/6zseh #
  • Google Wave’s success rests on its LCD OSS foundation? MS’s Mesh tied too hard to proprietary product stack? http://tr.im/nXIe #gwave #
  • Fiddled with Jeremiah Lee’s #Kindle during Tahuantinsuyu. Great human factors. The data-trap (Amazon dies, so does your Kindle) scares me. #
  • Do you know where you are? Really? Seen the Milky Way lately? Context is everything for a sense of life’s relative scales. http://tr.im/nZPb #
  • Here Cthulhu, here boy! Come on boy! That’s my little Cthulhu! Want a Care Bear for din-dins? http://tr.im/o69z (via @neilhimself) #
  • I’m off to meet the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of, umm, 18TN? B&O? Gimme my damn poker chips back, and no, you can’t have that many! #18xx #
  • Neighborhood pot boiler. RT @newscientist:Supervolcano under Mount St Helens may be cranking up for a biggun http://bit.ly/2HMDH #
  • The ranting on Rubicon’s offices is BS. They’re not an engineering/tech company, they’re market-driven media and they’re optimised for that. #

Time’s sweet paradox

To some degree games may be classified as reactive and predictive. it all depends on where the players act in relation to the progression of time in the game. In reactive games events occur in the game and the players respond. They may have prepared for such an event in advance, but their response is purely reactive when it occurs. In predictive games player act ahead of the game time, they make choices so that when/if certain matters should come true they are ready and (ideally) don’t even need to react. This is perhaps not a stunning insight, but it got me to thinking, What about a game in which the players are never in present time, a game in which the players exclusively operate in the future, both short and long term? What if players can only operate within the bounds of an increasingly uncertain future?

Imagine a planning game, perhaps a logistics game of some sort. Possible actions are arranged in a stack, perhaps represented by cards or tiles. The bottom action is NOW (ie present time) in the game sense. The bottom action card will be performed on this game turn, either by a player or by the game itself in some autonomous fashion or interpretation. When an action is performed it is discarded or perhaps recycled.

Each player has a number of markers, perhaps two or three which they can place on action cards (one marker per card) in the future. In fact this is the only decision afforded to a player: committing to a future action. If and as when such a card with a player marker becomes the bottom card, that player does that action, and they move their action marker to another action card (unoccupied by another player’s marker) in the future.

But things are not quie that simple. Actions have durations. As quick example a future action might be building a factory. However the action card reaching the bottom of the stack merely means that construction has started. Factory construction lasts 5 turns (ie 5 action cards off the bottom of the stack). If the factory construction card was 3 turns in the future when the player put their marker on it, then the player waited 3 turns before starting to build the factory, and then another 5 turns of actually building the factory (assume some cost for this) before the factory is finally built and the action marker may be used to reserve yet another action in the future. Game state could have changed considerably in that time. Perhaps the player carefully built a Q-Factory as Q-items were in high demand and commanded a price premium, but by the time their factory came online, not only had the Q-item market collapsed, but Q-items were obsolete and couldn’t even be used for any purpose! Then again, they might have started shipping T-items by slow boat over the ocean, a trip that takes 7 game turns, only to find that T-items are commanding a huge price premium when they arrive.

In short the player is constantly committing themselves to events which will only occur in the relatively distant future (in game terms). They have absolutely no ability to react to current events, only to setup changes that will be realised after an appreciable game delay. In short they are stuck in the future.

Some abstractions may be added. Players could be allowed to sell each other the actions they’d reserved in the future, or possibly the actions that have occurred but are still maturing (eg construction on the factory has started but not yet finished). In this way something of a futures market could be supported in which players not only speculatively commit to actions they think will be profitable for themselves, but also to actions they may be able to sell to other players. Of a sudden players are trading in what they imagine the game’s future will be.

