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My 2013 GenCon Experience

Yesterday I posted a gallery with 40 pictures from GenCon. Today I am giving a more prose-y account of my experiences at GenCon. But with having only 15 hours of sleep total during GenCon I may not remember all the details. So bear with me as I blab through this.

Scoville and my approach to GenCon 2013

Ahead of Schedule!

Ahead of Schedule!

When the calendar flipped from 2012 to 2013 I made a list of goals for the year. One of those goals proclaimed this year the “Year of Manliness,” which we won’t get into here. 🙂 Another goal was to design and playtest Scoville so that it was ready to pitch at GenCon. If you follow this blog at all then you likely know that I didn’t have to pitch Scoville last week at GenCon since it was already picked up by Tasty Minstrel Games. Yay!

So I figured I could try and get another game ready to pitch for GenCon. But that didn’t happen. Games don’t just develop themselves. While I brought a copy of Trading Post and a copy of Conclave, neither were to the point where I felt comfortable putting them on the table with other people besides myself. I showed Conclave to a few people who seemed to like the concept. But the bottom line was that since Scoville was signed and I had nothing else to show I was basically free of stress at GenCon 2013.

So my approach was to cultivate, enhance, and develop professional relationships with designers and publishers. Basically I just wanted to meet as many people as possible. That’s a pretty nice approach to be able to take. I always have to keep in mind that while board games and board game design are my hobby, they are the real-life day to day jobs of a lot of the publishing companies. It’s easy for me to just go up to them and joke around and have fun, but I have to remember that these are professional relationships and I should try to treat it as such. So don’t act like a jerk and do stupid stuff since these are the people that you could be working with in the future.

I brought along the business cards that I had made for Protospiel-Milwaukee. I think I handed out about 30 of those over the course of the convention. I also was able to gather a few business cards from other people. I’ve gained a few new Twitter followers as well, which is always great. So overall I’m pretty happy with the business relationships that I formed.

Thursday Recap

On the road to GenCon!

On the road to GenCon!

Our 5 person cadre hit the road from Madison around 5am. That felt really early, but we powered through and it felt great to be hanging out on the way to GenCon.

Our drive had a few highlights, and thankfully no lowlights. Along the way we made two pit stops. The first was in the beautiful small town of Tonica, Illinois. Unforunately we had to drive like two or three miles off the freeway just to find the gas station. But at least when we found it, it lived up to the expectations of a small town gas station in Illinois.

At the second gas station we stopped at we were pleased to see 10 police cars with cops surrounding a car at a gas pump. We weren’t sure if we were safe, but we gawked for a while anyway.  But let’s keep going with this recap.

On the road we played one scenario of Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective. I had not played a game like this before but I really enjoyed it. It’s basically a thinky game where people talk through the scenario and try to figure out the Who-Dun-It type thing. We ultimately got the answers right, but we used way more leads than Sherlock did.

Another thing we did during the ride was design a game together. We even pitched it to a publisher later in the con, but I don’t think we were able to really portray the potential of the game. These are all the details I can give, but I think this game has a lot of potential.

We rolled into Indy around lunch time and headed to a restaurant called Yats. Ben had spoken so highly of it last year that we figured we should start our GenCon with it this year.  It was delicious.

Then we hit the hotel and then hopped in line for our GenCon passes in Will Call. The excitement was abundant! To the exhibit hall we went, ready to buy games and meet people!

Thanks Ken!

Thanks Ken!

The first person I met was Ken Grazier of Geek-Craft.com. He had made some Scoville buttons for me and so I traded a small amount of cash for them. They turned out great and I’m thankful to Ken for his button making prowess.

Then we headed to a few specific booths to try and snag some stuff. Thursday isn’t our main exhibit hall day, so we jumped from booth to booth.

An obvious stop for me was the Tasty Minstrel Games booth. I connected with the TMG guys and met the awesome Brian Frahm, who was demoing Dungeon Roll a ton over the convention. Brian is a great guy and it was a pleasure to meet him.

