Showing posts from August, 2011

Thousand Year Game Design Challenge - August Update

Phew! It's a busy time over here. We're moving across the country tomorrow, so I have to do a one-day-early round up of entries so far. Here's everything we've received in August as of the 30th! If you enter your game on the 31st, expect to see it in one last round up after we arrive in Durham and have internet access again. But heck, there are plenty of games to check out in this post alone, so let's get to it! Nomad by Kirk Mitchell Kirk describes Nomad as "a game of topographical manipulation, balance and nonviolence, inspired by geological strata, Go and other difficult games." I certainly like the materials used in his prototype! Quite lovely. ZoxSo by David Weinstock David enters this two-player abstract he bills as a "new ancient" game. David home-produced a run of prototypes for this game, but I let it slide past the "not-previously-published" restriction since it was such a limited run. Tricala by Myles

Megan and Daniel on the Road

We're on the road for the next several days, on our way to Durham . Our internet might not be up yet for a few days after we arrive, so posts will be a little less frequent, too. Re: The Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge, it's unfortunate timing that our move begins the same day as the last day of entries. But hey, that's how things happen. I'll post a round up of entries as of the 30th tonight and a later round up with the entries as of the 31st. That post will come as soon as we have internet access again. Re: Game Design: I'll tinker with some stuff for For The Fleet as well as other games in the lab while we wait for internet access. There is no shortage of stuff to work on, so I suspect there will be plenty of new developments to discuss. Wish us well on the long drive! We'll see you in North Carolina!

Retheming For the Fleet [In the Lab]

As BGG noted , one For the Fleet 's biggest similarities to BSG is the premise. So we need a new theme. I don't want to move away from scifi, though. Folks were really creative with those ships ! A retheming should also explain the victory condition, which in For the Fleet is a little odd. You'd think the victory condition should simply be surviving for X rounds. But in For the Fleet , you're trying to earn X victory points before Y rounds. A subtle difference, but one that should be at least make sense with the new theme. So here's a quick stab at a new pitch and new theme. Pitch: It's Zap Brannigan's Catan with a dash of Han Solo. The kind of game where carelessly throw red-shirted henchmen into the harm's way. The kind of game where you might shout "Stop dying, you cowards!" Theme: You're captains of a ragtag rebel fleet – a mish-mash of antique military ships, smuggling freighters and retrofitted pleasure yachts. You're o

Notes For the Fleet [In the Lab]

A handful of spaceships survived a planetary disaster. Now, what remains of the fleet is on its way to Sanctuary, a fabled planet on the other side of the galaxy. Will they find enough resources along the way? Why do so many crewmen where red shirts? The brave captains will give it all FOR THE FLEET! [UPDATE: This has been slightly rethemed, but rules are essentially the same. ] Setup Each player draws one card from the Ship deck. Every player is a captain of that ship, with some crew at her disposal. On your card, you'll see details about your ship, how many crew you have, what it costs to jump to the next star system, and special abilities you can use. Sample Ships Name: Goliath Description: Damaged battlecruiser, barely survived the catastrophe. Highly trained, but desperate crew. Crew Aboard: 15 Jump Cost: 2 [Fuel] 1 [Food] 1 [Water] Abilities: Spend 2 [Tech]: Ignore 1 [Death]. Spend 1 crewmen: Create 2 [Food]. Spend 4 [Tech] 2 [Fuel]: Earn 1 Victory Point for t

#ForTheFleet [Twitter]

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My Life for the Fleet! [In the Lab]

Some loose notes on a hack of Don Eskridge's The Resistance , a most excellent variant of traditional Werewolf/Mafia games. My Life for the Fleet! Players are captains of ships that barely escaped a planet-wide hostile alien attack. The only sanctuary is a fabled planet on the other side of the galaxy. The fleet is on its way there, but must collect what few supplies they can along the way. Some of the crew, even the captains themselves, are secretly covert operatives for the alien menace. The basic structure of Resistance remains the same. A series of missions, each requiring different subset of players to be team members pending majority approval, then execution of the mission in which spies can sabotage the whole thing. The twist is that each mission asks players to volunteer a certain number of crewmen for each mission. Each mission requires a certain number and any captain can offer as many crewmen as they wish. Each mission has its rewards, including essential supplie