Twitter Week: 2009-06-06

  • The short definition of Google Wave: Conversation as a first class noun/object. The rest is just network & RPC model. #gwave #googlewave. #
  • @timoreilly @vanessafox Search spiders replicating human/client views isn’t l/t viable. Predict custom views for spiders – & trust issues. in reply to timoreilly #
  • Google Wave may rewrite the blogosphere. Blogs become wave collections. Goodbye RSS! If waves can nest, blogs become just another #gwave. #
  • @ysrthgrathe Aye, getting the auth model right for Google Wave will be interesting. #gwave in reply to ysrthgrathe #
  • #tweetdeck limited to 11 columns, #nambu 20 searches. Must run multiple clients to get perspective? Need 75+ w/ priority sorting. #twitter #
  • Twitter, Facebook , blogs etc allow users to find discussions. Google Wave doesn’t. Participating is one thing, finding is another. #gwave. #
  • Good discussion of systemic trade-offs in both problem resolution and process: http://bit.ly/On0Rl #
  • @davemcclure Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! have re-invented their platforms at least once every 5 years. #twtrcon in reply to davemcclure #
  • Any guesses on number of RPCs/second/user for Google Wave? What are the operational boundaries? #gwave #
  • Greedy algorithm is strong in 4 player Mexica. With 3 players is viable but not dominant (tough proof). http://tr.im/n8n7 http://tr.im/n8na #
  • Game design thought for the night: What if you’re herding cats (or dogs), but all you can do is to point their tails in the right direction? #
  • @doctorow On source `dpkg –get-selectiions | fgrep -v deinstall | cut -f1` > pkg.list then `xargs apt-get install < pkg.list` on target in reply to doctorow #
  • Max-diff surveying what customers really want with clear differentiation and ranking: http://tr.im/nsFK (via @seanellis, @brantcooper) #
  • @raphkoster While twitter can support conversation, it is more of a performance art upon a stage. in reply to raphkoster #
  • A little sentimental, but well worth the time, the thought and the resulting discussion. Home: http://www.youtube.com/homeproject #
  • Ray Ozzie has a point: Google Wave “is anti-Web” http://bit.ly/12VwcD #gwave #

Oooo my pretty precious!

As those who follow my Twitter feed know, Corner Lot did rather well at the Kublacon design competition, coming in the top 3 and quite likely being second. Julie, the organiser of the competition said that if it had player aids it would have won.

Several changes:

  • Player aids! Yep, there are now neat little player aids which contain the most frequently requested information (the 4 bonus categories and the 3 actions)
  • Spiffy new art without conflicting colour pairs (all credit goes to Ariel Seoane here)
  • An advanced variant which simply ups some costs and cash drains and thus significantly changes the timing and pacing of the Empty Lot cards1

New rules. Playtesters will find that the file at the same magic URL has the new card images and rules.

Footnotes
  1. The increased cost of the Empty Lot cards is not cast in stone, the other two values likely are

