Watch: Rulebook layout for the Great Dinosaur Rush



I just wrapped up the rulebook layout for The Great Dinosaur Rush, by Scott Almes and APE Games. Kevin Brusky at APE Games was generous enough to let me stream the layout process on Twitch. Now that it's complete, I made a sped up video overview covering the bulk of that whole process. There are still small tweaks to be made to a few words here and there, but the layout is pretty much settled down. Hope you enjoy this peek behind the curtain!

"Grid Bidding" Mechanism in the Lab


Here's a grid-bidding mechanism that I've had in the lab for some time and finally set down on paper earlier this week. Assume a two-player game for now: red and blue. Also assume each player has tiles numbered 1-7.

Set Up
To set up, each player takes turns setting one tile face-down along the top or side of the grid shown above.

Play
Each player takes turns placing one of their remaining tiles face-up in the 3x3 grid as shown below.



Score
Then it's time to score points! Reveal the hidden tiles now. Whoever has the highest total sum in a row or column in that 3x3 grid will win a number of points equal to the formerly face-down tile atop that column or beside that row. For example, in the top row, red has a total of 11 compared to blue's 4, thus winning 7 points.

Strategy
As players take their turns, they can infer a little about the value of each column or row based on the other tiles that their opponent is playing.

 Multiplayer Scaling


You can expand the board to include one more row and column for a three-player game. Each player still has seven tiles, but only takes two turns during the setup.



Again, you can expand one more row and column for a four player game, but still only giving each player two turns during the setup phase.

Where could this go?
I'm thinking about a short series of 2-player microgames composed of 14 cards, 7 for each player. Each player's cards have unique abilities that trigger as soon as they're played face-up. The "1" have more powerful abilities, followed by 2-6. 7 is powerful enough on its own without an extra boost. :P
  • Tiles above and below this tile are doubled.
  • Tiles to the left and right of this tile are doubled.
  • Shift a face-up tile to an adjacent empty space.
  • Swap two face-down tiles.
  • Look a face-down tile.
  • Discard one of your tiles from the board then discard another tile of equal value.
  • Use the upgrade of an adjacent tile.
  • Place a token of your color on this space. It counts as +1 for you in this row and column. It remains on the board in subsequent rounds.
And that's all just assuming this little mechanism is the entirety of the game. It may very well be just a mini-game as part of a larger middle-weight euro game where instead of points, this grid merely builds up currency for you to spend in the other parts of the game.

Similar Games
I tweeted about this earlier this week to see if it had been done before. There were similar ideas in Grave Business, but I think this is going in a different direction. Others pointed out superficial similarities to Cordial Minuet, but aside from being numbers on a grid, I don't think there's much overlap there. If anything, I'm more inspired by the gameplay of recently released Hocus, where you can work towards winning a pot or towards making the pot more valuable.

Dreamwell from Action Phase Games on Kickstarter


Oh wow, check out Dreamwell, a gorgeous game with art from Tara McPherson. I really love it when tabletop publishers give new and interesting art styles a stage to shine. Action Phase brought in Kwanchai Moriya for Kodama: the Tree Spirits, which was a really great call. Looks like they're keeping up that track record with Dreamwell. The gorgeous blend of theme and presentation that makes my inner art director so, so happy. Check out the quick tutorial below:



And pledge here!

Deboxing #2: Codenames

It was a snowy weekend indoors, so I decided to give deboxing another try with Codenames. My last attempt was with For Sale, in which I foolishly cut across the logo instead of along it. Doh! I didn't make that same mistake this time thankfully. I should've V-cut the corners to they're flush with each other. However, I ran out of packing tape at the last minute so I made do with tabs and double-stick tape. I hope I can do this more often with some of my other airy game boxes!

Majority Negation Mechanics in Game Design


There's been a distinct trend in my recent game design, perhaps a crutch. I like designing mechanisms for players to collect a variety of resources, but negating whichever resource in which they have a majority.

