Who I Worked with in 2011 (And who you should hire in 2012)


It's been a challenging year for everyone. But you know what they say, a challenge is just an achievement yet to be overcome. Wait, is that a thing people say? Well, they should. In 2011, I've had the great pleasure of working with some of the brightest female talent around.

Tara Street was my chief and mentor for the past seven years.
Kathleen Shannon is my friend and professional inspiration.
(Together, Tara and Kathleen are Braid Creative.)
Liz Radtke's art pretty much defines Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.
Lillian Cohen-Moore edited both Dos.
Tracy Hurley wrote the foreword for Do: The Book of Letters.
Kristin Rakochy generously licensed sketches to Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.
Mori McLamb drew perfect portraits for Belle of the Ball.
Rin Aiello, whose art for Happy Birthday, Robot! got lots of praise this year.
Amy Houser illustrated most of Do: The Book of Letters.
J.R. Blackwell published her first game (and hired me to design the book).
Lyndsay Peters made custom dice bags for Do's Kickstarter.
Kari Fry draws t-shirts I buy. You should buy, too.
Mur Lafferty hired me in 2010, but she should be in all lists anyway. All lists!

Hire them in 2012. A lot.

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - Game Boards









These are some thumbnail previews of the game boards in the rough draft of Pop and Locke's Last Heist. If you backed the Writer's Dice Kickstarter for four dice or more, you should have gotten a PDF link on Tuesday. Check your email!

Reddit asks: "Anyone played Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple?"


Yesterday, a Redditor asked "Has anyone played Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple? Is it any good?" And boy, did we get some nice responses!

rkalajian "The game, along with the physical book itself, are amazing. The mechanics are simple enough to get up and running quickly, and help spur creativity with your stories."

e4mafia "I have played Do with my daughters, ages 8 and 6. They both love it and so do I. Its a great, fun way to spend time together, telling a fun, irreverent story. Its also a great chance to encourage them to write."

stupidgremlin "This is easily one of my top-ten favorite games, and number-one favorite for sharing with people new to gaming, and especially children. I have, since its release, purchased about 12 copies of the physical book and given them away to friends and family as gifts, and they have been well-received."

ios329 "It's amazing. It's a great family game, it's a great non-family game, it's just a great game."

Keep it up, folks! Share your play experience on Reddit.

[In the Lab] Parade-Themed Game


So I had an idea for a parade game before I realized "Wait, this was Fred's Rafters idea." I was imagining a marching band in a parade, who must keep a very deliberate Left, Right, Left, Right rhythm. If they must turn corners, then they do LRRR or RLLL. That theme works well as rowers working in unison, too. This got me thinking about a push-your-luck dice game with card-based random parade routes. It's a little like Formula D and Death Angel.


The game comes with...

A pawn for each player

7d6 in three colors and custom faces. Three dice with [Left] [Left] [Left] [Right] [Right] [Right]; Two dice with [Left] [Left] [Right] [Right] [+] [+], one with [Double Left] [Double Right] [Left/Right] [+] [+] [o].

The whole group has a deck of cards. Each card depicts a segment of a parade route showing a combination of steps and the size of the audience at that segment. (I imagine a very soft, nintendo-friendly art style.)

MAPLE STREET
[IMAGE: WIDE STRAIGHT ROAD]
  [  ][  ]
[  ][  ][  ]
  [  ][  ]
[  ][  ][  ]
[Audience: 2]

ANGLE WAY
[IMAGE: ANGLED ROAD]
        [  ][  ][  ]
      [  ][  ][  ]
    [  ][  ][  ]
  [  ][  ][  ]
[  ][  ][  ]
[Audience: 5]

In short, each row of the gridded path is half-aligned with the row above and below it, such that you couldn't move directly vertically from one space to the one above it.


At the beginning of the game, create a parade route by drawing three random cards and linking their ends. Play begins with everyone's pawns on the first card, in a space at the bottom row.

On your turn, you first roll all your dice. You may lock one or more of your results and re-roll the rest up to two more times. For each LEFT you lock, you may move your pawn up one row, to the space on the left. For each RIGHT you lock, you may move your pawn up one row, to the space on the right. If you cannot move up, then you may instead move your pawn left or right horizontally, according to the die you locked.

If you roll a [o], that is a pothole and you must stop rolling immediately.

If you make it off the card, you gain one point for the size of the audience on that card plus one point for any +s you kept. If you somehow got through more than one card, you gain points for that audience, too.

If you don't make it off the card this turn, you don't score any points. On the bright side, you begin the next turn at the bottom row of the next card. Basically, you stumbled through this section of the parade and had to rush forward to keep up with the rest.


When all pawns have made it off a card, it is discarded. The next round begins with a new card added to the front of the path.

A "finish line" card is shuffled somewhere in the lower half of the deck. When all pawns cross the finish line, the points are tallied and the player with the most points wins.


The route cards can be customized in a variety of ways. More rows require more rolls, making them harder to pass. Some segments might have power-ups in far corners, tempting you to stray from the path just a little bit and risk falling behind. And, of course, some segments have bigger audiences than others, making them just plain more valuable.

Classroom Activity Guide for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


For all teachers, parents, librarians who want to incorporate Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple into kids' learning: Teacher and education consultant Cassie Krause returns to offer tips and learning opportunities while guiding a whole class through the pilgrims' adventure. Best of all, it's totally free, licensed under Creative Commons from Smart Play Games.

» Download Classroom Activity Guide for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
» Also see the Classroom Activity Guide for Happy Birthday, Robot!

Happy Holidays from Megan and Daniel!


Take care and have fun with your friends, family and fellow gamers! (Many thanks to Kari Fry for the karicature!)

[In the Lab] A Wintery Themed Kids' Game: Holy Smokes!


These are some loose notes expanding the initial pitch I posted a while back. The premise is that little cherubs are flying around the sky collecting smoke puffs from chimneys. The higher up you catch a puff, the more valuable it is, but the less likely you are to catch it.

The game is set up as shown above. Little house cards are placed on the board along the bottom. Each house will produce one or two smoke puffs in their own color. Your cherubs start at the top of the board, in a space of your choice.

On your turn, you may move your cherub one space up, down, left or right. Then, roll 3d6. Choose one result as the wind. All three result determine which houses will produce puffs this turn.

Wind: Any smoke puffs on the board move up one space. The wind dice determine which direction the puffs will rise. For example, if a puff was on the left space of row 2 and you rolled a 6, then the puff would rise to the 6 space.

Houses: For each die result, add a new smoke puff of that corresponding house-color to row 1. If a house has two smoke columns, it produces two smoke puffs. For example, you rolled a 1, 3, and 6. So, the blue house makes one blue puff, the purple house makes two purple puffs, the tan house makes two tan puffs.

Capturing Puffs: If a puff floats into a space occupied by your cherub, you keep that puff and score points based on the row in which the puff was captured. Row 1 captures score 1 point, row 2 scores 2 points, and so on. (There will be scoring bonuses for capturing complete sets, maybe?) If multiple cherubs are on a space, the puff is not captured and remains on the board.

End of the Game: I think the way this works out there won't be enough cherubs to capture all the puffs. So, the endgame is triggered perhaps when a certain number of puffs leave the board?

Anyhoo, this feels more like a kids' game, but I still want to make something interesting enough for the parents.

Finalists of the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge


Almost a year ago, I announced this challenge in the hopes that new classic games would be created and promoted by designers young and old. You all exceeded expectations. We've spent the past four months reviewing, playing and judging over fifty entrants to the challenge. In the process, we've discovered a few paradoxes in our judging criteria.


The Elegance Paradox
Elegance is a nebulous concept to judge, but we generally kept a mental ratio in mind. [How long it took to learn and understand the basic rules] : [How much we'd want to replay and explore the game further]. For example, you can use "flipping a coin" as a game with a 1:1 ratio. One bit of complexity : One bit of replay value.

Hypothetically, if you had a game with 1:100 ratio, that is a game a easy to learn as flipping a coin with a hundred-times the replay value. If a game had a 100:1 ratio, it would be a hundred times more difficult to learn than flipping a coin but have very little replay value. These are extreme hypotheticals. Most games fall somewhere in the middle, like 5:20, or a game that has enough depth that you're eager to play it for four times the amount of time it took to learn.

Now, before you go thinking we just favored easy games in general, I must confess that we discovered our first paradox in judging this criterion. We felt game that is too easy it didn't have enough depth to reward generations of continuous play. Perhaps those little bits of ambiguity and complexity in Go were what kept it alive for over a thousand years?

It seemed a game needed just enough complexity to make learning the game a meaningful effort without a too steep a learning curve. In repeated play, that initial effort would be rewarded with future skills and confidence.


The Accessibility Paradox
We had a number of entries that required few specialized components, or none at all. We had a couple that just required a pair of hands for each player. Therein lies one of the paradoxes.

For a game to survive a thousand years, does it need *some* degree of fetishism? The care and craftsmanship in a well-made Goban can give the game of Go immense appeal. At the very least, the crafting of specialized objects for gameplay leaves behind artifacts for future archeologists to discover, like the Senat boards discovered in Egyptian tombs.

Then again, Rock-Paper-Scissors and Tag leave behind no artifacts, but are each at least a thousand years old. So yeah, this whole "accessibility and sustainability" thing were more difficult to consider than we originally expected.


