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.

My First Blog at BGG (Tales of Danger #1 Design Journal)

BGGThose of you who are already subscribed to get updates from this website or already follow me on Facebook/Twitter know that I usually write my longer pieces here at mwgames.com.

But I’ve always been intrigued by the interaction that folks get when writing blogs at BGG.

So, as a way to give some behind-the-scenes info on my up-coming game Tales of Danger #1: Days of Discovery, I’ve started a design journal there: CLICK HERE

Please jump over on the link, have a read and subscribe there … also, I’d appreciate any thumbs and/or comments you’d be willing to share with me there as well. Thanks! ūüôā

Become a Warrior of Destiny!

MWG Warrior of DestinyI need your help! Join my “insiders” Facebook group — the MWG Warriors of Destiny — to get the early, inside scoop on all things related to my games projects, con appearances, special events, and game give-aways. I will call upon you with specific actions you can take to help spread the word, such as liking and sharing certain Facebook posts, giving “thumbs” to pictures on Board Game Geek, etc. Together, we can seek out our destiny in the tabletop gaming world!

To become an official Matt Worden Games “Warrior of Destiny”: Click on the link to jump over to the Facebook group’s page … then click the “Join” button on that page. (I’ll need to approve your request … but I’ll try to do that as quickly as I can.)

Let’s go find our destiny!

Clever Spell-Casting in Aether Magic

Aether Magic Card Art ExamplesAs I mentioned in my previous post, the Happy Mitten team has really focused on a handful of clear goals with the games they want to publish: easy-to-learn, engaging player interaction, and allowing players to be clever. That “Magic Sauce” post focused on the player interaction, so I thought I’d write another¬†to explain how player-cleverness comes into the game.

For those who noticed my answers to the “Foxhole Fiver” at the¬†The Meeple Mechanic website, you’ll see that I brought up the Spell Cards as an answer to a design challenge while developing the game. They weren’t in the game at first, but shortly after switching to the spell-casters theme, we got some¬†incredible feedback from playtesters at one of the many cons that the Happy Mitten folks played the game at. Originally, the turn cycle ended after your Aether produced some Elements. The collection of Elements were then scored at the end of the game. But players (rightfully so) wanted something more … they wanted to be able to actually cast spells — and the spell cards were born.

The spell cards do a number of things in the game¬†… Continue reading

A 2-player Variant for Aether Magic

Aether Magic on KickstarterThere was a conscious decision made during development to strictly focus¬†Aether Magic as a 3-to-6 player game,¬†because one of the central mechanics — the social auction — really only works well with at least 3 players. But since the¬†launch of the Kickstarter project, we have been¬†seeing comments popping up on Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter and BGG¬†stating that a 2-player game was needed.

I’d had some ideas for how to make a 2-player version work early on in the process, but I set them aside as we worked on polishing¬†the standard game. So, starting last week, after a call with the Happy Mitten Games team, I got those old rules out and I started testing and tweaking.

The answer turned out to be much simpler¬†than I had originally thought it would. It boils down to 2 things: 1) Having a 3rd, neutral set of Runes in the game and 2) Replacing the normal bidding system with a pretty straight-forward take on the “pie rule” … I cut the pie and you get to pick your piece.

To see what I mean, download the PDF of the variant here: Aether Magic 2-Player Variant Rules


The Magic Sauce in Aether Magic Player Interactions

Aether Magic on KickstarterIf you’ve listened to or read any of the player commentary about¬†Aether Magic — like the player quotes on the Kickstarter page, or this succinct review on BGG — you will see a lot of references to player interaction, bidding/bartering, engagement, etc. This interactive style of play was the main driver for this game design, and was always our touch-point to come back to as the game went through its year-long development process, once signed by Happy Mitten Games.

Engaging player interaction, gateway-style accessibility, and allowing players to make clever plays are three of the pillars that the Happy Mitten team continued to stress throughout that process.¬†In choosing a very familiar, comfortable theme like¬†“magi casting spells,” they knew they would be able to get an artist, such as Jacqui Davis, to knock it out of the park (and as you can see, she definitely did!), but that it would also allow these mechanics to shine through.

Here’s my take on how the bidding works and why it adds so much to the game … Continue reading

The Three Main Things for 2015

Three Main Projects in 2015Things are about to kickoff in a big way next week with the Kickstarter launch of my game¬†Aether Magic by publisher Happy Mitten Games.¬†Once that gets rolling, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of posts from me on Facebook and Twitter (and here at the website) about that. But I’ll also¬†continue to post things related to my other games … and things may overlap.

So, I thought it would be good to have this post clearly point out the “big 3” for me this year.

1. AETHER MAGIC KICKSTARTER (February) Assuming everything continues happening on-schedule, the Happy Mitten team should launch¬†Aether Magic¬†on Kickstarter on February 10th. (I’ll have a link here once it’s ready.)

Aether Magic Artwork ExampleIf you haven’t heard of it before,¬†it’s¬†a fantasy-themed auction and set collection game for 3-6 players that¬†plays in about 45 minutes. Players¬†are¬†mages summoning aether from a¬†portal, making trades¬†to gain more resources, and casting spells to earn points.¬†It has a unique social-focused auction mechanic and cool effects-chaining during spell casting. The artwork, by Jacqui Davis, is fantastic!