So far, I've only explored "majority" in the sense of an "inter-majority." In other words, having more Wheat than any other player would be considered an inter-majority.


Inter-Majority Negation as a Reward
In Trickster, players are trying to avoid the attention of heroes, which is represented by scoring points. Lowest score is the winner. Cards come in seven different suits, each typically scoring one point for you if they're in your possession. At the end of the game, if you have more cards in a suit than any other player, you ignore those cards in your score. As a result, players either try to have as few cards as possible or, if unable to accomplish that goal, try to get as many cards of the suits they already possess in order to "shoot the moon."

Inter-Majority Negation as a Penalty
In Curse You, Robin Hood, players are merchants in Sherwood Forest trying to become rich, but not so rich that they draw Robin Hood's thieves. Here, highest score is the winner. Cards feature a number of "target" icons on them representing how high profile those goods are. At the end of the game, whoever has the most targets in a particular category of good must remove all of those goods from their stockpile before scoring.

That leaves open two other possible types of mechanisms that I haven't quite explored yet. These are "intra-majority" mechanisms which only look at whatever you personally possess. In other words, if you have more Wheat than anything else in your possession, you'd have an intra-majority in Wheat.

Intra-Majority as a Reward
The first example that comes to mind is Coloretto, wherein you score positive points for whichever suits you have the most of within your collection. In this case, it doesn't matter whatever else anyone else has collected. It strikes me that a game with this mechanism would have to be one where players have only partial control of what they can collect. Are there other games in this category? How do they resolve this design challenge?

Intra-Majority as a Penalty
This is a tougher one to find an example of, but I think Reiner Knizia's scoring mechanisms in Tigris & Euphrates and Ingenious fit this description. In both games, your score is based on whichever resource you have the least of, thereby effectively discouraging majorities in any one category. However, these examples are a little muddy since you do get some tactical rewards for pursuing high quantities of a particular resource, particularly if it's a zero-sum situation preventing anyone else from acquiring that limited resource. Can you think of any purer examples?


So anyhoo, these are just idle thoughts I had this morning. It occurs to me now that these mechanisms don't need to exist in isolation. There could easily be games that include all four of these goals. Assume this is a game like Coloretto where players only have limited control of how they acquire cardds and each of four suits represents one quadrant of the chart above.

♠️: Score one point for each card of this suit in your possession. Discard all cards of this suit if you have more of it than any other player.

♣️: Lose one point for each card of this suit in your possession. Discard all cards of this suit if you have more of it than any other player.

♥️: Score one point for each of this suit in your possession. Discard all cards of this suit if you have more of it than any other suit.

♦️: Lose one point for each card of this suit in your possession. Discard all cards of this suit if you have more of it than any other suit.

What would a game like that look like? What would be the theme for each of these suits? I'm curious to see where this might lead.

Sidekick Quests: the Card Game – Public Beta Now Live!


Long-time readers may recall a few years ago when I first started tinkering with a card game inspired by James Stowe's webcomic Sidekick Quests. It's been off and on the back burner several times since then, but I think I've finally struck the right balance of thinky game and accessible family fun. Check out the one-page rules doc along with the print-and-play files below.

» Rules Doc
» Print and Play PDF

In the game, you're adventurers-in-training sent on a variety of quests to earn the esteem of your mentors. The better you do on your adventures, the more points you'll earn!

I'm eager to hear from game-loving families how this game does with players ages 8+. I tried to keep the basic actions very simple and the teaching time very short, but there is still a fair bit of reading involved with this beta prototype. Hopefully that doesn't get in the way too much! Have fun!

Testing New Cats, Cranes, and Turtles for Koi Pond

As part of my ongoing development of Koi Pond into a more retail-friendly product, I'm re-evaluating some of the long-standing comments about the Cats, Cranes, and Turtles. Over the years, players have said one of these animals are overpowered relative to the value of the Koi scoring baseline.