A little gift for my thousandth Twitter follower

Last week I noticed I was inching ever closer to a thousand Twitter followers. It thought, "Hey, I should do something nice for Mr. or Ms. 1,000." Turns out it was Mr. Matt Bogen who sent my count over two milliwheatons! As thanks, I'm sending him signed copies of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple and Happy Birthday, Robot! » @MattBogen

The Blinking Game

Here's a new game that my friend Kathleen taught me a while back. Because I couldn't help myself, I hacked it a bit to add some points and a simple endgame mechanic. See the video above for a demonstration. The rules are below! Getting Started You and your opponent face each other. A third player will sit aside to be the timekeeper . You and your opponent will take turns being chased and being the chaser . The game begins with you and your opponent keeping your eyes closed. To begin, the timekeeper repeats the phrase "Blinking Game" over and over again at a steady, consistent rhythm. Yes, it is unnerving. How to Play You and your opponent will open your eyes at random intervals. When you open your eyes, you must keep them open long enough for the timekeeper to say "Blinking Game" once. When you are being chased, the object of the game is to open your eyes as many times as you can before being caught. Each time you open your eyes without being cau

Ten Days Left to Enter the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Only a Few Days Left to Enter Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge Ambitious Contest Challenges Designers to Create Games to Last Lifetimes On New Year's Eve 2010, game designer Daniel Solis issued a challenge to the entire game community: Design a game that people will still play in the year 3011. And he offered $1,000 of his own money, just to make it interesting. Since then, the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge attracted new game designers from all over the world, as well as industry stalwarts Greg Stolze and James Ernest . "I entered the contest because I liked the idea of designing games that aren't intended for sale." Ernest said. "We tend to identify game design as product design, but they are really two disciplines. Unfortunately, if it can't be sold, it typically never gets made. So this was a great chance to do that." The Challenge has also drawn praise from games scholar and Gameful co-fou

I'll give you a pilgrim name! [Twitter]

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The No-No's of Game Design [Seminar]

The No-Nos of Game Design by Daniel A Solis Thanks to Jason Pitre of Genesis of Legend Publishing, we have a recording of another GenCon 2011 seminar: The No-No's of Game Design. I had no idea what to expect with this panel, but it was a blast. A great smattering of little tips here and there for aspiring game designers. This panel includes Stan!, Jeff Neil Bellinger, Matt Forbeck and yours truly. » Via Genesis of Legend Publishing

Patronage and Kickstarter: How to Get Paid Up Front [Seminar]

Patronage and Kickstarter: How to Get Paid Up Front by Daniel A Solis Thanks to Kobold Quarterly and Neostrider, here's the recording of the Kickstarter and Patronage panel from GenCon 2011. Listen to the monsters of game-related Kickstarter projects answer audience questions about crowdfunding, public design, and the new trust-economy. The participants are Wolfgang Baur, Greg Stolze, Gary M. Sarli, and yours truly. » Via Kobold Quarterly 's Wolfgang Baur

10 Tips for a Kickstarter Video for a Game Project

Here is some general advice I've figured out while running Kickstarter campaigns for Happy Birthday, Robot! and Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple . Bear in mind that this is focused just on the Kickstarter video for a game-related project, though a lot of the advice is broadly applicable, too. 1. Prepare well. Your video shouldn't look like you recorded it in one take and posted it without any further thought. Taking the care to make a good video shows that you value your backers' time and attention. First and foremost, Know your audience. When you write, plan and outline, throughout it all you should have a strong sense of who your audience is for this video and for the project as a whole. Consider whether this audience prefers funny content, dramatic content, straightforward content or what. 2. Outline your video for time. Keep the video under 90sec. Spend 30sec as a short ad for what your project will produce. In other words, a TV ad for your game. The following

