Juju the Boardgame

edited in Projects

I've uploaded the first (very rough) draft of my rules and crude players mat (fear my paint skillz!). I wanted to spend a bit more time on clarifying the rules and working out some of the more obvious kinks, but no better time to get feed back than now! I do worry that the rules are unclear at the moment (they talk about illustrations to show examples, but I haven't got that far yet) So I hope people can understand them.

I haven't implemented any of the ideas suggested below yet, because I'd like to see if there is an element of fun in it's rudimentary form.

Spells are bland at the moment because I want to see if the mechanic of the golden thread/area control is "fun enough" (is this even the right approach?)



What you need to play:

If you have a copy of Settlers of Catan, you will have basically everything, if not I fear there is going to be to much admin get enough of the stuff to play it.

You will need 19 hexagons tiles for you play area consisting of:

1 Tile to act as the Town (the desert tile)
5 Tiles representing "holy ground" (fields)
4 Tiles representing "magic wells" (hills)
3 Tiles representing "grave yards" (mountains)
3 Tiles representing "woods" (forests)
3 Tiles representing "Bayous" (pastures)

You will also need

2 Dice
Cards for Mana (I use the resource cards. These are not intended to run out, about 25 of each should be enough)
Bricks = Arcane
Sheep = critter
Wheat = Life
Iron = Death
Wood = forest

you will also need the the number tokens from settlers game (alternatively you will need 21 cut/torn pieces of paper. 5 other them need to be marked on one side with a big R)

5 other cards representing relics (any will do)

Per player you will also need (the game supports 2 to 4 players)

A player mat which represents the players spellbook/grimoire (see attached)
A hexagon tile to represent their home (I use the port tiles)
5 tokens to represent zombies (roads)
2 tokens to represent critter minions (towns)
1 token to represent a shadow daemon (cities)
2 tokens to represent totems (I use meeples from carcassone)

I'll be bringing my prototype form to the next meetup if people would like to play (also hopefully the rules will be edited and improved).

Warning! As it stands, it sucks (which is to be expected)

Comments and critique away!

Things I'd like to add/experiment with in future prototypes, in no specific order:

Impassable terrain/tiles
Different board layouts
More spells
Spell drafting/variation through the game (essentially spells will become another resource to manage)
Specific "talents" or traits for the players
Different ways of generating mana (like some of the ideas below)
Fix combat (i think it is meh at the moment)
Get a better way to determine how players "find" the relics

I lack the skills to make a digital game, so instead I'm going to have a stab at making a boardgame :)

The basic idea is this:

Players are Hoodoo conjures in the Bayous of Louisiana. They are competing to unearth relics of a powerful conjure who used to live in the area. Using summoned minions and a variety of hexes, wards, juju's and other spells players will need to capture land and battle the other players to unearth the majority of the relics before they do.

In terms of mechanics it is basically an area control-come-resource management game. Players will generate the games version of "mana" by occupying different land tiles. Using the mana players can summon minions and cast spells.

What I'm hoping for is a fairly quick to play game and easy to learn.

One of the key play "styles" that I'll try to enforce is that players will need to consistently change the area's they are controlling to generate the different types of mana they will need. Key to this will be that players will only have limited number of minions to capture land with.

I'm also trying to make it less "confrontational" in that the game will be biased towards defense, so players will be encouraged grab land quickly,get the mana they need and move on.

I'm using mainly "The Settlers of Catan" pieces for my proto-typing, so if you have a copy you'll be able to play it fairly easily. I'm hoping to have the first set of the rules up fairly soon (I need to decide how I want certain things to happen still!)

Bad Juju Rules.doc


  • I picture this as Risk, but with less fighting. So the mana will allow you to summon minions or use spells and ablities?

    If you are going to focus on it being easy to learn do you mean there will be a few rules that govern the game play and you will focus on making the interactions more complex to allow for replayability and to help make every game more in depth? (if that made sense)
  • I must admit, when I read the title I was expecting a political boardgame.

    Can I understand you correctly; are you saying that I need to control a different tile of land each turn because the mana is "tapped out" from last turn (e.g. after using the tile as mana, turning it over to show it's used); or that a tile generates a different type of mana each turn (i.e. this turn green, next turn red)?

    I love the idea of using tile placement and unit positioning, and the idea of your sorcerer having to move around the board in order to cast spells based on the tile they're standing on.

    Using the Catan tiles are great because it gives the player a sense of direction and there's an interesting mechanic developing if you turn tiles over because they can't be used because it will limit player's "useful" movement.

