Friday, May 12, 2006

ComicAll: A social board game design

Here is a little social comic creation game that just occurred to me as I was day dreaming in the shower. I loved Tadhg’s recent post about interviewing game design candidates with a test and it got me thinking. Unfortunately, If I actually was in a real interview, it appears I would have to rush off to a shower in order to do my best work. Wet candidates…part of the trials and tribulations of interviewing game designers.

This board game design is very small riff off the last Viki post. It is probably closest to Pictionary, but without the requirement that people know how to draw. Honestly I meant to write about e3 instead this morning. C’est la vie.

I should note that I haven’t played this yet, so it is at the untested prototype stage. That means it is highly unlikely to work the first play through and will need major tweaking. Still, I’ll toss it out there.

3 - 4 players.
You have a series of faces, word bubbles and interesting props. You goal is to make a hilarious comic with your friends.


  • A set of 30 faces, word bubbles and interesting stamps. Some are blank and can be drawn on. The stamps are made out of dry erase board.
  • Erasable markers
  • 3 minute timer
  • 4 1 point cards
  • 4 2 point cards
  • 4 3 point cards
  • A score card
  • A small paper tiara

  • All stamps are spread out face up on the table.
  • Each player is dealt 1 of each type of voting card. They should end up with three cards with values of 1, 2 and 3 points.
Turn Structure
A turn is split into three phases
  • Picking Phase
  • Placing Phase
  • Voting Phase
Picking phase: We go

  • Players pick up two stamps.
  • They get to write on the stamps with an erasable marker (or pencil in the prototype) if they wish to customize them.
  • There is a timer such that all players can take no more than 3 minutes.
Placing phase: I go, you go

  • The players then go around the room clockwise and place their stamps
  • The person in last place gets to place first. If it is the first turn, the player who most recently had a birthday goes first during the placing phase.
  • Players are encouraged to laugh.
Voting phase: We go

  • Players get several voting cards ranging from 1 to 3 points. If there are three players, they get three cards. If there are four players, they get four cards.
  • They give out voting cards face down to each one of their opponents.
  • All voting cards are turned over simultaneously. The players count up their score and place it on the score board next to their name.
  • Voting cards are re-dealt to people.
  • The turn ends and starts anew.
How long the game lasts

  • The game continues for 4 turns
Determining the winner

  • The simplest solution is to just add up all the points and declare a winner.
  • The winner gets to wear the little paper tiara until the next game or until the game is put away. They are not allowed to take the tiara home or go to bed with it. Unless this is the sort of social gathering that promotes such naughty behavior.
Optional rule: The Goomber
  • Many games have a goomber. They are that one person who will not play because they are busy or they don’t like games. They sit on the couch and read or fiddle about in the kitchen when everyone else is having a great time. Sometimes they are mothers. Other times, they are little brothers.
  • The Goomber has an important roll to play. If a Goomber exists, they are brought in at the end of the game. They are required to judge what the funniest portion of the picture. No player is allows to tell them who placed what.
  • Who ever placed this portion of the picture gets 12 bonus points. If more than one person participated, the points are split evenly.
Optional rule: Drinking rules
  • Each turn, the person with the lowest score for that turn takes a drink. They can specify one other person to drink with them in order to share the joy of drinking.
  • The standard amount that is consumed per drink is up to the team and is determined at the beginning of the game. A half shot per turn seems reasonable.

If anyone gets to try this game out, let me know. I'm thinking that the 'stamps' can mostly be just little smiley faces and word bubbles. Perhaps I'd also have a duck or an unfortunately drawn stalk of asparagus to spice things up. For prototyping the first version, I was just going to use index cards, a pencil and some scissors.

Take care


  1. Sounds similar to 1000 Blank White Cards, but more structured.

  2. Sounds very similar to nanofictionary, only without the comics, just the stories.


  3. Very cool. I hadn't seen nanofictionary before. A rather interesting concept.

    take care

  4. I was thinking the same thing, that it's like home-made Nanofictionary. I highly recommend checking it out, some hilarious moments are bound to happen.