The Community Paradox
We both weighed the presence of an active community in our selections, but I think I considered it a little more highly. Even in games where Megan and I didn't really find much replay value, I did take note of how active a community surrounded some of the entries.

Herein lies the third paradox: How much community does a game need now to ensure it'll survive a thousand years from now? Certainly there are thousand-year traditional folk games today only played by specific cultures and rarely by outsiders. For example, Buzkashi in Afghanistan and the highland games in Scotland.

But who knows how many games are mostly lost to history because they never found exposure outside a single culture, like Ullamaliztli of the Aztecs? Thankfully we have the internet to give more exposure to cool unusual games, like Sepak Takraw. And there are even a handful of people in Mexico who still play the aztec ball game, after all.

All this to say that we considered our short list with very deep thought about the specifics of this challenge. We're not just judging a game on its design, nor on its popularity, nor on its elegance, but a combination of all three. We kept asking ourselves, "Of all the entries, is this a game that has the best chance of being played in a thousand years?"


The Finalists
Without further ado, here are the finalists. We each had our favorites, and this list represents a combination of our shortlists.

Take-Back-Toe by James Ernest
Again and again, we returned to Take-Back-Toe as the benchmark for the other entrants. We kept asking each other "Is this more elegant than Take-Back-Toe?" "Is this more accessible than Take-Back-Toe?" James Ernest's long design experience is quite obvious in this game and made it a clear contender. My only reluctance was that James is already a professional in the game industry (and a nice guy to boot), but I hoped to encourage some new designers to enter the field.

Kickbones by Frywire, LLC
Dice are clearly at least a thousand years old, but the history of games exclusively played with dice are a little more murky. At the very least, we had a lot of fun kicking and healing while playing Kickbones. The doubles reference sheet was the only thing that gave us pause and led us to discover the elegance paradox described above. Was that reference sheet a handicap or a boon to the game's longevity? Is the game fun enough to memorize those nuances? Important questions in our judgment.

Turning Points by Joseph Kisenwether
While we loved playing this game, we did have some concerns that its fiddliness could be better suited to a computer. Speaking as humans, we liked the unpredictability and advance-planning it takes to play this game effectively. While the game can sometimes fall into the trap of having one or two "correct" moves, it was great learning the game with Megan. Also, we appreciated Joseph depicting an example game with actual Stone Age components.

Catchup by Nick Bentley
One of the great surprises of running this contest is discovering the vibrant communities of abstract players and designers lurking in the far corners of the internet. Nick Bentley seems to be quite the celebrity among that community, too. We both really liked Catchup, especially since it could be played with pencil and paper or with the new board tracker Nick posted later in the year. Unfortunately, we both gave most of the entries with hexagonal boards low rankings in the "Accessibility/Sustainability" category. Hexagonal game boards seem to be more of a modern curiosity, with few examples in extant thousand-year games. Aside from the grid, the remaining components were simple enough and the game was fun enough that Catchup rose to the top position of all the hex game entries.

Zuniq by Marcos Donnantuoni
We had a handful of dots-and-lines games entered into the challenge. We did have some reservations about including any in the short list, though. The genre is so simple that it's hard to add any tweaks that make the game substantially different from its ancestors. Still, Marcos has done an admirable job of giving the old past-time much more interesting tactical choices. We also loved the portability. Megan and I played this at home, during evening walks and at restaurants. Indeed, we got more replays of Zuniq than any other entry. That being the case, we felt compelled to include it in our short list.

Neighbors by XiFeng
Megan looooved this game. She's a fan of rhythm games in general, while I always struggle with them. It seemed this game would be just fine without the rhythm element but we made sure to play each entry with the rules as written. As such, Megan played like a champ while I fumbled like a goof. Perhaps I had trouble learning the rhythm and hand gestures at the same time? If I practiced the gestures first, I might have had more success.

Numeria by Lloyd Krassner aka Warp Spawn Games
This is one of the few entries with specialized components that actually made me want to create or buy a set for myself. We both appreciated the potential for this game not just as an idle diversion, but as an actual tool for preserving knowledge of math across language and culture. That being said, there are some problems if players have different levels of knowledge of mathematical tropes. Alas, Megan didn't find the game as fascinating, but still give Numeria high praise.


I want to thank all the entrants for their creativity, effort and patience this year. We'll alert the winner in a day or two and make the public announcement on New Year's Day. Thanks so much!

What's Your Excuse?! Party Game


This is a party game inspired by the classic game "I never..." or "Never have I ever..." The title comes from my ongoing Pitch Tag thread with Fred Hicks. While the original "I never..." is typically a drinking game, I'll leave it to you to add your own drinking rules. ;)


Stuff You Need
2 or more players. Best in large groups.
A pencil and paper to keep score.
A pencil and paper for each player.
A deck of What's Your Excuse?! cards. Prototypes shown below.




How to Play
The youngest player takes the first turn.

On your turn, draw a card. The card lists three "I never..." sentences such as "I never sky-dived from a zeppelin with a rabid wolverine because..." or "I never drove a monster truck in the circus because..." The easy sentence is usually shorter with more basic words. The medium sentence gets a little more specific. The hard sentence is longest, with more specific obscure terms.

Pick one sentence. Out loud to the rest of the group, make up an excuse for why you never did the thing mentioned. Do not actually say the highlighted words in the sentence. You can make up to three excuses.

For example, you're making an excuse for the sentence "I never sky-dived from a zeppelin with a rabid wolverine because..." You could say to the rest of the group "Because I'm afraid of heights." or "Because I never got my blimp pilot's license." or "Because I'm not good around violent mammals."

Now, the other players each write what they think the "I never..." statement is and reveal their guesses to the group all at once. The guesses must be in the form of an "I never..." sentence with three words or phrases highlighted.

For example, the other players guess: "I never hit a dog with a hot air balloon." "I never got rabies from a wolverine on a plane." and "I never sky-dived from a zeppelin with a mad dog."


Scoring
Each guesser scores points for guessing one, two or three of the highlighted words correctly, even if the exact order of their guess doesn't match your card.

You will also get points if anyone guesses one, two or three of the highlighted words correctly. Note: You only score points once for the same word even if multiple guessers get it correct.

Easy
Guessing one word correctly scores you and the guesser two points.
Guessing two words correctly scores you and the guesser three points.
Guessing three words correctly scores you and the guesser four points.

Med
Guessing one word correctly scores you and the guesser one points.
Guessing two words correctly scores you and the guesser three points.
Guessing three words correctly scores you and the guesser five points.

Hard
Guessing one word correctly scores you and the guesser zero points.
Guessing two words correctly scores you and the guesser four points.
Guessing three words correctly scores you and the guesser seven points.


End of the Game
When every player has had a turn, the game is over and the player with the most points wins.

Low-High Dice Game


A dice game inspired by the stock market (and playing lots of Martian Dice). Roll a bunch of dice and choose which sets to keep. Choose your strategy wisely!


Stuff You Need
Two-to-Six PLAYERS
A PENCIL and PAPER to keep score
Thirteen standard six-sided DICE


How to Play


The shortest player takes the first turn. On your turn, first roll all thirteen dice. Several dice will have matching results. These are called SETS. (A single die result is a set, too.) You must choose a set to keep. For example, your first roll results are 111124445555. The sets are four 1s, one 2, three 4s, and four 5s.



After keeping a set of dice, lock them up in a row. This is called the GOOD TRACK. For example,  you could keep the set of four 1s, one 2, three 4s, or four 5s. You decide to keep the four 1s and line them up in your good track.



After keeping a set, you may end your turn or re-roll the remaining unlocked dice. When you re-roll, immediately set aside any results that are equal to or lower than a set you’ve already kept. Lock these up in a separate row. This is called the BAD TRACK. For example, out of three previous rolls you kept four 1s and three 2s. You have six unlocked dice remaining and you decide to roll them again. The results are 112446. You must immediately set the aside the two 1s and one 2 to your bad track.



Out of the remaining dice, keep another set and add it to your good track. You may continue re-rolling as long as you have unlocked dice available or until you choose to end your turn. For example, after losing dice to the bad track, you have the following choices: 446. You choose to keep the two 4s and end your turn.



At the end of your turn, discard one good die for each bad die. If good dice remain, score one point per die. If bad dice remain, lose one point per die. For example, you have three dice in your bad track. That means you must discard the first three dice from your good track. Luckily, you have five dice remaining in your good track, so you get five points this turn.


End of the Turn
After your turn ends, clear your good and bad tracks. Hand all thirteen dice to the next player, who will begin a new turn.


End of the Game
The first player to earn 30 points wins.


Variant
For higher scores and more variance, you can score based on pips instead of dice. When canceling out dice at the end of your turn, do so in ascending order. The lowest results in your good track are canceled out first. Alternately, you can cancel out the highest results first for a lower scoring game.

Strategy
It's tempting to keep the lower results, but those will be quickly negated if you decide to continue rolling. Perhaps that's your strategy, to build up a defense as you pursue larger sets from future rolls. You could also play it safe by just keeping the largest set out of your first roll, but then you might get outpaced by a more aggressive player. Choose your path wisely!

Even More Pitch Tag with Fred and Daniel


This is the third installment of the ongoing Pitch Tag game between Fred and me. Fred inadvertently takes me way out of my comfort zone, into the world of improv rap battles. It is a scary place. I kinda felt like I was phoning in for a while there. Thankfully I recovered with Two Fast, which eventually became Bombs, Away! There is also some strong potential in Scooter Rebooter and What's Your Excuse?! I'd also love to test out Monkey Gonna Getcha!


