Monthly Archives: December 2013

Monday Brews 12-30-13

Welcome to the final Monday Brews of the year! Oh what a year it’s been. Last year this blog didn’t even exist. And now I have tens of readers a day. The three of you who keep refreshing the page are awesome!

But seriously, this blog has been a lot of fun to write and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read it. I only hope that you’ve learned something about board games and beer. I’ll have a “2014 Goals” article later this week which will cover my big plans for 2014. But today is Monday, so let’s see what Boards and Barley I enjoyed in the past two weeks (I was traveling last Monday):

The Barley:

Have you ever had a smoked beer?

Alaskan Smoked Porter: I enjoyed this beer and the Paulaner while listening to bluegrass at an awesome local establishment. I think a full glass of a smoked beer is about twice as much smoked beer as I can handle. It was a pretty solid smoked beer, though.

Paulaner Salvator: I used to think I liked this beer, but I didn’t care for it during the bluegrass. I’m wondering, now, if the smoked beer beforehand wrecked my palate.

New Glarus Fat Squirrel: A local brew that was brought to a game night, this brown ale is an excellent cold weather beer.

Gray’s Bully Porter: Didn’t I mention a few weeks ago that I thought I was all Portered out? Oh well. This was also available at game night so I gave it a try. It was pretty good.

Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter: I love the name Mudpuppy. And the beer was pretty good, like the Gray’s. Unfortunately all these porters I enjoyed are all blending together and I can’t quite recall if one was better than the others.

Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter: Well, this one stands out from the other porters since it has the vanilla flavor. It also has a nice crispness to it. Or perhaps it stood out in my memory because I enjoyed it with my in-laws during our Christmas morning. Newton’s Oatmeal Stout: This homebrew of mine will sustain me over the winter. (4.2% abv)

I love the bottle label!

Fleming’s Scotch Ale: This homebrew of mine will make me tipsy over the winter. (6.6% abv)

Sierra Nevada Celebration: They love a good IPA or Pale Ale over at Sierra Nevada Brewery. But this IPA isn’t so IPA-ish. It doesn’t seem as hoppy as some of those hop-forward breweries who push the limits of the IBUs in their beer. I think I liked it, but I’m not sure I would drink it again.

Monk’s Stout DuPont: The typography on the bottle is awesome! The beer inside in interesting. Made in Blegium at Brasserie DuPont, this is the first beer I’ve had from the brewery. I think I need to try it again before I really form an opinion, but I think I liked it.

The Boards:

Too awesome to NOT make a game about them!

Sequoia Grove: This was supposed to be an entry into the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge. The premise is that you are a researcher of trees, otherwise known as a Dendrologist. Your goal in the game it to grow the largest, widest sequoia tree possible. You can add height and girth to the tree during the game. My entry worked and was playable, but wasn’t up to the high quality expected in the Dice Hate Me line of games.

Backyard Astronaut: This is my friend Adam’s entry into the 54 card challenge and it IS up to the high quality of the Dice Hate Me line of games. It is a fantastic game and I believe it has a real shot in the contest. Nicely done A-Game!

Viticulture: Other than some cards being more valuable than others I think this is a pretty enjoyable worker placement game. It won’t take the place of Stone Age, but this is definitely a game I’ll play again. I like how you have to “save” some workers for the winter phase of the game.

Qwirkle: This game has made many a showing in 2013 and I imagine it will be the same in 2014. It is easy to teach and understand. It plays quickly. And if you have the travel size you can take it just about anywhere!

Compounded: I’ll write more about this game in tomorrow’s article. Over Christmas I was able to teach this to a new player and she won the game. It is easy enough to understand, it has a lot of awesome interaction and the theme is great! If you haven’t played it I highly recommend picking up a copy.

Dam It! Redux: You can learn more about my beaver game on it’s page. I tried reducing the game for the Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge and I succeeded… sort of. I successfully reduced the game to 54 cards. The game worked and the few playtesters that I played with said it was fun. But as a designer I knew it just wasn’t quite there. So I didn’t send this in. On the upside I do think this is something that I can finalize and put for sale on The Game Crafter.

Le Havre – The Inland Port: I received this for my birthday back in August and finally got to play it. It is a very interesting game of resource management that I royally lost. I’ll probably trade this game since it doesn’t get played very often. It just seemed like it was an abstract game in the Le Havre theme.

Agricola – All Creatures Big and Small x2: This game, however, had the awesome feel of Agricola. It was tight. It was nerve wracking. It was a nice mental battle. And it has the nice elements of Agricola without the fiddly cards and the need to feed your family. I’ll be keeping this one and I hope to play it again soon.

