About MattWorden

My name is Matt Worden, and this is my website ... I live in Minnetrista, MN, with my wife and our 2 awesome kids.

Win a Free Copy of Jump Gate

Jump Gate - All ComponentsAs I briefly mentioned in the original launch announcement for Jump Gate, I will be giving away a free copy of the game through a contest on my website.  I wanted to give a bit more information about that here.

On Wednesday, April 21st, I will randomly draw a winner from everyone who has registered for the give-away and send them a full copy of Jump Gate (plus a little extra bonus).  To register for the contest, you need to first sign-up a user account on my website (yes, a blatant attempt to increase the number of registered users on my site), and then follow the instructions on the contest page.

I am already enjoying the entry comments from those who have registered so far … you have a week and a couple days left to join in the fun.

Others’ Works: Pocket Civ

Pocket CivScott Slomiany is another Board Game Designers Forum regular (he posts there as doho123) that I’ve known for a while.  I always enjoy seeing what he submits to that site’s Game Design Showdowns, and read his “MeepleSpeak” blog regularly.

He is the designer behind Pocket Civ, a viral print-and-play hit.  The player response to this game has been quite cool, and I wanted to ask him some questions about what went into designing it.

Here’s the Q&A … Continue reading

Rest in Peace, Cinder

Planet Cinder from Jump GateThis is more of a personal post than game-related … although there is a connection to Jump Gate as well.

Today we had to put our Siamese cat, Cinder, to sleep.  We think she was around 19 years old.  We adopted her as a 2-year-old from a vets office that was looking for a home for her.  I think she probably would have been put down if we hadn’t taken her home with us that day.  That was nearly 17 years ago.

CinderShe was a great cat for our family, but had really gotten old over the past 5 years.  The past couple years, especially, saw her greatly reduced … but she was still very affectionate and talkative.  Her kidneys were failing and she was having a lot of trouble the last few days.

The vet said that while we could do some things to make her more comfortable for a short period of time, there really was no cure for what was ailing her, and she would continue to go downhill.  She was already doing pretty poorly … had problems walking straight, among other things.  So, we had to let her go.

Her name — and colors — will live on in the planet I made for her in Jump Gate.

Rest in peace, Cinder.

Courting Changes

Basketball Half Court

Current Version of the Half-Court Board

As I’ve been contemplating changes needed for the 3-on-3 basketball game that I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve decided to change the way space is handled on the game board.  The picture to the left is the new version of the half-court that the game takes place on.  Each section will hold 2 players at a time.  A defending player needs to be in the same section as an offensive player to be directly defending that player.  This simplifies an issue on the previous board (detailed below).

The colored bands indicate which shooting skills a player will be using.  Guards will have better shooting skills further out from the basket, while Centers will be better inside.

Basketball Half Court (old)

Older Attempt at a Half-Court Board

My first pass at the board (shown to the right), has individual spots that would each hold a single player.  The triangular arrows would point at the spots that can be defended from that position.  This created some locations up the alleys and down the baseline with spots that can only be defended from 1 position.  While this made for some interesting positioning, it was a little hard to explain — and it changed it from a basketball sim to something more like an abstract strategy game with some favored terrain.

With that said, the court setup is something of a minor change compared to what my plans are for the cards and the dice.  I still need to get some of the details worked out before I can post about that though.

We Have Liftoff: Jump Gate is officially available!

Jump Gate Cover ArtJump Gate is officially launched!  I’m very excited to announce that it is now available from TheGameCrafter.com.

Jump Gate is a board game about space exploration in the far future.  The Jump Gate is a device that lets a spaceship immediately jump into orbit around a far-away planet.  Players explore these newly-discovered planets by jumping to them, scanning them for resources, and landing on them to stake their claim as the first to set foot on them.  Ultimately, the game is about collecting resources in a way to maximize your score.  However, some resources cause a player to put a marker on the Black Hole Board … and too many markers on that board will cause problems for some players.

Jump Gate - All ComponentsThere is hand-management, multi-use cards, exploration & discovery, set collection, and some racing elements in the game.  The game can be played casually, but requires good decisions and efficient use of actions for a player to really excel.  The theme is family friendly and would make a great family-game-night game.

As part of the launch celebration, I’ll be giving away a copy of the game in a couple of weeks.

Check out the game’s page both here and at BoardGameGeek for images and more details.

