Category Archives: #1GAM #onegameamonth

It’s all @McFunkypants fault. 2013 is going to be a busy (fun!) time for game development/design

Cluthulhu – A #OneGameAMonth game

Cluthulhu is a game for 2-7 players that uses an existing Cluedo board with some extra counters. Players have to escape from an unknown horror that has infected their country mansion. Think “The Blob” meets “The Thing” at Cthuhlu Manor

Cluthulhu requires:
1) A copy of Cluedo (or Clue, if you are from the Colonies), but you won’t be solving a murder, but fighting for your very lives! All the existing pieces of the game will be used. If you have the deluxe version of the game, with extra weapons or player characters that’s fine, but I will be assuming you have the more commonly available basic set.
2) A good few dozen green counters, cubes or meeples, small enough to fit on each square of the board; technically the board is 24×24 squares, but rooms are not divided up in an unmodified board. Ideally, twelve counters per player should be sufficient, but you can probably work with 6-8 per player.
3) An extra die as 2D6 are required; technically 1D6-1D6 to be exact, giving a range of movement from 0-5; the lower die is subtracted from the higher.
4) (Optional) A thin permanent marker and a ruler or straight edge.

Instructions for modification of the basic game.
The first thing to do is decide if you don’t mind changing your board; this won’t prevent you from playing the original game. While this isn’t strictly necessary, it will enhance the playing experience greatly by allowing for player movement inside rooms to be fairer. In the original Cluedo game, movement inside rooms is rather like teleportation, with the entire room space being a single move (which is daft really). If you are happy writing on your board, you should use a ruler to extend the existing lines for the corridor squares carefully across into the room spaces. I personally wouldn’t draw over the walls. However, using a thin permanent marker will allow rooms to be broken into squares, just like the hallways. Remember, although it’s recommended to use a permanent marker, if you mess up you can probably clean up any flaws with solvent, provided you have not pressed too hard and make corrections quickly. Making these changes does not ‘break’ the original Cluedo game, provided that players remember that movement costs are not relevant for room spaces, even though this is weird; this might explain the location of doors in Cluedo rooms, which otherwise makes little sense. If you don’t want to mark the board, then so long as the alien (yes, Alien!) jumps across rooms from door to door as well, we’re all good. No further physical modification is necessary.
Modified Cluep Board
Modified Cluthulhu Board
Set up for Cluthulhu
Firstly, sort the weapon, location and people cards into separate piles. Shuffle each pile and deal out face down in a line the weapon cards, then deal on top of them enough of the location cards to give each a location. These pairs are then turned over to determine which random weapon is in which random location. Place the relevant counter/marker for each weapon in the relevant room. Then take back the location card and shuffle the full deck again. Deal out all the player character cards and, again, lay out locations on each. This will randomly locate all the player counters (Col. Mustard for example). All player counters are to be used, no matter how many players are taking part; human players will play any and all the characters anyway. Finally, take one of the unused location cards at random. (Alternatively, allow the player playing the Alien (Yes, Alien!) to choose from an unoccupied room; this option should not include rooms with weapons.) This is where the Alien (Yes, Alien!) will start spawning. Place one counter anywhere in the room. Finally, the Alien (Yes, Alien!) secretly chooses one of the player character cards. This will be the secretly infected human. If they escape successfully, then Humanity is DOOOoooMED! Initial Alien Spawning
Beginning in the ro

Start Wrecking: To Boldly Roll – a #1GAM #WoGaDeMo starship combat dice pool game (for tabletop and PS Vita!)

Made notes on ideas for design and deployment in game dev book. Main thrust is “random in” not “random out” so NO dice rolling to determine results. The idea is a (slightly) modifiable dice pool mechanic where dice are allocated to ship systems and ‘used’ to power shields, weapons, engines, etc.

Players have to select strategically between handling the ship and resource management, with 2-12 actions per turn, split between command and engineering. Of course, more dice could/should be allocated for larger ships, and 1-6 mixed actions for very small ships seems workable.

