Magistrate Rule Details Summarized in 2 Pages?

Magistrate, Final Scoring on a 4-player Test Game, Nov. 2013Yeah … I was surprised I was able to do it too!

Now, there’s no pretty pictures, diagrams, etc. But the 2 player reference pages give nearly all of the details needed to play the game without being totally overwhelming (I think).

If you’re curious, you can give it a look-over here: Magistrate Player Reference Sheets (36) … (please note: this document will continue to be tweaked as testing is done … updated to v2.1 on 12-Dec-2013)

And, since it makes reference to the requirements and results detailed on the Agent Ops Board, you can see that here (click for bigger version):

Magistrate, Agent Operations Mat, November 2013


Magistrate’s Agents Finally Clicking into Place

Magistrate, Final Scoring on a 4-player Test Game, Nov. 2013

I’ve been working on Magistrate, in its various incarnations for over 4 years now. Yeah, I know.

During that time, the design has ebbed and flowed, but the core concepts have stayed pretty stable at the high-level … of course, the detail level has been all over the place. The piece that has really never worked or felt right has been the 1/3 of the game dedicated to the “Agents.”  I’ve even considered removing them a number of times … but I always came back to feeling like there needed to be a third thing in the game to pay attention to that would have a subtle-but-direct impact on the other two areas.  And, thematically, it kept seeming like it should be Agents that worked for each Provincial Governor.

But, I think I’ve finally worked around to a solution that I like! 🙂  Here’s how it came about … Continue reading

Magistrate’s Multi-Use Cards

MagistrateAs I continue working on Magistrate, one of the things that has become rather stable is the information on the cards.

Players manage a handful of these cards, discarding some in exchange for materials at the start of their turn, gaining some new ones at the end of their turn, and flipping over others from the main deck to check results of military battles and agent operations.

They are simply everywhere in the game. It’s been that way from the original design, although what was on the cards has changed quite a bit over the years.  This current design has been around for almost a year now, and has settled into its 4 different uses in the game, as illustrated below. Continue reading


PruningThe time has come for me to do a bit of clean-up and cutting back on my back projects.

Somewhere in the middle of the run-up to GenCon, attending the fun in Indy, and mulling/digesting things afterwards, I felt a need to put more focused effort into just a few things.  Which means changing away from my normal style of having a dozen things all in-flux at the same time.

It’ll be a “personal growth” thing for me. I’ve generally just gone where the muse has lead and not worried too much about planning ahead of time. So, I’m in the middle of a “sit down” discussion with her in my head. Time to setup the guidelines of our relationship moving forward and see what fun she’ll be able to conjure up within those boundaries. I know that creative restrictions can produce a wealth of ideas for a particular project. We’ll see if it does the same thing on a more general scale.

Here are the changes I’ll be working toward over the next few weeks … Continue reading

What I’m Bringing to GenCon Indy 2013

Jump Gate, 3rd Edition, Box in Shrinkwrap from TheGameCrafter.comWell, this is the “Go!” week for GenCon Indy 2013, and I am totally pumped!

I will be bringing 5 different prototypes with me, in addition to my shiny new copy of Jump Gate, 3rd Edition.  If you bump into me (I’ll be posting my schedule tomorrow), please be sure to show me the games you have (if you’re a designer), offer to play anything you’ve got on you that you’re excited about, or ask to play one of these mentioned in this post.

Here are the 5 prototypes I’ll have on me: (If you are a publisher and are interested in trying any of these out, please e-mail me or catch me on Twitter.) Continue reading

Getting Magistrate in Shape for GenCon 2013

Magistrate, at Ben's House, July 2013After some play tests at Protospiel-Milwaukee, I had given Magistrate a couple months of rest. But, it was time to get it back out on the table and start working on adjustments based on the feedback from back in March and testing some new ideas.

After taking a few solo runs and updating rules and player reference sheets, a real test was needed.  So, on a gaming night hosted by my friend, Ben (and his wife, Holly, and their darling little Ava), it was taken for a spin by Ben and a handful of other workmates (thanks Peter, Jeremy and Dave!).

The game continues to be close, but not quite “there” yet. The feedback from Protospiel, combined with the guys at Ben’s house the other night has opened my eyes to some new things to try.

Here is what Magistrate will be: A heavier VP-scoring strategy game that plays in about 2 hours, with 3 separate-but-intertwined area control games going on at the same time. Scoring happens at semi-random, somewhat-predictable times that are influenced by the players. And, the cards play a role in just about everything that happens in the game.