Brotherly Hoops

BasketballAfter some additional solo-testing on the 3-on-3 basketball game, I’m finding myself growing a little unhappy with the speed of the game.  After an hour, one test game was only at a score of 11-to-8 … and this is on the way to a 21-point game.  I don’t really want the game to take 2 hours to play … so, I started looking for a way to make the thing move more quickly.

So far, I’ve been using a 1-card-per-turn method that gave a nice flow to the way the cards were used.  But, only moving a single player in a turn would contribute to the game moving along slower than I had hoped.  The adjustment I tried to make was to play multiple cards on a turn — all cards would have to be of the same suit, and could only have 1 card per position.

I was able to do a test-play using this new approach with my brother, Jerry today.  He’s a high school basketball coach, and generally a “good sports mind” as they like to say on the local sports-talk radio.  We also played a ton of APBA Baseball as kids … so I trust his take on how sports-sim board games should work.

Turns out the new card method didn’t really work very well.  It made the card-flow seem out-of-sync and lead to some strange hands — such as me having *only* cards to move my Center and Jerry having *none* of those when his Center had grabbed a rebound right under the basket.  So, he couldn’t even shoot … he had to pass it off to his Forward or Guard for a sub-optimal shot.

So, this has me thinking about splitting along 2 lines … (1) return to the 1-card-per-turn approach, which had a nice flow to it (although making for a long game), and (2) dropping the cards altogether and going with a more direct simulation, instead of aiming for a lighter boardgame.  I’ll sleep on it a couple of days and see where it goes … probably need to spend a little time with “Show of Power” anyway. 😉

Which one’s next?

Basketball HoopSo after Jump Gate is launched next week, what games will I be working on as the next ones to publish?

The best candidate right now is the 3-on-3 basketball sim.  It’s card mechanics seem to have come together very nicely … just need to get it playtested with a number of difference people in order to see if I’m missing anything there.  The trickier piece will be to put together the publication-ready artwork for the cards & board … I’ll need an artist.  The working title right now is “Handful of Hoop” … which is sort of playing off the fact that you’re using a handful of cards to play a game of hoops (and also will fit nicely with an American Football card game that I’m working on called “Fistful of Football” … no, seriously! 😉 ).

Show of Power BoardThe other one that seems to be hitting the home stretch is “Show of Power”.  Since I had my “ideas that didn’t quite work” session a few weeks back, it’s really come together nicely.  I even ordered a new prototype of the card deck used in the game.  This is a much deeper strategic game than the others I’ve designed … so, if there’s any way for me to make it to Protospiel this year, it will be coming along to get in front of the other designers there.

Fellow Designer: Greg Lam of Pair-of-Dice Games

Greg Lam from Pair-of-Dice Games  

Greg Lam is another designer that I first bumped into in the Board Game Designers Forum web community (he posts there as “slam“).  He’s from Boston and self-publishes his games via his company, Pair-of-Dice Games.  

Pair-of-Dice GamesHe co-founded the company with a couple of friends in 2001 and has run it independently since 2004.  While their first hits were Knockabout and Warp 6, my eye was drawn to the game called Chopstick Dexterity MegaChallenge 3000 (it really is as fun as it look).  I was able to play a few games of that at last year’s Protospiel get-together, where I also played a game of Greg’s Rock, Scissors, Paper (not the traditional hand-gesture game) and watched people play Restaurant Row.  

The BoardGameGeek page for Pair-of-Dice does a nice job summarizing the published games and history for the company, along with a link to a very interesting list where Greg has written up the details behind each of the games.  So, instead of rehashing the things you can find there, I wanted to find out a bit more about how Greg goes about designing games and what his influences are. Continue reading

Received the Jump Gate Proof Copy

Jump Gate - All Components

All Jump Gate Components from TheGameCrafter.com

I received my nearly-launch-ready proof copy of “Jump Gate” from TheGameCrafter.

I’m very happy with how the new card designs look printed.  My wife thinks I need to tweak the brightness of the blue gems (“they just look a touch dull compared to the white and red gems”), and I did find a typo on the Black Hole board.

So, I will tweak those and update TGC with the corrected files.  Then it’s just another pass on proofing the rules, prepping of some graphics files for both TGC and BGG, planning around advertising, launch announcing, begging for reviews, and the other things that go into launching a new game on a shoestring via a print-on-demand supplier.  Look for my “Go!” announcement shortly after Easter.

I managed to get a couple pictures taken tonight … like the one in the upper-left, plus these two:

Jump Gate - Start-of-Game Setup

Jump Gate's Start-of-Game Setup

Jump Gate - Player Components

Each player starts with a Spaceship and some Markers