All ships, no matter what size, will have 12 dice in the energy pool randomly rolled before combat. The ship’s capture/victory value is the total of the 12 starting dice (12-72 points, but 42 on average). A low value ship that wins will gain much honour.

Searched Google and BGG for “Start Wrecking”, “starship dice” etc, to check for similar game ideas, and “dice pool” for extra information on the core mechanic. Looks like the mechanic has been used before, but not the way I propose. The name “Start Wrecking” is obviously a pun, as signified by “To boldly roll”* placing us clearly in Federation space. However, I’d like to have an Imperial theme as well, to cover both major fan bases:
“StraW Ars: May the Dice Be With You”** comes to mind, but doesn’t have the same finesse, somehow; “I’d like the ‘straw arse’ dice game please…”

* “To boldly roll…” is a name idea I suggested to a fellow game designer, who seems to have settled on “Boldly Rolling”. Never throw away a good pun, I say!
** “May the dice be with you.” is Paco’s end tag line for the G*M*S Magazine podcast we co-host

HexStatic – A #1GAM #onegameamonth tile laying strategy game for 1-3 players

HexStatic is a tile-laying puzzle strategy game of Red Green and Blue. Players attempt to make loops and lines by selectively laying tiles to form their own structures while blocking those of the other players. But first you need to fight for the right to own a colour in the first place! Will you rush in early, or play a waiting game of blocking?

What you will need?
Scissors (optional), a Printer, paper and/or thin card, or blank Hex tiles.

Print out the PDF file (link below) and paste on to thin card, or use red, green and blue pens (or colours of your own choice) to create your own pieces using purchased blank hex tiles.

How to play with 2 or 3 players
All the tiles except the nexus tiles (tiles where all three colours are end points) are turned over and shuffled.
[Insert picture of Nexus tiles]

Players select 6 tiles randomly, which they can look at but must keep secret from the other . Then the starting player chooses one of the nexus tiles to play first, and the rest are shuffled among the remaining face down tiles. Who gets to be starting player? The last winner of the game, or you can choose randomly. This ends the starting player’s first turn.

Then play commences in a clockwise direction. Each turn, players choose one of their six tiles to lay, where lines of the same colour always line up on all connected sides. Once played, a replacement tile is randomly chosen from the remaining face down tiles. If a tile could not be played, or the player chooses not to lay a tile, one tile is discarded for a random replacement then the remaining face down tiles are shuffled.

When the first structure is completed, either by having a line finished with two end tiles or by creating a self-contained loop, the successful player is assigned that colour for the rest of the game. Similarly for the second player to complete a structure. In a 3 player game, the remaining colour is allocated to the final player. In a two player game the last colour counts as neutral.

Play continues until no more players are able to lay legal tiles. If all players agree, play can be suspended and remaining tiles turned over to confirm no legal moves remain. If there are tiles that can be laid, play continues in the same order, but with all tiles being available to each player in turn order until legal moves are exhausted.

Scoring can be done continuously during play or at the end of the game, as follows:

  1. Loops – count the number of tiles in a loop when completed and multiply by 4. So, a loop of 3 (the smallest possible) scores 12 points.
  2. Lines – count the number of tiles including the two end tiles when a line is completed, and multiply by 2. So, a completed line can be as short as 2 (only two end tiles), which would score 4, but could be significantly longer!
  3. Fragments – lines that have one end tile only are scored by counting the number of connected tiles, excluding the end tile. This should only happen at the end of the game.
  4. Connected tiles – Fragments that don’t have at least one end tile are NOT counted unless there is a tie with scoring for Loops, Lines and Fragments. This should only happen if there is a draw at the end of the game.

How to play a Single Player Game
Set up is the same as for multiplayer, in that 6 tiles are chosen randomly from shuffled face down tiles, excluding the nexus tiles (those consisting solely of line ends), a nexus tile is chosen and played, with the rest being shuffled into the remaining tiles.

Then play proceeds with laying a tile then taking another (or swapping a new tile for an old one and shuffling) until there are no more legal moves possible; confirmation of this may require all remaining tiles being turned over, at which point but the player has effectively given up placing any more tiles and scoring begins.