Fred:
Spice Trade
Euro boardgame with a Ticket to Ride/Puerto Rico hybrid feel. You're building up a successful mercantile business back at your home country, while building routes around the world for your ships to ply their trade. Occasional misfortune can befall you -- ships lost at sea, cargo that rots in transit, etc. Much of the "resource management" aspect of the game comes from using your limited number of actions each turn to split your attention between developing your business at home and keeping your routes and ships healthy abroad. (I feel like that was a bit of a boring answer, but that sort of game felt like the strongly correct fit for the title!)

Your next challenge:
Nomnomnominee


Daniel:
Nomnomnominee
Who will be the next President of the United States? A wide array of hopeful candidates make for a challenging field, but only one will win. Candidate Ham Sandwich? Candidate Bean Burrito? Candidate Quinoa Salad? Candidate Meatball? Pairs of players work as a team to push their candidate to the top of the straw polls, coach them for televised debates, and keep them fresh during the long campaign season. Play honorably to win the loyalty of your constituents or create a scandal for a rival candidate. The race is on! (Oh man, I love the absurdity of chaotic electoral campaign all swarming around inanimate dishes of food. Ha!)

Your next challenge:
Expedition: Mariana


Fred:
Expedition: Mariana
A near future sci fi larp scenario oriented on creating submarine drama in the deepest reaches of the sea. Intended to be played in the hallway of a convention center: long and narrow. You divide it off into sections with masking tape, each representing a room on the submersible vehicle being lowered into the Mariana Trench. A saboteur is on board, and at various points during the scenario, a section of the sub will collapse/flood/whatever, turning it into a deadly hazard zone for those inside, potentially separating allies from each other, or trapping you in the same room with the saboteur. (Plus... what's that sound coming from outside the hull?) Over time, the space gets more and more claustrophobic, as survivors crowd into the few remaining spaces: they're fixed dimensions, and at some point there's only going to be one room left.

Your next challenge:
My I


Daniel:
My I
The game that puts you in the thick of the illicit identity theft trade. You and the other hackers go on phishing expeditions, trying to score new personal data to trade in the black market. The data has a short life expectancy and quickly loses its value. Will you use the ID to score quick cash for yourself or risk putting it out on the open market? In the former, you risk tipping off the cops but at least you can get better gear for future phishing. In the latter, you lose time and money, but make yourself known to high-level crime syndicates, who offer some protection from authorities.

[Honestly, I wouldn't play this game. The theme makes me feel squicky, but that's just where the title took me.]

Your next challenge:
Beholder Bowler


Fred:
Beholder Bowler
A game played with your spare D&D minis. Take a bunch of Beholder miniatures and get rolling! (You can substitute other irregular spheres if you don't have the Beholder minis handy -- the lumpier, the better.) Lay out a battle mat on the floor, and place up to 40 different miniatures at various locations on the map (each player places one mini, round robin style, until they're all placed). At the beginning of your turn, select one monster on the board and move it according to that monster's D&D movement rules. Then step back to an agreed upon launch distance, and roll your Beholder, scoring points for any miniature you knock prone with your throw. You score one point for a human or smaller sized target; two points for a Large; three for a Huge; and so on. Special bonus points exist for particularly difficult to capsize miniatures (rat swarms, etc) if you should happen to pull it off. (Fictional history factoid: Originally a game played by the folks at the WotC office after hours, became an actual published game when it caught on throughout the company.)

Your next challenge:
Scooter Rebooter


Daniel:
Scooter Rebooter
A fast-moving racing card game for up to 5 players, set in a race between automated scooters. The game begins with scooter tokens lined up in a row at the starting line of the game board. Players each have a small handful of cards: Left, Right, Up, Down, and Reboot, with some customized powers on the cards for each player's unique scooter. These cards also have numbers on the corner.

The goal of the game is not just to win the race, but to score victory points in unique ways like "Collide with a scooter: 1VP." "Spend a whole turn in the lead." "Spend a whole turn trailing behind." Etc.

Players each take their turn simultaneously. On your turn, play one card from your hand. Cards are resolved according to their number, lowest to highest. UP: Move your scooter one length forward. LEFT: Move your scooter one width to the left. RIGHT: Move your scooter one width to the right. DOWN: Move your scooter one length backward. REBOOT: Remove all damage tokens. Special powers on cards include dealing damage like "LEFT: Spikes: On a collision, the target scooter moves DOWN." or "RIGHT: Shield: Ignore collisions from this side." or "DOWN: Lasers: All scooters ahead of you move LEFT or RIGHT, if there is an open space."

The game ends when the lead scooter gets three lengths ahead of the pack or when the trailing scooter gets three lengths behind the pack. The scooter with the most victory points wins!

Also, random events occur if three players play the same card. I think. Okay, time to move on.

Your next challenge:
Rainbow Princess Power


Fred:
Rainbow Princess Power
A LARP scenario with some "magical girl" anime flair. Queen Spectra must marry off her seven daughters if she's to retain her magic for the next thousand years. But her daughters have other ideas. You play the Queen, one of the princesses (Rouge, Bergamot, Goldie, Emerald, Azure, Indigeaux, Violet), or one of the suitors. But whose side are you on? Will you work to ensure all the marriages take place, or will you disrupt at least one of them in the hopes of claiming the Queen's power for your own? And what happens if nobody gets married?

Your next challenge:
Textually Transmitted Disease


Daniel:
Textually Transmitted Disease
A mashup of tag, pyramid schemes and Hit a Dude. To begin, text one or more contacts the following message:

TAG! You're it. Step 1: Forward this text. Step 2: In one hour, tell me how many people followed these instructions.

Add up all the numbers you get in the next hour. That is your score. Share it with the world and compete on a global leaderboard for the high score.

Your next challenge:
Library of Clouds


Fred:
Library of Clouds
Everyone plays zephyr librarians working at the Library of Clouds. A variety of patrons, ranging from storm gods to wind spirits to weather scientists, come through the door (are drawn from a deck) looking for a particular kind of cloud or combination of clouds. Each round the librarians attempt to address one or more patron inquiries, round robin, with clouds (cards) they have in their section (hand) of the library. Satisfied patrons go into each player's score deck as appropriate, and are scored somewhat Alhambra style, according to their type and number in each player's score pile (runs, 3-of-a-kind, etc), whenever a "time to score!" card is drawn from the deck of inquiries. (Kind of derivative; this game needs something that takes advantage of the cloud notion beyond simple color. I'm grappling with the notion of cloud cards having a kind of "freshness" to them, with them dissipating -- or turning into different clouds -- the longer they sit around unused.)

Your next challenge:
Food Court Reporter


Daniel:
Food Court Reporter
A casual game for snarky players in a mall food court. The players quietly observe their surroundings and pitch Onion-style headlines like "Local Man Surprised by Velocity of Ketchup Dispenser" or "Clerk Just Wants You to Pick Something Dammit." The other players then identify the subject of the headline. No points are scored and there are no winners, this is simply a fun activity to pass the time.

Your next challenge:
Rainy Day Robots


Fred:
Rainy Day Robots
A game played at home with the kids when the planned outdoors activity can't happen. Explore the recycling bin (wash those cans and cups), and construct "robots" out of the pieces-parts found there. Lightweight miniatures battles rules are used to govern the last-robot-standing brawl that happens after robots are constructed; household furniture is the terrain. As pieces get blasted off of opponents, the attacker must collect them into his/her own recycling receptacle. Winner determined, if necessary, both by who's left standing at the end and how full your bin is. Once the rain's over, take the recycling out to the curb.

Your next challenge:
Time-Traveler Radio


Daniel:
Time Traveler Radio
A weirdo nomic game about warnings from the future transmitted between two or more friends. Each day, a player sends a message to the other players from 24 hours in the future. He warns the others not to do something or else it will lead to utmost DOOM! When the other players survive the day, the next player sends a new warning, from the new divergent timeline where following the last warning led to utmost DOOM! She warns the other players not to do something else. The game continues for a full round. If all the players survive, they win!

Your next challenge:
Piso Mojado


Fred:
Piso Mojado
Spanish for "wet floor". This is basically Robo Rally with a twist. Instead of Robots, you have goofy people who don't read wet floor signs. You don't program them as you do in RR; you program their environment, which interacts with the goofs as they walk through the area on a predetermined course (Goofikins walks from west to east, and tries to line up with door 2 on the east wall). Each player has an alternative destination they're trying to guide the goofs to through a series of floor hazards and obstacles. If you get a goof to your destination, you score their points. If the goof gets to its destination, it leaves the board and nobody scores.

Your next challenge:
Two Fast


Daniel:
Two Fast
There is a bomb with a lit fuse between all the players. On your turn, pass or roll a d6. If you roll, score the result as points. On every player's turn, record each die result. The game ends when all players pass or if the bomb goes off. The bomb goes off if any player rolls 2nd 6, 3rd 5, 4th 3, 5th 2, or 6th 1. If the bomb goes off, the game ends and both players lose. If the game ends without the bomb going off, the player with most points wins.

