Monthly Archives: November 2014

Monday Brews – 11-24-14

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the US and my schedule has me in the office only two days this week! Since I didn’t post a standard Monday Brews last week we’ve got a lot to cover! Let’s start with the Barley…

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The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Sixpoint Global Warmer Imperial Red Ale

I had never had an Imperial Red Ale before. It was quite enjoyable. Sixpoint produces pretty hoppy beers, but I found that the “Red” style complemented the hoppy character quite well.

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The Boards:

Mutiny Card Reverse V1 - 822 - CutBOARDS SPOTLIGHT:
Mutiny

I have a love/hate relationship with Mutiny. I hate it because I’m terrible at lying and you have to be sneaky in this game. I love it because it’s SOOOO good, and just got better!

We tested a new version with new roles for the game. These new roles added a lot to an already terrific game. I’m very excited for the future of Mutiny!

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Normally I also share a “Designer’s Corner” update but there’s too much to discuss here briefly. So I’m planning on having a Game Design Debrief after Thanksgiving. I’m sure you’re looking forward to that!

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Monday Brews – Kickstarter Shout Outs

Hi everyone. Welcome back to Boards & Barley! I hope you had a great weekend. On Mondays I normally post about the board games and beer I enjoyed over the past week or two. But today I’m going to do something different.

Why am I changing things up? Well, my budget has precluded me from backing KS projects lately. But there are several projects, designers, and publishers that I would have supported had the budget allowed it. So since I can’t back the projects I decided I can at least promote them a little! So I’m listing four current Kickstarter board game projects that I believe in. I recommend you check these out.

We’ll start with a game from a friend and local game designer Seth Van Orden…

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Stockpile

Do you have what it takes?

Stockpile, by Seth Van Orden and Nauvoo Games, is a stock market game where players have high control over manipulating the market.

In the game players are trying to maximize the market value of the stocks they own. This is done by choosing which cards you want to place face up and which cards you want to place face down. Once all players have placed they will bid over which pile they want. Eventually all players will receive a pile of cards. The cards are now reconciled by manipulating the market or dealing with a negative event.

The ultimate goal is for players to best manage the market in their favor.

This game has three days left on Kickstarter and is sitting at about 90% funding. Go help them out! $39 gets you a copy.

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DragonFlame

Burn, baby, burn!

DragonFlame was my favorite game played at the recent Protospiel-Madison. Designed by Matt Loomis and being published by Minion Games, this game is packed with amazing artwork and fun gameplay.

In DragonFlame you are a dragon and your desire is to burn down the towns! To do so players will have a hand of cards. Then they will take turns placing cards either face up or face down onto one of the castles. Once all cards are played then in turn order each player claims a castle and its cards. This determines the player order for the next round.

Players will score points for burning the villages, which they can do when they receive DragonFlame cards, or for collecting treasures and avoiding knights. After six rounds, the player with the most points wins.

Rob Lundy did the artwork for DragonFlame and it really looks amazing. I’ll be buying this game when it comes out (and my budget allows for it). Go burn some villages!

It has 17 days left and $25 gets you a copy.

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Steampunk Rally

That’s no bored European!

New publisher Roxley Games has their first Kickstarter project up and it looks fantastic!

Steampunk Rally is a race game involving great inventors from Edison and Tesla to Marie Curie and George Washington Carver. These are some of the greatest minds of the past and they figured the best way to find out who is the smartest is to have a race through the Alps. So each of them is set to build the best machine to win the race.

Using card drafting and dice placement players will build their machine and then operate in the hopes of winning the race.

The artwork for this game is astonishing and I would back it for that alone! Go grind some gears and check it out!

Steampunk Rally has 10 days to go. $49 US gets you a copy!

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New Bedford

A Whale of a Game! (Couldn’t help myself)

New Bedford is the game I most regret that I’m unable to back. I played this for the first time a year ago at BGG.Con with Chris from Dice Hate Me Games. It is a truly great and enjoyable game.

Nat Levan is the designer and you can check out his blog here: Oakleaf Games. He has written extensively about his design process for New Bedford.

In the game you are helped to develop the town of New Bedford. You can utilize resources and send ships to see to capture whales, which provide income. This is a worker placement game that is streamlined and efficient. It is really enjoyable to play. So much so that I made my own copy with the PNP files from the Kickstarter page.

Also, they do a great job dealing with what some people consider a controversial topic. I applaud Dice Hate Me for that.

Go grab your harpoon and hit the open seas!

New Bedford has 27 days left and is 50% funded. Grab a copy for $40.

Game Design: Starter Prototyping Tools

Game Design Process: Prototyping

Game Design Process: Prototyping

I recently asked myself the following question: “If I were to start over with game design, which prototyping tools would I buy to get started?” I’ve made numerous prototypes and I’ve learned what to do and what not to do. So today I present a set of prototyping tools to help get you started as a game designer.

When I got started out I didn’t want to throw a lot of money at prototypes. This was because I had no idea if the prototypes would ever actually go anywhere. I was fortunate to have a wife who used to do physical scrapbooking. So I had some tools available to me that wouldn’t have otherwise been available.

Never-the-less, there are some key tools and resources that I think every game designer can utilize to make high quality prototypes at low(ish) cost and with relative ease. For the sake of this article I will assume that you can print on photo paper (I recommend Kodak 8.5×11 – 100 sheets).

Game Prototyping Resources

First, let’s cover where to get some basic resource type things. These are my go-to retailers for these items:

Game Prototyping Tools

Things that are not mentioned above include boards, tiles, tokens, reference sheets, rulebooks, and more.  I generally use the same process to make all of those except a rulebook. I don’t typically make a rulebook.

