City Planning with TumbleTown
There is a rewarding and therapeutic feeling about putting something together. Whether it be painting on canvas, playing with Lego or building a website, there is a relaxing trance that I feel when I immerse myself into these activities. Not only that but there is a sense of rewarding satisfaction that comes with completing the projects, where you can just sit back and admire the hours of work that you’ve put in. I can imagine that these are the same feelings that you would get from city planning and or building a town.
On a smaller scale compared to city planning in real life, Tumble Town, allows you to be the mayor, where you are tasked to impress the towns folk with your planning skills. I reached out to Carla of Weird Giraffe Games, to learn more about the development of this new game LIVE on Kickstarter. She provided insight on some design choices that were made during the whole design process. Learn more about the inspiration for the theme, implementation of the dice manipulation mechanic, the challenges in the development and more! Kickstarter campaign and social media details are at the bottom of the article.
About Tumble Town:
Everyone knows Tumble Town deserves to be the best town in the West — so it needs a mayor to match! The Tumble Townspeople are hosting a competition to turn the town tootin’ and boomin’! It’s up to you to impress them with your construction and planning skills!
In Tumble Town players are rolling dice, constructing buildings, and competing to make the best town in the West.
- Dice Manipulation& Engine Building: Each building you construct gives you more powers and options. Certain buildings can let you manipulate the dice, making it easier to continue constructing! Other buildings can generate dice or give extra scoring objectives.
- Spatial Puzzle: Place your constructed buildings along Main Street to create your town. The townspeople want a specific look for the town and if you meet their requirements, you’ll gain even more votes from the townspeople!
- Added Scoring Conditions: Construct the right buildings and you can gain more scoring conditions as the game progresses! These can include the size of your constructed buildings, the animals and plants near your constructed buildings, or even the types of buildings constructed by your neighbors.
Can you build the best town in the West?
What is the inspiration for the theme?
Kevin Russ, the designer of the game, came up with the concept of building with the dice one day when he was playing around with dice. He was stacking them and after looking at one of the stacks, thought it kind of looked like a building and that was the start of Tumble Town.
The stacked dice are buildings and the buildings are placed on Main Street, which has specifics where if you match the building, you can gain extra points. These are things like having the building be a certain height, having the base match a certain die color, or even just having a building at that location. You can also gain points if you have one space alleys between your buildings. Players don’t have to place their buildings on Main Street if they don’t want to, but it’s almost always better to add them to Main Street, as you can at least make a one space alleyway and get a point.
Main Street was added as an extra part to make your choice of buildings even more interesting. You might choose to draft a building plan because of the dice you currently have means it would be easy to build, the style icon gives you extra points, the power that the constructed building gets you, other scoring factors that it might have, or because it fits super well in your Main Street.
What do you think about dice manipulation? And how has it been implemented in Tumble Town?
I love dice manipulation as it puts way more player agency in games. Tumble Town has dice manipulation as the power you can get for constructing certain buildings and the mitigation allows you to construct buildings easier than you otherwise would.
The buildings that can manipulate dice in Tumble Town can do so in a variety of ways. Some buildings can add or subtract 1, add or subtract 2, flip a die, or reroll as many dice as you want once. Other buildings can change the die types or allow you to trade in specific colors of dice for different colors of dice. You also start the game with a Horse, which will allow you to add or subtract one from a die each turn.
What’s a unique mechanic in Tumble Town?
One aspect I haven’t seen in other games is the fact that some of the additional scoring conditions on the gold buildings care about the artwork on your other constructed buildings. Normally, you don’t pay attention to the extra visuals on the cards, but when you start getting points for the vultures that are on the buildings you take, they really stand out. Specific buildings care about the cacti, hitching posts, or agave plants that are on your constructed buildings.
What was your biggest challenge when developing this game?
One of the biggest challenges when developing Tumble Town was figuring out the end game condition. Originally, the end game was after a specific number of turns, but I’m not a big fan of games where you know exactly when the game will end. One of the ways we tried to end the game was when two dice mines were emptied and that was ok, but then the dice mines were removed as players couldn’t remember to use them properly. For the dice mines, you could take the die of a certain value, but you had to roll all the other dice you took, so players were confused about which dice to roll and which not to roll.
The next way the game could end was based on players taking cards from a specific row and causing that row to run out. The problem with that is that if players were inexperienced, they could cause the game to end super early without realizing what they were doing. I like the option that the game could be shorter, but only if a player is playing that specific strategy, not by accident.
What I ended up going with was the when at least two different die types ran out. This didn’t happen by random chance or without players knowing that it’ll happen. It made for some interesting decisions in the last and next to last round and gave players agency for when the game would end. It creates an interesting dynamic between players are players compete for buildings and dice supplies. Players want to get the dice of the type they need before that type runs out.
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