Homeplay – Ultimate Chicken Horse

Ultimate Chicken Horse is a multiplayer platformer that combines Chicken (a game where players confront death by pushing their limits beyond their fellow players) and Horse (a game in which a player must win 5 rounds to win the entire game) into a fun, light-hearted experience.

Users play as like-able animal characters and have one goal in mind – making it to the flag. Players who reach the flag earn a point, while the others die in the process. Each player takes a turn adding a new piece to the level before they’re given a chance to run through it. If everyone reaches the flag, no one gains points. It within in everyone’s best interest that they make the level challenging, but still possible. The pieces the players are able to place range in complexity, from simple wooden platforms to flaming tennis ball shooters, and allow for the development of crazy, Rube Goldberg Machines.

The game was created by Clever Endevour Games, a studio from Montreal, Canada, and was presented to the Steam community as a kick-starter in April of 2015. The game initially had a single player mode, however, after it’s first release, the multiplayer and party mode became so popular that the studio decided to focus all its efforts on making the multiplayer experience the best it could possible be.

Regarding it’s reception, Ultimate Chicken Horse stands out against other platforming games for it’s unique turn-based system, in which the players decide the level-design and how they want to go about experiencing the game. The gaming community, and especially the Steam Community, praise the game’s ability to bring people together for competition, while still maintaining a fun, jovial atmosphere. Critics say the game still has room for improvement and would be better if players were given a wider range of items to place on the map and if the item-placing system was friendlier to new players.

Review by the escapist

Reading Response – How to Prototype a Game in Under 7 Days

I thought the article was insightful and easy to follow. The entire process was broken down into 6 steps which very much focused on design methodologies.

  1. Setup: Rapid is a State of Mind
  2. Embrace the Possibility of Failure – it Encourages Creative Risk Taking
  3. Enforce Short Development Cycles (More Time != More Quality)
  4. Constrain Creativity to Make You Want it Even More
  5. Gather a Kickass Team and an Objective Advisor – Mindset is as Important as Talent
  6. Develop in Parallel for Maximum Splatter

The restrictions in which the team put themselves under (i.e. – not sharing code, interacting primarily at the beginning and end of the week, etc.) really surprised me. I would have expected constant collaboration to lead to great games, but often it seemed that constant collaboration led to distraction and cluttering of ideas. Additionally, the fact that they advocated for spending the least amount of time possible on the game’s system surprised me. It seems that too much time can also lead to a cluttering of ideas and inhibits for simple, sleek ideas to develop.

I thought the biggest take-away was to constantly prototype new systems and games. Worrying about the details of characters can wait for later, but developing a simple, system that works well is priority over anything – especially when it comes to developing experimental systems.


Link to Article 

Update The Classics – Monopoli

Monopoli – Make it playable in 10 minutes.

Adela Kapuścińska, Jake Bittner, LingDong Huang, Xavier Apostol


Minimal Version

The game board of monopoly is a directed graph defined by a set of vertices V, and a set of ordered pairs of vertices A. For each v in V, there exists an a in A such that a = (v,w).

Let P be the set of players. Each player P(n) is defined by the tuple (X,M) where X is the vertex the player is at, and M is the algorithm denoting the strategy of the player.

Define any state of the game as S = {R(n) | n <= |P|} where R(n) = {r0,r1,r2…} is the set of resources of the nth player.

Define a transition function d(S,v,M,RNG) = (S’,w), such that there exists a path between v and w in A.

At each turn t, for n = {1,2,…|P|}:

For P(n) = (Xn,Mn), let (S’, w) be the output of d(S,Xn,Mn,RNG). Then S = S’, Xn = w.

Let z(n) = r0*c0+r1*c1+r2*c2… where r0,r1,r2.. are in R(n) and c(n) are constants. P(n) is the winner at t if z(n) = max({z(i) | i <= |P|})

The game of monopoly can therefore described by the tuple (P,S) on a game board (A,V, d).



Today’s Monopoly games advertise themselves as “The World’s Most Popular Board Game,” but how did it get there? Leftwing feminist, Lizzie Magie, patented it in 1903 as The Landlord’s Game: as an educational tool to “demonstrate how rents enrich property owners and impoverish tenants” (Wikipedia). Through this timeline we can see the progression since that time.



