Joker Bomb: Bomberman with Cards


I based this game off the classic videogame Bomberman developed by HudsonSoft in 1983 and mashed it up with a mini-game puzzle from Return to Zork, another classic game. It is tons of fun and here are the rules to play in card form.

Requires: 1 deck of cards
# of Players : 2 – 3
Playing time: 2 – 5 minutes


Remove 7, 8, 9, and 10 from a deck of cards.

Take the Jokers out – if they’re different colours, you can use them as your Bomberman. If they’re not different, one person should use a joker and the other the box for the cards. Alternatively you can use miniatures or tokens from a board game.

Shuffle the remaining cards (A to 6, Jacks, Queens, and Kings) and deal out a 5×5 grid of face down card spaces the players can move around on like a game board. This makes the battle arena.

For Two players, deal three cards to each player for their starting hand.
For Three Players, deal two cards to each player for their starting hand.

Put the rest of the cards on the side of the battlefield.


In Joker Bomb, your goal is to blow up the board and trap your opponents so they cannot play a card. As long as you’re playing cards you are in the game. You are invincible to the explosions themselves.


Your Joker starts off the board. When you play your first card you must determine where you are entering the board from. Pretend there is an extra set of spaces around the outside of the board and decide where your Joker was in those spaces and then enter the battle arena.

When it’s your turn, play a card from your hand. If it’s a number you move that many spaces in any direction, even diagonal. If it’s a face card it will explode where you’re standing. There will be more on the explosions later.


If you move, then you must move on top of cards from one adjacent card to the next one. You cannot hop over any holes in the board and players themselves are considered a hole for the sake of movement. You are encouraged to move to new locations unless you have to move back to an old location. This means if you play a six but can only move onto an “island” of one card then you just go 1-2…6! and stay on the one card. The important part is that you played a number card.

When you end your movement, flip over the card you landed on and reveal it to everyone. If it’s a number, put it into your hand. If not, then it is a bomb and it explodes! If there is any deck left, you can draw a card face down from the deck and put it in your hand.

Bombs and Explosions!

Whether you play a bomb from your hand or your step on one on the board, the bombs are treated the same. You look at your Joker and the bomb explodes the spaces next to it in a pattern based on the type of the bomb.

If you explode a Jack Bomb it explodes as an X, removing the four diagonal cards next to your Joker.

If you explode a Queen Bomb it explodes as a Plus +, removing the four orthogonally adjacent cards next to your Joker.

If you explode a King Bomb you have a choice of X or Plus.

  • X: remove all cards in the diagonals extending out to the edge of the board, ignoring holes causing mass destruction!
  • Plus: remove all cards left and right of your Joker and above and below extending out to the edge of the board, ignoring holes and dividing the arena into smaller islands!

Discard the bomb and, if there is any deck left, draw a card face down from the deck.

Reminder: The explosions don’t harm the Jokers but they limit their movement by removing the cards they can move on.

Aces Rebuild!

Aces are a special card that will allow you to bridge your way to safety. Aces allow you to both:

  • Move one space AND
  • Add up to 3 cards from the deck face down back anywhere onto the battle arena

You can do these in any order. If there is no deck, too bad! You only get to move one space.

Ending the Game

Keep playing cards and destroying the battle arena until players cannot play cards. When a player cannot play a card they must pass (i.e. because it’s a number and there are no card spaces to move to or they have no cards in their hand). If it gets back to your turn and all your opponents passed then you win the game!

Example: Joe, Sheila, and Sky are playing. Joe plays a bomb. Sheila passes. Sky passes. Joe wins.

Additional Notes

Played cards go into a discard and the deck is never reshuffled. It is supposed to run out and run out FAST!

If you play a bomb on your first turn, decide where your Joker is just off the board and trigger the bomb from there. Your Joker’s position is now decided and locked until you play your next card and move them out of there. Be careful playing a bomb on your first turn, it is easy for your opponents to quickly trap you so you cannot even enter the arena!

In a three player game, it is possible for a player that has passed to re-enter the game if one of the other players uses an Ace to build a bridge to that player’s Joker. Then if their hand has a legal card to play they can start moving again. This is handy if two beginners are playing against an expert player.

Some Variations

Ranged Attacks
Try swapping out two of the Kings for a 9 and a 10.

9’s are like Jacks except they blow up cards that are two spaces away. but do not touch the card adjacent to the Joker.

10’s are like Queens except they blow up cards that are two spaces away, but do not touch the cards adjacent to the Joker.

4-6 Players on a MEGA-Board

Use two decks and make a 7×7 board. Then you can play with up to 6 players!

