Showing posts from October, 2012

Dead Weight: Parkour vs. Zombies - Alpha Prototype

It's been a long, long, long time since I've touched Dead Weight: Parkour vs. Zombies . Actually, it goes farther back than that old post. I first posted about Dead Weight back in 2006 on my old Luchacabra blog. Every October since then, I tell myself I'll put out some kind of playable iteration of the concept, whether that is a story game, board game, whatever. People still ask about the IP's status. Well, by gum, I told myself on October 1 that this is going to be the year. Aaand of course October 30th came around again this year and I had a long, rambling document and a deck of custom cards quickly topping 150+! Clearly, I just need a minimum viable product using the most basic of components possible. Thus, we have this bleeding alpha prototype I hastily wrote up in about an hour. It's a barebones roll-and-move press-your-luck set-collection game. OVERVIEW It's the zombie apocalypse. Parkour runners race through a ruined city trying to retrieve su

Indie+2 Indie Game Design Panel

Mark Truman hosted a lovely chat with Adam Koebel, Sage LaTorra and me tonight. Watch as we discuss the details of game design, Kickstarter, and lots of Dungeon World. Thankfully, Adam Blinkinsop pulled out some key quotes from the panel. "Don't be afraid of people pirating your stuff." -- Adam "If you hate something, don't be afraid to throw it away." -- Sage "People had this idea that Kickstarter was something for the very beginning or very end of a project -- Kickstarter is very much for the middle of a project." -- Solis "Stretch goals, at some point, stop making monetary sense." -- Sage "None of the things my stats could mean were as interesting as not having stats at all." -- Solis. "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of Star Wars universe" -- Adam's description of every Star Wars RPG Thanks for hosting the panel, Mark! Oh, and check out the other panels on the Indie+ page.

Updates to Picker

Based on the math feedback from Mark Sherry, I made some changes to the core rules of Picker . Mainly this involved resolving this strange bug where being a Picker was actually more detrimental to each player's score. Based on the revised rules, the simulations show that being a Picker gives you a slight percentile advantage, which better fits the spirit of the game. Here are the basic changes: The dice are different colors, which are now the basis of set bonuses, independent of the results. There is no more SHAFT role. It was actually a greater detriment to all AIs and led to lower final scores. The PICKER role always picks herself to be first player. Again, this balanced out the anti-picker bug a bit and streamlined the rules. The set bonus is streamlined to a linear +3, with a maximum of +15 for a set of 6-of-a-kind. Clarified that you can score bonus points for multiple sets, so long as each are a different color. I've updated the main page with these new rule

Indie Game Design Panel

Indie Game Design Panel Where: Google+ Hangout On-Air When: Mon, Oct 29, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM EST Sage LaTorra ,  Adam Koebel ,  Mark Diaz Truman , and I are doing a panel on Indie Game Design for this week's Indie+2 Convention. Come by and check it out! I'll try not to be a complete knob in front of the cool kids. Come by and ask questions!

Me First: A turn order auction idea. Tell me if it's broken or been done.

This morning I scribbled down a quick note: "Deck of numbered cards. Deal a row of 1 per player. Your turn: Keep a card, face up in front of you. This is next round's turn order." I've since been informed that this is the initiative system in Savage Worlds. Then I remembered this old post from July when I was still buzzing from Libertalia . All this congealed into this odd two-phase game that I will share with you now, along with crude and hastily compiled print-and-play prototype chits . There is a deck of cards like the ones shown above. They have a big number, 1-4 arrows, and 1-5 stars. The game is comprised of two phases, the acquisition phase and the tax phase. Within each phase is several rounds, in which players take turns. Here's how it all works. SETUP Shuffle the cards and deal one for each player, plus one. Place these face up in a row. For example, if there were a four player game, you'd deal five cards. ACQUISITION PHASE In the f

Analyzing the Math behind Picker

Whenever I have a math question, I call upon resident math whiz Mark Sherry for analysis. Seems like a lot of game designers have some background in advanced math, but I ended up taking the art path, so I'm very lucky to have Mark around.  I asked Mark to run some simulations for Picker , the pub dice game I posted last week . Mark set up some AI players who each stick to one PICK strategy and one CHOOSE strategy throughout the game. Then he ran thousands of simulations to find out which strategy, if any, is the optimum strategy. If it was clear that one strategy would win, I'd tweak the rules, he'd adjust his AI, and run the simulations again. It's a nice, fast process. PICK is who they pick to be first player when they're Picker. Mark tested these strategies. Always pick the trailing player Always pick yourself Pick random player CHOOSE is what they do when its their turn to choose a die. Mark tested these strategies. Always keep the highest Alway