Your next challenge:
Big Street Draw


Fred:
Big Street Draw
A game of city planning played with ordinary playing cards. Players take turn drawing cards from the deck, then using those cards to build a street map on the table in front of them (each person gets a map). Players start with empty hands, and can't draw if their hand contains five cards. Players may lay down any number of cards from their hand on each turn as they care to, so long as the placements are legal. The first card played is the player's starting intersection. You can branch off of each edge of an intersection -- cards always in the same orientation, so you have a clean grid -- by matching the intersection's suit or its value. (So if I had the Ace of Hearts as my intersection, I could branch off with hearts or aces.) Your streets can build out the same way, continuing in a straight line, connecting by suit or value. (So maybe I branch from my Ace of Hearts with a Nine of Hearts, followed by a Nine of Clubs.) After a street is two cards long past the intersection, the next card (third past the intersection or more) can be treated as a new intersection, with branches going off from there. If you end up with a full hand (five cards) and can't place any of those cards, your map is done, and you can't draw any further. Otherwise, the game ends when the last card is drawn from the deck and everyone has placed what they can from their hands. You get 3 points for each intersection, and one point for each road segment that isn't an intersection, plus an extra point for any connection made by value instead of suit (since there's only 4 of each value in a deck). You can use a double deck for larger player counts (in which case you get a 2 point bonus instead of one point if you connect an identical card in sequence).

Your next challenge:
The Big Scram


Daniel:
The Big Scram
A game to play with magnets of various strengths. Each player has three magnets. The game is played on a small circular mat with five concentric rings and small key nodes scattered around. The game is played in several rounds, with each player getting a chance to take the first turn.

On your turn, place a magnet on a ring. That completes your turn. Each turn will cause magnets to scatter and move around the board in barely predictable ways. Continue taking turns until no player has magnets left to place. That completes the round, now you all score points based on the location of each of your magnets.

The center circle is worth five points. Each subsequent concentric ring is worth one point less. If your magnet is off the board, that is also worth five points. If your magnet is on a large node, you score double that ring's normal value. If your magnet is on a small node, you score double that ring's normal value.

At the end of the round, all players pick up their magnets and start with a clean board. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.

Your next challenge:
The Wellfield Experiment


Daniel:
The Wellfield Experiment
A competitive version of minesweeper. The board is a map of the "Wellfield", a vast area that hides abundant desired liquid resources -- reservoirs of water and oil mainly, though some other rarer things might be found here too. Some of the reservoirs, though, contain eldritch horrors from beyond the scope of history. Seemingly identical to oil at first when inert, once they "wake up" they can start wreaking havoc. Players take turns exploring the board, sinking their wells in various locations, trying to suss out the reservoirs below. Sometimes they'll dud out, hitting only rock -- no points. Other times they'll find a reservoir, and score points based on the type of liquid found and the size of the reservoir (which gets revealed after the tap is made). Oil scores particularly well, but comes with the risk of slumbering horror -- a random chance that any currently tapped oil reservoir will turn out to be the flesh of an ancient horror, causing it to invert its point value and corrupt (halve) the value of any adjacent reservoirs. Game ends when the board is fully explored or when three horrors have awakened, whichever comes first.

Your next challenge:
What's Your Excuse?!


Daniel:
What's Your Excuse?!
It's the reverse of the drinking game "I never..." Each player draws a card with a statement written out like this: "I never 1) sky-dived 2) from a zeppelin 3) with a rabid wolverine." or "I never 1) drove 2) a monster truck 3) in the circus."

The youngest player takes the first turn and states an excuse for why they never did the thing that's on their card without actually stating what's on the card. Towards this end, the excuse always begins with the word "Because..." and can only describe one excuse. For example, "Because I'm afraid of heights." or "Because I never got my driver's license." But a excuses like "Because I'm afraid of heights and blimps and rabies." or "Because I never got my driver's license and I'm afraid of clowns." would be illegal because they list more than one excuse.

The other players each guess what the "I never..." statement is. The more elements they guess correctly, the more points that you both get, as noted on the card. So if they guess "You never sky-dived from a zeppelin with a mad dog." then you'd both get three points. One point for sky-diving, two points for the detail about the zepellin. They got the last detail incorrect, so you don't get those points.

When every player has had a turn, the game is over and the player with the most points wins.

Your next challenge:
Bookmarks


Fred:
Bookmarks
So, your team has, like, 10 minutes between meetings and there's nothing really productive that's going to happen in that timeframe. So you play Bookmarks. One guy is the caller, and he determines the topic. Everyone else scrambles through their bookmarks only (including stuff like delicious and other bookmarking services if that's their preference) to find a relevant bookmark that matches the topic. No search engines allowed -- this is a test of your personal preparedness with your own collection of bookmarks. Person who produces a judged-as-relevant bookmark first is the next caller. Keep score if you like, but not strictly necessary!

Your next challenge:
Amazing Grease


Daniel:
Amazing Grease
Oink! A game about corralling greased pigs into their pen, for 2-4 players. The game board is an 8x8 grid depicting a muddy pit and one pen at each corner for each player. Each player has three six-sided dice. The game also comes with about twenty little plastic pigs in three colors. To set up the game, drop the pigs onto the board from about two feet. If any pigs fall off the board, put them back onto the board along the edge as close to their original location as possible.

On your turn, you can roll one die and place it on any square of the board. If any pigs are on that square, they move away from your die in a straight orthogonal line as many spaces as your die result. If a running pig hits the edge of the board, they change direction and continue moving in an orthogonal line. If a pig hits one of your dice that's already on the board, that pig sticks to your die. Place that pig on your die.

Thereafter, on your turn, you can either roll a new die and place it on the board, re-roll an existing die that is already on the board, or move a die with a pig on it. A die with a pig on it can only move one space at a time in any direction. When that die reaches a pen, you can drop the pig and count it as one of your own.

The goal is to get as many pigs as you can into your pen. You get one point per pig and +3 points for each set of three different colors of pig. The game is over when there is only one pig left on the board.

Your next challenge:
The Summit


Fred:
The Summit
Short and sweet on this one: The Summit is a Fiasco playset. It's backstabbing corporate politics meets the deadly climb up K2. Ostensibly a team-building exercise. A summit at the summit! But not everyone on this mandatory climb is a dedicated climber (and the self-professed dedicated climbers have a few screws loose). Then there's the bitterness and rivalry over how the Stevens deal went down last month...

Your next challenge:
Monkey Gonna Getcha!


Daniel:
Monkey Gonna Getcha!
A playground game for two teams and an unlimited number of players. One team are the monkeys, the other team are bananamongers. The field has two endzones, like a football field. Monkeys should have a backpack or satchel. You also need lots of bananas, but nerfballs or other random items are fine, too. The bananamongers want to deliver their bananas from one endzone to the other. The only thing in their way is all the monkeys.

When the game begins, bananamongers may start at either endzone and the monkeys start in a group at the center of the field.

At the whistle, bananamongers may move around the field freely, under the following restrictions: Bananamongers may carry as many bananas as they can. Once both feet are outside the endzone, bananamongers may not walk, run or jump while carrying bananas. Bananamongers may throw their bananas at fellow bananamongers, though. Thus, bananamongers can form special formations or relay lines to deliver their bananas across the field.

Meanwhile, the monkeys will try steal and intercept the bananas. Monkeys may run around freely, as long as they keep their arms raised above their shoulders at all times, like a crazy monkey. Monkeys can only lower their arms if they stand still. Monkeys can intercept bananas mid-air or gather them from the ground. Monkeys keep their bananas in their satchels and cannot give them to any other monkeys.

At the final whistle, the bananamongers score one point for every banana they delivered. The monkeys only score points from the individual monkey who gathered the most bananas; one point per banana.

Your next challenge:
Crash the Kobayashi


Fred:
Crash the Kobayashi
An anime-inflected, maybe jeepform game, where the players are part of an elite suicide squad that has infiltrated the enemy's starship (the Kobayashi) and are doing the only thing possible to destroy it: crash it, destroying the ship and everyone on board. As game play progresses, each character experiences at least one flashback that delves into their reasons for accepting the mission. Flashbacks are punctuated by "real time" present-moment scenes where the characters die, share a moment of gallows humor, try to save the life of someone other than themselves, plot a course that avoids endangering major population centers, etc. The scenario ends right at the moment of the crash.

Your next challenge:
Dance Commander VS Lyrical Gangster


Daniel:
Dance Commander VS Lyrical Gangster
A deeply embarrassing and awkward game for anyone but the most extroverted player. Okay, here we go. It's basically your classic improv game for two performers. The audience tosses out a handful of subjects. The Lyrical Gangster raps about each subject as best they can. The Dance Commander interprets the rap into modern dance. At the sound of the buzzer, the players switch roles. Continue until the players die of embarrassment. (Can you tell I find improv a little painful to watch?)

Your next challenge:
All the Tea in China


Fred:
All the Tea in China
Abstract-ish board game. Players take on the roles of great dragons, each associated with a particular type of tea (White, Green, Black to start; may also include Oolong), in distantly historical times before the introduction of tea. Ostensibly the board is a map of China, and the dragons are teaching the people of the benefits of tea. This won't always teach the people in each region to go for *their* color of tea (which scores most points), but it's a benefit to get them making any color of tea a part of their life (scores fewer points). Territories can contain more than one color, but only gain one color per turn. Places where your color has taken hold provide you a bonus to your efforts for spreading into neighboring territory. A final scoring bonus is tallied when all the territories on the map have at least one color of tea in them (signifying endgame), based on a color count (which does go only to the player with that colored dragon).

