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Showing posts from September, 2012

Vector Game Icon Wishlist?

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If you ever need a source of vector icons for your board game prototypes, I highly recommend The Noun Project . They have an extensive crowdsourced collection of vector icons released on public domain or Creative Commons Attribution licenses. You can now also purchase attribution-free licenses for a nominal fee. There are some gaps in the collection when it comes to common game icons. There is a meeple , but a very limited supply of di ce and definitely no "victory points." I just uploaded an icosahedron , better known as a the 20-sided die or d20 . I'd love to upload some more generic game icons, but where to begin? What would you want most? I posed this question to my Twitter friends and got lots of suggestions. die faces 1-6, ? fan of cards 1-5 players 1-5 tiles in various shapes victory points in various shapes time: 15min, 30min, 45min, 60min… ages players: 1, 2, 3… bid most/least And there were some other suggestions that stretched the boundarie

The Everywheres, a story game inspired by Jenny Everywhere

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I met Jenny Everywhere earlier this year and I've wanted to make a game about her ever since. Jenny Everywhere (aka "The Shifter") is an open source, public domain character originally created by Canadian comic book artist Steven Wintle. He and his friends created Jenny Everywhere as a truly public domain character that anyone can use, but no one owned. According to most stories, Jenny Everywhere exists in every reality, can shift between realities, and pull stuff from other realities as needed. Thus, Jenny has appeared in hundreds of comics, stories, and fan art. I am a huge fan of parallel universe stories, so Jenny was a natural source of inspiration. I've been wanting to write a properly fleshed out Jenny Everywhere story game for ages, but I just haven't found the time. So for now here's my pitch for a Jenny Everywhere story game. © Nelson Evergreen BACKGROUND Across the multiverse, there are four groups: The Everywheres, The Nowheres, T

Belle of the Ball at the UnPub Protozone and plans for Prototype M

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Image from dicehateme.com John Moller just posted his thoughts from UnPub protozone at the Escapist Expo , including his playtest of Belle of the Ball at the Escapist Expo. He had this to say: "I finally had a chance to sit down with Daniel and play Belle of the Ball . It was a good experience. I really like the interactivity of the game. You get to take actions based on the actions that other player’s choose. There’s a lot of strategy to that, and I didn’t plum the depths of it as much as I could have. The theme is original and really fit what was going on within the mechanics of the game, which is always a plus. It’s a game about mingling at a  Victorian party. Your cards are guests and you’re building sets by grouping and grouping. Belle of the Ball is a little more complex than I first gave it credit for being, and definitely a game to note and watch for." The UnPub event was a very productive experience. I actually think it was in John's game that the

Chibi Robo + Mine Sweeper as a Board Game?

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A while back, I lost two hours to Super Samurai Sweeper , a minesweeper-inspired action game. Naturally, I started wondering if you could do a similar game in a tabletop format. How would that work? The calculations that make the digital Minesweeper so critical couldn't be done on a table with non-electronic components. Well, maybe that's okay. There just needs to be another mechanic in the game that works better for the analog format. Here's the loose idea: There is a grid of tiles laid out 5x5. Each cell contains two tiles, one stacked on top of the other. Each tile has a number 1-10 and icons representing certain resources. In this example, let's just use circles, squares and triangles. On your turn, tap a stack (here noted in pink). Then you reveal the top tile of that stack and the top tiles of orthogonal adjacent stacks. Then you can choose to tap that stack again or pass. If you choose to tap it again, then you must take both tiles from that sta

