Thursday, July 17, 2014

Aquasphere Quickstarter launches MONDAY 7/21!

Here's the news...

The Quickstarter project for Aquasphere will run 10 days: from 7/21 to 7/31.

THAT'S THIS MONDAY!

So watch your email for a TMG newsletter on Monday announcing the launch, or just go search for it on Kickstarter, or subscribe to Aquasphere on BGG (I'm sure SOMEBODY will mention it there) so you don't miss out!

Since Aquasphere is an import and not an in-house design, I don't foresee any stretch goals or additional goodies being added. This is a short-run campaign to (a) determine how many copies to bring over to the US, and (b) get some up-front money to pay for doing so.

Time to start getting excited about this new Feld title! Oh, am I too late? Already excited? Well, time to start getting excited about actually getting it! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last call for Harbour!

Harbour is in the final 24 hours on Kickstarter - last chance to get in on the action. For a mere $20 it's a pretty good deal. A bunch of stretch goals added characters and buildings to the game, as well as to a launch promo (which you get on Kickstarter, but won't be in the retail box).

Designer Scott Almes and I have been working on a solo variant that feels like a 2 player game of Harbour. In the variant you play against a Training Dummy who collects resources, blocks spaces, and buys buildings. I don't think the solo variant will be done in time to send the game to print, so we intend to release it as a PDF fr players who would like to download it. I'm sure the community will be a great help in mass testing of the variant, which will make it even better.

Not every game is for everyone, but if you think you'd be interested in a short (under 1 hour) 2-4 player worker placement game with simple rules and interesting decisions, then you might want to give Harbour a look in these last 24 hours! There are several video reviews, and text reviews, linked from the Kickstarter page from people who have played with the Print and Play files that have been available for a couple of months.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Watch It Played: the Card Game - Rules Post

Rules last updated 7/2/14

This post will house the current game rules for Watch It Played: the Card Game. I will try and keep it up to date with any changes that may occur.

For PnP files, click HERE.
Files last updated 7/2/14

Watch It Played: The Card Game

A game of reviews and how-tos for 2 to 4 video gurus

Contents:
18 Game cards (depicting a game box on the back and a YouTube video page on the front)
36 Comment cards (Depicting a thumb icon on the back and an Action and Comment on the front)

Setup:
Shuffle the Game deck and place it in the center of the play area. Place the top 2 cards of the deck in a row beside the deck, game box side showing.

Shuffle the Comment deck and deal 2 cards to each player. Set the remaining deck beside the Game deck.

The player who most recently posted a video online is the start player.

Object:
The object of the game is to post videos online about games, and garner comments on those videos, striving to increase our View count. Views are victory points in the game, and at the end of the game, the player with the most Views will win! Each game will be a member of one (or more) categories, and at the end of the game bonus views will be awarded to the player with the most Thumbs in each category.

Over the course of the game, you will obtain games, post videos about those games, get comments on those videos (some positive, some negative) which will raise (or lower) your view count and thumbs. You'll build an audience, and score a bonus for each genre of game that you have more thumbs than anybody else.

Game Play:
Begin with the start player and take turns clockwise. Your turn consists of 2 parts, DRAW, and PLAY.
DRAW: Choose one of the following options:
a) Draw 2 cards from the Comment deck
b) Draw 1 Game card, paying the cost by discarding Comment cards.
- It costs 0 Comment cards to take the Game card furthest from the deck. Slide the other two cards over so that there are again three to choose from.
- It costs 1 Comment card to take the Game card adjacent to the deck. Slide the top card of the deck over so that there are again 3 to choose from.
- It costs 2 Comment cards to take the Game card on the top of the deck.

Place any discarded Comment cards into a common discard pile next to the Comment draw pile.

Game cards drawn by players are placed face down (game box showing) in that player's tableau.

PLAY: Choose one of the following options:
a) Post a video, paying the cost (listed on the card) by discarding Comment cards.
b) Add a Thumb to a video by tucking a Comment card face down (Thumb icon showing) under a video in play
c) Play a Comment - execute the text on the comment side of a Comment card, then tuck the card under a video in play so that the comment shows. Comments will increase or decrease your view count and thumbs.
d) Draw 1 Comment card.


Game End:
The game end triggers when the Comment deck runs out a 2nd time (when it runs out the first time, shuffle the discards and create a new draw deck).
The game end also triggers when the last Game card is drawn.

When either of those things happens, finish out the current round such that each player has the same number of turns, and the game ends.

Also considering:
* Finish that player's turn and the game ends immediately
* Play out the round, then play 1 full round 

Winning:
Players score points according to two things: views on their videos, and thumb majorities in each category.
* View Count: Each video has a view count, and most comments will add or subtract views. Views are points in this game, so total up all views on your videos and comments to get your total view count.
* Thumb majorities: For each of the 6 categories in the game, the player with the most thumbs will receive a bonus 500* views. Black thumbs count as any 1 color associated with the video they are attached to. Players tied for most thumbs in a category score 200 views instead.

* Considering 300 or 400 as well

Friday, June 20, 2014

Watch It Played: Progress

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a new game I wanted to make to help promote Rodney Smith's Watch It Played video series. That post included the basic rules and structure for Watch It Played: the Card Game (hereafter WIP).

