Michael Fox Allows Me to Ramble On and On (Little Metal Dog Show)

Little Metal Dog Show's Jump Gate Ship

Oh, Michael! What has your dog been eating?!

Michael Fox of the Little Metal Dog Show — an always-interesting podcast about board gaming — recently interviewed me via Skype for the show.

That conversation is now part of the latest episode of the LMD Show! ¬†And he lets me ramble on and on about things … for over 20 minutes! ūüôā

I will suggest that you listen to the whole show, because he starts with a very interesting industry topic — board games getting develop for iPhones and iPads — and ends by interviewing¬†Stephen Avery and Tom Vasel about a game they have in the works by the name of Capo.

However, if you really just want to hear *my* nasally monotones counter-point with Michael’s brilliant and lovely pear-shaped lilting, you can start around the 23:15 mark. ¬†And, yes, I was serious about my part being over 20 minutes long … and that was after some skillful editing!

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Subtilla Reviewed by Father Geek

Subtilla, mid-gameFather Geek posted his review of Subtilla today, and he seems to have really enjoyed it. ¬†He’s¬†been giving my games a lot of great press lately — which is awesome.

You may recall that over the course of last year, he reviewed both Jump Gate and Dicey Curves, and I was honored to receive his Official Seal of Approval.

But since we had a chance to sit down face-to-face and play and talk about games for a couple hours at Con of the North last month, he’s made positive mention of my games on the “On Board Games” podcast, he’s stated that he’s looking forward to the DANGER! Expansion for Dicey Curves, and now he’s played and posted the review of Subtilla. Continue reading

Warriors of Destiny, Father Geeks, Games and Games

Playing Dicey Curves with Cyrus and JeffSaturday was a long (yet fast), fun day of meeting people, talking about games (and gamers) and playing games of Dicey Curves, Subtilla, and Space Mission.

I need to give a big “thank you” to the booth babes of the day (they each got to wear my secondary booth badge labelled “Warrior of Destiny”): Whitney Watts (pictured to the right), my wife Britt, my daughter Anna, and my son Seth. ¬†Whitney has a bad¬†tendency¬†to beat me at my games — winning Dicey Curves twice (once as a playtest of the DANGER! Expansion) and also winning Subtilla twice.

Playing Dicey Curves (with DANGER! Expansion) with Whitney WattsThere was also a Father Geek sighting (see picture above and to the left). ¬†Cyrus Kirby of FatherGeek.com and another local Twin Cities game designer named Jeff spent (also a TGC user) a couple hours at my booth to talk games and gaming, watch a game of Subtilla, and then play both Space Mission and Dicey Curves. ¬†I also gave Cyrus a sneak peek at what’s up with the DANGER! Expansion. ¬†Good times and glad to have these guys stop by.

The rest of the time was spent doing more games-playing and games-talking and even got some more discussion in with Donovan about multiple things, including additional progress on the “Magistrate” prototype. ¬†Met a couple of people who had liked the “Jump Gate geocache” contest I ran a couple weeks ago. ¬†They reassured me that I can keep the clues tricky, knowing who the target audience is. ūüėČ ¬†So, we’ll see what I work out for my planned “Dicey Cache” find-it-keep-it event in April.

In the main room where my space is located, the miniatures games have definitely taken over today.  I love the way these games look.  Here are a few examples:

Continue reading

Con of the North Exploded into Gaming

The Matt Worden Games Vendor Space at Con of the North 2012So, I guess I was wrong about posting again once I had my vendor space setup at Con of the North.

As soon as I was setup, I was playing a game — seriously. ¬†So, it’s really not my fault … I’m guessing you all would have been doing the same thing.

Sadly, my original “booth babe”, Whitney, is fighting off a bug and hasn’t been able to attend yet … but I’m guessing we’ll see her at some point this weekend. ūüėČ ¬†Just got word that my wife and kids will be coming to stay with me at the hotel tonight, which is pretty cool. ¬†Very likely to have Britt or Anna working in the space tomorrow for some of the time.

I do want to give grand thanks to Donovan Loucks, who I ran into right away. ¬†He came up with a novel way to get my “T” shaped table setup to work (and he is the reason for my instant gaming).

First Magistrate Playtest at Con of the North 2012He and I played through a 2-player game of “Magistrate” — the prototype I’m excited to test a lot this weekend … and it really helped to reveal a number of areas where balance issues still abound. ¬†We were also able to “talk shop” about different ways to improve the design. ¬†As for the result of the game … he smoked me! ¬†He played as blue and I as green … that’s his flag pawn near the end of the VP track and mine *way* down toward the start of the track. ¬†See the final shot to the right.

Prepping for the Con

Banners to be Used at Con of the North 2012I seem to be working on a dozen things at once during the times I have available to prep for Con of the North.

I’ve put together a set of banners (pictured to the left — click for a bigger view) that I plan to display in my space. ¬†I’m still working on how they are going to be held up, but I think I have a good approach so far.

I’m working on getting my for-sale products ready: the Dicey Curves are all ready, about half the Jump Gates are ready and the other half will be done tomorrow, and the copies of Subtilla were shipped from TheGameCrafter.com on Monday and I expect them to arrive tomorrow (cutting it a bit close with that one).