We also stopped at the Cool Stuff Inc. booth because they usually have great deals on board games. We then stopped at the Alderac booth to grab Trains. Then we jumped over to the Asmodee booth to snag Spyrium. And then we hit up the Queen Games booth where we got the new Kingdom Builder expansion and Via Appia. We also stopped at the Game Salute booth to grab Keyflower and The Little Prince and check out Nothing Personal. Overall we got a nice lot of games on our first day:

First Day Haul at GenCon!

First Day Haul at GenCon!

In the picture it should be noted that League of Six was obtained via trade.

Then we headed to our hotel room to unwind a bit and decided to head to the bar for a game. We played The Little Prince, which I’ll be reviewing on Friday. Then we headed to dinner where we got in a game of Love Letter.

Overall I was able to connect with a bunch of people on Thursday, which was awesome. Here are the games I played on Thursday:

  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (The Cryptic Curse scenario)
  • The Little Prince
  • Love Letter
  • Piñata
  • Skyline
  • Spyrium
  • Super Awesome Thing (prototype)
  • Coloretto
  • Coup

As for the Barley side of things Thursday included a sample of the GenCon brew “Flagon Slayer,” a Rock Bottom Honey Ale, and the brown ale at the JW Marriott.

Friday Recap

Kings of Artifice by Wyrd Games

Kings of Artifice by Wyrd Games

Friday is our main Exhibit hall day. On the way to the exhibit hall we noticed a game called Kings of Artifice that none of us had heard of. This was being demoed in Hall C (I think) by the publishing company called Wyrd Games. It had an interesting mechanic of summoning people onto the land and using them to the best advantage. You could be conservative and focus on building your little part of a kingdom, or you could be aggressive and try to wipe out your opponents. It seemed like an interesting game but wasn’t something our group ended up buying. While we were demoing I received a message from the honorable Matt Worden. It was an invitation to speak in a panel discussion on Protospiel. My awesome friends had no reservations about me going to partake in the panel.

So I went over to the Crowne Plaza and joined some esteemed designers for the panel discussion. That was the awesome part. The downside was that there were only six attenders. We had as many people on the panel as there were people attending the panel. Apparently they had 45 attenders last year. I think that since it was in the Crowne Plaza, people weren’t willing to leave the convention center to come over and attend. But I was honored that Matt would invite me to come speak on the panel. Thanks Matt!

The other downside was that I was really looking forward to walking through the exhibit hall. I figured my guys were already halfway through it. But when I came back and found them in Hall D playing a game I was greatly pleased that they had not yet gone into the hall. They chose to play a game and wait for me instead. That was awesome!

So we started walking aisle by aisle through the hall. It’s such an experience to do that. If you’ve never been to GenCon it’s hard to understand the massiveness of the exhibit hall. We bought a few more games before three of the five of us headed out for a talk on Evil Villains by author Brandon Sanderson. One of the fun things about the exhibit hall is sitting down and trying games. One of my favorite games to play was Weykick. It’s basically a magnetic take on air hockey, but it’s very enjoyable. I got owned by Jeremy. We also tried Crokinole, which is a game we’d like to build for ourselves. It’s a fun flicking game on a big round wooden board.

Brew Crafters is awesome!

Brew Crafters is awesome!

We finished in the hall in time to grab some food at Chick-Fil-A in the mall before a demo. We successfully avoided the two hour lines at the food trucks this year! Lunch in hand, we joined up with our guys at a demo for Dice Hate Me Games‘ upcoming game Brew Crafters by designer Ben Rosset. I’d go into a review of the game but I might save that for a session report on BGG. The bottom line is that this is a great game, and not simply because it is a perfect fit for Boards & Barley! It worked really well, the decisions in the game all seemed important and made sense, the theme was awesome, and, most importantly, it was a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to seeing this one on Kickstarter! Ben is a very nice guy and it was a pleasure to meet him. Check out his other game, Mars Needs Mechanics, available from Nevermore Games.

