Dog Dog DiceIdeas are cheap

Visiting Vilnius

article Ideas calendar_today 2021-06-01 14:00:06

Imagine that culture department (or tourism agency) came to you and asked to create a game for the tourist. Of course there are limitations. The most important one – game has to be small, tourist don’t have a lot of space in their bags. So think about something like in Tiny epics or Button shy games. Game shouldn’t have a lot of components, that tourist wouldn’t loose them by accident. And the last one but not the least one – it has to represent the city tourist are visiting. 

What kind of game would you make?

Player count: 3-4 (see variant for two players below).

Inventory

Cards: 25 game cards, airport card, point tracking card;

Meeples: 4 tourists;

Tokens: 4 money tracking token, 4 amusement tracking tokens, 4 – 50 value marker. 

Determining first player. Each player should draw a card from the deck. The player with the best amusement to price ratio should start first. 

Preparation for the game. Place airport card on the table, place tourist meeples in the correct order on the airport card. Place point tracking card on the table. Place all players amusement tokens on zero. Place all players money tokens on correct spot. 

There are two versions of the game: traveler and vagabond. In traveler each player starts with 50 euros, in vagabond each player starts with 24 euros. 

Mix the deck of cards, open the top card, if it’s not a crossroad place it next to airport. If it’s a crossroad, then place the card at the bottom of the deck and mix again. 

Give each player 3 cards. Now you are ready to start. 

Playing the game. Game consists of two phases: traveling from airport and traveling back to airport. 

First phase

    • All players start at the airport. 

    • Player can move as far as he wants and place his tourist on the card. 

    • Player can never move back, only forward. 

    • When player places the tourist on the card, he has to pay amount of money to see the attraction and get the amusement points. 

        ◦ If player doesn’t have enough money, he can’t place his tourist on the spot. 

        ◦ Player always has to choose the first spot if it’s empty. 

        ◦ Player can choose second spot only if the first one already taken. 

        ◦ If both spots are taken player can’t stop on that card. 

        ◦ Players can’t stop at intersections.

    • After choosing the attraction to see, player has to choose one card from his hand and put it to expand the road. When he takes the top card from the deck to his hand. Turn order pass to the next player.

Note: There are four crossroads cards in the game, so it’s very likely that they will be put on the road. All players can choose to go down one path, or they can make two or… they can make even more paths. In the first phase player has to go down the path he has chosen and can’t go back and choose different patch. 

Note2: In the rare cases players can’t make legal move forward (this happens when other players place intersections). In that case player pays the second spot amount and get amusement point of the card he is currently standing. However he still has to put a new card on the road. 

When the deck runs out, each player can make a decision: still travel forward as long as they have the cards to expand the road (3 more turns) or turn back and go to the airport. If player decide to go back, he keeps the cards and they will be worth half of the amusement points written on the card. 

Second phase is very similar to the first one, however there are a few small differences.

    • All players start in the city

    • Player can move as far as he wants and place his tourist on the card. 

    • Player can only move towards airport, not left, right or back. 

    • When player places the tourist on the card, he has to pay amount of money to see the attraction and get the amusement points. 

        ◦ If player doesn’t have enough money, he can’t place his tourist on the spot. 

        ◦ Player always has to choose the first spot if it’s empty. 

        ◦ Player can choose second spot only if the first one already taken. 

        ◦ If both spots are taken player can’t stop on that card. 

        ◦ Players can’t stop at intersections.

    • After choosing the attraction to see, player can collect the last card of the road if it doesn’t have tourist on it. 

    • First player to get bet to airport will get 10 points, second – 6, third – 2, fourth – 0. 

Note: There are four crossroads cards in the game, so it’s very likely that they will be put on the road. All players can choose to go down one path, or they can make two or… they can make even more paths. In the second phase, player can collect any last card of any path as long as it has no tourists. Player can collect crossroad card only if it has no paths going from it (except the one to airport). Crossroad cards are worth zero points. 

If there is only one tourists in the city and all other are in the airport, that player has to go immediately to the airport, he can’t enjoy the city alone, plane waits for one. However he still can collect the last card. 

Note2: Player can collect the card, but it doesn’t mean it must. If he doesn’t want to collect a card for some reason e.g. it’s intersection card (worth zero points) he is free not to take a card. 

Game end and final score. Check how much amusement each player has, add airport card bonus and add total amusement points of the cards player has collected (or kept) divided by two. 

Cards.

On the top left corner each tourists spoit has amusement points. At the bottom there are two worker placement spots with different pricing. Second spot can be chosen only if the first one is taken. 

There is nothing amazing about crossroad, so they don’t have amusement points or worker placement spots. However you can open more than one road from the crossroad. 

Two player variant: I was thinking what is the best way to make two player game. If we leave the same rules as for 3-4 player game, it will be boring. The idea I came up is, to give each player two tourists. He can move any tourists he want on his turn, however he has to track money and amusement points separate for each tourists. The lower score of the two is the players final score. 

There is one more change. Players start with four cards instead of three (No, they don’t have cards for each tourist). Cards in hand doesn’t count towards final score. Only cards collected by the tourist do and they have to be collected separately. 

Design decision. To be fair, I have to admit, that I have played Parks, however I don’t think that it was inspiration of this game. I know I about Bandido, however I have never played it. 

Did I succeeded in the requirements I mentioned at the beginning? No, there are quite a few components in this game. 

I don’t know what is better: point tracker or point token? I image to have something like carcasone point tracker, but is this the best decision? In two player variant tracker is the obvious choice, because to store two separate piles of tokens would be a mess. However decision for four players is not that obvious. 

I wanted to name this game “Welcome to Vilnius”, however there is already very popular Welcome to franchise and I don’t want a confusion. However, the game might need a better name.

The game is not friendly. On your turn you put a card, which most likely will benefit other players more than you, so you look at your cards and think how you can help other players least. 

The art for testing is made by me, like always, but this minimalistic art shouldn’t go for the real release. 

Marketing. It doesn’t matter how good (or bad for that matter) game is it. This type of game lives and dies by the art. The art for this game MUST be gorgeous like in Parks, not some modern, experimental bullshit. 

I have a few ideas how game could be released. 

First one – size. There could be two options of the game size. Classic card size. It would have just a nice art and that’s it. Huge cards maybe A5 size, it  could have nice art and short descriptions of each tourist attraction. 

Second one – style. There could be day and night sets. Day set would be light with white as a main color. Night set could have black background however cards itself could be covered with reflective material, glow in the dark powder or glitter. 

Would you like to playtest it? PDF file with game cards, you will need your own meeples and a way to track points/money. Any feedback is welcome

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