Starcatcher Screenshots and Artwork


Here is some artwork and screenshots from my iPhone version of StarCatcher (taken using a PC export as I’m currently upgrading my Unity version to work with iOS 6). Above is the credits screen. You’ll notice a few alterations to make it more compelling. I’ve kept the look and feel of a painting, but for a stronger storyline I’ve added two main characters: a little alien and a little girl. The little girl discovers the alien in his small Jetsetter craft as he gets out of the crater formed by the mothership crashing into the earth. The alien is searching for energy to power the escape pods so they can fly back to the mothership. (So now instead of lighting lamps with stars, you’re powering UFO’s with “star energy”) The two characters help direct the story and where the levels go and I’m not saying anything more on that. Check out the screenshots and also play the original flash game here.

Getting out of the crater

Getting out of the crater

Getting out of the crater was the original level 1. It’s a simple question mark made out of stars to collect. It’s simple, but kind of boring. I’ve designed a more exciting hook (but have yet to implement it) where instead of starting after the crash, you’re going to start playing as the crash begins and the player will follow the mothership (trying to collect the fuel/star energy that is spraying out of it) as it careens through the sky and smashes into the Earth. This will be more like 4 levels but will be a much more exciting start to the game and will give the player a sense of importance, urgency, and excitement. Also, you’ll get to hear your commanding officer over the radio giving you tutorial orders and form a bond with that character a bit more. I prefer actual game characters giving you instructions instead of a random narrator.


The beginning of a maze

Black cloud walls need to be avoided as they destroy your stars. Zooming out is useful for seeing the whole maze, but to help navigate carefully staying zoomed in can be quite handy. Balancing looking at the map vs guiding your stars is a tough challenge.

Indie Game: The Movie

I saw Indie Game: The Movie last week with the Full Indie Group. It was very cool! A heart warming story of developers putting it all on the line and the trials they face to get their game out on the market. It was a very neat event followed by a live broadcast across Canada of a Q&A session with the Filmmakers and one of the developers from the film. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to others.

If you missed my earlier post about Indie Game: The Movie, check out the trailer post here.

Double Fine Awesomeness!

Grim Fandango Box Cover

Inspiration that brings your passion for games to life, or afterlife.

I love Tim Schafer’s work.  He’s so awesome.  Who’s Tim Schafer you say?  Why he’s the fantastic guy (along with his awesome art, programming, and other useful things Team) who brought Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle, and helped to bring in the Secret of Monkey Island.    I am proud to say that I’m a kickstarter backer of his fabulous new game from Double Fine called Adventure!  (probably a placeholder name) but it’s an Adventure! game – so why not?  Yaharr!

Day of the Tentacle

I'd give my right tentacle to work with Tim.

He was looking to raise $400,000 but – no doubt because he is so awesome and gave us such stellar adventure games that we’ve been craving his games for the past umpteen billion years! (at least I have) – he raised over $3,300,000!  My gosh that is not only so cool, but it’s also exactly what he deserves.  To know that we love his talent and style and we bloody well want adventure games to come back!

I’m so excited about his endeavour that I’m beginning my own little adventure game (I’m only a team of one at this point).  I’ve got the concept of a kid going out in the rain with his umbrella and meeting various characters (thinking talking ducks, cats, etc.) but I also just want him to muck around in puddles and such and go on an adventure in his mind.  So perhaps I’ll scrap any dialogue and make a voiceless adventure.  That would be fun (maybe have little “Whees!” when the kid jumps or “ouch!” if the kid does something wrong or something like that.)  Oh and yes, I specifically want this to be a kid so bundled up in his rain coat that the kid is whatever gender you want.  (That’s not so important to the story so I want everyone to put what they feel is important into the character themselves.)

Anyway, that’s my thoughts for now.  I love Double Fine!  I love Tim Schafer!  and I love adventure games!  whoo!!! *runs off with arms gesticulating wildly*

Mock DnD

So, I’ve been working on my latest in a series of role playing games of mine called “Mock DnD”.  This is a game all about making fun of (or mocking) Dungeons and Dragons.  I’ve gone through making fun of Traditional D&D games, LARPing, Vampire: The requiem, Goth Culture, Geek Culture, Puzzles, Mafia and Gangsters, Disco, and my latest game (Mock DnD 6) will be making fun of Board Games, Video Games, and LGBT Culture (It’s for a very specific group of friends).  I’m really excited to bring back my favourite cookie dough-wizard Mafia Crime Boss, Bauss, and bring in some new heroes!  They include Murio and Loogie: The Super Murio Duo (two dwarven adventurers),   Lunk (the grossly overweight Elven swordmaster known for his patented spinning move – people are more afraid of his big behind than his flailing sword), Noid Jackrabbit (avoid this noid, he’s a gymbunny who’s hugely buff, but is a pacifist at heart), and finally Simone the Sorceress (who looks surprisingly like a certain L. Croft with the two boob bombs she keeps in her front chest pockets), and more adventurer options abound.

