Dog Dog DiceIdeas are cheap

Tickets, please V2

article Ideas calendar_today 2021-01-07 10:31:38

I presented original idea in Tickets, please a few days ago. I really liked the theme (well, of course, I did came up with it), however I wasn’t satisfied with how game play worked, so I decided to scrap the game play and start over. What if we leave the same theme, the same graphic design, but create new, different mechanics?

Let’s do that. 


Players count: 3-4


Passenger cards: 16

Cheaters cards: 16

Money: value 1 coin – 30, value 5 coin – 10, value 10 coin – 10. 

Preparation for the game. Each player get as many passengers cards as there are players in the game. So in 4 player game, each player would get 4 cards. The same goes with cheater cards. So in 4 player game each player will have 8 cards total: 4 passenger cards and 4 cheaters cards. Give each player 2 coins. 

Choosing the first/active player. The one who rode public transportation latest is the first player. Okay, that’s a dumb rule, let’s think something more interesting. Host grabs a handful of coins and each player guess the total value of the coins. The one who guess closest is the first player. How is that? Does it sound better?

Playing the game. Game consists of two rounds. First round. Each player except active player chooses one card and place it on the table face down. Active player chooses two cards and places them on the table face down. In the 4 player game, we have total 5 cards. Cards are mixed and placed in the row. This will be the bus that active player will be checking. To check first passenger (i.e. open the card) is free, each next passenger cost +1 i.e. second passengers cost 1 coin, third passengers cost 2 coins, fourth passenger costs 3 coins and so on. 

If the chosen card is a cheater, player gets 5 coins, if it’s a passenger, player gets nothing. He also adds chosen card to his hand. Player can check as many passengers as he wants and have money for doing that. After that the bus goes to the next player. 

The game play repeats. Each player except active player chooses one card and place it on the table face down. Active player chooses two cards and places them on the table face down. However this time cards that were not checked by the previous player are added in the mix. Lets’ say Ann (first player) plays with her 3 friends. Ann check only one card, so there are still 4 left. So Ben (second player) now has a chance to choose from 9 cards (5 new and 4 from the Anns’ round). 

When game comes back to first player, second round starts. In second round before bus moves to the next player, if there are more than 10 cards, each player picks one card and guesses what it is. If a guess is correct a player gets a reward: passenger – 1 coin, cheater – 2 coins. There is no penalty for the wrong guess. 

The cards chosen by the players are removed from the game. Passengers arrived at they destinations and left the bus. 

The next steps of the game are exactly the same as in first round. 

End of the game and score counting. Game ends after two rounds. Firstly each player count they money, when add +1 for each passenger card in their hand and -2 (minus two) for each cheater card in they hand. Player with the most money wins. If there is more than one player with the same amount of money, then victory is shared.

Design decisions. Minus points for cheater cards at the end of the game should encourage players to give away cheater cards. Positive points for passenger cards should encourage players to keep these cards instead of throwing them into the bus. 

What is the best strategy for the first player? Check two cards. The first cards is free so whatever he finds it’s good for him. Second card cost 1 coin, if he finds a passenger, when he gets 1 point at the end of the game, so this card cost 0. 

I suppose everybody thinks, that he will add two cheater cards on his turn, however the smart play would be to add one cheater card for the player before you. Yes, he can guess your card, there is a risk, however if he doesn’t get your card then on your turn you have three cheater cards instead of two. 

How much cards in total one player should check? Four. Let’s say player is very lucky and gets cheaters each time. First card cost zero, cheater gives 5 coins, however at the end of the game it gives minus 2 points so in total it gives only 3 points. Second card 1 coin – 2 points, third card 2 coins – 1 point, fourth card 3 coins – 0 points. After that player will start gathering negative points. 

Second round is a bit different than the first round because there might be crazy amount of cards on the table. Let’s say each player check 2 cards. After first player 3 cards left, second – 6 cards, third – 9 cards, fourth – 11 cards. We don’t want to increase card amount even more. Maybe in the second round to have 2 free cards checks is a good idea? What do you think? 

Is it a good game? Well… Players have more control on the cards in the game than in original. Game still has a lot of luck. However the part that concerns me, that players will have very different experience depending on which position they are in the game. For example first player has five cards. Most likely he will add two cheaters. Other players probably won’t add cheaters, so first player has 40% chance to get a cheater with his first guess. Let’s say first player got two cheaters, so now three cards go to the second player. Second player will have to choose from 8 cards and he himself added 2 cheater cards, so his chances are 25% on the first guess to get a cheater. Of course other players might add cheaters or first player might be very unlucky and don’t guess any cheaters on his turn. 

Lets’ say first player added 2 cheater cards but didn’t get any of them. Second player also added two cheater cards, so now his chances to get cheater card on first guess is 50%. 

Okay, let’s talk about second round now. Let’s say first player gets three cheaters on his turn. He has three more turns to get rid of them and if he does that, he gets total 15 points. Lets’ say fourth player gets three cheaters, so instead of 15 points, he actually gets only 9 points because he has no time to get rid of cheater cards. Of course this issue is easy to solve: players should start with different  money amount. First player starts with 2 coins, second – 4, third – 6, fourth – 8. Does this make a game a bit more fair? Well, I hope so. 

Theme. As you know this game is themed around checking if passengers have tickets. However when I was writing this text I though to myself: maybe this game could be themed as hunt? Passenger cards could be replaced with trees and cheaters cards could be replaced with wild animals and the rest more or less works. What do you think? 

Would you like to playtest it? PDF file with game cards. However you will need your own money. Any feedback is welcome.

<- Visiting Kaunas V2 Tickets, please ->
Would you like to discuss Tickets, please V2 in discord chat?