Twitter Week: 2009-05-30

  • Won 18C2C: C&O+Wabash & Norfolk&NW+GMO for the win. Beautiful stations & destination runs. Phew! #18xx #kublacon #
  • Late mid-game in yesterday’s 18C2C: http://twitpic.com/5s0sg #
  • Cavum, Corner Lot, 18Mex, 18TN requested by others for today. #kublacon #18xx #boardgame #
  • How strange: was just asked to sign a copy of Age of Sream: London/Sun. #kublacon #
  • Corner Lot desc’d at #kublacon design competition as Knizia-like strategy-dense publishable. Another request for player aids. #
  • Corner Lot in top 3 of #kublacon competition. Some complaint of too unobvious, mathy and tempo-driven: ie things I like & designed it to be! #
  • @punkzter My #AgeOfSteam maps (Wales, Central America, Denmark, SE Australia etc) are still slowly moving toward publication. #boardgame in reply to punkzter #
  • Played 18C2C, 18Mex & 1889 at #kublacon. 18C2C endgame continues long after gameplay dies. 1889 is proving deeper than I’d thought. #18xx #
  • Winner of the #kublacon design competition was combinatorial game, “Kiva”. Simply brilliant game. Sadly unpublishable but deserved the win #
  • Dice rolling redux (via IngredientX) http://gamesbyemail.com/News/DiceOMatic #
  • @frandallfarmer More evidence to support man’s gestation as a creature of lightly wooded plains? in reply to frandallfarmer #
  • A/B testing: when does it have meaning? http://tr.im/mAOe (via ericries) #
  • Hummingbirds are nesting right outside my front door. Eggs too! I feel bad merely leaving the house for the scare I must give them. #
  • RT @BoardgameNews:Article: Brett Gilbert applies John Maeda’s "The Laws of Simplicty" to game design – http://bit.ly/17tde0 #
  • RT @asbruckman DRM encourages people to break the law to use content legally. Empirical study by Akester in Ars Technica: http://is.gd/IiF5 #
  • Bing: But It’s Not Google. Ooops. #
  • (Ahoy, the startup life!) “”Sleep” and I broke up a few nights ago. I’m dating “Coffee” now. She’s Hot!” (via @ev, @CoryBooker) #
  • Marketing makes good works known, Sales makes them bought: RT @NotGodinREPOSTs:The difference between marketing & sales http://ff.im/-3mLLy #
  • She’s right, but only at scale: RT @alleyinsider:Subscriptions Only Work “Selling Weird Porn,” Says Arianna Huffington: http://bit.ly/zruA5 #
  • Gahh! Is a low noise twitter search for #18xx related (game) traffic possible? http://search.twitter.com/operators #
  • Obama’s burger outings are both branding touchstones and incredible marketing. Could beat Teddy’s fireside chats. http://tr.im/mPRg #
  • @haazmatt #18xx OR “Deep Thought Games” OR “Heron Games” OR 1830 OR (list of 18xx titles) -from:news5_1860 (last needed as I list 1860) in reply to haazmatt #
  • @haazmatt Which isn’t a very good search, but is what I use for now. in reply to haazmatt #
  • The cost of phyrric victories writ large at Microsoft? Or inclusive vs exclusive relationships with customers & partners? http://tr.im/mQ7R #
  • @brettspiel I’d search for just 18xx and not just the hashtag #18xx, but it matches all the crime stat reporting services.. Bah! #18xx in reply to brettspiel #
  • @brettspiel I suspect 18xx means it is from radio-scanned dispatch rather than official. 17xx & 18xx are usually dispatch in police lingo. in reply to brettspiel #
  • Is the big problem with electronic speech the separation of intent & meaning? Human speech is not algebraic, but our electronic speech is. #
  • I dislike the centralised model espoused by Facebook/Google Wave/Twitter etc. Where is personal federation? Must the model be hub & spoke? #

Twitter Week: 2009-05-30

  • Won 18C2C: C&O+Wabash & Norfolk&NW+GMO for the win. Beautiful stations & destination runs. Phew! #18xx #kublacon #
  • Late mid-game in yesterday’s 18C2C: http://twitpic.com/5s0sg #
  • Cavum, Corner Lot, 18Mex, 18TN requested by others for today. #kublacon #18xx #boardgame #
  • How strange: was just asked to sign a copy of Age of Sream: London/Sun. #kublacon #
  • Corner Lot desc’d at #kublacon design competition as Knizia-like strategy-dense publishable. Another request for player aids. #
  • Corner Lot in top 3 of #kublacon competition. Some complaint of too unobvious, mathy and tempo-driven: ie things I like & designed it to be! #
  • @punkzter My #AgeOfSteam maps (Wales, Central America, Denmark, SE Australia etc) are still slowly moving toward publication. #boardgame in reply to punkzter #
  • Played 18C2C, 18Mex & 1889 at #kublacon. 18C2C endgame continues long after gameplay dies. 1889 is proving deeper than I’d thought. #18xx #
  • Winner of the #kublacon design competition was combinatorial game, “Kiva”. Simply brilliant game. Sadly unpublishable but deserved the win #
  • Dice rolling redux (via IngredientX) http://gamesbyemail.com/News/DiceOMatic #
  • @frandallfarmer More evidence to support man’s gestation as a creature of lightly wooded plains? in reply to frandallfarmer #
  • A/B testing: when does it have meaning? http://tr.im/mAOe (via ericries) #
  • Hummingbirds are nesting right outside my front door. Eggs too! I feel bad merely leaving the house for the scare I must give them. #
  • RT @BoardgameNews:Article: Brett Gilbert applies John Maeda’s "The Laws of Simplicty" to game design – http://bit.ly/17tde0 #
  • RT @asbruckman DRM encourages people to break the law to use content legally. Empirical study by Akester in Ars Technica: http://is.gd/IiF5 #
  • Bing: But It’s Not Google. Ooops. #
  • (Ahoy, the startup life!) “”Sleep” and I broke up a few nights ago. I’m dating “Coffee” now. She’s Hot!” (via @ev, @CoryBooker) #
  • Marketing makes good works known, Sales makes them bought: RT @NotGodinREPOSTs:The difference between marketing & sales http://ff.im/-3mLLy #
  • She’s right, but only at scale: RT @alleyinsider:Subscriptions Only Work “Selling Weird Porn,” Says Arianna Huffington: http://bit.ly/zruA5 #
  • Gahh! Is a low noise twitter search for #18xx related (game) traffic possible? http://search.twitter.com/operators #
  • Obama’s burger outings are both branding touchstones and incredible marketing. Could beat Teddy’s fireside chats. http://tr.im/mPRg #
  • @haazmatt #18xx OR “Deep Thought Games” OR “Heron Games” OR 1830 OR (list of 18xx titles) -from:news5_1860 (last needed as I list 1860) in reply to haazmatt #
  • @haazmatt Which isn’t a very good search, but is what I use for now. in reply to haazmatt #
  • The cost of phyrric victories writ large at Microsoft? Or inclusive vs exclusive relationships with customers & partners? http://tr.im/mQ7R #
  • @brettspiel I’d search for just 18xx and not just the hashtag #18xx, but it matches all the crime stat reporting services.. Bah! #18xx in reply to brettspiel #
  • @brettspiel I suspect 18xx means it is from radio-scanned dispatch rather than official. 17xx & 18xx are usually dispatch in police lingo. in reply to brettspiel #
  • Is the big problem with electronic speech the separation of intent & meaning? Human speech is not algebraic, but our electronic speech is. #
  • I dislike the centralised model espoused by Facebook/Google Wave/Twitter etc. Where is personal federation? Must the model be hub & spoke? #