New Reviews and Actual Play for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Reviews for Do are flooding in since GenCon. MTV Geek: Lessons in Compassion and Mischief from The Flying Temple "I soon discovered was something far more inspired than I could have possibly guessed... These letters are a really clever way to quickly pull characters into the story, with several example letters included... The system for Do is astoundingly elegant." Tabletop Manifesto: Whale Tales to be told "I'm just delighted to have bought a print copy. My bibliophile urges are satisfied. This is a gorgeous artefact." Nick Bate "The art totally captures the happily meddlesome whimsy that I love so much about this game. It's just an absolute joy to flip through... The premise of Do just makes me want to hug it... Underneath all of this loveliness, I think it's fair to say that Do is actually a really great tool for teaching people about writing stories." [UPDATE: New review from Flames Rising! "I like this setting; furthermor

Happy Birthday, Robot!'s Ennie Awards and Indie RPG Awards

Happy Birthday, Robot! was up for several awards at GenCon 2011. First up, HBR didn't win any of the categories in which it was nominated – but an awesome thing happened instead. Every time HBR was nominated, the presenters would each make a complimentary comment about the game. Heck, even the winner of Best Game took the time in his speech to talk about how much he wanted HBR to win. I also got some personal compliments from the host, so that was even more awesome. HBR had a very strong showing at the Indie RPG Awards, winning second-place in a number of categories. Here is the placement and judges' commentary from each category. Indie Game of the Year: First Runner Up with 21 points "Zagging when everything else zigs. I love that I'm seeing games aimed as intro games--and for youngins--that are less crunchy and more Narrativist. I've long wondered what the RPG world would look like if the jumping off point had been, say, fanfic rather than wargames."

Obsidian Portal's Expeditious Interview

Expeditious Interview - Daniel Solis from Obsidian Portal on Vimeo . Right after a seminar, the dudes from Obsidian Portal did an expeditious video interview. Why did I choose to do the interview under harsh convention lighting instead of moving over to the giant bay window just a few feet away? Ah well. Watch as I decide who would win in a fight between Harry Potter and Optimus Prime.

Actual Play of Happy Birthday, Robot! from Google+

Awesome! Alexander Williams ran a marathon three-session run of Happy Birthday, Robot! at the Tower. (You may recall his last report from this post .) This time, he played with a group that was almost entirely kids and it ended up being the craziest, weirdest story yet . Mikael Dahl posted this actual play report from playing Happy Birthday, Robot! Happy Birthday, Robot! Robot, asleep, was dreaming of cogs and gears - but slept through the alarm! Robot was late for the party, and everyone but Sally was already leaving the place. Sally ran to Robot's room, trying to save the party, but tripped. The crash only just woke Robot up. Sally got off the floor and sat up, shouting "Robot!" Together, they found the party and called their friends back, but the cake was a lie! Robot gasped in surprise and said "Sally, let's elope". "Yes", replied Sally, and held Robot close; "but first you should open your present". Robot danced and c

Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

As more of the Kickstarter backers get their books, we're hearing a strong uptick in reviews and actual play reports. Everything has been positive, from the layout, to the tone, to the game itself. Here's a sampling of the radio chatter. Cheryl played Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple with her four-year-old Lila and Lila's imaginary friend Salamander. A little younger than the target audience, but still successful! Clever four-year-old. Read on. Rick Neal played Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple with his regular gaming group. Based on that experience, he observed: " Fiasco is for actors, Do is for writers." I think of both games as cousins. Both focus on structured, procedural play to create stories with a distinct theme. Different themes, thus different structures, but the game design philosophy is the same. But heck, I'm just pleased as punch to hear the comparison. And last but not least, Doyce Testerman has this very sweet tale of visiting his fa