New banners, and fresh lies!

I was too busy tonight to do the full Terra Neo post that I wanted to do. Instead, I’m just going to point out that if you refresh the page, the banner will change. I made one for each game I’ve designed, complete or incomplete, and a generic one that matches my brand new business cards. Anyway, tomorrow is the deadline for Terra Neo, so I will post to my success at midnight when I submit/order.

Actually, I don’t like that there aren’t any images in this post, so I’m just going to post all of the new banners below so that you don’t have to refresh. Woo!


Manic Mechanics


Satellite Salvo




The Estate


Energy Independence


The Magnificent Mechanical Mosaic


The Founding Fighters


Terra Neo


Business Card


PUNCH is published!

Even though I’ve had the game in hand for months now, I am only now officially publishing PUNCH, my first non-competition game. You can head over to the Games page to check it out, and of course it can be purchased through the Game Crafter at the lowest price their system allows me to set. I think I make 36 cents profit if anyone buys it. Anyway, I just needed the time to fix some of the mistakes and write an actual rules document. When I finished designing it months ago, I was just too impatient to write one, so I didn’t publish it. Next up on the agenda is actually publishing The Estate, but that will take a little more doing.

So yeah, expect some more news about stuff soon! Vacation is super great for knocking these things out.

Well this is awkward…

I think the responsible thing to do at this point is to pretend that I didn’t just lapse for over a month. Instead, we are going to move on as if nothing happened. Forget this whole thing…

So the contest is over. The Estate didn’t make it into the finals, and obviously did not receive any commendations or mentions. What I will say is that having received the game in the mail and spent the better part of an hour putting the stickers on the dice, it does look pretty great. What should follow this sentence is a picture of said dice, but instead, I’m just going to reiterate my lack of camera and move on to the next thing.

PUNCH came out even better than I expected. I’ve played it repeatedly over the past month and everyone has loved it (except one person who had exceptionally bad luck and couldn’t catch a break). The only problem I ran into was that I didn’t anticipate the darkening of the images, and I have to re-color some of the artwork for clarity and appearance. Again, pictures will appear when I can borrow a camera from someone.

Here, then, is what I actually have been working on recently. While Shima was given an immediate 1.1 upgrade (mostly because of Alex), my first game, Manic Mechanics, has been awaiting the same treatment for some time now. I’ve been addressing many of the issues with the boards that players mentioned, including the clarity of where a player can move from a given spot. The above image represents my solution to this complaint, although it shows the fact that I still haven’t been able to work out how to represent the junk piles. I’ll deal with that soon.

In the immediate future, I’m looking to officially release the two most recent games. There are some graphic tweaks to be done on both of them, and a thorough spell-check of The Estate is in order. The fact that I wrote the entire story portion in a few hours led to some atrocious spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as some plain old bad writing. In fact, you can look at the one card I posted and find some. I know I did moments after posting it.

So in short, I didn’t disappear for a month, I haven’t made a series of stupid spelling mistakes, and any evidence to the contrary is slanderous propaganda.

The Estate submitted and assorted updates

Sunday has long since come and gone, and The Estate barely made it in. I think I had twenty minutes left on the clock at the time of submission. This, of course, means that I have spent the last few days finding terrible grammatical errors on the story cards. Here’s one now:

Apparently Mario is narrating this story. I know it would really add to the moment if I found myself face-to-face “with-a two shambling figures! It’s-a me!” Most of the errors are like this; remnants of old sentence structure lingering within the finished blurb. I’m not going to address this right now though. I think I’ll wait until I get it in my hands and can make a comprehensive list of the errors. This can go on the Manic Mechanics schedule, which is roughly 2 months per correction apparently.

Speaking of getting it in my hands, I’ve also finished and ordered PUNCH! I didn’t make rules because, well, I know how to play it already and I don’t anticipate it ever being played outside of my presence. That and I really struggle with rules. I also ordered a game not of my own design, and when I get it and play it I’ll probably post some sort of review of it.

Oh, and Manic Mechanics again. I played a really intense game over the weekend, and the players had some excellent suggestions for the game. The 1.1 update is a post-graduation priority, so in about a month these ideas will probably start coming up here.

