Magistrate: Swords Into Plowshares?

Magistrate: Swords Into Plowshares?One of the good things that pushing out the KS project for “Days of Discovery” does is to give me a chance for a breather, in which I can spend a little time on some of my other designs. For some odd reason, I always feel better about my creative work when I have multiple projects spinning at once.

Recently, I had an idea about my bigger strategy game, Magistrate, that made me pause and really re-evaluate a couple of things. At first, it seemed like a giant change. But, after thinking through it a bit, I think it’s actually a natural shift in what I’m trying to accomplish.

Magistrate during playtest at Protospiel-Milwaukee, Spring 2015The idea is this: What if I removed the “Militia” third of the game … and changed it to something more in-line with the rest of the them — like Farmers?

The various battle systems I’ve gone through over the many, many years I’ve been working on this one have never really worked the way I want. I had started to come up with a new “push other people around” variant approach, instead of having actual military battles … but that didn’t really hit the spot either. So, what if instead of fighting, we work the land in order to generate resources? Hmmm … I think I’ll have to spend some time on this new idea! ūüôā

Just a Little Longer (Delaying Days of Discovery to early 2016)

Delaying Days of Discovery Kickstarter to Early 2016Hate to say it, but I need a little more time to get everything together to make the “Days of Discovery” Kickstarter Project — my very first KS project — work as well as I am hoping it will.

As I mentioned a couple months ago, as I headed into GenCon, I knew the game needed some changes. The changes have been put into place, and I really like how the game has benefited from them. It can still use a few testing cycles, though. And that — combined with a number of logistical checklist items not yet checked off the list — made me realize that I was not going to be ready for a late October project launch.

Sponsor Cards for the Queen, King and Bishop in "Days of Discovery"From what I’ve seen in previous years for first-timer board game project launches, the period of time between Essen and late January doesn’t really yield great results (for obvious game-buying budgetary reasons). This means I’ll push out, yet again … and be looking at a launch in the February/March timeframe.

In the meantime, here’s a pretty picture of the latest version of some of the Sponsor cards. Click on the pic for a bigger version.

So, now on to more testing and tweaks, and getting all of those checklist items checked … ūüėČ

Tapping the Brakes on Days of Discovery … Again

Tales of Danger #1: Days of Discovery - Early Box Cover Mock-up, July 2015A couple of months ago, it seemed like I had a nicely-prepared path to get¬†Days of Discovery — the first game in the¬†Tales of Danger series — all buttoned-up and ready for a mid-August Kickstarter. The original play mode — the solo game — was honed and really solid, the multi-player mode was coming along nicely, and I had a good checklist of various logistical and promotional things to be done. The path looked clear.

The plan was to go to GenCon and use my booth times and other game-showing opportunities to walk folks through the game and promote the up-coming Kickstarter.

But, it turns out, I’m not actually ready … so, I’m¬†pushing the launch date back a couple months … again. The new date is Tuesday, October 6th [update: October 27th]¬†(which is¬†really my last window to run a KS this year before the holiday season hits).

Mainly, the multi-player version of the game still needs a lot of work. It’s still too long and the interactions aren’t quite right. I have a couple different approaches that I’d like to take some time and experiment with. So, a couple more months are in order.

Raimundo's Ships at SeaThis extra time will also give me time to work out some of the manufacturing and promotional things I was rushing or skipping over, trying to put the ducks in a row by August. It also allows me to relax and enjoy myself a bit more at GenCon this coming weekend.

So, please continue to stay tuned. This ship will eventually sail!

Patience and Priorities

Beautiful Mancala BoardI like to say “I¬†am not a patient man” — misquoting and doing¬†a bad imitation of¬†Forrest Gump¬†— but that isn’t exactly true. I have a lot of patience for people — especially people closest to me, or those I am teaching or coaching. Life has a lot of ups and downs, easy times and overly-busy times, and I am usually fine taking those things as they come and dealing with whatever is at hand to get through it. Lord knows, last year was a great reminder of that for me.

Where I do have problems with patience is on creative projects that I’m working¬†on.¬†Everything always takes longer to actually do than I’d like it to. At the same time, I don’t like to rush things just to get them done either, because I’d rather they were “right” than “fast.” So, that means I simply have to pay for that conundrum by burning through a little frustration … Continue reading

My First Blog at BGG (Tales of Danger #1 Design Journal)

BGGThose of you who are already subscribed to get updates from this website or already follow me on Facebook/Twitter know that I usually write my longer pieces here at

But I’ve always been intrigued by the interaction that folks get when writing blogs at BGG.

So, as a way to give some behind-the-scenes info on my up-coming game Tales of Danger #1: Days of Discovery, I’ve started a design journal there: CLICK HERE

Please jump over on the link, have a read and subscribe there … also, I’d appreciate any thumbs and/or comments you’d be willing to share with me there as well. Thanks! ūüôā

Clever Spell-Casting in Aether Magic

Aether Magic Card Art ExamplesAs I mentioned in my previous post, the Happy Mitten team has really focused on a handful of clear goals with the games they want to publish: easy-to-learn, engaging player interaction, and allowing players to be clever. That “Magic Sauce” post focused on the player interaction, so I thought I’d write another¬†to explain how player-cleverness comes into the game.

For those who noticed my answers to the “Foxhole Fiver” at the¬†The Meeple Mechanic website, you’ll see that I brought up the Spell Cards as an answer to a design challenge while developing the game. They weren’t in the game at first, but shortly after switching to the spell-casters theme, we got some¬†incredible feedback from playtesters at one of the many cons that the Happy Mitten folks played the game at. Originally, the turn cycle ended after your Aether produced some Elements. The collection of Elements were then scored at the end of the game. But players (rightfully so) wanted something more … they wanted to be able to actually cast spells — and the spell cards were born.