The funny thing is that no one could agree on which animals were the ones that were overpowered. Was it the crane, which let players know precisely how well they'd score? Was it the Turtle, which fed off of competition for the ribbons? Was it the cat, which though unpredictable, was still strengthened by having a secretive opponent? No one could come to a consensus.

That being the case, I let the issue rest on its own and the game has done very well regardless of this possible balance issue. At the time, I observed that games that have some wrinkles draw more of a community than games that are perfectly smooth. "This will just be Koi Pond's wrinkle," I thought.

But now I've had many more years to consider the issue and I have learned a lot more about basic game design. I think I've got a rules tweak that may make the animals more balanced and easier to play.

  • New Cat: A cat in your pond scores you one point for each koi card of the cat's suit in both neighbors' houses.
  • New Crane: A crane in your pond scores you one point for each koi card of the crane's suit in both neighbors' houses.
  • New Turtle: A turtle in your pond scores you one point for each koi card of the turtle's suit in both neighbors' rivers.

This removes the odd alternating target system from the current edition of the game, yet expands it to two targets. It scales back the value to one point per card rather than based on total koi. That combined with the 4-rank and 5-rank koi cards from Moon Temple also means the baseline koi scores will be much more valuable without further destabilizing the values of cats, cranes, and turtles.

Even without those high-rank koi, the current POD edition should be just as viable with this change. Give this a shot with your home games and tell me how it turns out!

Watch the Tractor Pull pitch video!

For the past few months, Matthew Everhart and I have been working on a two-player tactical card game called Tractor Pull, where rival teams of scrappy modified vehicles engage in a triple tug-of-war challenge.

We just submitted it to the Cardboard Edison award contest, which requires a video overview of the game as part of the submission. Check it out, and find the complete rules and print-and-play prototype here. Hope you dig it!

Card at Work: 6 – Designing a CCG Template, Part 1

It's a new episode of Card At Work! This time we start a multi-part lesson in how to design a more complex CCG style template for InDesign's DataMerge. This is a big topic so I first put together all of the basic placeholders and assets in this episode. The next episode will cover how to connect everything together with DataMerge. Hope you dig!


Please like, share, and subscribe! Support further episodes at http://www.patreon.com/danielsolis

A New Lake for Koi Pond?



I'm developing some variants for Koi Pond in an effort to make it a more viable retail publishing candidate. That includes more opportunities for components and as a result significant rules tweaks. I want to keep the spirit of the game intact, which makes this a significant challenge.

First and foremost, I need a new way to handle the lake that works in round 1, but cuts down the analysis paralysis of selecting from a whole pile of face-up cards. Here's where I'm at right now.


The New Deck
My local development has been working with the full Chinese edition of the game, which includes the Moon Temple expansion. This lets me have a bit more freedom to mix up cards and set aside other cards as future chrome bits.

The new main deck is comprised solely of Koi cards; no other animals. These include the 4-rank and 5-rank cards from Moon Temple as well as the rainbow 1-rank koi. This ends up being 80 koi cards, which is a little more than enough for a full game of four players.

The ribbons, cats, cranes, turtles, shrines, novices, monks, and abbots would be replaced with actual 3d objects. That's beyond the scope of a single blog post, so let's ignore those for the time being until a future post.


The New Lake
Every round begins as follows:

Shuffle all of the koi cards into a single deck. Then deal them to the center of the play area as a 5x5 grid of stacks, with three cards each. The bottom two cards of each stack are face-down but the top card is face-up. The center space of this grid is kept empty, so do not place cards here.

Any remaining cards are not used this round.

There is a new component in this edition called the Boat. I'm using the boat from Lanterns: the Harvest Festival for my home tests. The boat starts in the center of the lake in the empty space.

