Assignment: Identify the problems with hopscotch,
and design a game addressing some of those problems.
My first assignment in the game design class, I tried to take hopscotch (a kiddie game of indirect competition and few decisions), and convert it into a game of alliances/betrayals and delicate maneuvering.
During the process, I lost the 'hopping' portion, but I felt it was a small price to pay.
The game requires:
Chalk/tape to draw the game board.
Four markers (bean bags)
Pack of playing cards
2 to 4 people
In this game, the players take the role of cutthroat courtiers in the palace of the Majestic Emperor. Each player has a hand of cards that represents their own strength of will and political acumen. Each player has a personal Honor that determines the maximum amount of cards they can have in their hand. Each player also has a direction they are facing (north, south, east or west). Players perform their actions one after the other. The initial Honor of each player is five. At the beginning of the game, deal five cards to each player.
White squares on the game board are passable, black squares represent walls that you cannot pass/see through. Feel free to come up with your own boards to play the game on.
Determine the order of the players as such. Each player draws a card from the deck. The players are then numbered in the order of card worth (Ace->King), (Spades->Clubs->Diamonds->Hearts). This is the order they will perform their actions throughout the game.
At the beginning of a turn, a player draws a card if they are carrying fewer cards than their Honor.
The player now has the option to make a gift to an opponent. This involves passing any number of cards from the current player to an opponent.
The next step is movement. A player may move to any square that they can reach in five squares or less. A player may not skip squares, and must step on each to reach the goal square.
A player may then do one of the following:
- Attempt to assassinate an opponent. The opponent must be within the line of sight of the player (meaning, a straight line between the player and the opponent must not intersect any black squares on the game board). The marker must be thrown so that it hits the back of an opponent. If it hits the target, the opponent must randomly discard two cards. A duel then begins between the opponent and the player. If the marker misses its target, the Honor of the player is reduced by 2, to a minimum of three, and they must discard their highest value (non-Ace) card.
- Attempt to duel an opponent. The opponent must be within the line of sight of the player (meaning, a straight line between the player and the opponent must not intersect any black squares on the game board). The marker must be thrown so that it hits the front of an opponent. If it hits the target, the opponent and the player engage in a duel (as described below). If the marker misses its target, the Honor of the player is reduced by 1, to a minimum of 3, and they must discard their highest value (non-Ace) card.
- Slander an opponent. Discard 15 points worth of cards to reduce a target’s Honor by 1, to a minimum of 3. (Optional rule, the player must actually insult their target)
- Praise. Discard 15 points worth of cards to increase a target’s Honor by 1, to a maximum of 10. The target then draws a card. You may target yourself. (Optional rule, the player must actually praise their target)
- Draw a card.
At the end of a turn, a player must discard cards so that the number of cards in their hand is equal to or less than their personal Honor. A player may discard more cards than necessary if they so choose.
After discarding, a player may change the direction they are facing.
Dueling is done as follows.
- Each player selects one card from their hand and is then dealt two random cards from the deck. These three cards represent their dueling hand.
- The attacker lays a card from his dueling hand face down onto his ‘attack stack.’
- The defender then chooses to strike or to lay a card face from his dueling hand face down onto his ‘attack stack.’
- If the defender lays a card down, the attacker then decides whether to strike or lay a card from his dueling hand face down again.
- This laying of cards/strike continues until one person chooses to strike or must strike because their dueling hand is empty.
- At this point, each player counts the point value of their attack stack and adds their Honor. The player with the highest number of points wins the duel.
- The loser may pay 25 points of cards to survive the duel by petitioning the emperor. Reduce the player’s personal Honor by one to a minimum of three. Their entire hand is discarded and they must redraw from the deck. They may then go anywhere on the board, but cannot duel or assassinate in their next turn. (Optional rule: before the player comes back to life, they must recite a haiku about their situation. If the haiku is considered lackluster or not proper, the player is dead for good. You cannot be a courtier if you cannot even do basic poetry).
- The winner of the duel return all unused cards from their dueling hand to their actual hand and draws cards from the deck to refill half (rounding down) of the cards they used in the duel.
The winner of the game is the last one standing. Only you are worthy of the Emperor!