It’s close to that, but one of the areas — the way “Agents” work — continues to not quite feel right … so that’s where the more dramatic changes are coming. Continue reading

Back At It!! (summer 2013 edition)

Jump Gate, 3rd EditionSo it’s been a few weeks … errrr, a month. 😉

Summer always gets me overly busy into fun things that aren’t necessarily game related.  So, I’ve been off doing that sort of thing over the past month — camping, canoeing, hanging out with the family, mowing, weeding, grilling, visiting family and friends, etc.

Bedroom TV Cabinet, Top OpenI even picked up a new thing: woodworking!  During June, I built my first piece of supposed-to-look-good-furniture, pictured to the right.  It’s a TV & linen cabinet for the corner of our bedroom, made to match the new bedroom set we recently bought as a 20th wedding anniversary present to each other.  My wife did the cool stain & poly work.  I also have to give thanks to Chevee Dodd, who turns out to be an experienced woodworker and general fix-it guy … lots of good advice from him.  Also, from the folks at the lumber yard in Mayer … good folks there, and good lumber too. 😉

But, I’m guessing that if you’re reading this site, you probably don’t care that much about my camping and woodworking exploits … you’d really rather have me talking about games.  So, here goes … Continue reading

Magistrate Rules Ready for Protospiel-Milwaukee

Magistrate, Solo Test, February 2013Alrighty! I think I may have wrestled my favorite behemoth to the ground well enough to share it this weekend at Milwaukee.  This has taken a while, and lots of twists and turns (as a couple of designers I talk with nearly daily can testify).

I still need to prepare a player reference sheet for people to use during the game, but for now the rules are ready.  You can download them here: Magistrate (80)

MagistrateIf you played this game anytime over the past few years (variously called “Uncivil” and “Show of Power”) at the Protospiel in Ann Arbor, Con of the North in St. Paul, or at GenCon Indy last August … this may resemble more-or-less the same thing — but I think it’s quite better now.  Certainly tighter and easier to consume, mentally, I think.  I’d definitely love to hear what you think if you give it a gander. 🙂

We’ll see how it goes this weekend!

The Plates, They are a-Spinning: What I am Working on – Jan 2013

SharkBait Token Board Setup ExampleWhen it comes to creative projects, I always seem to have a ton of plates spinning at the same time … and just when I have a good grove going on something, a new idea pops into my head.

And that always leads to the struggle of how much attention to pay to the new thing. A lot of times I want to just jot down some of the ideas, maybe sketch out a few things physically, and then put toward the back of the line so that I can keep working on the things in the front.  And, sometimes, those new things cut to the front of the line and take up more of my time than is probably healthy.

With that said, I’ve always found my creative process to be rather feast and famine … so, when the surf’s up, it’s time to ride it and see how much stuff I can get done.  So, here’s my current list of things at the front of the line … Continue reading

Current Happenings

Matt Worden Games LogoWhile this is normally a pretty slow time of year for me (things really crank from Con of the North time in February through GenCon in August, andthen sort of change into a slow-mo through Fall and early Winter) I have been up to a few things.

I’ve been making a few updates on Facebook and Twitter — so, that’s a good place to get daily info on what’s up.

First, I’d like to direct your attention to a copy of Jump Gate that I have entered into the 2012 Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction at BoardGameGeek.  I will sign it and write an inside-the-cover message (if the winning bidder wants that sort of thing) … and I’ll ship it to anywhere in the world.  So, if you’re still looking to get a copy of the game and/or want to back a great gamer-focused charity, then put a bid on the thing.

Second, I’m happy to see that FatherGeek has had a chance to play Dicey Curves with the DANGER! Expansion, and really seems to like it, as do his little geeks.  I’d love to play a game with that crew — it has to be a blast!

As for games I am working on right now … lately, my time has been spent working out a simple dice game that recently popped into my brain.  I’ve put up a generic set of rules here: Simple Dice Game (Code Name: SB) (252)

MagistrateI do have a theme planned for the game, along with a specific target market … so, my next steps will be to get a nice prototype put together and get it tested by some folks.

Finally, I am continue to edge Magistrate forward. All of the post-GenCon changes have been worked in, I’ve figured out what would all go into the updated prototype, and I’m slogging my way through an updated rulebook … and, if you know how I work, you know that the rules-writing thing is a bit of a hang-up for me.  So, wish me luck and send me encouragement. 😉