Twitter Week: 2009-05-23

Twitter Week: 2009-05-16

  • @jdludlow Mind sending a summary of your game of Corner Lot? A comment on my blog would be great — that’s how the rest are reporting. in reply to jdludlow #
  • Played 1832. I’m not a Bill Dixon-game fan (cf 1870). Too many levers, fiddle, exceptions & chrome. Bank private & price protection are nuts #
  • I should learn: the lower the player count, the faster the train rush in #18xx. 1860 tonight? #
  • Played my favourite #18xx: 1860. Hugely facile & dynamic: 4 competing rhythms/phases, nasty tile set & track, many precise timing points. #
  • @msaari 1860 is the next on JKLM reprint list, incl mult improvements over 1st ed. It is a truly weird 18xx, weirder than 18EU or 1841 #18xx in reply to msaari #
  • @msaari Yup. JKLM’s relationship with printer is not…ideal. I am patiently on edge of my seat. 1st ed took 8mo from order to ship. #18xx in reply to msaari #
  • RT @icheyne:On the advice of @securitynow podcast 195, I’m disabling Javascript in Adobe Reader – http://is.gd/z833 #
  • RT @ericries:Great article “Fear is the mind-killer” by @ericries… reduce consequences, and fear often, fear early. http://is.gd/z33N #
  • Retweet this if you disagree with Twitter’s decision to hide replies to people you don’t follow. #fixreplies #
  • @icheyne I use the all-replies model to find useful people & conversations. It is the only signal network that Twitter actually represents. in reply to icheyne #
  • Nail-biter Stephenson’s Rocket: Last move merged all networks into 1, giving me share & station lead & win after trailing all game by 40+VP #
  • The most clear visual evidence we live on an orbiting planet, seen while standing on said planet: http://bit.ly/pK9I1 #
  • I doubt: RT @ericries:RT @mashable: Twitter’s Response to #fixreplies: We Can’t (please RT) – http://bit.ly/FAoUV #
  • Oh #twitter, the caterpillar of death is far less charming than the #failwhale of uncertainty! #
  • Remember how the HHGTTG runs on about how very large space is, how unimaginably huge & population zero? Yeah, me too: http://tr.im/lgVx #
  • @ChrisTheCat I’m mostly pleased with Nambu. in reply to ChrisTheCat #
  • @ev Voice amplification of @ replies is what made #twitter useful to me. I hope #fixreplies doesn’t toss the baby with the bath water. #
  • @ChrisTheCat Just upgraded #twitterfon. Where are the ads? in reply to ChrisTheCat #
  • @andrew_chen Did the “coffee?” email you requested I send you get spam trapped? #

Canning teaching Corner Lot

I’ve canonised and rendered into PDF form the teaching script for Corner Lot as part of my Kublacon Design Contest submission.

