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Author Topic: Four Flowers Game  (Read 4520 times)
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Rookie Brownbark
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« on: 13 October 2009, 01:34:40 »

Random inspiration whilst trying to find a way to coin the phrase "Brownie Points" :P

Last minute alterations post blarrow (grammar/wording only I promise!)

Game Name
“Four Flower Game”, “Four Seasons”, “The Milkengrad Game”

Overview
This strategy board game is a favourite among the Milken Brownies of Milkengrad in Southern Sarvonia.  Young and old alike enjoy the mental stimulation and compete to win special little point tokens from each other. Having lots of “points” is a considered a sign of intelligence, as the game requires a good deal of skill and tactical planning to win.

History
The Four Flower Game is thought to originate from when the Milken Brownies were tending to the Artapherana trees, the trees that were planted on a hill in the centre of what would become Milkengrad. The tale goes that they invented it to pass the time in the evenings and to teach the younger Brownies about the different types of flowers and what seasons they bloom in.  In truth, no-one really knows who invented it or when, it has been part of their culture for so long.

As the Milken ceased to be simply gardeners, and spread out into homes all over the city, they took the game with them as a fond reminder of their past.  They are very aware that their tribe’s culture is a mesh of several different influences, and this game represents something uniquely Milken.  Despite this feeling, the game has spread to the other inhabitants of Milkengrad, and then via traders and other visitors all over Mid-Santharia.  However, it is only really common among the Milken Brownies in Milkengrad.

Diagram
(see crappy attempt attached to this post)

Equipment
Two sets of playing pieces, one for each player.  Most Milken Brownies will own their own set of pieces, often beautifully carved and much treasured.
A four-sided die, each side representing one season.  These are normally carved like the tokens, and are almost as precious to the players.
Space to mark out the board, and something to mark it out with.  Some Brownies have pre-made boards, carved from wood or painted onto material, but it’s more common to simply mark the board out on whatever is handy, as the tokens can be carried around in a small pouch.
Point tokens.  These are smaller than the main playing pieces and can be of any material with any design at all, although they are always beautifully decorated with intricate carvings and repeating patterns.  Due to their tiny size this makes them extremely hard to produce, and very expensive.   When the game is finished, the winner takes one point from the loser. They are mainly used among serious Milken players who play many games against a variety of opponents, and having lots of them is the mark of a skilled player.  As the game requires a lot of logic and tactical movement, the points have also become a sign of intelligence.  Point tokens are also traditionally given as a reward to students who have performed well in their studies, although each set of playing pieces usually comes with a couple to start the Brownie off.

Game Setup
Each player places their four flower tokens in the garden area nearest them (the orangey areas on the board depicted), and their four weed tokens on any of the squares on the first row (green on our example).  The order is completely up to the player.  

To determine who will go first, both players roll the dice.  Earliest season wins and goes first.  The player can begin with any token.

Rules
The aim of the game is to get all your flower pieces from the garden area nearest you to the one at the other side of the board.  Players take turns to move their tokens.  The pieces have to move in specific ways (see below), and each has a maximum number of squares they can move.  They can move fewer squares than this if the player so desires, but only one piece can be moved per move.  Unless mentioned otherwise in the token’s movement instructions, pieces can move in any direction and can even change direction during their move, as long as they don’t go back on themselves or jump over other pieces.

There are four flower pieces, each one of which represents a certain season:

The Cerubell Flower is the spring flower.  It can move one square per move in any direction; diagonally, horizontally or vertically.

The Sunflower is famous for brightening a summer garden.  This piece can move up to three squares per turn, but only diagonally.

The Evening Princess’s scent fills the autumn nights.  It can move up to two squares in any direction but it must change direction during the turn, it cannot just move in a straight line.

The Dragonbells Bush may not flower in winter, but its beautiful heart-shaped leaves are the star of the garden in the colder months.  This token can move two squares in any direction, or three if it jumps another token during its movement.

The players also get four weed tokens each, all of which are the same and can move in the same way.

Weeds can move up to four squares per turn, although only vertically or horizontally, not diagonally.  

If your token ends its move on the same square as one of your opponent’s tokens, you can attempt to kill off their plant.  Killing off a flower token will send it back to its starting square, whilst killing a weed will remove it from the board entirely.  The defending player (the one whose token has just been landed on) throws the season dice.  If the season is the one in which their flower is in bloom, they kill off the attacker’s plant, and it is either returned to its starting place or removed from the board accordingly.   If not, then the attacking plant wins, and the defender’s token is killed.  Weeds have no favourite season, so if the defending plant is a weed then there is no need to throw the dice, as the attacker automatically wins.  The same is true if both tokens are the same type of plant.

