Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Delays :/

In an effort to put my best foot forward, I need to update the cards and board for All For One before sending it to Z-man. However, doing so has proven to be more difficult than I thought. While I have the time, I simply don't have the expertise to make the prototype look as good as I want it to.

THANK GOD for Ariel Seoane, who has decided to help me with this. He's a great graphic designer, and he's got all the tools and skills to create great looking prototype files. I feel somewhat bad about him doing this work for me, but he assures me it's no problem.

Even if Z-Man decides not to publish All For One (which, as a pessimist, I fully expect to be the case), I hope they are impressed with Ariel's work and hire him to do graphics on whatever games they do decide to publish.

Sadly, the graphics overhaul takes time... which means I have to make Z-Man wait, which feels somewhat unprofessional considering I got the go-ahead to send it in. I don't know their schedule but I'm certain they're very busy. I sent Zev an email to this effect, and hopefully he'll still be interested or have time to review the game when I do get it to him, which will be later than if I just sent what I've got now (which is out of date, written on and badly in need of updating).

On the up side, the game itself is much improved. So that's good.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'd like to one day publish a game!

I emailed Zev from Z-Man games to see if he'd like to look at All For One again (he played it once at one of the Spielbany meetups)... he got back to me the other day giving me the go ahead to send it in. So this weekend I'm making new cards and a new board (I hope) and I'll be sending it to him next week! That's exciting, though I have a pretty good feeling he will not want to publish it. Hopefully I'm wrong about that!

In addition to that, I have this new BrainFreeze! game that everyone seems to like. It's fast and fun, but it requires a chess clock and I'm afraid that might make it prohibitively expensive to produce. I plan to talk to Mike Nicholoff and see if his company Sorvent can help find a publisher for it.

Blockade Runner is intended to be published by Shifting Skies Games, but that's in a holding pattern for a couple of weeks, and there are funding issues that may or may not take a while to resolve. Sadly, I don't really have money to throw at it.

And finally I have Wizard's Tower which is ready to be shown to publishers, I'm just not sure how to go about getting it there. A friend in Seattle who works in the industry has shown Wizard's Tower to a new game company, but I haven't heard anything about that company at all yet - i know it's tough to get a new company off the ground.

I have some game prototypes by other friends that are worthy of publishing... Ariel's Love Means Nothing tennis card game, Alex's Homesteaders heavy strategy game... As far as I know they wouldn't mind if those games were published, and if I could help them achieve that I think it would be cool.

As for my other games "in development," I have Terra Prime which is probably "mostly done" and could be made ready for a publisher if, say, one were to ask for it. Kilauea might also be more or less done, though I haven't touched that in forever.

Of course I have a bunch of other designs in the "idea stage" - the most promising of which are probably Dynasty and Hot and Fresh.

So if I'm to uphold my new years resolution to get a game in line to be published, I'd better get to work on that!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Time = Money: Specific mechanic

I have been considering the ideas I posted back in April about the cash value of your time... and I have come up with what I think may be a good way to represent it.

Each round you will get your income, a static number of Action chips (A), and some number of Money chips ($) based on your current $ income (which will change over the course of the game).

Then, different actions in the game will cost some total number of chips. Each will require 1 A and 1 $, and the balance of chips can be any combination of A and $ that you want. So at the beginning you might be spending AAA$ because you are low on cash, while for the same action later you might spend AA$$ because you have more cash and want to do other things with those action chips. In the endgame you may well spend A$$$ for that action because you can afford it and that extra Action chip will become more valuable.

In fact, looking at the cash value of your Action chips, you'd have to compare them to the number of $ chips you also get each turn. If you make a lot of money, then your A chips (actions) will be much more valuable than if you make very little.

I think this mechanic is a good representation of the idea, and one of these days I'll be writing up some rules and finding a theme for this game idea. I've sort of got one cooking, which has to do with building a mansion for a wealthy client, or perhaps more like building houses on a larger scale. We'll see where this goes...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Brain Freeze!

I finally got around to prototyping the idea I had for the card game with the chess clock. I ended up making cards that each have one of 5 shapes in one of 5 colors, so 25 cards per deck, one deck per player (different backs). On your turn you match either color or shape.

Untimed game:
If you cannot, or don't want to, play from the 3 face up cards, then you may flip cards from your deck until you find a legal play you wish to make. Place ALL cards flipped up onto the stack in the middle of the table, with the legal play on top (OR, play the legal card on top, and discard the rest). If you can't make a play, then you lose.

Timed game:
Same as untimed, with the following exceptions:
1. When flipping cards, only the legal play is placed in the center, the rest are then returned to the bottom of your deck.
2. Set each player's clock for 40 seconds. After making your play (but before replacing the card played or placing the flipped-through cards under your deck), hit the clock to start your opponent's turn. If you run out of time, you lose.

If one player is consistently winning, consider handicapping that player by reducing the amount 0f time on his clock.

Since the game takes about a minute and a half,total, multiple games can be played. The player who wins one game should begin the next by flipping the top card of their deck into the play area (after the decks are shuffled and each player lays out their 3 cards of course).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

All For One changes update

All seems well. I tweaked the scoring to get some more separation in the Story tracks, but then had to inflate the Mission scoring as well. Now players get +/- 20 points off the story track and anywhere from 10-30 points off of missions for scores in the 40s or so rather than in the teens like in the ID version, or the 20s like the previous hybrid version.

I maintain the "So Far So Good" assessment. I hope that Zev from Z-man will try it again this weekend at Spielbany, but I don't want to try and force it on him... so I've sent him an email and plan to send the game to New York just in case he's interested in trying the new version.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

All For One structural changes successful?

I am trying some structural changes to All For One, which I alluded to in my last post. I've played about 4 games with them so far, tweaking things here and there. All I can say at this point is "So far, so good." I'm heading off to West Coast Meeple Fest tomorrow, and I'm taking it with me... hopefully some people will be interested in trying it out.

The next thing that has to happen is some long overdue cosmetic changes. I've got the same board I printed out 3 years ago, with stuff written on it, whited out, etc. The cards are real old too, and need a graphic design overhaul and some corrections. Before I go about physically making an updated board though I want to make sure there aren't any changes necessary to the layout - and at present I think there are. It may be a while before I convince David of that, and I may want to experiment with different layouts before anything is set in stone. My two biggest concerns about the board are...

(a) Some of the Named Locations are right next to each other (well within one turns worth of movement), which means it can be really easy to chain missions together or do certain missions all in one turn right at the beginning of the game. I'm not happy about that because it means if you were dealt that mission, you effectively get a head start.

(b) I'm skeptical that it's too easy to chain duel missions one right after another, because characters tend to clump at Named locations. This might be a sort of good thing really, making those missions very doable, and allowing players to set them up by completing missions in certain locations when they have a duel for that character in that location. However I keep thinking it might be interesting to have duels occur at locations other than the Named locations... at particular lettered locations. This might also have the effect of getting the characters into the streets so they're in each other's way a little more, to help balance the clumping effect where by the end of the game all the characters are sitting in the same location demanding tokens from each other.

I'll continue to think about whether or not those two things are necessary, but I'm happy to say the game is shaping up even more than it already was. I hope to see this published in the not-too-distant future.