Kingdom Builder x2: I was able to set up and play a 6 player game of Kingdom Builder. The house rule for this is to add two more kingdom boards so that it is a 2 wide by 3 high board. Since all the scoring conditions are shared there is no real disadvantage to anyone by bumping it to six players. I hope that Queen Games has a few more expansions up their sleeves for this one.

Missing 14 years worth of cards.

Ultimate Outburst: My mom got me this game for Christmas because 1) I don’t own it, and 2) it’s not like all those thinky games I have. We played it together as a family and it was actually quite fun. We played men vs women and the women won. The big downside to the game was that its from 1999 and the information on the cards reflects that.

Tenzi x20: A while back I bought Farkle Party at a thrift store but it had no dice in it. (It had jewelry). I wanted the dice for prototyping purposes. My mom bought me Tenzi because instead of just 40 dice, it is also a game. You must roll your dice so that they all come up the same value. First person to get all their dice the same wins. It was a very thoughtful gift and I am happy to have the dice for design purposes. Thanks mom!

Carcassonne – The Discovery: This is an interested take on the Carcassonne world. You only have four followers and you don’t get them back right away when something is finished. That’s because you can remove them before their thing is completed, or simply wait and never remove them. I’m not sure if I liked it so I’ll have to play it again.

Scoville: I played with my family and was able to play with “final” artwork that I had printed out. While I didn’t have all of the final artwork I had enough to realize that it’s gonna be awesome! Hopefully the art can get wrapped up so we can launch the Kickstarter campaign in January, but at this point I’m not holding my breath.

The Little Prince x2: This is one of those game I was happy to get at GenCon this year. The gameplay is awesome. However, I have no nostalgic connection with the book on which the game is based, so I would prefer a retheme. Make it about colonizing Mars or something like that.

Euphoria: The second Stonemaier Game on the list and another worker placement game. This time your workers are dice and their values matter. I’ll definitely play this again as the first play was steep with learning. Overall I thought it was fun and I think that will be the case after a second play.

Designer’s Corner:

Quantum Orcas is getting there!

I have recently been making excellent strides in the design department and I owe it all to the 54 card challenge. That challenge really lit a fire under me and I tried as hard as I could to come up with something worthy of the challenge. I now have a new mechanic that I plan to utilize to the fullest in a future game design. It may or may not be awesome, but it is at least innovative.

Also I designed a card game version of Scoville that plays quickly and has the feel of Scoville. I already have it prototyped and I’ve soloed it twice. The next step is to put it in front of my friends for their analysis. I’m really excited about it.

I also worked on Quantum Orcas. It is now a better game, which wasn’t hard to achieve. I added oceanic wormholes (think of them as eddy currents) that open up the game quite a bit. I also changed things up a bit to eliminate the All-or-Nothing nature of ties. I’m hoping to submit my friends to this one as well. This is a game I would probably put up for sale on The Game Crafter, but probably not pitch to publishers. We’ll see where it goes.

And I’ve got big plans for 2014. I’ll have an article on the 1st about my Boards & Barley goals for the year, so you can look forward to that.


There you have it… the final Monday Brews of 2013. What Boards and Barley did you enjoy over Christmas?


Holiday Gaming Guide

‘Tis the season to be jolly! Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, you can still see that this time of year is special. Winter is nearly here, snow may be on the ground where you live, and the year is about to end. As we scramble to get in as many games as we can before the end of the year we usually find that we get the privilege of gaming with friends or family that don’t normally play games.

So today I present my guide to holiday gaming. Let’s get started with the best introductory games for non-gamers!

Non-Gamer Games…

When gathering together with family for Christmas I usually like to “dumb down” the level of games that I bring along. While I think they would probably enjoy longer, heavier games I find it’s just not worth it to try and teach those types of games. So I like to bring games that are light and accessible, yet still fun to play.

The other day I sent out a tweet and asked what games people like to bring for non-gaming family members. I got a great response:

So let’s run through some of my favorites from those that people mentioned (that I have played before):

  • Have you got your ticket? All Aboard!

    Qwirkle: This is such a simple game but has such excellent tactics. I have the travel version so it’s so easy to bring along!

