Showing posts from February, 2014

Only Hours Left to Back Zeppelin Attack!

Only a few hours left to back Zeppelin Attack! , the brand new deckbuilding game from Evil Hat Productions, set in the Spirit of the Century universe! I worked with Evil Hat for a loooong time laying out these cards and settling in on a card design that effectively communicated all the necessary information with ease. It's one of the most challenging and rewarding layout jobs I've had yet, and I want you to see the results! So go back it! Right now! GO! What's that? You want to learn how to play? Fine, here's the tutorial video!    

Rise & Ruins of Carcassonne

(UPDATE: So I had a feeling that the idea below was a non-starter, but I never let that shut my mouth before so I figured why not post it anyway. But after several tests, sadly, it's not really all that fun, for reasons noted at the bottom of this post. Fortunately, Isaac James has a pretty neat little Barbarians variant he posted in response to this, check it out here .) Here's a variant for Carcassonne that doesn't require any meeples, just your tiles from the basic set. The theme is that you're building Carcassonne and then thousands of years later exploring the ruins of the city, hoping to be the discover to expose the ancient cities, roads, cloisters, and farms. Phase 1: Rise On your turn, draw a tile from the bag and place it on the play area according to normal rules. This is all you do on your turn. This phase ends when all the tiles have been placed according to normal rules. Between Phases Once all the tiles have been placed, note how many complete

Card Design Question for Regime: Color, Letter, ____?

Open graphic design question: What's a good replacement for the shapes on these cards that does not imply value or rank, that also fits well with the color icons and the letters? Some background: Each card represents someone in the turbulent nation of Regime. You're trying to build a cabinet that will gain the most popular support of the nation. Each card is a unique combination of three suits: Color, Shape, and Letter. There are six possible colors, six possible shapes, and six possible letters. The colors each have a unique icon to aid color-blind players, but also conveniently works as a thematic detail. Each color represents a political party in Regime. The letters are the initial of six different titles within those political parties: Crown, Archon, Voice, Exalt, Minister, and Sovereign. The only suit giving me trouble are the shapes. These used to be numbers, but numbers implied values when they're really just another suit. This confused new players

Regime: Prototype B

I was fortunate this weekend to sneak in a quick playtest of some new rules I wanted to try out for Regime. As you might recall from last week's post , I worried Regime 's central mechanism didn't have enough granularity in scoring and it offered too many choices in early turns without much strategic direction. I still liked the idea of managing your assets being a separate action from managing the values of those assets. (Biblios does this splendidly, as does For Sale, which is also why I avoided auction mechanisms.) So here are the revised rules. The big change is that the order in which suit cards are eliminated now matters. These do not require any new cards, but it may help to keep some tokens around to represent Unrest , Calm , and Popularity . You can easily keep track of this with a score sheet though. Revised Theme You are trying to secure an alliance with the turbulent nation of Regime. The trouble is that their leadership is constantly being ousted and

Penny Farthing Catapult: A Silly Game of Newtonian Physics is on DriveThruCards!

Penny Farthing Catapult is now available on DriveThruCards ! 2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 20 Minutes You are well-mannered nobles settling grievances in the time-honored tradition: Dueling catapults attached to old-timey bicycles! Your goal is to launch your wealth at the track and and collect valuable items that you hit. Unfortunately, your catapult is so rickety, it moves backwards the same distance that you launched! Try to stay out of range of your opponents catapults, because if you’re hit, you lose one of your valuables! As always, DriveThruCards's card quality is top notch. The prints are sharp and the cardstock is nice and durable. By the way, did I mention Penny Farthing Catapult was a finalist in Dice Hate Me's 54-Card Game Design Challenge? It's true! Popular at UnPub, too!

Game Assumptions: A Technique for Coming Up with Game Ideas

In Rob Daviau's oft-circulated talk about how he created Risk: Legacy, he discusses his process of coming up with new ideas. He just lists the basic assumptions we have about tabletop games and examines how they might be subverted. I thought Twitter would be a great medium for this exercise. It kind of blew up! #GameAssumptions Your pawns can only be moved by you. — Daniel Solis (@DanielSolis) February 19, 2014 @DanielSolis You know which player you are. #GameAssumptions — Rob Daviau, Gamer (@robdaviaugamer) February 19, 2014 @DanielSolis You draw from a draw pile and discard to a discard pile and not vice versa. #GameAssumptions — Rob Daviau, Gamer (@robdaviaugamer) February 19, 2014 @DanielSolis Your pawns like you and do what you say. #GameAssumptions — Rob Daviau, Gamer (@robdaviaugamer) February 19, 2014 #GameAssumptions Game mechanics do not respond to external stimuli. i.e. non-players, phone calls, crying children, ambient light, the news.

