Monday Brews: 3-24-14

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of playing a bunch of game design prototypes as I was attending Protospiel-Milwaukee. Since they were unpublished prototypes I’m not going to share my opinions about them. If you want my opinion, ask me privately.

For those who do not know, Protospiels are game designer conventions. The idea behind them is that you can get feedback on your game designs from other designers, who are likely to see the game differently than gamers in general. It is a fantastic event for aspiring and successful designers alike if for nothing else than networking. I met a bunch of new people, hung out with some old friends, and got my newest design, Brooklyn Bridge, to the table for it’s 4th playtest ever.

Overall it was a great weekend and I can now make both Brooklyn Bridge and Quantum Orcas even better.

But today is Monday, so let’s cover the Boards & Barley that I enjoyed this past week…

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT: Lakefront Brewery Big Easy Imperial Maibock

Sometimes it is worthwhile to put the spotlight on things because they are not good. This beer was very interesting. First, if you are going to make a seasonal beer that is light for Spring, why make it Imperial? Second, why make a Maibock that doesn’t taste like a Maibock?

I typically enjoy drinking a Maibock because it makes me think of Spring and melting snow and blossoming flowers. This beer didn’t have the Maibock characteristics that made me think of those things.

The Boards:

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: Mad City

I got the chance to play Kane Klenko’s Mad City by Mayfair Games last Saturday and I forgot to add it to last Week’s Monday Brews. Fortunately I was able to play it again at Protospiel so I am placing it in the Boards Spotlight this week.

In Mad City you are building a city of residential, industrial, and urban areas. To score the most points you will want to put those areas near each other. So you should build larges groups of residences or large groups of industry. No one wants their house next to an industry. So the larger the groups you can make, the more you can score.

I won’t get into the game any more than that for now, but you can look forward to a review of Mad City on Friday.

  • Quantum Orcas in space. Plastic monsters work too.

    Quantum Orcas in space. Plastic monsters work too.

    Quantum Orcas – this was requested by several different people who wanted to play it. So I think it was played 4 or 5 times at Protospiel.

  • Crokinole
  • LXIX: Year of Four Emperors designed by Brett Myers
  • Pull! designed by Chevee Dodd
  • Sunset Showdown – designed by Jason Kotarski
  • Lexicards – designed by Wade Johnston
  • Prohibition – designed by Neil Roberts
  • I love those farmer meeples!

    I love those farmer meeples!

    Scoville – I got to play this with the honorable Ryan Metzler of The Dice Tower and a very nice respresentative from AEG. It was fun to play with the farmer meeples that TMG sent me. I lost, but so did Metzler.

  • Copper Country – designed by Scott Diehl and David Lankton of CMX Games
  • Sequoia Grove – my failure of an entry for Dice Hate Me Games’ 54 Card Challenge. But I think I have an interesting mechanic in the game though Metzler would disagree.
  • Backyard Astronaut – designed by Adam Buckingham. I’ve mentioned this one before. He got a bunch of playtests and people enjoyed the game!
  • Don't worry... it's different already!

    Don’t worry… it’s different already!

    Brooklyn Bridge x2 – After a playtest with my Level 1s I made some changes and it worked much better at Protospiel. I got some good feedback and I am now equipped to make this game great.

Those are the games I played last week. It is fun to play a bunch of prototypes and see what other people are working on. It was also fun to do some networking and meet other great people in the game design industry. It’s worth going to things like Protospiel for that alone!

Designer’s Corner

With my attendance at Protospiel I had prepared Version 4 of Brooklyn Bridge in the hopes of playtesting it with other designers. After Playtest #3 last week with my Level 1s I knew I had to adjust things before putting it in front of other designers. So I made a new version (seen in the picture of Brooklyn Bridge above) and tweaked a bunch of stuff.  The result was a much quicker gameplay that finished with scores much more aligned with what I would want final scores to be.

The game at this point works and has interesting decisions. It still needs to be streamlined slightly. I have a path forward in that regard.

Also, I now have a good idea of how I want to separate in-game scoring from end-game scoring so that even if you are behind you still have hope that you can finish with the victory. So there are a lot of good things going on with Brooklyn Bridge.

I also got Quantum Orcas to the table four or five times. I don’t think the game is very good, but several people wanted to play it. Fortunately it plays in 10-15 minutes, so the players didn’t suffer for too long.

I got a bunch of feedback that was all over the map for Quantum Orcas. But perhaps the best thing to come out of Protospiel for the game is that I now have a good way to break ties. I’ll keep testing this one and see if I can make it as awesome as its title.

Thanks to everyone who played my games over the weekend. I had a lot of fun teaching them and watching you play them.

Horizontal Rule

So those are the Boards & Barley I enjoyed last week. Did you try anything new that you thought was special?

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Posted on March 24, 2014, in Monday Brews, The Barley, The Boards and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great having a chance to play Brooklyn Bridge this weekend. I think you’ve come up with a good take on worker placement that gave me some really interesting decisions. The core of the game is definitely solid and I’m looking forward to see how the streamlining goes.

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