  • Dixit: It’s like Balderdash without the fiddlyness and with beautiful cards. Can you make up a story? Then try out this game. Plus, it can play up to 12 players so know one will be left out at your Christmas gathering!
  • Ticket to Ride: A classic gateway game renowned for simplicity and accessibility! My non-gaming sister-in-law put it on her Christmas list a few years ago. If you haven’t taught this to your non-gaming family members yet, this is the year!
  • Apples to Apples: It’s simple… play a card that you think the player will choose. While that sounds a little boring, this game is a lot of fun with family members. And it can help you learn about them. So invite your crazy uncle to play so you can learn to avoid what he likes!
  • Farmageddon: This is a fun “take-that” farming game where you scrape by to get any points you can. The theme is funny and the artwork is great. Plus, the price is ideal!
  • The Great Heartland Hauling Co.: For small box games with big strategy this one is a winner. You are a trucker utilizing a pick up and deliver mechanic. It plays quickly and has awesome wooden 18 Wheeler Meeples!
  • Hanabi: It can be infuriating! But it is so much fun. This is a hidden information game where you build fireworks. The info that is hidden are the cards in your own hand. Everyone else can see what you have except you. Work together as a team in this cooperative game to build all the fireworks!
  • Love Letter: About as quick as they come, Love Letter is a card game about winning the princess’ heart. It’s so quick and easy that it would be a crime not to play it with non-gamers.

Any of those games listed above would be good games to play with non-gamers. They are all accessible, relatively light, and all are fun to play. But if you’ve got people who want a little more strategy, here are my mid-tier recommendations for Christmas holiday gaming:

For those wanting more…

Sometimes family will want a slightly heavier game. You may have already piqued their gaming interest with one of the games listed above. So now what? Here are a few games that I think fit the “gateway” mold very well. These are games for people who want to play more and want a little more strategy.

  • How would you build a kingdom?

    Stone Age: I love teaching this game to non-gamers who want a little more. It has excellent strategy. But moreso, there is the idea of trying to do the absolute best with your tribe on every single turn. And the theme is fun.

  • Carcassonne: I would have put this in the upper list, but some people don’t always quite get the placement strategy. Fundamentally it is simple: Take a tile, Place a Tile, Put a meeple on it if you want. But there is a serious amount of fun going on here.
  • Dominion: I have had my fill of this game, but it definitely is a great one for those wanting more strategy and depth. This is the original deck-building game where each turn you can add cards to your personal deck. As the game progresses, the better cards in your deck allow you to do more and better stuff. It’s also pretty easy to teach and learn.
  • Pandemic: While I’m not huge on the cooperative thing in games, this game is greatly loved and adored my many people. You have to work together to stop the viruses from spreading and creating epidemics. The theme is pretty cool and there was recently a newly revised version out. So this might be something for those who want more.
  • Kingdom Builder: I love this game. And I love the variability with the expansions. The concept is simple, but the strategy is deep. Kingdom builder is another fun game where you try to maximize each and every turn. I highly recommend this one.
  • Bohnanza: This is a card game about planting beans. But the strategy here is pretty awesome. When should you harvest? Should you wait one more turn? Should you buy that 3rd bean field? This game involves a lot of fun decisions.

Those are some very good options for mid-tier games that you might want to try with your families. Finally, here are my gamer games that I might try to push on people this Christmas season:

The Big Dogs…

These are games that are deep, strategic, and heavier than what your family of non-gamers might be into. But if you can teach them well and quickly explain the games then they might be worth trying to get to the table.

  • Agricola: The game of farming and family growth.

    Power Grid: This can is a nice heavy game with a ton of strategy and interesting decisions. You are trying to build a power grid and supply power to the most cities. But there is a balance of overentending yourself for money or hanging back and trying to leapfrog for the win. Excellent game.

  • Anything Rosenberg: Agricola, Le Havre, Ora et Labora, Glass Road, Caverna. You can’t go wrong. These are heavy games that allow you to spend a long time sitting down with your family. But these games are intense and challenging. I recommend them.
  • Anything Feld: If you want something slightly less intense, but no less awesome, then check out games by Stefan Feld. Macao, Notre Dame, Trajan, In the Year of the Dragon, The Castles of Burgundy, Rialto, Bruges, Bora Bora. Seriously… this guy is a designer of awesomeness!
  • 7 Wonders: The learning curve is a little too steep for this to have been in the previous lists. But this game is seriously awesome. You are trying to build one of the 7 Wonders and you are trying to make yours the best! A cool card drafing mechanic is the main concept behind the game and it works really well.
  • Lords of Waterdeep: If you’ve got any Dungeons & Dragons people in your family then I recommend trying out this worker placement game with them. It’s a fantastic game that works really well.
  • Empire Builder: A classic. This game involves players drawing routes on the board with crayons. Routes allow your trains to access different cities. This is probably my favorite pick up and deliver game.

