The Games I’ll Have with Me at Protospiel-MN

Days of Discovery, Abbottsville, SharkBait, and Zombie ClownsIn just a few weeks, Jeff King and I will be co-hosting Protospiel-MN (click to register for your badge!), which will be another one of my favorite type of weekends — put dozens of tabletop game designers into a hotel ballroom and help them playtest each others’ games!

I will be bringing 4 prototypes of my own along — which is about double what I normally bring — and we’ll see which ones make it to the table.

Here’s a brief run-down on each one: Continue reading

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

2013 Reflections and a Holiday Pause

Merry Christmas 2013 from Matt Worden Games

It’s time for me to put the game operations on pause until after the New Year. I’ll likely still be on Twitter and Facebook during the next couple of weeks, but I don’t plan on doing much with moving my game designs forward, or posting about things until we’re into 2014.

So, it seems like a perfect time to look back at the fun and excitement that’s been had over the past year, and to mention a few things that I see coming up in the near future.

Let’s start with a walk through the 2013 calendar. 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

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

Chum in the Water: Changing Gear on SharkBait

This turned out to be a longer post than I intended.  So, for the “tldr” crowd: SharkBait went out via the PPP and I got great feedback from Tom G. So, I made major changes. Feedback is appreciated.

Here are the latest rules: SharkBait Rules Booklet (83)

SharkBait: Fish placed on the Ocean Mat as sharksAs Protospiel-Milwaukee gets closer, I am prepping each of the different games I plan to bring along.  As I get each of them ready, I’ll try to post something about them here.  For example, I’ve posted recently about Cosmic Critters (including rules) and For Goods and Honor (rules coming soon).  I even plan to post a full set of rules for my behemoth (relative to most of my designers), Magistrate, before I leave for Milwaukee! 🙂

One design that I had fairly far along — or so I thought — was Sharkbait … a family-style dice game about saving fish from being eaten by sharks. Continue reading

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

SharkBait Rules [UPDATED 3-Jan]

SharkBait's Token BoardThis week has been extremely productive in a couple of ways.  The top two, from a game-related standpoint are the release of the print-and-play alpha version of “King of Danger” (my Castle Danger themed trick-taking card game) and my polishing of the written rules for SharkBait.

As mentioned in a previous post, SharkBait is a family style dice game and I showed off some of the Chevee Dodd artwork I’ve had the pleasure of working with as I get this prototype into shape.  My intention is to get this game tested and honed over the next couple of months, and to pitch it to game publishers that target the family game market.  (I’ll pause here to give Mr. Dodd a big shout-out … because not only is he a skilled artist and game designer, he was also instrumental in getting me through this rule-writing process, which I often struggle with.)

So, getting the rules into a publishable format (I plan to use the saddle stitched booklets now available through is a big step.  I need to be able to send the game off to groups to “blind test” the game … and that requires the rules to be easy to follow without me around to answer any questions or to give any guidance.

If you’re interesting in reading through the rules (these are not a print-and-play copy of the game … just the rules), you can download a copy of them here: {original file had 11 downloads, 4 responses} … UPDATED FILE: SharkBait Rules Book (updated) (99)

I’d appreciate any feedback that you have.  You can post a comment below, send me an e-mail, or post at me via Twitter or Facebook.


New Dice Game: SharkBait

SharkBait Title PageFor the past couple of months now, I’ve been referring vaguely on Twitter about a “super-top-secret dice game”, and even linked to a generic dice game rule set to get some feedback a core mechanic for a new design.  Well, here’s that design I was hinting at — SharkBait, a family-style round-the-table dice game.

Theme-wise, you are helping to guide fish away from being eaten by sharks … or, whenever the sharks fight, to get a close look at the sharks.  The “sharks” and “fish” are dice, and the core rules determine how you place the rolled dice on a scoring board.  At the end of a player’s turn, the fish on the board are scored based on how the sharks are setup and where the fish are located compared to the sharks.

Your score with the dice will let you pick up a scoring token — the higher the score, the further on the scoring track you are able to move your pawn.  After seven rounds, the player with the pawn furthest down the track is the winner.  (There are a few more interesting twists to the rules, but I’m waiting to post all of the details until I get those honed a bit more with additional testing.)

But, I wanted to share the prototype artwork with you, because I’m very fond of it … (more)

Continue reading