Getting this Train Rolling Again

"Steam Train on Watercress Line" by Jenny GillelandSo, it’s been a couple of months of downtime on the games front for me.

Part of the time off had to do with the start of the school year and needing to focus on what my kids were up to, along with organizing the teaching program I run at church. Part had to do with a severe lack of motivation following Protospiel-Michigan in July, and not being able to attend any of the cool up-coming events this fall (GenCon, Gaming Weekend at the Geek Compound, Protospiel-Madison, BGG.Con, etc.). And a strong part of it had to with the weird, bio-rhythmic nature of my creative process (expect a blog write-up on this soon).

Those last 2 items are kind of related. So is my need — apparently — to do an annual pruning process in order to re-focus my game design time. I nearly always have too many creative project irons in the fire, and I have to pause here and there to do a mental reset to gain some perspective. So, on to how I am getting the train rolling again … Continue reading

Colonies of the Jump Gate: Last Big Solo-Test Before GenCon

Colonies of the Jump Gate - Example Player Components

I just took my Colonies of the Jump Gate prototype for another solo-testing ride tonight … this will likely be the last one before I need to pack-up and head off to GenCon.

The main pieces of the game are starting to come together.  I think my latest attempt at the action-selection system (“Tech Array”) is starting to work.  You start with 6 cards out of your 13-card “Tech Library” and 2 Rockets in-play.  Throughout the game, you’ll have a way to add up to 2 more Rockets, and with each Rocket you add, you get 2 more cards in your Tech Array.  Each card has an action or two on it that you can take.

When you take an action, you need to mark the card with one of your chips and tip over the Rocket that took the action.  You can continue taking actions as long as you have a card in the Tech Array without a chip on it and a Rocket standing upright.  Certain actions have requirements around where the Rocket is located — so that can limit you as well.  Once you’re done taking actions, you remove a chip from one of your Tech Array cards.  Your Rockets are always stood back up at the start of your turn, but since you start with 2 Rockets in-play, you generally will take 2 actions and then clear 1 of them … over a few turns, your Tech Array becomes more and more limited.  So, you can choose to “Rest” on your turn instead of taking actions … and then your Tech Array becomes completely cleared and ready to use again. (more)

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Scheduled Playtest Times at GenCon Updated

My scheduled playtest times in the First Exposure Playtest Hall at GenCon have been tweaked a bit as they tighten things up heading into the con week.

Here are my official playtesting times as of right now (updated 12-Aug):

  • Friday, 9am – Magistrate
  • Friday, 8pm – Colonies of the Jump Gate
  • Saturday, 9am – Colonies of the Jump Gate
  • Saturday, 8pm – Magistrate

Looking forward to getting these games played at GenCon!

Getting Game Prototypes Ready for GenCon – Magistrate & Colonies of the Jump Gate

Updated 12-Aug: Changed playtesting times scheduled in the First Exposure Playtest Hall

In one week’s time, I will be in Indianapolis for GenCon, which may very well be my “best four days in gaming” this year.

There are a number of reasons why I’m excited to go.  First, it’s a big party and it’s all about gaming in many different forms — it’s just fun to be there.  Second, there will be other specific people that I am very excited to meet in person … most of these folks (other designers, publishers, writers, reviewers, passionate gamers, etc.) I’ve only gotten to know via the Internet (primarily Twitter) over the past year.

And, possibly the biggest excitement for me: I will be bringing prototypes for two game designs with me to playtest and hone even further … and, possibly, find someone that might want to eventually publish them.  While I expect to play these with some of the people I mentioned above (and see the games they brought along too), I also have signed-up for some structured playtesting via the “First Exposure Playtest Hall” at the con. {more …}

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