Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tasty Minstel Games - A Retrospective So Far

In a Gen Con recap post I said:

"...We had a booth, and brought 6 different games to sell, including Eminent Domain, Belfort, Martian Dice, Train of Thought, Jab: Realtime Boxing, and Homesteaders 2nd Edition. Our booth was rather busy all 4 days of the con, and we did many, many demos. Looking up and down our booth at all 6 of our offerings I noted that, while no game is for everybody... within their target demographic, each of our games is really very good. They are the highest quality game, and the art and production (now that we've moved to Panda) are also the highest quality. I felt proud to stand behind each and every one of them! Even Martian Dice, which is the type of game that generally doesn't interest me at all, is really very good for what it is - I heard people saying it was better than Zombie Dice (a similar quick filler)."

I stand by that comment, I really am proud of the games that Tasty Minstrel has published. Even the out of print Terra Prime, my first published title, stands out to me as a quality game. Yes, I'm a bit biased there, but lately I've been seeing more and more people on BGG making positive comments, and looking forward to a potential reprint (with expansion included). Let me take a moment to look at each Tasty Minstrel title and mention how I currently feel about it:

  • Terra Prime: I have a soft spot for this game, seeing as how it was my first published title. As I said above, I'm happy to see that people are finding this game and enjoying it, and I'm starting to feel a real demand for a 2nd edition. Hopefully Tasty Minstrel will decide to reprint (with Panda's excellent production quality) and include the expansion I've designed. That might happen in 2012, you never know!
  • Homesteaders 2nd Edition: Homesteaders is an excellent strategy game. I dragged it around with me to every convention I went to for 3 years, and even submitted it to game publishers for Alex in an effort to see it published. When TMG decided to publish it I was ecstatic - and when the manufacturer did such a bad job, I was heartbroken. Now that the 2nd edition is out, and the manufacturing is truly top notch, I want very badly to get a 2nd edition copy (I don't have one yet) and play Homesteaders again!
  • Train of Thought: Train of Thought is my absolute favorite party game. I love Times Up!, I like Taboo, and I've had fun with Catch Phrase and other similar games... but Train of Thought immediately supplanted them all the first time I played it. I played this a couple of weeks ago, and it holds true - it's still a lot of fun for me to try and figure out how to get from word A to word B!
  • Jab: Realtime Boxing: Jab is a truly unique game. I like the idea of real time games. Indeed, I made one myself! The first time I heard about Jab, I knew the potential was there - I immediately suggested that TMG publish the game. Jab does an excellent job of keeping the players on their toes. Many gamers are not fond of real time, or don't like games that force them to react physically - preferring to ponder their move for a while. Well, this game won't be for those players. But for anyone who grew up playing Spit, Speed, Egyptian Ratscrew (like me)... Jab is just the game for them.
  • Belfort: Belfort has turned out so beautiful that it's a wonder to behold. I have always liked the game, ever since I played it for the first time (twice) at GAMA 2009. After many plays (BGG says 15, but it must be more than that!) I still think it's a very solid worker placement / resource management / area control game in the euro style... i.e. just my type of game!
  • Eminent Domain: What can I say - no bias here! I am thrilled at how EmDo came out, and I'm thrilled to read the positive comments coming in from people who have played the game. I have played over 120 games of EmDo, and I still like it and would play again right now. I can't say enough good things about this game - so don't get me started!
  • Martian Dice: I'm not the kind of player that really enjoys light filler dice games such as Martian Dice. But I continue to find that as a light filler dice game, Martian Dice really seems better to me than any other similar game out there. The additional layer of choosing not just whether to roll again, but also which type of die to set aside really pushes this game into more interesting territory without feeling any more complex or complicated than simpler press your luck games.
  • Ground Floor: Art is underway for this one, by Ariel Seoane (the guy who did Homesteaders) and it looks fantastic! A much different style than Josh Cappel's work, but no less awesome in any way. I haven't played this one in a while - too many other things to work on - but I've loved it for years. I first played it in October 2009, and I had a blast working on it with the designer David Short. This game scales incredibly well from 2 players to 6, and does a great job representing the balance between time and money. I'm really happy with it, though with it's theme and weight I fear the audience will be smaller than the game deserves. I guess that's where marketing comes in!
  • Kings of Air and Steam: We're getting close to crunch time for KoA&S - art is underway, and pretty soon TMG is going to kick off a Kickstarter campaign for it. There are a few rules details that the designer and I are still trying to decide on the best version of, but in any case the game play is still awesome! I may like pickup-deliver/routeplanning games more than the average Joe, but to me this game is a lot of fun.
  • For The Win!: Unless you religiously follow my blog, you probably don't even know what For The Win! is... and frankly, even if you do follow it you may be confused as it used to be called Mosh Pit. It's a game by a local guy here in Tucson (Michael Eskue, who happens to be David Short's brother in law). It's an abstract game, like Hive, but it's got some neat stuff in it budgeting actions being probably the biggest thing which sets it apart from other similar types of games. I haven't played this one in a while, but it's pretty darn good - I think if you like Hive, you'll love For The Win!

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