Friday Project Update: Green-Circuit Mercs

Just a small update: I had a chance to playtest the newest iteration of Green Circuit Mercs with my loving and long-suffering wife, and a minor miracle occurred:

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“Hey Mikey, he likes it!”

While she normally is a fan of board games, she’s markedly less so for card games, especially competitive ones, so already there were two strikes against it. In addition, I am absolutely terrible about explaining my homebrew game rules to others in a logically concise and coherent fashion, and she is a very competitive and precise player: this was another strike, as it can often end up with me accidentally forgetting a key rule that throws a game into turmoil.

Still, after a slight bit of eyebrow-raising during the initial rule explanation, we hopped into it and she grasped it straight away, and proceeded to almost steamroll me. I lucked out with an aggressive early game that managed to provide the Tech cards to supplement my Cyborg deck and help me win more bids than I otherwise would have  in the late game. After it was all said and done, I won by a relatively-narrow margin, and she said she had a lot of fun. The only dislikes she had against it were just with the competitive and card-focused aspects of it, which again were issues with the game style as a whole rather than specific mechanical issues with GCM.

Overall, I’m incredibly excited. Now all that’s left is getting some blind playtesting in so the rulebook can get refined and streamlined; I’m also looking to do the same with Holy Press, as I have a relative who has offered to do artwork for it for free!

Hopefully there will be more of that to show off in the coming months, but until then I at least have two games basically ready to get fine-tuned and published! I’ve joined Cardboard Edison’s Patreon, and this gives access to their Compendium of game publishers looking for submissions. I’m incredibly excited to be able to submit my game to multiples of these, and while a game design contest is all well and good for publicity, this might be an even better way to break into the industry and start to make my name known.

Anyhow, that’s it for this week. Next week tune in on Monday for the next Boardgameizer design, and the next iteration of the Alien Ambassador rules. Cheers!

 

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The Cardboard Edison Award Contest Update

So, the tl;dr of this is that unfortunately, Holy Press didn’t win a spot in the finalists. A shame, but it looks like the finalists field is quite good looking so I understand there was probably fierce competition.

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Maybe next time, buddy

While it didn’t become a finalist, there was some incredibly-valuable feedback from judges regarding points they liked and didn’t like for the game, as well as areas they’d suggest expanding on in the future. I wanted to group all of that together below and go over my thoughts in response to the feedback.

What was the game’s strongest aspect?

  • Very original approach to a programming game!
  • It’s a unique game! It’s a mix of party and strategy games. You’ve got the goofy mad libs mixed with programming actions that combine for a very odd mix that could fit into that niche.
  • The theme and mechanisms are interesting and engaging. There is a solid platform to work from in this game. The concept of writing my own commandments is awesome.
  • Cute concept, great player count spread.
  • The game looks like a lot of fun! Love the programming mechanic. Very cool!

It seems like having a light programming game was a really popular point. The theme was very much a divided opinion (as shown in the below section of what they thought the weakest aspect was), but overall I got the impression that the theme was ok, but it should be approached carefully to avoid being overtly or directly offensive to religious and secular players.

In light of the feedback, I’m definitely glad I changed the mechanics to continue movement from where you ended the last turn rather than starting from the center, as that I think really helps make the programming feel important rather than making each player turn feel like a trial-and-error exercise.

The other feedback is below 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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Gamedump: Casanova’s Spark

So I don’t have any new game updates this week, but I am looking forward to doing tome prototype testing of Holy Press this weekend or next week for the Cardboard Edison game design contest! Instead, I’ll be doing a gamedump of a game I made for a 24-hour contest: Casanova’s Spark.

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The map of the mansion

The Themes:

The themes for this game were Backing Out, Static, and Scandal. I wanted to try a game with a bit of fun physical dexterity to it as I’d just been reading and learning about Catacombs, so I made the main mechanic of the game one where you’re trying to zap other players and get a reaction out of them with a mild static shock. I’d want to refine this one a bit more for a future rendition, possibly tweaking the theme and definitely tweaking mechanics to make sure it played properly.

The Game:

The Rules

Please let me know what you think of the game in the comments/reblogs below. Cheers!

 

 

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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