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.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grabbin' more and more loot

I have been splitting my time between Grab the Loot, and The Perfect Moment right now. I showed both of them at the BGDG meeting last Tuesday, and got some good feedback.

I have implemented nearly all of the feedback that I got from the week before, and I also implemented most of the stuff from this last week. The game is working really well right now. The guys at work prefer it to published games on most days. Adding to the Captain's greed is really working out well.

I think that the next change that I make is going to be the ability to have hidden treasure(s), and also the ability to look at some of the greed cards that were removed from the game. Perhaps I will add in a sixth player (because more players is always fun, and the game seems to scale well).

I need to however re-balance the amount of loot you start with with different player counts. The captain having 8 loot at the beginning is too many with 2-3 players, and too few for 5 players. Perhaps the captain gets 2 treasure per player in the game?

The Perfect Moment went through a major change to the terminology this week, which didn't really change the way that the game is played, but makes understanding the game much easier to first time players.

I hope.

Really I should post a poll to BGG and see if it does the job that I was hoping it would. I need to finish this game soon, as I have to submit it in 2 weeks to the contest. Here's to hoping that I get it done on time.

Finally, I played some Skylines today, and won with vengeance. It was super fun.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Too many cooks and another BGDG meeting

On Tuesday I went to the Layton BGDG meeting a bit early and played a few games before the meeting started. I got some good feedback, and thought that I would record it here.

Deception:

  • The game should be bigger.
  • When you lose armies, you should gain things to offset the loss of armies (abilities?)
  • Secret goals?
  • More players? - attack the people near you only
Grab the Loot:
  • Calculate scores differently - add greed cards into everyone's loot to simplify it.
  • Make a game over card to add to the bottom of the greed deck.
  • Add to the rules the "do everything that you can" rule, so that when an ability is impossible, you still get to use it
  • Double sided greeds that are rotatable
  • Record scores to see if they are too swingy, and recalculate to make them tighter
  • Slots should not be the same
  • Make players have a secret treasure (or greed) that other players do not know about.
  • Spend your loot for abilities.
    • Spend treasure to flip up a card?
  • Break the scoring to add in options for other scoring methods.
Since I am grooming Grab the Loot in the hopes that it will one day become a game that Mayday Games would want to publish, I think that that will be the first one to work on.

My two contest entries are feeling pretty close to complete right now, so I don't need to work on them in a pressing manner, however I think that it would be good to work on them in the near future as well.

I also started to work on a new game - tentatively called "Too Many Cooks" (I know that there is already another Reiner Knizia game named that - I am just going to have to figure out a better name some time before it becomes complete) - which is like a boardless version of Tigris and Euphrates  right now. I am going to fool around with it some more before I playtest it to make sure that there are rules which cover all of the basic situations that could occur.

Finally, I played "Lanterns" for the first time recently. It was pretty fun. It had a lot of player interaction given that the premise of the game made it seem like multi player solitaire.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A new idea

I just played Akrotiri for the second time, and I think that I should write a review of it.

Akrotiri: 2 players, about 30 minutes

This game combines multiple mechanics: tile laying, pick up and deliver, and secret goals. During the game you are playing as ancient Greek explorers who are trying to discover the locations of forgotten temples based on clues that you were given in ancient maps.

I first played the game right after it came out, and told myself that my wife would enjoy it. I never saw it in a store, so I never got it until a recent BGG math trade.

The game starts with a large tile (the island of Thera) being placed in the center, and everyone receiving starting maps and goals. The maps are cards that give you requirements for building temples (I will explain more about that later - it is the coolest part of the game to me).

Goals are things like "Score 2 points for each of your Temples that are on an island with a volcano", or "Score 2 points for each of your Temples that are on islands that are not completed". Throughout the game you will gain more goals, and you don't reveal what goals you have until the end of the game.

The points associated with goals can give quite a few points to players: You can get 78 points from perfectly completing the best goals in the game, however you can only get 42 points from discovering all six temples using the most difficult maps. Since the only other source of points in the game in having lots of money, the max score possible is 126. That being said, you can't really expect to score over 100 very often because the right combinations of secret goals cannot be guaranteed.

The map mechanic of the game is by far the most fun part of the game to me. The maps define where the temple has to exist relative to what terrain icons. For instance: if a map had a temple with a volcano above it, a tree to the right, and a lake below it, then that means that you have to place your temple on the map south of a volcano, north of a lake, and west of a forest. This boxes you into a specific place on the map, and often makes it impossible to place a temple unless you add new tiles to put the terrain icons that your map requires on the side of the map that you care about.