To make my prototype components feel like high quality I purchase the following materials:

  • Matte board remnants from Hobby Lobby for super cheap. You can get a stack of about 25 12″x12″ matte boards for about $6.
  • Kodak Photo Paper (100 sheets for ~ $15)
  • Non-OEM ink for my inkjet printer via eBay. (I bought 5 full sets of ink cartridges for ~$20)
  • Glue Sticks – you’ll want to keep several on hand.

I often create artwork and then print it on the photo paper. I glue it down to the matte board. Then I break out my most highly recommended tool: The Rotary Cutter!

The Rotary Cutter

Easily worth the cost!

Easily worth the cost!

This has been my most-used tool for creating game prototypes.

I have a Fiskars rotary cutter similar to the one shown in the picture. You can buy it here:

Fiskars Rotary Cutter: $26.49

It isn’t the best cutter. You can pay a lot more money for better cutters. But it does exactly what I need it to do for my prototypes. Other cutter options include:

There are more options than those, so if you don’t like those options feel free to do more thorough searching.

I use this tool to cut out the components that have been printed and glued to the matter board. This cutter works well enough for that.

Punches

Great for cardstock chits!

Great for cardstock chits!

Other great tools for designers are punches. These are used to quickly create tokens and chits. When I create tokens and chits I usually prefer printing the artwork onto thicker stock paper so they are more rigid. 90lb or 100lb paper is usually a good weight.

There are a plethora of different punches out there, but for the sake of board games you’ll most likely be interested in circle and hex punches and corner rounders. Here are some options.

As before, go ahead and do some more searching to find the right product for you.

Sharpies

Sharpie

I am firmly in the Sharpie camp. I love them. They are bold, colorful, and extremely useful. Sharpies can be used to create prototype components rapidly, especially in the case where you own blank cards because you took my recommendation above.

By having a variety of Sharpies you become an unstoppable force of game design awesomeness!

I use them to create prototypes. I use them to mark up my prototypes. I use them to revise my prototypes. I use them to draw silly pictures for my kids.

Seriously, Sharpies are fantastic. I feel they are a must-have for any game designer, if for no other reason than to be able to practice your signature for the time when lovers of your games will ask for your autograph for their game box!

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I feel like this article needs more tools in it, but those are the only tools I utilize on a regular basis. Are there prototyping tools that you use regularly? Post a comment and let everyone know which prototyping tools you prefer!

Monday Brews – 11-3-14

It’s November. We’ve already woken up to snow on the ground once. It’s dark by 5pm due to the shift from daylight savings. You know what all that means? It means we’re entering peak Board Gaming Season!

When it’s too cold and too dark to go outside I recommend snuggling up to your favorite board games and grabbing a brew with your friends!

I was too wiped out from Protospiel two weekends ago to post a Monday Brews last week so this week will have a nice long list for you. I also was able to sample 5 different beers one day at a local grocery store, so the Barley list is slightly inflated. Never the less, it’s been a good two weeks in terms of Boards & Barley. Here’s what I enjoyed over the past two weeks:

The Barley:

BARLEY SPOTLIGHT:
Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

With a delicious addition of vanilla, this smooth brew is a delightful friend during the cold winter months. I prefer enjoying this at temperatures slightly above fridge temps so I recommend leaving it out a half hour before enjoying it.

If you’d like to know more of my opinions on the beers I enjoy, friend me on UnTappd (username EdPMarriott)!

The Boards:

Design by Matt Loomis and art by Rob Lundy!

BOARDS SPOTLIGHT: DragonFlame

I played a nearly full art prototype at Protospiel-Madison and I absolutely loved it! This game is designed by Matt Loomis, has artwork from Rob Lundy, and will be launching on Kickstarter soon by Minion Games. The gameplay was engaging and interesting from the very first turn. The artwork was vibrant, colorful, and it really drew me in.

In DragonFlame you are trying to burn down villages and earn points. The gameplay revolves around a fun way of gaining cards. Each player is dealt a hand of cards and in turn order you will place them either face up or face down into new piles. Then each player will choose a pile and those will be the cards they use for that turn. Cards include treasures for scoring points, DragonFlame cards which let you burn villages, and relics that give you special abilities.

Overall I thought DragonFlame was a great game and I recommend you consider backing it when it launches!

Designer’s Corner:

Leading up to Protospiel-Madison I was scrambling to get either The Grand Illusion or Armada Galactica playable and ready. While I had tested The Grand Illusion 4 times I realized that it wasn’t the gameplay experience that the theme deserved. So I basically scrapped it. With my focus solely on Armada Galactica I thought I had something that could come together. I ended up making a few prototype components. I ultimately threw in the towel on that one as well since I had no idea how to actually play the game. I’ll revisit it since I think there’s something there. I just didn’t have enough time to put together a fun working prototype in time for Protospiel-Madison.

So Thursday night before Protospiel I was sitting on the floor in my living room with a ton of prototype pieces and blank cards and tiles and scissors and glue and carte blanche. My new goal was to come up with a brand new game design and prototype it so I could test it during Prototspiel.

Whoops... Should be Sumerians!

Whoops… Should be Sumerians!

So I stole a mechanic from The Grand Illusion, made it 3D, and the design came together. The theme is Ziggurats and you are building one. It has a spatial element and some resource management, but it is basically a points race.

So on Friday afternoon when I arrived at Protospiel I took out my tiles and my sharpies and my blank cards and threw together the prototype. Over the course of the weekend it was tested 4 times to generally positive feedback. I was super pumped by how well the game worked and I’m eager to continue working on it.

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