Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Burying treasure and removing the Hold In

I brought Grab the Loot! to the Board Game Design Guild again. This play was testing out buried treasure and coins being valued at 4. We played a game, and then had an excellent discussion about it. Here are my notes (and what I plan to do about them).

  • Some cards need to be reworded: (so, I am going to reword them)
    • Trevyn- should say "to the captain", so that it doesn't affect stolen treasures
    • Gripe- should say "gain an item", so that you don't just shuffle coins around.
    • Sophia- should say "gain from the captain", so that it doesn't affect stolen/donated coins.
    • Bribe- should say "gain an item" like gripe
    • Trick- opposite order is more common for wording?
  • Buried treasures should not get players shot. (This is a great idea. I am going to do it.)
  • Do not "Texas Hold'em" in all of the Captain's greed cards. This spawned a large discussion, and more people were on the side of not "holding in" the cards. The arguments for the holding in were: simplified math, however the arguments against it were: one card was worth 25 points which was the most valuable card in the game by far, and the scores in our game were tighter with the holding in removed. (I did not originally have all of the cards "held in", but added that because Daniel Peterson said that it would make the math easier. With the results of the debate in, I am ready to do a lot of math after each game to determine if the scores are really tighter, but I do agree that that one card being worth 25 points is a smoking cannon which indicates a problem. I will have to fix this either way.)
  • Coins should be worth five points to make math easier (I am sort of scared that this might make them too powerful, but I'll give it a go and see if it works out.)
  • Game wants more interaction (I am always up for that.)
    • Make more cards affect the captains greed.
    • Put player abilities on player cards which can be activated by meeples and give benefit to the player as well as the player that placed their meeple. (I will try it out. It sounds interesting.)
  • Perhaps make some cards that always are available (I am up to try this out)
    • Add an ability to the "Captain Standee", so that players can visit that location no matter what.
  • Player's abilities should be secret until they are used (this sounds fun. I will try it out.)
  • Abilities that can be only used when revealed (this is a combination of the prior idea and putting placement slots on player's cards.)
  • Coins should not be in the greed. (This spawned a debate, and more people were in the "Coins should be in the greed" camp than the "coins should not be in the greed." The root cause seemed to be the following point, which I think that I can fix (even if I make coins still in the greed.))
  • Players should be able to make themselves safe from getting shot without losing all of their treasure. (I have seen three or four players that have (in the quest to not get shot) lost all of their treasure, so I feel for this point even if I have always "gone big" instead of "going home").
    • Add cards to allow players to bury more treasure -which is immune to getting you shot. (I think that this is the solution. Players that are getting antsy can bury their treasure and not lose it all. It wastes their turn, and perhaps is less advantageous to them, but it also prevents their treasure from getting stolen, so it might just be worth it.)
After the play session was over and the discussion ended I had a few more ideas while driving home.

  • Card abilities to add:
    • flip up top card without having to place on it by paying money.
    • peek at the next greed card.
    • look at all the greed cards that are out of the box (by paying money).
  • Perhaps some characters should have abilities that let them score loot differently?
All in all, I am going to be doing some more modifications to the game. I really like the way that it is heading.

In other news, I have been working on "The Madness Place" again (finally). It needs some more polishing up before I print it up again and try to play it, however it is actually going somewhere. 

Here are how the cards are now looking: There are  fewer energy types, which should alleviate the problem with getting the right energy types, and there are also now scoring rooms, which should alleviate the "one winner and a ton of losers" feel that the game had in the past. I still need to figure out what cards have what on the back sides, but I think that we are practically ready to play it.


Monday, June 12, 2017

Making games for kids

I joined the Haba kids game design contest this week. As part of the contest you get a bunch of parts that they had lying around and have to make a game that uses the parts. I got the following:
I have tried out two designs so far. The first (which the younger kids liked the most) was a game where you visit the zoo and try to become brave enough to befriend a spooky shirt that is also at the zoo.

In the second game the players are trying to catch a bunch of gnomes. The older kids liked that one better.

I might combine them into one game - perhaps you are going to visit a fantasy zoo and need to gather all the small magical animals so that you can return them to the (scary) warden.

My two year old son is about to have his birthday, and he asked me to design him a game for a present. We got into discussing the theme, and from this was born "Robots fighting Aliens and saving Princesses". His design considerations were the following:

  • Has to have good robots
  • One robot has to be a hero with a gun
  • Has to have evil aliens
  • One alien has to be good
  • There have to be princesses that got stolen by the aliens
  • It needs a map for them to move around on
I'm thinking right now that the rules will involve placing aliens all over the map (multiple to a tile), princesses in the center, and allowing the players to start in the corners. Players move their hero robots around fighting Aliens and eventually save the princesses.

If the heroes are outnumbered, the heroes have to go back to the corner to pick up reinforcement robots to successfully clear out a square. The aliens also will slowly move around.

I have a week until the design is due, so hopefully it all works out and he loves it.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An idea is budding...

I just had an idea (which I totally didn't steal from Carl Chudyk (not really, I pretty much stole it from him)) for a new game. I think I am going to polish off the old Polynesian theme and mock something up some time.

I should be working on The Madness Place, but doing what I feel that I need to do to it will be hard. I really dislike simplifying games, and always worry that I will simplify them too much.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Done with TLDR for a while

I finally finished working on Terran League of Defense Robots and submitted it.

Phew.

Since then I have come up with a few modifications Grab The Loot. The first is adding hidden treasure cards to every player (which makes it less of a perfect knowledge game), and another is making treasures have an effect (like you can return them to the captain to do something).

We played today at lunch, and had a few ideas: one was to make coins worth more, another idea was to make the player that loses a treasure places the captain meeple instead of the player that gains the meeple.