After that we went to the Rathskellar for an awesome time in the beer garden. There were German beers on tap, pretzels to consume, and a plate of sausage that tasted delicious. On top of there there was a really good band that had a great sound. Hanging in the beer garden was one of the highlights of GenCon 2013.

Late that night we headed back to Hall D with a latte. I had the pleasure of teaching Scoville to several new players. It seemed well received and I was happy to give away some of the buttons. It was also cool to have two simultaneous games running. At the same time we were able to chat with Michael Mindes, owner of Tasty Minstrel Games. I also had the privilege to meet Rob Lundy, artist/graphic designer for Dungeon Roll. He’s a home brewer, too!

After all was said and done I rolled/slumped into bed around 3:30am. I’ve been told that’s typical of GenConners.

Friday games I played were these (Not very many):

  • Kings of Artifice
  • Dread Curse
  • Weykick
  • Crokinole
  • Brew Crafters (prototype signed with Dice Hate Me Games)

And Friday’s Barley choices included two (large) Spaten Optimators.

Saturday Recap

Saturday is our last day of GenCon since we normally depart early Sunday morning. We started things off with a demo of Rialto by Stefan Feld. I had already picked it up from the Tasty Minstrel booth because of the great price ($30). It was nice to have someone teach us the game though. It was an enjoyable play and the game seems like a nice lightish Feld game. I was happy to have picked it up.

We then wandered the hall a little more to make sure we didn’t miss anything and to pick up a few other things. I snagged Targi for $20 which seemed like a good find. Then we had lunch and made our way to the GenCon Library room.

In the Library we had scheduled a demo of Francis Drake by Eagle/Gryphon Games. I was a little hesitant about trying this out because it seemed primed to be a 3 hour dry and boring Euro. Boy was I wrong. This game was really fun. There is a nice resource procurement track that worked really well. After goods are obtained you then ship off for a trip to central America where you can pick up trade goods, battle against villages and forts, and attempt to battle another ship. This game was very solid and was really enjoyable. I was very surprised by how fun it was and how not-dry or boring it was.

After dinner at Rock Bottom we made our way to Hall D again where we got in a game of Flick Wars coming soon by Andrew Tullsen and Print & Play Productions. I personally enjoy flicking games like Bisikle, Crokinole, and others. This was also a fun flicking game. I believe Andrew will be putting it on Kickstarter in the near future.

We also got to play Lagoon by David Chott, which should be coming to Kickstarter by his company, 3 Hares Games. While the fantasy theme wasn’t really my thing, the gameplay was very interesting and enjoyable. There are some really interesting combos you can do in the game, which make the decisions really awesome. There is a nice balance of trying to aim for combos to set something up for a future turn versus simply trying to score a tile on the present turn. I think this game was well done and I wish David the best with it.

After that I was fortunate to have a few more players for Scoville. And I was able to sit down for the game as well. It went well and I heard something that really humbled me. One of the players said after the play that it’s in his top ten games. That was amazing.

The night ended with a play of Alex Kevern‘s Gold West prototype. And I had the privilege of playing it with him, Ben Pinchback (Co-Designer of the award winning game Fleet, currently with an expansion on Kickstarter), and the honorable TC Petty III (Designer of the awesome game VivaJava). It was great to meet them and game with them. They are all outstanding people.

Alex Kevern's Gold West

Alex Kevern’s Gold West

Gold West is a great game. There is a really cool take on the Mancala mechanic that you really need to think about to maximize what you can do on your turns. In the game you are helping to develop a western town. You obtain metals and building materials that you have to figure out how best to use. Each turn you can place a building onto the territory and claim the goods from that piece of land. Once you have the goods, you need to place them into one of the Mancala spots on your player board. This is the tricky part of the game. On any given turn you can only use the resources that are placed into the last spot after taking a Mancala action. So you have to plan accordingly. This is a sweet use of the Mancala mechanic and made the decisions in the game very interesting.  The other part of the game that I really enjoyed was how to use the resources once they are available. You can ship off the metals, use them to develop the boom town, or fulfill investments for big points. Each of these mechanics works really well together and I was happy to be able to play the game. It was fun and strategic while also being accessible and easy to teach. And it only took about 55 minutes for four players to finish the game. That’s awesome!

