Housing Crisis - Two Player Light Strategy Game (Canceled)
Housing Crisis is a simple but deeply strategic, language independent, micro game by Rack & Pinion Games
Housing Crisis - Two Player Light Strategy Game (Canceled)
Housing Crisis is a simple but deeply strategic, language independent, micro game by Rack & Pinion Games
"Housing Crisis is a two player puzzle with just enough hidden information and tactics to prevent it becoming solvable. Choosing your action can turn into an agonising decision as you weigh up the information you know versus what you don’t know. In a bigger, grander game this would cause an inordinate amount of analysis paralysis, but Housing Crisis is so small yet perfectly formed that it never leads to much downtime." Polyhedron Collider
In this exciting two player strategy game, players assume the role of overwhelmed real estate brokers trying to place lodgers into new developments without wasting space or cramming too many into one plot. The game is exceptionally easy to pick up and play, even for casual or non-gamers, yet remains highly strategic for those who like to take games a little more seriously...
The game comes in a nicely portable two-piece box - just a touch wider than Scott Almes' Harbour - and include everything needed to enjoy the game: cloth bags for lodger token drawing, printed rule booklet, score tracker and tokens, and two reversible game boards creating four different game variants.
Reversible board for the 20 space, 20 lodger, 9 plot game - with the fixed and variable number versions creating two very different gaming and strategic experiences.
Reversible board for the 25 space, 24 lodger (12 per player), 11 plot game variant, with 2 differing versions.
With 24 lodgers to 25 spaces, this larger board has one space (and therefore one full plot) unoccupied and unscored at the end of the game creating a completely different play to the standard version as, unlike the Town boards, the second/last player always has a choice of space for his final move. Because of this, the powerful 'apartment block' space might never come into play at all, so it becomes less of a forced influence on the game and more of a highly tactical segment of the city.
The score tracker includes a dual tracker for both the current game score alongside games won; it also includes a clear visual reminder of all the rules in the game in neat icon form.
The standard game tokens, numbered 1 to 5 represent the daily clients calling into your office. As an accessibility note, I ran colour-blind tests on the tokens to ensure they were all fully distinguishable and everything seems okay there (results at bottom of page). There's also same-sex couples with children, kids with single parents, etc, so if this offends you in 2017, sit and feel ashamed of yourself for a while then pledge to help balance it all out.
The instructions were praised by reviewers (which I'm jolly happy with) so I've now converted them into a full booklet for the final version. It will still include the full example game which deliberately covers most of the game aspects and strategies in a quick handy read through. Additionally, ALL BACKERS will be printed in rule book as contributors, with the varying levels of reward appropriately listed - I always like it when I get named on products I've supported.
Portable retail box and a few other bonus items to make the game more complete.
As a bonus add-on for just our Kickstarter backers, I'm going to include an officially licensed Animazombs "Laboratory Crisis" Game Board and rules, which will play in a slightly different way to the main game being on a 4x4 grid - if we push a little further past the main goal, I'll add on a punchboard with new tokens as well.
I'm an independent game creator and as such there's little in the way of reviews or marketing going on (I'm terrible at the whole marketing bit!) but I did manage to send copies of my game to some respected game reviewers, and given I have no standing in the community whatsoever, the reviews are solely based on the game, which hopefully gives you some confidence in what you see here.
Forrest from Bower's Game Corner kindly provided a preview of the first prototype version and his comments completely helped shape the final version of our game - as you can tell.
It's a very early version and there was one slight rule error in the video which I've made clearer now (mixed plots always lose points if they're less than the plot value - only a monopoly takes points when under-filling) but he suggests you "Definitely check this one out!" and of course, I'd hasten to agree...
Paco Gil from Hardhead Review was also kind enough to create a video review for us (he's also created a version in Spanish which is amazing!) He says: "I like it a lot, it's a quick game - you don't have to know many rules." and he's absolutely right.
He has one particular quote I love, and it should really appear on the box: "You need to think, you can't play as a crazy man!" - wise words indeed.
"There's some hidden depth in here, there's actually a lot of strategy in working out what the other person is liable to do and how badly that's going to stuff up your own plans..."
The rules of the game are outlined fully in the above video, and can also be downloaded from BoardGameGeek (along with a black and white printer friendly version of the game to try with your own tokens). If you're not a member of BGG I would certainly recommend signing up.
Essentially, each player takes their 10 (or 12 depending on the game variant) colour tokens and draws two random tokens keeping them secret from the other player.
Always having two to hand, players alternate placing a token on empty spaces attempting to score the most points by correctly filling the housing plots. As the game progresses, your opponents tokens become easier to guess, making strategic placement vital in order to score the most points.
There are six cardinal rules which govern how scoring is applied and the winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game when all 20 tokens have been played (or 25 on the city board).