REGIME: Print-and-Play Prototype

I'm getting pretty close to a finished version of REGIME, and it's ready for open playtesting. Download the current REGIME prototype here . Rules are below. This game is designed for 2-5 players, but is best with 3. You are each diplomats sent to the isolated nation of REGIME. Your goal is to determine who is the true ruler of the country while also building a cabinet of advisers who are aligned with that ruler. Set Up Shuffle the 36 unbordered cards and deal them out evenly to each player's hand. (Discard any leftover cards.) Sort out the black bordered cards in three rows, one row with letters, one row with numbers, and one row with colors. Play The player who has most recently been to another country takes the first turn in the first round. There are two steps to a turn. First, choose a card from your hand to discard face-down into the discard pile. Then turn over one of the table cards face-down. You can turn over any card, unless it is the

FLUXX DRAFT: Turning FLUXX into a Drafting/Area Control Game

Here's a simple hack for the basic FLUXX deck from Looney Labs. This variant is based on the 3rd edition of FLUXX, because it's what we have at home, but you can figure out how to adapt it for the edition and expansions you have on your shelf. FLUXX DRAFT 2-4 Players (more with expansions) Set Up Remove all Rules cards from the deck. Set aside all Action cards except the following: Discard & Draw Draw 2 and use 'em Draw 3, play 2 of them Empty the Trash Everybody gets 1 Exchange Keepers Go Fish I Need a Goal Let's Do That Again! Rotate Hands Scramble Keepers Steal a Keeper Take another turn Taxation Trade hands Trash a Keeper Use what you take All Goals and Keepers remain in the deck. Shuffle the Goals, Keepers, and Actions into a single deck. Play Deal a hand of five cards to each player's hand. Players take their turns simultaneously. Choose and reveal a card from your hand, placing it in your tableau. Goals or Keepers ar

Solving Design Problems by Reducing, Not Adding

Last week I tested an early alpha of Dung and Dragons that incorporated a sort of tug-of-war mechanic in which players lured dragons towards them by a number of different mechanisms. We tried making pulls a free action, but you had to push an equal number of cards towards your opponent. We tried making pulls cost you a card, sometimes a matching card. We tried both mechanisms at the same time. All resulted in awkward emergent behavior or stalemate situations. Every solution we tried out that night would just add complications and further grit in the gears. You recall my advice on playtest hangovers , and I certainly had a small one going the next morning. Ultimately I realized that I just needed to rip out big chunks of an overly complex system rather than tape it up to justify the complexity. So here's what I'm thinking: Instead of multiple tug-of-war steps towards getting the various components of your ranch, I figured it should instead be more like a drafting game,

January 2014 Sales Report

Each month, I report the sales numbers from my print-on-demand card games available on DriveThruCards. You can find my past reports in reverse chronological order here . But first, here are the numbers. 1-2014 19x Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game -23 from Dec 5x Koi Pond: Four Walls (Promo Card 2) -5 from Dec 6x Koi Pond: Four Winds (Promo Card 1)   -5 from Dec 11x Suspense: the Card Game +6 from Dec 11x Nine Lives Card Game -1 from Dec 7x Koi Pond: Moon Temple (new!) $528.89 Retail $203.81 Royalties Grand Totals for 2014 (to date) 59 Products Sold $528.89 Retail $203.81 Royalties December was an extraordinarily good month for business. I think a lot of shoppers nabbed Koi Pond as a stocking stuffer, which led to a big spike in sales. I really wanted to get Moon Temple on the store sooner, but a late release with barely a week on sale led to a very modest sales month. One nice spot is sales for Suspense increased last month. I was demoing it frequently a

Tug of War Drafting Mechanism in Dung & Dragons

Shock of shocks, I'm actually working on Dung & Dragons again as a legit, no kidding, actually coming out game some time this spring. ("Dung & Dragons" is just a working title, remember.) Long-time readers know this has been my white whale for ages. Tip: When you start with a theme, but don't have a core play loop in mind yet, settle in for a long meandering series of half-starts and unpolished ideas. But I've got a really cool mechaphor worked out for the game and I think it'll really do well as a light strategy card game with an interesting drafting mechanism. Theme You're each dragon ranchers luring wild dragons into your stables, in hopes of harvesting their valuable poop. See, dragons poop gold. Obviously. For now, let's use standard playing cards as examples and assume you start with a hand of six cards. On Your Turn... On your turn, you may do one of the following actions: Pulling a Dragon Build New Stables Feed Drago