I mentioned this in the comments on that post, but for those who missed it, WIP got an inaugural play at Origins last weekend. Two plays actually, one 2 player and one 4 player.

Let me begin by saying that, as any game designer knows, the first live playtest of a game is not always pretty. But I'm happy to report that as first tests go, this actually went very well!

I'll certainly have some tweaking to do, and there's a question as to the game length (and how exactly the end of the game should be handled), but so far so good!

One thing I need to figure out is the value of thumb majority. I'm pretty sure I know how I can figure that out, I just need to make it attractive enough to go for, but not so strong that it overpowers  the regular points.

The other thing I need to figure out is exactly what happens at the end of the game. I generally like the game end trigger of exhausting the deck twice, and I might have to change a few of the cards so the deck draws out a little slower to make that work. But what happens when the trigger occurs? Should we finish out the round? Play 1 additional full round? End the game immediately? I'm not exactly sure what's best.

What I'm going to need now is some outside playtesting. So if you'd like Print and Play files, and are willing to play the game and give me feedback, then please leave a comment on this thread, or email sedjtroll at gmail with the subject "WIP PNP" and I'll get you set up with a PnP file.

Thanks!

Dungeon Roll Rules Edits - send me your most important comments!

I'm going through the rules threads looking for important edits or omissions for the Dungeon Roll rulebook, but I don't want to miss any!

If you have a specific edit to the rulebook that you feel needs to be in the 2nd edition, sound off here. I've got geek gold to tip with, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Thanks!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Harbour, history, and just a little bit of emotion.

In October/November 2010, TMG took a chance on a new thing called Kickstarter. Michael Mindes and I raised $48,378 to publish my card game Eminent Domain. We had set the funding threshold at $20,000, and we were very nervous going into it that we would not succeed. No board game project on Kickstarter had made that much - the only thing close was Alien Frontiers and the $14,885 it raised earlier that same year.

Needless to say, we were taken aback by the overwhelming success of Eminent Domain on Kickstarter, and we're very grateful to the backers that made it happen. Since then, TMG has gone on to build a strong company and a strong reputation, returning to Kickstarter time and time again. We've grown our followers and fan base with each new project, and as anyone paying attention knows - Kickstarter has simply exploded with game projects - over the last 4 years, MILLIONS of dollars have been raised to print board games.


Earlier this year TMG wrapped up several quick Kickstarter projects for some microgames, and then took a hiatus to work on getting all of those through the pipeline. Today Michael launched TMG's latest Kickstarter project, a game called Harbour, by Scott Almes. Harbour is a small box worker placement game that is simpler and quicker than many games of its type, but more fun and interesting than many "microgames" out there. Rob Lundy has done FANTASTIC art for the game, bringing the fantasy harbour town to life with a cast of fun, adorable characters.

The project went live some time this morning, and right now (6:16pm) it's sitting pretty at $45,318 - and the first day isn't even over yet! A lot of factors went into such a fabulous first day of funding, but the prospect of out-funding the entire Eminent Domain project in 1 day has made me reflect on just how far TMG has come.

We started as a couple of friends that liked to play games, and here we are today with 7 full time employees, a pipeline full of games, and a whole host of terrific fans! I'm getting a little emotional thinking about how far TMG has come in just 5 short years.

So I wish a big thanks to all of our fans and backers for helping bring us to where we are today, and a hearty congratulations to Mike for his relentless pursuit of the vision he has for TMG despite any setback that may crop up. I'm proud of you, man!

... And of course, if you haven't already, you should check out Harbour on Kickstarter. It's a good game, and a good deal - well worth a look at least!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Watch It Played promo game

I saw that Rodney Smith is going to be running a kickstarter campaign to fund the next season of his Watch It Played YouTube series. Rodney does the best job of anyone I know at clearly explaining how to play a game, myself included! I fully support his series, and to show that support I thought I would try and do something nice to help his kickstarter project.

Rodney said that he would like to have more concrete rewards this time, and as he creates videos about games for gamers I thought "what would be a better reward than a game people could download, print, and play?"

"Well," I thought, "I design games - maybe this is something I could make happen." Maybe I could design a game that would fit the bill. It should be a small game, easy to print out - so probably a card game. It doesn't have to be deep and complicated, just a light filler type of game seems right.

"What should the game be about?" I asked myself. "Why, about making videos about games, of course!"

 So I have put together the basics of a game design. I was going to keep it a secret until it was complete, then send it to Rodney lock, stock, and barrel. But I feel like the odds of it becoming complete anytime soon are much increased if I post about it, and maybe solicit the help of the community - or at least my 5 readers. Here's what I have so far...

[Edited 6/22/14]

Watch It Played: The Card Game

A game of reviews and how-tos for 2 to 4 video gurus

Contents:
18 Game cards (depicting a game box on the back and a YouTube video page on the front)
36 Comment cards (Depicting a thumb icon on the back and an Action and Comment on the front)


Setup:
Shuffle the Game deck and place it in the center of the play area. Place the top 2 cards of the deck in a row beside the deck, game box side showing.