The games I played on Saturday were these:

  • Rialto
  • The Downfall of Pompeii
  • Francis Drake
  • Love Letter
  • Flick Wars (prototype)
  • Lagoon (prototype)
  • Scoville
  • Gold West (prototype)

The barley I consumed were a pair of Rock Bottom brews: Red Ale and Kolsch.

Saturday was over and Sunday meant waking up early and hitting the road. So here are my final thoughts from GenCon 2013:

Top Games Played During GenCon:

My favorite unpublished games were Brew Crafters and Gold West. Those games are both games I would have bought at the convention if they were available. I’ll definitely be watching the development of both of them.

My favorite published games (or soon to be released) were The Little Prince, Spyrium, and Francis Drake. These three games were my most enjoyable plays of the convention.

I also reconnected with or introduced myself to about 50 people. That was great since I had only previously known people through online connections. For aspiring designers who want to get in the game I highly recommend getting on Twitter and starting to develop relationships with the awesome people in the industry. I’ll see you all next year! (Hopefully sooner)

Biggest Disappointments:

I was really hoping to pick up Bruges at GenCon. But Z-Man games only brought a few copies and it was sold out after a half hour. That was well before we arrived on Thursday. That was really disappointing.

The other disappointments had to do with prototype games that I didn’t have a chance to play. I really wanted to try Gyre by Eric Leath (and I’ll likely PNP it), VivaJava Dice by TC Petty III (but it was 3am by the time TC had a chance to show me), Belle of the Ball by Daniel Solis (I think Dice Hate Me had a copy available), and Pay Dirt by Tory Kniemann (designer of Alien Frontiers). Those are all games I had hoped to play but didn’t get the chance.

Next year I think I’ll try and schedule more appointments with people so I can try out their games rather than simply trying to connect randomly.

Overall, though, for these to be the big disappointments means that my 2013 GenCon experience was pretty awesome!

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Monday Brews: GenCon 2013

GenCon Preview 2013

Yes! GenCon is upon us!

I’m giddy. I’m like a kid in a candy store. Actually, I’m like an adult in a board game store. A really, really big board game store. And I have the freedom to purchase whatever I want. “Psyched” falls far short of how excited I am!

I was planning on writing a nice long article about all the awesome things I’m planning on doing, and all the awesome games I’m planning on playing, and all the awesome people I’m planning on meeting. But I’m so excited I just can’t focus enough to put all the words together.

So instead, here are links to the games I’m interested in checking out:

There are also a ton of unpublished games that I’m looking forward to playing. You can find a good list of unpubbed games that are available for demoing on Grant Rodiek’s Hyperbole Games GenCon 2013 Prototype Preview.

I would also like to mention all the awesome people I’m going to meet, but I know I’d leave some people off the list by mistake. There are a ton of you out there! I can’t wait to meet you in person!

Finally, if you want to demo Scoville feel free to tweet at me (@EdPMarriott) during the convention and we’ll figure something out. The after hours open gaming area is probably the best bet. On Friday and Saturday I’ll likely be wearing these shirts:

Scoville Shirts

Just follow the pepper for your chance to play Scoville!

SWAG! Want one???

SWAG! Want one???

And my GenCon contribution to society is that I will be giving away SWAG buttons to the people who want to demo Scoville! I am grateful to Ken Grazier (@demo_ken) of Geek-Craft.com for making the buttons for me! I’m very much looking forward to handing them out!

So if you’re going to be at GenCon, let’s get together for some boards or barley! I’m looking forward to meeting so many awesome people and making so many awesome memories.

GenCon!

Trading Post: Path to GenCon

Logo051913

I have a new game design I’m working on and today I am posting the last of 4 articles about it.  Here are the four articles in this series:

  1. 5-16-13: Origins of Trading Post
  2. 5-23-13: Early Prototying
  3. 5-30-13: Hiatus and Re-design
  4. Today 6-6-13: Path to GenCon

Today we’re looking at my path forward with Trading Post as we near GenCon. I am hoping to have a game that has been playtested, is fun, and is able to be played near the Blue Noodle (UnPub area).  So I’ll cover some development and what I’m hoping will happen with the game.