There you go. I’ve provided three different game categories for you to push on your families. After the holidays I’ll report back since I’m going to ramp up my efforts this year. And I’ll be looking forward to hearing how it went with you all! So pour yourself some egg nog, eat too much food, and play games with your family!

Monday Brews: 12-16-13

Can you smell it? No, despite copious amounts of buffalo chicken cheese dip this weekend that’s not the smell I’m thinking of. I’m referring to the smell of Christmas. My days lately are filled with the wrapping of presents, driving to see Christmas lights, and the over indulging of Christmas cookies. Yes, my house has smelled like a full-on bakery lately, which is pretty awesome.  The downside is that the Christmas season usually gets really busy so I don’t get to game as much as I would like. Never the less, I managed to enjoy a few Boards and Barley this week. Check them out:

The Barley:

Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout: I enjoy the Samuel Smith beers. The IPA is even a very drinkable IPA for a malty (non-hoppy) guy like me. Fortunately a friend had several from a specialty pack that we could enjoy. And enjoy them we did!

Chocolatey and delicious!

Rogue Chocolate Stout: This was a decent chocolate stout. I am not sure the style is my favorite, but I did enjoy drinking this one. I don’t normally buy these types of bottles because they cost more than a 6-pack. But I bought one for the Board Game Day that we had, and then proceeded to forget to bring it to Board Game Day.

Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale: I also enjoyed this offering from Samuel Smith. Delicious.

Sierra Nevada Porter: I had this porter during an awesome Christmas Party where we have a Christmas cookie contest. It went well with the ham and potatoes that were part of the meal. It also went well with some of that buffalo chicken cheese dip that I mentioned above.

Lake Louie Milk Stout: This is a solid milk stout from a local brewery. Despite that I find I am already Stouted and Portered out and I am longing for warmer weather so I can properly enjoy a lighter beer.

Uncle Zeke’s Belly Warmer Imperial Cherry Stout (Homebrew): My friend Mike is a homebrewer and offered some of this cherry stout during the Christmas cookie party. It was a very nice stout. The level of cherry in the beer was just about perfect. It was neither too cherry nor too absent. Nicely done Zeke!

The Boards:

You've gotta try Lewis & Clark! You'll get a history lesson if nothing else.

You’ve gotta try Lewis & Clark! You’ll get a history lesson if nothing else.

Lewis & Clark: I loved it! It was our first play and I thought it was a really enjoyable game. The weight didn’t feel too heavy, but the decisions you have to make get pretty intense. I loved the interesting combos you can make between your cards. I can’t wait to play this game again.

Backyard Astronaut: This is a Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge entry for my friend Adam. It played well and we were able to provide good and hopefully useful feedback. I’m looking forward to playtesting it again for him.

Farmageddon: The Honorable Grant Rodiek‘s game is pretty fun. In fact, it is my favorite “take that” game out there. On your turn there’s this immense feeling of helplessness with the crops on your own planted fields. The game is almost more about how can you prevent other players from doing awesome things. I merely try to scrape together a few measly points when they come my way. Very fun game! I recommend you pick this one up for Christmas!

Russian Railroads: I played this for the first time yesterday and really enjoyed it. I thought it worked really well and I had a dominating performance. I do have one issue with the game, which I mentioned to my friend Jeremy at the time. If players diversify and attempt all three tracks equally they will likely lose. I would almost recommend that people playing for the first time agree to eliminate one of the bottom two tracks. The bottom line for me, though, was that I really enjoyed the game and I hope to play it again soon.

Designer’s Corner:

I am pleased to announce that I came up with what I think is a really cool mechanic that I plan to use for the 54 Card Challenge. I don’t want to give anything away right now, but I plan to do so after the contest has concluded.

It has been difficult for me to participate in the challenge because it has limited me in ways that I don’t normally limit myself. When I design games I typically come up with a theme and then add mechanics to make that theme fun as a game. With this challenge all you have are cards. So I cannot just add mechanics unless they only use cards. So I have been trying to come up with a few new ways to utilize cards and I think I’ve done just that.

Now all I need is a new theme that will work well with the mechanics. And then I need to prototype it, playtest it, and send it off as my entry!


Have you been enjoying any Boards or Barley?

