Saturday, July 29, 2017

The List - July 2017

GenCon is coming up again, and it's been a while since I've taken a look at The List to take stock of my designs and prototypes. Let's take a look at where things stand, shall we?

Published Games:
Terra Prime (BGG)
Eminent Domain (BGG)
Eminent Domain: Escalation (BGG) (expansion)
Eminent Domain: Exotica (BGG) (expansion)
Eminent Domain: Microcosm (BGG)
- Isle of Trains (BGG)
Eminent Domain: Oblivion (expansion)
Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done (BGG)

Finished But Unpublished Games:
Exhibit (BGG link)
Eminent Domain: the Dice Game
Dice Works (BGG link)
Wizard's Tower (BGG link)
- Now Boarding
- Isle of Trains: All Aboard (expansion)
Suburban Sprawl

Current Active Designs:
Deities and Demigods
Joan of Arc

Recent Designs That Are Not On The Front Burner:
Odysseus: Winds of Fate (BGG)
Alter Ego (BGG link)
The Pony Express
Moctezuma's Revenge

Old Standbys - games which have been around, 1/2 done and untouched, for years:
8/7 Central
Hot & Fresh
Reading Railroad
- All For One (BGG)

Old Ideas that Haven't Gone Anywhere (Yet) - some of these have been getting stale as well:
Investigative/Tabloid Journalism
Red Colony
Clash of the Kingpins
Time = Money
Dating Game
Ticket Please
- Scourge of the High Seas
Rondel Role Selection

Let's take a closer look at some of these:

Published games:
Terra Prime (BGG)
Last time I said "I'd love to bring back Terra Prime as a 2nd edition, with updated rules, expansion included, and set in the Eminent Domain universe. It'd be called Eminent Domain: Origins, and one of these days it may be possible."

Well, the time is growing nearer and nearer! Eminent Domain Origins is officially on the list for TMG publication. At this point it might be good to have that be a "TMG's 10th anniversary" release (maybe along with Homesteaders re-release) -- but like James Ernest did, maybe we could do that, but not really wait until the 10 year mark. Maybe a 9-1/2th anniversary would suffice, which would be late 2018 (which is when this might actually happen).
Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done (BGG)
I'm happy to report that this game is about to go into production, not only as a fine game from TMG, but as a Deluxified(tm) product! The kickstarter for it runs through August 4th (6 more days as I type this), and we're currently about to break $230,000 in funding. With 6 more days, and considering the common influx of funding at the end of a project, I would not be surprised if this game breaks $300k. Not TMG's biggest funding, but close!

The Deluxified version will have awesome plastic minis for knights and buildings (in addition to silkscreened wood), spot UV on the knight order tiles and game board, and a few other great upgrades. The retail version will be very nice as well, but the Deluxified version is going to be super fancy!
Eminent Domain: Oblivion (expansion)
The 3rd expansion to Eminent Domain is finally in production, and should be out later this year -- possibly debuting at Essen!

Finished But Unpublished Games:
Exhibit (BGG link)
No change here. I'm still disappointed in the status of Exhibit. A European publisher was very interested, but a difference of opinion on whether a certain person's IP rights were infringed caused it to be canceled altogether. I checked with an IP lawyer to ensure that my understanding was correct, which it was, but I don't blame the publisher for not wanting to get into the middle of it. The whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth. It's too bad, because the game is good.
Now Boarding
I worked on this with Tim Fowers, who's since published several games via kickstarter: his co-op game Burgle Brothers, his 2 player deduction game Fugitive, and most recently, a follow up to his deck building word game Paperback (the follow up is called Hardback). He took Now Boarding in another direction, and I thought he was about done with it. Maybe it'll be his next kickstarter project :)
Suburban Sprawl
My entry to the DHMG/GTG dexterity game contest also fits their previous contest, using only about 56 cards. In Suburban Sprawl you toss cards into play to build Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and Civic buildings. I'm going for a light, quick game with a sort of SimCity feel that's easy to learn and play. Matthew Dunstan helped with this one, but it did not win the contest. Maybe it'll see the light of day some day, but I haven't tried to pitch it to anyone yet. I was thinking maybe TMG could set it in the Flip City universe, with similar artwork, but I'm afraid that perhaps a dexterity game might not go over too well with our audience.
Isle of Trains: All Aboard (expansion)
Dan Keltner and I created an expansion to Isle of Trains for Dice Hate Me/Greater Than Games to follow up our contest winning entry. We submitted the final game to them quote some time ago (December 2015 I think), and they kept planning a Kickstarter, then delaying it for various reasons. However, Chris Kirkman assures me that they're still excited about it, they've started getting art done for it, and that it will likely go up on Kickstarter in 2018.