Variations
The game described here is the traditional version, which probably accounts for it being the most popular one too.  It can be simplified if necessary by removing the season die, and making all the flowers simply “flower” tokens. However, serious Milken players often introduce extra rules, playing with extra pieces which can be substituted for “weed” tokens.  Like the weed tokens, these do not need to get to any particular place on the board in order to win the game, and, if killed, they will be removed from the board permanently.

The Corbie can move any number of squares in any direction in a straight line, but can only be used once every three turns.  It attacks flowers in the same way as other pieces, but it cannot attack weeds, nor flowers if a weed token is within three squares of them.  Flower tokens cannot kill it, but weed tokens can.  Using the corbie forces the player to think about moving their pieces in formation, rather than concentrating on individual tokens.

The Worm loosens the soil around your flower’s roots, making it easier for them to grow a great root system quickly.  If the worm is in an adjacent square to a flower token, that flower is safe from plant attack, although not from crows. The worm itself can only be killed by corbies, and can only move one square per turn in any direction.

You can also play with safe squares.  You mark a certain number of squares on which the pieces are safe from attack.  These are more commonly known as “fertilised” squares.

Myth/Lore

As mentioned before, the point tokens that are taken as prizes from the loser of this game have become so synonymous with intelligence that they are also given as prizes for scholarly achievement.  This has lead to the phrase “to get Brownie Points”, common among all Milkengradians; meaning “to get credit for doing good work”.
« Last Edit: 12 December 2009, 21:43:04 by Artimidor Federkiel » Logged

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Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang
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« Reply #1 on: 13 October 2009, 06:45:26 »

Hi Rookie!

I love this game. It’s beautifully imagined, and actually sounds like something I might like to try playing. And what a clever idea to give the seasons and the flowers meaning for the game! It’s just lovely all around.

Comments, mutterings and praises in orange, straightforward typo corrections and stylistic suggestions in limegreen.


Game Name
“Four Flower Game”, “Four Seasons”, “The Milkengrad Game”

Overview
This strategy board game is a favourite among the Milken Brownies of Milkengrad in Southern Sarvonia.  Young and old alike enjoy the mental stimulation (add comma) and compete to win special little point tokens from each other. Having lots of “points” is a considered a sign of intelligence, as the game requires a good deal of skill and tactical planning to win.

History
The Four Flower Game is thought to originate from when the Milken Brownies were tending to the Artapherana trees, the trees that were planted on a hill in the centre of what would become Milkengrad. The tale goes that they invented it to pass the time in the evenings and to teach the younger Brownies about the different types of flowers and what seasons they bloom in.  In truth, no-one really knows who invented it or when, it has been part of their culture for so long.

As the Milken ceased to be simply gardeners, and spread out into homes all over the city, they took the game with them as a fond reminder of their past.  They are very aware that their tribe’s culture is a mesh of several different influences, and this game represents something uniquely Milken.  Despite this feeling, the game has spread to the other inhabitants of Milkengrad, and then via traders and other visitors all over Mid-Santharia.  However, it is only really common among the Milken Brownies in Milkengrad.

Diagram
(see crappy attempt attached to this post)

Equipment
Two sets of playing pieces, one for each player.  Most Milken Brownies will own their own set of pieces, often beautifully carved and much treasured.
A four-sided die, each side representing one season.  These are often carved like the tokens.
Space to mark out the board, and something to mark it out with.  Some Brownies have pre-made boards, carved from wood or painted onto material, but it’s more common to simply mark the board out on whatever is handy, as the tokens can be carried around in a small pouch.
Point tokens.  These are smaller than the main playing pieces and can be of any material with any design at all.   When the game is finished, the winner takes one point from the loser. They are only used among serious Milken players who play many games against many opponents, and having many is the mark of a skilled player.  As the game requires a lot of logic and tactical movement, the points have also become a sign of intelligence.  Point tokens are traditionally given as a reward to students who have performed well in their studies. (The point tokens are a splendid idea. I imagine someone who starts playing the game has, in the beginning, no Brownie points – and wins the first one when she wins her first game?

Yet I do have a concern: if the points “can be made of any material with any design at all”, wouldn’t the temptation be great to just ‘make your own’ and pretend to your friends and neighbours that you are an industrious student or a brilliant four flower game strategist?)


Game Setup
Each player places their four flower tokens in the green garden area nearest them, and their four weed tokens on any of the squares on the first row (marked as purple (?) starting squares on the diagram).  The order is completely up to the player.  

To determine who will go first, both players roll the dice.  Earliest season wins and goes first.  The player can begin with any token.

Rules
The aim of the game is to get all your flower pieces from the garden area nearest you to the one at the other side of the board.  Players take turns to move their tokens.  The pieces have to move in specific ways, and each has a maximum number of squares they can move.  They can move fewer squares than this if the player so desires, but only one piece can be moved per move.  Unless mentioned otherwise in the token’s movement instructions, pieces can move in any direction and can even change direction during their move, as long as they don’t go back on themselves.  (When pieces move, can they jump over other pieces or not? You only mention this for the dragonbells …)

There are four flower pieces, each one of which represents a certain season:

The Cerubell Flower is the spring flower.  It can move one square (either diagonally or straight [?]) per move in any direction.

