Game Design Journal: Façade: Update 2

I’ve started a new design based on the feedback and ideas from the first playtest.

Making the tiles smaller was the biggest change. Smaller tiles means it will be a lot harder to place other things on top so it made the most sense to get rid of the window and door cards and instead arrange those on the tiles in different permutations.

Other ideas that came out of the playest session were:

  1. Scaffolding Cards: If you can’t or don’t want to take an action on your turn you must place a scaffolding card on an available spot on your tableau. You can build above a piece of scaffolding and you can replace a scaffolding piece with a different valid piece. Any unfinished scaffolding at the end of the game count against you.
  2. Corner Pieces: You can use these to expand outwards and upwards at the same time.

You might also notice that there’s another unique piece that isn’t a building at all: a hot air balloon piece. These special pieces can be used to help fill out your tableu and grants extra points:

At the same time as the hot air balloon idea I also realized that players should receive bonus points if they fully complete their tableau (a 5×5 grid). That means I will need a minimum of 25 pieces per player and at least 100 pieces for 4 players! There can be some duplicate pieces but that is still going to be a lot of parts! Time to get back to work…

Game Design Journal: Façade: First Playtest

Had the first playtest this week and it had a lot of fun elements. The game in its current state is all about control. Windows and doors are used to denote ownership and control is determined by the patterns of framing on the façade:

Points are scored when the a roof is placed to “finish” a building. Additional points are earned by having balconies or gardens. Windows and doors don’t count towards points but are used for ownership.

Playtest Results:

In the playtest image above we can see that orange player controlled 3 tiles in the house on the right and 3 tiles for the house on the left. But they also were given +2 for having a balcony on a tile they controlled (8 points total). Blue player controlled 3 points for the house on the right and 5 points for the house on the left (8 points total). Final result = tie game!


  • It works!
  • Cards line up with eachother as intended
  • Reasonably balanced. We ended up with a tie score despite going with two very different strategies.


  • How do you resolve a tie game? No consideration given.
  • Cards feel too big… taking up too much table space. The emerging beauty of a tile placing game comes from having more tiles get placed over the course of play.
  • Area control mechanics feel antithesis to the relaxing vibe of a home building game.
  • Not a lot of fun choices.

Things to try next:

  1. Try using this prototype but with individual tableaus rather than competing over the same limited space.
  2. Create a new prototype with smaller cards or tiles and designed with a more individual experience from the beginning.

Game Design Journal: Façade: Entry Point

I’ve been pondering an idea for a card game for a long time now. Any time I go for a run passed beautiful houses it gets me thinking about how that could be turned into a fun game experience.

I started by sketching ideas of how that might look…

I sat on that for a while, ruminating and waiting until summer break. Today I came up with a basic set of cards including roof pieces, walls and decorations. I designed the cards in Adobe Illustrator and arranged them to see how they might fit together.

How does the game actually work?

Its built on controlling properties. Players take turns placing building cards that consist of wall and roof parts. Each player also has door and window cards in their color to denote the floors in a building that they own. The ownership extends to all areas that are connected. And those connections are determined by the patterns of wood that are on the façade.

Wall Patterns

The next update will hopefully be a printed version!