Current Active Designs:
Deities and Demigods
Another attempt at Deck Learning, Deities and Demigods is like a role selection game, but the game calls the roles, and in random order. Players will have some control over which roles are in the deck, and can upgrade their efficiency at each role. The effects of the roles will allow players to move armies around a map in an effort to complete quests/tasks and control cities.

I put a lot of work into this one lately, and I think it's about done. Most recently I added a bunch of player powers to try out, and I haven't had a chance to do that yet.

- Automatown
A new idea that I quickly made a prototype for and I've tested a few times so far. The idea is that you work in a factory making robots, so you make robots to work the assembly line for you. But why stop there? With an army of robots behind you, you could take over the factory, the city, or even the world! It's a worker placement game where you get and exchange resources in order to build more robots from blueprint cards. Each blueprint has a specific cost, a strength, and an ability, but any blueprint can be built out of scrap to just be a simple robot with no ability. So far it seems to have potential, but it still feels like an early design.
- Joan of Arc
I had an idea to do a follow up game to Orleans about Joan of Arc, co-brand it and put it out as a TMG/DLP partnership. I have made some good progress so far, but I still have a lot of work to do on it. In the game, players are each a different saint, giving visions to Joan of Arc. That is to say all players control a single Joan of Arc figure on the game board. You'll move her around, train her in different weapons, and have her win battles for points or in-game benefits. The action is driven by a bag building mechanism, where you draw tiles out of your bag and place them on your player board, then activate certain subsets of them. Originally, your player board was going to be a rondel, but that didn't work right. I tried a different idea, and that was a step in the right direction, but now I have what I think may be an even better idea, I just need to try it. There are a few other changes I know I want to make, I just have to get around to making them and trying the game some more.

Recent Designs That Are Not On The Front Burner:
Alter Ego (BGG link)
Mike's always been a fan of this one. Alter Ego finally shaped up a while ago, but I just haven't been playing it, so it hasn't finished up. I had hope that with a little TMG Utah input and some nice art, this could potentially be ready for a GenCon 2016 release, but that never came to pass. I need to get this one back on the front burner and finish it up!
Odysseus: Winds of Fate (BGG)
I keep circling and iterating on this one. I need to implement the most recent change ideas and try it again. This is basically the story of this game's life... I should probably move it to the "Old Standbys" section.
Moctezuma's Revenge
This one ALMOST returned from the dead, as John Gilmour started to work on it with me, but that was short lived, as he had something come up and couldn't devote the time to that project anymore. Still, revisiting the game brought some improvements to it, so some progress was made. I don't know if or when I'll revisit it again though.


Thomas D said...

Oh, man, I am so upset about Exhibit. Having played early versions of the other person's and seeing how you continued development on yours. I really wish your version was able to come out.

Michael Brown said...

This post was educational.

Your ratios are way better than mine. I have 23 games that I have worked on, and only one is in any way with a publisher. You have worked on 36 games, and have 8 published games, and multiple that are with publishers as well.

I think I need to step up my submission game.

How did your games come to be in the hands of so many publishers? I find it hard to get them to look at mine. (not to mention the fact that I don't really like pushing my games to publishers because I don't like salemanship)

Seth Jaffee said...

@Thomas - Yeah, not the same at all. I started over completely. Oh well, at least I have a prototype I can pull out when feeling nostalgic.

@Michael - I actually have more games than that, but if they're not on The List that means I either never got around to prototyping them, or I didn't think they had potential, or in a few cases I prototyped and played them, but kind of gave up on them for one reason or another.

Isle of Trains is from Dice Hate Me, because it was a winner of the DHMG 54 card game design contest, and came out as one of their 6 Rabbit titles. Isle of Trains didn't win first place in the contest, but I THINK it has been the best seller of the rabbits (hence they accepted an expansion) -- but don't quote me on that, I'm not sure.

Other than Isle of Trains (and the upcoming All Aboard expansion), everything I've had published was through TMG, and in a way I feel like I cheated there. TMG was founded by a longtime friend, and as the one who helped pick the games for that company, I kind of have an "in." Terra Prime was a TMG launch title, and sadly it didn't get played by a whole lot of people. Fortunately, with how Eminent Domain has gone over, I feel somewhat justified as a published designer, even having skipped the majority of the pitching process.

That said, one of the things that's the most disappointing about the Exhibit debacle is that that would have been the first time a game of mine was pitched and picked up by an unrelated 3rd party, which would have given me that piece of outside verification that I have been missing out on. It's a small thing, but it's there. Maybe one day I'll have a game come out from a non-TMG publisher that isn't a co-designed contest entry. One day...