Sunday, June 19, 2011

When the Road Forks, Take It.

Those who follow me on twitter (@benny275) will have read most of this already. Earlier in the week I was working on the cowboy game, dealing with a new idea for a mechanic. In short, the idea was to have a mechanic of drafting dice at the beginning of each round and then using up the dice you have drafted to complete actions. This created such a divergent path that it would have been a complete revision of the game. Since I like where the game was originally and the wife liked it (cause that's what really matters) I decided to leave the original game untouched by this new idea and began thinking how I could put it into a new game.

The concept of a second cowboy game emerged at that point. However, I have a very strict rule about not allowing games to overlap and influence each other. So having two similarly themed games wasn't going to fly for me. That's when I decided to put a different theme on it and away it went down the rabbit hole.

As my twitter followers and the wonderful people who play games with me on a regular basis know, I am in love with Martin Wallace's London. To me, it is one of the best game designs of the last 10 years. It is such a gamer's game! That being said, it is also sort of a puzzle game. There is a very predictable pattern of play where your strategy will be the same from game to game. This has not decreased my love for it, but it does leave me wondering about alternate strategies.

One point that gamers and game designers should be consciously aware of is the prospect of designing a puzzle rather than a game. There are a number of games that are designed in this fashion and rather than put those designers on the spot I'll let you figure them out. There has been some negative reaction on BGG about games that are essentially puzzles (single strategy games). I don't believe this is a bad thing, it is what it is.

With regard to my newest idea and plotted out game design, I am consciously aware of the is it is puzzle or is it a game question. Obviously I would like to design with multiple strategies in mind and focus on different ways that are all viable for winning. With this new one, you'll see an update when I get time to mess with it. Since the wife likes the two main designs I really should get back to work on those and get them done. However, the new one continues to nag at my conscious mind and push at me. Luckily I have friends to bounce game design ideas off of. It helps me design in a direction that is methodical and prevents me from getting stuck.

This idea is far from stuck, it continues to generate more and more sheets of paper of reference material. The last game that did this was the Airship game (still unnamed) and it turned into the beautiful game that it is. There are definitely more playtests that need to happen for it. Definitely look for more posts about the new one and expect a future blog as I get a chance to playtest the Airship game further.

For those attending Origins, I will see you there. Also, you'll probably get one of these blog posts about Origins.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rollin' in the Deep

Those who follow me on twitter have probably noticed my recent comments about a quick card game. It came together awful quick! From start to finish on the cards and rules, it was about 3 hours. Of course this is a rough playtest copy and the art on the cards and stuff is not final.

I noticed after it was designed that I do not have a d8 in my possession at this moment. I'm in between moving houses and I tend to design with d6 in mind. This game is a bit of an anomaly in many regards. The fact that it uses a d8, it is the smallest game I've designed so far (32 cards and 1 center piece). The rules are barely over 1 page long, this includes a set up diagram.

The name comes from the song by Adele, Rolling in the Deep. I hear it on the radio about once a day while I'm flipping around looking for some decent music. The song struck me literal. What about a game about rolling dice underwater. Well, after a few days of rattling this around in my brain I came up with the idea of treasure hunting underwater. Each of the cards might or might not have treasure pictured. The ones that didn't had some sort of hazard. To make the game move along the center piece features an octopus who flails its tentacles around smashing cards. So we use the d8 to represent the tentacles. Each pile of cards goes in 1 of the spots.

The players are represented by colored pawns and they have assorted actions. Each player has the same actions. The game ends when the cards run out and the highest total of treasure is the winner. Simple, easy, and hopefully fun.

Playtest results will follow and if I feel its worth playing, I'll put some art on it and offer it up for download.