Tweaking the King

King of Danger, Main Deck Back, Feb 2014The game of mine that got the most playtests while I was at Protospiel last weekend was King of Danger. While I was happy enough with it as it was — a super-tight little trick-taker about building and tearing down castles — it was wound a little too tight. There was no room to breath or make a bad play, and — as my buddy Chevee Dodd put it after playing it with him and a friend at his house — there was no room to be clever or coy in how you played.

As a result, I felt it needed improvement, and removed the print-and-play links and took it out of the TGC shop until I could nail down what I wanted it to be. Before leaving Chevee’s place, we brainstormed a little bit and found that if it wasn’t quite as strict about following suit, allowing you to follow suit OR play a King, it loosened things up a bit. This felt better, so I tweaked the rules and brought it with me for testing. (more…)

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! ;)

Muse vs. Focus

Whisper, whisperIf you’re familiar with the classic Greek concept of the Muses, you’ll know what I mean when I refer to my muse giving me an idea for a game … or when I say that I’m waiting on my muse to help me figure out the answer to something I’m working on.

I don’t actually believe that I have an invisible woman following me around, whispering in my ear with new, creative ideas. But, I’ve always found … (more…)

What I’m Aiming at with “Danger at the Walls”

Danger at the Walls, Main Deck Back, June 2014When I first started Danger at the Walls this past January, I wanted a quick-playing, 2-player battle game that just used cards.

Initially it was going to be 2 small decks — 1 for Red, 1 for Blue. Take your deck, shuffle, and try to capture enough of your opponent’s cards to win. Both players had ways to build their own walls, tear down the other’s walls, and capture the other’s cards. Since the decks were small, there was a lot of cycling through the cards in a way that didn’t require more shuffling. A sort of deck-depleter (as opposed to a deck-builder) with room for some clever power card combos. But, it didn’t really work. I mean, it worked mathematically, but there wasn’t much “there” there. So I actually decided to put it on hold sometime in April.

Then, in May, I had an idea pop into my head … (more…)

King of Danger is Back! (new print-and-play available)

King of Danger, Main Deck Back, Feb 2014

Print-and-Play File: {temporarily removed} … click the link to get the current print-and-play version of the game.

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As part of my developing the “Land of Danger” into a new core theme, I started working again on my trick taking game, King of Danger.

When I put the project on hold this past summer, I didn’t really like the game any more. I knew it had potential, but it seemed to be bloated and floundering.  So, it went on the shelf until I started thinking about it again in December.

This time around, I cut the game way back. Took the card count on the main deck down to 26 cards, and reduced the max player count to 5 players. Here’s the current full set of cards now (click for bigger pic): (more…)

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. (more…)

Pruning

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 … (more…)

Latest King of Danger Tweak Uploaded

King of Danger, Main Deck  Back, January 2013

Another week of playtesting has gone by, and I think we are getting close with King of Danger.

I don’t expect the deck to change much now … just tweaks around in-game rules and score and such.  This time around, I tightened-up the rules around matching the lead suit and restricted when you can play a King a bit more.  I also switched to the term “castles” for what you are gaining and losing throughout the game (it was confusing to have a Walls suit, and then be building/destroying walls as a separate thing), and I’ve adjusted who gains/loses them and how many. It’s starting to feel just about right.

The new item I’ve added-in is the ability of the Wizards to morph into Walls or Cannons on occasion.  For example, they are now treated as if they are a Wall on a Wall-lead trick, or as if they are a Cannon on a Cannon-lead trick.  When the Wizards are lead, the first Wall or Cannon played on the trick switches the castle gain/loss rules over to as if that suit had been lead. Not sure if that’ll stick … but so far I like it.

So, download again (only the rules have changed since the last post about the game), and let me have your feedback: {temporarily removed} … {updated to v6.0 on 1-Feb-2014 … the game has changed a LOT in the past year … check out the new version for a much, much better game ;) }

Thanks! :)

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 … (more…)