Friday, January 31, 2014

A sad tale of fiscal responsibility

The kickstarter edition Coup went on sale for a single day this week. Apparently the publisher got a few more copies that he thought were destroyed so he put them on Amazon.

I have convinced people to play it at work using a PnP copy, and it is fairly popular. I wanted to buy it, but I had no more fun money for the month. I came up with a plan to buy it with credit card reward points. Unfortunately, when I ordered the Amazon gift card it ended up coming in the next day, after all the copies has already sold. :(

Fortunately I convinced a co-worker to buy it, so it is not like I will have to wait till it is printed for real to play with a legitimate copy.

Someone at work also said that they wanted to bring in Bohnanza, which I wholeheartedly approve of (resistance has been overplayed quite a bit, so any other fun game seems that much better.)

I have some dancing robot animations under way. They already dance based on what moves you are performing, but they don't lose parts, and the animations are still pretty simple. I will post a link when I have something more to show.

Also, I'll be playing games with Dave tonight, so perhaps we will talk about art when that happens. Who knows?

Saturday, January 25, 2014


It has been a while without a post.

I have been mostly working on the dancing animations for my Dancing Robots website (they are not in a state where they could be shown off to anyone, but they are getting closer.)

I also took a first stab at composing judge cards. for Dancing Robots.

Burgoo just got funded (and hit it's final stretch goal in the last minutes). I look forward to receiving my copy.

I also tried out Coup recently. It seems to have much more randomness than Resistance, but it still a fun game where deduction and deceit are paramount to winning. The player elimination aspect is annoying (except in a two player game, where it means that the game is over immediately). A game doesn't take that long as long as everyone is playing to kill, so you are not out forever, but it is still annoying to be out.

I have considered the option of making a variant allowing players who are eliminated to still be able to take the three basic actions and still bother the players that are in the game, but have not tried it out. I think that it would probably keep people from dealing the killing blow to anyone early in the game, so it would help out in that way at least. The problem is the likelihood of a killed player deciding the game.

Finally, I have been considering whether I want to print up some Dancing Robot cards for SaltCon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pretty Princesses

We played some Love Letter at work today. It went pretty well, and people all seemed to enjoy it. I introduced it by telling everyone that I had a new game called 'Pretty Princess', which apparently did not turn everyone off to the game. We ended up with seven people who were willing to play (which is more than the four who can legally play the game), so we ended up having some standers by.

Dwayne ended up winning after 5 rounds (despite my eliminating him hard core one round via a malicious use of the prince card (when I knew that he had the princess via deduction)).

We might try Coup some time (since Ryan Hendricks rates it highly). I am not super excited about the player elimination, but Love Letter has that to some extent, so it is not the worst thing ever. The game does seem like a cool game, and one that would be fun with this group of people.

We also played some more Burgoo, which is gaining popularity fast at work (people like playing it in between Pomodoros since it takes only about 10 minutes). The Kickstarter campaign is already fully funded, but there is still about a week left, so if you want a guaranteed copy of the game you can get one for $3. That is way cheaper than it will be if they sell it in a store later, so if you are even remotely interested I would recommend it.

Alison and I also played some games of MOAR MOAI LITE. The 'lite' version of the game is not really playable yet. I need to figure out a way to make it better. One problem that we were running into is that the sides are really super evenly matched. You end up knowing exactly the thing that you did that made you lose or win the game. Ties are quite possible (perhaps almost inevitable). I really need to work out the kinks if this game is ever going to get off of the ground.

One option that I am considering is a 'pay to play later' mechanic that would allow you to see what the other players were doing before you make your decision, but make that choice give you the ability to do less overall work. Perhaps we will try it out some time.

I made some changes to the Dancing Robots website. For one thing, it has actual card images on most of the parts that you can see by hovering over them. Perhaps I will start coding up the dance animations next (though I have been discouraged from that by not having all of my artwork done yet).

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dance Moves Ahoy!

I played some more Burgoo over the weekend with a brother in law (while my wife was talking with her sister about their impending babies). After the first game he didn't even ask if we wanted to play another, he just started to set up for another game immediately. I think that he liked it (though I didn't question him like I do when we play one of my own game). It is a fun game.

I also started working on the cards for the dance moves. I have a very rough approximation of what I want them to look like.

Since I don't yet have all my artwork for the part cards I am making these cards without any place for artwork. When the artwork for the other cards comes in I will consider getting artwork for these cards (though the cards have some interesting requirements for text, and I am not too sure that I will be able to fit in artwork and keep the text as large as I would like).