The game is a competitive game for two where you are not directly attacking each other. It is an excellent game for a couple that likes multiplayer solitaire games, but it also has a fair amount of player interaction. On BGG I have rated this game an 8 of 10.

End of review.


In other news: I just opened up the copy of Temporum that I got at the math trade and played it for the first time today. We had a pretty fun time, but some players too way too long for their turns. After we have a game that moves at a reasonable speed, I will probably review that one as well.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Another day, another complete rewrite


We played "Grab the Loot!" at the BGDG tonight. The feedback I received was excellent. Since I just redesigned it from the ground up, I was really expecting big changes to come from this playtest, and I got what I was expecting.

Here are my notes - and what I think about them right now:
  • "Swap with another player" fix verbiage - Swap with the captain, swap with a player, and trade with a player are all possible actions. There should be three verbs, not two.
  • There are not strategic decisions (all are tactical) - This one hurt, however I took it graciously and considered it as a call to increase the strategic decisions that are available in the game. Taken that way, it gives me something to work with, and I will do it.
  • Treasure scarcity is not felt - I can easily fix this by making fewer treasures.
  • Swapping between players should be more common - This is also an easy fix, and a great idea. Player interaction is king in this type of game.
  • Later revealed greeds are worth more points than early revealed ones. - this seems to complicate scoring, but add to the "press your luck" element. I like it, so I will probably go with it.
  • Flip up a card and take the top action and make good actions in random location as an action if you like no actions. - This was to make the "all my options suck" less likely - it replaces it with a press your luck action.
  • Add in multiple copies of each card to greed, if multiple cards showed The latter card pair gets shot - again, adds complexity, but takes away the "walking deadman" when a player realizes 2 turns from the end of the game that they cannot possibly win.
  • Add to the "chest" to make cards better and more dangerous, make a player action to do that. - This would increase player interaction, and allow for players to try to kill other players or to improve the value of their cards. This is a huge change, and it is probably one that I will try because it sounds interesting.
  • rolling actions - Make only 6 or so actions visible at a time, and if new actions come out the oldest ones are discarded (including all meeples on them)
I also had an idea - make it so that there is only one action per card - with three slots per action still. This would make for less reading.

After I got home and read my notes, I think that I will end up implementing all of the ideas, however the "chest" idea is the one that I am the least confident of. I will definitely try it out, however I think that the other ones have practically no chance of backfiring. The "chest" idea could backfire, so I will watch it carefully when I playtest it to see how it goes.

Also, I finally came up with a new action for armor in "The Perfect Moment".


The retheme that went right

On Friday my wife and I played Akrotiri for the first time in a few years. It is a really fun two player game. We were both doing well until the end when I pulled ahead to win by a large margin. I usually lose to my wife in such games, so this was a surprise ending. We had a fun time, and will probably play more in the near future.

Yesterday we played Hanabi at lunch, and we lost all three games. It is fun to play a cooperative game with these guys (since they usually love traitor mechanic games). They liked it so much that we played a game at lunch again today.

We played another game of "Grab the Loot!" last night, and also today at lunch. The game (at lunch) took 23 minutes, and people seemed to like the new changes. Dwayne (who is usually not happy to play one of my games twice in a row) even wanted to play a second game immediately. That is a win if I ever saw one.

In this retheme I made changes that were much larger than I usually do when I am retheming things. I would almost even call this an entirely new game - though I completely retained the scoring mechanism from "The Dragons' Game". The number of choices available to a player is pretty high during the game, and the game is not nearly as complex as it used to be. I think that it is moving in an excellent direction.

I also just found some notes of mine that I took while playing "Terran League of Defense Robots" at SaltCon. Here are the notes:
  • Tech tree?
  • Tech is too complex
  • Lower the space on chassis until it becomes a difficult constraint
  • Make the market a draft?
  • Make the research a draft?
  • Divide the decks into tiers
I was playing with Glen Dresser (Ion award winner 2016), Charles Allen (Ion Award Finalist 2015), and Nick Keil (a BGDG admin). They thought that the tech could be simplified, and that the puzzle aspect was not difficult enough when fighting easy monsters. They also talked about changing how foes come out so that the alien's turn can be played faster.

I need to create and incorporate these changes, but I don't have that much time until the contest ends, so I won't update rules with the changes from this until I am sure that they are working well.

Before I do that, I am going to the BGDG meeting tonight to probably play another game of "Grab the Loot!", and get more feedback on it.

