• Andrew Jonhardt

Superdozer V1

Happy thanksgiving!

Over the past 2 months, I've been prototyping a concept I'm currently calling "Superdozer". The name is very much subject to change, but the design is solid enough for me to feel comfortable posting about it.

To put it simply, Superdozer is a 2 to 4 player capture the flag board game. Players take turns smashing through things on the board as they try to get to the flag, and then place things to block other players getting to the flag. It's a very simple concept that doesn't appear to've been conveyed in a board game before, as far as I can tell.

My inspiration was a game called Lazer Ryderz. You'd be forgiven for never having heard of it; I don't know anyone who has. Lazer Ryderz is one of a few games that attempts to replicate the lasercycle racing from the Tron movies in a playable form. The goal of Ryderz is to, starting from a random position, guide your chosen avatar across a series of Prisms to capture them. You win if you ever own 3 Prisms at the same time.

A game of Ryderz

The main point of interest for me with Ryderz comes from the Setup phase. The Prisms the players are supposed to capture are set equidistant from each other. However, the starting position for each player varies.

In order to determine his or her stating position, a player is supposed to close their eyes and blindly toss their starting position piece onto the table. If the piece lands on the table (if you miss the table, you simply pick it up and try again), your starting piece will remain where it landed for the whole game.

The starting phase in Ryderz taps an interesting skill I've never played with before: tossing a disk with the goal of making it land in a specific position. I've shot with basketballs, sure, and thrown frisbees, but neither is quite the same as controlling a light toss over a short distance. Clearly, the mechanic has stuck with me, and it was in Superdozer that I hoped to exploit it.

Unfortunately, tossing doesn't work very well for Superdozer. In my current system, the last player is the one who sets up the game. My initial versions of Superdozer forced the last player to toss several pieces onto an area of the table, and to proceed from there. However, as I've continued to find through testing, capture the flag games where each player controls only 1 unit aren't as fun when played over large play spaces.

I first tried to solve the issue of space by adding more units for each player. However, adding too many units removed some of the uniqueness of Superdozer: almost every other capture the flag boardgame involves multiple units. Plus, given that all players have to move or place interference objects on the board at the end of their turn, more than a few units per player was overwhelming. So, I resolved to make Superdozer a 1 unit per player game.

My second solution, and the best solution I've found, is a much smaller play space. I first tried out a board, which proved better than an empty table, and then tested using an 8x8 square board. This layout was preferred by testers, and was too small for easy tossing or dropping mechanics, so the idea of lightly tossing some components onto the board has been cut.

I still intend to make a game that involves light tossing. However, the next tossing-focused project will involve tossing as the main mechanic, to ensure it actually fits the design and doesn't become overshadowed by something else.

I don't have any news for Masks of Undying at the moment. I've been giving priority to board games, which are less harsh on my eyes compared to computer screens, relaxation, and re-starting studying for the IT certification I previously failed.

My next post should be on the 12th of December. Feel free to let me know if you like these posts; I don't really have tracking configured on my site.


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