Ludum Dare 35 — April 15th-18th, 2016 — Theme: Shapeshift

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by arhpositive - Compo Entry

"Ejderhalar" means "Dragons" in Turkish.

In this ancient dance of the dragons, both players alter the shape and size of the five beasts they control and strike the opposing dragons with well timed attacks in order to take over the battlefield.

This is an abstract, zero luck, perfect information area control board game for 2 players. Each player controls 5 dragons which can stand up in one square or crawl all over three squares of the game board. It is critical to use your dragons' bodies to push enemy pieces off critical regions of the board, only to capture these regions yourself and win the game.

What you would need to play it:
* A chess board
* 4 markers for neutral control points
* 3 pieces each of 5 different colors of tokens for both players
- Player sides can be differentiated by the shape (rectangles vs circles) or the size (small pieces vs large pieces) of tokens.
- You can always make some temporary tokens with some paper and a few color pencils, then draw a 8x8 grid on a piece of paper to play the game. You can find one example on the 4th picture.

This is my first board game design attempt. It was a tough challenge and I believe it worked out pretty well. I playtested this game for a total of 6 games with 2 different opponents. Also, I played it against myself for 10 times or so. Games tend to last between 10 and 40 minutes.

There is no option to capture an enemy piece and the game end condition is "take control over a certain number of squares on the board", therefore there's a good chance that a game between two experienced players goes on forever. I've not had the chance to find a fix for this problem.

I know it's hard to come up with the energy to test a game jam board game, but I'd really appreciate it if you can play it at least once with a real opponent. Even if you are not able to play it, please write a comment on how you feel about the game. I promise a "play, rate and comment" in return for every comment below.

Thanks for trying Ejderhalar.

Arhan Bakan
Twitter - @arhanbakan

Edit - v1.1: "Target square" has a much better explanation. No rules were changed.
Edit - v1.2: Turkish rules were added and some tweaks were made to the English version to make some rules clearer.
Edit - v1.3: Improved wording on movement examples. Movement and target square concepts connect to each other much better now.

Edit - Gameplay Video Added! You should check out the video link to have an idea of how Ejderhalar plays out. It's a demo where I'm playing against myself just to show a couple of examples of how the game progresses. Don't forget to leave a comment after you watch the video! Thanks!

Downloads and Links




TechXSoftware says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 2:56am

I like the game, but in real life getting the amount of colours for the and matching with shapes is a bit too much. may don't worry about the colours.

MrDave says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 10:46am

As a massive fan of board games I spent quite a long time going through the rules though I will admit I didn’t get out a playing board and try the game out.

I thought the game was very clever and you have obviously put a lot of thought into it. The manual was very well written with good use of images and examples.

Some of the movement mechanics I liked a lot, it seems like the kind of game that would be easy to learn if someone showed you.

(also I liked your use of the Cosmic Encounter tokens)

FenyesJ says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:41pm


JoeManaco says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 12:51pm

Wow! Haven't played it but very cool to see real board games on Ludum Dare. Will definitely try this out with my family next weekend!

hugheth says ...
Apr 18, 2016 @ 1:31pm

Hi arhpositive,

While not able to play it yet, I've made a couple board games before, and I really like the way this has come together. It is clear from the rules that you've thought a lot about the balance of the game, which puts you above a lot of coded games given the time available. While I agree that the lack of piece removal could potentially be frustrating, there are a lot of 2 player games which handle this well (e.g. Hive), so I am confident that a stalemate could be resolved by experienced players.

I've bookmarked this to try at home :)

CryoGenesis says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 3:04pm

First board game I've seen on LD, very cool

Geckoo1337 says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 4:07pm

It's not the first board game that I have seen for a LD session, but yours is really funny. Interesting concept and a good idea. I like the initiative. I would like to see a party in live. Would you do a video? I want more ++

arhpositive says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 6:03pm

@FenyesJ, @CryoGenesis: thanks for leaving a comment, I have returned the favor. :)

@TechXSoftware: Alternatively, you can represent two sides with white and black colors but you have to use 3 pieces each of 5 different shapes for both colors. Still, I understand that it's a lot of work to find 30 suitable tokens to play the game.