Monday Brews: 12-9-13

4.3 inches of snow fell overnight. But that won’t stop this from being an enjoyable recap of the games I played and the beers I savored last week. And since I was part of a Board Game Day, which my group does twice a year, I was able to play some games that I normally do not get to play.

Here are the Boards and Barley I enjoyed last week…

The Barley:

Ommegang Abbey Ale: I don’t normally buy beer in any size other than 12 ounce bottles, but I made an exception. This is an exceptional beer worth making an exception for. I was exceptionally well pleased with my making of an exception.

Tyranena’s The Devil Made Me Do It Imperial Chocolate Oatmeal Porter: So thick and creamy and rich and flavorful. So delicious! The name speaks for itself.

Hinterland Oktoberfest: If you want an oktoberfest that tastes unlike an oktoberfest, then might I recommend this one? I won’t be having this oktoberfest again. It has a really weird farm-y flavor/aftertaste.

8 Beers at once! Putting "double fisting" to shame!

8 Beers at once! Putting “double fisting” to shame!

Granite City 8 Beer Sampler: On Friday my wife and I enjoyed a meal apart from the kids. We chose Granite City since it was close to the area where we were doing some Christmas shopping. As my dinner beverage I chose the beer sampler, which came with 8 different beers. What’s nice about Granite City is they have their own craft beer. What’s not nice is that I don’t particularly enjoy any of their beers. What’s also not nice is they serve ONLY their own beer. On the upside I was able to try 8 different kinds of beer!

Sierra Nevada Porter: I’m not a huge fan of their Pale Ale, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I’m not much of a pale ale kind of guy. However, their porter was most enjoyable. I’ll definitely drink it again.

Anchor Brewing Old Foghorn Barleywine: This potent behemoth of a beverage weighs in at 9.4%abv. I had only had one other barleywine before this one and that first was was not enjoyable. But I figured I should try another. This barleywine was actually quite enjoyable. I would have preferred to have enjoyed it sitting around the fireplace enjoying a plate of Christmas cookies rather than during Board Game Day where it threatened to knock me out. It’s a beer that I will try again.

Leinenkugel’s Snow Drift Vanilla Porter: I enjoy this Wisconsin brew. I am sure there are better vanilla porters out there (I’m looking at you, Breckenridge Brewery!), but this one was a nice final beverage for Board Game Day.

The Boards:

Le Havre (iOS): I wondering if I should include iOS games in this list. My temporary conclusion is that I won’t list them anymore since I only ever play them solo and that’s not what board games are all about for me. Board games are about hanging out with friends, beating them to a pulp, and being humble in victory. And also being bitter in defeat.

Asara: This game is all about erecting structures. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Qwirkle: This may be my favorite abstract game. Though I don’t normally like to play abstracts, this one finds its way to the table quite often.

Viticulture: We played a learning game of Viticulture at Board Game Day and quit after we realized we were playing it incorrectly. The game seems like a lot of fun though and I’ll have to give it another try before I really form an opinion.

Guildhall Job Faire: I love the interaction of the cards in this game and its predecessor, Guildhall. The art doesn’t strike me as being awesome, but the gameplay works really well. Overall Guildhall and Guildhall: Job Faire are enjoyable games.

Bruges: I got Bruges to the table for the first time. We played one rule incorrectly in the first two rounds, but since everyone had done it incorrectly we simply carried on. My first impression is that this game seems to be really good. I love how you can make combos of cards to build a little engine. I love how nothing comes without a cost. There are tough decisions to make. And the best part is that this feels Feldian without being a huge point salad.

Skyline: It was cool that I showed the guys the picture of David Short on the back of the rules and could tell them that I had met and played games with David at BGG.con. Skyline is a really fun filler game that I think I will add to my Christmas list. It’s so simple, yet can be so rewarding. If you haven’t tried it, go find it at your FLGS (favorite local game store) and pick up a copy.

Toc Toc Woodman (Click Clack Lumberjack) x2: I have a love/hate relationship with Toc Toc Woodman. I love the premise. I hate how bad at it I am. We played twice during Board Game Day. The first time I ended with about -7 points. The second time I had 2 points. I won’t quite my day job to join the Toc Toc Woodman tournament circuit.

Kingdom Builder: This has been one of my favorite games in the past two years. It plays quickly. It is easy enough to teach. And since it is a game my wife will play that makes it even better. I’ve been really loving the Crossroads expansion lately. But that’s mostly because I love the cards that give you other scoring objectives.

