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MITx 11.

126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

MITx: 11.126x Introduction to Game Design


Week 4 Final project: Improve the prototype.
Eugenio Jacobo Hernndez Valdelamar
November, 2014.

Introduction
In this iteration, some improvements were added to the original prototype. Board changes a bit, some
rules were added and other discarded, playtest was intensive and more opinions were obtained.

The game: Score in 4


The proposed game is based on (american) football.
To adapt the real sport mechanics, some simplifications are proposed:
1. Win condition: team that scores the most points win.
2. Two teams that alternate offense and defense roles.
3. Ball displays in a field.
4. Team's players are represented with pieces. Ball is represented by a token.
5. Kicking plays are defines by rolling a die. Both kick distance and return.
6. Offensive team has 3 downs where can prepare a scrimmage play and compete with the defense to
try to advance in the field, and score.
7. Offense only runs the ball.
8. Defense can push back the offense position and provoke a safety.
9. The forth down is used for kick plays.
The game will offer the players the experience of being in a football game, as team coaches, deciding
every moment what is the best offensive and defensive strategy to win the game.
For a rainy or snowy day, a board game to practice a noble sport: football!

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Score in 4: Board and pieces


Game title: Score in 4.
Players: 2.
Board:
a. Field divided in 14 blocks, 2 of them are the end zones (1 for each team) and 2 are the field goal
zones.
b. Score board (to keep the points of each team)
c. Down mark (to keep the actual down)
d. Scrimmage board is a 4x4 matrix, where 2 columns are reserved for defensive pieces and 2 for
offensive pieces. One board for each player.

Note: doted lines are to cut the board in 3 pieces.


Pieces
1. Ball marker, to signal position of the offensive team on the field
2. Defense pieces. Four tokens that represent defensive team players. Must be set on the scrimmage
board.
3. Offense pieces. Three tokens that represent offensive team players, plus one piece that represents the
runner. Must be set on the scrimmage board.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Die (6 faces)

Score in 4: Rules
For deciding witch teams starts first, players roll the dice. The winner (higher number) decides if kicks
or receives the ball.

Kick-off
Game starts with a kick-off. The kicking team places the ball on its own 5 block of the board. The the
player A throw a die, and the resulting number will be the number of blocks that the ball advances.
If the die is a 6, the ball reaches the other team's end zone, so the offense begins on their own 2 block.
If the die is less than 6, then a return is possible, so the player B throw the die and advances the ball as
many blocks as the die's number.
Down mark is set to 1st down.

Kick-off will repeated after a team score.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Scrimmage plays (1st to 3rd down)


Team with the possession of the ball plays offense, and the other team defense. The first 3 downs,
offense and defense make their formations for a scrimmage play in the scrimmage zone.
Each player has 4 pieces that has to locate in their scrimmage zone (they do this hiding from the
opponent). One piece of the offensive team represents a runner who carries the ball.

Once their pieces are in position, they open scrimmage zones, join the boards and apply the following
rules:
a. Before the play begins, if a defensive piece is in front of an offensive piece, both pieces are discarded
from the board.
b. First turn of the play is for the defense.
c. In each turn, each player moves a piece forward. If the piece is next to an opponent's piece (front or
sides), both pieces are discarded.
d. Play ends when runner piece is discarded or reaches the bottom of the opponents scrimmage zone.
e. Offense advances on the field as many cells the runner advances on the scrimmage zone.
f. If offensive piece moves in front of the runner piece that is on the bottom of the offense scrimmage, a
capture is declared and ball marker in the field backs one block.
g. If ball marker reaches the opponent's end zone, then increase the score +1 for the offensive team and
kick-off.
h. If ball marker is placed on the offense own end zone, a safety is claimed and score is increased +1
for the defensive team. Offense has to kick-off.
Example:
Blue team playing defense and red team playing offense. Each player, covering his scrimmage zone,
place his pieces play the down.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

1. pieces in the first row that have an opponents piece in front of them, are taken from the scrimmage
board (except if is the runner).

2. If any pieces are left in the second row, forward the pieces and update the gain board to 1.

3. If a defense piece is again, in front of an offensive piece, both disappear.

4. If the ball is alive, then advance the runner piece forward (to the first row of offense and, if
available, to the cells of the defense); maximum distance is 3 cells.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Kick plays (4th down)


When offensive team is on 4th down situation, has two options:
a. Punt. If ball marker in on the team's half of the field, player rolls the die and then advances the ball
marker forward as many blocks as the die number states. If ball marker reaches the end zone, ball
marker is dropped in the second block of the field and ream roles are switched. If ball marker is outside
the end zone, receiving team's player rolls the die and advances the ball marker as many blocks as the
die number states. Down mark is set to 1st down.
b. Field goal. If ball marker is on opponents half of the field, offensive team player roll the die, and if
number let ball marker reaches the end zone +1, then increment score +1 for the offensive team, and
prepare to kick-off. If the number reaches the end zone or less, teams switches roles and down marker
is set to 1st down.

Game end
The game ends when one of the players reaches a score of 7 point.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Score in 4: Playtest - 2nd round


The prototype was tested following this protocol:
1. Game goal statement
2. Rules induction
3. Game setup
4. Let the players play the game and observe game development.
Here are some photos from the session.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Notes:
- First, I explained the rules to the players and show them some examples of the mechanics.
- First plays let them learn about the game's operation.
- Players began to develop strategies of how to display and move their pieces in the scrimmage boards.
Some strategies were used by the opponent, so the game became more disputed.
- The new rule about pieces that stand side by side, benefit the defense, and make the session a bit
longer.
- Players started to make calculations about the distance they have to advance to score, or opponent's
distance and what they have to do to try to stop him.
- Some comments arose about scrimmage boards size and disposition and movements of the pieces.
- As game progressed, both player's engaged and it was difficult for both to advance easily.
- When score was 6-6, people started to gather to see what's going on, and cheer the players (wow!)
- To decide if punt or try a field goal became critic.
- The game lasted about 57 minutes.

MITx 11.126 I2GD

Game: Score in 4. EJ Hernndez Valdelamar.

Final comments
Players declared something very important for this project: the game is very fun.
Several ideas and comments were exposed during playtest session, and some are very interesting, for
example, about the disposition of pieces in the scrimmage boards (why not let the player to put 2 pieces
in one cell), or the size of scrimmage boards (bigger let you deceive the opponent in more ways). In
some moments game seamed like a chess game, both players fully concentrated.

Future improvements
From the results presented, next improvements are:
- Increase the size of scrimmage boards, from 4x4 to 5x5.
- Add the possibility of diagonal movement to the runner and one player of the defense.
- A proposal for 4th down plays is to add the option of play, instead of just kick.
- Score of 7 points imply longer play sessions. To make it faster 3 or 5 max points could be considered,
however after watching the players engagement, 7 for a first session is enough to be fluent in the game;
may be a good option to let the players decide the maximum score.
- Pieces need to represent team attributes (color) and player's role (runner must be different and the new
piece proposed, let's call it linebacker, too).

References
American football rules
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football_rules
Paper football
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_football
1st & Goal - Board Game Review
http://boardgames.about.com/od/productreviews/fl/1st-amp-Goal-Board-Game-Review.htm
Raph Koster's website presentations
http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/pres.shtml
A Zen Guide to Paper and Pen Games
http://zenseeker.net/BoardGames/PaperPenGames.htm
Paper and pencil games
http://boardgames.about.com/od/paperpencil/
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