Your next challenge:
New Sex


Daniel:
New Sex
A wordplay game to idly pass the time. Each player takes turns creating a euphemistic phrase for a sexual maneuver, each one more absurd than the last. Common themes include "reverse," "French," "cowboy," and "swirl." Bonus points if you can explain the etymology or technicalities of the maneuver.

Your next challenge:
Crime Brûlée

Fred:
Crime Brûlée
Master Chefs... Master Villains! Crime Brûlée is the card game of gourmet misdeeds. Players are master chefs (TV stars, big names in restaurants, etc) who know the only way to get ahead is to crush the competition through illicit misdeeds. Drawing from the recipe deck, they get a card that gives a recipe for an outlandish, food-related criminal caper, which they can pull off only if they have the right cards in their hands. Once any of the players completes five recipes, the game ends, and everyone is scored for the recipes they completed (and docked for the ones they didn't).

Your next challenge:
What Are You, Some Kind Of Wizard?


Daniel:
What Are You, Some Kind Of Wizard?
A fantasy variant of Werewolf/Mafia/Resistance for 5-10 players. The play is basically like standard Resistance (short-form, non-elimination Mafia). Students of magic compete against each other in various school events, but some students are secretly agents of evil magic. At the beginning of the game, the players get a unique pair of voting cards with "spell" effects. When you vote, the spell effect is also triggered, usually revealing some small amount of information about player roles or advancing a particular victory condition. After each round, the unique cards are replaced with standard voting cards, then the voting cards are returned to each player. This means players can only use a spell once, but won't necessarily risk revealing their role.

Your next challenge:
Tick-Tock


Fred:
Tick Tock
Competitive hide-and-go-seek, like Marco Polo only where everyone's hiding AND seeking. Each side is divided into Tickers and Tockers. The tockers run somewhere and hide, as do the tickers, then everyone closes their eyes. The tickers shout "tick" and, after a moment, the tockers shout "tock". Then play begins. The tickers open their eyes and take five quick steps (about a second). Then they shout "tick" and close their eyes. When they do this, the tockers can try to make a grab, eyes still shut, to see if they can nab a ticker. If they do, the ticker is 'out'. Then the tockers take their turn, following the same procedure, shouting "tock", with the tickers making a grab. Play ends when all the tickers or tockers are 'out'.

Your next challenge:
Cat Skills


Daniel:
Cat Skills
You've heard the expression "herding cats." Well, those cat-herders were the real deal in the old west. In this game, you play the tough hombres on horseback wrangling herds of tabbies, gingers, and calicos across the great plains to the Catskill Mountains. It'll take seven weeks to reach your destination. You and the other players will co-operate to keep the herd focused and moving. Offer treats, dangle toys and pick up any strays on your way to the mountains. Loose ideas for mechanics: Roll a bunch of dice on a table, each die represents one cat. Group the dice into sets of matching results. The highest set makes the most progress, the lower sets move at a slower pace. The trick is getting the whole herd to stay relatively intact, slowing down the fast cats and speeding up the slow cats. If any dice fall off the table, those are strays. You can bring them back into the herd, but you'll lose time doing so. If you don't bring them back on the same turn they strayed, they're lost from the herd.

Your next challenge:
Tuki... Taku... Tay!

A Christmas Letter to the Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


You remember Lyndsay Peters of Dragon Chow Dice Bags, right? She's hosting a session of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple for her family, so she wanted to write a letter just for the holiday season. Inspired by the Island of Misfit Toys, she penned this cute mission for the pilgrims:


Dear Pilgrims of the Flying Temple:

We simply cannot stand one more year of heartbreak. Every year we watch the eight reindeer fly overhead, left here in the snow. Every year we have to tell toys why they're here, and not on the sleigh! It's all because we have square wheels or fly in water. If we have to go one more year without seeing a happy child on Christmas Morning, we might give up on the magic of Christmas… FOREVER!

Please, Pilgrims! Get us on Santa's Sleigh!

- The Island of Misfit Toys


Goal Words
Reindeer
Reindeer
Santa
Santa
Santa
Presents
Presents
Island
"Happy Child"
"Christmas Morning"

Thanks for a great letter, Lyndsay!

The Direct-to-Fan Window in Game Design and Publication



Comedian Louis CK recently released a statement on his latest venture: 1) Pay a video crew out of pocket to record two shows at the Beacon Theater. 2) Direct and edit the thing himself. 3) Put the thing up for a $5 download with no restrictions.

The result? Over a 100,000 downloads on the first day, more than paying off any expenses incurred during production. By day 4, he's profited over $200,000 "(after taxes $75.58)" Dan Frommer puts that number into some perspective: He’s converted about 20% of Twitter followers, 10% of the “Louie” Season 2 premiere audience, and it’s modest compared to some forms of media. Even Louie CK admits he could've made more from a big media company if he let them do all the work, but that really doesn't compare apples to apples.

As Peter Kafka aptly explains, because Louis CK now owns this whole damn thing, he can use it however he wants. It just so happens, he's selling it direct to fans at a price and value that is in that prime sweet spot for web commerce: Too cheap to bother pirating, low overhead in production and distribution, and available directly from the creator. Louis CK has a window in which to keep on keepin' on, until he decides it's the right time to sell some rights to HBO or a basic cable outlet.

Funny... Louis CK isn't the first to experience the Louis CK window. Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, and Kevin Smith have all started tapping their devoted fanbase following similar models. Let's use Kevin Smith as a prime example.

Kevin Smith financed his latest film Red State on a super-tight budget of favors and hope. Once complete, he had his own "Louis CK Window" for the movie. If he used a big studio or distributor, he'd end up having to pay millions to mass-market a movie that cost a fraction of that. "No way," said Smith. Or at least, I assume he did at some point.

Instead, he took the film on the road to live screenings around the US and Canada, pairing the screenings with a bawdy Q&As with himself and a rotating cast of friends... and the actual cast of the movie. After a few months on tour, then he decided to release on blu-ray, DVD, yada yada yada.

Within one or two screenings, Smith paid off all the debts incurred from the movie's production – Much like Louis CK covered his expenses of production within 12 hours. Sure, the numbers might not compare to major distribution channels, but if ventures like these are going to make a difference, we have to compare them to actual costs, not to other media. That brings us to games.

In my two published games, I've had the great fortune to experience a handful of "Louis CK Windows" and each case they went in two different paths.

In Happy Birthday, Robot!, I released a free Google Document on the Story-Games forum, solicited feedback and ran some tests at Dreamation to feel out the potential market. That was my first window. I had a Happily, the response was great and I launched my first Kickstarter campaign raising $3k. With the help of my friends at Evil Hat matching that amount and handling production, we were able to turn a profit in the first year. Later that year, I negotiated a licensing agreement to Sandstorm. They'll publish and package the game with a pretty nice advance-on-royalties and the option for Evil Hat to sell off remaining stock from the first run. A win-win-win as far as I'm concerned.

In Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, I once again partnered with Evil Hat. We kept costs low by doing the layout, writing and editing in-house. We got fantastic art from new artists, spread out over the previous year-and-a-half. I blogged and tweeted about the game incessantly. With all that, we had such a successful Kickstarter campaign that we actually launched at-profit! Thereafter, any PDF or book sold would be pure gravy for both me and Evil Hat. It's unlikely a major publisher will come along with a big check to license Do, but that option is still available in the long-term.

Wow, this is getting to be a long post. I'll just wrap this up by encouraging creators everywhere in all fields to reconsider your options. You can build a strong body of work in public to get an audience who will pay you to do what you do, without necessarily going to a big label. You still can, for sure, but we live in a world where you don't have to anymore. What's more there are partners out there, like Evil Hat, who are eager to participate in the creator-owned, fan-focused model with you.

"Achooooo!" Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple


It's the holiday season, a time when families get together around the hearth to feast, laugh, and save the world from giant whales. Yup, it's time for another batch of actual play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple.

The first AP report comes from new blogger Lizz Schulz at Dice & Daydreams: Ramblings of a Girl Gamer. She's one of the few I've heard of who played A Matter of Roses, so I was very curious to see how it turned out. Well, it did not turn out well for the Queen's eyeballs, that's for sure.

Here's more AP from Harlequin at the Story-Games forum. He also took the liberty of writing up the story in a more narrative format, though all the puking and ear canal travel remains intact. Pardon me while I get some antacid.

Another story comes from Shane Mclean and is all formatted into a fancy PDF! Alas, this poor whale doesn't get such a dignified treatment. After all, when Pilgrims Vibrant Hound, Frank Weasel, and Hairy Bubble come to your rescue, it's fair to expect some allergic reaction.

And finally, a few tweets from @strasa with pictures of his setup and the resulting story. He even wrote his own unique letter just for the occasion!

Want to join in on the mayhem? Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is 10% off for a limited time. I want to hear more about your actual play! Write it up and I'll round up your report on the blog in a future post.

Previously:
» "Yeah, that happened."
» Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple at Gamekastle.
» New reviews and actual play for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Bombs, Away! Dice Game


This is a quick "hot potato" game for 1-6 players. There is a bomb with a lit fuse on the table. The longer you hold it, the more points you get. Just don't hold it too long or kablooey!


Stuff You Need
One six-sided die
A pencil
A sheet of paper with the score tracker drawn as shown below.

6     [   ]    
5     [   ]     [   ]    
4     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]    
3     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]    
2     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]    
1     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]     [   ]    


How to Play
The youngest player takes the first turn. On your turn, take the die. This is the BOMB. You may do one of two things with it.

1) Pass it: Write your initials in the lowest open space on the score tracker. Give the bomb to the player on your left.

