Episode 28: Theme Free and a Conspiracy

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Drinking Shiner Cheer.

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Battle Cattle

Rob has been playing: Dutch Blitz


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Minimal or Abstract Theme

Other Games we mentioned:



Lost Cities 

Practicing the Pitch:

Jason pitches his Conspiracy Theory Game.

Twitter Shout outs:



Unpub 3 Event!

Conspiracy Theory Game

Conspiracy Theory Game

 In this board game, each player controls a team of “Researchers” who are “experts” in their fields.  Their goal is to sway public opinion in their respective fields.  The game ends when a player can max out the public opinion on two of the fields that they are researching.

The board is setup as a map of the world.  It contains dozens of locations where players can research their theories and also places where they can speak about their theories.  The board also tracks the public opinion on all theories.  This is done using tokens that represent each unique area of study.

Each area of study is represented by a card.  At the beginning of the game two cards are passed out to each player.  During the game they can purchase more areas by getting cards from the play deck.  Only one player may research any given area of study during the game.

Fields of Research:

Flat earth

Moon landing was faked


JFK Assassination



 Play deck card types:




Bonuses (money, speaking invites and bonuses, deck search, new fields of research)


During the game players will draw new researchers that they can put into play.  Each of these researchers has a general area of expertise, i.e. Crytpozoology, Conspiracies, Paranormal, etc.  These areas will cover more than one field of research.

Players earn money each turn based on the credibility of their researchers and also the public’s opinion of their theories.


All ideas presented here are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.

Episode 27: Sand Timers and Filth

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Back from Thanksgiving.

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Three of a Crime

Rob has been playing: Dominion, Quadefy, BananagramsHitman: Absolution


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Timed Actions

Other Games we mentioned:




Forbidden Island

Guess Who



Scrabble Slam



Practicing the Pitch:

Rob pitches Filth Ranch.

Twitter Shout outs:



Unpub 3 Event!

Filth Ranch

“The Filth Ranch”

You are a college student living in an apartment with your friends.  You have affectionately nicknamed your apartment the “Filth Ranch” because of the garbage that has accumulated.  But the one day your landlord calls.  He’s coming that afternoon for an inspection, and if he sees this you’re all going to get evicted.  Better clean that up as fast as you can or you’re out on the street!


Game Board featuring four bedrooms and a communal living room/kitchenette, laid out with a square grid.

Deck of cards: Each card identifies a Room (bedroom, living room, kitchenette) and a Filth type (food, paper, dirt, etc.)

1 Phone call card

1 Landlord card.

Filth Tiles: Enough tiles to cover the board in various kinds of filth matching the types on the cards.

1 d10

1 custom d6

 Playing the game:

In the first half of the game you are trying to place as many Filth Tiles as possible into the communal areas or your roommates’ bedrooms.  Eventually the Phone call card will come up.

When the Landlord calls, roll the d6.  This will tell you what kind of mood he seems to be in.  Good, Neutral or Bad.  This will affect his judgment at the end of the game.  Now proceed into the second half.

In the second half of the game you are trying to clean up as fast as you can.  You have to work together to clean up the communal areas, because if that is too dirty you’re all getting evicted.  Also, if you all pass the eviction test, whoever has the cleanest room is the winner.  You keep cleaning until the Landlord card comes up.

When the Landlord card comes up, you roll the d10 and add the Mood modifier from before.  A good mood gives you a +2 to the number.  A neutral mood doesn’t change anything.  A bad mood gives you a -2 to the number (can’t go below zero).  This is his tolerance level.  If you have more than that number of Filth tiles left in the communal area, you all lose.  If you pass that, then whoever has the cleanest room wins.


All ideas presented here are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.

Episode 26: Building Patterns and Robotic Probes

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Reverse Intro

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: The Room

Rob has been playing: The Red Dragon Inn: Gambling? I’m in!


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Pattern Building

Other Games we mentioned:


Connect Four



Tic Tac Toe


Practicing the Pitch:

Jason pitches a Space Probe Game.

Twitter Shout outs:



Blackwater Gulch Kickstarter

City Hall Kickstarter


Space Probe Game

Von Neumann Probe Game

2-4 player card game


300 Solar System Cards

8 Home System Cards

52 Probe Cards (13 for each player)


The goal of this game is to gather as much Dark Energy as possible.  The winner is the player with the most of it when the game ends.

To collect Dark Energy players must send out probes and create more by gathering resources throughout 20 different solar systems.

Each solar system is made up of a deck of 15 different cards.

Game play:

At the beginning of the game all 20 decks are set out on the table in a 4×5 grid.  The order does not matter.  Each deck has a unique backing that includes the name of the solar system and the requirements to get there.

Players are dealt all the home system cards in a 2 or 4 player game evenly.  In a 3 player game, players each get 2 cards and the left over cards are removed from the game.

Players are also given their 13 probe cards.  The starting probe is put into play for each player.

On each turn players spend action points enter new systems and draw cards from them.

Players receive 6 action points per turn

Actions cost the following:

Unlock a new System: 3 points

Draw a card from a system you have access to: 3 points

Play a home system: 0 points

Draw a card from a home system: 2 points

Build a new probe: 2-3 points

Attack a probe: 3-6 points

Accessing a new system:

When a player wants to access a new system they must be able to pay the exploration cost to get in.