Twitter Week: 2009-05-09

Muck & Brass — Revision #71 release

Well that was fast!

Thanks to Tim Harrison, there are two substantive rules clarifications in this release:

  • If nobody bids on a Capitalised bank share then the active player loses 3 months
  • Secondary company shares are not available at all until after the 3rd General Dividend

Unless you’re likely to be playing 5 player games, and likely even then, there’s no need to print out a new map for either the #69 or #71 releases. Just grab the new rules and be done. Just remember that 5 player games have one more month than shown on the map if you’re playing with the older graphic.

The download file is in the same place as usual with 71 in the filename instead of the previous number.

Muck & Brass — Revision #69 released

Changelog:

  • Removed support for 6 players
  • Added a month to 5 player game
  • Small legibility changes to the map.

There are no other rules changes. The download file is in the same place as usual with 69 in the filename instead of the previous number.

map-12.png

Again, please append commentary, questions, reactions, thoughts etc1 as comments below so we may all easily track exactly what is being talked about.

Footnotes
  1. Please upload images and other media to the FTP server and then mention the upload in your comment.

Twitter Week: 2009-05-02

Declaring a mysterious type

I’ve posted a first draft of the rules for the un-named game to give an idea where I’m headed. Please note that I’ve not checked or otherwise verified any of the game’s basic arithmetic (eg component counts, scoring values, map sizes, etc), so they are likely to be way off. However the rules should show the intended basic structure and character of the game and to hopefully help get the game name suggestions flowing!

Of uncertain name

I need a name, a name for a game, preferably a punish double entendre. Here’s the premise:

It is 1958 and pop culture is transforming London, life and society. It is the age of the young and the young want to party and to hook up and to disappear into the night. But first they have to get involved, find their ways to the parties and avoid the police who don’t quite approve of the new social order along the way.

Yep, that’s mostly ripped off from the truly wonderful Absolute Beginners, and yes, this is a game all about getting your’s and the other player’s pieces laid1. Structurally the game features network-building, pick-up-and-deliver, a very relaxed definition of player ownership2 and a Velano-inspired scoring system3. Intended playtime is in the 75-90 minute range, which feels about right but it is early days yet.

The other inspirations include the usual suspects:

The core premise is that of shared public actions, player actions which affect and move not only that player’s own pieces, but those of other players. The hope is to create a diffuse yet strong temporary emergent alliance/mutual incentive system that is based on spatial relationships and not partial-ownership via company shares (ie not like Wabash Cannonball, Pampas Railroads etc and more like Bridges of Shangri-La and Clans).

FWLIW previous themes and titles included Infection and Necrosis, but #bgdf_chat successfully persuaded me those titles and themes were non-starters4.

Footnotes
  1. Complete with boy bits and girl bits and disappearing into the night.
  2. Players are colours but they may play any colour piece at almost any time.
  3. I’d dearly love to own a copy of Veleno!
  4. In changing the theme to teenage sexual exploration in the newly liberated London of the late 1950’s, only the names were changed.

Trimming corners

New rules for Corner Lot. The only substantive change is to the starting capital for different player counts.

Change Log:

  • Starting capital adjusted slightly for different player counts
  • Several small language tweaks around bonus scoring, market layout, etc.
  • Added poker chip colour section (to match the sets I’ll be sending out)

Sticker shock remembrance

A possible clean-ish address for the problem of remembering the value assigned to a wild card: 20 small chits, 4 in each suit’s colour, double sided with each side bearing a revenue value (3/4/5/6/7/8/9/12). When a player buys a wild card they place the matching chit on the card with the appropriate side up so as to record the revenue they assigned to the card.