Here's what it looks like:



The New Turn

On your turn, move the boat up, down, left, or right to the nearest stack of cards in that direction. Note that this means the boat can go any distance, as long as there is a stack in that direction. If the boat has no stacks available in either cardinal direction, then it may move to any stack.

Take those three cards into your hand. From among all the cards in your hand, choose one to put face-up upright in front of you into your house, one sideways face up to your side in your river, and keep any remaining cards in your hand.

--~--


I'm still testing this out locally, but I'm hoping it keeps the spirit of the original game while making the Lake a little more manageable. I'll write about the other components I'm thinking about in a future post!

Fate More and Do: Fate of the Flying Temple Launch on Kickstarter!



Watch the skies! The Fate More kickstarter is live, with Do: Fate of the Flying Temple as a headliner. If you loved Pilgrims of the Flying Temple but wanted to play with the Fate system, here's your chance! :D

A Quick Idea for a Dice Placement Euro Game

Dice

Last year a lot of publishers said they liked my games, but wanted to see what I'd do next. Specifically, what games I could design beyond the realm of pure card games. Something like a medium weight euro.  So as I do my morning game design doodles, I'm dipping a toe into classic euro mechanisms like worker placement or dice placement. Here's one idea, loosely inspired by Greg Stolze's One-Roll Engine.


Assume there is a pool of eight six-sided dice and a board with six numbered spaces. Also assume that this board represents six different actions you may take, in the spirit of other dice-placement games like Alien Frontiers, Kingsburg, or Euphoria.


On your turn, you roll the dice pool and sort the results into groups according to their face value. Here we have 1x1, 2x3, 3x2, 4x1, and 5x1.


As the active player, you get first choice from this pool to place one of these groups onto the board. You may place a group onto a space that matches the face value or the size of the group.


So this group of 2x3 could be placed on the "2" space...


...or on the "3" space.


The next player to your left gets to choose another group from the pool to place on the board, following the same rules.


So this 1x5 could be placed on the "1" space...


...or on the "5" space.


Each subsequent player takes one group from the pool and places it on the board until all the dice have been placed. Note that it is possible for players to place more than once on a single turn if there are enough groups to go around the table multiple times, depending on the number of players. For example, if there are six groups and four players, the active player and the player to their left will place twice.

Once all the dice have been placed, that ends your turn as active player.


Thereafter, the player to your left becomes the new active player and begins their turn. They clear the board and reroll the entire pool of dice. They take their first pick of the available groups, followed by the player to their left, and so on, until no dice remain.


But what if there were a map instead of the board?


What if the face value of the set represented the type of dude you could put on the map and the size of the set represented how many you could put on the map? Or vice versa, since large sets are statistically rarer?


Maybe a larger set, like a set of three, allows you to build more substantial structures on the map?

There are a lot of open questions here, but I'm curious to see how it all turns out. What if the game had a map and a board? Assume the theme is dudes exploring this new continent. The board had actions like Settle Dudes, Migrate Dudes, Build Structures, Grow Resources, Harvest Resources Resources, Sell Resources. All of which pertained to various types of bits that are on the board itself? That opens up even more questions! Like, what if the power of these actions varies on a number of different factors? For example:

--~--

Settle Dudes
Place dudes on a space of the map matching the size of the group or the face value.

Face = Number of Dudes

Size : Type of Dudes
1-2: All Farmers
3-4: One (Explorer or Scribe) and all Farmers
5+: Two (Explorer or Scribe) and all Farmers

--~--

Migrate Dudes
Move dudes from one space on the map to an adjacent space of the map.

Face = Number of Dudes

Size : How Many Dudes Perish Along the Way
1-2: Two Dudes
3-4: One Dude
5+: No Dudes

Migrating Explorers raises the set value by one increment. So if you migrate four Farmers, one of them would perish along the way. However, if you replace one of those Farmers with an Explorer instead, that boosts your Size by 1, so it's effectively 5. That means all four of those migrating Dudes would survive the migration.

