Interview with AJ Porfirio on Thematic Games

A.J. Porfirio of Van Ryder Games

A.J. Porfirio, the man behind Van Ryder Games

There is often a discussion of theme-versus-mechanics among board game designers. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I wanted to get a Q&A with A.J. Porfirio, of Van Ryder Games, about this topic. So, here it is.

Matt: Howdy, AJ, great to chat with you on this topic. Of all of my game designer/publisher friends, you are the one that specifically mentions looking for and loving “thematic games” … can you give me your definition of what you mean by that term?

AJ: Thanks Matt! I’m honored that you think of me in that respect as it is basically the mission statement of my publishing company, Van Ryder Games, to publish great, highly thematic games. Locking down a definition for exactly what the term “thematic games” means would be difficult, but here is what I would say … Continue reading

Heading to Protospiel-Michigan this Weekend

Map to Protospiel, Chelsea, Michigan, July 2014Tomorrow, I leave for a pretty exciting game design related road trip. I’ll be picking up Jeff King (from All Us Geeks), Jason Glover (from Grey Gnome games), and David Sheppard (known to most as Sheppy) along the way. We’re headed to this year’s Michigan Protospiel event, where indie designers get together to test prototypes of their games with each other. While it’s always great to get games tested by a wide mix of players, getting them tested by other designers can yield espresso-like shots of great feedback you can’t get anywhere else.

King of Danger, TGC Version, Card Examples - March 2014I will be focused on testing my two Land of Danger card games — King of Danger and Danger at the Walls — along with my tile-laying, pick-up-and-deliver game set on the 1800s prairies, Abbottsville. I will also bring Magistrate along for continued testing as well.

Abbottsville, Early Playtest at Paul's Cabin, May 2014Another exciting development will be that Jeff Large from Happy Mitten Games will be there, testing my game, Aether Magic, which they will be publishing later this year. Can’t wait to watch that one being tested by Jeff and the designers there. A few of them may have played it in Milwaukee during the March 2013 Protospiel when it was still called “For Goods and Honor” … it’s undergone quite a thematic change, but the main social and production mechanics are still there.

I will try to send out tweets while the roadtrip is taking place, and throughout the weekend. So, follow me on Twitter to see how that bit of chaos works out! 😉

Hostage Negotiator – A Unique Game by an Indie Designer Friend

Hostage NegotiatorMy friend, A.J. Porfirio, runs a publishing company called Van Ryder Games (named after his oldest kids), and really likes what he calls “thematic games.” I’m hoping to have him on a Q&A blog post sometime in the next few weeks to get a more detailed definition from him on that term. (I think it’s sort of like using the word “weather,” in that everyone *knows* what it means, but it’s really hard to pin down a worded definition because it can encompass so much.)

As an example of what he brings to the market in this area, I want to point out his Kickstarter project that just launched for Hostage Negotiator. It’s a single-player game about using conversation and taking actions to get a hostage-taker to release their hostages. Very deep, thematic (obviously), and tense. Check it out and let me (and A.J.) know your thoughts.

Reblog from Hyperbole Games: The Love of the Craft

Hyperbole Games LogoI believe I’ve mentioned it a number of times on this blog already, but if you’re into playing or designing tabletop games, you should really be reading Grant Rodiek’s blog over at the Hyperbole Games website.

The latest example I would like to share is an eloquent way of letting folks know what designers get out of the craft side of game design. It’s not always about sales or “likes” or BGG ratings. Sometimes, it’s just about enjoying the process itself.

Check it out here: The Love of the Craft from the Hyperbole Games blog.

On My Radar: Other People Working on Cool Things

Radar AntennaI keep telling myself that I will soon write a post about the feast-or-famine cycle that my creative process rides along. But I continue to delay — it’s likely too personal.

In the meantime, I’ve found that I gain energy by paying particular attention to other folks who are doing things right, working on cool things, or otherwise providing up-lifting stories in the here-and-now.

