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Rules, Rules, Rules!

Yeah, unfortunately games need to have rules... and they have to work and not suck.  So, here's the initial rule set for The Gear Game.  At the bottom there's some alternative concepts which I think might be fun as well.

SIMPLE EXPLANATION:

Players take turns placing connecting gears in turn on a pegboard, moving towards a few scoring gears. Once you connect with thescoring gear you can turn one of the gears you control one full rotation. Count the number of times the scoring gear turns, and that's how many points you get!

FULL RULES:

Definitions

Gear Pile – the pile of available gears for players to choose from.

Pegs – The pieces which connect to the gears and the hole grid.

Player Pegs – Each peg is controlled by a single player. Player Flags placed on top of the gears identify who controls the peg.

Scoring Gear – The gears placed around the edges of the game board which allow players to score points. These gears are not controlled by any single player.

Center Gear – The center gear is the first gear placed in the game. It is not controlled by any player, and therefore once placed cannot be removed or added to. The center gear must only be placed on level 1 only.

Counter Gear – This gear is chosen each time a player attempts to score points. The counter gear must be controlled by the player or be the Center Gear (which is shared). During a scoring attempt, the counter gear must be turned one full rotation to determine the number of points scored (rotations) of the Scoring Gear.

Goal

To score the most points by turning the scoring gear the most number of times.

Turn Order

The youngest person goes first.

Starting Play

Player 1 places the scoring gear in any corner of the hex. He/she can choose any gear from the gear pile. Player 2 then can place the second Scoring Gear up to 8 holes from the first Scoring Gear. Player 3 can then place the third Scoring Gear up to 8 holes from the second Scoring Gear. Continue until each player has placed one scoring gear.

Player 1 then places the Center Gear. This gear is A SHARED GEAR which is controlled by no one and may be used by anyone as a Counter Gear for scoring. The Center Gear can not have any gears placed on top of it by any players (gears may overlap from other pegs, however).

Continued Play

Then player 2 places a peg with up to 2 gears on it. Use spacers to place a gear only on level 2. After placing a peg, the player should place a Player Flag to identify that peg as theirs. The placed gear must connect to any player controlled gears already on the board or the Center Gear.

A turn can also be used to remove up to 2 gears on a single peg. If no gears remain on the peg, the peg is also removed. Any removed gears return to the gear pile.

Scoring Points

After placing or removing a gear, a player can choose to attempt for points by turning the Scoring Gear.

Turning the scoring gear is the only way to score positive points. Each time the scoring gear is turned 1 full revolution while the Counting gear has not yet completed one full revolution, the player who is turning it receives 1 point. An incomplete revolution is rounded down (for example, turning the scoring gear 2.5 times produces 2 points). When the Counting Gear completes one full revolution, stop rotating and count points. Use the Player Flags to count gear rotations on the board.

After engaging a Scoring Gear, that gear and the corresponding peg are removed from the board. The next player in turn order then places a new Scoring Gear (chosen from the Gear Pile) up to 8 holes from the furthest Scoring Gear (or the recently scored gear, whichever is farthest) along the edge of the hex. If two gears are scored simultaneously, then the next player in turn order places an additional Scoring Gear (again, up to 8 holes from the further Scoring Gear).

End of Game

The first to 15 points wins

Alternate game ideas

The above rule set really lacks a narrative, though it's a good chess-like game.  Here's some other ideas which might make strengthen this concept's narrative and gameplay:

The Circus

Make the scoring gears small circus rides, like the Zipper or the Ferris Wheel.  Each time a ride is turned, the player gets money (ie every turn of the ride is like a someone buying a ticket to go on it).  This adds a narrative and some more interesting visual components.

SafeCracker

This changes the gameplay concept.  This would be a cooperative game, where the players are trying to open the safe door by getting the gears to align at the same time to a certain set of numbers.  Place a gear in each of the six corners, and mark 1 - 6 in each position around each gear.  At the start of the game, roll a die 6 times to get six numbers.  The players need to place gears to get all six of the corner gears to line up with those six numbers - this unlocks the safe!  You would accomplish this by getting the appropriate gear ratios between each of the six corner gears.  Because getting 6 to line up is actually really really hard, players would be rewarded for each additional gear they got to line up (2 gears, then 3 gears, etc.).  There's lots of ways to make gameplay progress, you could use cards with special actions (like "the police are coming - players cannot talk" for example), and use cards to define the game length (once all the cards have been turned over, the game is over).

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