Monthly Archives: December 2013

Design Update 12-5-13

Every once in a while I like to step back and take a look at what I’ve been working on. Last night I was putting together some components with “final” artwork so I can make a gameplay video for Scoville and I realized that it had been a while since I made any prototypes. And that got me thinking I should step back and take a look at what I’ve been working on. Let’s start with the hottest Euro farming game ever…

Scoville

This game is currently preparing to launch on Kickstarter. That means that art is being worked on with a feverish pace. I’m not really an artist, at least in these terms, so I can’t say how much work actually goes into it, but it seems to be a lot. There are so many different components that require artwork (orders, recipes, boards, player shields, bonus abilities, bonus point tiles, box, rulebook). Each of these is no less important than any others.

My work on Scoville has been pretty minimal. I am, however, hoping to receive more final artwork so that I can put together a prototype copy with that artwork and make a gameplay video for the Kickstarter campaign. When I receive more artwork I’ll see if I can give you all a little teaser or two!

Brooklyn Bridge

I worked on this game one morning at BGG.con and made some awesome progress. I suppose it wasn’t progress as much as it was a breakthrough in the design. The game had previously been dry and lacking important decisions.

Brooklyn Bridge is a worker placement game where you send out your crew to obtain materials and build the bridge. You can also hire more crew. So far everything I’ve mentioned sounds like a re-theme of Stone Age. While elements of Stone Age are present in the design, the hook is that players not only place workers in a turn by turn order, they also remove workers and perform the actions in a turn by turn order. This adds a time dependence of when you activate workers each round. This is where the design differs greatly from Stone Age.

The breakthrough that I had at BGG.con was to incorporate public goals in the game, not dissimilar to the orders and recipes in Scoville. These goals would be for building different parts of the bridge. Pieces of the bridge should be built in a certain order and players earn bonuses for building them correctly. While Stone Age has it’s endgame scoring based on your game status (food track, # in tribe, etc.) Brooklyn Bridge scoring is based on how much your crew contributed to the bridge. I am plowing forward on this game and my goal is to have a playable prototype in January.

Dice Hate Me 54 Card Challenge

I am pretty excited for this contest. I know the awesome people from Dice Hate Me and it would be an honor to win this contest and get to work with them. For information on the contest itself go here.

Here’s the issue I have… knowing them they are seeking something that is awesome and has a unique and flavorful theme. I unfortunately currently have neither. I guess I had better start cooking something up!

Quantum Orcas

A while back I mentioned that I would be putting this on The Game Crafter once I was happy with it. Unfortunately between BGG.con, Thanksgiving, and now the 54 card challenge I have not had time to work on this most awesome of games.

On the upside I have a plan for how to make the game better. Since the time after Christmas is usually a down time for a lot of things I should have time to finalize what I want the game to be. Then after I’ve played it at least 40-ish times I might feel comfortable posting it for sale on TGC. So those of you who love time traveling killer whales shouldn’t have too much longer to wait!

Conclave

Ah, Conclave… what to do about you. We’ve had a love/hate relationship so far and I imagine that will only continue.

So Conclave is my game design about getting yourself elected as the next pope. The game includes manipulation of the Cardinals by persuading and influencing their votes. The problem with the game is that it is only pseudo-fun for one round and the game lasts 4 rounds or more.

I have a solution that could make the game fun and more interactive without adding any length to the game but I have been avoiding it. If I sat down for a day or two and worked away on Conclave I think I could have something enjoyable. I’m hoping to get to this during the long hours of nighttime in January and February.

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That’s where I stand from a game design perspective. It’s always been fun for me to work on this stuff and I appreciate you reading about my design efforts. I hope to report back by the end of January with some awesome updates!

Monday Brews: Thanksgiving Edition

Hello my faithful internet friends. Today is Tuesday but I’m presenting my Monday Brews article anyway. The Monday after Thanksgiving is a family day for us to go cut down a Christmas tree and decorate our house. Thanks for understanding.

While my Thanksgiving week didn’t come close to my BGG.con week in terms of games played, it was surprisingly good. Here’s a recap of the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed last week:

The Barley:

Fleming’s Scotch Ale: This is my newest homebrew and the first few bottles I’ve had have been quite delicious. It is named after Sir Alexander Fleming, discover of penicillin among other accomplishments. All of my 2013 brews have been named after renaissance men (though Fleming isn’t technically a renaissance man, he was the closest person Scotland has to one). In 2014 all my brews will have a board game related name!

The Boards:

Glass Road: While I haven’t yet figured this game out, I know that I enjoy it. It is fun to work with the dials and try to plan my turns the right way so that I can be able to do stuff on my turn. I like the interaction with trying to choose the right cards. And overall I’m satisfied with the game. I may, however, add a house rule that we add a round to the game. Most of the times I’ve played it has felt like I was barely able to get an engine going and then the game was over.

Carcassonne: I enjoyed this classic with my in-laws family. We played with the Inns & Cathedrals expansion and the Traders and Builders expansion. I got beat handily, which was annoying since one player kept targeting my areas and trying to either share points or win the majority.

Stone Age x2: I introduced this game to my in-laws foreign exchange student from Denmark. He really got it right away and was glad we could play it again before the weekend was over. I really enjoy this worker placement game because it is so accessible to new players. I’ve pondered getting the Style Is The Goal expansion so it can play with 5. Do any of you have any thoughts about that expansion? Is it lame?

Good fun for 4 year olds!

Good fun for 4 year olds!

Littlest Pet Shop x2: My 4yo daughter enjoyed playing this game while we were at the in-laws. She kept making up rules to her advantage. I’ll have to teach her about following the rules. But it was a lot of fun to watch her excitement when she earned one of the little animal figures.

Kingdom Builder x2: I know this is a controversial title, but I really enjoy the game. There’s a good amount of strategy if you get the right cards. Even when you get bad cards, the game doesn’t last too long. We played with the Crossroads expansion.

Undermining: This is another game I like to put in front of new gamers. It’s fun to imagine actually digging down for the precious materials and then using them to upgrade your Universal Mining Vehicle. This game, though, is one where I usually use a house rule or two. One of them is to adjust the scoring for the contracts and another is to have the endgame trigger be the emptying of two contract piles. Fun game though!

Compounded x2: Speaking of fun games, the in-laws really seemed to like this game. I got demolished both times we played. I just kept drawing hydrogen and carbon and I needed neither of them! Oh well. It’s a really fun game and I’m looking forward to the next time I get to play!

So overall it was a pretty good gaming week!

Designer’s Corner:

I actually made some game design progress this past week as well. While I was at the in-laws I sat down for a while and worked on Brooklyn Bridge. I like the overall concept that I’ve put in the game, but some of the details about how it works are a little too thematic. So I’ve decided to step away a little from the theme and make the game more fun, which is always a good thing. I have a little up-front work to do to get the game playable, but I’m hoping that I can do some great first playtests around mid-January.

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So those are the Boards and Barley that I enjoyed and the design progress that I made in the last week. What did you enjoy?

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