The Sunflower is famous for brightening a summer garden.  This piece can move up to three squares per turn, but only diagonally.

The Evening Princess’s scent fills the autumn nights.  It can move up to two squares (either diagonally or straight [?]) but it must change direction during the turn, it cannot just move in a straight line.

Dragonbells may not flower in winter, but their beautiful heart-shaped leaves are the star of the garden in the colder months.  The Dragonbell token can move two squares in any direction, or three if it jumps another token during its movement.

The players also get four weed tokens each, all of which are the same and can move in the same way.

Weeds can move up to four squares per turn, although only vertically or horizontally, not diagonally.  

If your token ends its move on the same square as one of your opponent’s tokens, you can attempt to kill off their plant.  Killing off a flower token will send it back to its starting square, whilst killing a weed will remove it from the board entirely.  The defending player (the one whose token has just been landed on) throws the season dice.  If the season is the one in which their flower is in bloom, they kill off the attacker’s plant, and it is either returned to its starting place or removed from the board accordingly.  If not, then the attacking plant wins, and the defender’s token is killed.  Weeds have no favourite season, so if the defending plant is a weed, there is no need to throw the dice, as the attacker automatically wins.  The same is true if both tokens are the same type of plant.

Other Variations
The game described here is the traditional version, which probably accounts for it being the most popular one too.  It can be simplified if necessary by removing the season die, and making all the flowers simply “flower” tokens. However, serious Milken players often introduce extra rules instead, playing with two extra pieces which can be substituted for two of the “weed” tokens.    

The Crow can move any number of squares in any direction in a straight line, but can only be used once every three turns. (Maybe add something like: “It attacks flowers in the same way as other pieces, but it cannot attack …”) It cannot attack weeds, only flowers, and cannot destroy a flower if a weed token is within two squares of it. (Can the crow be attacked itself? I wonder whether this piece is not too powerful, actually, and would destroy the game. Have you tried playing?)

The Worm loosens the soil around your flower’s roots, making it easier for them to grow a great root system quickly.  If the worm is in an adjacent square to a flower token, that flower is safe from plant attack, although not from crows.  This token can only move one square per turn in any direction. (Can the worm be eaten by the crow? Also: I assume that crow and worm, like the weeds, don’t have to get anywhere for the player to win the game?)

You can also play with safe squares.  You mark a certain number of squares on which the pieces are safe from attack.  These are more commonly known as “fertilised” squares.

( I’d love to try and play this. Have you tried? Does it actually work as a game? Methinks it would be better if pieces couldn’t jump other pieces (the Dragonbells excepted) – maybe that’s what you intended anyway, but I wasn’t sure from the description [as I’ve noted above].)

Myth/Lore

As mentioned before, the point tokens that are taken as prizes from the loser of this game have become so synonymous with intelligence that they are also given as prizes for scholarly achievement.  This has lead to the phrase “to get Brownie Points”, common among all Milkengradians; meaning “to get credit for doing good work”. (Hehe, delightfully clever! But see my comment on the possible problem of cheating.)

… aura for adding delight to my evening …

PS: When Art loads up entries, emphases such as italicizations sometimes get lost. In the case of this entry, they’re quite important, I think. Maybe when this is blarrowed, remind Art to keep the italics of the token names.
« Last Edit: 13 October 2009, 06:57:10 by Shabakuk Zeborius Anfang » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 13 October 2009, 09:21:12 »

"Brownie Points"!     Bwaaaaahaaahaaa!  Rookie, I love you.    Can I pretty pretty please do an illustration of this?  The tokens just sound way too lovely.

I wonder if we could talk Art into replacing the  Aura Points with Brownie points (a little Flower Token for plus and a little Weed Token for negative)....

(giggles)
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« Reply #3 on: 13 October 2009, 17:58:06 »

Thanks for the love guys and +aura for the uri!  I'll get on those corrections now.  As to the idea that they might cheat and make their own Brownie Points - the idea was that these are beautifully crafted tiny little tokens and would take a master's skill to produce.  Hence they would be quite expensive and very precious, and an ideal gift for rewarding your students too.  I suppose someone *could* make them themselves, but they'd have to be a real master and people would probably know that this was their craft.  I'll pop this explanation in the text.

I don't reckon the crow would be too overpowered - the idea is that it limits the movement of the player's weed tokens, forcing them to move their pieces in formation rather than separately (because the crow can't touch a flower that's within two squares of a weed).  It gives the master players an extra dimension, an extra challenge to think about.  Maybe I'll make it within three squares rather than two.