I also need to reprint a new version of "The Perfect Moment" with my last changes to the cards. That game is coming along quite nicely. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A lot of numbers

This last weekend was SaltCon. It was pretty great. I got 11 new games, played about that many games which I hadn't played before, and met a lot of great people.

Thursday I presented The Age of Vikings to the judges for the Ion Award. It didn't go very well, so I wasn't surprised when (on Saturday) it was announced that I didn't win. I went into the finalist judging with presentiments, because Dan announced that the highest scoring game scored an average of an 8, and that matched my highest score (which means that my average was lower than that).

I had also talked to another of the finalists, and he said that he had gotten calls from two of the judges asking for more info about his game.

Fortunately I held back on submitting Terran League of Defense Robots this year. I have made so many good changes to it since I submitted all of my games that I know that it will have a much better chance next year.

I got to play the game that won the Ion Award this year - Palooka Precinct, by Glen Dresser. It was quite a fun and interesting game. It was a deduction game with a campaign and character development.

Another finalist was Zodiac Dice, which I played before in the Sandy Board Game Design meetup, so of the three finalists that showed up I played them all.

I noticed today that Palooka Precinct is also a finalist in the Cardboard Edison, so I am gonna be going up against it again. That is fine by me, since it is a really good game, and if it wins it would be better than if a random game I had never played wins.

Though I didn't go out of my way to talk with publishers, I did end up talking to a few. That is something that I should be more proactive about, but it is hard to make the time to do it when I much prefer playing games with people to trying to sell my games to people. Making games for me is more about the love of games than it is about trying to make money.

I tried out Flip City during the convention for the first time, and it was pretty fun. I liked the backwardness of turning residential areas into apartments, and the way that it built up to victory smoothly. My wife beat me handily, so that was also good. Whenever she wins the first game it is much easier to play a second one.

I didn't get to play Tigris and Euphrates, however, which I had hoped to play. It is such a fun game.

Finally, I just looked over my game design page, and noticed that I have made 19 games so far. That is amazing. I never realized that I have worked on so many.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More things than expected

Much of my time recently has been spent gearing up for SaltCon. If you don't have tickets yet buy some now, it starts on Thursday!

We played a game of The Perfect Moment, and also Avalon at work on Friday. Avalon is a fun lying game. I like it much better than the other lying games that they all love, because you can actually deduce things. I was the Assassin once, and we totally aced the entire game, and then I guessed Merlin as well (though we won the game). On the second game, we won as the good without them guessing Merlin, and then on the third game the good guys won hard core until the Merlin guess, which made the bad guys win. So, I won two out of three games.

On Friday night we had a local game group get together, and we played The Perfect Moment as well as Age of Vikings. I practiced teaching it in preparation for my presentation on Thursday. We figured out some parts of the presentation that need more work, and my wife engineered a killer game engine that blew the competition out of the water. She won with about 80 points (which is more than 20 points higher than I have ever seen the game go before), so that was pretty cool.

I could have built the same engine to mirror her, but I wanted to see how it would fare if she was unopposed. It was really powerful. I haven't yet decided if it was brokenly powerful or not, but I think that I will probably modify one of the cards involved to make it lose some of its speed (which would probably still leave it as a viable strategy, but not allow it to get as out of hand.)

The game is really about finding those power combos, though, so I don't want to nerf it that hard. It is not like all of the other players do not have access to the exact same abilities (since you can worship any player's god that you want.)

Here are my notes from Saturday night:
  • Armor - make it better
  • Gimp the god of trading tokens? Multi deity?
  • Fix the helpful card - make it have the new costs.
  • Clarify how to draw leaders order in rules
I am feeling more ready for the presentation than I was a week ago, but I still want more time practicing. I have been playing the game at work a fair amount, and it is helping out, so hopefully I am ready on time.

I am also making some changes to Terran League of Defense Robots - I need to arrange another play session to test all of them out to make sure that they work. I should do that some time in March.

Also, I just set up a page on Patreon to get funding for my various creative projects. If you like any of my games, and want me to continue working on them, feel free to support me and tell me which game you want me to work on. Right now I tend to work on whatever game is interesting to me at the moment, but I wouldn't mind having direction from the masses.

Finally, I have some exciting news: Polynesia was just declared to be a finalist in The Cardboard Edison. I have been working on it for quite a few years, so it is not entirely surprising to me that of all the games that I submitted it was chosen.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Two playtests, One day

At work we played The Age of Vikings at lunch. It went fairly well. We nearly finished the game in an hour (which is quite a feat). If we had finished I think that I would have won, however that is not guaranteed.

