Episode 32: Odd Men and Splitters

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Intro and Welcome:

New Year New Theme Song

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Settlers of Catan

Rob has been playing: Barons of Tea,


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Odd Man Out/Variable Player Powers

Other Games we mentioned:

Alcatraz: The Scapegoat

Battlestar Galactica

Forbidden Island

Hero Quest

Mansions of Madness

Small World



Practicing the Pitch:

Rob pitches Splitters and the OSC System.



Episode 32: Odd Men and Splitters — 4 Comments

  1. I think you’re using “variable player powers” and other terms as a wider definition than they actually have.

    “Role Selection” I would say is something where you are choosing a role and then acting on that role. Good examples of this would be Race for the Galaxy (where everyone picks simultaneously) or Puerto Rico (where everyone picks a role in turn order)

    You also mention miniatures war games as having variable player powers, but what you describe is, I think, an asymmetric game. The game itself is balanced, but we’re working with different resources to try and do the same goal.

    Variable player powers specifically refers to things like Bang or Cosmic Encounter where you have a power that no one else has. Maybe it gives you a different ability or something of that sort, but you’re probably working with about the same resources as everyone else. And yes, I would describe BSG as variable player powers, but not for the reasons you describe. I’d say it has variable player powers because each person has different abilities that only they can use.

    Hopefully all of this made sense: I’m trying to quick post this before heading off to work. During the drive I’ll be continuing to listen to this episode–thanks for the podcast!

  2. I agree with mike. Also I have a hard time picturing what these split cards look like. I can’t wait to see a prototype.

    Your conversation on the ‘odd man out’ mechanic got me thinking. There are lots of co op games with a traitor, but are there any competitive games where one players secret goal is to make a different player win? Like a built in kingmaker mechanic?

    What if there was a game where one players goal was to pair up two other players, like a matchmaker. A Cyrano de Bergerac game of sorts where you are secretly lending your skills in romance to other romantically hopeless players but trying to hide your efforts from their love interests.

    I think most games revolve around the conflict of many actors with the same goals. Four players battle to control territory. Four players vie for limited resources on a board to build their cities. It’s interesting to see that this assumption of conflict is going away and other types of games are emerging, but I think there is so much design possibility in this space that isn’t being utilized.

    What about a civilization game where no one controls a specific civilization. One player gets points whenever there is armed conflict. One player gets points whenever technology is advanced. One player gets points when there is a cultural advancement. In a game like this, players will work together often, but also must work against each other from time to time in order to prevent some kind of calamity for themselves.

    Thanks for the great episode and keep up the good work.

  3. The OSC system is ripe for making a card game variant of the classic “Snake” video game from old cell phones and consoles. Some drawing mechanic eating the fruit and making the snake longer by adding to it, and attacks from other players could take a segment out of your snake, either from the end or from the middle, sliding the hind bits back up to connect again.

    Maybe a centipede instead of a snake, each card having a new set of legs. Then like the arcade game of the same name, removing a card from the middle of the centipede just gives you 2 shorter centipedes to continue play with.