So Alex Coulombe has won the Mashup Contest with his game “The Rum Run.” Having played it, I am not terribly surprised. My game, Satellite Salvo, was honored with the title “Most Creative,” so that’s pretty cool too. But in honor of his victory, I present a really great video he made of a game that we played during my play-test party. I’m the one that keeps rearranging my tiles into little shapes.
It might be interesting to note that “Idle Eyebrows” is Alex’s music name, so he basically did everything in this video. I really liked how it came out, even though I got crushed in this game by Alex (foreshadowing?).
That aside, I thought I would just throw up a post about a small project that I’ve been toying with recently. A few years ago I came up with a fairly unobjectionable card game called “Kung-Fu.” It used a standard poker deck, or in ideal circumstances, two poker decks. Recently the Game Crafter started taking submissions for poker decks, and I thought I would just put a deck together themed on Kung-Fu, and publish it with the rules attached. Here are the prospective suits for the deck.
I wanted a custom set of suits, but I wanted it to be obvious which classic suit they represent. I tried to maintain basic forms, and of course the colors give it away. Those may change, but not much. Underneath that is my current scheme for suit layout on number cards. Face cards will be pictorial, obviously, and on that note check out the sketch by our resident artist.
So expect to see a little more about this coming up. Although really, there isn’t much more to show after the suits. I guess I’ll just post face-card images when I get them. Stay tuned.
So more than a week has gone by since the last post. In that time there was another playtest, and yet again I failed to have a camera, meaning the pictures are with someone else. Seems like this is a good indication of what I need for Christmas.
Either way, the playtesting has really moved the game along, and I can say confidently that Alex and I are done with the rules, meaning all that stands between us and publishing is a bit of art. Speaking of which…
So this is almost certainly the final board. The colors, which I had just thrown together before, have now been expertly designed by a mutual friend of Alex and I, so they actually look nice. Very nice I would say. He also scaled the patterns so that they flow from the center out. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, but with results like this I’m not going to argue. I also worked on a few other art pieces for this game, most importantly the two decks of cards.
So yeah, those are nice. Notice that the colors are also really great. I was given a whole palette of colors, so I couldn’t screw it up if I wanted to. I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned the actually workings of Shima, but there are special workers, know as “Tomodachi” that you can hire to improve your farm, and there are boats that you can sell your goods to. Nothing revolutionary game-wise, but we tried to make the quirks in both cards interesting and unique. Fun Fact: the geisha card above used to be “The Shogun,” but we decided it was too harsh thematically, and in a game with so many stereo-typically Japanese things we thought it would be a shame not to include a geisha.
So that’s the current situation. I have vowed to myself repeatedly that I will get on a more regular update schedule, so perhaps there will be another post in a few days. Or a week. Don’t hold your breath.
If you look to the right, you will see that the Game Crafter just announced the finalists for the Mashup Contest. Though Satellite Salvo did not make it into the top three, which will be printed and judged, it only just barely missed the cut-off, meaning I effectively tied for fourth. Again. But all in all, for one of the quickest development periods I have had, really respectable. Also, my friend Alex is in the finals! I am excited to see if he wins.
In other news, I have been neglecting to post, despite the fact that a lot has happened in the last two weeks. Shima has reached a playable level, and a damn good one at that. Unfortunately, I did not take the pictures of the play-test with my own camera, and I completely forgot to get the pictures from the play-tester before he flew back to DC. In lieu of the nice set of pictures, here’s a the most current board. I’ll try and explain some of what you see below.
BAM (again)! The board has changed very little, but at the same time, quite a bit. The old board had gameplay implications that it didn’t need too. This board, with the each player’s area broken into large bands instead of small plots, is truer to how the game works. The new central “clock” shows the seasons and the months within them. Each “turn” represents one piece of a season, and by pure coincidence it works out to be twelve.
I will post much, much more soon, but I would really like to have the pictures before I launch into a full-bore explanation.
So this is the game out of the box. I was extremely pleased with the way it printed, especially the folding Planet Mats. Cutting out the buildings was admittedly annoying, but it was nice to have them. I think if there’s a 1.1 version I may eliminate the buildings and just include a few black tokens to represent them. I only played most of a game; my play-tester had to leave suddenly, which actually allowed me to take this picture. As you can tell, it was going pretty well. We had each taken five shots and we had nearly finished. The only problem I’ve noticed with the proper version of the game is that vigorous rolling can accidentally collapse space itself, by which I mean the divider board. Anyway, I’m going to be having a bit of a play-test party next weekend, so I’m gonna hold off on talking too much about this right now.
How could I forget? This is amazing! Check this out!
This awesome song is brought to you by a friend and playtester Ted. You may know him as “White” from the first playtest, the one with “righteous anger.” It appears he has channeled that anger into some righteous tunes. This is a first pass on the song, and I will put updated versions up when I get them!
So the entrants in the Mashup Contest have been entered. I hadn’t gotten an email confirming that I had been entered, so this news is bigger to me than it probably should be. Either way, there are some great looking games this time, so the competition will be fierce. I hope for another strong showing. Having looked through them, I thought I would highlight two games to look out for: The Rum Run and Realm of Hostility. The Rum Run is an entry by a friend of mine (who I mentioned in an earlier post, and who will be mentioned again later this post), and having played several of his games, finished or not, I know how good it probably is. The other, Realm of Hostility, is designed by the person I tied with last competition. I talked to him the other day, and I think we agreed that we are rivals. So keep an eye out for those two.
In other news…
BOOM! Ok, that was a bit dramatic, but I really like this image. This is a very early version of the board for the upcoming game Shima (working title, but means island in Japanese). This will be another contest entry, even though I told myself I wouldn’t do this contest, and this game will be a collaborative work between myself and Alex Coulombe, the friend I mentioned earlier. I can’t say much about it right now, but I will hopefully be posting updated boards, some card images, and perhaps a small explanation of the game soon.
In even more news…
SHAZAAM! This image has an even vaguer description, but I will say that these are some old concept drawings for a flash game that I am strongly considering turning into a skirmish-style table-top war-game. Also, I think I may have used up my entire hyphenation quotient for the year. So yeah, this is the far off game that I have mentioned in the past, and its status hasn’t changed in a while. I actually have some more current artwork for these characters, but I’m keeping parts of the idea under wraps because I apparently have the audacity to believe that my idea is so good it’s worth stealing. Who do I think I am?
One final note: Although I do most of my planning, designing, and drawing in AutoCAD, I still occasionally struggle with more complicated geometries. I know from conversations I have had with other CAD users (actually, both designers I mentioned in this post use CAD software in their actual jobs) that this is a problem, so I thought I would post this great guide I found for dealing with these difficulties. Enjoy.