Unfortunately it means not only an extra component, but an extra component-type. Oh well. I guess I can’t hope for an Adlung-Spiele small-box presentation.

Need help with that?

A few playtesters have requested player aids or cheat-sheets for Corner Lot. I may be too close to the game to see the wood for the trees: If there were to be a player aid, what would you like to see on it and how would that help you? Would a player aid have been useful to you? If you have played the game already, would it still be useful to you> Would it make teaching the game easier?

Only one of the 40+ players I’ve taught the game to locally requested a player aid, but didn’t have a clear statement of why they wanted one, how it would be useful or what data they thought should be on it (more likely a product of my bad questioning than their fault). My perhaps unflattering impression was that the player aid would provide comfort by re-assuring the player that they hadn’t forgotten any of the core game structures rather than providing data they’d forgotten. Does that about right? What do you think of the need and value for a player aid for Corner Lot?

Twitter Week: 2009-04-25

Teaching Corner Lot

Reading between the lines, it seems that some of your players have had difficulty grokking some aspects of Corner Lot, especially the value and size of the bonuses, or how the stack will unroll etc. Below is a rough transcript (from memory) of the spiel I use when teaching the game. It has worked well for me. I wrote this originally in reaction to a session report. In case I forgot anything, I’ll update this version as needed.

This is a set collecting game. We’re going to be buying cards in a weird auction and collecting revenues for the cards we get. At the end of the game we’ll get bonuses for having certain patterns of cards. The player with the largest net worth wins.

There are 5 suits of cards with 8 cards per suit. (Lay out 8 cards, one of each value) Property cards have a cost and a revenue. The cost is the baseline of how much they cost to acquire and the revenue is roughly what they’ll pay you every round for owning them. With one exception the cost is always the revenue minus two times five. And the exception is…? (Wait for someone to point at the 40/12) Correct!

The deck will be shuffled and five cards will be laid face up to the side. (Lay 5 cards off to the side) These are out of the game and yes, you get to see them. Then 7 cards are laid in a sorted row as so. (Does this) This is the current market: the cards up for auction first. Then another 7 cards are set out, and make the future market: the cards auctioned in the second round. Later they’ll move down to become the current market, a new set of 7 will be dealt to be the new future market and so forth. As there are 40 cards in the deck, 5 are out, leaving 35, the game has 5 rounds of 7-card lots.

Okay, we’ll also pick a start player. They’ll get the first turn, then the player to their left and so on. Always purely rotational. That never changes.

On your turn you may bid, buy or pass. That’s it, just bid, buy or pass. Bidding! You may bid on any card in the current market that isn’t the cheapest/bottom card and that you haven’t bid on already. Just to keep the bids straight, make your bids by putting your chips on the corner of the card nearest you. So you get this corner, you get this corner you get this corner etc. (points) The minimum bid is the cost of the card plus $2, or $2 more than the highest bid on the card, whichever is more. Instead of bidding you can just buy the cheapest/bottom card for face value: this number on the card. Pay your money, take the card. And of course, you can pass. If you pass you’re not out: you can come back in later.

So why bid ahead and pay that $2 premium? Because the high cards are worth a lot more than their face value and the low cards, are well, not so good. (Quickly throws some chips on the various cards, some cards with a single bid, some two, some three, usually the penultimate card with none) Just pretend these chips are the bids by various players. When someone buys the bottom card we then look at the next card up. If it has just a single bid on it, then that player gets the card instantly for his bid. (Shows this) Then we do it again. Ahh, the next card has two bids! Those two players then go clockwise bidding for the card until only one person is left and they win the card for their bid and the losers get their money back. The minimum raise is $2. This next card has 3 bids on it: same thing happens, round robin etc, And this keeps on going, the stack keeps unrolling until there are either no cards left or you get to a card with no bids on it. Then it stops. Often all 7 cards in the market will go all at once! The key thing is that by bidding ahead you are securing the right to bid later. If you didn’t bid ahead on a card, you’ll have no chance to bid on it when the stack unrolls if someone else has bid on it. You are bidding for the right to bid!

Now all this unrolling and bidding and cards going places etc happens during the turn of the player who bought the bottom card. Once it is all done, the next player gets his turn.