2) Roll it: Roll the die. If the result is a 1, write your initials in an empty 1 space on the score tracker; if the result is a 2, write your initials in an empty 2 space; and so on. You cannot write your initials in a filled space.

The bomb explodes if you were unable to fill in an empty spot on the score tracker. In other words, the bomb explodes if you roll a second 6, third 5, fourth 4, fifth 3, sixth 2 or seventh 1.

If the bomb hasn't exploded, your turn is over and you're still safe. Give the die to the player on your left. That player begins a new turn.


End of the Round and Scoring
The round ends if all players pass or if the bomb explodes.

You score points based on the spaces in which you wrote your initials. You score 1 point for a 1 space, 2 points for a 2 space, and so on.

If the bomb exploded in your hand, you lose a number of points equal to that last die roll. For example, if you rolled a second 6, then you would lose six points. (In a game with four or more players, then your neighbors also lose that many points as well.)

The next round begins with a fresh, completely empty score tracker. A new player takes the first turn.


End of the Game and Winning
The game ends when each player has a chance to be first player. When the game is over, add up all your points across the rounds.

The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. (In the highly unlikely case of a player entering the final round with a 56 point lead, that player automatically wins because it would be impossible to overcome that deficit.)


Options
Solitaire: If you play the solitaire game, you do not gain any points for passing.

Multi-Bomb: There are two or more bombs floating around the table. Any players with bombs roll one at a time, in order of age, from youngest to oldest. You all still use the same score tracker.

Big Bomb: Play with a larger die, like an eight-sider, ten-sider, or twelve-sider. Revise the score tracker so the highest possible result only has one space, then add one space for each subsequent result.

Variant Tracker: Revise the number of spaces for each result, increasing or decreasing as you like. Perhaps you want more 6s and fewer 1s?


Notes
This game was a result of a Pitch Tag session with Fred Hicks.

Legolas vs. Gimli Card Game [In the Lab]

Ring-Wraiths
During the Pitch Tag between Fed Hicks and I, i tossed out this idea for a trick-taking card game with a dungeon/tough man/Legolas vs. Gimli theme. The mehanics are mostly inspired by Reiner Knizia's Too Many Cooks. Actually, that's the problem. It just feels like Too Many Cooks with a bunch of other mechanics bolted on. Here are the loose notes, if you'd like to help out with streamlining a bit. Sorry for the wonky formatting, this was typed on the road.

Legolas vs. Gimli
You are all skilled adventurers out to prove your mettle to each other. You'll dive into a subterranean dungeon and mow down hordes of monsters of all kinds. Defeat the best hordes and earn the most points.


SETUP
Give each player a character card. Give each player a set of five mission cards (one each of Stealth, Brute, Magic, Psychic, Escapist, Gambler and Untouchable)

Shuffle the monster cards and 13 to each player (for 4 or 5 players, deal the entire deck; it will not come out even). The rest are set aside for that round. Keep your card faces hidden from the other players.


DECLARE A MISSION
 After the cards are dealt for each round, each player examines their cards and selects one mission card for that round.  Mission cards should be revealed and declared simultaneously. Mission cards can only be used once per game, so they are discarded after each round.


START A HORDE
The first player draws a card from his hand and places it face down on the table. This is the first GATE of the round. Monster cards get stacked onto GATEs during the game. Those stacks are called HORDEs.

TURNS
Step 1: Add to a Horde
On your turn, take one monster card from your hand. Place it face down on the table atop a horde, following these restrictions.

​A. You must follow suit of the horde.

B. If you cannot follow suit, you must play a card of equal or higher value than the top card in the horde.

​C. If you cannot play such a card, then draw your highest value card from your hand and play it as a new Gate.

Announce the value and suit aloud to the other players. Gate cards are always worth zero. The running total of values of all cards in a horde is announced aloud whenever a card is played in that horde.

Step 2: Challenge or Pass
You may now choose to challenge a horde or end your turn. Your character card indicates a horde of a certain size that you MUST challenge. If there is a horde above your threshold, you MUST challenge that horde.

A. When you challenge a horde, take the whole stack except for the gate card and reveal the cards' faces. You will defeat each monster one at a time, starting from the bottom card.

B. Each monster deals damage to you equal to its rank. Announce the accumulating damage for each monster. Once the accumulated damage exceeds your defense, return that monster and any remaining monsters to their gate.

C. Line up your defeated monsters in a row in front of you. If you defeated the entire horde, then take the gate card as well, but keep it face down. That gate is now closed.


END OF THE ROUND
The  round ends when...

A. The round ends when it is a player’s turn to play a card, but they have no cards remaining. 
B. If there are more gates than players.

At that point, all hordes are discarded, as are any cards remaining in players’ hands.


SCORING
After each round, look at the remaining monsters you have defeated. You score VP for each monster as indicated by your class and your mission.
 
Stealth, Brute, Magic, Psychic:​
+1 vp for each monster that matches the suit
​-1 star for each trap defeated

Gambler:
+1 vp for each coin
-1 for each card without a coin

Escapist:​
+1 vp for each trap taken
​-1 vp for each boss defeated
 
Untouchable:​
+5 stars automatically
​-1 star for each monster defeated
 
It is possible to lose more VP than you gain in one round.

LEVELING
When you gain 5 vp, your character advances to level 2, unlocking a new ability. At 10 Vp, your character advances to level 3, unlocking another new ability. It is possible to lose enough vp to go back down to a previous level.

SHOPPING
After scoring, players may shop for new gear. Look at the monster cards you have defeated so far. Each monster has one or more coin symbols. The player with the fewest coins goes shopping first, followed by the player with the next most coins, and so on. On your turn, you may spend as many coins as you like. For each coin spent, you may draw one treasure card, choose one to keep and reshuffle the remaining treasure cards back not the treasure deck. Discard the spent cards.

END OF THE GAME
The game is played in five rounds. After five rounds, the player with the most VP wins.

CHARACTER CARDS
Fighter
Must challenge a horde of 12 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating earth monsters.
Defense 1
Level 2: 5 VP: Defense 5
Level 3: 10 VP: Defense 10

Wizard
Must challenge a horde of 10 more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating fire monsters.
Defense 2
Level 2: 5 VP: Choose an element at the start of a round. You may choose to defeat or ignore monsters of that element this round. If ignored, those monsters remain in the horde and are not defeated.
Level 3: 10 VP:  Choose 2 elements at the start of a round. You may choose to defeat or ignore monsters of those elements this round. If ignored, those monsters remain in the horde and are not defeated.

Rogue
Must challenge a horde of 8 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating air monsters.
Defense 3
Level 2: 5 VP: Double all coin values.
Level 3: 10 VP: Triple all coin values.

Psychic
Must challenge a horde of 6 or more.
Gains 1 vp for defeating water monsters.
Defense 4
Level 2: 5VP On your turn, you can play any card on any horde.
Level 3: 10VP On your turn, you can play any three cards on any horde. 

MONSTER CARDS
Stealth - physical, subtle monsters
1 earth trap, .5 coin
1 wind, 1 coin
1 water trap
1 fire, 1 coin
1 earth trap
2 wind, 1 coin
2 water, 2 coins
2 fire, 2 coins
2 earth, 3 coins
3 wind, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 water, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 fire, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Brute - physical, forceful monsters
1 wind trap
1 water, 1 coin 
1 fire trap
1 earth, 1 coin
1 wind trap
2 water, 1 coin
2 fire, 2 coins
2 earth, 2 coins
2 wind, 3 coins
3 water, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 fire, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 earth, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Magic - mental, forceful monsters
1 water trap
1 fire, 1 coin
1 earth trap
1 wind, 1 coin
1 water trap
2 fire, 1 coin
2 earth, 2 coins
2 wind, 2 coins
2 water, 3 coins
3 fire, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 earth, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 wind, boss, +3 VP if defeated

Psychic - mental, subtle monsters
1 fire trap
1 earth, 1 coin
1 wind trap
1 water, 1 coin
1 fire trap
2 earth, 1 coin
2 wind, 2 coins
2 water, 2 coins
2 fire, 3 coins
3 earth, boss, +1 VP if defeated
3 wind, boss, +2 VP if defeated
3 water, boss, +3 VP if defeated

TREASURE CARDS
Leather armor: Defense +1
Chain mail armor: Defense +2
hard plate armor: Defense +3
Minion: Discard to reduce accumulated damage by 5.
Net: When another player challenges a horde, you may steal one of his defeated monsters.
Ring of Legend: gain a vp any time a boss is defeated.
Lure: you may play two cards on your turn, in the same horde or on separate hordes.
Earth Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from earth monsters.
Wind Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from wind monsters.
Water Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from water monsters.
Fire Barrier: Your neighbors take +1 damage from fire monsters.
Subtle Blade: Treasure value of each monster raises by one.
Silver Chains: Defeat psychic monsters without taking damage from them.
Jewels of Osiris: Defeat magic monsters without taking damage from them.
Dragon Hide: Defeat brute monsters without taking damage from them.
Farsight Helm: Defeat stealth monsters without taking damage from them.

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - Cover Design

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - Cover
This is the promotional art and kind of the cover design for Pop and Locke's Last Heist. You can see how the masthead has been fleshed out with all my usual retail foofarah. The background is a collage of various stock elements, too. But the real hero is James Stowe's illustrations of Pop and Locke. I added some cel-style shadows, gradients and teal backlights to really make them feel like part of the scene. Hope I did his illustrations justice!

