Unpub 7 is a little over a week away (!!!!!) and I’m busy making final preparations. I’m trying to pack more efficiently than last year, especially since I won’t be around Thursday night, so I’m bringing only the games I know I’ll need to/get to play. That’s still a lot. Fortunately most of the games I’m bringing are pretty small.
And, I’m happy to announce that One of the games I’m bringing to Unpub, Iceburgh, has been named a finalist for the 2017 Cardboard Edison Award. It’s a real honor because there are some very talented designers and really good looking games in the running. Final submissions for these games are due right after Unpub, so I will be polishing up rules and final gameplay tweaks to make sure the game is where I want it to be.
There’s a short video explaining Iceburgh on the Cardboard Edison Award page. I’ll have an upgraded prototype ready to go, so if you want to play at Unpub, it will look a little fancier than what you see in the video.
You can also take a look at the table signs/Sell sheets I’ve been working on for Unpub to learn more about the games I’m bringing.
I’ll have about a dozen different games with me at Unpub for testing and showing off, including those, so remember to catch me in open gaming and ask what else I’ve got! You can also find me at Table M2 on the first half of Saturday and Sunday Afternoon!
It’s been a while since I checked in, but I am pleased to finally announce that One Card Wonder will be coming next year from APE Games! This has been in the making for a while, and after a great development run, it is finally official. You can learn a little more about it on the APE Games website. I am looking forward to writing about the design and development process.
And if you follow me, you might already New Bedford, but if you want to pick up a copy, Greater than Games is running a month of deals throughout December, starting with New Bedford.
There hasn’t been much to report since September. I’ve barely played a published game in that time, but I’ve had a few great opportunities for playtesting, including Metatopia in November. I’ve been chasing around 3 or 4 designs in various levels of completion, and all this playtesting is showing me that most of the designs are still far from ready. The bad news is that it means I’ve got a lot of work ahead. But the good thing is that it looks like I’ll have a number of great designs getting close to completion next year.
I hope everyone has great end of the year holidays, and I’ll hopefully be back with more news soon!
It’s almost the end of September, and this is the first post I’ve written since the end of July. I’ve been remarkably busy working on my house, working on new games, and just plain working, which hasn’t left me the time to write. Up through July this was a very successful year for writing, but unfortunately I will not be maintaining that pace as I go into the final three months of the year. I will continue to post updates on my game designs, but long form articles on general game design subjects are taking a break.
On to game news, then.
If you haven’t heard of it, Buttonshy Games is running a Boardgame of the Month Club. Each month you get a new postcard (in a neat envelope) with a game from a different designer, based around this year’s theme of cult movies. I’m the designer of next month’s game (along with help from some budding designer friends in my regular gaming group). So if you want a copy, you have just a week left—up to September 30th—to subscribe to the Patreon above. I’m under orders not to give away any clues to the movie, so sorry to leave you all in the dark.
Oh, and speaking of games next month, Buttonshy also runs a short Kickstarter for games in their Wallet line. I’ve started working with them to create some extra goodies for future campaigns. And (hint hint) that’s a good reason to keep an eye open for next month’s Ahead in the Clouds by Daniel Newman, a surprisingly heavy game about very light things. I played it and it’s a great little thinky game.
New Bedford is hitting retail. Due to some manufacturing issues, there were some tiles that needed to be reprinted. More information, including a FAQ and Errata, is available on Board Game Geek. The Dice Tower took a look at New Bedford and Rising Tide recently, and I’m really happy with their take. [Spoilers: they liked it.]
That’s all for this month. Next month, I’ll be able to talk more about the Boardgame of the month, and hopefully give even more details of some of the projects I’m working on.
Sometimes, you can be working on the same idea from two different angles, and it takes you a while to realize it. The previous article, Games as Stories, was one angle. I’m also starting a new game design, and was getting a bit overwhelmed with everything that I was trying to do at once. I started looking at some of the basic ways I was trying to make the game interesting. And I noticed the parallels between the classes of conflict and the ways to make decisions interesting. But I called them by slightly different names. Player versus player conflict is competition. Player versus randomness conflict is just another way of saying luck. Player versus rules sets boundaries. Internal conflict of player versus self is what I call struggle. Finally, player versus feedback is difficult to name, but I think challenge is a good term for it.
Some definitions of what makes a game focus on the idea that a game is characterized by creating artificial obstacles. These forms of conflict are the obstacles. Players get frustrated by obstacles that are too hard to pass and get annoyed by obstacles that have too little resistance. So by considering these forms of conflict individually, we can be better at deciding how to use them.
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I’ve always wanted to talk about the relationship between games and literature, an idea that will probably make all but the geekiest of game design nerds roll their eyes. But for those of you who haven’t left yet, literature provides a great lens through which to examine game design. Each game played is like its own story, that the designer and players craft together. And if I learned anything from high school English class, there are five basic elements of any story: character, setting, conflict, plot, and theme. And if a game tells a story, these elements must be present as well. But there are sometimes two different levels of story. The first is the story being told within the game. And the second is the story being told about the game. This second level is the one I’m interested in examining. Read the rest of this entry »
This article has been a long time coming. Way back before the first New Bedford Kickstarter in 2014, I was starting to wrap up the expansions for New Bedford (now collected in Rising Tides). I had noticed a real uptick in the number of “solo variants” for games I followed on BGG, so I started to think that people were going to want a solo variant for New Bedford. But it would be another year of work before I actually got a solo mode I was happy with. In the roughly two years since I started working on the solo mode, a lot of new resources have appeared to assist designers of solo games, and I think it’s helpful to talk about how the Lonely Ocean mode was developed with regard to some of these resources. Read the rest of this entry »