The game is getting its final polish before I present it to the judges for the Ion Award. It seems to be going well, however I have two more test presentations at least before I consider it all done. When I play against the judges, I want them to be able to understand the game, but not have any real hope of winning (because I know the strategy, and they don't). Here's to hoping that I strike the right balance.

We also played a game of The Perfect Moment tonight, and had some things that we wanted to change and or try out. Here are our notes:
  • Flowers should say "Swap a face up card with a card from your hand. Do this once or twice."
  • Add 1 (or more) face up card to simulate another player.
    • Everyone can use the ability on it that is facing the center of the play area?
    • Players may also score the card for points?
  • Post the new artwork to the internet. (done)
  • Update the rules to match the current way of playing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Somehow, nothing of interest has happened.

I brought The Perfect Moment to the last BGDG meeting. It was at Demolition Games for the first time. The venue is nicer than the last place that we met at. We had 11 people, and only one person brought a game (which only supported two players). I presented The Perfect Moment, which received good feedback. We decided to change the Ring card to allow players to trade cards. I also showed off my new artwork for the first time. They liked the new look better than my original look.

I have gotten the laser cutter working really well. It cut out all of the cards for The Perfect Moment. I should probably have it cut out tiles for Terran League of Defense Robots, but I have not spent the time to do that yet.

I have, however, been preparing to present The Age of Vikings at SaltCon. The Age of Vikings was declared a finalist in the Ion Awards this year. That has been where a lot of my time has gone, but I have also been fine tuning my laser cutter, and cutting out cardboard Montessori materials for my wife.

I have also fallen in love with Tigris and Euphrates recently. It is an interesting game. There are a lot of things that you can do, and the available strategies are pretty cool. I have been playing the android app, but I am thinking about buying a copy of it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Perfect Moment

I have been making good progress on The Perfect Moment, my submission to the current Button Shy contest.

My wife and I have played two more games, and it is still an interesting problem to resolve. The amount of choices that you have some turns is really high, so people prone to AP might not do so well when trying this game out, however we both love puzzles, so it works for us.

I came up with a really good strategy last game. It worked well for me. The strategy was to play two cards that are the same color but have no overlapping abilities. Then you have access to score all cards of that color as long as you can rotate your cards freely.

Getting cards that meet those requirements is left as an exercise to the reader.

I think that I will remove more attacks. They still slow down the game and don't improve your position.

As a sidenote, the rules can be found Here, and the cards can be found Here.

Here are my notes from last playtest:
Keys should say "draw a card"
Cards that discard and then draw only draw if you discard?
Swap out Rings ability for "Return a card to your hand, play a card from your hand."
Add icons to cards in place of numbers

The artwork is also improving. I spent about 15 minutes and made a card template that makes the cards look much better than the normal flat appearance. I also selected (With the help of the spirit of a co-workers wife) a font that looks pretty nice.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lasers and Wallet Games.

Last weekend I built a laser cutter. I intend to use it to make higher fidelity hex tiles than I used to be able to make (and also square, and round ones as well.) I bought some cardboard, but haven't yet tested it against cardboard. It cuts through paper like nothing, so I think that it should work. Now I need to make up artwork for the tiles for TLDR.

I have just also discovered a new contest, and hope to enter it (in addition to all of the other contests that I entered this year. It is the Button Shy Wallet Game Contest, and it looks pretty interesting. They limiting factors make it quite a constrained game design, which really tends to focus my mind and make things move along more quickly for me.

As a side note, I really respect Button Shy for inventing an idea that I totally also invented (albeit a little after them). Also, the published Avignon (which I totally play-tested and provided feedback for). They are one of the companies that I would like to publish a game through, because I can get behind their way of publishing.

I already have a first prototype even though I haven't known about it for three days. Right now it is about engineering the "perfect moment" through the use of time travel (righting a wrong, killing hiler, making someone fall in love, etc). Each player has four cards: two in their tableau, and two in their hands, and they try to make them match in a specific way in order to score points. The more matches you make before the game ends the better your score. The abilities that are available to the players are limited based on what cards are out.

I hope that it goes well. The first playtest was a little bit complicated, but the game did end successfully, so I have a good start.

Finally, Terran League of Defense Robots is moving along a little slowly right now. I have spent so much time on the laser cutter that I haven't really done much on anything else. Perhaps this weekend will remedy that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Another post about TLDR

Yesterday at lunch we played Terran League of Defense Robots again. We tried out all of the new rules that were invented in the brainstorming session that happened at the end of the last BGDG meeting. The game seems to have improved quite a bit because of it. The Aliens moved all around the mat, and attacked the cities, and the players had to chase them around.