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - Character Designs by James Stowe

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - James-Stowe-Sketches---Locke
Pop and Locke's Last Heist - James-Stowe-Sketches---Pop
These are the initial sketches for Pop and Locke's character designs by James Stowe (of D&D for Dads fame). He offered up many different heads and bodies for each character and was very patient with my photoshoppery fiddling.

Pop and Locke's Last Heist - James-Stowe-Sketches---Finished-Pop-Locke
These are James' final designs in color. Funny thing, I initially directed James to draw Locke with a fork, but it looked a bit more menacing than I expected. That's why she now carries a spoon. I don't know what the spoon does, though. Meanwhile, Pop has a pencil whose point lights up like a flashlight.

To see how this all started, check out my post on the Pop and Locke Artist Style Guide. That outlines the visual references I first gave to James at the beginning of the art process.

Tips for Customizing Hand-Drawn Fonts in a Logo, Title or Masthead


I wanted to use a nice cartoony font for the masthead of Pop and Locke's Last Heist. Blambot is always a great source for very well-done fonts in a variety of comic book styles. Nate Piekos has been in the business a long time and it's hard to beat the price for his fonts.

I used 12 Ton Goldfish. It looks great, but there is a common problem with hand-drawn fonts. When you have repeating letters, like the Ps and Os, you can tell they're identical to each other. It's an immediate tip-off that you just used a font without any additional revising to make it work for your purposes.

So, I customized the font in a few ways and I thought I'd share these tips. Follow these in order as you customize a font for your logo, title or masthead. But first, before you even try doing any of this I have one tip. Write the letters yourself! Grab a marker, try a few different tips, write them big, small, on paper, cardboard, etc. See if you can't draw the letters and get them just as you want before downloading a font. If you don't want to go through the trouble, then let's get to the fonts.

You're voiding the warranty.
Before you go tweaking any fonts on your own, a note of caution about the classics – Your Helveticas, Garamonds, and so on. Those are more than just fonts, they're freaking typefaces, drawn to exacting specifications for very particular purposes by master typographers. Adjust those at your own risk. You're better off adjusting fonts that are already hand-drawn. Their organic personalities will much better tolerate your tweaks.

Move the letters around.
Before you try editing the actual letterforms, try moving each one independently of the others. Move them closer or farther from each other. Move them up and down. Change the rhythm and beat and flow of the letterforms to your taste. In my case, I straightened out the letters in my masthead a bit so they followed the same baseline.

Adjust the thicks and thins.
Look at the vertical strokes of each letterform and try widening them or narrowing them. When you do so, make sure the strokes still maintain a relatively consistent width from end-to-end. If the width does change, make sure it does so gradually, without the harsh perfect angles indicative of a computer font. In my case, I made the vertical strokes of the Ps wider than the rest of the letterform. I also moved the counterspace of the Os a little to the top-right so the lower-left stroke is a little thicker.

Rotate, resize, but keep proportions in mind.
If you still want to to customize the font, try rotating an individual letter a few degrees clockwise or counterclockwise. I definitely recommend this for repeating letters in hand-drawn fonts where slight deviations make the whole graphic feel much more authentic. In my case, I rotated the Os and Ps. I also resized the "AND" so it wouldn't be as prominent as the two names. I made "AND" shorter, but kept the horizontal strokes didn't get thinner in the process.

Finally, change the actual shapes.
Once you've done all these edits, you may still want to make some edits to get things juuuuust right. In my case, I noticed these really sharp angles in the A and N in "AND" that just did not fit the flat terminals in the rest of the letterforms. So I cut off those angles to make them flat.

And that's it! In the image at the top of this post, you can see how the original plain font looks compared to the customized version. Doing these little tweaks helps make your logos and titles stand apart from the pack. Just remember, these are tweaks. If you go around stretching fonts willy-nilly, don't tell anyone you were following my advice. ;)

Return of Fred and Daniel's Pitch Tag


This latest installment of the ongoing Pitch Tag game between Fred Hicks and myself. This time we get psychic spies, sexy male models, ecologically concerned cherubs and a peek inside the thrilling world of competitive canning. As you read through this lengthy list, is there a concept here or in the previous installment that you'd actually want to play?

Fred:
In Her Majesty's Psychic Service
A tight, focused-scenario, plays in a couple hours story-game a la Fiasco. Her Majesty has only one psychic spy in her service. Triple Naught. It's 000's job to ferret out the thought crime, the conspiratorial intent, the absence of respect, and exert a modicum of corrective pressure to the situation. But to do this, 000 has to get close to the problem. Go deep. Go dark. Triple Naught is so secret, even 000 doesn't know who he -- or she -- is. And there we have our scenario: a conspiracy, infiltrated by 000. And our question: who's the crown's inside man? It won't come out until the endgame, when every thought is compromised, when the knives are out...

Your next challenge:
Good Gravy

Daniel:
Good Gravy
The tiny Good Gravy diner is in trouble. If the wait staff, bussers, dishwashers and cooks coordinate to bang out each order in a timely manner, they can earn enough money to keep the diner afloat another day. Earn enough within seven days and they can save the diner!

Your next challenge:
Warriors, Roll Out!

Fred:
Warriors, Roll Out!
Card game. In the dark post-apocalyptic future, the ones who rule the road, rule everything! But getting your warriors out on the asphalt ain't so easy when resources are scarce. Each round, you'll work to build up your base, gather resources, and "launch" warriors once you meet their fuel, food, and gear requirements. Each time a warrior launches, a game effect occurs, some of which might damage the other guy's base. First player to launch X warriors becomes the Road Boss and wins the game! (Other victory conditions might exist as well.)

Your next challenge:
That Ain't So Bad

Daniel:
That Ain't So Bad
A trick-taking game card game with a dungeon theme and mechanics similar to Reiner Knizia's Too Many Cooks. Players are intrepid adventurers competing with each other to see who is the toughest. The cards have numbers and elemental symbols on the back. On the front, details of how much damage is done, who takes the damage, the kind of damage, and any treasure dropped. Each turn, take a card from your hand and drop it facedown into a pile in the center of the table. This growing pile represents a horde of monsters quickly approaching. When the piled cards' numbers total 10 or more, the next player must take the pile. Then the pile is revealed and "combat" begins. Depending on your character class, you earn VP from certain elemental types of damage, and lose VP for others. Some monsters do damage to your neighboring players, too. If the monster drops treasure, you can keep it and earn extra VP or sell it for gold to buy armor. Armor increases the amount of VP you earn from different types of damage, but you only have a few armor slots available. There are also VP bonuses for collecting special sets of treasure, for fighting the most monsters, etc. When the draw deck is empty, the game is over. The player with the most VP wins.

Your next challenge:
Cardiothon

Fred:
Cardiothon
The Marathon Running Game. There's a board representing the course, one square per unit of distance (maybe 42, going with km as the measure, but maybe finer grained) with the players starting at the start line, and a track representing heart rate, with the players starting in the middle. The trick with this game is not necessarily to be the fastest, but to maintain the best pace and heart rate. Each turn players draw two cards. Some of the cards are special events: refreshment stop, second wind, that sort of thing -- stuff designed to do radical things (numerically speaking) to your heart rate in trade for less distance, or vice versa, or let you play two cards, whatever. Most have two numbers on them: heart rate adjustment, and distance. You can get some good short burst sprints, boosting your distance, but they tend to bump your heart rate up considerably. Other cards only adjust heart rate slightly up or down. Slow-pace cards don't add much distance, but can reduce your heart rate considerably. If your heart rate exceeds the ideal upper bound, you get "Winded" and can only play cards that reduce your heart rate until you get back in the ideal zone. If your heart rate drops below the ideal lower bound, you get "Sluggish" and can only draw one card each turn until your heart rate is back in the ideal zone. (One or both of these states might also compel you to discard all your cards, I'm not sure.) You must discard down to your max hand size at the end of your turn. First one to cross the finish line gets the trophy, but everyone who makes it to the finish line is a winner. (You might be limited to a fixed number of Winded events, three strikes and you're out; or you might have a limited number of turns to cure being Winded before you have to drop out of the race.)

Your next challenge:
Holy Smokes

Daniel:
Holy Smokes
A kind of tower defense board game. The board depicts a hilltop in preindustrial London and the big sky overhead. Players control cherubs flying back and forth along the upper edge of the board. The cherubs are trying to clean up the sky of smoke puffs floating up from the chimneys. Each turn, a random chimney releases a random number of puffs. Players use cards to create updrafts, downdrafts, and lateral winds to direct the puffs toward their cherubs. Over time, London industrializes and gains factories that emit even more smoke, as do the moving vehicles.

Your next challenge:
Best in Show

Fred:
Best In Show
The Galactic Overlords have visited your home planet. Congratulations! You've been selected to compete in the annual Induction Trials. First prize is your homeworld gets membership as one of the Galactic Overlords. Second prize is you're conquered. Third prize on down involves disintegration. Two ways to go with this concept: One, everyone plays one of the nonhomogenous governments of a single planet (a la Earth), who must collaborate together despite years of history putting them at odds in order to put their "best foot forward" and win the contest as a unified planet. All of which gets complicated by the alien infiltrators from the other competitors. That might be some kind of an RPG take on things. Two would be the more boardgamey one: everyone plays a home planet, jockeying for ways to best "groom" their planet for acceptance while throwing turbulence at the competitors.

