Monday, February 13, 2012

Game Design: Homework Part 3 - Ultra Qix

Ultra Qix
Qix is a very old video game, the point of the game being territotiral acquisition. You control your character by moving around, all the while automatically drawing a line behind you. If you connect the edges of the line with other edges, it can form squares or other shapes that when fully connected will give you points. Our original homework long ago was to make a board game version of this, and I will detail how this board game version works. I made this with Mike Antonakes, Naeem Moosajee and Branden Schroeder.

In this particular assignment we had to change the rules to become either entirely luck based or strategy based. I opted to make it as luck based as possible. Now let`s see how the original board game worked.

The board game rules

Our board game layout

  • Board size of 10 x 10
  • 2 to 4 players (each a different color)
  • Players start on edges

  • Gain the most amount of territories to win the game
  • The game ends when all territories have been filled
  • Rules

Player take’s their turn
  • Move one position on any adjacent line
  • At end of round turn (all players went), two die (each die with the same number as the size of the board) are rolled to determine ‘Qix’ position on the board.
    • The Qix is a threat to all players, if it touches a player it forces them back to their starting position
Capturing Territories
  • Capture by closing at least 3 sides of a square on the edge
  • Player’s are able to steal others boxes


Basically in order to win, you gain the most territories, moving only one space per turn. It is entirely based on your skills and decisions in the game. You want to gain the most territory while, trying to out smart other players taking other routes around the board. There is no luck in deciding your movement.  The only luck based factor goes with the position of the Qix that might be able to make you restart if you are unlucky. This is the only luck factor.

Also the cool thing about this board game is that you can simply use graph paper and pencil so essentially you can play this game anywhere. Graph paper for the grid, pencil to present the lines of each player, erase them if needed, etc.

An example of how the gameplay looked in the board game

Ultra Qix! - The changes

The first change will be to change the size of the grid to 20 x 20 now for the other changes that are going to be made. The main change to be made will be the change of movement. Where everyone was on even ground before now we will add a lot more chance with dice rolls.

We will use a 6 sided die which designates how far you can move in your turn. This means you move at whatever pace that luck dictates. This changes the gameplay significantly, though you still make certain choices as to where exactly you will move your token.

Also the Qix position will change every player turn (instead of waiting for all players to go), so that means there is more chance it will come and land on someone to force them back to their starting position.
With these changes it makes the game much more luck based, the only slight choice you have is the direction you move you position. But for the most part it’s all luck.


The original game was much slower paced, and felt less dynamic. Moving every only once every turn was much slower than anticipated though turns did progress fast. If you got hit by the Qix by chance though, you felt much farther behind if you were hit.

On the other hand with the new rule changes, the pace was much quicker, as some players could get a big head start and move around capturing territories at a much faster rate due to dice rolls. The game ended much quicker, almost too quick. It didn’t take very long at all to fill the board because everyone had the potential to move at 6 times the speed. In order to fully accommodate the games increased pace, we changed it to 20 x 20. After that it didn’t end nearly as fast since 10 x 10 was too small. Also, if you were hit by the Qix, being reset to your respawn wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as it was with the original game since you could catch up to your original position more easily.

The original concept was to be rather simple and accessible so I didn’t want to add too many new rules to make it too complicated. This added luck factor greatly helps to change the pace of the gameplay, pretty much chance being the main factor of winning. You have a little bit of choice in the direction you might want to gain territory, but it’s all about the luck of the die roll for your movement and for the Qix coming to destroy you.

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