Saturday, November 15, 2014

Exhibit: first game in AGES!

Today I attended a Raytheon Game Group picnic, where I was invited as a "guest of honor." We played a few games, ate some burgers... it was a great time. I managed to win a game of Five Tribes - one I've played a couple of times but not done too well at, and then Eisen and Jonathan played a game of Exhibit: Artifacts of the Ages with me. I haven't played that game in quite some time, and it was fun!

A real nailbitier too... Jonathan and I had just about the same stuff, 2 1-tile sets, 2 2-tile sets, 2 leftover artifacts, and 1 larger set. My larger set had 5 tiles, while his only had 4. However, only 2 of my sets were art, while he had 4 art exhibits. Art exhibits confer no benefit, but are worth an additional 1 point at the end of the game. My 5-tile set was worth 3 more points than his 4-tile set, so I ended up winning by 1 point!

It used to be the case that Art exhibits were worth 2 additional points, but when I shortened the game to 5 rounds, I lowered that to 1 point, since there's less time to use Tools and Weapons... I didn't want the extra VP from Art to overpower the usefulness of the other powers. However, I don't think I'm happy with that. At only 1 additional point, I think players will simply use Tools or Weapons early, and Art late. I would like Art to be worth enough that a player might CHOOSE to make an Art exhibit early, in lieu of something that confers an ability. So I think I'll revert the value of Art back to 2vp.

This game is still in the hands of the European publisher I talked to at Essen 2 years ago. They still want to do it, but (a) they've been busy, and (b) there's a small hiccup that we need to deal with. Those who follow my blog may remember that the main mechanism for Exhibit, the bluff auction, originally was one a friend and I came up with together for another game. We worked on that other game together until he left town, and stopped replying to my messages. After several years with that game on the shelf (since I couldn't very well continue to work on it without him), I decided it was a shame not to use that mechanism, so I started over and made a new, different game with it: Exhibit. I have chronicled the development of Exhibit on this blog.

Upon hearing that I'd sold Exhibit to a publisher, said friend appears to believe that the game I'd licensed was the same game he and I had worked on. I disagree, as described above, but I don't want this situation to blow back on the publisher in any way so at this time I'm waiting for my friend to forward his design notes from the game we worked on together so that the publisher can asses whether they think the two games are too similar or not. It's been a year, but I hope this happens soon... and that the publisher (and their lawyers) agree with my assessment, so that I can finally announce that a game of mine is being published by a 3rd party (i.e. not my friend Michael)!

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