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Showing posts from September, 2011

Writer's Dice

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[UPDATE: Writer's Dice are now available!] Oh, you know, just an idea. Partly inspired by Mathematicians' Dice , Rory's Story Cubes, and this lesson on plots from Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In that lesson, they talk about arranging the beats of a story. They emphatically recommend that you not join any beats with the words "and then." Instead use conjunctions like "therefore." These force you to explain consequences and examine motivations that enrich a story. Just watch the video, I'm not doing it justice. But here's a humble proposal for you writers out there. A simple six-sided die with interesting clauses and conjunctions to help you figure out the plot of your story. When Protagonist A finds out Antagonist B is his father, roll a die to lead you to the next beat. This die can easily fit into any storytelling game, too. Heck, the pips let you use them as regular dice. I've looked at Koplow's catalog (which really ought to

Stupor Market: The Phonetic Food Game

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Here's a fun game for groups at a restaurant, especially if the players have been imbibing a little bit before the game starts. Stuff You Need 3 or more players at a restaurant or bar. A pen and two pieces of paper for each player. Leave the first sheet of paper blank. On your second sheet, write each other player's name. A 30sec timer. How to Play All players do these steps together at the same time. 1. On the blank piece of paper, write the name of a food served at this restaurant. Write the food as cryptically and phonetically as you can, in all capitals. This can be a basic ingredient, like fruits and vegetables; or more complex foods, like appetizers, entrees, or side dishes. For example, "lettuce" could be "LAYDUS." "Sweet potato" could be "SWOT PERDERDER." "Chicken noodle soup" could be "CHALKING OODLE SAP." 2. When everyone is done writing, hold your paper up so everyone can see it. You should

French Reviews of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

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Sounds like Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is making inroads into France, too! » Radio Roliste : "It's a kind of Windpunk setting reminiscent of How to Train Your Dragon and the Little Prince ." » Antoine Bauza : "No longer engaged in role play... I try to keep up and listen to the podcast Radio Roliste . It is an episode of the podcast that made ​​me buy the digital version of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (and its supplement)." Merci pour la traduction, Philippe A. Ménard !

Figuring Out How To Design a Logo Title Graphic for a Board Game

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Experimenting with more commercial-style title graphics. One thing I've noticed is that they have lots and lots of outlines. Layer upon layer upon layer. I don't quite have the hang of it yet. Partly, it's a matter of starting with a hand-drawn letterform instead of a standard font. You get more character out of the title and more control over the entire personality. Starting from a basic typeface isn't a bad start, though. Elapsed time: 1 Hour » Music CC-BY-SA: Popof – "Friandise"

Emergent Narrative and Imposed Narrative in Game Design

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When I design a strategy game, my primary goal is to create emergent complexity . That is, a game easy to learn, but soon branches into multiple options, deep tactics, and long-term replay value. That's great for a strategy game, especially an abstract strategy game. If your game has a strong theme, your mind starts filling in that abstraction with aesthetic details. This topic came up in a conversation with Sage LaTorra about For the Fleet . He looked over the alpha draft and had the following comments: "I feel like the game I was hoping for had more narrative than FtF currently does. FtF is pretty much a pushing your luck game with some extra cool dimensions of how and where you push that luck, which I dig. I just like the Zap Brannigan feel so much that I wanted more." Eventually this settled into the notion of a Mission for each ship. Essentially, each ship gets a mission with three thematically related objectives. Each objective offers additional glory for you

Leo Lalande's New Handmade Procession Set

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You might recall the last time Leo Lalande made physical sets of Procession as wedding favors. He's been hard at work again, making more durable versions of the game. Check out more pics and details here.