The Development Phase

Currently the game has not been played. What? You mean you’ve been reading a month’s worth of posts about some guy’s game that hasn’t even been played? Yes. And thanks for reading! I have nearly all the components together for the game. All that is missing is a scoring track and coins. Here is a picture of the game in its current prototype state:

Current Trading Post prototype. I think it at least looks cool!

Current Trading Post prototype. I think it at least looks cool!

So let’s talk about the different components that we see in that picture and discuss their purpose in the game.

Each player starts with a meadow and a hill. Therefore they have access to water and lumber.

A player’s territory.

Let’s start in the middle and work our way out. In the center is the land portion or map portion of the game. Each player has their own region, which is shown on the right. It is a player’s objective to explore their territory throughout the game. As they explore their territory they will draw a tile from their land tiles. These tiles are shown in the image above as the stack of hexes next to the player mats. The tiles will be either Meadow, Hill, Forest, or Mountain.

On the right of the map portion is the tree of buildings. Besides exploring your territory during the game you will also want to build buildings. The downside of building is that you lose a resource region of your territory. The upside is that you have a new trading opportunity in your own territory. Other players may visit it to complete the trade shown on the building hex, but they will have to pay you to do so. Buildings also count towards some of the scoring cards, which I will explain below.

To the left of the map portion are the resources. There are four natural resources in the game and four man made resources. The four natural resources are gained by harvesting them within your territory. The man made resources can be earned through the trade opportunities in certain buildings.

Example of a "Blue" order. This requires a Water and a Hat (Fedora?). The player earns 7 points.

Example of a “Blue” order. This requires a Water and a Hat (Fedora?). The player earns 7 points.

Below the map portion in the image are the Orders cards. Thematically here the Trading Post is requesting certain orders to be fulfilled. On your turn you have the opportunity to fulfill any number of these if you have the action points available. Along with building buildings it is also critical to fulfill orders during the game. This is a significant way to earn points. It is also a way to earn endgame points if you have a scoring card that requires certain colored orders be fulfilled. Once orders have been fulfilled, at the end of the current turn they are restocked to the number of players.

In the image the game is set up for six players. Each player has a player mat, their ten territory tiles, a pawn for the scoring track that is not in the image, and two scoring cards. Each player will also have some coins to begin the game, but I have not yet totally figured out the role I want coins to play in the game. They may ultimately be excluded.

Scoring cards represent hidden endgame scoring conditions. These are similar to the route/destination tickets in Ticket to Ride. Some of these are requirements for building certain combinations of buildings. Others are for fulfilling certain combinations of orders. But they are all ways to score points at the end of the game. I chose this because I like all players to be able to hold on to hope. And endgame scoring is a mechanic for hope.

The player mat is where I think a lot of the interesting strategy comes into play. The mats in the picture do not have numbers on them, but you can imagine each row having 0 1 2 3 4 5 on them. Each row is a different action. The number on which your cube sits tells you how many of that action you have available on your turn. At the start of the game all players have two of each action available. On your turn you can do three different actions, each as many times as your cubes indicate. The cool part is that as those actions decrease, other actions have to increase equally. What we have here is a zero-sum action point allowance system. Here is an example of a first turn where the player has chosen to EXPLORE twice and HARVEST twice. This allows them to discover new parts of their territory, set themselves up to have more resources available on subsequent turns, and have some resources to use on their next turn. So they spent a total of four action points. Then they have to move non-used actions up by four points. In this case they chose to increase FULFILL by 1 and TRADE by 3.

Player performs EXPLORE and HARVEST twice each. Then chooses to increase FULFILL one spot and TRADE three spots.

Player performs EXPLORE and HARVEST twice each. Then chooses to increase FULFILL one spot and TRADE three spots.