Picker - A Simple Pub Dice Game

Here's a super simple pub game to play with normal dice, inspired by the customized dice drafting mechanic in Seasons. It's so simple, in fact, that I could fit all the rules onto one graphic. Neat, eh? 3 or more Players 5-10 Minutes EACH ROUND SETUP Roll 1d6 per player. Each die is a different color. Resolving Ties: If all the dice come up with the same result, roll them all again until there is at least one different result. In the first round, youngest player goes first. Thereafter, each round's turn order changes. ON YOUR TURN Keep one result. Score that many points. Keep track of your chosen color each round. If you are first to keep the lowest result, you will be first player in the next round. Clarification:   If there are ties for the lowest result, only the first player to keep that result gets this effect. For example, if there are two 1s, and you keep a 1 first, then you're the Picker. Whoever keeps the second 1 gets no benefit. Turns

Prismatic Art Collection Update

It's been a few months since I've talked about the Prismatic Art Collection , so today on Ada Lovelace Day, it seems appropriate to give you all an update. Prismatic Art is led and organized by Tracy Hurley with a teeny bit of art direction from yours truly. The Prismatic Art Collection seeks to increase diverse depictions of heroes in popular art. Part of that mission involves hiring more women and artists of color, thereby increasing diversity among professional artists, too. I'm happy to say both objectives are progressing very, very well. Since the call for artists in March, and successful Kickstarter in late May, the project is moving along at a steady pace. We've gotten into a nice rhythm where artists send early sketches to Tracy, she sends 'em to me for some quick feedback, and the artists then finish up the piece. The collection got a major donation of art from the game Farewell to Fear, which greatly enhanced our offerings. All the art Prismatic co

ccoolbook on Pinterest: Creative Commons photography and art

Over the past few weeks, I've been curating ccoolbook a collection of creative commons licensed photography and art. I try to pull photos based on a theme each time I add to the collection. So far the themes have been: Soup Distance Color Autumn Water Landscape Stuff like that. If you have any themes you'd like to see added to the collection, please tell me in the comments! » ccoolbook

Designers & Dragons Masthead Redesign and Icon Design [Logo Process | Case Study]

Evil Hat Productions just announced that they'll be re-publishing Designers & Dragons , Shannon Appelcline's epic history of the role-playing game industry and community. They're going to expand the book into four volumes, each volume focusing on the events of on decade from the 70s through the 00s. Fred Hicks asked me to revise the masthead and create a system of icons representative of each decade of gaming. MASTHEAD This one was tough because we didn't want to stray too far into WotC's official branding and we needed to communicate "designers" as much as "dragons." The usual solution would have been to make each word a different font, as the original title had done. I explored that solution at first, just to get it out of my system, but as you can see from the design process below, we eventually landed on a more refined typographic solution. The slides below are actual pages from the design docs I sent to Fred. Round 1 "

Swap Clops Card Game

A long time ago, I designed a tile-swapping game featuring little cyclops creatures drawn by Kari Fry. I wasn't entirely satisfied with how that game turned out, so it's lingered in my mind for some time. Here is my current thought on how it would be implemented as a simple euro-style card trading game. You'll notice these mechanics from my previous post " Make Me An Offer ," which adapted Apples to Apples mechanics into a straight strategy game. The card values are based on the beans in the classic game Bohnanza. Hopefully combining the two with a dash of something original makes a satisfying game. You tell me! Click the link below for the print-and-play prototype. I literally whipped this up in an hour, so there are some rough areas. Specifically, the cards need a miniature suit icon on the top corners for ease of reference. Ah well, such is the life in rapid iteration. :) » Print-and-Play Cards SETUP Shuffle all the cards and deal five to each playe

Belle of the Ball Prototype M Sent to Playtesters

The truth is that I'm completely making this up as I go along. Case in point: I don't know what the proper protocol is for sending out prototypes to blind playtesters, so I just assume I gotta make it as neat and tidy as I can. Above, you can see the packet I sent out to Prototype M playtesters yesterday. It includes a half-letter staple-bound rule booklet, prototype cards in penny sleeves, a pre-sorted deck for easy first-play. I also included the following letter. Dear Playtesters, Thanks very much for playtesting Belle of the Ball! It’s taken a long while to get the game in its current state, but I feel more confident about the core mechanics. Please play the game aggressively, casually, logically and randomly. Give it a real testing to find any peculiar bugs or game-breaking problems. If you have opportunity or inclination to do some A/B testing, try these variants: Basic charms cannot be affected by STEAL or LURE. You may only use one charm on your turn.