Scoring for single player games is the same as for multiplayer games, but all colours are counted and only loops and lines score. The aim of single player is to get a new high score, or beat other player’s best scores.

For a commercial version of this, I would imagine pieces similar to those for Hive; chunky hexagonal tiles with raised grooves. Ideally, I would have coloured lines of different types – dashed, thin and thick lines – to allow colourblind or visually impaired players to have an accessible version. If you’d like to publish this game, please contact me, provided you agree that this Print and Play version is allowed to remain in the Public Domain indefinitely.

Print and Play Files
To come later today. Apologies, I can’t get a decent upload connection right now.

Pixeliction – A #1GAM #onegameamonth quick game for Artists and Retro Fans

This is a quick “gamers’ game” especially for retro fans and artists. Pixeliction is Pixel art version of Pictionary. If you don’t have that game, or got tired and gave it away, don’t worry: it’s usually available very cheaply at charity/thrift shops or you can use this online Pictionary Word Generator to get the words.
What do I need?
A copy of Pictionary, the word generator linked above, or paper and pens and (possibly) a dictionary.
An Othello/Reversi board
How to play
Simple, instead of drawing to give clues to the word, you use black and white counters or a blank space to build an 8×8 pixel image on the board. Pixel art is dying, and this game is a way to reinvigorate the form, as well as to give players an appreciation of how hard it is to create sprites.
You could use coloured counters to allow more colours, or go for 16×16 grids, but this will mean it will take longer to create an image; patience needed.

Kipling, the Seemingly Saying Something Game – #1GAM Entry for @Boardroomers

The @Boardroomers February Game Design Competition deadline is TODAY! Here is my entryKipling the Seemingly Saying Something Game, which will also be my first February entry for #1GAM; I originally developed three @Boardroomers games, but (understandably) they decided to only allow one submission per designer. The other two games:

  1. Aversion – a 3 player card game of Find the Killer/Counsellor/Suicide in a fast Rock Paper Scissors game of Secrets, Intervention and Group Therapy) and
  2. Elementary – A 2 player puzzle card game where you find out which of cards 1-10 the other player has by getting answers for 2-4 of 9 left (e.g. >?, same colour, odd, etc.)

will be posted later this month.

Two #1GAM board games – “Mynd” and “Get thee behind me…”

You can now play GTBM online at Taebl but you will need a copy of the GTBM.taebl file. Note this needs Silverlight, and humans will need to moderate the rules.

My first submission (actually two!) for #1GAM
I intend to computerise the games at some point, but haven’t locked down a decent A.I. algorithm yet, good enough for solo play/learning. You will need a checkers/draughts/chess/othello/reversi board and pieces for “Get thee behind me…” (or GTBM for short), and a GO board or one of The Viking Game variants for “Mynd”. Coloured counters and a drawn paper board will also work; I got 1000 tiddlywinks in 5 colours for £6 off eBay from SuppliesForAll.

“Get thee behind me…”
Credit is due to former games students, Matt and Dave, for inspiring this mechanic several years ago.

GTBM rules
Each player starts with 8 pieces (white or black) on the nearest row of an 8×8 square board. (Optionally, 16 pieces of each colour on a 16×16 sized board is possible.) Black starts.

GTBM Starting set up

Pieces can be moved diagonally forward left or right or straight back.

The bottom left Black piece cannot move forward right or to the rear.

If a diagonal move gets a piece behind an opponent’s piece – i.e. between the piece and its owner – that piece is removed. Taking is not allowed when moving straight backwards (no backstabbing!).
Blue take is legal, but Red isn’t because that piece was not moving from the side.

The game ends when a player cannot make a legal move; if the other player can move they win, but if there is no legitimate move it is a draw. Alternatively, if all a player’s pieces are captured, and the opponent still has a legal move afterwards, then this too is a victory.

One obvious strategy is to build columns of pieces, as these cannot be taken easily. However, the “two steps forward, one back” philosophy may be useful. Below is an example of attrition, where Black is almost certainly going to lose a piece, because White has a partial vertical line protecting the threatened piece.