Our heroes will be adventuring past snakes and ladders, through dangerous gloombas and gummy bears, and deep into the dark and mysterious dungeons where they must save Princess or pay off their debts to Bauss with their lives.

Geeking out on Game Theory

Alright, so my iPhone app has fallen a bit behind schedule because of a minor distraction.  I stumbled across a series of FREE video podcasts of Yale Lectures on Game Theory!  I thought, “Well I know I like this stuff.  I’ve seen some of it before. It should be a nice little show to watch during lunch breaks.”  Now I cannot seem to get enough!  It’s so addicting!  Everything from Prisoner’s Dilemma, to Mixed Strategies (both of which I’ve seen before), to Credible Threats and negotiations.  It’s fantastic!  They’ve done a good job at the class and I just love the material.  I must say that it also helps that there aren’t exams for me to take, but still – yummy stuff!  I eat it up like… well like great novels!  I should read more of those again…

Anyway, I highly recommend that if you haven’t checked out Yale’s free lecture series on the iTunes Store under Video podcasts then you really should!

Check it out here:

In other news, I am working on functional polish to make sure all the working bits of the iPhone game are nice and slick and easily extend-able for future updates.  Art and Music are next on the slate!

Full Indie Game Jam

This past weekend at Great Northern Way Campus I helped the Full Indie Game Development Group, led by Jake Birkett, host a 48 hour game jam!  Over 10 games were made with 31 participants (plus some of the helpers even made games or worked on personal indie projects) in the time frame of 48 hours.

I really enjoy helping out with game jams.  They’re filled with a wonderful experimental spirit and you see results fast!  I’ve helped out with 3 game Jams and participated in 2.  The theme this time was Spawning.  Some great ideas that came out this time were:

  • an Augmented Reality Game where you guide your UFO over soldiers and abduct them and turn them into aliens
  • a real-time strategy game a la Nanowars, but set in the theme of the famed book (and now TV series) “Game of Thrones”  (and don’t forget the awesome board game!)
  • MutatoMatch: a block destroyer like bejeweled except instead of trying to get sets of three you’re trying to destroy the right type of block to mutate your creature into the kind of creature that will survive on a planet

If you’re interested in more of the details of what happened during the event, you can see a news feed of events happening during the jam on the Facebook page for Full Indie.  I helped out with a lots of those posts while another helper took photos.

iPhone Game Development

So, I’ve been working on an iPhone Game in Unity lately.   I’m remaking Star Catcher (mostly because I saw an easy project and my previous iPhone Game idea – a racing game with a twist – got a bit large in scope for one person to do in a reasonable amount of time. )  I decided to make it small and doable quick.

I’m really excited and plan to be releasing it on the app Store at the end of the month (plus probably 6 more weeks after that for Apple to approve it.  So, two months away)

It should be great as I’ve added a lot more story to set the scene for Starcatcher and I am laid it out so I can have some add-ons you can purchase (extra levels, extra subplots, all sorts of stuff!)

I’ll have screenshots soon (once I’ve got some of the art done – it’s pretty ugly right now.)

The Invasion of Giant Planet-Eating Bacteria From Outer Space

Click here to play now!

Click the image to play!

Check out the 48 Hour Global Game Jam Game here. (opens in a new window)

This was created by a team of 5 over the course of the 48 hour event. Click on the crown in the game menu for detailed credits of the team involved.

We ran out of time for a tutorial so the quick tutorial I’ll give you here (we told the participants at the jam this).

1. Click to move (you can even hold the mouse button down for a continual flight)

2. Fly into the power ups that the planets release to pick them up (you’ll change colour as long as you hold the power up)

3. Use the power ups on the bacteria by flying into the bacteria.  Each one does different things!

4. Look out though!  The Bacteria are each immune to certain weapons.

5. Protect all 3 of your planets as long as possible!

Good luck!

What we would do next to make it better (these were things we had discussed, but didn’t have time to implement):

1. We were definitely looking at refining any progression in the game so people would be more comfortable with it.  To do that I would look at making the first few “waves” of enemies go through the three different enemies and weapons one by one, followed by giving the player the weapons that the enemies are immune to.  Players can do it on their own now, but making sure it’s clear early on would be a nice gift to the player.

2. Add a scoring system so that players can compare scores, keep track of their progress, and try and do better next time.

3. Refine the feedback to players.  We added a few things such as sounds and visual effect rings to let players know when they flew into bacteria, etc.  but occasional players mentioned they would like more feedback in some regard.  So making the feedback more effective would have been useful.