Archive for September, 2013

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Notes from New Bedford – Part 4: Bonus Buildings

It’s a busy week for us, getting ready for Congress of Gamers. But here’s a short update anyway. This is the last of the buildings from the base game, for a total of 20. Next time, I look at the game goods/resources.

It was inevitable that there would be a few buildings that have no associated action. Maybe I could have ignored them completely, but the game would have felt like it was missing something. When I needed a way to show points on the whale tokens, I chose a barrel symbol to represent the actual product of whaling. For a while, the barrel symbol also differentiated bonus point buildings, but that didn’t work for gameplay or for the theme.

Church, one of the most important buildings in any town of the time, especially in New England. A bit stereotypical for games that the church gives you points, but none of the other actions in the game is appropriate

Factory, whalebone or baleen was like plastic in its day. Flexible and hard, and used in a wide range of products like umbrellas and corsets. The Factory makes the whale tokens more valuable. Like the Tryworks, it makes less sense that the bowhead whales wouldn’t also be used, since they are also baleen whales.

Office, no real reason why offices should be worth extra points, but it had to be named something. If I had to stretch, the offices represent all the income from the myriad of jobs related to whaling.

Mansion, I wanted a building that gave points for money, but balance was tricky. The Mansion was chosen because one of the ways owners spent their profits was on grand mansions.

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Interview with Dr. Wictz Games

Dr. Wictz Games has posted an interview with us about New Bedford.

They are running a series of designer interviews to promote the upcoming Congress of Gamers. Take a look at the other interviews, as well. I got a chance to play Charlie Hoopes‘ FireBreak in June, and am looking forward to seeing how it has developed since then. Paul Owen‘s East India Company also looks interesting. This should be a good year for games set in the Age of Sail.

Dr. Wictz Board Games

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International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Pirates do not appear in New Bedford. By the height of the golden age of whaling in the middle of the 19th century, pirates had been virtually eliminated from the oceans. Even by the time of the War of 1812, the only attacks on American whaleships were due to “legalized” piracy by privateers during war. Nevertheless, to our ears 19th century whalers sound a lot like pirates, and, so, we at Oakleaf Games will be celebrating International Talk Like a Pirate Whaler day.

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Oakleaf Games is headed to Congress of Gamers

The citizens of New Bedford have elected a representative to send to the Congress of Gamers on September 28th.

Oakleaf Games will be attending the event with copies of New Bedford for playtesting and demonstration as part of the UNPUB program.

This is Oakleaf Games’ first convention, and we are excited to attend.

More information will be posted as we approach the event.

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Notes from New Bedford – Part 3: 3 Player Buildings


2-Player and 3-Player buildings are not the best terms to use. 2 player buildings are used in all games, and 3 player buildings are used in games with 3 or 4 players. By design, I wanted a small set of buildings that was available in every game, to allow for simple setup. Some of the buildings just become too powerful in a 2-player game, and those buildings became restricted to games with more players.


Workshop, a straightforward building. A workshop can be used for just about anything, so it makes sense that you get one of each resource and $1. It made less sense when the game included lumber, and you got 1 of everything except lumber.

Cooperage, several versions of the Cooperage went in and out of the game, usually having to do with paying wood for something, but nothing that made it worth playing. Then I thought it made sense that someone making barrels would get paid more if there are a lot of whales. It had to be limited to one ship to stay balanced.

Brickyard, simply a place to get bricks in a large quantity.

Market, just another name for a building where you sell things

Bakery, I guess baking grain into bread is what makes it more valuable than the food you gain from the farm.

Inn, Stay the night, get up early the next day and get more work done.

Courthouse, similar thematically to a town hall, and a similar use.

Post Office, an old idea, sending letters around from place to place, and sending the building from owner to owner. I don’t know that that actually makes sense thematically. The post office in New Bedford was built in the 1830s, so it seemed like a good inclusion.

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