I should probably also spend at least a little time on the art work some time.

I have also been making a whole bunch of icons for people on BGG as a means of giving something back to the community. It has been going fairly well so far, and I have had a lot of people request icons.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A brief post.

I have been working on TLDR more and more. The rules are getting closer to being complete, but they haven't yet arrived there.

I also played The Dwarf King for the first time yesterday, and Rock Paper Wizard today. Of the two I liked The Dwarf King more. I am a bit of a Bruno Faidutti fan.

The Dwarf King is an interesting take on a Trick taking game. I like the changing rules, and the special cards. They often add an interesting twist to the game.

Rock Paper Wizard was a really simple game that can be explained quickly. I didn't love it,  but with how fast it went,  the game does definitely have a place. The "take that" without player elimination ends up being fun. I hope that we play it many times when other people are voting for Bang :)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Another TLDR post

We played TLDR at the board game design group meeting last night. It was a solo game against three motherships. By the time that the guy ended the game, he had a robot that could defeat nearly any mothership that could exist. It was fun to watch how he built his robot (he had way more healing than I would have expected any robot to ever need, but he made serious use of it, as he also had a ton of damage providing parts).

The game took about two and a half hours, but he beat the first mothership at about two hours. He said that he had had a fun time, and that the game seemed well balanced, but he did have a few ideas:

  • Make a draft for a one player game (with starting cards). (Not sure if I will do this before the end of the contest)
  • Figure out how to get trade working in a one player game. (Not sure if I will do this before the end of the contest)
  • Make foes that move at different speeds? (Not sure if I will do this before the end of the contest)
  • The ability to repair cities might be nice (I could modify the construction worker card to do this, and it would make more sense than his current ability.)
  • Remove auto-repair action - your robot can repair inside of combat, or take an action to repair. (I might do this - I will have to consider the effects of it)
  • Remove normal repair action (probably I will not do this, this action is useful to people that don't go all out on repair parts)
  • Battleship looks like it most be a mothership (Perhaps I need a symbol that denotes "This is a mothership")
  • What order do you place your new foe columns? Do you know where on the map the alien figurine will go before you select the card? (we played yes, but I have since decided no.)
  • Neural implants and Multitask drivers need to be changed (I need to do this before the contest - the last change to the tech draft really messed up these cards)
  • Mothership corpses should be worth more as a corpse (1 wild corpse? I can probably do something)
  • Escort ship is not an "escort". Either the card needs to be renamed, or there is a game term that needs updating. (I can easily rename the card)
  • Need to be able to cycle through the tech cards faster. Perhaps as an action (this is really good, so I probably will do it.  I just have to make sure that the balance remains the same.)
  • The mothership moves to which tied column? (This is already in the rules. We just had to remember what the rules stated)
  • Rules need to be written out clearly and lots of hand holding has to happen for this to work for a player that doesn't know the game perfectly (This is a point well made. I need to do this.)
Now, I only have so much time before the contest ends, so I can't do all of these things right now, but the ones that shouldn't affect the balance of the game seem totally within the limits of what is reasonable.

We reached a point in the game where he was supremely confidant about his ability to defeat every possible opponent, and because of that, I told him to enter the Alien Dimension, and take the fight to the aliens. That is when he faced the final mothership and won the game. This was the first time in a game that that happened, but it worked out fairly well.

Probably the biggest thing that I still need to do it clean up the rules and make them much more easy to understand, but I am also going to fix the two cards that need work based on the new rules, and I will probably also incorporate as many of the other fixes before I am done.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Working on TLDR again

Last night I played a game of Terran League of Defense Robots with Alison for our date night. We turned up the difficulty and included two Motherships in the game, and I found it to be a very satisfying victory. We are getting quite good at that game.

We added in ideas from last playtest, and found them to mostly work well. Here are what we changed, and what we thought about it:

  • The minions are now integrated into the foe cards - They are on play abilities that add a "Minion" cube to the tile. Minions fight as a block, and deal (and require) damage equal to their count. They take any damage type as full damage (even generic).
    • This felt pretty good. The minions were hard to fight, but not overpowering. The real game will want minion tokens that are like coins with a pow symbol on them.
    • The mothership's minions and her escort's minions combined to make a stack of 14 minions. That is practically unkillable. We decided that the mothership should summon minionless escorts. 
  • Technology cards are now a draft that slowly cycles if you don't pick them. You can pick each turn the card that leaves the draft, so you can hold a tech indefinitely if you like it but can't afford it. Having scientists in your lab lets you have more cards in the draft (you start with three), and you still spend scientists out of your engineering bay to build techs.
    • This worked fairly well. Some of the cities and characters don't make sense any more. I need to fix that.
  • We also decreased the space that each chassis provides - basic lost 2, normal lost 1, and tech didn't lose any.
    • This made me personally feel the space requirements more keenly. I think that it worked out.
We decided that the aliens should still be able to damage a city if you are not properly defending it, which means that you need to engage the entire stack if you don't want the city to slowly get destroyed.

I have also been working more and more on Grab the Loot. I am really excited about that one (mainly because it is so easy to playtest it, since it can be played twice at work during lunch.) Multiple times my co-workers have specifically requested that game as the game that we play at lunch, which is pretty rare. Once the survival contest is over, I will probably work on GTL for a while.

I have also been working on The Madness Place a bit, and it is nearly ready to playtest again. I hope that this time I have made the game work better, and not be so fiddly.

I have been wondering if I should reduce the number of energy types in the game. It would make the problem of always drawing the wrong thing less likely to occur.

Finally, I have submitted The Perfect Moment - my entry to the Button Shy wallet games contest. I think that it is pretty good, and like how it turned out. Hopefully Jason feels the same.