Showing posts from July, 2012

Belle of the Ball - Prototype K

» Download the Current Beta Rules PDF [Prototype K] » Download the Print-and-Play Cards PDF » Follow the conversation on BoardGameGeek . Phew! Wow, it's been a busy few weeks for Belle of the Ball . This prototype introduces a lot of changes. Mostly these come from playtesting Prototype J with several different gamers of varying experience levels. All changes noted in this blog post . Reduced the guest deck to 72 cards, which meant re-arranging all the attributes. Reduced starting hand size to two cards. Players start with two random guests already in play. Removed ribbon cards. Reduced the point values for popularity and group bonuses so they're a bit easier to tally and stay under 100. Added tertiary iconography to make it clear when a guest is royal or when they're wearing a sash, glasses or a hat. Removed Dueling as an action.  Added the "lobby" to make draws a little less blind. All "Powers" are now called "Charms." The

Quickie Alpha Cards for Dung & Dragons/Dragon Ranch

On the left you see what it looks like when I sketch out cards by hand. I usually just plan ahead for the kind of info I'll need on the card and watch out for space issues. On the right, you see how that translates to an alpha prototype with stock illustrations and vector icons courtesy of The Noun Project. In its current state, the game is about workers at a communal ranch. They raise dragons for valuable poop. Yup. Each round involves the players performing various ranch duties. The whole deck is 48 cards divided into six alphabetical suits representing the duties you'll do around the ranch. The suits are A-Shovel: Take X cubes from your dragon and put them into your supply. B-Feed: Deposit X brown cubes onto dragons. C-Shop: Spend blue, red or yellow cubes to draw X, Y, or Z extra cards from the deck. D-Breed: Add a dragon to your ranch. The total Love in your ranch must be equal to or greater than the new dragon. E-Expand: Add a staffer or building to your ranch.

Experimenting with the blind auction mechanic from Libertalia

I pitched a loose game idea on Twitter yesterday and someone said it already exists. Care to help identify the game in question? It's kind of inspired by the Libertalia discussion yesterday , but uses a standard deck of playing cards. At the beginning of the game, deal five cards to each player. Each player chooses and reveals one card from his hand. These cards are arranged in a row in numerical order. In case of a tie, hearts are higher than diamonds, which are higher than spades, which are higher than clubs. In descending order of rank, each player takes turns taking one of these cards into his hand. A player cannot take his own card. At the end of the game, players total the values of all cards in their hands and score that many points. You'd also score some bonus points for building strong poker hands, too. So, you want to keep the high-value cards in your hand, but you may not get the best choice if you bid low-value cards. Bidding a low-value card al

A Review of Libertalia, an elegant action auction card game

This weekend I had the pleasure of playing an early release Libertalia , a pirate-themed blind auction game. It's an elegant game with lots of replay value. It was only available in Italy until the English release this year (hence the Italian language cards below). I don't normally do board game reviews, but this game has left such a strong impression on me that it will no doubt creep into some future game design discussion. So, I post this review mainly as a future reference for those later posts. That in mind, here's a quick overview of play. Each player is competing to score the most doubloons. At the beginning of each round, random booty tokens are drawn from a bag and placed along six spaces, one space for each turn in a round. The whole game lasts three rounds. Character cards arranged according to rank. Photo: Mario Brunelli via BoardGameGeek Each player has an identical deck of ranked pirate characters ranging from The Parrot all the way up to The Captai

Step Right Up: A Push-Your-Luck Game about Snake Oil Salesmen in the Old West

I've been mulling over a push-your-luck game about snake oil salesmen in the old west. I imagine these hucksters rolling into town, setting up shop on a boardwalk and selling as much of their questionable product as possible to duped bystanders. All this before a mob of angry customers comes to collect a refund. This isn't fully formed yet, but I wanted to get some notes down so it's not knocking around in my head as much. Feel free to comment or adapt as you wish! The game is comprised of 13d6s, a Noun deck of cards, a Descriptor deck of cards, several Goon meeples and some coins. The Noun cards show words like "Owl" "Chair" or "Underpants." The Descriptor cards shows words like "Sharpener" "Reliever" or "Strengthener." Each card also shows one or two dice results. To set up the game, deal three Noun cards and three Descriptor cards to each player. Deal three coins to each player. Keep the dice in the cente

Vote for Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple in the Ennies!

Hello, Ennie voters ! Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple is nominated for two Ennie Awards: Best Interior Art and Best Game ! Now it's up to you to vote. We're in competition with some very prominent and great products, especially in the Best Game category. I want to thank all the Ennie judges for the hard work they do in making their selections. Okay, down to business. We have a small retail footprint compared to the other entries. When something like Do goes to a public vote, most voters will understandably overlook the product they don't recognize. The Best Game category will be tough for that reason. So, I want to focus your attention on the Best Interior Art category. Flip through the page spreads shown above. Young illustrator Liz Radtke poured everything into this project over several months. We paid as fairly as we could afford, but she deserves so much more. It is gorgeous and we have Liz Radtke to thank for it. I also want to thank Kristin Rako

Project Ninja Panda Taco [Kickstarter]

Jenn from Jennisodes has designed her first game! Project Ninja Panda Taco is designed for fans of Despicable Me and Pinky and the Brain . Jenn describes it thusly: Project Ninja Panda Taco is a game where you get to play a Mastermind trying to take over the world. Along the way, you’ll compete as a Nemesis against other Masterminds and as a Minion who loves to help, while receiving rewards for their hard work.  I played this on Monday night and it's a hoot. I really want to lay out this book but I can't unless the project is fully backed. So kick it, minions!