The Score Tracker contains an icon based reminder of all the essential rules to keep things on track and help avoid rule book flicking as you play.
After a couple of games, you won't need to refer to the rules at all - but it certainly helps to have a little reminder nearby just in case.
As it currently stands, the product will primarily be shipped from the United Kingdom, and while we're still in the EU (let's not get into it here...) shipping will of course be 'EU friendly' with regard to avoiding any additional customs charges. Here's a picture for those who, like me, tend to skim-read:
As for Worldwide backers, I am looking into domestic shipping options to ensure the product doesn't travel around the World unnecessarily. If you have any suggestions for good Worldwide shipping fulfilment companies (Panda Games are manufacturing) then let me know in the comments!
Sorry, but this section is text heavy & no pictures - but if you're interested in understanding the depth of the game then this could be up your street.
So, on the face of it this game might look basic, but don't be fooled by its simplicity - there are many layers of strategy within the game alongside a careful balance of luck/hidden information. The scoring has also been meticulously calculated and tested to create a very tight game - so here are some strategic tips to get you started!
The key overarching strategy is to pay attention to what has been played by your opponent and take calculated risks based on what they could possibly have in their hand. This is even more crucial if the opponent is not 'serving' (i.e. playing off your token placement).
'Serving' is an important strategic note in Housing Crisis, and sometimes as you play you'll note your opponent is simply playing into any new 2 space plots you do and scoring points on them - if this happens, playing into a 3-space or the mansion can essentially 'break' their serve and put you on the leading foot. Given that over half the board spaces are even plots (2 or 4 space) the mansion and 3-space plots become very useful for this purpose.
Forrest Bower correctly states in his video that you'd be a fool to let someone score a monopoly on the apartment - and he's exactly right. However, on the Town board (4x5 game), the apartment is arguably the plot with the most strategy surrounding it, whether it's using it as a dumping ground for single tenants when the other player is playing the last token (to try and deliberately under-fill the plot to leave empty for the last token to be placed and force and under-occupancy score loss, or force them to waste high scoring tokens here to keep this from happening), whether it's to fill with low tokens and sacrifice a 5 or 4 piece to nab an unlikely 15 points, or just sneaking 10 points from a lucky/clever mixed plot, last token placement. In any instance, a successful score on the apartment will put you in a great scoring position, and likewise tailoring the game so that the other player makes a loss here can usually make the last token placement a game-changer.
Players have equal tokens, so it's important to note when your opponent has placed the 3,4 or 5 tokens. If they have played their 4, it means you can safely place a 2 token into a 2-space plot without them stealing the plot. It also means you can safely load a 3-space plot to 4 points with 2 tokens ready for when you draw your 4, knowing that your opponent will always now take a loss if they play there. This of course works on the flip-side, so playing a high value token too early can become a risk to players.
Players can also adopt passive or aggressive strategies which changes the game dynamic significantly - playing in your own plots, and scoring monopolies can score highly - but deliberately blocking your opponent and taking a few negative points to prevent them scoring is just as effective. Typically, new players tend to avoid losing any points in this manner - but those who learn to sacrifice the right tokens in the right place take their game to a whole new level.
These are of course strategies for the standard game - with the 5x5 City Board a whole new style of play is required in order to succeed - the apartment becomes almost non-essential and a free dumping ground, but by virtue of this can easily be overlooked and scored on by your opponent.
The variant boards also create an entirely new dimension to the games - but I'll let you enjoy working out how best to play those versions!
For those who would like a detailed run-through, here's the example game from the previous instruction book. It deliberately includes some great strategic plays and highlights many features of the game but is also played from a very passive stand-point for both players - you might play it very differently! Also note that the images show the tokens - these would of course be kept secret when playing the game.
Red starts the game drawing (2) & (1) and heads straight for a gamble by placing her (2) on a 6-plot hoping that Blue didn't draw their (4) to start.
It didn't pay off this time as Blue pulled a (4) & (3) from the bag and steals the plot for a good starting 6 points. (No commission here being a mixed plot). Red draws up another (1), so has two to hand; knowing she will not be placing the last token in this game she places it into the Apartment Block attempting to under-occupy it and hopefully cost Blue valuable points in the late-game. This strategy is worth playing, particularly as Blue has already used up a high value token to steal the opening plot. It's Blue's turn, and they've drawn a (1), Red has a (2) in waiting for their next turn.
Blue chooses to place the (1) into the Mansion plot to save the (3) for a better play later - especially as they've already used a high-token early on. Blue is 7 points ahead but Red makes her next move with confidence - placing her second (2) token into another 6-plot as Blue has already used their (4) and will not be able to steal or even gain any points from this plot now.