I tried to make only one of each type of card as well as the cards that were the most unusual (to test the boundaries). Here they are:

The Barrel Roll was included because it is the level 3 card with the longest rule text. The Disco Shuffle is one of the level 2 dances (and none of them are interesting, so they all have the same rule text). The Power Combo is the combo with the longest rule text (and also the card with the longest rule text that includes symbols). The River Dance is an example of a mixture move (all of which are not interesting except for The Penultimate Dance and The Ultimate Dance). Shuffle is a boring move (see the bored face?), and The Ultimate Dance is the move with the most types.

Though you wouldn't guess it from looking at the example cards, most of the cards do not have rule text (like the Riverdance). I don't know if I should just remove the rule text box when the rule text is non existent, or if I should leave it in.

Additionally, the Disco Shuffle and Shuffle show one of the problems that I am currently facing. If I have 'any support' on the card, should the 'any' be colored like a support or not. Additionally, the Power combo should technically have two 'any's on it, but I couldn't fit them in.

Finally, I think that I am ready for a playtest of MOAR MOAI LITE (I will not post any rules until I have at least a reasonable expectation that the game is playable, and considering how massive the rewrite is I think it best to hold off a bit).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cards Complete

I decided that in order to judge what font size was acceptable for the cards I needed to have all of the cards done at least in part. Here is the gallery with the current appearance of the cards. Obviously there is still work to do, but until the art gets done I can't really do it.

We played four or so games of Burgoo over lunch. I decided that I am going to support it. It is pretty fun. The best part is the end of the game when you can judge what every move will do to your chances of winning.

We also played some more Avalon as well as some Two Rooms and a Boom (both of which ended up good). During one of the games of avalon we had two spies on the final mission (which was way fun). No-one knew that I was a spy apparently, and we also had the other spy known to Merlin on the mission.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Burgoo, more cards, and MOAR MOAI LITE

I made a copy of Burgoo and played it tonight (just to test it out so that I could determine if I wanted to support it).

The game is pretty fast, and seems to have some strategic depth to it. My wife and I tied, with Andrea coming in third. Andrea and I both split our stacks early and Alison just played the right ingredients to maximize her relative advantage.

The game seems (after only one play) to not be terribly broken, but I will play it a few more times before I make a real strong judgement. If it continues to be as fun as it was the first game I will be supporting it.

I have been working on more Dancing Robots cards. A lot of my time was spent making scripts which make things look exactly identical between different cards (and basically not very different than it was before). The self destruct card is an example of a card wherein the text looks like it will be looking in the future (which is to say that it has the right amount of black around it and white overshadowing it, not that it is the right size or anything).

I have been discussing the upper corner icons with Darin, and have some ideas for them (which I have not yet implemented) which should make them look a little better. He also told me that the font size differences are not a good thing, so I am fooling around with making all of the font the same size. Haven't yet done that either. Finally, I am looking at bringing back the colored border on the card. Perhaps I will just tint the scratched metal layer according to the card type.

In other news: I have begun to try to deconstruct why I like MOAR MOAI, and I think that the game could be simplified more (and made faster). It might even end up as MOAR MOAI LITE... nah.

Either way, it seems like I will be working more on MOAR MOAI when I get some time away from these cards.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A fist full of grasps

Today I printed up and cut out three copies of Dancing Robots and mailed one out to a blind playtester. I also played some Herd your Horses and a game of Dancing Robots with Rea. With my help she beat me by two points.

In the evening I worked a bit on the new Grasp Cards, which seemed to come out pretty good.

The tractor beam was the most unusual one. It had to have an extra large icon box in the corner as well as an extra large rule box on the bottom. The Multimover will be similar.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Sole Survivor of The Zombpocalypse

I have published a new version of Dancing Robots to the Windows Azure website. There are minor UI improvements (the biggest one was showing cardx2 or cardx3 instead of duplicating the cards).

I also made a post to BGG attempting to invite people to playtest Dancing Robots (The post is here for those who are interested (if you want to join in, I'll mail you a copy of the game if you post a response)).

Finally, I spent a few minutes making color semi-high fidelity versions of the chassis cards (Since Dave has finished all of the artwork for the chassis). I will probably make some grasps tomorrow, and perhaps I will finish all of the artworkless cards as well.