@MrDave: It is easy to learn when I taught it to my friends, but some of the movement rules were still fiddly according to them. I've learned that a rulebook is very hard to write, especially if English is not your native language. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

@JoeManaco: If you try the game, please write another comment on how it plays. Someone learning this game with the rulebook and playing a proper game would be a landmark achievement for me. :)

@hugheth: Thank you for your kind comments. I think I need to play this game a lot more before I can see if stalemates are a problem. If you can try it at home, leave another comment below. These are really precious to me.

@Geckoo1337: A video is a wonderful idea. I don't have equipment to tape a good video, but I'm thinking about using a software to simulate the game on screen and I might put up a video playing against myself in my computer. However, this is not a promise.

Everyone, thank you so much. I've played all of your games and left a comment on your game pages. I'm hoping for more comments from the people who vote my game. Currently I'm at 7 comments with 13 votes and I don't think the 6 votes who are silent have played the game either. :)

tanis says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:26pm

That's the first time I see a board game there. Grats on pulling that out.

I must admit that I didn't go through to actually playing it but the rules denote that you spent a lot of time into making this.

Mekuri says ...
Apr 19, 2016 @ 7:35pm

I've heard about board games for Ludum Dare, but this is the first I've seen in the 10 Ludum Dares I've done.

Sadly I do not have the "hardware" at home to play it, but I did read through your rules, and tried to explain some of the rules to the Mrs, mainly to get a better idea of it myself (Learning by explaining other people works quite well for me)
I'd love to see a video of your game being played, to really see it at work.

I am very intrigued by this concept! Good job.

Hankenstien says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 1:43am

It looks interesting and will be trying it out this weekend

arhpositive says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 9:52am

I've now uploaded a video of the gameplay of Ejderhalar! You can find it in the Links section above!

Without reading the rules, it might be hard to understand what's going on. But you should be able to figure out if the game is something you might be interested in.

Have fun and leave a comment here if you watch the video. :)

dunin says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:46am

Just seen the video but it seems really cool game.
Love board game, and I will try it and come back to rate, promised.

Mantlair says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:08am

This comment will be in Turkish.
Şu an okuduğum kadarıyla eğlenceliye benziyor. Ekipman bulabildiğim zaman arkadaşlarımla beraber denemeyi planlıyoruz.

pythong says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 3:13pm

thanks for making the explanatio video. it would have been quite annoying to real the docs
i somehow get the feeling though that the starting playing is having an advantage

timtipgames says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 6:10pm

I read the rules and got really interested in trying the game. So I got all the stuff together to actually play it (found all I needed in some other board games that I have). I had to play against myself though which is probably a bad thing. I imagine figuring out the rules with someone else is much less error prone as you can correct each other all the time.

I failed horribly because I wasn't able to internalize the rules (partly because my cats where jumping my bag while I was sitting on the floor, partly because I had a sip of scotch during the gameplay and partly because there was more to remember than I thought when I read the rules for the first time. But I mainly blame my cats!).

I turned my cam on and filmed everything that I did, completely uncensored (it's just the board guys, no jumping cats seen in the vid) and uploaded it to youtube so you can watch it Arhan. In my experience watching someone failing to play your game teaches you much more than someone being super good at it.

I would like to mention that I intentionally did NOT watch your youtube video before I started recording (I still haven't, will do in a sec and will probably be enlightened and realize all the things I got wrong :D)
I hope you find this helpful and it will make up for not being able to see other LD participants play your game (I can at least see someone play mine on

Going to watch your vid now and hopefully will play the game again with a friend later today. Also still have to rate it when I did that.
Here is the video: :)

Kiwiboi says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 8:54pm

A boardgame on here, unique, I like it! :) Haven't tried it though so no real rating from me.. but kudos!

arhpositive says ...
Apr 20, 2016 @ 11:15pm

Everyone, thank you for your kind comments. Do return and comment again if you find the time to play the game. :)

@timtipgames: You've done an amazing thing and thanks a lot for this. In your video, the first game gets the rules about movement correct, while on the second game you do lots of mistakes. Still, this has been very insightful for me and I was able to tweak the rulebook slightly to make it v1.3 thanks to your contributions.

