Kymera | Designing Games for Kids

Kymera | Designing Games for Kids

I collaborated with Erin Finnegan and Kelly Rio Saxton for the second game design. We called the game Kymera and it is for 7-12 year old kids. We started by creating a concept for the game and the feel of it. We wanted to create a game where you can mash up different animal parts and create a new monster. We wanted to have a raw drawing design.

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The gameplay was developed through several play testing. We play tested in class and also with 7-12 year olds in Brooklyn Game Lab. Below you can find the final version of rules we designed for the game.

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KYMERA

Story:

Long ago and far away, there was a land of four elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. The animals who lived there were peaceful.  One day an evil curse fell upon the land, causing all the animals to battle and mutate. Now horrible monsters roam the land, with multiple heads, torsos, and feet, all in terrifying combinations called chimera. The only way to restore peace to the land is to battle your way to the other side, and accumulate enough magic to remove the curse.

Number of players: 2-4

Equipment:

  • 36 cards
    • 12 Head cards
    • 12 Body cards
    • 12 Feet/Tail cards]
  • 1 Map Template
  • 24 + 16  map tiles
  • 2 x six sided dice
  • 24 magic tokens
  • 8 plastic animal pieces to represent the players

Set-up:

Each player picks a plastic animal to represent them on the board.

Each player receives 4 map tiles (one of each element). OR random 4.

Each player randomly draws 1 card from each piles of body parts: head, torso and feet.  These cards represent the player’s starting creature.

How to Win:

Players journey across the board to the end. Whoever has the most body parts at the end wins.

The first player to reach the final hexagon ends the game, and that player receives three additional body parts.  Then all the players tally up their body parts and magic tokens.  Whoever has the highest number of body parts plus magic tokens wins.

Gameplay:

The youngest player goes first.

On your first turn, you put down a tile and move onto it.

After that, when it is your turn, you may choose to fight or move. If you are the first player to lay a tile onto a special land spot, you draw an action card to use on your turn at any point in the game.

If you choose to move: You can move to any land tile touching the one you are on, or you can place a land tile from your hand on the map and move to the new tile. Draw a new land tile so that you always have 4 land tiles.

If you choose to fight: you can fight another player or a “non-player character” (NPC) monster generated by the game.

You and another player roll dice at the same time to see which monster (theirs or the NPC monster) is stronger. Your monster’s fight power comes from rolling a die, then adding bonus points based on the land tile you are on.

Each land tile on the board is ruled by a different element: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.  Different body parts get a bonus for one of the elements.  For example, an octopus head has a Water bonus.  In Earth, Air, or Fire lands, an octopus head is worth zero bonus points. But in a water land, an octopus head is worth one additional point.

If you fight another player: you must be on the same land tile. You both roll, then add up your bonus points. The player with the higher total wins the battle and takes any one body part card from the loser. If the loser has fewer than three body parts, they draw a replacement part. The loser must stay on that tile, and the winner of the battle must move to another tile.

If you fight an NPC monster: players draw a new head, body, and foot card to create the NPC monster. Another player rolls for the NPC monster. If you have the higher total, you take a body part from the NPC monster and a magic token (any color). The other NPC monster parts go back in the body part piles. A new monster is generated for each battle, even if it beats the player. If a player is defeated by the NPC, that player neither gains nor loses anything.

Note: After you have more than three body parts, draw a matching set of parts for any NPC monster you fight.  So if you have three heads, a torso, and feet, the NPC monster also gets to draw three heads, a torso, and feet.

Magic Tokens

Magic tokens are used during the duels to boost your score. You must choose whether to use it before you battle. After you use one, it goes back in the pile.

Outcomes of Duels with Monsters

When a player wins a duel with an NPC monster, he or she takes a body part from the monster and adds it on to his or her own body.  They also get a magic token.

NPC monster is removed from that tile no matter what the outcome of the battle is.

Battle against Other Players

When two players land on the same land tile they can choose to fight or not. If they choose to fight the battle dynamic is the same as fighting against NPC monster.

At the end of the battle:

  • The winner takes one body part from the defeated player.
  • The winner has to move to an adjacent tile (either by laying down a new tile or moving to an existent one).