Board Raptor Games Logo Design

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Jenn Rodgers, J.R. Blackwell and the rest of the Velociraptor! Cannibalism! team have a name: Board Raptor Games . Yay! Buuuuut they needed a logo! They were nice enough to ask me to do the honors. Hard to tell from this is early sketch , but I had a clear outline of where to take the logo. I was taking a little inspiration from the Philosoraptor meme for posing, but I didn't want to resemble on that image too closely. I thought, "Hm. What if he was holding a headless meeple? What if he had a board on his head?" Neither of those really worked as well as the raptor's distinctive silhouette standing on its own. But surely this guy needed *some* kind of clear mark that called to his origins. Then I looked back at the original V!C! Kickstarter . Lo and behold, the solution. A velociraptor with a monocle. Of course! "Board member" or "Chairman of the board." Spiffy. With that, it was a super-easy project. Most of the work was done in one weekend

Make Me An Offer: Apples to Apples as a Euro Card Game [In the Lab]

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I was thinking about the basic exchange mechanics of Apples to Apples and how they might be adapted to a deeper Euro strategy experience. The basic idea is "Make Me An Offer." CARDS The game is a deck of cards, each with a point value (a household object?) and a combination of suits (rooms in which the object can be placed?). SETUP Each player begins with a random hand. ON YOUR TURN On your turn, you tell the other players "Make me an offer." Each offers you one card face-down. Then you shuffle and reveal them a la Apples to Apples. You choose which card(s) you want to accept. Yes, you can accept multiple offers. When a card is accepted, the player who offered that card gets points. Those points could be a flat rate (3 pts) or be based on the other offers (3 points per wood offered this turn). It all depends on what that card says. Your card you accept goes into your private tableau. Everyone refreshes back up to a full hand of cards and the next tu

Risk and Renders: "Kickstarter is not a store."

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Many view Kickstarter as a new pre-ordering system. However, Kickstarter just updated their guidelines to reinforce their position that they are NOT a store. Towards that end, they've made two major changes to their guidelines . Here's how they affect game projects. RISKS Today we added a new section to the project page called "Risks and Challenges." All project creators are now required to answer the following question when creating their project: “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?” The intent of this change is to allow backers to judge the creator's likelihood of completing the project promised. This also forces the project creator to acknowledge the risks inherent in any project. For a board game or role-playing game, these risks are: Delays in production Delays in distribution Rules errata Staff changes Margin of error in estimated costs Components that are different than shown in ear

"Recycling" Deck Building Mechanic

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Most deckbuilding games have each player keep their own self-contained ecosystem of cards. They buy cards from a general supply and gradually grow their own deck. As their cards are used, they discard their cards into their own discard deck. Once their main deck runs out, they shuffle the discard deck and begin anew. Rarely in this process do players actually affect each other's ecosystems positively or negatively. (There are some exceptions, like Miskatonic School for Girls.) What if there were a deckbuilding game where your discard deck actually belonged to your neighbor? So, when your neighbor's draw deck runs out, they don't reshuffle their own discards. Instead, they reshuffle *your* discards and that becomes their new draw deck. How does that affect gameplay? What goes around comes around : If you use a very fierce offensive card against an opponent, that card could very easily re-emerge and be used against you as well. Timing is critical : You would keep a war

Belle of the Ball Playtests at the UnPub ProtoZone at the Escapist Expo!

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Look what just came in the mail right on time! I'm going to be running Belle of the Ball Prototype L playtests at the UnPub ProtoZone ! Also look for me at the panels on Saturday!

Thanks and Complaints instead of Success or Failure in RPGs

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Some of the most interesting and fun RPG mechanics come when you disregard the typical success/failure dichotomy in most games. At an extreme, "success" simply confirms what the player just stated while "Failure" denies that contribution and brings you back to square one. So here's another idea: Instead of "Success," you get thanks. Instead of "Failure," you get complaints. This assumes whatever you said happens happens, but what follows is up to fate. "I thwack the dragon with my broadsword!" *roll* "You get several complaints!" "I stab the kobold!" *roll* "It thanks you profusely!" Any ideas on how you'd use a system like this? Share them in the comments!

