Handbags Play-testing

“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.”

I made a very simple prototype early in the semester, which is exactly what I needed and proved that these cards need not be complex. Just simple playing cards with point values written is. However, some player became confused with the differences between different kinds of cards, namely those that affect toddlers, and those that are only used to affect your nanny character. I will make these cards very visually different in the final product to prevent this.


I play-tested this game three times through out the semester, adding cards and details throughout. The first first version had fewer toddlers, was missing a few elements, and did not have toddler removal. I also changed the number of cards to be drawn and played. At the start, players could draw two cards, and then play as many as they could, which quickly led to players running out of cards and not having fun, which is what this is all about.


I was cautious of the Cthulhu toddlers mechanic. This special toddler had the ability to end the game if more than 6 cards are played onto it. At first I though that would be too OP, but it was something that interested the players and added a sense of urgency to the game as soon as he was on the field. Not to mention the intrigue of having a game ending baby Cthulhu.

In the third version I added the side bars to the cards to mark their tame score. This has not been play-tested yet, but I predict it will help with game flow by making the score more visual and requiring less mental arithmetic.


The feedback from players was extremely informative and I keep getting new great ideas for cards to add to this game! Early on I added a card that is intentionally the best card in the deck, a +10 card called Kitchen Sink. Players told me they were interested in a similar one worth -10 points. I figure I will call this one The Truth About Santa.


I’m on the fence about adding art to all of the handbag cards, because I think most of them speak for themselves, but I will add character artwork for the toddlers. I’m likely going to do most of this art myself because I am an artist and would love to work in game design, and this would be a good way to get my art out there.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you keep tabs on the progress of Handbags because it will be something I will publish in the future.


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