After the game, one of the players said that I should just use 2d4 to place the aliens, and also use 2d4 to determine which cities are face up. That was pretty good feedback. I have come to expect much more and much better feedback from the guild, so it is great to also receive good feedback from my co-workers.

I am not entirely sure that I like the way that minions work right now in the game. They don't feel real enough, so I think that I will separate them from the cards that they are a part of (so that minions are associated with a stack of aliens, not just a card.)

One player seemed to think that they made the game too hard, but I am not so sure. It seemed to me that they make it just hard enough.

I also need to add parts that allow for more movement, and fix up all of the character cards to make sense again, since some of them didn't survive the move very well.

Finally, I am thinking of beefing up the cities to make them easier to defend, adding more cities to games with more players, making it so that the aliens can attack cities even if they are defended, and making it so that if you lose a certain number of cities you lose (not all of them).

Either way, the game is moving along.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

TLDR; BGDG meeting successful

I have made some of the movies that I needed to for Cardboard Edison, however they are pretty hard to make. I don't have any skill in movie editing, or in movie filming for that matter.

At work we have been playing a lot of Bang: the dice game, which is not my favorite (even if it fixes a lot of the problems with the original Bang. I just can't get behind games with player elimination.

I went to a BGDG meetup last night, and we played Terrna League of Defense Robots. They had a lot of good feedback (which I will include here, and then sum up some ideas of ways to change it.
  • Mechanic/theme disconnect: the idea with this comment was that the game feels puzzley, but should feel frantic. Build the perfect robot through engineering, when it should feel like "crap! why is aliens all over my face?!"
  • Aliens are inactive: Aliens should do stuff when the come out. They just sit there.
  • the aliens should deal damage to cities based on attack level: This is a possible solution to the point above - make cities that can be damaged, and then make the aliens damage them. If you lose your cities you lose the game.
  • the self destruct seems too powerful: It won us the game. Perhaps it should be 3 wild instead of 6 specific parts? perhaps it should cost a lot of space? perhaps it should cost power as well?
  • 5 parts of a city / map of the world: change the alien pyramid to a world map, and then you can add minis to the game - robot minis as well as alien minis.
  • Associate map: Have the map parts correspond to bonus actions or actions, and then you lose abilities when the map gets damaged. Also, to perform bonus actions you have to be at the right place perhaps?
  • speed: robots gotta move around the map, some could be better than others
  • specific aliens go to a specific part of the map: to remove dice? (other option is dice roll to place them)
  • split out a separate alien turn and make humans simultaneous: to speed up the game.
  • combined attacks: having a human turn could allow humans to combine their attacks against the aliens (not sure if I love this, because it makes defeating hard aliens that much easier)
  • The aliens should get the jump on humans: Face down aliens were cool - thye made the game that much more exciting. Make the aliens do stuff like that more often.
  • Human turn , Alien turn, Fight: previous idea expanded - you plan out your normal actions: build, rearrange your robots, research, purchase, repair, and then commit to attack. Then the aliens throw up more aliens, and then the fight occurs. The aliens would suprise you more then.
  • moving parts breaks game immersion: perhaps sharing parts should be curbed a bit, since they are being bolted onto giant robots, and that can take some time.
  • more weaker monsters help make it feel more epic: make bosses and minions. minions are easy to kill, bosses are really tough.
  • make aliens give damage/minions: in addition to attacking cities, the aliens can spawn minions that are easier to kill, but have to be dealt with before fighting the boss
  • what if aliens are coming to earth from space?: a thematic change. Then you could go out to outer space and fight them.
Likely with all of this feedback I am going to be making some hefty changes to the game. Hopefully it ends up awesome because of that.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Ion Award submissions are complete!

I ended up only submitting two of my three games before the end of the deadline. The Dragons' Game, and The Age of Vikings. Both of them seemed ready, whereas Terran League of Defense Robots did not seem ready.

I will continue to work on Tldr this year, and hopefully it is ready next year. I think it is a great game, I just hope for it to not have any major changes while I am submitting it.

I am also submitting a bunch of games to Cardboard Edison, which should be a fun competition. In addition to the three mentioned above, I am submitting Moar Moai!, Polynesia, and Sorcery, Inc. Hopefully they like them.

To submit my games, I need to make a five minute pitch movie for each of them. This is not my forte, so I think that that will be the hardest part.

In other news, I played Talisman for the first time two days ago and thought that it was way too random to be fun.

I also played Cash and Guns, and it seemed to be a reasonable party style game. Not my favorite, but certainly playable and fun.