--~--

Build Structures
Put a structure on a space of the map where you have at least one scribe.

Face = How Much Gold You Earn

Size : How Many Structures You Can Buy
1-2: One Structure
3-4: Two Structures
5+: Three Structures

You may keep as much leftover gold as you have scribes in your chosen space of the map. Actually building anything is optional, so you could just take this action to get some gold.

--~--

Grow Resources
Put resource tiles on a space of the map where you have at least one farmer.

Face = Number of Resources

Size: How Much Control You Have
1-2: All resources randomly drawn from the bag.
3-4: Choose two of the resources.
5+: Choose four of the resources.

Each Farmer you have on a space raises the Size by one increment. So if you used three dice and chose a space where you have two farmers, that effectively raises the Size to 5, allowing you to choose four of the resources.

--~--

Harvest Resources
Take resource tiles from a space of the map where you have at least one farmer. (Note that these don't need to be resources that you grew.)

Face = Number of Resources

Size: How Many Crops are Lost in the Process
1: Three Tiles
2-3: Two Tiles
4-5: One Tile
6+: No Tiles

Each structure on a space will raise the Size by one increment so you lose fewer crops when harvesting.

--~--

Sell Resources
Exchange matched sets of resource tiles for coins or points.

Face = Number of Sets You Can Sell

Size: What You Earn
1: 1 Point and (1 Coins per Set)
2: 3 Points and (4 Coins per Set)
3: 6 Points and (9 Coins per Set)
4: 10 Points and (16 Coins per Set)
5+: 15 Points and (25 Coins per Set)

Sacrificing two Explorers from the same space on the map will boost your Size by one increment.
--~--
So that's just a quick idea from this morning. I must admit I'm a bit overwhelmed at the big open design space available in a 90-minute euro game compared to a 20-minute card game. Hopefully this little dice placement mechanism offers a sensible core loop around which I can build that bigger experience.

Tile-Laying: the Tile-Laying Game


Drew Hicks and I have been working on an isometric tile-laying game for the past couple of months in anticipation of the Greater Than Games metagame contest. The contest calls for games where the core mechanism is also the theme, for example Deck Building: the Deck Building Game, where you're actually building a deck for a house. That sort of thing.

We're happy to announce that Tile-Laying: the Tile-Laying Game is now ready for public testing!

Welcome to the brutal, high-stakes, life-and-death world of archeological restoration internship. Here, rival interns burn their brains reconstructing a tiled Ancient Greek plaza. Place tiles on the two walls and the floor in order to earn the most renown. Whoever earns the most renown wins!

It's a two-player game played on a 4x4x3 isometric space with a floor and two walls. Players take turns placing their tile or a blank tile onto the plaza. When a line of eight tiles is complete, whoever has the most tiles on that line scores their tiles. The symbols on each tile shows different ways to score points.



Eight random gold tiles form a baseboard along the bottom of the two walls. Whoever completes a line that intersects with the baseboard gets to resolve the baseboard tile, even if their opponent actually scored it. Baseboard tiles score points or allow special actions. We've got ten baseboard tiles developed and tested so far, but we're eager to add to that lineup. It's a nice bit of variability for each game.

Hope you dig it! Check it out here.

Testing 2- and 3-player Trickster


As a part of general development for Trickster, I'm taking a hard look at the 3-player and 2-player modes. The basic game has a nice sweet spot with 4-6 players, but to make the game viable at retail, we need to legitimately have a "2" on the box. So here's what I've got in the lab right now. For those of you who have at least two Trickster sets, here's what you need to do.

--~--

Set Up Changes
Your deck will need one more hero than normal. So, eight heroes in seven different colors, for a deck of 56 cards. (For my home tests, I liked adding the Miner from Symbiosis to the Fantasy set. She's a nice complement to the Rogue and keeps the overall effects pretty easy to remember.)

Deal eleven cards to each player’s hand.

