Game Design Contest: Prioritization and Playtesting

So, following the feedback from Alien Ambassadors and my inability to get a game test over the weekend, I’m looking at a next-available-playtest date of Thursday, with the due date for a finalized game concept/presentation on Friday.

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‘Twas not meant to be, methinks. Not for 2017, at least.

Unfortunately, that’s not really doable, especially if any issues whatsoever persist in the v2 Ambassadors iteration. I’m feeling that more and more it’s looking like I’ll be getting one playtest per week, meaning that I have to drastically rescale my games in progress to account for these likely shortcomings. I think I’m suffering slightly from a bit of frustrated expectations from players: Green-Circuit Mercs didn’t make a fantastic first impression, and the second revision did better but it still wasn’t a sought-after game. Alien Ambassadors did slightly better, but I think my players are possibly starting to be disinterested in trying new games.

More under the cut, along with the new schedule:


I feel like the best solution to this issue is to basically “complete” the games I have in-motion at the moment. For example, Holy Press still needs art and blind playtesting to get the rulebook polished up (and in that order, since nice art tends to be a good draw for cusious players), but I feel that the core gameplay is “done”. That said, here’s the new schedule, pared down to account for only one playtest iteration per month:

  • Cardboard Edison Award: January 31st
    • Holy Press: Submitted, at Prototype step
  • Trick Taker Challenge: March 6th
    • Green-Circuit Mercs: Not submitted, at playtesting step
  • 2017 Northwest Luci Award: April 7th
    • Alien Ambassadors: Not submitted, at playtesting step
  • Button Shy Wallet Game Contest: April 23rd
    • Boatbuilders: Not using for contest due to component revision, at playtesting step.
    • The Order of Artemis: Not submitted, at prototype step. This one I’m shelving indefinitely, as I feel there was way too much stuff that needed a lot more polish before it would even have a strong core gameplay loop.
    • Mamluki: Not submitted, at playtesting step. Also shelved, but mainly until after Green-Circuit Mercs is released because there will be heavy art and logo crossover, and I want the shared universe to feel well-represented between the two games rather than try to meld them after the fact
  • Thunderglyph Survival game contest: April 30th
    • Hunter’s Quarry: Design step. This one is veeery tentative, and will probably unfortunately get shelved too. I love Thunderglyph’s art and such and I think the game has a ton of promise, but I want to make sure I revive my playtest base instead of screwing that up and crippling myself for later testing stages.
  • Big Box Challenge: June 5th
    • No design yet
  • Gamelords Dungeon Crawler Challenge: August 15th
    • No design yet, although I have a strong inclination to use a previously-shelved rough outline idea for a Legacy-style dungeon delve game.

Current focus is on testing Green-Circuit Mercs and Alien Ambassadors, and getting those out of the way as well as getting Holy Press developed into a final releasable game.

This is really rough, as I feel like a screwup for eyes-bigger-than-stomach, as well as potentially damaging my only playtest source at the moment. I’m also going to be pushing to see about other playtest options as well, but that will require some checking around to make sure it fits comfortably with home, work, and Ironwatch needs as well.

Until next time; I think I’ll be working on cranking out the design outline for ClikB8 this Friday. Please let me hear your thoughts in the comments and reblogs below. Cheers!

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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The Monday Game: Grimdark Inquisition/Age of Fantasy Roleplay

First, a side tangent for Mistgore and Mamluki/Boatbuilders: the Mistgore playtest documents are ready, but while they are ready I’m still working on expanding the available warband lists to include Pirates, who focus on lots of enemy control despite not having a lot of armor or overt melee/magic power. Playtesting for Boatbuilders/Mamluki and the next iteration of Green-Circuit Mercs hasn’t happened yet, but will be happening later this week.

Moving on to a current mini-project…

As you’ve probably sussed out from previous posts and such on the matter, but I’m good friends with the designer of One Page Rules, Gaetano Ferrara aka “OnePageAnon.” I quite like the rules, and feel it’s a refreshing breath of fresh air compared to the original game systems he’s adapted and streamlined.

That said, Gaetano focuses a lot more on the wargame-scale side of things, while I definitely like mixing my chocolate and peanut butter and focus more on skirmish games and RPGs.