GTBM-legal and illegal-takes
Black cannot take, but White can

Nothing can prevent Black from being taken, but there is an option to enact tit-for-tat

Defensive play to ensure take and retake

Swap of pieces complete

Please leave feedback on GTBM in the comments below, or over at

Get thee behind me… and Mynd (part 1)

“Get thee behind me…” and “Mynd” (part 1 above) and “Mynd” (part 2 below) – notes from my #1GAM project book

Mynd (part 2)


This was an attempt at making a “classic abstract” game using a existing board and pieces (in this case, GO and, for the record, “mynd” is Welsh for “go”), rather like Arimaa did with Chess. Also fortuitous was picking up a super cheap, mint copy of Pegity in a charity shop yesterday for £3, which gave me some lovely wooden peg pieces (~200 in four colours 🙂 with a cheap thin card board 🙁 but nothing’s perfect). So, my plan to use Tiddlywinks and a GO board was not needed. Of note, however, is the 16×16 board, rather than 19×19, which is more akin to The Viking Game that has 8×8, 11×11 and larger variants. Basically, the larger the board, the longer and more complex the game, so 11×11 will be best suited to learning the basic tactics, but 16×16 or 19×19 will offer more opportunities. The number of required counters of each colour will depend on the size of the board, but a rule of thumb would be the total number of all the coloured counters should be about two thirds the size of the board – 20 for each player for 11×11, 43 for 16×16, 60 for 19×19. NOTE: These may need adjusting after playtesting. GO has 181 black and 180 White counters, which is sufficient to cover the whole board, even though it is unlikely that players would do so.

Mynd rules

Depending on whether 2, 3 or 4 players are playing, each player starts with one coloured peg in the corner (or, for one of 3 players, the opposite edge) of the board (see sketch above). After that play consists of one of four actions:

  1. (optional) Placing a piece in any available space – freeform movement called “sowing a seed”
  2. Placing a piece in any free space (including diagonally) next to an existing piece of the same colour, provided that it has an empty space next to it in an adjacent row, column or diagonal – called “growing the twig” or if this dissects an existing diagonal connection of the opponent’s colour it is called “cutting the bark”
  3. Pushing a continuous row or column of pieces by one space, provided that the total number of your pieces outnumbers those of the opponent – this is called “extending the branch”
  4. Placing or pushing pieces such that an area contained by a continuous line of pieces (and/or the edges of the board) is captured, which includes the first corner piece at the start of the game, or in a self-contained cell in the interior of the board – this is called “forming the trunk”

The first case allows players to use pieces to grow into new territory or reduce the final score for opponents. The second case is for growing or adding to the defence of their boundary markers, but also allows for a single piece to be slid along a row or column. In the third case, pushing the pieces along a row may upset the balance of connected columns. However, a row/column may not be pushed in a direction where a piece would be pushed off the board; so edges and corners are particularly useful. Finally, the fourth case is for scoring, the area contained by counting unoccupied spaces inside a completed boundary, excluding pieces of other players, will contribute to the final score.

Play continues until players agree there are no moves left that do not result in a cycle of play that results in a board position being repeated. Alternatively, play can stop upon agreement by the players. Then the unoccupied area of each player is calculated. Areas surrounded by one player’s counters, if subsequently surrounded by those of another, will not count towards either player scores.

Please leave feedback on Mynd in the comments below, or over at

#1GAM Journal First Entries

Journal First Entries.

A “loose” set of rules to follow:

#1GAM Rules

Clearly, #1 and #10 are the most important. To paraphrase Debbie Allen:

“You got big dreams. You want fgame ? Well, fgame costs. And right here is where you start paying … in sweatcode” — Lydia Grant

Brainstorming Game Ideas

Brainstorming Ideas

As you can see, I’ve already got 12 loose ideas, but it’s not written in stone. It’s likely some will fall by the wayside or other concepts will present shinier alternatives. However, these are the real things I would be upset not to achieve:

“One board/card game taken up by publisher, one game book in Kindle Store, one mobile game in AppStore, enough revenue to pay licences, one person saying something was exceptional. Oh, and World Peace!” — from