The Monday Game: Blite

Another game design, and the first in a while! Thanks again to Boardgamizer for the awesome game-generation website!

The Unused Prompts

Prompt1

This one is just…bland. The constraint is somewhat interesting, but the Mechanics and Theme combine to make a game idea that seems like dry toast.

Prompt2

This one is just begging, screaming on hand and knee for a cheesy 80s cartoon villain title of “SERPENT MASTER” and cheesy low-detail cartoon art. Building it to basically be a spoof of 80s cartoon shows, with players building their MEGASNAKE and trying to build the longest snake and either avoiding or attacking other snakes, depending on how many heroes or villains you have in your group. Damn; while this one’s not the winner this week, this is a damn strong idea I’d love to revisit eventually.

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Friday Update: Wallet Game restart and The Order of Artemis

So I had a chance to play Camel Up last night, and enjoyed it a lot! Coup was also played, during which I tried the infinite Ambassador strategy after making a crucial and damaging error early-on and lost terribly while having a grand time.

However, as I attempted to demonstrate the core ship-building aspect of Boatbuilders, a crucial problem emerged: The table was a laquered smooth wood, and there was a gentle but steady AC vent overhead that was providing an almost-unnoticed breeze.

It was impossible to even get the base set up, let alone anything else.

This is a problem; while I knew breezes and smooth surfaces would be an issue, I hadn’t realized just how bad they could be compared to my relatively-controlled test environment at home. I think the game can be rescued by including 2-4 card clips in the set, and let players adjust how many they used depending on desired difficulty, but the problem is that will immediately bring us outside the scope for the limitations of the cards-only design Button Shy had asked for. So, while I am definitely wanting to hold onto Boatbuilders as a fun, light “pouch”* game, we’ll need to do a redesign asap for a new cards-only wallet game.

*In the vein of games such as Love Letter, Lost Legacy, and Cypher. Mostly just 18ish cards, and maybe a half-dozen small unobtrusive components.

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The designing will begin under the cut!

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Game Design Contest: Spirit Quarry

Fingers crossed that Holy Press does well for the Cardboard Edison Award contest! Please feel free to stop by and enjoy the pitch video if you haven’t seen it already. This week, I wanted to crank out the initial outline of ideas for the third of the three game design contests: The Thunderglyph Survival game.

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That is some cool damn art. I’ll be using Sean’s stuff as filler pieces and inspiration in the rest of this post too!

Two sections from their contest that bear some mention and highlighting:

1. Theme

This first year is dedicated to the “Survival” theme. It could be on a stranded desert, post-apocalyptic or any theme that fits in the Survival thematic. For reference, we are using the Secret Island designed by Sean Thurlow which will be our official illustrator for the winning game. You can get inspiration by his original design or create a world by yourself.

2. Design Criteria

  • Streamlined (A game that is divided in fast turns but with interesting and engaging gameplay)
  • Well-tested (Good built rules without loopholes or mechanics exploits)
  • High Replay Value
  • Originality

For this contest, we got two different design categories:
A) Main category: Euro Game
B) Filler category: Any game type is allowed

The difference between the Main and Filler categories are the prizes:

Main category first prize of 500$ USD + the possibility to publish the game with ThunderGryph Games with a 1000$ USD royalty down payment.

Filler category first prize of 250$ USD + the possibility to publish the game with ThunderGryph Games with a 500$ USD royalty down payment.

Second and third spots for each category will receive every game ThunderGryph Games publishes during 2017.

Might as well shoot for a Eurogame in that case! Quick recap on the definition of a Eurogame, courtesy of BoardGameGeek:

Most Eurogames share the following elements:

  • Player conflict is indirect and usually involves competition over resources or points. Combat is extremely rare.
  • Players are never eliminated from the game (All players are still playing when the game ends.)
  • There is very little randomness or luck. Randomness that is there is mitigated by having the player decide what to do after a random event happens rather than before. Dice are rare, but not unheard of, in a Euro.
  • The Designer of the game is listed on the game’s box cover. Though this is not particular to Euros, the Eurogame movement seems to have started this trend. This is why some gamers and designers call this genre of games Designer Games.
  • Much attention is paid to the artwork and components. Plastic and metal are rare, more often pieces are made of wood.
  • Eurogames have a definite theme, however, the theme most often has very little to do with the gameplay. The focus instead is on the mechanics; for example, a game about space may play the same as a game about ancient Rome.

As before, I’ll be picking the general idea from a Boardgamizer set of generated ideas and continue the primary design under the break!

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Definitely loving the almost Venus Fly Trap appearance of this weird thing.

