Flipped Visual Preview (Part 2)
I'm attending UnPub in Sacramento this Saturday. I decided Monday night to upgrade my Flipped prototype from hand drawn index cards to something with a little graphical polish. This isn't final or anything I could sell, but it's a nice step forward for the prototype and I think it'll be a better test candidate as a result. I really enjoyed putting together the first visual preview, so I thought I'd compile another to demonstrate the iterations.
- Name: Flipped
- Player #s: 2-5
- Time: 60 minutes or less
- Primary Mechanic: Worker Placement
- Hook: Dynamic demand model
- Theme: City Builder/Urban Planning
There's a score track lining the left and bottom sides of the board. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Points are earned by developing properties for clients. The game ends when the Property deck runs out.
The game's core mechanic is worker placement. Your workers are currently cubes. You have a team of 5-6 (depending on number of players). Different actions require a different number of cubes. Cubes are returned at the end of the round.
Here are the Properties available for purchase from 6 different neighborhoods (currently just a color). The cost is shown on the card. This is refilled at the end of every round. To obtain Roosevelt County 2 (an address, essentially), I would use 2 of my cubes.
To put a little pressure and move the game forward, the right-most property at the end of the round goes into decay. The card is removed from the board and a decay token is placed on the space. I'll explain decay later, but for now, know that you can pay a high rate to buy the property and remove the decay token.
If I buy the above card, I'll be able to develop on the 2 slot shown in the picture. Again, think of these cards as deeds for an address.
Clients can be obtained in two ways: I can directly obtain the ones shown, or pay to draw blindly. Satisfying clients is how you earn points. However, clients you don't satisfy are a penalty at the end of the game.
Clients represent 3 entities: Housing (families, bigger projects), Business (both jobs and places for the citizenry to go), and Infrastructure (Schools, Fire Departments). In the top left you can see one of the 3 symbols for these entities, the demand satisfied by developing the property (more on this later), and points awarded.
Some clients also have end game bonuses (shown next to the lamp). These provide bonus points if the composition of the neighborhood matches their request. For example, a family with young children wants to live in a residential neighborhood, preferably one with a school. This is a point of interaction and hopefully more long-term strategy.
Before you can sell the property, you must meet certain requirements. These are most often improvements. There are some varied ones as well that are experiments to see how far I can push the system. Really, I need to identify what all is possible and fun.
There are four improvements: Landscaping, Painting, Electrical Work, and Remodeling (costs above). Some clients also require permits, which has a slightly different mechanic, in that as more players obtain Permits in a round, it costs more. I was thinking of the line at the DMV here.
The Park in the image above (or in the bottom right corner here) indicates 3 Landscaping icons, or 3 of those green disks. To save space, the symbol is under the disks, but I'll improve that in the future.
To add improvements, I must move a contractor (white cylinder) to the neighborhood. While he's there, anyone can simply pay the cost of the improvement to hire him. However, if he needs to be move, he costs an addition 1 cube. This is intended as a point of interaction and blocking.
Let's say I obtained the Bookstore client shown above. It requires a Painting Improvement. Here, I moved the contractor to Roosevelt County and grabbed a painting disk.
You can see the two here put side by side. Now that I'm selling it (an action), I satisfy 1 Business demand (top left corner).
There are three demand tracks. At the start of the game, they are populated as shown above. The demand for these three types of properties will change every game (more on that in a second). Three things to see here:
- If you satisfy demand above the up arrow, you gain bonus points. This abstracts high demand.
- If you satisfy demand below the down arrow, you'll lose points. This abstracts low demand.
- If the Infrastructure demand is maxed and you build again, you take a decay token. This will penalize you at the end. This abstracts poor municipal services, power outages, pot holes in the streets, and more.
Remember we satisfied 1 demand for the Bookstore. Therefore, we remove 1 token from the appropriate demand track. We revealed a speech bubble, which I use to indicate a change in demand. These are points on some, but not all of the circles.
When demand changes, we flip the token over. Here it says that we increase Infrastructure by 2. The 2 inside the box indicates I'd gain or lose 2 points if I sold above or below demand, respectively.
However, if there is too much decay in a neighborhood, NOBODY receives in game bonuses for that neighborhood. To refresh, decay is gained in two ways:
- If a player builds when the demand for infrastructure is maxed out.
- If a property decays off the property track. Unless developed, that property is decayed.
One more thing. Some homes have this symbol on them. When they are available, you place an Inspection token face down. These properties are cheaper, but something is wrong with them. Upon purchase, you flip the Inspection token to reveal one of the four Improvements. This improvement MUST be added before the home can be sold.
Good players will pair these with Clients to take advantage of them.
Art and Visuals
I'm currently using a 1 inch circular punch to quickly create tokens using colored construction paper. That's why you see so many circles. Ultimately, I intend the properties to be smaller squares with appropriate art on them to convey "home" or "business."
I'd like the demand chart to represent a bar graph like you might see in a newspaper or economic advisory report. I think that can look really slick and thematic.
Don't look into any political commentary there. I believe the chart is from England. It just has the right visuals.
I think the game has potential to be thematic, at least as far as a game about property/city development can be thematic. I'm actually really excited by potential art styles. I especially love the idea of architectural sketches to show the potential of the city, as if to say "Hey player! You! Build this!"
Here are some of my favorite samples. You can see my entire Pintrest board here.
Thanks for reading! I really appreciate any comments or thoughts you have. I'm excited to take this game to UnPub to see what's wrong with it and how I can make it better. Aside from obvious balance quirks, I'm looking for ways to increase interaction and add depth and strategy.
I'd like to think that if I continue refining the core, I can begin focus on balance testing and tweaking to ultimately pitch to a publisher.