Tackled, The Board Game
Most of us have grown up playing many many hours of board games. When we were kids, we used spend hours playing monopoly (it was called Business then!) and Scotland Yard (when we became bigger experts of central London than cab drivers could ever be!). As we grew up, life was dominated by the likes of Scrabble and Chess. My younger sister on the other hand, disliked board games — we got nervous when she came, because all she did was throw the board and run away! This only made us love our board games even more.
We are older now and fallen in the rough characterization of ‘geeks’. We mostly do number crunching to spend our days and discuss the results in the evenings. So obviously when Ram, a summer intern (another geek) suggested, lets make a board game out all this analysis — we pounced.
Goal: Lets build a board game to make Kabaddi popular.
Race or Elimination or Cooperation or Strategy Games?
We spent a good week or two debating this. In the end, Kabaddi solved this problem. Itself a game a of strategy — where the current state of the game decides in what happens next. So Tackled had to be strategy game. How do we design rules for a good game. To do this we explored quite a few other games, but again the rules had to come from Kabaddi.
How many players? Two Player Game.
This was easy. Kabaddi is played between 2 teams and data from boardgamegeek.com shows that 2–3 player games might hit a sweet spot with our audience. We did explore a multi-player game where the teams travel across India to take ‘Panga’ against each other — however the rules did not flow well intuitively.
Rules of the Game? Kabaddesque all the way.
Two teams take on each other. Each team has 7 players on board and they take turns to raid. Now this the very unique design of Kabaddi where the game is defined by raid quantum rather than being a single continuous event. So players throw a dice to decide the number of moves they will make on the board — the chosen raider can take as many steps, touch defenders on his way. Here is the catch — even the defenders get to make as many moves to trap the raider in his zone of influence. So the raider needs to be clever about his moves and so do the defenders. If the raider or defenders get caught (based on their scores, inspired from the league performance) they need to sit on the bench, till someone from their team revives them. The player scores were carefully designed to allow to game to extend while having a consequential event often. The scores of raiders and defender can never be tied, by design.
The board is again inspired from the Kabaddi mat with two sides, a starting line for the raiders, Bonus line to get some additional points. There is also a lobby which gets activated with an action card. The action cards try to capture real events that happen on court like the coaching foul, getting injured in the middle of the raid.
Just playing the board game will make you an expert in Kabaddi rules, jargon and strategy without realising it.
Designing the Game
We got a design expert Anu on board to take our thoughts into reality. We decided to go on a rustic theme with few colors — black, white, red for the game. The board has a few cells which gives raiders/defenders advantages and incentives to go there. The player coins are wooden figures, designed by indigenous Channapatna artisans.
How does Tackled work as a game?
We have now tested Tackled with ~50 persons, some familiar with Kabaddi and some not. We have incorporated their feedback into fine tuning the rules of the game. Now to the open market!
Detailed Game Rules http://prokabaddi.messyfractals.in/en/skream-board-game/