Sunday, March 30, 2014

Salt Con: Aftermath

I am back from Salt Con. Here are the highlights:

I played a bunch of games which I had never played before. Here are my thoughts on them:
  • Machi Koro: This game was very similar to Settlers of Catan. It was slightly better that the aforementioned game (which I don't like very much), but not entirely horrible. There was a better ability to control your own destiny
  • Council of Verona: This game was excellent. I had read the rules before the con, and decided to play the game at the con to see how much I liked it. After having played it I bought it (those who know me know that I am not really that likely to buy things right off the bat (so that is a large endorsement for me)). I would definitely recommend it to anyone that liked Love Letter, Avalon, or Coup.
  • Get Bit: It was pretty fun. I would try it again.
  • Walk the Plank: This game was very fun. I would definitely play it again. It has the ability to be moderately strategic, but you have to plan your moves in advance, and you are not able to modify your plans, and that adds a lot of lighthearted chaos to the game. Many were the times that I hurled my last pirate down to Davy Jones locker by not judging the situation correctly.
  • Eight Minute Empire: Legends: This game was not named correctly. It should be half-hour empire. It was quite a fun game anyway, but the name was wrong.
  • Pillars of the Earth: A decent worker selection game with new mechanics for placing your workers.
  • Belfort: A interesting worker placement game, but much longer than it needed to be. Perhaps you could end it in an hour if everyone knew what they were doing, but I doubt it.
  • Rampage: A fun and silly game based on the arcade game of the same name. Very simple. Very thematic.
  • Space Cadets: Dice Duel: A fun game. It is hectic because it is not turn based. The rules are clean and the play it fun. Though there are dice involved, the best working team is likely to win because the law of large numbers. A great party game (and I don't usually like party games).
  • Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men: It played smoothly, however the subject matter didn't really impress me.

Prototype Alley was pretty fun. I played a martial arts game that was pretty fun, and got some people to play Creative Accountants. I also attended a game design forum that ended up being moderately eye opening. Apparently I wasn't wasting my time making Polynesia look so good. Perhaps I will spend that amount of time on other games, but I will probably wait until they are more solid. Perhaps I need to work on Dancing Robots a bit more.

Finally, I got most of the following at the math trade:
I am very happy that I went.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The final day

Tomorrow is SaltCon.

My current plan is as follows:
Attend all of Friday and Satuday
Play some games (Caverna, Glass Road, Eminent Domain, Rialto, Walk the plank, Belfort, Council of Verona, Get Bit, Milestones, Robots on the Line, perhaps some Two Rooms and a Boom)
Help out some (working in the game library and as a game teacher)
Do the math trade (and get some cool games)
Perhaps talk to some publishers (If I am lucky - apparently I am bad at getting people to email me back and set up appointments)
Attend Prototype Alley (I think I am going with Cook the Books. More on that later.)
Watch Ion awards
Visit various workshops

It should be fun.

About the Prototype Alley: The total vote count (including all my responses from my different sources) was: 3 Dancing Robots, 4 Creative Accounting, 2 Collusion.

I am going to go with Creative Accounting for one additional reason: Creative Accounting is not really play-testable as a 2 player game, and I have played Dancing Robots with my wife quite a few times (so it is easier to playtest outside of a group setting).

I will be bringing prototype copies of all of my games to the con, so if anyone wants one I will be handing them out.

Also. We tried another game of Collusion yesterday, and a certain player found that with correct play he could extend the game indefinitely. Rules changes have been made, but this makes me entirely unwilling to use it during the prototype alley.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Prototype Alley: A Quandry

I am getting ready for SaltCon's Prototype alley, but can't figure out which game I should bring.

Which one would you be most likely to want to play (given brief descriptions and rules):

Dancing Robots: A game where you draft part and dance cards to build the ultimate dancing robot. You need to balance concerns to build a good robot that can dance a lot of moves. Finally, you must defeat all the competition in a judged dance off. 2-4 players, 20-40 minutes

Collusion: A game where you buy and sell goods in an attempt to make more money than others through price fixing and undercutting. Alliances can be formed but no agreement is binding. 2-8 players, 10-40 minutes

Creative Accounting: A team game where you are either a bean counter who tries to cook the books to give your company an unfair business advantage or a whistleblower who is trying to catch companies cooking the books. It is sort of Werewolf like, but there is no player elimination. 3-12 players, 10-30 minutes.

Moar Moai: A two phase worker placement game where you try to build stone heads and place them in an optimal position relative to the other players stone heads. The game enters the second phase when the island's ecology is destroyed and explorers come to discover the remains of your culture. Guide the explorers to discover more of your ruins to win. 2-4 players. 20-40 minutes.