Judy: Please please do draw the board for me, that'd be amazing!  And don't worry about the colours I've put on the sketch, they're only to make describing it easier and prevent me from having to draw on the tokens in their starting positions (I was lazy).  So basically I can change the wording to fit your drawing.  I haven't got too many preconceptions about what the tokens would look like either, apart from wooden.  Some sets would probably be painted, some with the design carved into the surface, some with both.  I imagined the "Brownie points" smaller, like tiny little coins, and intricately carved (or cast, if they were metal).  Painted, carved, bejewelled, whatever!

I'm sure I can work out some way of playing it via internet.....

Edit:  Corrections done!  I also noticed that it should be "Corbie", not crow.  If anyone has any other suggestions for extra pieces that can be added in, please chime in! :)
« Last Edit: 13 October 2009, 18:26:29 by Rookie Brownbark » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 13 October 2009, 18:34:58 »

Not sure if this goes against Brownie culture or not, but why wouldn't they use beads for the tokens and/or Brownie Points?
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« Reply #5 on: 13 October 2009, 18:42:30 »

They'd roll off the board and you'd loose them? :P  Might work for the Brownie points, as those don't necessarily have to be on the table.  Oooo....how about if they have some piece of clothing that they stitch their Brownie points onto?  With thin thread of course, so that they can pull one off and give it to their opponent if they win.  Maybe an arm band?  Or even a bracer?
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« Reply #6 on: 13 October 2009, 18:50:17 »

This game reminds me Pai Sho game in the real world. But still... I love this entry!!!  grin  thumbup
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« Reply #7 on: 13 October 2009, 19:30:29 »

Your understanding of beads must be different to mine then, Rookie. Forget I suggested it.
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« Reply #8 on: 13 October 2009, 19:41:43 »

Oh?  No....explain what you mean :)  I think of beads as cylindrical with holes through them so you can stitch them on.
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« Reply #9 on: 02 December 2009, 05:39:09 »

Here's another one that was checked and corrected, plus it's written anyway by Rookie, so that stands for quality :)

Guess only the drawing could be still improved, so if you are ok with it Rookie, I'll put it on a scroll or something as I've done before with other sketches, so that it looks more embedded into the site.

At any rate: Marked for integration!  thumbup
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« Reply #10 on: 02 December 2009, 07:01:28 »

When is next update, next weekend?

I had already quite a nice design for this, but unfortunately I couldn't safe it. Tried to use those webdings flowery symbols, but when I saved them, they became all LLLLs . I'll think of something simple tomorrow, should take not too much time.
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« Reply #11 on: 02 December 2009, 19:50:37 »

Rookie, maybe add here:

Quote
Equipment
Two sets of playing pieces, one for each player.  Most Milken Brownies will own their own set of pieces, often beautifully carved and much treasured.
how many you are getting, and that they are four flower and four weed tokens.

I think here is something wrong with the grammar:

Quote
The defending player (the one whose token has just been landed on) throws the season dice.  If the season is the one in which his flower is in bloom, it kills off the attacker’s plant, and it is either returned to its starting place or removed from the board accordingly.


I didn't have the time left (in addition to a hurting neck ;) ) to add more flowers or some ornamentation around the board itself, I might do this next year, if the picture is now ok as it is. Hope you like it, Rookie. It is more a human cheap variation, no exclusive Brownie one.
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« Reply #12 on: 03 December 2009, 02:00:37 »

Looks basically really good, a few pointers however:

- The empty space around the actual diagram should be reduced to a minimum. Because I'll have to put up a small version of the picture at the entry itself and the maximum size for this is 300 pixels width. So empty space there is wasted, as it makes the actual content of the picture smaller.

- The final version needs to be a transparent GIF (no background!), though I can do that as well.

- You might try certain filters that help blending in the picture in to the parchment. In Photoshop there's a feature which is called "Copy into each other" ("Ineinanderkopieren" in German). This merges background and layer (usually applied to a layer and you can select a pattern). Maybe you have something similar. - Another option is to give the picture borders on top some sort of "shine" (actually it's a light shadow usually, semi-bright outlines that fade out), this can also strengthen the effect that the graphic actually appears to be part of the parchment.

So I don't know what your drawing program can do, but you can try out some similar objects to get such an effect perhaps.
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« Reply #13 on: 03 December 2009, 02:11:20 »

I'll try some of those effects later.

Well, the free space was meant to be filled with a flower ornament, but suddenly it was twelve o'clock and I had to leave. I'll reduce it. Shall I add that left top corner again?

I'll save the stuff as PSD and put it on the stuff server, then you can use it as you need it, or add any effect I have not yet found.
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« Reply #14 on: 03 December 2009, 02:15:00 »

Left top corner? What's was planned in the top left corner? huh Ornaments?

Anyway, make sure that the picture looks somewhat recognizable at a with of 300 pixels.
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