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Brief Update for Green-Circuit Mercs

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Just finished tweaking the cardset, and not a ton to elaborate on beyond what was touched on last week. Basically the changes made were:

  • Fixed imbalances with player # vs Threat, so now it should be a reasonably achievable goal rather than a hopeless task
  • Swung the points for Techs and Plants upwards, so you’re only getting an average net loss on the first round of cards. The abilities also got a very, very healthy injection of power and utility, so it should now feel like using an ability is a powerful thing, instead of an annoying and nigh-worthless bonus
  • Each of the 4 Bidding decks is now built around a heroic theme: Trickster, Highguard, Biosmith, and Cyborg. They focus on, respectively, losing bids, winning bids, Plant cards, and Tech cards. Hopefully this should add more layers of nuanced choice, and add some interesting strategies for play in addition to kicking the door open for more hero Bidding decks in the future.

The new version of the cardset is here, and the updated rules are here.

Going to be trying it out tomorrow, along with the prototype for Boatbuilders; I’ve got a very good feeling Boatbuilders will be a fairly good hit with not a ton of changes needed, but I definitely want to polish the dickens out of it before marking it off as finished.

 

The Monday Game: Mistgore

Quick notes/changes for Boatbuilders before we get into the meat of the design for today: Having attempted to build the boat structure a few times now, I can reliably say the best way to do so is so that each edge of the initial vertical Hull overlaps. This makes for a stable-enough base structure that the Deck and finally Sails can be added on.

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Like this, but you can get away with way, way less of an overhang. Alrighty, that said, moving on to Mistgore!

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So, I had a typo when I mentioned how the die comparison works in comparing it to Warhammer’s Strength vs Toughness chart. In actuality, it will be more of a Weaponskill vs Weaponskill test:

  • Your Stat is equal to enemy Stat: 4+
  • Your stat is greater than enemy Stat: 3+
  • Your stat is twice or more than enemy Stat: 2+
  • Your Stat is less than enemy Stat: 5+
  • Your stat is half or less than enemy Stat: 6+

Average/human baseline for all stats will be 3, which should give us a decent range to work with assuming any stat is capped at 10.

So, below the cut are my design parameters for Mistgore. Remember that this is the same underlying system as for Triumvirate, so I want to try and keep whatever aspects of those two similar that I can.

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Game Design Contest: Preparing the Wallet Games for Playtesting

So, continuing from my designs for Boatbuilders and Mamluki on Wednesday, I’m continuing that design so I can get some card decks ready to use off of Paperize.

First, though, the most important part of any game design: the logo! (courtesy of CoolText) I’ve always found having a logo for a game gets me 100% more invested into seeing it through, even if the logo ends up being discarded en route to the final iteration of a game.

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These might undergo changes/improvements later, but they’re plenty good enough for now. Onwards to the rule/card designs!

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Game Design Contest: Boatbuilders and Mamluki

As I had posted yesterday, there’s a new board game contest out: Button Shy Wallet Game Contest, with submissions due by April 23rd. Today I’ll be hammering out a rough idea outline for the game, but with playtests focusing on Green-Circuit Mercs in the immediate future.

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The prizes aren’t amazing, but in my current situation exposure is far more valuable than an extra hundred bucks

The parameters of the overall contest are as follows:

There will be 2 different categories you may enter, using the components listed for each.

Wallet Game

  1. 12-18 Cards (Must be Standard Poker Size)
  2. Vinyl Wallet
  3. Score Paper/Pen
  4. Rules (Note: We print on a small 8 panel rules sheet. Take a look at any of our previous games for an example of how much room we’re working with)

Wallet Game Plus

 

  1. 12-18 Cards (Must be Standard Poker Size)
  2. Up to 10 coins* to be used as tokens, markers, etc
  3. Vinyl Wallet
  4. Score Paper/Pen
  5. Rules (Note: We print on a small 8 panel rules sheet. Take a look at any of our previous games for an example of how much room we’re working with)

*Coins: 10 max. Can be up to 4 different denominations (example US penny, nickel, quarter and dime). You may also use heads or tails.

 

We can submit up to one game per category, but I think we’ll just focus on one or the other. As always, Boardgamizer will be used for parameter generation after the break!

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