Shuffle the Comment deck and deal 2 cards to each player. Set the remaining deck beside the Game deck.

The player who most recently posted a video online is the start player.

Object:
The object of the game is to post videos online about games, and garner comments on those videos, striving to increase our View count. Views are victory points in the game, and at the end of the game, the player with the most Views will win! Each game will be a member of one (or more) categories, and at the end of the game bonus views will be awarded to the player with the most Thumbs in each category.

Over the course of the game, you will obtain games, post videos about those games, get comments on those videos (some positive, some negative) which will raise (or lower) your view count and thumbs. You'll build an audience, and score a bonus for each genre of game that you have more thumbs than anybody else.

Game Play:
Begin with the start player and take turns clockwise. Your turn consists of 2 parts, DRAW, and PLAY.
DRAW: Choose one of the following options:
a) Draw 2 cards from the Comment deck
b) Draw 1 Game card, paying the cost by discarding Comment cards.
- It costs 0 Comment cards to take the Game card furthest from the deck. Slide the other two cards over so that there are again three to choose from.
- It costs 1 Comment card to take the Game card adjacent to the deck. Slide the top card of the deck over so that there are again 3 to choose from.
- It costs 2 Comment cards to take the Game card on the top of the deck.

Place any discarded Comment cards into a common discard pile next to the Comment draw pile.

Game cards drawn by players are placed face down (game box showing) in that player's tableau.

PLAY: Choose one of the following options:
a) Post a video, paying the cost (listed on the card) by discarding Comment cards.
b) Add a Thumb to a video by tucking a Comment card face down (Thumb icon showing) under a video in play
c) Play a Comment - execute the text on the comment side of a Comment card, then tuck the card under a video in play so that the comment shows. Comments will increase or decrease your view count and thumbs.
d) Draw 1 Comment card.


Game End:
As I've mentioned, I'm not too good with end game triggers. I would think this game should end when the Thumb deck runs out a 2nd time (when it runs out the first time, you'd shuffle the discards and create a new draw deck). Or possibly when the last Game card is drawn. Or maybe either of those things should trigger the game end.
_____________________________________________________________________

I imagine having actual images of board games on the back sides of the Game cards (I bet Rodney could get permission from publishers fairly easily), and I think the YouTube video side of the card, with columns of comments sticking out below the card, would be highly thematic. I plan to put actual (though generic) text comments on the Comments section as well for flavor.

Let me know if this sounds interesting to you, if you'd like to work on it with me, or if you're an artist or graphic designer and would consider donating a little time to putting cards for this together once the game is ready.

I feel like this could work, and make for a short, fun game that Rodney could give away as part of his kickstarter project. If Rodney wants to look into printing and mailing the game to people, more power to him, but I suspect it would be better to just send people a PDF and put the money toward Watch it Played.

So tell me, what do you think?

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Random Thoughts: End Game Triggers

I'll freely admit that endgame triggers are not my strong suit. I've historically had lots of trouble with figuring out when a game should end, what should trigger that, and how should the final turns play out. I wrestled with that quite a bit for Terra Prime.

Luckily, Eminent Domain had a natural trigger (stack depletion), but it still wasn't trivial to get the end game right. In fact, I don't think I got it right in the base game, so in Escalation I actually changed it - rather than simply finishing out the round, the new game end rule is that once the game end is triggered, you finish out the round and then play 1 full round.  I MUCH prefer this rule for Eminent Domain, especially as the player count increases.

I have noticed a few games lately have a game end trigger and a last round dynamic that I find really disappointing, and it's the same thing I had done in Eminent Domain. I'm sure there are more, but specifically I'm talking about Splendor and The Builders: Middle Ages here.

Splendor is up for the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres - the German Game Of The Year award. I heard that it was all the rage at The Gathering Of Friends, so that it was nominated didn't surprise me terribly.I got a chance to play a few games of Splendor, and it's a solid game - elegant, streamlined, simple yet interesting... all around a fine nominee for the SdJ as far as I'm concerned. But every time I played the game, one thing in particular really bothered me. It was the end game. The game end triggers when 1 player reaches 15 points. When that happens you finish out the round so that all players have the same number of turns, and that's it. While I think that's completely fair, the problem is that during the normal course of play, it's unintuitive and annoying to keep track of how many points each player has, and therefore how close they are to triggering the end of the game. As a result, you can be surprised by the end - just when you think you're about to make some big play in a couple of turns, another player will build a 2 point card and say "That's 15!" - immediately putting an end to your plans.

The Builders has that exact same mechanism - as soon as a player hits 17 building points in that game, you finish out the round and then see who has the most total points (building points plus money). For some reason it didn't bother me as much the one time I played The Builders - possibly because I was the one to trigger it, so I didn't get surprised by it. But it definitely bothers me just about every game of Splendor I play!

My thought at the moment is that like Eminent Domain, both of those games (and possibly many other games that use the same end game dynamic) could benefit from playing one full round after the game would normally be over.

Have you ever felt this way about a game? Which one? Does this dynamic of a surprise game end bother you in Eminent Domain? In Splendor? In The Builders? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Maybe it'll help me make better end game rules in the future :)