For Three Players: Clear an additional section of the play area called the Timeline. Set it to the opposite side of the Trash from the Deck. Deal a row of twelve cards to the Timeline face-down.  Turn the card at the front of the line face-up.

Play Changes
For Two Players: Each player will take at most two turns per trick instead of just one. In essence, you're playing a four-player Pot with just two players. So, the maximum size of the Pot is four cards. (Example: A is the leader and plays a card. B is the Trickster and plays the second card, thereby establishing the pattern. A plays the third card. B plays the fourth and final card.)

The oldest player takes the first turn as Leader in the first trick. The second player is the Trickster.  Thereafter, each player alternates Leader and Trickster roles regardless of who busted the prior Pot.  

For Three Players: No player takes on the role of the Leader. Instead, at the start of each Trick, the card at the front of the Timeline is added to the Pot as the first card. Immediately reveal the next card in the line.

The oldest player takes the first turn as Trickster. Each player takes turns being Trickster clockwise around the table, regardless of who busted the prior Pot.

Endgame Changes

For Three Players: In addition to the normal endgame trigger, the game ends if there are no more cards remaining in the Timeline to add to the pot.

--~--

I'm trying to avoid a "phantom player" mechanism, but so far the Timeline mechanic in the three-player mode has proven to be a nice compromise. It doesn't force anyone to play a dummy player, but still allows a new type of strategy as you plan ahead for what you'll play on your upcoming turn as trickster.

If you get a chance to test these rules, please leave a comment! Thanks very much!

The Daily Huddle for Work-From-Home Freelancers

Seemingly Surreal Swallows in a Spring Snowstorm
It's a new year and a fresh chance to get started on some new habits. One habit I've kept up since becoming a freelancer is the Daily Huddle. A bunch of work-from-home freelancers and I meet every weekday at 10am EST for about 20 minutes to share three things:

- #1 Priority for the Day
- A question or bit of help for the group
- One bit of news, which is ostensibly supposed to be a professional update but has lately digressed into Star Wars. A lot.

I picked up this habit when I was working in an office, but it's an easy and convenient way to keep up human contact with fellow professionals. We have artists, writers, and game designers on a regular basis. Join us at this URL!

Smart Play Games Report for 2015


Happy new year, everyone! It's been a long time since I've done a proper sales report, which probably foreshadows the transitions from 2015. I kicked off the year knowing that I couldn't repeat the same pace I held in 2014, releasing one new game or product each month via DriveThruCards' POD service. That wasn't sustainable for the long-term, but it really yielded great rewards and I'm glad I did it. Without further ado, let's look at the numbers and break down some context.

The Numbers


Here are the sales numbers for each product in 2015 (in red) compared to 2014 (in blue). The good news is that every product that existed in 2014 sold more units than it did in 2015! Across the board growth is very positive.



These are the gross sales numbers for each product in 2015 compared to 2014. As you can see with some small low-priced products like the Koi Pond promo cards, the sales numbers far exceed their actual dollar gross. These numbers fluctuate month by month based on whatever promotional discounts I've got in place at that time.




And here are the actual earnings from each product in 2015 compared to 2014. This is what's left over after DriveThruCards takes its cut.

Funny how on all of these charts, the big 800-pound gorilla is Kigi. Koi Pond used to be my flagship product and the high bar for anything else in my catalog, but holy cow Kigi earned double Koi Pond's 2015 earnings and tripled Koi Pond's 2014 earnings! Wow, what a year.

Okay, let's break down the year by subject.

Heir to Europa
2015 was a very experimental year. Early on, I wanted to pick up licenses for other designers' games, hoping to offer others the same success I'd had with my POD model. Nick Ferris agreed to let me publish Heir to Europa, a lovely trick-taking card game. Unfortunately, I hadn't anticipated how much other business would distract me from properly promoting and supporting Heir to Europa in the latter half of 2015. I really want to release more standalone suits for the game, but a proper rules tutorial should be produced first. That has unfortunately been delayed by my own freelance work ramping up into December. I still feel bad about how slowly that's been developing. I hope 2016 will be a year for Europa.