From our analysis, we’ve identified five core mechanics that describe Monopoly gameplay. Firstly, the acquisition of resources. In the creator’s approach to arm players with the empowerment that comes with being a landlord, or a monopolist, the act of finding and owning resources such as money and property is an indispensable mechanic of the game. Players must have that feeling of ownership, whether it be money, property, or both. This leads to our second mechanic: conflict of interests. What happens when someone else owns the last piece of your set? What if another player’s property surrounds the property that you own? One’s ownership is not so private that it doesn’t affect another player’s strategy, or the dynamic between the two players. Another key component of that dynamic brings us to the third core mechanic: transactions between players. The transfer of resources is what drives this game and must continue throughout any iteration. Finally, we included the turn-based and chance aspects into Monopoly’s core mechanics. Part of what makes Monopoly so distinctive is player engagement even when it isn’t your turn to roll the dice. The combination of strategy and chance in anticipating how likely it is for a player to steal your property or land on it, along with Schadenfreude, or the thrill of driving your teammates to bankruptcy, is all integral to how Monopoly continues to be so successful.

However, there are poor aspects to Monopoly that users have been griping over for decades. There is a snowballing effect to the game, where given enough chance, a player can ascend to become a dominant force well above any competitor. Though this can at times help to end the game, it’s temporarily torn apart relationships given the ruthless cycle of getting more money and investing more into property and eventually taking over the board. Most notably, users complain about the length of the game. Many of us have experienced a Monopoly game over two, three, even four hours. Trying to drastically cut this time, all the while keeping the core mechanics will prove to be a difficult yet enticing challenge.


Conceptual Statement

Iteration I. (as of 9/26/17)

During research, we played the original board game within a 10-minute period, but managed only to situate ourselves across the board, with potential for strife. For comparison, we played the expedited 15-minute card version, Monopoly Deal Card Game; finding this one to be decidedly less intuitive and frankly, rather condensed in terms of gameplay elements. Ideally, we would aim for a product that would fall in between. We would hope that our 10-minute game efficiently establishes multiple conflicts of interest early on, would involve quickly settled transactions, and prolong player life for as long as the ‘snowballing’ effect wouldn’t take place.


7 Micro Games – Xavier

  • Acquaintance(s) (Min of 1 Player) – Whenever you come across an acquaintance (someone you don’t know that well, but still acknowledge by waving at them or asking how they’re doing) ignore them. When the acquaintance(s) ignores you back, you win the game, but lose any chance of getting to know them.
  • I Work Out (Min of 1 Players) – Every time someone invites you to eat out with them, tell them you can’t because you need to go to the gym (don’t actually go to the gym). You win when someone compliments your physique.
  • The Long Cross (Min of 1 Player) – While at a crosswalk, and the crossing light allows you to walk, count how many steps you take. Increase your step-count by 10 every crosswalk you use after. You lose if the crosswalk light turns to a solid red hand and you’re not yet on the sidewalk.
  • Tour Group (Min of 4 Players/2 Groups) – In a group of 2 or more, one team members must act like they’re giving the other member(s) a tour of the area. The goal is to get other people (unaware of the game) to join your tour group without explicitly telling them that you’re “giving tours”. The first team to gain 3 additional members in their tour group wins.
  • The Victor (Min of 1 Player) – When in an area filled with multiple people, look at your phone or laptop. After you feel as though your presence is established in the area, jump up excitedly and act as if you just received amazing news (i.e. – you got an A on a test, you won tickets to a concert, you got into graduate school, etc.), but don’t explicitly say what it was that happened. You win when someone congratulates you.
  • Silent Bingers (Min of 2 Players) – You and a friend, or group of friends, will binge watch a television show/movie series. While the show/movie is playing, the players are not allowed to audiate their emotions – they must emote through physical means (i.e. – facial expressions, hand movements, etc.). A player automatically loses if they emit a noise from their person. The last player playing wins.
  • Nodders (Min of 2 Players) – Make eye contact with someone you don’t know and nod your head at them in acknowledgement. If they nod back, you earn a point. The player with the most points at the end of the day wins.

Xavier Apostol

Hello, it’s Xavier!


I’m a junior studying for a BFA in Electronic Time Based Media, a minor in Media Design, and a concentration in Film/Film Studies. Although I haven’t really done anything in game design before, I’m stoked to apply what I learn here towards interactive movie experiences (or something of that sort).

My website is undergoing heavy construction, as in I’m still building it, but will hopefully be up within the month @ apostolx.com