By the way, if you have not registered for SaltCon yet (and are in the SLC area), do it now and save $5!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Math trade results

I forgot to post my math trade results:
1.Bang! The Bullet!Dominion
2.Ninja Versus NinjaN.E.W. Nano Engineered War
3.25$ gift card to AmazonPandemic
4.Puerto RicoDominant Species: The Card Game
Dominant Species: The Card Game Promo Card Set
5.25$ gift card to AmazonArkham Horror
6.Fortress AmericaCosmic Encounter
8.Star Wars: Epic DuelsEminent Domain
I am pretty happy about the results. Most of the games I am trading away I didn't play so much, and the games that I am getting sound pretty cool.

I am pretty stoked about Eminent Domain. It seems like it will be a pretty fun game.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

14 more lightning reviews

I finished my first read through of all of the rules. I have not yet read all of them enough to feel comfortable playing them all. (Also, I was unable to find the rulebooks for a lot of them online.)

The Following seemed to be impossible to find the rules for:
Misty Ruins
Other World
Stella Nova: Journey of the Magi
The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein
UFO Hunter
Where Chickens Dare!

Here are my thoughts on the others:
Paradise Fallen: Seemed to be fairly simple to understand. More examples of cards would be nice. The game felt fairly simple, but it seemed like play might uncover some hidden complexity
Rialto: A fun sounding game. I will probably play this one time or more at the con.
SlapShot: it is a hockey game. There seems to be some randomness to it, but also the possibility of winning through strategy. It is possible that I found some old rules for this because it seemed very old.
Space Sheep: a simple game that could be fun based on the possibility of having traitors in the game.
Village: This game sounded pretty fun. A worker placement game with multiple ways to win where your workers die of old age.I will definately play this one at the con.
Walk The Plank: A fun sounding light game. I could see the banking of moves in advance end up making you mess yourself up, and the game is light hearted enough it wouldn't seem frustrating. I will try this one out.
Also, I read the rules for the following 'Hot Games':
Caverna: Dwarf Fortress meets Agricola. It sounds really good. I think I will play it at the con.
Russian Railroad: Another worker placement game. It is not a terrible sounding game, but it would have to compete with some better (in my opinion) games.
Glass Road: This game sounded pretty good. Another worker placement game, but it has a mechanic which makes you convert raw materials into finished goods. I might try it out.
Rampage: A light hearted game where you try to eat meeples and destroy a city. It sounds fun in a party type setting.
Space Cadets: Dice Dual: This sounds like a very tense game. Sort of like two rooms and a boom in the fact that it is real time. There is a lot of dice, but they are rolled so much that the law of large numbers has to overpower the randomness to some extent.
Firefly: very thematic. I might try it out (I liked the tv show). I worry that it might be a bit too true to the show, or perhaps that it might make the actual show characters way too good.
Robinson Crusoe: sounds depressing. I doubt that I could get my wife to play it, but it seems like it might be a fun game if you are in the right mood for it.
Nations: This game seems like it would take a long time. I can't really pick up any long games any more ever since I had little kids.

Finally, I have been preparing for SaltCon by printing and cutting out two more copies of Dancing Robots, one copy of Collusion, one copy of Moar Moai, and one copy of Creative Accounting. I might do a few more, but I might not.

My goal is to get a publisher at the con, but barring that, getting some more playtesters opinions would also be nice.

Finally, I am really looking forward to the Math Trade. I am getting a copy of Eminent Domain, and a lot of other interesting games. I look forward to playing my new games once the dust settles from the con.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

20 games in 2 days

I have begun to read all of the rule books for the "Play to Win" games for SaltCon. I am not yet though all of them, but I figure that writing down my current thoughts might prove useful to myself in the future (and perhaps interesting to others right now.)

I have not played all these games. My reviews are based on the rule book alone. I decided to read the rule books in an alphabetical order. Here are my thoughts:

Argosy: I didn't get through the rule book during my first attempt. It seems very cluttered. I intend to go back and read it again later.
Baldrick's Tomb: Seemed pretty straightforward. Not really my style of game, but fairly well explained.
Belfort: After having read the rule book I want to play the game. I will definitely look to play this one at Salt Con.
Bellwether: Another rulebook that was very cluttered. I didn't make it through this one on the first try either.
Coconuts: looks fun, but dexterity games are not my style usually.
Council of Verona: Sounded like an excellent game. I will play this one at the Con as well, and hope to win it. It seems like the type of game that I could get people at my work to play.
Crazy Creatures of Dr. Gloom: After having read the rule book, this game seems like a simpler version of Uno.
Dungeon Dice: This game seemed pretty decent. I could imagine playing it for fun, but it is slightly lower on my list than other games. It has some crab bucket elements that I am not super sold on.
Dungeon Roll: I like roguelikes. The rules are clearly laid out. It seems like it could be fun, but the randomness of it might put me off a bit.
Dungeon Roll Hero Booster Pack #1: Didn't read the rules yet.
Eminent Domain: This game seems awesome. I will definitely play it.
Eminent Domain Escalation: It seems to add to the game nicely. I would try it out, but if I won the expansion without the base game that would make me buy the base game
Euphoria:Build a better Dystopia: This game seemed pretty fun. I would definitely try it out at the con.
Farmageddon: Seemed well thought out and like it could be fun. It would be nice if the rules showed some examples of action cards. I might try it out at the con.
Fleet Admiral: Holy crap - this is like a fan made Star Trek card game. Having never watched Star Trek I can't judge it's accurateness, but the graphics are a bit lackluster. It seems a little too random for my likes.
Get Bit: Simple game, easy to understand, and it sounds pretty fun. I will try it out.
Going, Going, Gone!: this game made sense. I am not sure if I would enjoy the mechanics of it, but I would definitely try it out with friends if given the opportunity.
Jungle Ascent: The premise is fun. The game seems well thought out and the rule book was good. I don't quite know if I would like playing it (The crab bucket aspect seems incredibly strong), but I might give it a try.
Little Devils: This is a trick taking game. It seems like it could have some strategy to it, but I already know how to play hearts, and I enjoy that one a lot, so I probably won't try this one out.
Milestones: This game seems pretty simple and also seems like it could be fun. I will probably try it out during the con some time.

The games I have yet to try out are:
Misty Ruins
Other World
Paradise Fallen
Space Sheep
Stella Nova: Journey of the Magi
The Demise of Dr. Frankenstein
UFO Hunter
Walk The Plank
Where Chickens Dare!

I will review my first thoughts about them after I try them out.

The math trade for SaltCon is almost over. I hope to report a lot of trades soon.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Go to SaltCon!

For all of you board gamers in Utah: if you are not yet planning on going to SaltCon, I would encourage you to go. It is going to be really cool.

I just went to a training for being a game librarian, and they're going to have all sorts of games that anyone can check out  to play at the con.

There will be a play to win section where you can play and be entered to win a copy of the game that you played.

Lots of publishers will be there as well, and they will also do the Ion award judging there.

You should go.

In other news I printed up a new copy of creative accounting. This new copy of creative accounting has pictures and colors and the accountants are now called Bean Counters and the Auditors are now, Whistle blowers. I hope that these changes will allow it to be slightly less confusing. Perhaps this will be the game that I will present at the prototype alley at salt con.

I for one welcome our new Bean Counter overlords

Last night we played a game of creative accounting which could have gone better. The biggest problem was having six children with us when we were going over the rules.

One good thing that came out of the game was the fact that accountant and auditor look enough alike to cause confusion when distracted.

I have updated the names of the roles to bean counter and mole accordingly. Also I will make cards with color to help the game move along more quickly.

Another thing that happened yesterday during  work was our first games of Avalon with Lancelot. He changes the game. I am not sure if it is for good or ill, but he definitely changes it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Don't you ever interrupt me when I'm cooking a book!

Over the past few days we have been playing some more "creative accounting". I still haven't gotten in a three player game, but we have played a fair amount of two and four to six player games. It seems like the cut off for two companies might want to be at six players. That decision hasn't been made yet for sure, but it seems like a good place.

With two players it is mostly a game about second guessing your opponent, and it ends up playing similar to paper scissor rock (sigh). Cook the books > play it safe > audit.

With four players the game is pretty hard for the auditor. It is possible that I should make the scoring different (something like the more book cookers that are caught on an audit the more points the auditor gains).

If I do that then perhaps the book cooking should be scored the same. (The game would have a whole new scoring system, but the remainder of the game would stay the same)

I entered SaltCon's Prototype alley. I am still trying to determine what game to show. I have four options: moar moai, creative accounting, dancing robots, and collusion. Who knows which I will choose. I think I will bring extra copies of all of them anyway just in case people want to try them out.

This week we played an eleven player game of two rooms and a boom, which was great fun. The zombie infected eight players, but didn't manage to completely rule any room. The two surviving blue team members won. The game is definitely best with more than eight players.

We have still been playing a lot of Avalon. I would prefer to play it less often, but it is still a fun game.

Finally, we played a four player game of love letter, which was fun. I lost completely.

Tomorrow night we will have a game night and have my two oldest sisters and their husbands over. It is sure to be fun.

Friday, March 7, 2014

'Creative Accounting' practices

We have been playing games of the game that I came up with at 1AM a few days ago (which is currently being called both 'Cook the Books' and 'Creative Accountants') fairly often recently. It is interesting to have everyone at work really interested in a game that I created.

Usually my co-workers don't all like games that I made because I like to insert a lot of math into games, and this one is pretty math light.

