Game Pitch: Handbags


Congratulations! You’ve just opened your very own daycare! To bad the other nannies on the block had the same idea. It’s up to you to use what you have in your handbag to sabotage the other daycares, while keeping your toddlers under control.

Handbags is a card game in which players play as nannies sitting toddlers. It is based off the concept of a Mary-Poppins-like nanny with a seemingly endless bag of tricks. You are in competition with the other nannies in town, and will sabotage their efforts with any means so you can be the top nanny in town. The goal of the game is to tame 3 toddlers. Players lose the game by having 3 rampant toddlers. At the start of the game players are dealt 5 cards. At the start of each players turn, they draw two cards and play two cards. Cards can be played onto any player or toddler in the game.

Each toddler has to reach a score to become tamed. If the toddler reaches +10 points, they become tamed and are removed from the game and act as a point for that player. If a toddler reaches -10 points, they become rampant and are removed from play as a point against that player. The toddler cards may be kept as a reminder of this point, but all cards attached to them are added to the discard pile to be eventually shuffled back into the deck. The same is true of tamed toddlers.

The deck is made up of three types of cards: toddlers, handbag items, and clubs. Toddler cards have the name of the toddler and any character attributes or abilities the toddler has. For example, Freddie and Teddy Hamil are twins, and are a bad influence on each other, giving them -5 each when together. Toddlers each also have a class indicated on their card. They can be Nerd, Princess, or Trickster. These classes determine effects of certain items and allow nannies to create clubs by collecting toddlers with similar interests (i.e. Chess club for Nerd toddlers).

These club cards are another one of the card types that can be drawn from the deck. Each club requires at least 2 members of that class to be in play, and they give all members of that class +4.

There is a fourth toddler subclass called Mysterious. These toddlers are a bit odd and have suspicious abilities. Alen Jetson is an alien and is immune to human illness, Melody Driftwood is a mermaid and gives all male toddlers -1, and Howard Philips is a lovecrafian beast and gives all other toddlers -3.

The other card type, Handbag items, is what the game is named for. These can include anything from a Barbie doll to the common cold and can be played on either the toddlers you are trying to tame, or can be played on the opponents toddlers to make them more unmanageable. Handbag items each have a value in the top left indicating the points they add or take from the toddler. Some are simple, and some have added effects. For example, the Kazoo is +6, but -1 to all other toddlers. There are some negative items such as the cold and chickenpox (yes, you carry that in your bag) that are contagious and spread to other toddlers if you don’t cure them.

Sometimes toddlers can become piled with cards without making it to +10 or -10. When this happens it acts as a road block in the game. No one wants to waste any more cards on that toddler, and they end up just sitting there. I devised a rule to deal with this. If a toddler has more than 6 cards attached to them, their parents are called and that toddler is removed from the game and them and their cards are added to the discard pile, to later be shuffled back into the deck. There is also an item, called the phone that you may use to remove a toddler from your care by manually calling their parents that has the same effect.

Calling the toddlers parents works the same for most of them, save for Harriet Porter and Howard Phillips. Harriet is an orphan and so her parents cannot be called, but if Howard Phillips parents are called, the game ends immediately and the player with the most tamed toddlers wins. This mechanic is still in the works, but I think it will add an interesting element to the game to have this ticking bomb that players will have to very carefully place cards on. We’ll see if it makes the final cut.

I’ve play tested the game several times now, and there’s still work to be done. The main problem during the play tests was deck size. I’m going to at least double it before play testing again. I may also make small illustrations for some of the cards if given the time.

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