Project: Packidge!

Here’s a game concept post! You’re going to get the pitch for the game, you’re going to get a rundown of the rules, then a description of what the game needs.

Concept: You’re all cheerful, handsy, inquisitive goblins who have been, for some reason of perhaps oversight, given reason to investigate and clean up the packages (PACKIDGE?) in the city’s Dead Mail centre. Players rummage around in the goods to discover who has a pile of treasures they like the best. Thing is, goblins are easily distracted by things that hit their particular hyperfocuses, so the task of rummaging through valuable sets of interesting things can hit a wall when a particular goblin finds one single shiny thing.

In goodnatured competition, the goblins are all trying to collect stuff they find interesting, and the winner is the goblin who can construct the best pile of interesting things, while all at war with their inherent ADHD.

Materials: The game’s comprised of the following components:

  • Two decks of cards
    • One deck of bright, shiny, ‘special treasures’, the SHINY deck
    • One deck of ordinary treasures, the PACKIDGE deck
  • A cloth bag
  • A bunch of number tokens for going in the bag
  • A larger token, representing the Postmaster’s Hat

Setup: At the start of the game, each player gets two ordinary treasure cards from the deck, face down. They’re secret to other players, but you get to look at them, and they can inform how you feel about other cards in the pool. Give the Postmaster’s Hat to the First Player (who you choose by finding the person who most recently sat in a trash can).

Play Loop: First, players set up the round by dealing out nine cards off the top of the ordinary treasures deck. These cards are the treasures you’re competing for this round, and are known as ‘the heap.’

Then, starting with the Postmaster, players rummage. To Rummage you:

  • Pull a token from the deck and check if it’s a Sparkly Token or a numbered token.
  • If it’s a numbered token, keep it face-down in front of you. If you want, you can pull again, or if you think you’re good with what you got, end your turn and, hand the bag to the next player.
  • If it’s a sparkly token, return all numbered tokens you have to the bag, end your turn, and hand the bag to the next player.

Once each player has had a turn, the postmaster puts their hat into the Heap. Players who have a Sparkly token take a card from the Sparkly deck and add it to their loot – these cards are all worth the same. Consider it a consolation prize for getting distracted.

Players with numbered tokens start counting from the lowest number to the highest. When one of your numbers comes up take an item from the Heap – either one of the loot cards, or the postmaster’s hat – and return that token to the bag. Continue until either all the cards are taken or all the numbered tokens players have have been accounted for. Any remaining PACKIDGE gets put into the deck at the bottom, and the round ends.

Ending The Game: The game ends when:

  • The PACKIDGE deck runs out of cards. If you have to deal cards into the heap but run out, that heap is the last heap. Play it out normally.
  • The SHINY deck runs out. This is the last heap. Play it out normally.

Eating The Hat: If you want to add some elements of player tension to the game, as an optional rule, the Postmaster has an added power. At the start of the Postmaster’s turn, they can make a choice:

  • When rummaging from the bag, the Postmaster can ignore the first Captivating Treasure and keep pulling tokens.
  • To deprive the next player of the Postmaster power, a Goblin can instead eat the Postmaster’s hat, flipping the token over to its X side.

When it’s time to divide the treasures, if the Postmaster’s hat is face-down, flip it face up before putting it into the treasure heap.

This game was inspired by two different other card games. Obviously for anyone who’s played it, the ‘fight over a divvy’ stage of the game was inspired by Cash & Guns. The push-your-luck part of the game system with a bag to rummage around in was inspired by the push-your-luck deck-flipping of Diamante. The name was inspired by Goblin Hellion Hanan talking about the experience of waiting for a package delivery – with the crowed, excited word PACKIDGE!

What the game needs is art! I need art of goblins, of the backs of packages, and most importantly, a big pile of art assets representing treasures that might interest a Goblin being shipped back and forth. The treasure cards are where the bulk of the gameplay complexity lives – at the moment, the gameplay loop is very easy, and the players just need to care about the gameplay system as the cards present combos and value to one another.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do with different kinds of things on these cards:

  • This card scores a point for each one you have
  • This card scores more points for the more you have (one card worth one, two worth three, three worth five, so on)
  • This card scores more for the fewer you have
  • This card scores more if you have more than any other player
  • This card scores more if you and another player have the same amount
  • This card scores more if you get a set of them

Then beyond that it’s a matter of art assets!

  • The Packidge deck needs card faces. The card back should be a wrapped up paper package with string on it.
  • The Shiny deck needs card faces. Boringly, these could be identical, but it would be a more pleasant luxurious product if these pieces represented a variety of worthless shiny objects.
  • The tokens need faces
  • The Postmaster hat needs faces, one which is just the hat, and the other is the same hat with an X on it

Then it’s a matter of box art and a manual!