3-2-1 Dice Mechanic: Roll Three, Keep Two, Give One

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Here's another odd dice idea I tweeted last weekend. Assume you're playing a story game. Assume that each turn, players state one thing that they want to change in the story, using their characters as the means of change. And also assume that each turn, the active player will get a graduating range of complication on her stated actions. This range is drawn from a pair of d6 dice results, ranging from 2-12. 2 is the most complications, 12 is the fewest complications. The most common result is 6 or 7, which represent just a few complications. Here's the trick: You actually roll three dice on your turn. After rolling, you choose which two dice to keep as your official results. Then you pass the third dice result to the next player for their turn. He then rolls two dice and now has to choose among the three results: Those two he just rolled and the one result you gave him. If he takes your result, you earn a point. If he doesn't take your result, it passes to the ne

Mirror Dice (dM) [In the Lab]

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Here's just a little idea I had for a custom die. Originally, I imagined a d6 with six pips on each face, but only 1-6 filled. That way, you could pull two sets of information from a single result. Unfortunately, that means one face would have 0 filled pips and 6 empty pips and there wouldn't be enough faces for a mirrored counterpart. So I knocked off one pip on each face. Now I could start with 0 filled 5 empty, incrementally increase the filled pips on each face up to 5 filled 0 empty. I don't know what you'd do with a die like this, but it's an interesting source of data, easily based on binary states in an RPG for example: "Roll 2dM. If the scene takes place in the day, check the empty pips. If the scene takes place at night, check the filled pips." I'm sure you can think of something better though. What would you do with these?

I'll be at Escapist Expo!

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I'm happy to be sitting on on some panels at the Escapist Expo, which is located a few blocks from where I live! Most convenient con ever. Crowdfunding Revolution Saturday, September 15th @ 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM | Dagobah Room Alexander Macris Cherilyn Kirkman Chris Kirkman Dan Yarrington Daniel Solis After record-breaking Kickstarter campaigns for new games, new peripherals, and even new consoles in the last year, it’s no secret that the crowdfunding revolution is upon us. Join us for a discussion of what it means for publishers, developers, and consumers when the players become the producers. How to Run a Small Gaming Business Saturday, September 15th @ 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM | Dagobah Room Cherilyn Kirkman Chris Kirkman Daniel Solis Jason Morningstar Steve Segedy Running a game company isn’t always fun and games. Have you ever wondered what results when gaming and bu

What's scarier, pilgrims or monsters? [Actual Play of Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple]

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Long-time pilgrim Sophie Lagacé shared this lovely play report from last weekend, plus some follow-up comments on this thread . Below is the actual play report in Sophie's words: At Pacificon this weekend, + Edmund Metheny ran + Daniel Solis ' Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple for the Young Players' room.  I played with the kids and served as scribe.  Here is the letter (contributed by + Ariele Agostini for Do: The Book of Letters )  we answered and the story that ensued: "Hello! I am writing to you because I'm stuck on my bed. I just dreamed that the Evil clan of Tvel.. Twl.. 12 Bed Mosters declared war against me, and I just woke up. I know I should not be afraid, so I sent two of my teddy bears to take a look, but they haven't come back.  Then I sent all the others but none came back.  Now here on the bed I'm left with only Poldo and Capt. FluffyEar but the monsters are pulling my blanket and I can hear them laugh and chuckle and

Where is the Poison? [In the Lab]

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In my local game group, we have this running joke that pops up in most games. None of us has a really good poker face, so when we draw a good card or get a good roll, we'll be very obvious about it. Thus, someone will mockingly say, "I think I'll bluff!" I'm sure it's from a show or something, but I've forgotten the origins by now. On that note, here's a bluffing game that seems too elegant to not have already been designed by someone. You tell me, okay? PREMISE Intrigue at a wine tasting! You and the other players each have two cups. One of your cups is poisoned. Only you know which of your cups is poisoned. You don't know which of the other player's cups is poisoned. SETUP A poison tracker with six spaces, a separate track for each player. Each player also has a white meeple and a black meeple. The white meeple tracks how many times you have been poisoned. The black meeple tracks how many players you have poisoned. Deal a poison