Game Crunch Crafter FIG

And I'm back... It's been a while and although I haven't been posting about it here, I have still been working on games and meeting with various testing groups. Actually, I've been working on games quite a lot and have much to show for it. Last time I posted I had just got back from Boston FIG (Festival of Indie Games). I was kicking myself a little for not submitting games for it. I vowed that next year I would have my games in submission shape and be ready to FIG. Well apparently that time is fast approaching since last year's submissions needed to be for June. Currently there is no official date, but I'm assuming it will be around the same time so I'll be game crunching the next few months to tighten up everything I have.

What games do I have these days you ask? Currently I'm Looking at 3 or 4 games with most of the design done, a half dozen prototypes of each and mostly complete instructions. I should be sending stuff of to The Game Crafter sometime this week for a few different games to start testing "final" prototypes.

Current prototype games include:

Space Chase (Mercury) M.E.G.A. 8 (Earth) Wicked Apples Lords of Battlemore

I still reserve the right to change any of these names, but I think it's good that I have something specific to refer to them by. I'll try to post some images and gameplay synopsis of each one this week.

- B

I'm back...

I know it's been a while since my last update, but don't worry I've been hard at work. If you missed me, I'm sorry and I'm back. If you didn't miss me, I'm sorry and I'm back.

Game wise I've been all over the place the past few days. I visited family and did some play tests with Mercury. It was an older crowd (60+) of non-gamers and everyone was able to grasp the main concepts fairly quickly. Explaining the game however, made me remember how much I dread working on writing Mercury's instructions. I'll might probably try to possibly kind of work on them more this week since it's still fresh in my mind. Maybe...

I also worked on Venus extensively. I know I haven't talked about this game much, but I haven't been as worried about it since the rules are complete and it's been play tested quite a lot. What it really needs is a new skin to make it's cards easier to understand and more appealing to look at. That's been my focus and it's come together fairly quickly. I'll be posting some images for that soon.

Lastly, I did more play testing with Earth. It still needs a lot more trials and I need some sturdy gamers to help with that. I think it's the least friendly of the 3 games and not something I want to pain casual players with. You're safe for now family.

I'm hoping to have a new version of Venus ready for testing early this week and to continue testing the other games when I have some spare time. There's only 1 month left. Where does the time go?

- B

Warming Up Mercury (Part 2)

Now that you have the back story of Mercury, let's talk about how it's played. At it's most basic level, Mercury is a path creation game. You select, rotate and play square tiles from your hand onto the end of the previous tile (think dominoes with easier matching). Basic tiles look like this: Image Image

The orange is your burn path, which you match to create a single continuous line. Your ship is always at the furthest point on that path. This orange path is also the path that the Hunter will be following to track you. Every time you play a tile your ship moves forward along the path, then the Hunter moves forward one tile as well. You continue drawing and playing random tiles in an effort to reach the final tile, AI Nirvana.

Sounds too easy? Let me fix that. Along with these basic tiles, there are many other tiles what will help or hinder you. Evil tiles like the Enemy Outpost will cause the Hunter to move forward an extra space when the he/she (Hunter sex has yet to be determined) lands on it.

Image Image

Helpful tiles like the Thrusters allow players to use an extra tile in the same turn:

Image Image

All together there are 17 different tile types, not counting the straight/turn variations. Early on, I struggled with finding a way to quickly explain and illustrate the uses of all the different tiles. To alleviate this I created a one page cheat sheet that shows usage examples of every tile in the game. So far tests have been positive, but I still need to test with more non-gamers to make sure. Bring on the holidays and bring on the family. No I haven't seen Apples to Apples, but I do have a new game for you to try...

- B

Warming Up Mercury

So let's visit Mercury; A game about space, oddly enough. Here's the synopsis: Around the beginning of the new Millennium, humankind achieved their greatest achievement, finding someone else to clean up their mess. Synths were created and a new era of human laziness began. As years passed, rumors began to upload throughout the Synth network of an AI Nirvana beyond the grasp of the humans. Inevitably, a small group of daring Synths steal a human ship and set off in search of happiness, but a Synth Hunter has also been dispatched and is following close behind.

To win, you and your Synthmates must work together to evade the Synth Hunter while searching the sector for the hidden AI nirvana. Happily, the sector is only so big so it's only a matter of time before you find your destination. Sadly, like everything you really want to find, it's usually in the last place you look.

Mercury is a co-op game at heart, though it can also be played solo. It uses unique player skills, hand management and tile placement to create randomized puzzles for players to solve. I think my favorite part is looking at a completed game and seeing the chaos you've created in the name of strategy.

- B