The spell cards do a number of things in the game¬†… Continue reading

A 2-player Variant for Aether Magic

Aether Magic on KickstarterThere was a conscious decision made during development to strictly focus¬†Aether Magic as a 3-to-6 player game,¬†because one of the central mechanics — the social auction — really only works well with at least 3 players. But since the¬†launch of the Kickstarter project, we have been¬†seeing comments popping up on Facebook, Twitter, Kickstarter and BGG¬†stating that a 2-player game was needed.

I’d had some ideas for how to make a 2-player version work early on in the process, but I set them aside as we worked on polishing¬†the standard game. So, starting last week, after a call with the Happy Mitten Games team, I got those old rules out and I started testing and tweaking.

The answer turned out to be much simpler¬†than I had originally thought it would. It boils down to 2 things: 1) Having a 3rd, neutral set of Runes in the game and 2) Replacing the normal bidding system with a pretty straight-forward take on the “pie rule” … I cut the pie and you get to pick your piece.

To see what I mean, download the PDF of the variant here: Aether Magic 2-Player Variant Rules


The Magic Sauce in Aether Magic Player Interactions

Aether Magic on KickstarterIf you’ve listened to or read any of the player commentary about¬†Aether Magic — like the player quotes on the Kickstarter page, or this succinct review on BGG — you will see a lot of references to player interaction, bidding/bartering, engagement, etc. This interactive style of play was the main driver for this game design, and was always our touch-point to come back to as the game went through its year-long development process, once signed by Happy Mitten Games.

Engaging player interaction, gateway-style accessibility, and allowing players to make clever plays are three of the pillars that the Happy Mitten team continued to stress throughout that process.¬†In choosing a very familiar, comfortable theme like¬†“magi casting spells,” they knew they would be able to get an artist, such as Jacqui Davis, to knock it out of the park (and as you can see, she definitely did!), but that it would also allow these mechanics to shine through.

Here’s my take on how the bidding works and why it adds so much to the game … Continue reading

The Three Main Things for 2015

Three Main Projects in 2015Things are about to kickoff in a big way next week with the Kickstarter launch of my game¬†Aether Magic by publisher Happy Mitten Games.¬†Once that gets rolling, I’m sure you’ll see plenty of posts from me on Facebook and Twitter (and here at the website) about that. But I’ll also¬†continue to post things related to my other games … and things may overlap.

So, I thought it would be good to have this post clearly point out the “big 3” for me this year.

1. AETHER MAGIC KICKSTARTER (February) Assuming everything continues happening on-schedule, the Happy Mitten team should launch¬†Aether Magic¬†on Kickstarter on February 10th. (I’ll have a link here once it’s ready.)

Aether Magic Artwork ExampleIf you haven’t heard of it before,¬†it’s¬†a fantasy-themed auction and set collection game for 3-6 players that¬†plays in about 45 minutes. Players¬†are¬†mages summoning aether from a¬†portal, making trades¬†to gain more resources, and casting spells to earn points.¬†It has a unique social-focused auction mechanic and cool effects-chaining during spell casting. The artwork, by Jacqui Davis, is fantastic!

2.¬†TALES OF DANGER #1: DAYS of DISCOVERY KICKSTARTER (April) Following rather closely on the heals of Happy Mitten’s project, I plan to launch my own Kickstarter project in order to fund the artwork and printing of the first game in my recently-announced¬†Tales of Danger series.

Queen Isabel of Portugal in 1290This first game —¬†Days of Discovery — is a hand-management, resource-management, and path-building game for 1 to 5 players that should play in 30-60 minutes. It starts out in the year 1290, in Portugal, with players trying to gain sponsorship from King Dinis, Queen Isabel, or another important figure, in order to undertake a voyage to find the secret land.

3.¬†JUMP GATE – SILVERLINE EDITION KICKSTARTER (Fall/Winter) In order to get a full line of¬†Jump Gate related games kicked off, I’m going to need to reboot the original game in a high-quality edition, which I’ll be calling the “Silverline” edition. I expect to have a Kickstarter project for this later in the year to fund the artwork and printing. I’m not exactly sure when it will happen, yet, as I’ll need to time things based on how the¬†Tales of Danger project goes. But, expect top-notch artwork, an enhanced storyline, and additional gameplay.

So, while those are the primary 3 things I will be focused on promoting and communicating about, I’ll still be working on some new things — just a little more behind the scenes. That includes getting a couple more games signed with other publishers¬†as well as testing out future¬†games in the¬†Land of Danger and¬†Jump Gate product lines that I will be targeting for 2016/2017 releases.

In the meantime — plenty to keep me busy with in 2015! ūüôā

Getting a Little More Formal

Matt Worden Games Logo - 2013As I take some very purposeful steps to ramp-up the Matt Worden Games, LLC, operation, it means that I will be getting more formal here on the website.

For example, I’m sending out my first “real” press release today about the new¬†Tales of Danger series of games and its first title,¬†Days of Discovery. I find it odd to write such a thing in third person, including a quote of me within it … but that’s how those things work. You can read it here: Press Release - "Tales of Danger" Game Series (141)

You should expect the postings here to be more focused on the existing games that are available for sale and on the new games coming in the near future.¬†I will also still include info on other designers and projects that I am keeping tabs on as well as some of the “talking shop” type posts. But, you’ll see less of the many side projects and other whims that are striking my fancy on a daily basis.

Of course, if you like to follow the full width of my current thoughts, the best bet will be to follow me on Twitter, and keep an eye on my Facebook page. It’s just that things on this website and blog should skew toward being more formal as we move into 2015.