Ok, after even more brainstorming and family feedback, here is the game pitch.

Working Title: Mansion Expansion  

Other option that I like less: Mansion Madness (they’re both probably copyrighted but that’s fine) (also this title gives more of a spooky vibe, which is not reflective of the game)

Working flavor text (mostly just a summary, definitely needs more flavor):

Mansion Expansion is a card collection game in which the player, an aspiring home-modeler, builds a dream mansion by spending resources to construct rooms that will be added to his/her mansion.  The player at the end of the game with the most valuable mansion wins!

The Actual Game:

The game will be set up with two main types of cards: Resource Cards and Room Cards.  The Resource Cards will be things like “Wood” and “Tile” that are needed to construct rooms, and each Room Card will have a certain point value associated with it according to how many Resources it requires in order to be built.  There will be 5 Resource Cards face-up and the rest face-down, both able to be drawn, and 5 Room Cards face-up, able to be constructed. Each player will begin the game with 3 random Resource Cards in their hand (maybe?), and an objective that is separate from every other player that will allow them to earn different “bonus” points at the end of the game based on what rooms they have built.

On a player’s turn, they will be allowed 2 actions.  The first action option is drawing a Resource Card, either from the face-up pile or from the remaining deck.  The second action option will be spending resources from a player’s hand to “build” a room from the face-up pile.  As a special rule, 2 Resource Cards of any kind may be discarded to represent a “wild” resource needed to construct a room.  When the resources are discarded and the room is built, it will be placed face-down next to the player so nobody is fully aware of who is currently winning, and the empty space on the table will be replaced by a new room that is able to be built.  The third action option will be spending a resource from your hand to reserve a room from the face-up pile that you could build at a later time.

For right now, the plan is to have many types of rooms, but each player will be required to have one of each of the four basic rooms built by the end of the game, or there will be a 10 (?) point deduction.  The four basic rooms include Kitchen, Family Room, Bedroom, and Bathroom. The game will end when one player has constructed 9 (?) rooms, and play will continue until every player has had the same number of turns.  The person in the end with the highest number of points, or the most valuable mansion, will win.

Things I’m playing with right now:

  • Objectives: should they be themed?  How important should they be for earning extra points?  They need to be equal with each other though, no matter what.  Example: Green Builder: extra 2 points for each room on the following list: Patio, Pool Deck, and Solarium.  Also, should they include the base rooms?
  • Option to physically connect/arrange room cards at the end for more bonus?  Constructing a mansion with “open floor plan” and Kitchen next to Family Room or other desirable set-ups may result in more points?
  • Should all Bedrooms, Bathrooms, etc have the same point value, or can there be different point levels of one room type, for example Bathroom, for variety?
  • Option to incorporate a dice for rolling for an extra random resource on every player’s turn?

Overall I’m actually pretty excited to see where this will go.  As a concept, it’s fairly simple right now and therefore might appeal to a more generic, or younger, audience, but with extras, add-ons, and more specific objectives it has the potential to be more complicated.  I like it though, and art/card ideas will be coming later this week.

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2 thoughts on “Game Pitch

  1. Overall, I like the concept and mechanics that you’ve come up with so far. Out of the things you mentioned you’re playing with, I think the idea of physically connecting room cards is the most interesting. I think having that kind of mechanic will help really bring home the flavor of constructing a mansion. The only tile-placement game that has a mechanic similar to that is called Carcassonne. In that game, players build up a kind of terrain/civilization by placing tiles next to each other. Still, if you have the time, I think it might be helpful for you to check it out.

  2. I’m with Patrick on this, I think: Carcassonne is not only a useful model here, but is a fantastic game that is easy to play and as complicated as you care to make it.

    I appreciate that you’re characterizing the game as “simple” for the moment, but it actually feels (potentially) complex — in a good way. Instead of simple, I think that I’d describe it as “self-consistent.” Which is not the best term for it, but I’m trying to account for the way in which your prototype seems to lend itself naturally to this medium. Here’s a parallel that I hope makes this clear: In chess, I have two Knights who move in really strange patterns, Bishops who move in diagonals exclusively, and a King who goes nowhere fast. That’s fine, to be sure, but the linkage between those patterns and the archetype/figure to which they are attached is altogether arbitrary. (Also problematic: If we’re comfortable with the “battle” theme, what is the Bishop up to? And it gets more complex in other cultures: Chess begins in India — or Persia — where those figures were not bishops but elephants. Who also moved diagonally.).

    Your present approach, at least, may be able to help players make immediate sense of the game by drawing on their own “common-sense” in conveying rules and suggesting strategies: Perhaps full-baths cannot go on the first floor; kitchens cannot be located in the basement; you cannot have a pool until you’ve built a living room and a dining room. At the same time, say, “worker overtime” bonuses would obviously mean faster building, etc.

    Again, the model suggests so much: You could move things around a bit and turn it into a Home Remodeling game, where certain cards/rooms are already in place but conceal potential pitfalls or monetary losses… Thinking about it as a product in a marketplace, I could imagine a dozen “expansion sets” that add different period styles, new rooms, and so on.

    Looking forward to reading more!

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