Doug Lynn

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A Game for Three to Five Players

Deflector is a game of selfishness and self-preservation.  As you seek to take down your fellow players, you can defend yourself by diverting enemy attacks to your neighbors.  A careful setup, strategy, and a little bit of luck can all help you survive.

Setting Up     ..     Getting Started     ..     Playing the Game

Special Rules for Deflectors     ..     Movement Restrictions     ..      Victory Conditions

"Ricochet" Play Variant     ..     "Reflector Deflector" Play Variant

Setting Up

Doug Lynn’s Business Card Game Board is set up to work with Deflector.  The Game side of the card contains a grid divided into two boards of 100 squares each.  Each grid is built of ten rows (numbered 1-10) and ten columns (lettered A-J). 



To play, you will need at least three copies of Doug Lynn’s Business Card Game Board and a pencil with a good eraser.  (Note: You can always create your own 10 x 10 grids in the event the original cards are lost.) 


For Deflector, each player will need two different 100-square game grids.  One grid serves as the Private Grid.  Players keep this grid to themselves, using it to display any and all necessary information about their game board.  The second grid serves as the Public Grid.  This grid is displayed to all players as a reference, displaying only information uncovered over the course of gameplay.  Depending on the number of cards you have, there are a few different ways to set up the game board for play.


-         Number of Cards = Number of Players: While destruction of this precious business card is not preferred, it provides a more logical and intuitive layout for the play of Deflector than other methods.  Cut the card along its center line so as to divide the grid in two.  Retain one half of the grid to serve as your Private grid.  Place the second half of the grid on the play surface such that the top row (Row 1) faces the center.  Have all other players do the same.  Depending on the number of players, there are a number of arrangements:

   3 Players:


Each player’s grid connects to neighboring grids through its left and right sides.  Column A on your grid serves as the bridge to Column J on the grid of the player to your left.  Likewise, Column J on your grid connects to Column A on the grid of the player to your right.

























4 Players:

§         Option A – “Full Access.”  Each grid is connected through the left and right sides, as well as the top.  Column A on your grid bridges to Column J on the next grid to your left, Column J on your grid bridges to Column A on the next grid on the right, and Row 1 connects to Row 1 of the grid across from you.
























§         Option B – “Partial Access.”  The grids are arranged in a square such that all of their tops (Row 1) meet along a center line.  The connecting points on the square (one side and the top of each grid) serve as the bridge points between these grids.  NOTE: As a result of this formation, each grid will only contact two of the three opposing players’.  The extra grid can only be accessed by moving through one of the other grids.






















5 Players:

§         Option A – “Full Access.”  Grids are connected via their sides and tops.  The top half of Column A connects to the first player on the left.  The left half of Row 1 connects to the second player to the left.  The top half of Column J connects to the first player on the right.  The right half of Row 1 connects to the second player on the right.
























§         Option B – “Partial Access.”  The grids are arranged in a pentagonal formation.  Two grids connect via their sides (Column A to Column J).  From here, one grid is placed such that the top half of Column J connects with the left half of Row 1 on the left-side grid.  Similarly, the fourth grid is placed such that the top half of Column A connects with the right half of Row 1 on the right-side grid.  The final grid is placed between these two grids such that the top halves of its Columns A and J connect with the respective halves of Row 1 in the two separated grids.  NOTE: As a result of this formation, each player can only access the grids of two of the other four players.  The unconnected grids can only be accessed by moving through the other grids.













If players have a good visual sense, the above layouts can also be depicted by simply envisioning (or sketching out) the connecting points on the edge of the card.  In this case, an alternate setup option is to fold the card in half along its center line.  Stand the card on its ends so that one side faces you and one side faces the other players.  The side facing you represents your Private grid.  The side facing out still represents your grid, but serves as your Public grid.











          Number of Cards > Number of Players: If players have a greater number of cards than people, the same setup rules apply.  This simply allows you to avoid destroying my business card.

Getting Started

To begin, each player chooses the location of five Control Nodes on the game grid.  These Control Nodes are marked out only on each player’s Private grid, and they mark out the initial territory controlled by each player.


-         A Control Node covers a territorial area surrounding the node in a diamond shape

o       Including the Node at the center, this territory is an area encompassing 5 spaces horizontally, 5 spaces vertically, and 3 spaces diagonally in both directions.

-         Nodes CAN overlap each other or be placed on edges, but the territory they control is limited to the grid space.

-         A Node is marked out on a player’s private grid by a single dot.




Control Nodes represent a player’s territory.


-         Each player’s territory is represented by a different symbol.  For example, territory controlled by Player 1 may be identified with an ‘X’, Player 2, with an ‘O’.  Stars, boxes, or any chosen symbols can be used.


Additionally, each player selects the location of twenty “Deflectors” to be placed, in secret, around the game grid.  Deflectors are protective positions covering a single space each.  When hit, Deflectors divert an enemy’s attack onto a neighbor’s board.  They can be placed anywhere on a player’s grid (with the exception of on Nodes), but each one can only be used once.  Deflectors are marked out by a Slash symbol (/).

Playing the Game

Taking turns, players work to slowly expand territory and gain control of all of the opposing players’ Control Nodes.


The youngest player goes first.


The player making a move (the “Shooter”) selects a location adjacent to any territory he owns.  In doing so, the Shooter lays claim to the selected space, capturing that piece of territory.  When a space is captured, the opposing player (the “Target” player) must reveal the status of the space and mark it as one of the following:


-         “Null”, a space not covered by any Control Nodes.  The Target player simply marks this space with the Shooter's I.D. symbol.



-         “Owned”, a space within the control range of the Target player’s Control Node.  For reference, the Target player shades in this space.  Once shaded, the space is then marked with the Shooter's I.D. symbol.  