This is different for each system.  It can range from resources to specific probes.

When a system is accessed by a player, that deck is moved out of the grouping of decks and put to the side.  The player then lays their probe next to it.  This means they may now draw resources from a that system.

If you have the home system card you may play it at any point to access that system for free.

New players may access a system someone is already in by paying the price and laying their probe next to it.

At any time during their turn players may move their probe away from a system for no cost.

Probe Types:

Standard Probe: This is what you start with it can move about and draw resources as normal.  It has a defense of 5 but cannot attack.

Long Range Probe:  Defense of 5, attack of 1

Armed Probe: Defense of 7, attack of 4

Super Mining Probe: Draws 2 cards for the price of 1, Defense 4, attack 0

Destroyer: This probe cannot do anything but go to a System and destroy everything in it, including itself and all other probes.  It must pay the entrance fee to do this.

Programmer: Steals probes and resources.


Probe Combat:

When two probes are in the same system they may fight.  The active player may attack by spending enough action points, plus their attack modifier to breach the defense of another probe.

Building Probes:

To build a new probe you must spend the resources listed on the probes cost and pay the action points needed as well.

Let me know what you think!

– Jason

-All ideas presented on this website are the property of the Building the Game Podcast.

Bonus Episode 7: Ross Payton Interview

BTG on iTunes

On this bonus episode we interview Ross Payton of Roleplaying Public Radio and we chat about the games he has designed and the lessons he has learned over the years.

Books and Games by Ross Payton:

Zombies of the World


Base Raiders

Base Raiders Kickstarter!


Episode 25: Teamwork and Slenderness

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

Updates on Gunslinging Ramblers

Brendan Keough – Artist

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Letterpress

Rob has been playing: Quarriors


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Playing as Teams

Other Games we mentioned:

Axis and Allies



Forbidden Island




Settlers of Catan


Practicing the Pitch:

Rob pitches a Slender Man Game.

Twitter Shout outs:



Dice Rings


Slender Man Game

The Slender Card Game
2 to 4 players.  Players take the role of investigators looking into the legend of the Slender Man.  In the first half of the game, players are using cards to perform their investigation, gaining information and confidence in themselves, tracked with Will Points.  But the more you investigate the Slender Man, the more you draw him to you.  At some point in the game, the Slender Man card will appear.  In this second half of the game, players now must do whatever they can to escape the Slender Man.  They are now playing cards to resist his drain of Will Points, or cause the other players to lose theirs.
The game is played with a special deck of 2.5 inch by 5 inch cards, each split into two halves, light and dark.  The light half is used to play the first part of the game.  After the Slender Man arrives, the cards are turned 180 degrees and the remainder of the game is played using the dark half.  When you run out of Will Points, the Slender Man gets you, and you continue playing only to drain the remaining players.  The last player left with Will points escapes the Slender Man and wins.
At the start of each game, each player selects a specific themed character deck (6 or more are available, only 4 will be used in each game).  These 4 character decks are then shuffled together to make the game deck.  Any player may use any character’s card when it is drawn, but if a player uses a card from their own character they will gain some kind of bonus specific to that card.  After the Slender Man card appears, the Slender Man deck is shuffled into the remaining game deck, and play continues to the end.
Additional note from Rob:
Hey everyone!  Thanks for reading this overview of the Slender Card Game that I pitched on Episode 25 of Building the Game!  Since we recorded that episode I’ve been doing more research into the Slender Man, and just before the episode posted I found this article:
You should read it because it is fascinating.  But in a nutshell, it’s discussing an independent Slender Man themed computer game that is having legal issues.  It’s easy to forget in our modern age of information freely available on the internet that things like this are not simply created out of nowhere.  The Slender Man was a character invented by a specific individual.  That individual owns that Intellectual Property.  Therefore if you use that IP without his permission, you are risking legal action.  In general it sounds like the creator of the Slender Man isn’t interested in taking legal action against anyone, which is an honorable thing for him to say.  But nevertheless, I don’t want to go anywhere near issues like that.  There is too much risk for an independent designer and developer like me.
“But Rob, what about your Frankenstein game?”  That’s a great question.  Lots of people think that Universal Studios owns Frankenstein.  They don’t.  The Monster from Mary Shelley’s original Frankenstein novel is in the public domain, as is his creator, Victor Frankenstein.  What Universal owns is all of the characters they created for their series of movies, and the design of the Monster that they created.  Take a look at this article for more information:
It can be a tricky thing, but Frankenstein is technically safe.  Still, the lesson I’ve learned from this is to focus on my own new ideas and new characters for everything I work on in the future.  It’s the safer and cleaner route to take.
Good Luck!

Episode 24: Board Modularity and Pinball Wizardy

BTG on iTunes

Intro and Welcome:

We announce the winner of our first contest!

Whatcha been playing?:

Jason has been playing: Dominion, Can’t Stop

Rob has been playing: Mansions of Madness


“Mechanic” of the Week:

Modular Boards


Other Games we mentioned:


Euro Rails

Great Heartland Hauling Co.

Lords of Waterdeep



Settlers of Catan

Small World

Stone Age

Ticket to Ride

Practicing the Pitch:

Jason pitches a Pinball Board Game.



City Hall Kickstarter

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