3io - A Match Three Space Exploration Tile Game [In the Lab

3io - A Match-Three Space Exploration Tile Game for 2-4 players. Welcome to the distant future, where you can create new planets, stars and even galaxies! You and your fellow players will fuse stellar dust to create new habitats for your galactic civilization. Each player competes to create the most ideal cosmic environment for the civilization. Let’s play among the stars! » Download Boards and Tiles GOAL Your goal is to have the most points by the time the board fills up with tiles. BITS The Tiles The space tiles show features of the universe, ranging from dust to whole galaxies. The civilization tiles show features of a spacefaring civilization, ranging from probes to singularities. Each tile has a dark side and a light side. When you initially play a tile, it will always be on the dark side first. Later in play, the tiles may flip over to the light side. The Board The board is a 6x6 grid depicting the vast expanse of space. Each cell is called a sector.

Operation BSU plays Happy Birthday, Robot! via Google+ Hangouts

You remember the last time Operation BSU played Happy Birthday, Robot! right? Oh boy. Thankfully, they acknowledge that they're gleefully corrupting what is meant to be a kid and family game. And boy, are they gleeful about it. When your first line opens with eating babies, that's how you know this will be an odd session. Set the table, tuck in your bib, and read the complete story here . Tune in to Operation BSU on Saturday nights, 10pm EDT. and their Google Plus page . "Like a morning show, except better. And at night."

Knizia + Cosmic Encounter + Yspahan Mashup

If there is one game mechanic I always like exploring, it's Reiner Knizia's "lowest set" victory condition. The gist is that you're building up several resources throughout the game. However, your final score is based on the lowest of those resources. To put it another way, you score one point for every complete set of resources. It's a clever mechanic that spreads your strategy, often because obtaining each resource requires very different tactics. I recently played Cosmic Encounter for the first time, which has also infected my brain a bit. In the basic game, each player begins with a certain number of ships on each planet of their solar system. You win by getting one or more of your ships on five different planets outside your system. You do this with direct attacks, bribes, exceptional faction powers and special action cards. I really loved how such a simple victory condition diverges into numerous strategies. So, naturally, these two influences mixed

Vases, Crates, Barrels and Sacks: Breaking Down the Yspahan Board into a Card Deck

I've been mulling over the Yspahan game board in the back of my head the past few days. It occurred to me that each market is essentially a permutation combining two independent sets of variables: Suit and Color. The more common a color in a suit, the more difficult it is to make a complete set, the more valuable that set is. So there is an interesting set of correlations here. Being more common is actually more valuable, because Yspahan only awards points for complete sets. Value of Suit and Color permutation, divided by number of spaces. In the graphic above, I divided the total value of all markets in a permutation by the number of markets in that permutation. For example, two yellow vase markets are worth 6 points in total. Thus, each individual market is worth 3. In some cases, this resulted in awkward fractions, noted in red. I rounded these to whole integers, so that some markets within a single permutation would be worth more than others. That resulted in the values

Hulk PDF Download for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying

Smashing news, true believers! I laid out the latest What If? download for the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game, featuring our not-so-jolly green giant HULK ! Hulk is so big, he smashed the  traditional datafile template, so we had to scoot Bruce Banner's stats to the facing page. This PDF also includes files on the U-Foes, a fun gang of villains for your rogues' gallery. If you dig the new content, tell the good folks at MWP on their forums !

Less than 10 copies of Do: The Book of Letters left in stock!

Get Do: The Book of Letters while it's still in stock! This expansion to Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple adds many more letters and some tips for writing your own. Plus! Tons of excellent art from Amy Houser .

Adjusting Difficulty Levels in Sidekick Quests Card Game [Video]

Here's a fun tidbit from the Sidekick Quests card game development. We recorded this video a few weeks ago, in the midst of high-intensity game design session on Lyndsay's living room floor. We're clearly very engaged. Megan's waiting for us get on with our vacation. :P But yeah, we're discussing the difficulty levels of encounters and how to adjust them against varying player groups. Lyndsay offers up a nice iconographic solution that also allows some interesting dungeon customization. Check it!

Belle of the Ball - Reducing the Deck Size and Moderating Wabi-Sabi

I began the current cycle of Belle of the Ball prototyping with a real desire to experiment with wabi-sabi card game design. I still want to pursue that goal, but in more moderation. See, for design and economic reasons, I'm considering paring down the Guest deck from 96 to 72. This should still make a 4-player game feasible, but might just barely leave no cards in the draw or discard deck by the end of the game. That's fine. Because of the smaller deck, I would need to reorganize all the guest attributes. That means diving back into the wild world of spreadsheets . Here is how the deck would break down in a 72-card guest deck. SUITS The deck is divided into distinct combinations of County, Interest, and Mood. There are 6 Counties, 12 guests of each. There are 4 Interests, 18 guests of each. There are 3 Moods, 24 guests of each. Each County has 4 guests of each Mood. Each County has 3 guests of each Interest. Each County has 6 guests of each Gender, though that