Blue draws their second (3) so is forced to place one down - the Apartment is probably a good place to play to ensure it doesn't become too under-occupied towards the end-game. A 6-point plot would be far too risky given that Red hasn't played any (3) tokens yet and placing in the first spot of an 8-point plot could be risky with the current tokens laid down. Red has drawn their (4) from the bag which couldn't be better right now.
Placing the (4) into her 6-point plot nets a decent 8 points (6 plot points and 2 point commission bonus for the monopoly). The score is now 8-7 and Blue draws a (2) which isn't helpful right now. Placing it in the Apartment would be wasteful as the (4) tokens have been used up, so he decides to play it into an 8-point to get some traction there. (5) comes out the bag for Red who chooses to place it on the remaining Mansion. Any other placement would be too risky given the current state of the board and tokens in the bag, so the score now sits at 13-7.
Blue draws a (1) and places it with their (2) on the 8-plot, knowing that Red cannot steal the full points having just played their (5) token. Red draws her first (3) and places it on the empty 8-plot to make inroads here - passive but perfectly good play. Blue draws a (2), Red draws her other (3).
Blue decides to play the (2) into the 8-plot with their tokens, scoring a modest 5 points as he has a better use for the (5) still in his bag for later (a monopoly still scores positively when under-occupied). Red places her (3) into her 8-plot, hoping that Blue doesn't have his remaining (2) in hand. The gamble pays off this time as Blue draws a (1), although out of a 50/50 chance Red has drawn (1) instead of her (2).
Blue cleverly places their (1) token into the Apartment block for a later move and Red decides to take a further risk, placing a (1) token on a fresh 6-plot rather than closing the book on the 8-plot and taking less points - she knows Blue is also a passive player and he's likely to try and score the Apartment block on his next turn rather than stealing less points on the 8-plot. As hoped, Blue draws the (5) and Red is left with her remaining token in the bag - the (2).
Blue places the (5) into the Apartment to take the full 10 points, which Red answers back with by closing the 8-plot and also scoring 10 points; the score is close at 23-22 and Blue takes their remaining (2).
Blue must place a token into the empty 6-plot, otherwise points will be lost on both turns, so they select the (3) and place it down. Red has to place their (1) and instead of placing it into her existing plot to score 2 points, she makes a sacrificial play, placing into the plot with the Blue (3) token losing 2 points. It wasn't a fools errand, Red knows Blue only has a (2) remaining, and by forcing his last move into her 6-plot with (1) token, he has to suffer a 3 point loss. Scoring her 2 points would have allowed Blue to score 5 points on his plot, which would have cost her the game.
Red wins with a late aggressive play at 21-19, sacrificing not only her (1) token but also her lift home from the pub...
The funding goal for this game is to simply cover the manufacturing cost of a full and decent retail box but the manufacturer has confirmed that certain upgrades can be done to make the quality a little nicer for everyone, so if things progress nicely I'll update this section appropriately. Until then, I'm just focused on getting the game funded as I have many others I want to share.
Colourblind test results as referred above - if anyone could confirm the accuracy of these I would be very grateful, as I have only managed to go by an internet based test which might not be as accurate as needed.
In the process of running this campaign, I stumbled across a hugely useful resource with regard to accessibility called "Meeple Like Us" who not only map out the accessibility landscape of board games, but also provide comprehensive accessibility teardowns of popular games such as Pandemic, Firefly (a favourite of mine), Jaipur and even X-Wing Miniatures. These teardowns fully assess whether the game can be simply taken from the shelf and played by EVERYONE.
It's a valuable resource and I cannot commend them enough for taking the time and effort for something like this - in fact, the resources have even helped me tweak a couple of things on my tokens.
Thanks for looking - if you've made it this far down, then you deserve a sneak peak at another game I'm hoping to launch if Housing Crisis is successful: it's called Railroad Gulch and draws upon my love of the Western genre! It's also had years of development, play-testing and balancing with the core idea designed around 20 years ago - I still have the original board I created which might be fun to resurrect in some form or another - although it still has a dice roll movement mechanic which I'm going to remove.
The game board prototype used in testing - plenty of fun has been enjoyed here!
Anyway, please feel free to discuss anything on this page in the comments - I'd love feedback, opinions, questions, advice, suggestions, or anything else - any help you can provide to the campaign is greatly appreciated; I've got lots of game designs stacked up which I'd love to share, with some very unique concepts, and it's now becoming a possibility thanks to platforms like this.
Also, I'd just like to finish with a little note to say thanks to the guys at PlaytestUK - they provide a great service with regard to game design and some of the sessions run helped balance and shape Housing Crisis into a better game - so if you're not aware of them and what they do, go and find out!
Risks and challenges
The only real risks and challenges facing the production of this game are factors which fall outside of my control, and if any issues do arise, they will be mitigated openly and appropriately.
Working with one of the highest regarded game manufacturers also helps to ensure a smooth product delivery.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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