Ludum Dare 34 — December 11th-14th, 2015 — Theme Tied: Two Button Controls, Growing

NOTE: Because of the Theme tie, we allowed everyone to pick either Theme. Using both was optional. To keep things simple, there will still only be one Theme category. Every category in Ludum Dare voting is an opinion, so you’re welcome to rate them as you see fit. But we encourage you to be fair in your scores to people that chose only one Theme, and not both.

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Family Board Game Night: The Board Game

by monika - Jam Entry

A Board Game for 5ish players - you didn't look at the box to closely, but it was on sale, and you think you can probably beat your sister at it if you fudge the dice a bit.

Your family recently started playing board games together, you see. At first, it was an attempt to bond, but it quickly got out of control. No one can ever agree on what to play, fights break out over what the instructions mean, and someone even accused the dog of being a spy. (The dog had a blue card, but all he understood was that people were yelling.)

So this game, Family Board Game Night: The Board Game, is yet another weapon in your arsenal to claw your way to the top of the happiness leaderboard, leaving your family crying in the dust in the living room.


So we did it, we made a board game. There are 25 whole games-within-a-game (even before recursion), each with its own completely original, never-seen-before mechanics, and over 120 Action, Chaos, Trait, and Schedule Conflict cards. There are rules, created with the rule-skimming rapid-fire board game player you are playing as in mind.

In addition to the printouts, you need about 5 people, as many standard 6-sided dice as you can find, some pencils, and some tokens to keep track of your scores. Buttons work. Coins work too, and might just come in handy some day. If you have them, those mini post-it strips will make your life easier too.

We think a full game might take 1 to 2 hours to play, but we haven't gotten to test out some of the new, faster rules yet, so no guarantees either way.


Most game-breaking errata, balance issues, and things I forgot:

- Adults start the game with half their income. (eg. An adult gets $30 a week - start with $15.) Kids start with no money.
- "Event cards" were the old name for "Action" and "Chaos" Cards but a few instances of the old name still exist. For a Heated Game, everyone draws an Action Card and plays an Action Card (doesn't have to be the same one), and the whole table plays a Chaos Card.
- For a 4-person game, remove all the games that require 5 or more players from the deck before starting. Also, take 1 permanent schedule conflict and 2 schedule conflicts per week instead of 2 and 3. (Also, do this for bigger games if it seems you aren't getting enough people each day to play games. Our numbers aren't necessarily fully tested and balanced.)
- You start out with the four Basic games already, but draw additional games until you have five for the first week (to last you to shopping on Saturday).
- Easy Going might say "no more than 1 morale a week" if you downloaded this right away, but should say "no more than 2 morale a day".
- If a game has a stat name in the corner (eg. TAC, WM, CRE), add that number to your rolls even if it doesn't explicitly state to do so. If it lists two and doesn't specify how to choose, it's player's choice which to use.

(We have more ideas on the way, but I wanted to keep that to fixes equivalent to the kinds of bugs I'd be allowed to fix in a video game.)

If you are playing and find yourself making changes like this, and find house rules that work better for you, let me know! They might become real rules!

Oh, and we've found the easiest way to pick which pre-generated stat block to use is, if you have one, to use a d% (two ten-sided dice - one for each digit from 0 to 99), because there are exactly 99 of them.

Edit: With literally hours left to go in scoring, I've finished a port to browser. Sorry it took so long, but ::handwave:: holidays and family.


Oh, if anyone in Seattle wants to play it on a real board, we can arrange that.

I made this! Also,
Devin Helmgren: Co-designer -Or- Lead Recursion Designer.

Downloads and Links




mr. a says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:06am

Hah. Odds of me playing this are slim, and I suspect it's vastly more fun to read the rules than play, but if one enjoys cynicism and parody then they are well worth reading. It's an acerbic humor essay in board-game format.

utoxin says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 5:19am

Impressed that you made a board game, but I'm not going to have anyone or any time to really try it out with. Kudos though!

Zarkith says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:17pm

Sweet! I'm not the only person to make a tabletop entry! :D

Do you mind if I port this into Tabletop Simulator so I can try it with a full lobby of 5?

monika says ...
Dec 15, 2015 @ 9:56pm

@Zarkith That would be amazing! I sent you a tweet. Curious about the process.

Skywilly says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 8:21am

Tabletop Rising ! This Ludum Dare is full of this kind of game. Like it !

psychomonster says ...
Dec 16, 2015 @ 12:18pm

I like people who love playing board games... Creating a tabletop game is even cool. +1 for hand crafted games!

Dec 17, 2015 @ 5:18am

Interesting way to tackle Ludum Dare.

Tuism says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 6:06am

Kudos for going the boardgame route :) I doubt you'll get any plays but kudos nonetheless.

And... Has nothing to do with the theme?

Going through the rules and the cards it seems to be utterly unstrategic and completely luck reliant. So if I wanted to spend two hours seeing how lucky I am I would play something like... Actually I don't :/

If you would like to get further feedback on this from a more appropriate audience, I suggest posting this to's forums, there's a game design forum there and the people are awesome :)

fafastudio says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 7:59am

Too bad, i haven't any family to play with :'(

monika says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 8:06am

@tuism - your board game collection starts at 4 boring games and can grow to up to 25 games. (We were also thinking about taking a picture with people using literal buttons as trackers for morale and current week.)

As for strategy, it's mostly in picking what you want to do throughout the week. Because you can see everyone's schedule at the beginning of the week before you claim days to DM, and because games are claimed by DMs on a first-come-first-serve basis, you can force family members to miss games they would benefit the most from and get stuck playing games they hate.

(And for the in-universe games, any game with "TAC" and "WM" in the corner is a strategy game, since it benefits from both tactical thinking and the ability to keep lots of things in mind.)

Anyway, thanks for the feedback!

Solifuge says ...
Dec 17, 2015 @ 10:41am

I'll try to tackle this when boardgame-loving family are over for the Holidays. I'll withhold judging until then. >_o

Thanks for taking a risk and trying something different here, and sorry for any toxic feedback you get because of it. Looking forward to checking it out!

Cosmic5 says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:24pm

This looks awesome! I might try to play this with my dad

OrangeeZ says ...
Dec 18, 2015 @ 12:26pm

"If you can't run this Entry, please leave a comment saying so and explaining why. Do not score unrunnable entries."

Dec 20, 2015 @ 7:47pm

I have to give it to you... it's pretty ambitious to make a board game for LD. I've been in the past 6 compos, and not once have I seen a board game. I might never get a chance to play it so I rated it fairly based on the idea of the game. Well done! :)

zulman says ...
Dec 22, 2015 @ 8:22pm

Keep going, more board games on LD!

Jan 4, 2016 @ 10:43pm

I think the inclusion of a solitaire mode of some sort would help greatly in terms of getting people to play it.

This is actually very funny, even if it's borderline impossible to get five players to sit down and play through it.

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