I’ve gotten some very good input on Duck Blind, especially from my good friend Chris Norwood aka GamerChris from Exploring Games with GamerChris.
Chris basically identified a problem that I knew was there but couldn’t see how to fix. That problem was that as he put it “the duck distribution in the game is that it seems a little haphazard. There really isn’t much of a trade off that would make you want to pursue the less-valuable ducks instead of the bigger ones. And maybe I’m trying to introduce more into the game than is necessary, but it seems to me that you might want to encourage two basic ways to approach the game: 1) getting fewer ducks that are worth more individually, and 2) getting more ducks that are worth less each.”
This is what I was working on. And I had some built in but it was, as he said, haphazard. Chris broke down the points available per species and showed that there was an imbalance at the Blue Wing Teal and Pintails. He made some suggestions and they were good ones. I’ve incorporated his basic ideas of tweaking the numbers of males and females in some species so that some species have more females than males. This changes the point distribution so that most species are worth between 24 and 26 points.
He also located another small issue. “As I see it, the basic principle to balance them is that as the values of the ducks decreases, there should be more of them available. You started with this, but then didn’t follow through on the Gadwalls and Shovelers, which makes them really poor. And of course, there are clearly too many BWT’s for their value.”
As he said I had that idea I just hadn’t completed it. I’ve fixed that now.
Here are the latest rules with the above revisions.
Duck Blind by Tom Gurganus
Separate all the types of cards into their respective groups – Duck cards, Game Warden cards, Player Shot Decks, Timing cards, Action cards, Bonus cards.
Choose a start player.
Duck Cards and Game Warden Cards
For a two player game:
Shuffle the Duck cards. Deal out 28 Duck cards. Set the rest aside. Shuffle in 1 Game Warden card.
For a three player game:
Shuffle the cards. Deal out 40 Duck cards. Shuffle in 2 Game Warden cards. You are now ready to play.
For a four player game:
Shuffle the Duck cards and all of the Game Warden cards together.
Place the Duck Card deck in the center of the play area.
Each player gets a shot deck made up of cards with various shots on them. These are used to shoot at the ducks. Each deck contains a blank card – the blank card is used for bluffing, to hide how many cards you are playing. They do not count as a shot.
Set up the Timing cards in from Dawn to Dusk in proper chronological order. You are now ready to play.
Game Warden – when a Game Warden is flipped, play stops and players present their ducks. Anyone with rare ducks (King Eider, Hooded Merganser) must present their Special Permit or lose those ducks and those points. The Game Warden, ducks, and Special Permit are placed in the discard pile. The game resumes. If no one has any rare ducks, the Game Warden is reshuffled into the Duck deck.
These cards can be played for their effect along with shot cards. They are resolved BEFORE Ducks are taken.
Double Barrel – Play this card to kill two ducks this turn. Draw the second duck from the top of the Duck card deck. Discard this card once used.
Rogue Dog – Play this card to steal one duck from another player. Discard this card once used.
Choke – Play this card to change choice order with another player. Discard this card after use.
Duck Call – Play this card to retrieve one duck from the discard pile. Resolve this card BEFORE taking ducks. Discard after use.
Flush – Resolve this card BEFORE any player reveals/plays his shot cards. Play this card on your turn to ‘scare away’ the current line of ducks. Place all these ducks into the discard pile. All played shots return to the player’s hand. Re-draw a new line of ducks and replay this round.
Special Permit – This card may be used when a Game Warden arrives. It will allow the player to keep their rare ducks. It is discarded once used.
Shuffle the Bonus cards and deal three onto the play area. These cards are bonus points at the end of the game for the player that meets their criteria.
Start with the Dawn Timing card face up on the Timing deck. One player flips one Duck card from the Duck Card deck for each player and places them in the center of the play area. These are the ducks that are in play for this round. If a Game Warden card if flipped, resolve it as described below.
On a turn:
Players decide which Duck card they need/want and decide how many shots they will ‘shoot’ (i.e. bid) to get it. When everyone has made that decision, one player says “Take ‘em!“ and all players play the shot cards they are using to shoot (bid on) the duck they are after. Players may also play Action cards at this time.
Resolve any Action cards that need to be resolved before taking ducks. The player that fired the most shots get their choice of ducks. The player with the second highest shot total chooses next, etc..
If there is a tie, the player that used the most shot cards wins the tie. If it is still a tie, neither players gets any points.