Now of course with this card here (points to the penultimate card with no bids), say you (points) have the next turn, you can just buy that card for face value, you can bid on this last card if you haven’t already, or you can pass. It might be a good deal. Or not.

Okay, once all the cards in the current market are gone we get revenues! You get paid for every card you have. But you don’t get the full revenue! If the wild card for that suit hasn’t been bought, then every card in that suit pays $2 less. (I’ll talk about the wild cards and how to get them later) So this 5/3 card only pays $1 and this 25/7 only pays $5 and so forth. The key thing here is that cards pay back at roughly 22%. So you don’t get your money back quickly!

So we all get our money, a new future market is dealt and we do it all again. We do that 5 times and the game is over and we figure out how much I won by. Or not. Again. Bahh!

At the end of the game you get bonuses for the cards you have. There are four bonuses. For 3 or more cards in the same suit you get the number of cards you have of that suit times the highest revenue card you have in that suit, Then, 3 or more cards in the same suit in adjacent numerical order (and 12 comes after 9 as there is no 10 or 11) pays the number of cards in the run times the highest revenue card (so 4/5/6 or 7/8/9/12 for instance), 3 or more cards of the same value pays the number of cards time the revenue, and 3 or more cards of adjacent values but with each card of a different suit and each suit only occurring once pays the number of cards times the highest revenue. Sort of a “rainbow” run. It is always 3 or more cards and always times the highest revenue card in the set.

Each card can pay all four bonuses, but it can’t pay any bonus more than once. So 5/6/7 in suit will pay two bonuses, one for the suit and one for the run! But you you can’t take four 7s and say you have lots of sets of triple 7s as you mix and match them, and you can’t take two 5s, a single 6 and two 7s and say you have two rainbow runs.

So these bonuses are where the real money is in the game. And what you really want is for all of your cards to pay out multiple bonuses in different directions. Something like a 5/6/7 in 3 suits will pay every which way, for the suits, the suited run, the triples, and the three rainbows, see? See why the big cards are so much more valuable? (Get an answer) There’s lots of money there.

So we do all that and the player with the most money wins! It takes about 45 minutes.

Oh, the wilds! Okay, remember the bid, buy or pass business? You can just buy a wild card. It costs $20. It is just like buying the bottom card but it doesn’t start the stack unrolling. When you buy a wildcard you have to instantly say what it is. It is a 7! This is a 12! Whatever, just one of the card values: 3/4/5/6/7/8/9/12. But! But! When it comes to revenue time, the revenue for the wild card goes straight to the card and just piles up there. You don’t get it until the end of the game. Also, you have to pay the bank $5 for each wild card you own. You do get your revenue income first, so you can pay from that, but if you still can’t pay the $5, you have to put the wild card back and you lose all the money that piled up on it!

Now for the bonuses the wilds are just like any other card. They have a suit and they have a value. You can have the wild be a duplicate of another card you have, so you could have a blue 40/12 and have a wild blue 40/12 too. That’s fine.

And of course, once someone buys a wild, all the cards in that suit will now pay their full revenue.

There’s also a trick in passing. If everyone passes in a round, $5 is put on the bottom card. It is now $5 cheaper! However the first person to pass doesn’t get first dibs at the card at the new price. The turn marker moves forward and the next player does. Of course if everyone one passes again, it gets $5 cheaper again and the turn marker moves forward etc. If it ever gets to $free the next player has to take the card. Such a problem!

So we do all this: bidding, buying cards, moving cards about, vast amounts of money leap out of the bank and go to me, little small bits go to you guys, all that stuff. We do 5 rounds, then we pay out the bonuses, count up the money, and see that I won yet again. Hey gee, I’m the banker too!

Any questions?

Beating ploughshares into velocipedes

I’ve posted new rules for Corner Lot. The only substantive change is the requirement that all bid raises by by at least $2. There’s also an explicit statement that players may not increase their bid on a card prior to tis resolution, as there were as questions on that (this limit prevents the game from deadlocking as players dollar-up their prior bids in order to manipulate turn order).

I’m also working on new card art in order to resolve the colour problem some of you are having. With luck it will be ready in a few days. Meanwhile, please review and play by the new rules and post any thoughts, reactions and playtest reports as a comment to this post.

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