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Friday Update: Holy Press Submission and Brainstorming for Mistgore

Had a lovely playtest of Holy Press last evening with my wife, and managed to knock the last few corners off of Holy Press. While there’s still lots of room for polishing, I think the base game is ready for taking the gameplay video and submitting it this weekend!

In addition, I’ll be doing a little brainstorming on Mistgore and what my goals are for it, specifically underlying mechanics and statlines, as I want to make sure that’s not falling by the wayside while I’m working on these board game contests!

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Overall Impressions

She really, really liked it. My lovely wife is really good about giving honest feedback, and she’s also a board gamer like me, so she’s got a good eye for mechanics and gameplay that make sense versus those that need trimming or readjustment.

Mandatory Changes

I incorporated all of the Mandatory Changes and even quite a few of the Suggested Changes from Wednesday’s post, and overall I think they were perfect additions.

  • When book starts printing on a word tile, you don’t get that word

This was a clarification of the “Start printing where you left off last turn” change made

  • Shuffle dispensations and tithes, and just use 3 at a time from that deck

We played with 2 Tithes (of a deck of 6), 2 dispensations (of a deck of 6), 1 Global Tithe (of a deck of 3) and 1 Global Dispensation (of a deck of 3), for 6 total markers out at a time. The stroke of genius suggestion was that the cards just get shuffled into a single deck, and you have X cards in play at a time. Maybe everything is Tithes or Dispensations, but for the most part you should get a mix of both.

Another suggestion was that the # of cards from this deck in play be reduced based on the # of players. This might need some further playtesting, but currently I was thinking that players use 8 cards minus the number of players, to a minimum of 3 cards. That, or just a flat 6 cards for 2-4 players, and 3 for 5+

  • Play until someone hits 10 Scriptures

As it turns out, the “continue where you left off” method both feels like it flows more naturally, but also makes the gameplay really refreshingly dynamic on top of how it already felt, and it also makes it surprisingly easy to reliably get a unique Scripture each turn. As a result, we bumped the number of Scriptures needed to trigger the endgame up to a biblical 10. This would be just 5 for 5+ player games, though, as I think 10 would take the game from around 45 minutes to play to something more in the neighborhood of an hour and a half or more.

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If Holy Press sells out of even a single print run, I’ll be simply inconsolably happy

Suggested Changes

  • Optional game mode
    • Keep back 6 Factory tiles when laying out board
    • When you land on a Factory tile, after adding your word replace it with a Factory tile from the top of the unused tile deck and add your tile to the bottom of the deck
    • All players get a free rearrangement of 1 Route token at the start of their turn

This was an idea mentioned to increase the craziness of a given game, but one important idea my wife mentioned was to not introduce this alternate mode until the second edition of the game. I think this is a sound idea, as that way people’s first impressions of the game aren’t hampered by a rulebook with untested game modes cluttering it up.

With that said and done, I’ll be recording and editing the gameplay video, and submitting it this weekend to Cardboard Edison. Wish me luck!

Next we’ll be moving on to a discussion for my goals for Mistgore, on both a micro and macro level.

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Game Design Contest: Preparing ‘The Green-Circuit Mercs’ for Prototyping

So, first-off is a quick update on Holy Press for the Cardboard Edison contest; I’ve got some tentative playtesting scheduled for this weekend, and I’m hoping to get it to a ready-for-publication or close to it stage, one that I could order from TGC and not worry I was wasting money on something that would need a lot more iteration.

Moving onwards, I’m going to today be working on refining the rules and cards involved in The Green-Circuit Mercs so it’s ready for me to run the card lists through Paperize and get stuff ready for Prototype testing. Given that the due date for this one is a while farther off, I’m probably not going to touch on this stage and further testing until after Holy Press is submitted and that’s all squared away.

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I will never not miss an opportunity to show off a logo

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Brainstorm: Upcoming Game Design Contests

So, this Wednesday I’m going to be going over a few upcoming board game design contests, and come up with some rough ideas for each of them. I’ve been having a ridiculous amount of fun with The Monday Game, and figured I might as well jump in feet-first into game design contests to try and get my name out there a bit.

Before we jump into that, I will be working on Mistgore later this month, but it’s currently on a temporary hold as I work on getting the Ironwatch Annual year One rough draft ready, and get acclimated through the (very minor) teething pains of my new 3D printer; No, not that shitty paperweight, an actual good printer (MakerSelect)!

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Just to show off the Canva cover I made for the book…

All this in addition to writing more for my Hardwired series; I’ll be starting to post these on Wattpad in a bit, after I hit the halfway point of public chapters and am writing more on the unpublished second half of the book. Anyways, enough with all that, and onwards to the game contests!

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