AND ANOTHER THING: Masterplan Mondays have begun again, and now Alex and I are working with a mutual friend, Morgan, who gave us the gift of the Shima colors. He’s been working with Alex on another project, and we managed to rope him into this one. His perspective is really different from ours, and it has rocketed the project forward. For my part, I’ve started working on a new set of building tokens. Here’s a 3D mockup of a game in progress (sort of).

That’s it for this post. Not really my most focused effort. If the shipping and handling gods smile upon me, I will have pictures of the printed games early next week. If not, Masterplan images should increase in frequency soon. Until then.

Mind the gap

Just stopping in to drop this image here. No time for a full post. Deadlines loom…

Reality sets in…

So there are only 15 days left in the RPG contest. 15 days to complete two games. Well shit.

I’m calling it. 1:00 PM, April 1st, 2012: On the Wall is dead. Of the two games, it’s more elaborate, more expensive, and requires much more work to be finished. I’m getting a bit of deja-vu from Gathering, except this time the dying game actually has a chance to exist outside of a contest. Mark my words: I will resurrect On the Wall in the summertime. Until then, here are some more art updates from The Estate.

The Duke is the primary melee character in The Estate. His dice are heavy on the attack symbols, demonstrating his great combat skill with his trusty cane. His special attack symbol is, well, still sort of in the works. For now, accept this stand-in explosion symbol. As for actual usage, his offensive specialty is a charge attack that can target any enemy, regardless of their position on the field (any day now I’ll post some stuff about the encounters). This character, when paired with either of the others, will very quickly reduce the opposing force to a group of whimpering losers.

As you can see from the combined dice, his defensive capabilities are not insignificant. On top of this, his defensive ability is a parry, in which the Duke takes any damage dealt, but deals the same damage back to the attacker. His two special abilities, when combined, can take out a sheltered enemy without going through the first row of enemies.

So that was a very rushed post. As I go back to my more leisurely update schedule, they will hopefully get better. Honestly, I’m more concerned about simply finishing this game than anything else right now. Updates be damned!

The Estate: The Burglar

Today we return to The Estate to introduce the second playable character, the Burglar. This character specializes in avoiding the fight as much and possible, keeping in mind though that I haven’t quite settled on all the special abilities yet. For now, I can say that his offensive ability will probably be something like a stun or confuse attack. It will prevent the enemy from attacking on their next turn, although this does bring into question the “critical hit” option here. It may be a “stun two opponents” thing instead of “stun one opponent twice.” Either way, that ability is decided.

Something that is very interesting about the Burglar is his dice balance. He has, effectively, the worst and best dice in the game. The top die pictured is pretty terrible, having double F and 1H. The second die is, on the other hand, the best that any character has, with double 2H and S. This imbalance makes the Burglar very vulnerable to Robot attacks (I have no thematic reasoning for this), and also means that his chance of scoring a critical hit is lower than the other characters (about 15% lower). As for his defensive ability, I’m going to have to come back to that. When I start making the character cards, I will post them with the full abilities written. Until then, I’m not going to worry about it.

The next thing I’m tackling is the encounter system. Based on pricing, there can be up to 31 encounter cards, although I can’t be sure if I’m really going to need that many. The tough part is that the cards print in sheets of 18 and because of the 5 guide cards needed, this game really needs two sheets. Expect something about this pretty soon. I’ve spent the better part of today mulling it over, so it’s definitely on the horizon.

The Estate: Robot & Chimera

Moving forward with the week of updates, today I’m going to start explaining the enemies in The Estate. In keeping with the form of the game, all monsters are represented by a single die. Encounters, a mechanic to be explained later, will consist of 2-5 monsters laid out in front of the player. When they attack, their die is rolled, and the action is taken. Basically, they’re just like players, except they lack the ability to make rational decisions. Hopefully this works out.

The above enemy is the Robot (obviously). I’m probably sticking with the “Face = Fail” method, because the alternatives just aren’t working out. The [1] Hit/[2] Hit symbols for the robot are his brass pincer hands, and his [S]pecial is a lightning bolt. As it stands now, this special attack “zaps” the target, doing no damage but banishing the player’s defense die from being used in the next attack round. In some situations, with two robots attacking, you could potentially use, and lose, both of your dice, effectively stunning you for one turn. I would recommend always defending with your weaker die when fighting a robot. If next turn you only get to roll 1 die, you will need all the help you can get.

