Mingle & Murder made it to the semifinals in
Killer Gamer's Remorse Challenge!
Three to seven games will be selected for the finals but the fifth place in the semifinals is encouraging
and I hold my thumbs that the judge will consider the card drafting mechanism through exchanges novel
enough to include Mingle & Murder in the finals.
My project of annotating test games of has now reached another classic game:
Tre Kronor Infernum. One small adjustment was made to shorten
the closing of the game: when a player places the last save/steal marker in the game, the other players
will play one more turn before the game ends rather than having to extinguish all the remaining fires. In addition,
the placement of fire and ash tokens was streamlined by simply placing them together and removing only the fire
token when extinguished, simply leaving the ash token instead of having to replace it with an ash tokens.
It's the small details...
Else on the game front, I've taken to like Leo Colovino's games, since he deals with similar mechanisms that
I aim for in my games: common actions that affect everybody and often with secret agendas. Besides
Clans, I consider buying
(one commonly moved leader that creates borders and a tax action that benefits all players) and
The Bridges of Shangri-La
(movements that include other players at the same place and removal of bridges behind). Not very highly rated
at Boardgamegeek but simple and elegent mechanisms to learn from!
Also this week, I was contacted by a Mexican reviewer,
interested in reviewing Mice in a Maze. I declined for now, as the game is
not completely tested yet, but it may be an option if I decide to kickstart the game in the future so
you should never say never.
I finished the week with some redecorating at home:
Week 19, 2015:
This week started with the launch of the
Killer Gamer's Remorse Challenge.
The judges encouraged contestants to tweet about the design process and in a reply to one such tweet,
they expressed interest in the game mechanisms. But first the game must make it to the finals of course.
Another old game was revisited as I finally published an annotated test game of my old favorite
Christina Regina. The other old game Nova Suecia, however,
remained unchanged as initial testing revealed that indirect trade (with price changes after each
good traded) would be even more cumbersome and time-consuming.
Speaking of Christina Regina, I long thought that the game mechanisms of common movements and hidden
colors were unique until I had the benefit of attending a game jubileum this weekend. The
jubileum was in honor of the video reviewer ConraDargo
and naturally, this was celebrated by playing many games. One of them was
Clans, which also has common movements
(by clans) with colors scoring as villages are formed. Christina Regina is still unique in the sense that players
may assassin each other if they find out each others' colors but it's still fun to see other adaptations of
Clans also reminds me of Iconoclasm and perhaps it was playing the
game that helped me return my dual victory condition. The victory condition of ending a turn with two
units was previously abandoned due to "accidental kingmaking" during test. However, this also made the
early game a bit uninteresting as it was all about forming and deforming other units. By simply letting a
player win only by ending a turn with his or her own units, the risk of accidental kingmaking was removed.
Should you play for an early victory with two units or save your element tokens until later? Now you can
Nevertheless, I had time to think of upcoming projects. Additional testing of my new games
Mice in a Maze is on the list, as is continuous improvements of old games.
One idea that struck me was to replace the direct trade of Nova Suecia,
where player sell and buy goods to be refined with each other, with an indirect trade system, where
players buy and sell from a common market and where each traded good increases or decreases the price
for the next player in turn. Same end, different means, but what is best?
Week 17, 2015:
Returning to my current game Mice in a Maze, I proceeded to
annotate a 4 player test game, showing all the take that of the game. The game feels solid as it is
but the annotation gives me an opportunity to question specific rules. For example, I still haven't
seen a case where a mouse steals a cheese from another mouse by passing so although it's fun and
thematic, it may be unnecessary?
Another great event was the presentation of Find the Bug! at
my company SQS. Five games were played at
the same time and several groups immediately wanted to play a second time (the highest score
according to the Q4T Score!. Perhaps my little test game has a
future as a game for test professionals and their clients?
The game looked exactly like I wanted it (although I, for some reason, ordered purple cylinders
instead of discs) and it's now submitted to
Killer Gamer's Remorse Challenge. I hope the judges will like it too. I also submitted the game to
Otherwise, this week was devoted to videos. Following feedback from others, I started adding music to
my recent videos (Götterdämmerung to
Iconoclasm, In the Mountain King's Hall to
Mice in a Maze the Jeeves & Wooster theme to
Mingle & Murder Tetris to
Find the Bug! and so on.
Having come so far, I couldn't help creating videos and selecting music to all my other games as well.
Wagner and Tchaikovsky turned out to be my most popular selections of classical composers.
Week 15, 2015:
A most productive week is at an end. After some tweaking and squeaking (pun intended),
Mice in a Maze has tested successfully and feels solid so far.
A homepage section has been created, including game description,
rules draft and print & play files. More testing is still required but the contest deadline not
being until September, I have plenty of time.