Discard shots and Action cards (except the blank card).
Place the Duck in front of you.
Flip the next Timing Card.
Pass the Start player token.
Proceed as on Turn One with the start player drawing Duck cards and placing them in the center of the play area. Players choose their shots and play them at ‘Take ‘em!’. The player that fired the most shots get their choice of ducks. The player with the second highest shot total chooses next, etc..
Resolve any Action cards.
Pass the Start player token.
When the Noon Timing card is flipped continue with the turn but at the end of the turn players score their ducks. Each player adds up their points then moves his score marker on the score track. All player duck cards are placed in the discard deck. Play continues as before until the Dusk card is flipped. After that turn points are totaled and scores marked. If you are playing a second day, shuffle all the duck cards together for a new duck deck and reset the Timing deck.
Continue with Day Two as you did with Day One.
Scoring – Ducks are worth face value. Your largest set (I. e. all of one species) is worth one point for each card in the set. Each matched pair (one male + one female of a species) is worth an additional point. Lastly there are three Bonus cards that are scored at the end of the game according to the conditions on each card.
Wood Ducks – males worth 6 points, females worth 4 points – 2 of each in the deck
((12 + 8 + 2 (one for each matched pair) + 4 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 26 points))
Mallards – males worth 5 points, females worth 4 points – 2 of each in the deck
((10 + 8 + 2 (one for each matched pair) + 4 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 24 points))
Pintails – males worth 4 points, females worth 3 points – 2 males and 3 females in the deck
((8 + 9 + 4 (one for each matched pair) + 5 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 26 points))
Blue Wing Teal – males worth 3 points, females worth 1 point – 5 of females and 3 males in the deck
((9 + 5 + 3 (one for each matched pair) + 8 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 25 points))
Canvasbacks – males worth 3 points, females worth 2 points – 3 of each in the deck
((9 + 6 + 3 (one for each matched pair) + 6 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 24 points
Gadwalds – males worth 2 points, females worth 2 points – 3 males and 5 females in the deck
((6 +10 + 2 (one for each matched pair) + 8 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 26 points
Shovelers – males and females worth 1 point each – 5 of each in the deck
((5 + 5 + 5 (one for each matched pair) + 10 (largest set, 1 pt for each card) = 25 points))
King Eider – worth 7 points, 1 in the deck
Hooded Merganzer – worth 7 points, 1 in the deck
Common Goldeneye – worth 7 points, 1 in the deck
Smew – worth 8 points, 1 in the deck
Total duck cards = 49
Total points in the deck = 205
Value per card per species in points (number of cards in species/total value of species)
Wood Ducks – 6.5
Mallards – 6
Pintails – 5.2
Canvasbacks – 4
Gadwalds – 3.25
Shovlers – 2.5
Blue Wing Teal – 3.125
Shot Cards – Each player has his own shot card deck. A player shot card deck contains:
4 shots – 1
3 shots – 2
2 shots – 3
1 shot – 3
There are 5 decks each a different color so that the game can accommodate 5 players.
Game Wardens – 4
Dawn, 6am, 830am, 10am, 1130am, Noon, 1pm, 230pm, 4pm, 530pm, Dusk
Action Cards – 25 total, 1 each for 5 players
Total cards in the game: 25 Action + 11 timing + 4 Game Wardens + 45 shot cards + 49 ducks = 134
Well, here are the version 4 rules for Duck Blind. This version is the result of playtesting at Unpub – Atomic Empire #1 and some subsequent playtesting with friends who are also game designers.
Duck Blind is an auction game where players are hunters competing to bag the best ducks of the weekend. Using shot cards to fire at the current flight of ducks, players bid on those ducks. The hunter that fired the most shots wins his choice of the ducks. The rest of the hunters collect ducks in order of shot number. The hunt continues until noon. At noon, hunters score their ducks and reload. The hunt continues for 5 more rounds to end the first day. Hunters again score their afternoon ducks and sum the scores for the day.
You can stop at this point or continue for another day as before.
So what do you think? I’d really like your feedback. I’m working on the version 5 prototypes of the cards now.
What’s good? What needs work? I’ve added back some of the things that I had taken out based on playtesting.
I’m still having some trouble with the whole math/cards/balancing thing though. If you are interested in helping me with this, shoot me an email at the address below. I could really use some help.
Leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.