On their next turn they will be unable to explore and harvest. So likely their only option is to move their pawn to the Trading Post and hope they can fulfill an order or perform a trade based on the resources they harvest on their first turn. I think having this zero-sum action point allowance system in place will lead to some tense decisions in the game. Players will have to make sure they’re leaving themselves with the action points they want for the next turn.

Obviously, since this hasn’t yet been tested, this zero-sum action point allowance system will have to be extensively played. That leads me to the next thing I wanted to mention…

Playtesting

The first time I tried to play Scoville it played through to the end in a surprisingly well manner. I am a little worried about that with Trading Post. I feel like this will require much more testing than Scoville to get it to a point where I am comfortable showing it to a publisher. But GenCon is two months away, so the testing shall commence soon.

My main objective with any playtesting is to continually make sure the game is any fun.

It’s all about fun, right? Who wants to play a boring, crappy game with some weird, offbeat theme that doesn’t relate to anyone?

Now, perhaps there are a bunch of you who think the western trading post scene is for old guys who grew up watching John Wayne. I can assure you that in Trading Post out here a man settles his own problems. Trading Post is designed with a Euro identity in mind, but without anyone from the 13th-18th centuries looking boring on the cover of the box. I am very excited about this game and its potential.

Perhaps the most important step in the Game Design process!

Perhaps the most important step in the Game Design process!

I am fortunate to have a great group of friends who are willing to playtest my games here in town. So I am guessing they’ll try out this one as well. Since playtesting will be my focus for Trading Post over the next two months I figured I would list the things that I view as important during the playtesting phase of game design.

  • Keep your design objectives in mind – do not get carried away on wild tangents just because one player mentioned something unusual. Keep asking yourself why you are designing this particular game and why you think it is unique and interesting.
  • Offer bribes of beverages, snacks, and an awesome atmosphere to lure playtesters. And telling them their name would be in the rulebook if it were to get published doesn’t hurt either!
  • Try to make sure the game is playable before subjecting anyone to it. This means solo playtesting.
  • Don’t change major things on the fly during a playtest.
  • Don’t implement more than one major change at a time between playtests – if you add two things and the game gets way better or way worse you may not know which change should be attributed to the difference in play.
  • I recommend playtesting at least ten times before integrating major changes. This gives you a solid pool of plays from which to draw an understanding of an “average” game and also gives you enough opportunity to perhaps see any unusual play.
  • One of the keys to playtesting is watching for patterns. If several different people all mention the same thing (not in the same playtest) then you’d better start paying attention to it.
  • And I’d like to recommend shooting for a playtest goal of 100 playtests, but I’ve not done that with my games, so how could I hold you accountable. Do it! I don’t. You should. So 100 it is!

Those are just some guidelines. I also like to get into some nitty gritty stats when playtesting. For Trading Post I’ll be keeping stats on how often each color of orders get fulfilled, how often each type of orders get fulfilled, how often players will get to the green buildings, and so much more. There is a lot I could analyze with Trading Post so I have another recommendation for playtesting:

If your design is complex, playtest the game ten times and only focus on one element. Make no changes to anything else. Once that element seems “good,” move on to another.

I think I will have to proceed this way with Trading Post. I may start by watching how the buildings get purchased and built for a set of ten playtests. Then for the next ten I may focus on how the scoring conditions seem to play out. (Note: the data from the first ten playtests where scoring conditions were not the focus can still be used in this portion of the playtesting).

My goal over the next two months is to get 15 playtests completed. That’s one every four days, which might be a bit much, but you gotta have ambition if you wanna get anything done! Entering Protospiel-Milwaukee I had had 18 playtests in on Scoville. By then, even with only 18 under my belt, I felt I was able to teach it quickly and explain the thrust of the game. That way I was not wasting other playtesters time. I hope to meet this goal so that I don’t waste anyone’s time at GenCon where there is so much awesomeness to be had!

Pitching at GenCon

Well I’d be a knucklehead if I assumed that a game that hasn’t even yet been played could be pitchable by GenCon. That will depend on how playtesting goes. So I am not going set of goal of pitching this game while there. My goal for moving forward with this game as GenCon approaches is to have something where the wrinkles have been ironed out and it seems fun.