The second enemy I have here is the Chimera. I guess the Chimera is a specific mythological beast, but I always think of it as a genetic hybrid of multiple animals, which might explain the background pattern. Weirdly, it looks like in trying to draw a mixture of many animals, I just drew a lion. Ignore that. This enemy hits a bit harder than the robot, and it’s special attack deals 1 damage regardless of defense rolled. Originally I had the chimera have a [3] hit attack, but I was worried that it would be ridiculous if the player rolled a failure on defense. Changing it to an unstoppable 1 damage seemed like a safer choice.

I’m bummed that I didn’t manage to post this yesterday, but I will probably be updating again by the end of the day with some archery stuff. Until then.

RPG #2: The Estate

Even though they won’t make any sense, I’m going to lead with the graphics.

I’d like to introduce the Scientist character from RPG #2, now known as “The Estate.” If it isn’t obvious, these icons are laid out so that they could fold into a six-sided die, although in reality they will be printed as stickers and applied to a blank die from TGC. Either way, let me explain them.

Characters in The Estate are represented by two dice and a single reference card. In general, dice will have [F]ails, [1] Hits, [2] Hits, and [S]pecials. Each die must have one of each, but the remaining two are different for each character. For instance, we can see that the Scientist’s die is F112SS. This means that while he has a good chance of triggering his special ability, his attacks are consistently weak. His other die is slightly different (FF12SS), which I will post further down. The face icon is the “failure” roll, though I have been told that that is a bit of a bummer. Honestly, I just wanted to get the faces on the dice, and I already had symbols for everything else.

Every turn, you will roll both of your character’s dice to declare an attack. In the most likely circumstance, you will roll two different faces. When this happens, you can choose to execute either action. This is considered the standard move. If you happen to roll doubles (excluding double failures), you can unleash a “critical hit,” meaning you may execute the attack twice on the same target.

When attacked, you may roll a single die, of your choice, to defend against your opponent. The 1’s and 2’s are simply transitioned to defense values, and the S icon will take on a new, defensive effect. Both the offensive and defensive effects can be found on the reference card, although ideally they will be simple enough to remember after a few rounds.

The Scientist, with his emphasis on specials, has two very useful special abilities. When rolled as an attack, he is able to heal himself or his ally for 2 health. Rolling a Critical with this ability can be a great thing, as health totals in this game are low (<10). When playing defense, the Scientist uses his chemical knowledge to, uh, do something. I haven’t actually finished designing what all the characters do. Sorry.

Anyhow, in the next few days I will try and post a monster die, since without those the Scientist would have no one to fight. Since the monsters are simpler (only 1 die, no defensive abilities), I will probably post them two at a time. Maybe after an Archery game update. Who knows, that game might get a title as well…



RPG #2

So last week I mentioned the RPG contest, and previewed some artwork for an archery-themed game. This week I’m going to talk about my second idea for that contest. My hope is that both games are completed in time, and that Reluctant Pirate Games will have two entries, but who knows. This may end up like the mashup contest where one idea replaces the other, but probably not. I really like both of these ideas. Anyway, I’m keeping a “design diary” for this RPG, and I’m doing it on Board Game Geek to see how that goes. That being said, I will cross-post the text here, but frankly the only possible audience for this kind of stuff is already there on BGG. Anyhow, here’s the first entry in the diary, entitled (wait for it) “Overview.”


So it looks like most of these design diaries start with an overview. Who am I to question that?

Pocket Encounters: Steampunk is a terrible, but temporary name for an upcoming entry into the Game Crafter’s RPG contest. You play as one of three characters who, for various reasons, are investigating a mysterious laboratory owned by a notable Mad Scientist. Once inside the compound, you find yourself in a struggle for survival, as the creations and associates of the mad man attempt to silence you permanently.

It is primarily a dice-rolling game, but is supported by a very small deck of reference and story cards. This game will be cheap, small, and simple enough to be played in a short time. What it will not be is deep, engrossing, or complicated. Anyhow, the details should be forthcoming, but for now, here’s some really early artwork to spice up the post.