Early Thoughts on Pecos Bill’s Tornado Rodeo


I’m gradually getting into the groove of designing and developing several card games at once, so long as they’re relatively simple mechanics with some interesting endgame scoring mechanisms. At the moment, I’ve still got this idea for a reverse-drafting game that emulates a tornado in the middle of the table, picking up debris and dropping it onto each player.

At first the idea seemed way too gruesome for my catalog, but I think I can soften it by adding a cartoonish Old West theme centered around the Pecos Bill folktale. Each player is a tornado wrangler, trying to tame tornadoes in the open plains. Collect the cows, pigs, chickens and other farm animals from the tornado, but watch out for cacti, rattlesnakes and scorpions!

Tornado Cards
I’m imagining a deck of cards that feature several cartoony animals tossed about in the whipping winds of a tornado. Along the bottom of each card is a contract, showing a specific combination of animals for which you will earn bonus points at the end of the game.

Each player begins with a tableau of cards in front of them. Everyone takes turns at the same time. On your turn, you may do one of the following:

  • Add one card from the tableau to your hand, then pass it to the right. OR
  • If your hand has at least three cards, collect your current hand of cards and set it face-down in a score pile.

If the player to your left collected cards, you’ll start with an empty hand and must do the first action noted above.

Endgame and Scoring
The game ends when one player’s tableau is empty. Scores are based on the following:

  • Majority of Cows: X per cow
  • Majority of Pigs: Y per pig
  • Majority of Chickens: Z per chicken
  • Fewest Scorpions: Y per scorpion
  • Fewest Cacti: Z per Cactus

Also score bonus points for any contracts in your score pile that are satisfied.

Next Steps
I’ll need to find an artist keen on drawing tornado-tossed farm animals. Hm!