BrettSpiel is a blog about board game design, written by game designer Brett J. Gilbert.

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Hippodice Update

The Hippodice competition window remains open for a few more days (until November 1st) but I have, unusually, beaten the deadline by finally getting my act together over the past few days and submitting both of the games I mentioned earlier. To submit a game you need to provide two documents: a complete and workable set of rules, plus a short ‘primer’ that includes things like the number of players, the game duration, a list of components and an introduction to the gameplay itself.

On Saturday I sent off the documents for my first submission Archipelago. This is a true family strategy game for 2–4 players, aged 8 and up, that plays in around 30–45 minutes. I say ‘true’ since I think it geninely offers an experience that will keep both children and adults engaged, and a game concept that can be played and enjoyed on differing levels by young and old. The game has a nice mix of (admittedly light) strategy and tactics, but I think the appeal comes from the physicality of the game’s components and gameplay.

With a name like Archipelago, it is probably not completely surprising that it has a modular board made up of islands, but the game also uses a little boat, which you can see in the photograph, plus a nice big bag of 90 multi-coloured meeples! Yay! We love meeples!

I have been looking for a source of small wooden boats ever since I started designing the game back in February, but for now the prototype includes this cut-out origami version that I fashioned, quite successfully I have to say, from some thin card.

And yesterday evening — or rather very early this morning since it was past midnight when I was done! — I also mailed off the documents for my second submission. When I posted about Hippodice earlier this month I mentioned that I was still looking for a name for this second game. Well, I finally found one: the game is now called Jukers! (with an exclamation mark, if you please).

And what, you might ask with good reason, is a ‘Juker’? Well, the name is believed to be the original name of the Joker playing card, and a corruption of the German name for the game Euchre. Around 1860 a single highest trump card was introduced to games of that family, and by 1880 this card was already being represented as a clown or court jester. At least, that’s one theory. Carto-historians seem divided on the matter.

Anyway, my game is a small and quick bidding and card-collecting game for 3 or 4 players, aged 10 and up, that’s all over in just 30 minutes or so. The deck is mostly made up of low-value cards in the four classic suits, but also include a few unpredictable Jokers Jukers in the pack to mix things up.

And so now we wait. The Hippodice club will soon set about the not insubstantial task of reviewing all the submissions received by the November 1st deadline, and choose a certain number to go forward to the playtesting stage. Once notified the successful designers will have then until 1st December to get their prototype to Germany… by hook, crook or registered mail.

Last year I also submitted two games, Terraform and Mosaic Romanum, both of which were selected for playtesting. Who knows whether Archipelago and Jukers! will be received as kindly, but fingers crossed!

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