The New Haul reviews Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

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Brent at The New Haul is playing 50 games in 50 weeks. This week, he played Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple ! "After a few rounds, it becomes clear that the pilgrims are regularly getting into trouble, and each player must, while storyteller, balance helping her friends and moving the story along towards its goal... The book’s cover claims that it’s aimed at players 12 or older, but I think it’s ideal for kids as young as 8. It’s basically Avatar: The Last Airbender , without the heavy long-term story arc." » Read more at The New Haul

What's next for the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge

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Last January, I announced the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge unsure of whether anyone would enter. Boy, did that doubt fade fast. The submission period closes with just under 50 entries. Now, we'll review them, play as many as physically possible and try to pick a winner. Here's what we're looking for: Elegance : The winning entry should be easy to learn, teach and play, ideally playing in under an hour. Accessibility: The winning entry can be played by most people, most of the time, in most places. Any special props may come from sustainable resources. Fun/Community : If we like a game, that's great! But even a game isn't our cup of tea, if we see a thriving community of eager players, that's strong evidence that the game can last a while. And on that note, if you're an entrant to the challenge, your job isn't over yet! Send us pics or videos showing your games being played by real people around the world. Seeing that community will weigh

Thousand Year Game Design Challenge - Last-Minute Entries

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Well, we're settled into our new home, so I can finally round up the few entries to the Thousand-Year Game Design Challenge that came in on the very last day. Kodrek by Joshua A.C. Newman Indie game designer Joshua says: "Kodrek came out of a game of Human Contact, a science fiction roleplaying game about anthropology. When we needed a game that space pirates were playing in a bar, we started to describe this. After the game, we fleshed it out a little more. A dozen or so playtests later, I'm entering it in the contest and sending out prototypes to my Kickstarter backers who are getting a board." Close Doesn't Count by Andrew Juell Andrew offers this interesting abstract puzzler with several thoughts on its longevity. "I would be deeply hesitant to speculate as to how humanity and its circumstances will evolve over the next 100 years, much less the next 1000.  Nonetheless. I am far enough below my word limit that I should probably at least explore a

For the Fleet's Ship Consoles

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Okay, I said I was putting aside For the Fleet for public alpha , but I woke up this morning with visual ideas. Needed to shake them out or else I wouldn't get anything else done. The icons are still rough, but I put together these backgrounds and spaceships from some stock art. Took a long time to find good source material, I tell ya. I was reluctant to use 3d renders since they feel a little less approachable, but hopefully the bright saturated colors help that a bit. Okay, now I'm setting it aside. Too much else to do!

FOR THE FLEET - Alpha Document Release

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FOR THE FLEET A Strategy Game for Glorious Captains and Short-Lived Crew » Alpha Rules Document » 1-6 Players * 30-45 Minutes * Ages 12+ » Genre : Humor, Cooperation, Push-Your-Luck, Resource Management » Theme : Star Wars' Rebels, Futurama's Zap Brannigan, Battlestar Galactica » Game Inspiration : Catan Dice Game, Zombie Dice, Forbidden Island » Description : You're a Star Captain serving in the ragtag rebel fleet. Your ship is a civilian vessel just barely fit for active duty. Hey, the Fleet takes what it can get. Trash haulers, pleasure yachts, and scrappy shuttlecraft – all against the dastardly Imperial Armada. Cooperate with the other captains to WARP across the galaxy, RAID the Empire, and PILLAGE futuristic resources. Keep your crew alive and bring home glory... FOR THE FLEET! » Development Status : Alpha - See the current draft linked in the image. This is the kind of rough draft I usually write for any game with lots of little bits n' pieces. At th

Star Wars as Unlockable Kickstarter Rewards [Guest Post: Kevin Allen Jr]

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Kevin Allen Jr. just posted this on Google Plus, in response to this week's Kickstarter-centric posts. It's all so good I just wanted to share it with you all: +Daniel Solis has been talking a lot about kickstarter on his blog lately, and he's had my wrapt attention. His most recent post (linked below), gave me a nifty idea. See I skimmed the title of his blog post in my RSS reader and got an idea of what he was going to talk about but i was WAAAAAY off. (NOTE: What he actually talks about is useful and interesting to anyone who's thinking of launching a kickstarter. I'm not going to talk about that. I'm going to talk about what i thought he was talking about.) Examining the reward titles/levels Solis whipped up, I got the idea that depending on how far over goal your kickstarter goes you would "unlock" new parts of a games (or other transmedia project's) meta-fiction. For example: Lets say you were making a game that essentially re-crea

