Officially Introducing the “Tales of Danger” Game Series

Portuguese Carracks off a Rocky CoastI’m very excited to officially announce a new 7-game series  — Tales of Danger — that I will publishing over the next few years, as well as announce the first game in that series — Tales of Danger #1: Days of Discovery.

This Tales of Danger series of games will follow along the historic timeline of the Land of Danger that I posted about earlier this week. The first game will focus on the effort it took to make an ocean voyage from Europe in the late 1200s to first discover the land.

Check out the linked pages above for all of the details, taking special note of the list of shared qualities that all 7 games in the series plan to have (at the bottom of the Tales of Danger page).

On Monday, I’ll be sending out the official press release to news sites, reviewers, podcasts, etc., and posting the news in the forums at BGG … but I wanted to mention it here first. 🙂

Update 2014-Dec-15: Here’s the press release … Press Release - "Tales of Danger" Game Series (141)

Land of Danger: Background History

Land of DangerAs I’ve been hinting at for a while, the background history and theme overview of the Land of Danger has now been updated. Very soon, there will be a few more games available under this theme in addition to Castle Danger.

And, as I continue finishing off the “clearing the table” steps I mentioned in an earlier post, I am getting the rules to King of Danger publish-ready, and it’ll be available again as a print-and-play and as POD product on TheGameCrafter.com. (I’ll also have some Jump Gate related news in the next few weeks as part of this “cleaning” process as well.)

But, back to the Land of Danger … the thing I find the most exciting about all of this is the new game that is listed at the bottom of the theme overview page.

More about that in a couple days! 🙂

via Hyperbole Games: Tabletop Gaming Folks 2014 In Review

Merry Christmas from Matt Worden Games

Merry Christmas from Matt Worden Games

Grant Rodiek at Hyperbole Games (whose blog I link to nearly each month) has collected community-sourced 2014-in-review blurbs from quite a few tabletop game designers and publishers.

CLICK HERE to read the one where my blurb was included! In it, I mention things like leukemia, Dicey Curves, Aether Magic, and punching pumas … you should go over there and read it now! 😉

And, if your blurb isn’t already included there, feel free to chime-in via the comments at his site.

Wrapping Up King of Danger

The King of Danger Card from "King of Danger, v7"After the Michigan Protospiel this past July, I wrote about my planned changes to King of Danger. Well, you can pretty much ignore all of those things … because I tried them and didn’t like what it turned out to be. Plus, it became obvious that I was starting to overlap too much with Danger at the Walls (now on the back-burner), which had the same background theme, but different game design goals.

So, I reset once again, reviewed what I liked and didn’t from the previous 5 versions, focused on my original goals and the notable advice I’ve gotten from other designers and players, and set out to make version 7.0 the game I really want it to be … and I think I’ve done it. 🙂 Here’s how it looks … 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

Building Abbottsville: Less Puma, More Cowbell

Abbottsville Village Alarm - Prototype, July 2014Taking Abbottsville with me to Protospiel-Michigan was another example of why I really, really enjoy these sorts of designer get-togethers. You get a lot of smart people around a table to look at your game in a spirit of creative improvement … and the results of those moments have always made my games better.

Thanks to those that played the game and gave great feedback, I now have some really good take-aways on Abbottsville:

  1. The game needs to get wider and deeper … more narrative (“more cowbell”) about the people and the village, a wider array of things for players to be after, more asymmetry between players’ objectives (quick aside: a nice article about asymmetry by Grant at Hyperbole games) … make it less about “go out and gather resources” and more about proving yourself as a village leader.
  2. Abbottsville People Card Example for Doco, May 2014 Have the character cards drive that narrative and have the narrative drive the scoring. In other words: remove the generic “reward card” scoring and go with a more specific “complete mission X to score Y points.” (A special thanks to Gravwell designer, Corey Young, for spending some 1-on-1 time to discuss possible options here.)
  3. Having the predators all descending on the village isn’t as fun of a game element as having them wandering the map and interfering directly with other players. (“less puma”)
  4. Have the map spread out more and give a larger array of different types of tiles.

Abbottsville, Center Starting TilesThese are some bigger things to work through and will change the feel and flow of the game quite a bit, while still retaining it’s original core — adventures around an 1800s village on the American prairie. At this point, I’m letting the design sit for a bit so that the ideas can percolate.

So, here’s a feedback request for you: What sort of things would you expect to run into or want to go find while exploring the wilderness around a village in this “old west, but not too far west” type of setting?

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. Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading