Games, Design & Game Design

Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

Cool Things: Review + Hack

In Annalise, Game Design, Links, Promo, Roleplaying Games on April 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

Here’s a couple of cool things, one new and one I’ve been totally forgetting about for months.

First! Michael Wight, aka stupidgremlin, wrote up a really cool hack of Witness the Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed Young Prince inspired by the recent film release of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It’s called The Bear Is Loose Within The Circus (direct download link). I particularly like how he added a layer to the stones used in the game, calling the ones you keep secret Secrets, representing literal secrets each agent has, and those on the table Assets, and now that they’ve been revealed they’re “part of the Public Record.” If you’re more into spies than feudal succession, check this hack out.

Second! Paco Jaen, mastermind behind the scarily comprehensive G*M*S Magazine site, recently posted a very perceptive and complimentary review of Annalise.

The dynamic approach to story, setting, character and plot development could become the perfect remedy for writers block, and a wonderful game for people who need great story telling combined with near complete freedom to invent and imagine…5 Stars to this gem of a game that everyone should know about!

Read the full review here. Thanks Paco!


Early Stages of Mayhem

In Design Process, Game Design, Product Design, Sketches on March 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’m working in a new board game. I’m pleased with how the first stage prototype is coming along, so I wanted to share! (click to embiggen)

Prototype 1

The first run-through

Prototype 2

First runthrough, the map at the end of the game.

Prototype 3

Second run-through, three players

Prototype 4

Second runthrough, three players, map at the end of the game.

Post-Soviet Post-Apocalyptic Robot Action

In Design Practice, Game Design, Links, Promo on March 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

In case you haven’t had your fill of giant fighty robots, I present to you the Kickstarter for my next microgame publishing project. Check out the project page for all the details!

Vesna Thaw Promo

carry digital dispatch

In Game Design, Promo, Publishing, Roleplaying Games on August 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm

carry digital dispatch cover

A long overdue digital offering…carry is now available as a 47 page hyperlinked PDF, including printable play aids and character reference cards. I tried to preserve the grittiness of the print layout while adding the digital features, and I’m pretty happy with the result!

For now, it’s available for $7 from my store; it’ll be up at IPR and OneBookShelf sooner rather than later. I’ll also be offering an $18 print+pdf bundle once I have books back in stock, expect to see that at IPR as well.

5 years old and still strong, I think. I’m pretty happy to bring it into the digital age, at the very least!

Kickstarter Analytics 2

In Game Design, Publishing, Self-Reflection on July 15, 2011 at 3:22 pm

As promised, the numbers!

I ended up receiving $1,254 from the 69 backers of the project.


  • Art – $350
  • Proofreading – $15
  • Materials (inc. shipping) for the component sets – $154.77
  • Fees (Kickstarter + Amazon) – $117.01
  • Printing – 106.80
  • Shipping (I covered all shipping for all of the backer rewards and magazines) – 316.98

Total Expenses: 1060.56
Total Income: 1254
Total Profit: $193.44

Now, that’s not a very large number. In terms of expenses, I knew that shipping would be significant, but the number of international backers was higher than I thought it would be, and man but does shipping add up. Also, I had to purchase about twice as much plastic material than I actually used because of how that company breaks down it’s quantities (basically I needed more than the lowest quantity I could get, but only a little bit more).

But! The project ended up in the black, ended up basically paying me a little north of 5 cents a word, and will be a net positive for the rest of time.

Next time, I think I’m going to have to ask international backers to kick in a little extra to cover shipping. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with how it all went out (especially when 1/3 of the expenses are going into other creators pockets).

I hope some of these numbers are helpful to others interested in trying out similar projects!

Kickstarter Analytics 1

In Game Design, Promo, Publishing, Self-Reflection on July 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I thought it would be interesting and helpful to do some numbers-crunching on my first-ever Kickstarter. With graphs!

(I’m composing another post about the raw investment/return numbers, for the edification of others thinking about doing this kind of project, FYI – this one is long enough for now!)

I was primarily interested in my survey responses – what was the primary reason for people to back the project, and where did they hear about it in the first place? (click to embiggen)

And I got a couple of good questions on Twitter as well. More graphs after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Be Ashamed Young Prince Is Go

In Design Practice, Game Design, Promo, Publishing, Roleplaying Games on July 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

Witness the Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed, Young Prince is now available for purchase.

Here’s all the info

Here’s the MagCloud page to buy it in print for $5

Here’s my page to buy it in PDF for $2


BAYP Cover

Designing Without Knowledge

In Commentary, Game Design, Self-Reflection on July 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

I tweeted something yesterday that seemed to hit a chord.

How did I end up designing all these creepy horror games? I don’t even really like horror stuff. #contradictionsopencreativity

Some responses:

@mforbeck Been in that situation often myself.
@lumpleygames Hey wait, is that how come I can’t seem to design a straight-up horror game?
@balehmanWow, me too. I’m not a fan, but I design like all horror all the time
@Epidiah Back in school, I’d always write my essays from a POV I disagreed with because it was so much easier.
@joshroby My best work and best ideas come from when I’m working with material I don’t have massive (overpowering?) respect for.
@kevinallenjr yeah I prefer playing trad adventure/fighty games, how did I end up neck deep in this hippie crap
@simoncarryer I think sometimes you design a game to fix the problems with the genre.

Some thoughts after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Be Ashamed, Young Prince

In Game Design, Promo, Publishing, Roleplaying Games on June 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

Be Ashamed Young Prince

Watch the video and support it here. All the details are on the Kickstarter page, but basically I’m Kickstarting for $275 to purchase hot cover art from artist Sarah Frary for this short-form fiction game of murder and revenge.

WordPress doesn’t allow the embedding feature to show you the current support level, but at the time of this update there’s only $70 left to go! In less than 12 hours, that’s fantastic. Thank you so much to all the current (and future) backers.

[edit] Wow, I woke up to see that the project has been fully funded! Many thanks to the 18 backers so far. Time to start thinking about more milestones, as the project has 13 days still to run…

What I’ve Been Up To

In Design Process, Game Design, Thesis Work on May 30, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Taking a break. Here’s some behinds-the-scenes of  what I’ve been working on (all pics are click-to-enlargeable)!

The show opens June 11th. Coming up quick.

Food Bit Models

Clay models of the food bits for Food Court Frenzy.

Food Court Frenzy Playtest

A playtest of Food Court Frenzy

Filling The Pants

Fillin' up the pants during Food Court Frenzy

Feed Them! Playtest

Playtesting Feed Them!

Feed Them! Playtest Detail

One heavily trafficked node in Feed Them!

Happy Farm

The chain we called "Happy Farm" during the Feed Them! playtest

Feed Court Frenzy Board

Vacuforming the new board for Food Court Frenzy

Food Court Frenzy Prototype

Another prototype for Food Court Frenzy


Casting the new food bits for Food Court Frenzy

Near-Final Food Court Frenzy

Most current prototype for Food Court Frenzy