Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Post!

It's the end of the first week of sophomore year, and we've hopped right into all our classes. It almost feels like summer never happened and we're just continuing on with the year. I can't wait for us to get into things and for projects to get more exciting! Our first project in Game Design was to learn and deconstruct a paper-and-pencil game and teach it to the class. I chose mine kind of late so there weren't any left on the list he gave us, but I found this awesome game called Cube Digger.

(Picture not related to game - it is simply a cube... being dug) 

Cube Digger is a turn-based two-player game created by Jonathan Leisticko and Sharon Cichelli. It can be played with marker pieces as pawns as well as with just a pencil and paper. The game is similar to a mix between Battleship and Minesweeper, but is much more dynamic and varied than either of them.

Goal of the game: The goal of the game is to avoid the hidden obstacles placed by your opponent (bombs) on the map, land on the opponent's treasure chest to "take" it, and to make it back to your base with the treasure safely, without being blown up by an opponent's bomb. When a player arrives back at their home base with the opponent's treasure they win.

Core Mechanics: Moving one space ("stepping") by marking the space with either an "X" or "O" (players will choose in the beginning who is which symbol), using "scan" to detect an opponent's bomb in one selected adjacent square to your pawn, and using "defuse" to disarm a bomb. Players may move one square in any direction, including diagonally. If a player is blown up by an opponent's bomb by landing on the bomb's square, the player is transported back to their home base. If the blown-up player was carrying the opponent's treasure, the treasure is dropped, allowing the opponent player to "reclaim" their treasure and place it in a new secret location on the map if they step to a square adjacent to the dropped treasure. Treasure is taken when an opponent lands on the treasure's square. Once the treasure is taken, the player carrying the treasure has to return to their home base square without being blown up by a bomb to win.

Space of the game: Each player receives a separate sheet of graph paper to mark where their 8 hidden bombs and hidden treasure (which is also their home base) are, and one sheet of graph paper is used as the "common" map that both players play on. Both players hide their private maps where their obstacles and treasure are marked for each other, making the common map appear deceptively empty since everything is hidden from the opposing player. Both players get to decide which space they want their own pawn to start in on the common map.

Objects, Attributes, States: Objects - Bombs, treasures, the players. Attributes - A bomb blows up when an opposing player lands on it. A player can be blown up by their own bomb squares, and can also defuse their own bombs. If a player is blown up by their own bomb square they return to their home base. Bombs cannot be placed in adjacent squares to each other, or in squares adjacent to a player's own treasure. Players may not land in each others squares if they are being occupied.

Actions: If an opponent takes a player's treasure and begins heading back to their own home base (giving away their base's general location), and the player whose treasure was taken still does not know where the other player's treasure is, they can follow or try to beat the opposing player carrying their treasure back to their home base, capture the treasure-carrying player's treasure, and make it back to their own home base to win, if they make it before the opponent does. This is one scenario where placing bombs around the map and not just near a player's own home base would be opportune, as the opponent may run into one and drop the player's treasure.

Rules: The players begin by each having their own sheet of graph paper on which they can mark the placement of 8 hidden bombs around the map, as well as their hidden treasure. Each player keeps their own map hidden from the opponent, while both players play on the common map, not knowing where the opponent's bombs or treasure are. Both players must place all 8 bombs, and bombs cannot be placed adjacent to each other or adjacent to a player's own treasure. Both players keep their private maps hidden from each other and cannot make any changes to their private map once the game begins. A player makes only one move per turn. The player can either "step" one square, scan, or defuse. A player cannot use defuse without first scanning and detecting a bomb. Players place their pawns in whichever square they would like to begin on the map. Turns rotate back and forth, and cannot be skipped by either player. Players can disarm their own bombs if they are in an adjacent square. Players may also "step" in the square of their own home base without consequences.

Skills players learn: Balancing offensive moves and defensive moves, predicting opponent's movements, obstacle placements, treasure placement, and reading an opponent's placements by their moves or reactions.