2.¬†TALES OF DANGER #1: DAYS of DISCOVERY KICKSTARTER (April) Following rather closely on the heals of Happy Mitten’s project, I plan to launch my own Kickstarter project in order to fund the artwork and printing of the first game in my recently-announced¬†Tales of Danger series.

Queen Isabel of Portugal in 1290This first game —¬†Days of Discovery — is a hand-management, resource-management, and path-building game for 1 to 5 players that should play in 30-60 minutes. It starts out in the year 1290, in Portugal, with players trying to gain sponsorship from King Dinis, Queen Isabel, or another important figure, in order to undertake a voyage to find the secret land.

3.¬†JUMP GATE – SILVERLINE EDITION KICKSTARTER (Fall/Winter) In order to get a full line of¬†Jump Gate related games kicked off, I’m going to need to reboot the original game in a high-quality edition, which I’ll be calling the “Silverline” edition. I expect to have a Kickstarter project for this later in the year to fund the artwork and printing. I’m not exactly sure when it will happen, yet, as I’ll need to time things based on how the¬†Tales of Danger project goes. But, expect top-notch artwork, an enhanced storyline, and additional gameplay.

So, while those are the primary 3 things I will be focused on promoting and communicating about, I’ll still be working on some new things — just a little more behind the scenes. That includes getting a couple more games signed with other publishers¬†as well as testing out future¬†games in the¬†Land of Danger and¬†Jump Gate product lines that I will be targeting for 2016/2017 releases.

In the meantime — plenty to keep me busy with in 2015! ūüôā

First Look at Raimundo Peres da Costa, and the New Land of Danger Logo

Portrait Illustration of Raimundo Peres da Costa, discoverer of the Land of Danger

Portrait Illustration of Raimundo Peres da Costa, discoverer of the Land of Danger

It’s exiting to see new artwork roll-in on the Land of Danger background story, and planning out how the first¬†Tales of Danger game will look.

To the left, you will see the portrait of Raimundo Peres da Costa, who discovered the Land of Danger in 1293. By next week, I’m hoping to be able to show you a portrait of Queen Isabel of Portugal who secretly sponsored his voyage.

These background story illustrations are being done by¬†Kristijan Hranisavljevińá, who is a commercial illustrator/animator from Serbia.

I’ve also started working with Chevee Dodd to update the look-and-feel of the Land of Danger line. He’s signed-up to work as the graphic designer on¬†Tales of Danger #1.

Before that, though, I’ve asked him to help me work out a style guide and basic imaging, font selection, colors, etc., for everything that is made under the “Land of Danger” banner. And with that comes a brand new logo for this line of games …

Land of Danger LogoIf you click over to the theme overview page, linked above, you’ll see that I’m already working these into the website pages.

Next up for Chevee: Logo, icons and card layout graphics for Tales of Danger #1 … I can’t wait to show those off when they start coming through! ūüôā

Getting a Little More Formal

Matt Worden Games Logo - 2013As I take some very purposeful steps to ramp-up the Matt Worden Games, LLC, operation, it means that I will be getting more formal here on the website.

For example, I’m sending out my first “real” press release today about the new¬†Tales of Danger series of games and its first title,¬†Days of Discovery. I find it odd to write such a thing in third person, including a quote of me within it … but that’s how those things work. You can read it here: Press Release - "Tales of Danger" Game Series (141)

You should expect the postings here to be more focused on the existing games that are available for sale and on the new games coming in the near future.¬†I will also still include info on other designers and projects that I am keeping tabs on as well as some of the “talking shop” type posts. But, you’ll see less of the many side projects and other whims that are striking my fancy on a daily basis.

Of course, if you like to follow the full width of my current thoughts, the best bet will be to follow me on Twitter, and keep an eye on my Facebook page. It’s just that things on this website and blog should skew toward being more formal as we move into 2015.

Officially Introducing the “Tales of Danger” Game Series

Portuguese Carracks off a Rocky CoastI’m very excited to officially announce¬†a¬†new¬†7-game series ¬†— Tales of Danger — that I will publishing over¬†the next few years, as well as announce¬†the first game in that series —¬†Tales of Danger #1: Days of Discovery.

This Tales of Danger series of games will follow along the historic timeline of the Land of Danger that I posted about earlier this week. The first game will focus on the effort it took to make an ocean voyage from Europe in the late 1200s to first discover the land.

Check out the linked pages above for all of the details, taking special note of the list of shared qualities that all 7 games in the series plan to have (at the bottom of the Tales of Danger page).

On Monday, I’ll be sending out the official press release to news sites, reviewers, podcasts, etc., and posting the news in the forums at BGG … but I wanted to mention it here first. ūüôā

Update 2014-Dec-15: Here’s the press release … Press Release - "Tales of Danger" Game Series (141)

Land of Danger: Background History

Land of DangerAs I’ve been hinting at for a while, the background history and theme overview of the Land of Danger has now been updated. Very soon, there will be a few more games available under this theme in addition to¬†Castle Danger.

And, as I continue finishing off the “clearing the table” steps I mentioned in an earlier post, I am getting¬†the rules to King of Danger publish-ready, and it’ll be available again as a print-and-play and as POD product on TheGameCrafter.com. (I’ll also have some Jump Gate related news in the next few weeks as part of this “cleaning” process as well.)

But, back to the Land of Danger … the¬†thing I find the most exciting about all of this is the new game that is listed at the bottom of the theme overview page.

More about that in a couple days! ūüôā