Using Game Fiction in Unlockable Kickstarter Rewards

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Now, about that $100 price point in yesterday's post. Board games are expensive to produce in small volumes. By being clear that these are rare, boutique prototypes, I hope that price for a physical copy is a little less painful. There is a way around this, though. If the campaign is extraordinarily successful, we could produce prototypes more affordably and pass the savings to the backers. 200%: The Fleet Raids the Fringes of the Empire. $45 backers get the benefits of the Free Citizen reward level. Any backers $50 or over get a digital bundle of the game's raw production files. 300%: The Fleet Leads a Revolution on the Core Worlds. $40 backers get the benefits of the Free Citizen reward level. Any backers $50 or over get a digital bundle of the game's raw production files. This also unlocks a video demonstration of the game. 400%: The Fleet Conquers the Imperial Capital. $35 backers get the benefits of the Free Citizen reward level. Any backers $50 or over will

Name Recognition and Personal Investment in Kickstarter Reward Levels

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I'm taking my own advice in a little thought-experiment. Based on consultation with the card game price gurus, I thought FOR THE FLEET might be better suited as a traditional board game with chits, boards and dice. I could use Kickstarter to fund the production of boutique prototypes to demo at conventions and ship to interested company prospects. By current specs, the prototype would include 6 Ship Consoles 6 Ship Pawns 18 Sector Cards 36 Target Cards 1 Home Base Card 1 Imperial Capital Card 54 Crew Chits 27 Bio Chits 27 Pep Chits 27 Fuel Chits 27 Tech Chits 27 Meme Chits 54 Glory Chits 6 Dice I've advised people to use your actual printed space as an opportunity for limited rewards for Kickstarter backers. That real estate is limited and valuable. It costs nothing extra to print a credit on a board, card or chit, but it means a lot to your most excited community members. Even if you're just printing a book, you could offer small bylines on each page for eac

Maintaining Kickstarter Momentum after 100%

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Sebastian Hickey asks for some Phase 2 crowdfunding advice: "I used your Kickstarter project as a template for my effort, so apologies for stealing some of your ideas. I hit my funding goal really early, but now I don't know what to do with the project. Do I leave it there, sitting idle, or is there anything I can do to get more funders?" Congratulations on hitting your goal! That begins Phase 2 of your campaign. Now, look at your production cost estimates and see where you can get volume discounts. Then you can start offering high tier benefits to backers of a lower tier. For those who already backed at a high tier, offer additional low-cost or no-cost benefits like PDFs and other digital goodies. For example, when Do's campaign started, we only offered books to those who pledged $40. After we we passed ~150% funding, we started offering books to $30 backers, too. After the next milestone at ~200%, we offered books to $25 backers, too. So the $40 didn't fe

Q&A on Card Game Design, Costs and Prices

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Last week, I sought council from Fred Hicks (Evil Hat), Matt Gandy (Margaret Weis Productions), Chris Hanrahan (Endgame), and Jeff Tidball (Who needs no introduction). I was curious about how price this card game: Title : FOR THE FLEET A Game of Glorious Captains and Their Short-Lived Crew 1-6 Players * 30-45 Minutes * Ages 12+ Pitch : Zap Brannigan's Catan meets Zombie Dice. Description : You're a Star Captain serving in the ragtag rebel fleet. Your ship is a civilian vessel just barely fit for active duty. Hey, the Fleet takes what it can get. Trash haulers, pleasure yachts, and scrappy shuttlecraft – all against the dastardly Imperial Armada. Cooperate with the other captains to warp across the galaxy, raid Imperial targets, and earn futuristic resources. Keep your crew alive and bring home glory… FOR THE FLEET! Genre : Humor, Cooperation, Light Strategy, Resource Management, Push-Your-Luck Dice Rolling I already calculated numbers on costs for production, shipping