Merchants & Marauders: This is perhaps my favorite pirate game out there. While the gameplay isn’t necessarily the best, what the game does well is immerses you into pirate-dom. I love how it seems I’m sailing around in the Caribbean trading goods or looking for someone to plunder. Unfortunately we only played a few rounds, but I still had the full experience as I was the only captain to die.

League of Six: I love Vladimir Suchy’s game Shipyard. This one wasn’t so loveable. It wasn’t a bad game by any means, but I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. That may have been due to the fact that I was hoping to play a different game about an expedition to the western portion of the country that may or may not have been launched by Thomas Jefferson, but I guess I’ll have to play that game some other time.

Designer’s Corner:

Last week I shared a design update so I don’t have much to add in this week’s Designer’s Corner. However, I did finally come up with a theme and some of the mechanics that I want to use for Dice Hate Me’s 54 Card Challenge. So I consider that major progress!


I had a pretty good week in terms of Boards and Barley. What did you enjoy last week?

Design Me: Press Your Luck

It’s been a while since I posted a Design Me article. I blame that on awesome things like Thanksgiving and BGG.con. But today I’m back with a new Design Me challenge.

As a reminder I do these Design Me articles to exercise my brain. Like soccer players exercise their bodies during practice I think it’s important that if our brain is what we use to create things, then we should exercise our brains.

Using, this is what it came up with for today’s challenge:

At least it didn't choose zombies!

At least it didn’t choose zombies!

Abra CadAlien

Abra CadAlien is a mini game for 2-4 players using only cards. The goal of the game is to cast the right spells in the right order into the sky to eliminate the aliens that are approaching Earth.

Each player is a witch or wizard with their own special book of spells, or grimoire. These are specialized player decks composed of different cards. Each card shows two different spells that can be used. During your turn you will cast a spell from one of your cards into the pool of Aliens set up on the table. Your spell will have a certain effect given the type of Alien you are facing. To determine whether or not your spell succeeded you can “drop” the rest of your cards from above the table. Each card dropped will work like a coin flip. To be successful you will need to have a greater number of “heads” or “tails” based on the spell that was cast. Some cards will be “heads” on both sides and others will be “tails” on both sides.

So the press-your-luck aspect comes in from dropping the cards while using spells. The more spells you use, the fewer cards you have to drop.


  • Alien Deck – 16 double sided cards
  • Spell Decks – 9 double sided cards per player (36 total)
  • Rulebook

Alakazam! – How to Play

Poof! I just created some artwork. The game setup includes taking 9 of the alien cards and placing them in a 3×3 grid for 2 players or 16 cards in a 4×4 grid for 3-4 players. Players are working toward eliminating the aliens. They will have to work together toward the goal, but there can be only one winner. The first person to eliminate 5 aliens in a 2p game or 6 aliens in a 3-4p game is the winner.

The idea is that you will cast spells that allow the aliens to be grouped in certain patterns. Those patterns are required for you to be able to eliminate them. The spell cards are two sided. One side is green and the other is purple in the examples below. If you cast a green spell, for it to succeed you will need to have more green sides land face up during the card drop. If you cast a purple spell, then you will need more purple sides to land face up during the drop.

Each turn you can continue to cast spells and work toward your goal on the turn as long as you keep having successful card drops. Here are two examples of spell cards that manipulate the alien cards:

You've got to get the Aliens in the right order before they can be eliminated. These cards would help.

You’ve got to get the Aliens in the right order before they can be eliminated. These cards would help. (Book icon from

There will be other cards in the player’s grimoire (deck of spell cards) that can be used to eliminate an alien once certain conditions have been met. The idea is that on your turn you may cast a manipulation spell to get aliens where you need them, and then cast an elimination spell to eliminate an alien. You can keep casting spells as long as you keep having successful card drops. If your card drop fails you must undo one of your cast spells from that turn.

The grid will be composed of aliens of different types on different color backgrounds. For simplicity this image shows two types and two colors:

The Alien grid that must be eliminated! (icons from

The Alien grid that must be eliminated! (icons from

The idea is that your spells will manipulate and rearrange the grid to get the aliens right where you want them. Once you’ve got them in the right spots you can cast an elimination spell that allows you to capture one of them. Once the required number have been captured by a player the game will be over.

Your Designer Perspective…

What did I miss? Is this a concept that could work? Are there any glaring holes in the design? Anything broken?

These are some of the best questions you can ask other designers at designer prototype events like Unpub and Protospiel. I like to ask them of myself and step back to take a birds eye view of my game designs from time to time. That’s all part of these game design exercises! Thanks for reading.

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