In other news, this week we tried Two Rooms and a Boom with Zombies. It was pretty fun, and I was one of the three not infected at the end of the game. Only 2 people won (since the president died I lost, and since I did not die at the end of the game the zombies lost). All of the red team who did not get converted to zombies died, but since the president also died they won. It was definitely a game to play again.

We also have been playing more Resistance, but I have been sitting out during most lunches since I have been programming and trying to drum up some enthusiasm for my game.

Bob asked me today whatever happened to MOAR MOAI. I haven't been trying to get people to play it as much since NaGaDeMon is over. Perhaps I should bring it back out some time. It is likely that I could get some games of it going, and it is definitely a welcome break from endless Resistance.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A discussion of recent art changes

Darin Shepit is the instigator of this post. It is an explanation of my recent changes to my card art. It might be interesting to others as well, so it is memorialized here. I did take a lot of Darin's comments into consideration when I made my recent changes. I also did some things of my own initiative.

The following changes were per Darin's advice:

The platforms. They are circles, rectangles, and ovals, colored with perlin noise and bordered with white to black gradients. The parts 'sit' on top of them, and the text floats above the parts (although I don't intend that to be apparent in most of the cards).

I tried to lighten up the 'scratched metal' background to make the part stand out more. I also increased the saturation and contrast of the cards. The art does look much clearer with this change, so I thought that that really helped the overall appearance.

Finally, The borders on the cards were removed entirely.

The changes that I made of my own accord follow:

I removed the colored glow around the card (which indicates what deck it is from) in exchange for making the card name text the only thing that indicates the deck (at some point the backs of the cards will all be different colors so that they can be more easily separated into their respective decks (which is important to the game))

I also fooled around with automating the coloring of the title texts and the attribute texts as well. This should make it easier to bang out a lot of cards once I figure out what they should look like (there are 25 unique parts cards (with 2 to 8 copies of each), so this is important if I ever want to get done).

I also changed the icons in the upper corners of the cards in the following ways: I made them colored so that when the same symbols appear in the card text the players will more easily be able to recognize them as being the same symbol. I also removed the card symbol entirely and replaced them with either a heat capacity symbol (if the card modifies the heat capacity) or nothing (this change is not really set in stone yet, I am not entirely happy with losing the card symbol).

In terms of game rules:

The game has been pretty stable for a long time, but since I gave it a months rest during NaGaDeMon I have decided to change some things recently. One such change was making the Bomberman Judge award 2 points per part that you lose during the dance off (instead of the original 1 point per part) since he was one of the lowest benefit granting judges and pleasing him was rarely a good strategy.

I am pretty happy with my new 'discard all of your parts before the dance off' rule (even though it severely gimps the Grand Poobah) since it makes more parts available to draft before the second dance off.

I have also been considering finding ways of making the Oil Reactor better, since it seems a little under-powered. Subtracting a heat or a space would seem to be too much of a boon, but I don't know if adding an electricity might be a better option (it might also be too much). I will have to fool around with it and see which thing works best.

Now, The future:

I haven't even considered what I am going to do with the dance move cards yet (with 42 unique dances I am not yet ready to start on them). There are also 16 judges, so I have to figure them out too eventually.

I only have hired Dave (my artist brother in law) to make the art for the 25 part cards, so I haven't yet gotten any art for the moves or judges yet. The art that I have received is not entirely complete (you can find the extent of the artwork I have received as of yet here), but I expect it to not be too long before it is ready to go.

The whole reason for making the artwork is that I have made a website to play the card game and people have been telling me that the game would be more approachable with artwork. I do intend to try to sell the game to a publisher eventually, but until I do that the website makes it easier to get playtesters from all over, allows me to play against friends who do not live close to me, and also allows me to easily change things and see if I like them without printing and cutting a lot of cards. Another benefit is that the website records logs of every game, so I can mine the logs for info about approximate card power levels and use that to balance the game.

I have been entertaining the possibility of making the game into a android app, but the website is pretty usable on a phone or a tablet already, so I probably will save the idea for one of my other games (MOAR MOAI, my recent NaGaDeMon entry is pretty well suited to be played on a computer since I haven't yet figured out how to cut down on the math for restocking fish and such).

Either way, if I can get the game ready to show to some publishers by SaltCon I will be happy (I just recently realized that I missed the deadline to submit it to be judged for the Ion Award, so I am just hoping that I can show it to some publishers there anyway.)