    I can't wait to see more!
  • edited
    Random idea: Square map tiles that you rotate to show the mana you'll pull from them in the next turn. Could do something cool like have the side a player is sitting on determine which type of mana they're going to get next, so players would have different reasons to fight over different tiles.

    Idea blatantly stolen from the way Panic Station has you turning your player cards to indicate health.
  • Ack! So many cool ideas! Ok one at a time....

    @Edge I suppose the risk comparison is ok, but I'm hoping for something more like Smallworld meets Ankh-Morpork. The key differences being that combat is not resolved by luck (i.e. no dice rolling) and multiple players can be on the same land tile to claim mana (that is I can have a minion on a tile, and so can you, and we can both get mana from it).

    What you've said about few rules and complex interactions is my goal. The key thing for me, is that a good boardgame forces the players to make interesting choices. Some things that I want to do to help with this are:

    Having a random "map" every game, essentially, much like Settlers, the map changes from game to game because the map tiles are randomly placed at the beginning.
    Having the location of the relics change from game to game.
    Limiting the number of spells or summons a player can perform in a turn
    Giving the player random skills or abilities at the start of the game (if I can balance it out).

    @aodendaal You've misunderstood me (although I think your ideas are much cooler). The basic premise is that certain land tiles produce certain types of mana (so swamps make black mana, forests make green mana, etc). Tiles don't "tap out", they constantly make mana every turn. The motivation to move to your units around is that players won't have enough units to reliably collect all the mana they need in a single turn, or by leaving units on a tile (I have other mechanisms to prevent this).

    I like the idea of the tiles becoming tapped, but I worry that it will be too fiddly to keep turning over tiles to show thier status (but I have a cunning idea!)

    @dislekcia, it is a pretty cool idea, but again I worry that it would be a bit fiddly to have to turn a lot of tiles. But I also like the idea that tiles could produce multiple forms of mana, or even different types mana per player.

    What I'm thinking now is that there would be some dial or something that says what tiles produce what mana for which player, each turn the dial would tick, changing the values. The thing is the players should be able to see what the next tick will look like (so they can plan accordingly). This would also allow for some pretty cool "spells" that would allow players to manipulate the dial, either delaying the tick, or advancing it prematurely, or even setting it back a tick.

    I think I really need to get the full rules set up here ASAP so people can get a much better idea of how it plays

    Thanks for all the feedback!

  • Wait! There's an Ankh-Morpork boardgame!?
  • There is, it is awesome :) If you're ever in CT we can get together and have a play :)
  • Update (see OP)

    Just some other thoughts having gone through this exercise, which has been very informative so far.

    I wonder if the scope of the game is not to big for my first go. I think I could complete it with more time, but I wonder if it is not to complex (in my mind it is not a complex game, but certainly less complex games exist). I also wonder if the fact that my rather large library of boardgames has allowed to make a bigger game because I have easy access to bits and pieces.

    Currently the theme is not carrying through well. As it stands, the game could as easily be a game about treasure hunters/miners/whatever. This begs the question; do you start with the theme in mind and build the game around the theme, or rather look for a cool mechanic, get that right, then focus on theme, or a hybrid?

  • Not that I've tried to make loads of boardgames, but in general I feel that a single mechanic tends to spawn something interesting and then a theme helps flesh that mechanic out with more gameplay and concepts that make it interesting to players.
  • It really depends, what I've learned in my short time here (as in making games, or game, singular, or possibly ga- cos it's nowhere near finished) is that the idea des you start with is almost never going to be the idea you end up with as you think more and more about your game. Sometimes the mechanics dictate a certain theme, and sometimes your theme is your goal.

    Only certainty is that if you ended with the same thing you started, then you probably haven't thought about it well/hard enough. Or you're a genius savant that modeled your entire game in your head in one go :)
  • In both the boardgames I've made I've had a theme or lesson I've wanted to convey and tried different mechanics to evoke that theme. Don't be afraid to ditch all your mechanics and try something different.

    What I mean is I think about how I want my players to interact with each other (are they in a race against each other, combating each other, trading with each other) and how they interact with the board (Is the board hostile toward them, does it give them resources, can they change the board) and then I look for mechanics in other games that have similar interactions and steal it. Then I mash it all together and see if my theme is still conveyed.

    Personally I feel it's incredibly rare that anyone will create brand new mechanics and lots of games have a mixture of common elements (just like all FPS titles have the same mouse-look and WASD keyboard input for movement)

    Don't be afraid to say something like "I like how players can choose their preferred card or take a random one in Ticket to Ride" and use it or "I want a map building mechanic like Carcassonne" and steal that.

    Look back at your theme and, ignoring the guise of voodoo magic, ask what do you want players to do with each other and with the board to win the game; not how they do it.
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