Your next challenge:
Hump Day

Daniel:
Hump Day
A verbal scavenger hunt for two or more workmates on a Wednesday. No one besides the players must know there is an ongoing game, so players should coordinate with each other outside the workplace or via secure communication. To prepare, each player gets their own random list of ten secret words on Wednesday morning. Throughout the day, players engage non-player targets in casual conversation, trying to get the target to say one or more secret words.

A target saying one word is worth 1 point. Getting a target to say two words is worth 2 points, three words is 4 points, four words is eight points, and so on, doubling each time that target says another secret word. Any points scored from a secret word are tripled again if the target shouts the word as loud as possible. If the target grows suspicious or discovers the game is afoot, any players who earned points from that target will lose those points.

The player with the most points at the end of the day wins. Recording an ongoing game is mostly a matter of honesty among friends, but there are some measures players can take to stay on the up-and-up. Players may engage the same target at the same time, though that might tip off the target. Players can also keep a shared log of their successful targets, then follow up on that list once the game is complete.

Your next challenge:
Shingled Out

Fred:
Shingled Out
This might work best as a video game, but works as a board game too. Playing board is a roof, with colored shingles placed on it. Each player has one or more colors that they score for. The goal is to score 3-5(?) shingles in a row (or a column, though that's trickier to pull off and thus is worth more points). Shingles always get inserted into the middle positions of a roof, which causes the shingles to the left (or the right, depending on location chosen) in that row to be pushed over. The shingles that go off the edges of the row are "shingled out", i.e., they fall off the roof and go back to the bottom of the "deck". Combos that get matched are cleared from the board, causing the tiles on the row(s) to slide back inwards.

Your next challenge:
Sexy Time

Daniel:
Sexy Time
The Zoolander party game. A charades-like hack of Dixit. Grab a bunch of index cards and write funny names for model runway walks. "El Tigre." "Blue Steel." "Cold Coffee." And so on. Players take turns being the model. The other players each hand a card to the model. The model shuffles those cards and then lays them out so all players can see them. The model then walks from one end of the room and back, performing one of those walks. The other players must guess which walk the model was trying to perform. If you guess correctly, you earn one point for every player who guessed correctly. So, if you're the only right guesser, you only get one point. If you're one of three who guess correctly, you get three points. Meanwhile, the model earns a point for every correct guess as long as at least one player guessed incorrectly. If all players guess correctly, the model does not earn points this turn.

Your next challenge:
Jam Master

Fred:
Jam Master
Enter (honestly, rather sedate) world of competitive canning! Test your skills at making preserves, pickles, jellies, and jams. The bold ones catch the judges' eyes, but run the greatest risk. Check your seals, sterilize your equipment, and avoid spoilage. The game involves cobbling together increasingly ludicrous canned goods ("canned whupass!") with increasing levels of difficulty. It's a bit like zombie dice or blackjack; you can keep pushing it, dancing as close as you can to spoilage without spoiling the whole batch, to get that one, competition-worthy jar of truly transcendent jam. He who emerges with the most impressive canned jam is indeed hailed as the Jam Master!

Your next challenge:
Dirty Hippy Game

Daniel:
Dirty Hippy Game
At the Burnaroo Music Festival, its hard to come by a good shower. As a matter of fact, there is only one still working! Form a queue of hippies ranging from your basic concert attendee to performance artists to headline acts. All dirty. All hippies. This is basically a reskin of Guillotine. Replace the French nobles with dirty hippies. Replace the stand-up Guillotine with a standup portable shower.

Your next challenge:
Dinositter

Fred:
Dinositter
Sort of a multiplayer defensive card game (could be done as a web game too). Each player has a specific Dinositter (dinosaur babysitter) with specific abilities and disadvantages (T Rex can eat troublesome children easily, but has very tiny hands and is too big to fit into small spaces). They must work together to deal with a steady influx of babysitting challenges (kids, shenanigans, scheduling difficulties), but each has a limited number of "spaces" around them they can allocate to queue incoming issues. Dinositters must work through their queue fast enough, using card draws and special abilities, so that no child gets left behind. Once the Dinositter crew lets a certain number of problems go unaddressed, the game ends, and the crew gets rated on their performance.

Your next challenge:
Ghoulash

Daniel:
Ghoulash
It's a monster mash! All the neighborhood monsters are coming to your party, but how long will they stay? Invite ghoulish guests like vampires, zombies, ghosts, mutants and mummies. Each guest has their own preferences and will change the party in different ways, like making the music louder, eating more snacks, and making guests dance. Keep the guests you invited happy. If the party turns away from an existing guests' taste, they'll leave the party early. Your goal is to keep the party as lively (or deadly) as your guests prefer while making the other players' guests uncomfortable. The party ends at sunrise!

Your next challenge:
Diamond in the Rough

Fred:
Diamond in the Rough
Trick-taking card game. Remove all diamonds from the deck except for the Ace of Diamonds (so, a 40 card deck). Cards on all tricks are played face down; play passes to the left rather than to the winner of a trick. Tricks aren't picked up until a "take!" round is called. A "take" round must be called at the beginning of the turn before anyone has played their card. On a "take" round, cards are played face up, with the winner (who must follow suit on the lead) taking all of the face-down tricks. At the end of the hand, you score one point for each trick you took; double your score for the hand if one of those tricks contains the Ace of Diamonds. The last card played in a hand is always played in a "take" round, but otherwise you can't call a "take" round unless there's already at least one face-down trick on the table.

Your next challenge:
Juicy Jalopies

Daniel:
Juicy Jalopies
A push-your-luck dice and meeple-placement game. Players position their juice trucks at key points around a city, picking up foot traffic and business each day. Players spend cash on rent for premium spots, expanding the menu, buying new trucks, and importing exotic fruits. The public is fickle and their herd-like movement can change from day-to-day. Build your juice truck empire, get well-reviewed, and your business might even get featured on a reality show!

Your next challenge:
Apollo Loco

Fred:
Apollo Loco
Resource management card game. It's the craziest moon-shot ever! In the near future, the total collapse of NASA, plus open-source garbage-powered rocketry, leads to a space race like no other following the detection of rich deposits of unobtainium on the moon. Gold rush fever meets zany antics as players try to cobble their moonshot mission out of common junkyard and household items. Naturally most rockets explode after you launch 'em, so there's no guarantee your first rocket will make it to the moon. Will you launch a risky rocket on the chance it'll help you claim a piece of lunar real estate as your claim? Or will you go slow and steady and build a more reliable spaceship? There are only so many moon-plots available, and it's first (crash)land, first served!

Your next challenge:
Super-Cali-Fragi-Fishstick

Daniel:
Super-Cali-Fragi-Fishstick
A board game depicting a harbor with concentric arcs radiating outward to the deep ocean. Game pieces are little boat pawns. Players launch boats to capture lots of fresh fish to bring back to harbor. The farther out you go, the more fish you catch, but you also run the risk of getting swept away by bad weather or rogue waves. Close to harbor, you have to obey fishing regulations, but at least it's safe. So, yeah, you can venture to the deep ocean, but hope you don't run into the perfect storm!

Your next challenge:
The Great Fire

Fred:
The Great Fire
A board game/RPG hybrid written by Daniel Solis and Jason Morningstar (make it happen), set during the events of the great Chicago fire. On the board game level, there are firefighting crews, exhausted from fighting another fire the day before, trying and (mostly) failing to stop the spread of the fire across the Chicago map. On the RPG level, we explore the stories of the families and firemen caught in its devastation. Who will survive? Will the firefighters be able to save your family? Or will they join the hundreds dead that day?

Your next challenge:
Googly Moogly

Daniel:
Googly Moogly
A test of your Search-Fu! A scavenger hunt challenge using a search engine. The game master creates a set of 100px square thumbnails of screenshots, images or words. The thumbnails can be extreme close-ups, but they should still leave enough information for the Hunters. It's up to the hunters to figure out the search terms that lead to those images. The hunters report back to the game master with a URL. If the URL is correct, the game master unlocks one clue to another thumbnail, of the hunter's choosing. Beware, that clue is revealed to all hunters at the same time, so a hunter must choose wisely. The first to find all the URLs wins!

Your next challenge:
Betiquette

Fred:
Betiquette
A trivia party game. Explore the most obscure corners of etiquette and protocol. (You never knew how inappropriate you've been behaving!) Each round, the players take turns reading aloud from a list of strange but theoretically correct behaviors one must observe. Either one of those is correct behavior and all the rest are made up, or one is made up and the rest are correct. (Which kind of list it is is identified on the card.) Players place bets using their paper money on which behavior is the odd one out. Game ends when everyone but one has lost all their dough, or when the bank runs dry. She with the most cash wins Betiquette!

Your next challenge:
IndigNation: Umbrage Edition

Daniel:
IndigNation: Umbrage Edition
The latest edition of the classic semi-cooperative game of revolution and protest. In the classic game, players represent various factions within a larger revolutionary movement. Factions must negotiate, compromise and and protest as a unit in order to achieve common goals and their own constituents' demands. As the movement grows – from a small protest, to a media event, to a full-blown revolution, and possibly a civil war – the stakes rise sharply with real lives on the line. Some factions want to see that escalation happen quickly while more peaceful factions want take a more moderate stance. The Umbrage edition introduces new agent provocateurs, media tactics, police and military challenges, and whole new factions.

Your next challenge:
Spice Trade
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.