As I mentioned in my earlier CotN post, I will be bringing a few copies of some games just to play, and those are all ready to go.

I’m also going to have 2 different prototypes for testing — the DANGER! Expansion for Dicey Curves, and a heavier “Waro” that I’ve been working on for a number of years. ¬†I was originally hoping to have at least 2 more ready, but they just simply aren’t.

Subtilla Has Launched!!

Subtilla Boxtop GraphicMy new 2-player game, Subtilla, is now available through TheGameCrafter.com!

Subtilla is head-to-head naval battle game for two players with subs, boats, torpedoes and two ways to win.  Direct your fleet to take down the enemy boats or capture their base!

Each player has a sub, five boats, and a base on his side of the board. A player wins by either destroying all five of the opponent’s boats, or by occupying both spaces of the opponent’s base at the end of the opponent’s turn.

Dice are rolled to determine the outcome of attacks by boats or torpedoes. The subs have special stealth, movement, and torpedo-launching rules.

I will be giving demos of the game at the Con of the North in February, and will have a few of them to sell there as well.

Dicey Curves DANGER! – Track Modifier Cards

Dicey Curves DANGER! Expansion Card BackIn addition to the final touches on Subtilla, I’ve been working on the graphic design of the cards in the up-coming Dicey Curves, expansion that I will launch in February.

First up have been the five track modifier cards, pictured below. ¬†Minor Debris and Major Debris add a little hurdle for cars to get over when travelling between two track cards … they can either add an extra die or two to the Combo used to move across that location, or they can take some Damage. ¬†Lane Closed shuts down one of the lanes on a Straight-Away or Wide-Open! track card. ¬†Repair Shop will give players a way to get rid of all of their damage (although this may delay them a bit). ¬†And, Dangerous Curve will increase the Gates on a curve track card by one (or the player can take Damage instead or using an extra die).

Next up will be the “messin’ with the dice” cards, the “instant damage/repair” cards, and one card that stands alone in its own category … I’ll probably need a whole post to describe that last one by itself.

Here’s how the track modifier cards look so far (close to final, although there may need to be some tweaks yet) … click for a bigger image:

Dicey Curves DANGER! - Track Modifier Cards

Subtilla: The Board

Subtilla Game BoardAs I get closer to having Subtilla ready for the TGC shop, I’ve recently decided to put the game board onto one of their new 18-inch quad-fold boards. ¬†Originally, I designed the game to be played on a 10×10 mat … but having the larger board made it easier to provide some extra information as well as give it a nicer look and feel.

The main play area takes up the middle 10×10-inch space on the board, and now there is some extra subs-in-the-water artwork, an attack results table, a “power box” and a place to put your Sub when it’s “Hidden”.

In the middle of the main play area is a rocky island that serves as an obstacle for movement and Torpedo attacks. ¬†The four stylized stars mark the players’ Bases. ¬†And, you can see the indicators where all of the Boats and Subs are setup along the edges of the board at the start of the game.

I’m also writing up the formal rules document for the game, and find myself continuing to tweak the board as I find something else that would be helpful to keep in front of the players during the game, or as I change the specific term I use for things in the game. ¬†For example, originally Subs were said to be “on the surface” or “submerged” … but I’ve decided to use the terms “on the board” and “hidden” instead. ¬†Those types of changes mean tweaks to the board as well.

While I don’t enjoy the rules-writing so much, I do enjoy this final phase of tweaking things to make a game ready for production.

ADDED: A special thanks to Toren from IcePack Games, who helped me work through the idea of converting over to the 18×18 quad-fold board. ¬†He’s often on chat at TheGameCrafter.com and is always willing to talk shop on designs, mechanics, presentation, etc.

Subtilla: Stealthy Sub Movements

Stealth Markers Between Boats in SubtillaThere are a couple of neat mechanics that I really like in Subtilla (click for original sneak peek), which I hope to have out via TheGameCrafter.com before the end of December.

My favorite is how the Sub can move around while submerged. ¬†The spark for this idea originally came from my son, Seth, who has been my main tester and idea man with this game. ¬†During an early test, he said “what if the submarine could actually go below the surface of the board and you didn’t know where it would come up again.” ¬†And that was all it took for me to get the idea of “stealth markers” going.

When a Sub is submerged, its potential position on the board is indicated by Stealth Markers — little peg pawns. ¬†More of these markers can be added to the board to grow the number of possible positions that the sub could resurface at. ¬†When it’s time to resurface, the Sub can be placed anywhere there are markers on two adjacent spaces.

The Sub is able to move more quickly underwater, and usually gives you more possibilities than your opponent can cover with his Boats.  However, the Stealth Markers can be removed from the board by Boats and the other Sub moving onto the space a marker occupies.  If all of the markers are removed from the board, your Sub is forced to resurface and its location is chosen by your opponent.

Also, you can’t fire Torpedoes while in stealth mode. ¬†Oh … the Torpedoes are pretty cool too — but I’ll save that for another post.