Game Development - Adjacent Card Study


I was thinking about a game design that would be part solitaire-ish card game and a small city builder. I've played with the idea of a small grid where you place buildings, each turn being a year in the city's life, and adding up bonuses based on each card's adjacent cards. I have a game called Neighbor Solitaire that tackles this type of mechanic, but I wanted to do more with it.

One of the main challenges was how you create a small enough deck while being able to communicate the information you need on each card. What you see above is my initial take on it. The issue I ran into was that I couldn't produce a card that provided the right data without being confusing. The idea would be you have a card of a certain color and it would have extended arms of different bonus values on each side. Only if the adjacent card matches that arm do you get the bonus.

The problem is the way it is laid out makes it confusing. It's not clear the top-left green card should receive the bottom-left blue card bonus, for example.

I then thought it would be better if the player played the cards that go between the established cards to calculate points. In the example above, the player plays the cards with the triangles and the solid colored cards is your starting board. Now it's clear that adjacent colors of the same color give you points.

This is just a quick study I did over lunch. I may pursue this game for my May 2016 Patreon game. My April game is already spoken for. :)