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Taxicab

Taxicab

Players2-4
Length60-90 mins
Equipment Requiredone standard piecepack, bag or cup, 150 tokens, optional board
DesignerMark A. Biggar
Version1.2
Version Date2004-08
License Copyright 2003, 2004 Mark A. Biggar under the GNU free doc license

Description

Operate a Taxicab in Pp City to earn more money then the other drivers in the Pp City "Best Taxi Driver" contest. This is a pick-up-and-delivery game with randomly generated passenger pick-up and destination addresses.

Following is an image of the optional board. The tiles fit in the large holes to form the city blocks and taxis move in the small squares.

http://www.ludism.org/piecepack/pix/taxi.JPG

Rules

http://www.piecepack.org/rules/Taxicab.pdf

TaxicabTextVersion

Design Notes

  1. Once I knew I wanted to write a pick-up-and-delivery game where the source and destination were tiles selected by drawing coins, I tried various movement methods. Putting all the tiles together and moving from tile to tile made for too small a board. Then I thought about spreading the tiles apart and moving inbetween the tiles.
  2. The pawns that come with my MesomorphGames 2nd edition set have a diameter that is just under a third the width of a tile. This leads directly to the board layout used in the game.
  3. At this point I decided on a taxicab game and that the tiles were the city blocks of a large city downtown.
  4. Some numbers in the game may still need tweaking: the number of spaces each taxi moves per turn and the tip refusal threshold are the most likely.

Reviews & Comments

This is my first try at an economic game. -- Mark A. Biggar

I took some inspiration from the game "London Cabbie". --Mark A. Biggar


Session report by DonKirkby

I recently played Mark Biggar's Taxicab with some friends at Drexoll Games in Vancouver. We found it an enjoyable, light game. The part I liked the best was driving my little cab around town making beep-beep and vroom-vroom noises.

The rules are easy to understand, although one of the players couldn't keep the driving and turning rules straight. We put it down to his lack of a driver's licence. We were also playing without a play mat to show the movement spaces, so perhaps that made it more difficult. We found that the tiles can get knocked about, so I recommend using a tablecloth to reduce slippage.

I have two minor complaints: the fiddle factor, and player interaction. I'll start with the fiddle factor. We had some trouble remembering to draw a new passenger when we picked one up, but I'm sure that would get better with practice. The most fiddly rule was for deciding what address a passenger is at in a city block. You roll two dice and consult a table for one of eight spaces around the block. My humble suggestion is the following rule, which we switched to halfway through the game.

To choose an address: Draw a coin from the bag and place it on the tile with the matching suit and value. Then place it on one of the eight spaces around the edge of that tile. Now roll a die and move the coin that number of spaces clockwise around the edge of the tile. If you roll an ace, move the coin one space. If you roll a null, leave it where it is. The coin could end up on any one of the eight spaces except the two spaces counter-clockwise from its starting space.

My other complaint regards player interaction. I think the game could use more. There is some, and in the final round of our game I was blocked from making my last drop off. Unfortunately the movement rules are quite strict, and the interaction is more random than strategic. My humble suggestion in this case is to allow players to break the law. (Only in the game, of course.) Perhaps a risk vs. gain mechanism like the one in Racepack would help. A player could exceed the speed limit by moving more than eight spaces and then roll a die to see if he gets caught. Subtract nine from the distance moved, and if the die roll is higher than that, he gets away with it. If not, pay a fine of the die roll times the excess movement. You could also allow other moving violations like driving on the wrong side of the road and making a U-turn in the middle of the block. Each would be worth so many points, and the die roll needs to be less than the total of all your moving violations and excess movement in the turn. I haven't had a chance to try this idea yet, so use it at your own risk.

Even with these minor complaints, it was still an enjoyable game. I plan to try it again.

-- DonKirkby 30 Jan 2004

Thank you for your session report. Even I prefer to play using the printed board. I tried a similar address selection method during game development and found that it gives too much control to the placing player, who can easily force the placement of the new passenger on the other side of a block from an approaching player's taxi. Lack of player interaction is a common complaint about most pick-up-and-delivery games (you get it a lot with train games). I had hoped that racing to pick up passengers would be sufficient. Your suggestions are very interesting, but of course would need to be playtested before added them to the game. I suggest that you play using the variant traffic jam rules. I've also thought about allowing a player to pay money to move the traffic jam as a method of adding more interaction.

-- Mark A. Biggar

Links

BGG page: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/21379


CategoryGame ThemeBusinessCategory MechanicPickUpAndDeliverCategory