-         “Node”, a Control Node owned by the Target player.  By capturing this space, the Shooter takes possession of all of the spaces the Node controls.  HOWEVER, if that territory overlaps with that of another Node still controlled by the Target player, the Target retains control of any overlapping territory.  For reference, all spaces within range of the Node are shaded in, but only those outside of the overlap area are given an I.D. symbol.  The Target player marks the Public grid as such.



-         “Deflector”, a space covered by a Deflector.  When hit, the space is unclaimed.  Instead, the shot diverts to the corresponding space on the board of the neighboring player. 






     The direction of the deflection varies depending on the Shooter’s position relative to the Target.  A shot will divert around the table in the same direction it was fired.  Thus, if the Target player sits clockwise from the Shooter, the shot diverts from the Target board to the board of the player sitting immediately clockwise.  (NOTE: If a shot comes from directly across the table, it diverts clockwise.)  The player hit by the deflection must then reveal the status of her space and mark it as described above.  Any territory claimed goes to the original Shooter.  The impacted Deflector is removed from the board and cannot be used again.  Any impacted players mark their grids as such.


Turns as the Shooter proceed in a clockwise direction after each space is marked off appropriately.

Special Rules for Deflectors

On occasion, a shot may deflect multiple times and return to the board of the Shooter.  In this occurrence, the original Target claims the impacted space. 



If the shot deflects again from the Shooter’s board, the Shooter retains control and still gains the final impact space.  (Keep in mind that a Deflector, once used, disappears from the game board.)



Deflectors always work in the same way, even when they are not impacted directly.  Often, Deflectors will be located on territory controlled by a Node.  When a Node is captured by another player, any unused Deflectors within the captured Node's range are activated, diverting shots to neighboring boards.  The spaces those Deflectors are on will remain unclaimed, but the corresponding spaces on neighboring boards are hit.

Movement Restrictions

Each player’s first move on another player’s grid can be made anywhere that the grid contacts the grid they are moving from.  For instance, if Column A of the player’s board contacts Column J of the board he hopes to move to, he can move to any space on Column J of that board.  If the right half of Row 1 on the player’s grid contacts the left half of Row 1 on the destination grid, the player can move anywhere on the left half of Row 1.


-         This rule, however, only applies to moves made from the player’s original grid onto a new grid.  Every subsequent piece of territory claimed MUST be directly adjacent to existing territory.  Players cannot simply pick and choose spaces to claim anywhere on the grid.  Likewise, if moving through an opponent’s grid, players can only access neighboring grids through previously claimed pieces of territory.  A player must possess a piece of territory that contacts the next grid before proceeding, and she can only move from that piece of territory.


Players CANNOT reclaim territory covered by Control Nodes they own.  Any space claimed on Node territory cannot be altered until control of the Node itself changes hands.  Additionally, players cannot reclaim any spaces on their original starting grids.  To claim any of this territory, players must access the grid from an external location and work their way back in.


-         The original starting grid is the grid first mapped out by each player.  This term also applies to any grid on which a player takes possession of all five Nodes.  When all Nodes on a grid are under the control of one player, that grid is treated as the player’s original grid, meaning the starting rules again apply.  Players can move anywhere that their grid contacts another grid.  As before, all subsequent moves must be to a space directly adjacent to claimed territory.

Victory Conditions

The objective of Deflector is to be the last player standing.  A player is knocked out of the game if all Control Nodes on his original grid are claimed by the other players.  However, players can avoid elimination if they possess ALL of the Nodes on another player’s board.  Any time all Nodes on a single grid are under the control of one player, that grid is treated as the original starting point for that player until all of the Nodes are lost.


If any one player gains control of a certain number of Nodes, that player is automatically the winner.  These values are as follows:


-         10 Nodes in a 3-player game

-         13 Nodes in a 4-player game

-         15 Nodes in a 5-player game


When gameplay reaches a state in which two or more surviving players are in control of all Nodes on the board, victory goes to the player with the most Nodes.  If this value is the same, the players continue until one player claims a Node from the other.  By taking possession of this final Node, the player wins the game.

"Ricochet" Play Variant

In the “Ricochet” variant of play, Deflectors take on a different role.  Instead of sending shots directly to a neighboring board, shots move across the row on the Target’s grid.  If no objects lie along the shot’s path, it moves on to the corresponding row of the neighbor’s board.  This continues until the shot reaches either a Node or Deflector.  If a Deflector or Node lies within the path of the shot, it is hit.  When a deflected shot hits a second deflector on the Target’s own board, the direction of the shot reverses.  If a Node lies along the path, it is captured.  In the event a shot makes it all the way around the board without hitting any object, the original target space is captured.

"Reflector Deflector" Play Variant

In the “Reflector Deflector” variant, the Reflection rules from Reflector apply to Deflector.  This adds an extra element of strategy to the game and doubles the rate of territory capture.  Reflection rules are the same as in Reflector:


 After a player captures a space on the opponent’s board, the player must concede that same space on his or her own board.  For example, if Player One takes possession of grid space (F,3) on Player Two’s board, Player Two also gains possession of space (F,3) on Player One’s board.  Thus, a Shooter is selecting not only a space to claim, but a space to concede.  This 1:1 exchange of territory is a key aspect of every move.


-         The only exception to this 1:1 exchange is the capture of a Control Node.  If the Shooter claims an opponent’s Control Node, he gains access to all of the territory that Node controls.  However, upon reflection, only the space containing the Node is conceded to the Target player.  Thus, while the Shooter can earn up to 13 spaces by claiming a Node, the Target gets only one in return.

-         Be advised, however, that this situation also applies in reverse.  If the Shooter concedes a space on her own board containing a Node, the Target player claims all of the territory controlled by the Node.