There have been a lot of changes over the three days that we have been playing it. Some of the changes include:

Removing Company B for small numbers of players (We are not yet sure where the cut off lies, but with 6 players 1 company is still an interesting game)
Changing it so that there is always 1 accountant for small numbers of players (and always two accountants for large numbers.)

The rules are a little out of date, but they can be found here (I plan to update them, but have not at the time that I post this).

Also: I have been getting ready for SaltCon. The math trade as well as the gaming at the conference in general. Perhaps I will talk to some publishers while I am there. If not, I might end up trying out a kickstarter campaign some time soon.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

More 1 AM madness

I woke up again at 1 AM. There was no dream this time - just a game. A co-worker threw out ideas for a game a few weeks ago and I was mulling them around in my head for a while (while I was not working very much on anything else).

The current rules follow:

Cook the Books:
Two companies try to cook their books to improve their perceived values and attract investors. Auditors try to catch them at it.

2-12 players

Job cards (unless noted, job cards are played face down):
All job cards have a company. Half of them are company A and the other half are company B
Auditor: You can play any card including audit cards. You win if you catch either company cooking the books twice.
Accountant: You can play any card except for audit cards. You win if your company cooks the books without getting caught three times. (In case of a tie, you have to cook the books once more than the other company did.)
Hippie Accountant: You are an Accountant, however no-one suspects you of secretly being an auditor. Play with your job card face up. You win like any other accountant does.

Job card decks:
2 players:  1 auditor A, 2 Accountants A
3 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 2 Accountants (1a, 1b)
4 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 2 Accountants (1a, 1b)
5 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 2 Accountants (1a, 1b), 2 hippie accountants (1a, 1b)
6 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 4 Accountants (2a, 2b)
7 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 4 Accountants (2a, 2b), 2 hippie accountants (1a, 1b)
8 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 6 Accountants (3a, 3b)
9 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 6 Accountants (3a, 3b), 2 hippie accountants (1a, 1b)
10 players: 2 auditors (1a, 1b), 8 Accountants (4a, 4b), 2 hippie accountants (1a, 1b)

With 3 or fewer players, one card is removed from the remaining cards, placed face down, and never looked at. The remaining cards are dealt out (one to each player).

With more than three players, divide the cards into their respective companys. Shuffle the cards. If hippie accountants are in the game, place them on the bottom of the decks face up.

Players may pick a card from the company of their choice, but the companys must end up as evenly as possible.

After companys are decided, All players look down and the auditors identify themselves to each other.

Action Phase:
Each player plays one action card face down in the middle. Once all of the cards are played, the players shuffle them and then reveal what happened. The remaining action cards are shuffled in as well, and the cards are returned to their respective owners.

Action cards:
n/2 each of:
Play fair A: You don't do anything illegal this turn. Gain no points.
Cook books A: You do something illegal this turn. Your company gains 1 point unless an Audit A card is played this turn. Your company may only gain 1 point per cooking books per turn.
Audit A: Company A is audited this turn. If any member of Company A played a 'Cook books' card this turn then company A is under disciplinary action and will lose the game if they are caught cooking the books by an audit again.
Play fair B: Same as above except with B
Cook books B: Same as above except with B
Audit B: Same as above except with B

In three player games or less everyone gets two sets of action cards. This allows auditors to audit either company freely. You may not play a card pertaining to the other company unless you are an auditor.

Auditors who audit a company and do not find any illegal activities two times in a row are forced to stop auditing that company for the remainder of the game. They may still vote to stop people from playing. Any illegal activities that are discovered by an audit reset this count.

Only auditors may audit. Any non auditor who audits loses and causes the auditors to win.

Vote phase:
After the first action phase there is a vote phase. Each player considers who they would like to be unable to play the next round. When any player is prepared to vote they raise their hand. Once all players have their hand up they simultaneously point to the player that they want to not act. All players tied for the most votes may not play actions in the next action phase.

If you are an accountant:

  • Voting out yourself is a bad idea.
  • Voting out your auditor is a good idea.
  • Voting out an opponents non-auditor is a slightly good idea.
  • Voting out the opponents auditor is a bad idea.
  • Voting out your own non auditor team mate is a bad idea.

If you are an auditor:

  • Voting out yourself is a bad idea.
  • Voting out an opponents non-auditor is a slightly good idea.
  • Voting out the other auditor is a bad idea unless the votes are tied and both of you would be unable to act next turn unless one voted on the other.
  • Voting out your own non auditor team mate is good idea if you can make the other people in your company think that the person is an auditor.
Win conditions:
If a company has three or more points and is the company with the most points then they win. The auditors and the other company loses.
If the auditors catch a company under disciplinary action cooking the books then the auditors and the other company wins.

We played three games at work today. It ended up fairly fun.