But for those of you who may be pitching your own games I recommend reading the following two articles:

The first is something you should probably be working on right now if you haven’t already done it. The second is an awesome guide to how it all works and how to do it right. I’m guessing my 2014 GenCon will be more about pitching than my 2013 GenCon.

While I won’t be pitching the game at GenCon I will definitely have at least one copy with me. If you want to give it a shot just let me know and we can schedule something! Head for the Blue Noodle! (www.UnPub.net)

Path Forward for Trading Post

Now I just gotta sucker my friends into playing an unpublished game that likely has no balance, and no reason to be good. Of course I’ll have to figure out those insignificant things like what you actually do on a turn. But I’m getting very close to solo testing. If this game seems to work after a decent amount of playtests then I’ll likely send a copy into the Prototype Penpal Program run by Grant Rodiek. It’s a great way to get designer level feedback and to see if your game is broken. Plus, it’s always fun to know that somewhere out there other people are playing your game!

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my articles over the past few Thursdays about Trading Post. I’ve received some interesting feedback already and I appreciate all the kind things you’ve all said. I hope that this game seems fun to you. I’ll keep moving forward with it and will definitely keep blogging about it. Someone also suggested making Thursday the default Trading Post day. We’ll see. Thanks for reading! And don’t be shy with any comments about any of this.

Eminent Domain: Escalation on Kickstarter

Publishers of Awesomeness!

One of my favorite game publishing companies is Tasty Minstrel Games. Why are they one of my favorites? I have two reasons:

  1. They publish awesome games including Homesteaders, Kings of Air and Steam, Ground Floor, Village, Noblemen, Belfort, and the topic of this post: Eminent Domain.
  2. They are very open and engaging about their business and they share a lot of awesome information about the board game publishing side of things. Check out Michael Mindes’ “BizOfPlay” Podcast on Soundcloud.com.

For those reasons I don’t hesitate when they launch a new project on Kickstarter. I know that their game developer, Seth Jaffee, will have done an amazing job making sure the game is refined and awesome. But most importantly, TMG’s games are fun to play!

So today I wanted to inform you about their latest Kickstarter campaign which is currently live. It is for the expansion for Eminent Domain. It is called Eminent Domain: Escalation (ED:E). It is the first expansion for the hit game.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game here is a little background. Eminent Domain is a deck-building game with a space-based theme. Players are trying to settle the most planets, research the most technology, and gain the most influence. Each turn you choose a card from your hand and do the action listed. These actions are things like Gain a Fighter, Colonize a Planet, Survey New Planets, and Research Technology. After performing the action the player will take a card from one of the piles on the table. They then perform the Role of that card. These roles allow the player whose turn it is to reap some benefit. Then all the other players can “follow” by doing the role or “dissent” by drawing a card into their hand. That’s basically how a turn works. To learn more check out Tom Vasel’s review of the game:

I really enjoy this game. I first played it last year in the GenCon library. This expansion looks like it will really add to the game. It adds the capability for a 5th player. It allows for direct conflict. It adds new technology cards. And it will add different starting scenarios, which adds a lot of flavor and replayability.

I highly recommend backing the game on Kickstarter. You can back the game and expansion for $50 or if you already own the game you can back the expansion for $25. Please let me know if you have any questions about the game or TMG. If I can’t answer them I’ll point you in the right direction. You can pledge on the Kickstarter project page!

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We believe in creating memorable, beautiful, fun games.

Cumbersome

Blog about Game Design and Beer Brewing

Purple Pawn

Game News Across the Board

iSlaytheDragon

Board game reviews, previews, guides, and interviews

Daniel Solis

Blog about Game Design and Beer Brewing

Board Game Reviews by Josh

Blog about Game Design and Beer Brewing

Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Blog about Game Design and Beer Brewing

Inspiration to Publication

News from the Game Lab of the Bamboozle Brothers

Theology of Games

Two Geeks, Hundreds of Games, One God.

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