The Lesser Man’s Face Off

Generally Carnival of Gamers posts offer something to the reader. Well, this time I’m asking something of you. I’d like you to grade a test for me.

If you don’t read Tadhg Kelly’s blog, you don’t care enough about games; it’s just that simple. (Here, for later.) In one of his recent posts, he talks of the resume materials brought in to job interviews. Programmers have code samples, artists can show previous model/texture work, (both of those can perform tests,) level designers can bring levels, etc. But what does a a game designer put forth to show his ability? One could show a previous game, but that’s about it. So, Tadhg, in one of his fine ideas, has created a test (over here,) for designers.

Here’s the gist:

The particleblog design test
Place the candidate in a room and give them the following items.

1 deck of cards
4 six-sided dice
A pad of paper and three pens of different colours
1 pack of index cards (blank)
1 whiteboard and eraseable marker pen
1 bag of 50 black tokens
1 bag of 50 white tokens
2 table-tennis bats
1 table-tennis ball

And you tell them that they have 4 hours to create a game.

Here are the rules of the test:

1. The game must only use the components presented.
2. The game must be in a playable condition at the end of 4 hours.
3. The game must be playable by anyone (i.e. no obscure knowledge of trivia etc)
4. They do not have to use all the components. If they just want to create a puzzle game using only the whiteboard and the tokens, that’s fine.
5. They must not replicate a game which already exists
6. They must write out the rules of the game, because…
7. They don’t get to present the game

So, going from that, I’d like to present my game. If it’s not fun, well, I fail. If you have any questions about the rules, I guess I really fail. Well, I tried it. Let’s see how I did.

Lesser Man’s Face Off
This game is played only with fifty black tokens and a deck of playing cards. The ideal number of players is four-five, but this is flexible from two to fifty.

Pre-Game Set-Up:
Divide the tokens evenly amongst players. Remaining tokens may be given to players that are in need of a handicap, if all players agree. Otherwise set any remaining tokens out of play.

A Round:
The dealer shuffles the deck of cards to his satisfaction and offers the player to his right the chance to cut the deck. After the cut, the dealer then starts with the player to his left and, in a clockwise fashion, hands each player as many cards as they have tokens remaining in their possession.

Starting with the player with the fewest chips, (or in the case of a tie, the player that both has the fewest chips and is closest to the dealer’s left,) , in a clockwise fashion each player tells how many of their tokens they are willing to bet. Each following player can lower the bet if they wish, but no one may raise it. When the betting has made a full circle unchanged, each player must meet the bet by putting that number of tokens into the pot.

Then each player, using a number of cards equal to the bet made, must fashion their best hand possible. (If the lowest bet is two, then each player must put two tokens inthe pot and may only use two cards from their initial dealings.)

The points for each hand from lowest to highest is as follows:
single higher card =1
pair =2
two pair =3
three of a kind =4
five straight =5 (+1 for each additional card in a straight)
four of a kind =6
royal flush =7 (+1 for each additional card in the straight)

The player able to make the most points of their hand wins all of the tokens in the pot. If there is a tie, the player with the highest card in their highest point-getting combination wins the pot. If the players highest card in their highest point-getting combination is of the same value, then the winning players split the pot as evenly as possible and leave any remaining tokens in the pot for the next hand. After a hand, the cards are collected and the player to the left of the current dealer becomes the new dealer, and a new round begins.

Losing Condition:
If a player runs out of tokens, then they are out of the game and may no longer play.

Winning Condition:
If a player wins all of the tokens, leaving no more opponents, then he wins the game.

Not incredibly complex, but hey, it’s just a first try. Anyone actually read this far and want to give me a grade?