So here is a very random sampling of the things I’m currently paying attention to, and hoping to vicariously catch a charge for my own creative battery: Continue reading

My GenCon Indy 2013 Schedule

 

Dicey Curves Demo Play at GenCon Indy 2011It turns out that trying to keep my schedule open for as much gaming and schmoozing as possible has lead to pretty full-scheduled evenings at GenCon.

I definitely want to find a way to meet as many folks as I can and to get in as many games as will fit.  This year, I am rooming with the other three guys that I joined for the “FreeStarter” contest a few months ago — Chevee Dodd, Grant Rodiek, and A.J. Porfirio. You’ll likely finding me hanging out with one or all of them (or in the Gaming Library, or in the game event hall)  whenever I’m not scheduled to be elsewhere.

Here’s what I’m looking at with a couple days left to add more stuff … come find me: Continue reading

FreeStarter Results

FreeStarter GroupLast week’s freestarter silliness on Twitter was a ton of fun for the four of us designers that put it on!

With it came some great results.  We gave away 8 games (2 sets of 4 games), posted “get to know us better” interviews, amped-up the (somewhat) witty banter between the 4 of us, and gained a number of new followers in the process.

The winners of the games were announced here: http://hyperbolegames.com/2013/05/24/freestarter-and-the-winners-are

The interview posts for each of us can be found here:

I hope everyone had a great time with this … we sure did.  Now see you all on Facebook or Twitter or at GenCon! 🙂

FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway

FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway

I’ve been chatting over past couple weeks with a couple of game design friends — namely Grant Rodiek from Hyperbole Games, AJ Porfirio from Van Ryder Games and Chevee Dodd — about how we all met through the online game design community, and that most of  us already have almost 1000 Twitter followers (Chevee is … special 😉 ).

FreeStarter GroupWe wanted to have some sort of event to celebrate this and share some of our games with those who are following us on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

So, we came up with the overly silly “FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway,” where each of us are giving away 2 games for two different drawings:

The Serious Gamer Drawing … The entrant who wins this will receive free copies of:

The Casual Gamer Drawing … The entrant who wins this will receive free copies of:

Entering the contest is easy. Follow these 2 Steps!

1. Follow each of us on Twitter:

2. Email Grant at grant@hyperbolegames.com. Tell him which drawing you wish to enter: Serious or Casual.

The drawing for both sets of games will take place on the morning of Friday, May 24th.  So , make sure you are registered before then!

If you are anti-Twitter for some reason, we can make that work out as well … we each have a website/mailing list and/or Facebook page as well as our Twitter accounts — we just want to spread the online connectedness love in one way or another.  So, if the Twitter thing seriously doesn’t work for you, send me a note and we’ll find a way to go you in.

FINALLY … for those of you that DO follow us on Twitter, you’ll be seeing links to discussions and other silliness as the week unfolds … please join in and help make things even merrier. 🙂

Watch for “FreeStarter” this Coming Monday …

Matt Worden Games Logo - 2013Do you like to get free things? Do you like to participate (at least vicariously) in silliness on the way to the free things? Do you have a soft spot for folks who try really hard to be creative and witty (but the jury is still out on each of those points, of course)?

Then follow me on Twitter and see what happens on Monday! #freestarter

http://twitter.com/MattWordenGames

TGC’s Shrinkwrapping Crowd Funding Project

TGC's IndieGoGo ProjectTheGameCrafter.com, which is the site I use for publish-on-demand for most of my games, has their own crowd-funding project on IndieGoGo to help them add shrinkwrapping to their offerings.

I was all set to write-up a pitch for you all to take a look at the project and offer your support if you could … but then Noble Valerian already did an excellent job of just that.

So … please read Noble’s description of the project, and why it should be funded: http://www.noblevalerian.com/1/post/2013/03/the-game-crafter-indiegogo-campaign.html

Thanks for considering it! 🙂