Traffic Jammers: a Board Game Concept
First, let me thank my friends Mat and Tim, who playtested the game with me this week, providing the bulk of the feedback. The game is easily 10x more fun with their input. We do have full rules written, but I didn’t want to spill all the beans here. Additionally, as a matter of all the legal-type stuff that I so loathe but accept: this concept is printed with no license, express or implied. On with the concept!
Traffic Jammers is the game where you have to make it home first by beating, and sometimes becoming, the traffic! A turn-based card game for two to four players.
The theme of this game is rush hour traffic, in particular, leaving work and heading home. The origin and destination are not especially important, but rather the journey between is.
Race to the finish (RTTF). The game is purely about being the first one down the highway. All the mechanics affect the players’ ability to do so. It is competitive with no in-game/intentional mechanisms for cooperation among players, though some meta-gaming is theoretically possible.
Movement (and Action Points)
As a RTTF game, this is essentially the main mechanic. Move from Work to Home. Players are allotted one movement point each turn for free. Players can earn more through other mechanics, and are sometimes denied movement by other mechanics. No backwards movement is allowed, ever.
The game is played in turns, which begin with each player drawing two cards, in turn order. Players then place one of their cards face up and one face down in front of them. The player who goes first plays the top traffic card each turn. Finally, players take turns playing one card each or spending their movement point until all cards are played or passed.
At the end of each turn, “going first” is passed to the next player, as to mitigate the benefits of each position in turn order.
There are two decks of cards, driving cards and traffic cards.
Driving cards enable the player who draws them to perform certain types of movement on their turn. There are also special driving cards that cause more traffic cards to come into play. Further still, there are some driving cards that force the drawing player to steal one of another player’s cards.
Traffic cards come in two types. One type affects the board, usually by placing game bits that represent movement limitations. The other type affects the player who draws them, generally limiting movement in some way for the turn.
The game includes all the following physical artifacts with which to play out the rules.
- A game board with four highway lanes, a HOME space, and a WORK space
- Four (4) player avatar pieces, shaped as cars and colored individually
- Four (4) movement point tokens, one for each player.
- A token for denoting which player goes first on a given turn
- A deck of 16 driving cards, drawn in pairs by players each turn
- A deck of 12 traffic cards, drawn by the first player and any player that draws a specific driving card each turn
The game board consists of four (4) highway lanes, a HOME space, and a WORK space.
These lanes are where the bulk of gameplay happens. For a game with two (2) players, the rightmost two lanes are available; for three (3) the rightmost three, and so on. If a lane is not available, player pieces cannot travel in it for any reason.
Players pick which lane to start in at the beginning of the game, in the turn order for the first turn (see below). Players can normally switch between adjacent lanes using movement (see below).
The space at the end of the board is HOME, your ultimate destination. You can enter HOME from any lane with any valid movement. The first one there wins!
The space opposite of HOME is WORK, where each player starts the game. The only valid movement while on the WORK space is forward into the lane picked by the player at the start of the game.
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