I also "rewarded myself" by attending
International Tabletop Day at the pub
Bishops' Arms in Stockholm. I did bring Iconoclasm to the event
but it's hard to get players to test a new game when there are so many good established game to
choose from. Nevertheless, I got to play some fun games such as
Five Tribes and
(No immediate inspiration for new games but who knows...)
I also got a pitch proposal for the Iconoclasm video, featuring a mystical cloaked man brooding
over the board - very much like the image I had myself of the game! It will be very interesting to
see the result. If the review from All Us Geeks is completed
in time as well, the
for Iconoclasm will launch in less than three weeks.
Week 14, 2015:
What do you do when you want to focus on old game ideas but keep getting new ones? I had barely
concluded the game testing of Mingle & Murder when I finally got the last
inspiration I needed for my labyrinth game. This game was originally inspired by
Tsuro, with its brilliant
and yet simple mechanism of placing a tile and move as far as you can. My first idea was to make a
"digger game", where you had to dig into a dragon's cave and avoid not only other diggers but also
moving dangers in the mountain (not to mention the dragon itself of course). However, the game only
felt like a more complicated and less fun version of Tsuro and I put my game on hold, thinking that
Tsuro was the only way to implement this mechanism. Then I discovered
Indigo made one simple but brilliant modification of the Tsuro mechanism: instead of keeping your
piece on the board to win, you try to get other pieces off the board and score for them. Not surprisingly,
the man behind Indigo was my favorite designer Reiner Knizia. He gave me the last push I needed and
somehow I came up with the idea of a changing labyrinth with plenty of take that opportunities.
The theme was changed to the more unique (and humorous) laboratory mouse environment and
Mice in a Maze was born.
As the name says, you play a mouse in a maze, who places and replaces tiles to get to a cheese in
the middle and back again while watching out for the other mice and dangerous rolling marbles.
Incidentally, this game is perfect for another Game Crafter contest,
Gamehole Board Game Challenge,
where the main requirement is strong take that mechanisms. The
take that mechanisms of Mice in a Maze are not only about blocking other mice or have them overrun by
marbles but also about getting them to drop the cheese in your nest instead!
The initial testing was promising and the components and draft rules were quickly created.
I expect to publish yet another homepage section next week.
Naturally, Mice in a Maze took most of my game design time this week but I also found time to
start creating cards for my cooperative game design project. It's more complex than my normal games but
hopefully we'll have a prototype ready before summer.
I also returned to the upcoming
for Iconoclasm. An article was sent to The Game Crafter as part
of the fulfill agreement signed with them and the same text was sent to "Video Garver" as input to the
game video. I actually asked a tester to send his copy of the game to him but was happy to learn that
he wanted to keep it and play more. In such cases, I don't mind spending money on a new copy.
I also announced the campaign at the Swedish board game page
Brädspel.net to get both publicity and feedback.
The campaign is still far inferior compared to professional once but I consider it as a valuable lesson
for the future.
Besides my own games, I've also continued working on the partner project of the yet unnamed
mathematical game. The draft rules have been finalized and the first components uploaded to
The Game Crafter.
Hopefully a test version will be available before summer.
Week 12, 2015:
This week was entirely devoted to my latest game Mingle & Murder. I ran several probability calculations to set the balance, ran a successful 10 player test and struggled to complete the 50 something unique cards of the game. Why the hurry? Because I expected a large order of Find the Bug! to my company SQS and wanted to include a prototype in the same delivery.
I had just about completed the game when the order came: 10 copies of Find the Bug! to be used in company events, with possible further orders for give-aways. I quickly added our logo on the box and placed the order. This rocketed the game to a top position and earned it the first accolade of a Nova Suecia game: Red Stone Seller in recognition of a good number of sales.
Whether Murder & Mingle will be as successful remains to see but I like the game and it's a good candidate for my next game to promote after Iconoclasm. Mind you, Find the Bug! was the first game I promoted and although the crowdfunding campaign failed, it did spread the word and helped realizing the game's later success.
Explorers & Exploiters didn't reach the finals in the
but was rated 4.5 for the shop page and 4 for the mechanisms so I can't complain. I also completed
an online version for Explorers & Exploiters with the Vassal Engine
and added the game to Boardgamegeek.
As this wasn't enough, I finally came up with an idea for
the next contest at The Game Crafter:
Killer Gamer's Remorse Challenge with player elimination as the main requirement.
After some consideration I came up with a classic "who dunnit" theme with a twist: guests try to steal
items, a murderer tries to kill them and a detective tries to track the murderer. The twist is that
killed players may revenge themselves on the murderer, if they manage to guess who killed them that is.
With rooms symbolized by miniatures and cards with English upper class flavor texts, it may become
another unique and inventive game. More information will follow.
But it's not only my own games that occupy my mind. I decided to pledge for my first kickstarted
game. The reason was the game itself,
Between two Cities,
with its unique and inventive mechanism of competitive partnership. Draft tiles and build two cities at the same time,
one together with your left neighbor and one with your right. So simple but oh so elegant!