NarwhalMan53 says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 3:10am

I just got around to playing it with another person, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. It felt like there was a lot of depth in a seemingly simple concept, which led to a fun, easy to pick up, concept. It did definitely feel like we kept trading the same blows over and over again, but it eventually worked itself out. I really enjoyed it, and I'll definitely keep my pieces around to play more. Nice job!

arhpositive says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 7:07am

@NarwhalMan53 thanks! if you have any suggestions, i'd love to hear them.

Mantlair says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 5:40pm

It's great and much much more balanced than I expected. Really enjoyed trying the game with my friend. B)

5-6 el kadar oynadık. İlk oyunda kurallar tam oturmamıştı ama sonrasında bayağı çekişmeli/dengeli ilerledi oyun. Direkt olarak bunu test etmedik ama başlangıç oyuncusu (Kurallar pdf'indeki kare oyuncu olsun.) 4f kontrol noktasına yönelik agresif hamleler yaptığında durdurması zorlayıcı oluyor. En azından benim savunma odaklı oyun tarzım için öyle oldu. Çözüm çok basit bir şekilde savunmayı denemek yerine simetriğindeki noktaya yönelmek olabilir. Bayağı sardı gibi bizi oyun B) Tekrar geri dönüş yaparım eğer farklı birşeyler keşfedersek.

Bir de itme hamlesini yaparken diğer (Hamleye dahil olmayan.) ejderhaları duvarlar ile özdeş kabul ettik. Dikkatimden kaçmadıysa eğer, o durum özel olarak belirtilmemiş açıklamalarda. Farklı bir şey uygulanıyorsa onu da sormuş olayım.

arhpositive says ...
Apr 21, 2016 @ 7:25pm

@Mantlair (Turkish):

Çok teşekkürler yorumların için. Kurallara göre başlangıç oyuncusu, ilk turda tek bir hareket yapabiliyor. Daha sonra herkes ikişer hareket ile turlara devam ediyor. Oynadığım oyunlarda başlangıç oyuncusuna yönelik çok büyük bir avantaj hissetmedim, ama oynanış tarzınıza göre bu durum değişebilir tabii.

Senin de düşündüğün gibi, en azından en yakın üç kare için kabaca bir tehdit oluşturmak önemli çünkü rakip sizin galibiyete yakın olduğunuzu hissetmezse kendi planını daha iyi uygular hale geliyor. Her zaman bir tehdit sunarak rakibin planlarını ertelemesini sağlamak gerekiyor.

İtme esnasında diğer taşlar da duvara eşittir. Doğrudur. Öbür türlü iyice karışırdı ortalık zaten. :)

marmpa says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 9:59am

Nice game but really difficult to make it happen

Strike says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 12:08pm

First time I see a board game and I must say that it's really awesome. I'll try to gather some friends to test it. But even before that, you have all my respect. Congratulations !

Jungle says ...
Apr 22, 2016 @ 8:15pm

Just by having made ​​a board game already worth mentioning ! Very good your game , I liked the game concept.

pixelpotions says ...
Apr 25, 2016 @ 4:41pm

Really congratulations for the idea and execution.
I will always admire this kind of entry, and mainly the idea behind those! Cool!

jonnopon3000 says ...
May 7, 2016 @ 8:56am

Not the first time I've seen a board game entered for Ludum Dare, but it's the first that's tempted me to play. My girlfriend and I sat down (with all-paper pieces and game board) and studied your rules, and after a shaky start (as with any board game), we had a lot of fun! It's surprisingly deep for a physical game created in just a weekend - I just hope that we didn't trample all over the pronunciation of the name with our English accents :P

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