POD Imports
As a part of 2015's experiments, I pursued some licenses for foreign games that I thought would be easy to release via POD. Most of these games have extremely short local print runs and never reach US shores, so I thought POD is a great way to "import" the games in an affordable and efficient form. I still think POD has the strong potential to take on that role, but perhaps I'm not the best salesman for that proposition. For now, traditional import and licensing retail seems to be the more attractive channel at the moment. The BGG Marketplace is doing some interesting things with this area of business.

A La Kart
I began the year deciding I'd focus on one game instead of my manic pace from 2014. That game would be A La Kart, which I brought to UnPub and got a LOT of really good feedback on. However, it became clear that the theme and the mechanics, while both very fun and interesting, didn't match each other well. So around BGGcon, I decoupled the theme and mechanics from each other and designed a better fitting game for the wacky racing theme. So far, tester response has been very good and it's currently being evaluated by a major publisher!

Becoming More "Legit" at BGGcon
The impostor syndrome bit me hard at weird moments this year, most notably in still thinking of myself as a novice game designer. At BGGcon, some really veteran designers whose opinions I respect suggested that I actually shouldn't attend the speed dating event as it's really meant for rookies. I had counted myself as a rookie as well, but these vets said, no, I'm actually somewhere in the middle. I've got a few games under my belt now and I should be pursuing more formal meetings at conventions. Fortunately there was time to reorient my strategy and get more of these face-to-face meetings scheduled. Hope something good comes from them!

Princess Bride: As You Wish
Princess Bride: As You Wish also released this year, which was an important reminder of the long production cycle required for major retail releases. I originally signed that license back in 2013, then after some development it got kickstarted in late 2014, finally releasing to the retail channels just a few months ago. I have to keep these long lead times in mind as I pursue new licenses.

POD business and Retail Business
One thing I found out at BGGcon was the awkward position my POD successes had put me in. Am I an indie designer? Am I a publisher? Am I a beginner? Certainly the POD games were getting attention and buzz, but that didn't necessarily translate into products which would have strong retail or kickstarter potential. I referred to this as the Chrome Ceiling. POD got me to a certain point in my career, but proper retail with bigger games was the obvious next step. As I learned from Princess Bride, it could be up to two years before a game hits retail and bills are coming in the meantime. So while I develop and pitch bigger games, I have to find other ways to supplement my income month-to-month.

Patreon and Etsy

That's where my updated Patreon came in very handy in the latter part of 2015. By changing to a monthly schedule and releasing more videos more regularly, Patreon offset some very slow sales months from my POD store. Selling some of my complimentary Japanese and Chinese editions of Koi Pond and Kigi also helped fill in the gaps. That's not a long-term solution, but it helped during a few leaner weeks.

Kigi and Kodama
Kigi and Kodama are the standout milestones from this year. It's hard to believe how eventful a year it's been for these games. Kigi got picked up by Japanese publisher Gamefield and sold out at Tokyo Game Market in May. Then a few months later, Action Phase were such big fans that they wanted to develop the core mechanisms into a whole new game. Kodama: the Tree Spirits went on to raise almost $100,000 on Kickstarter and become their highest funded, most backed project to date. Kodama is going to be in the Mensa Mind Games competition this year as well, which will be very  exciting to watch.

Trickster
Trickster has had an even faster lifecycle than Kigi. I released my first Trickster sets in the middle of 2015. Now I'm happy to announce Action Phase Games is also picking up Trickster for retail publication! They really liked the gameplay and we're currently developing it into a bigger game in a bigger box. Something about the scale of Smash Up or even Dominion. We have big plans ahead. More details to come!


Thanks very much for your support in the past year!
Daniel Solis
Art Director by Day. Game Designer by Night.