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

King of Danger Updated [Updated 17-Jan]


King of Danger - All Cards, January 2013


I have just updated the rules and PnP files for King of Danger, my Castle Danger themed trick-taking game.

Besides a major graphical update, the card distribution is different now, and the rules have had some major tweaks.  In fact, if you downloaded the original file, I would highly (highly!) suggest you delete those files and download these … it’s aleady a much better game.

Here is the new download: {temporarily removed} (updated to v6.0 on 1-Feb-2014 … this game has changed a lot in the past year … check out the new version for a much, much better game ;))

Let me know how it plays for you.



King of Danger: A Trick-Taking Card Game [updated 11-Jan]

King of Danger Main Deck Card BackFor a number of years, I’ve wanted to design a new trick-taking card game, based on 3 suits and some specialized trump cards.  And I kept thinking it would work to base it on the same theme as Castle Danger, with players building up their castle walls while tearing down those belonging to the other players.

The idea sat on the back-burner for quite a while until two things happened within the same day a couple weeks ago: (1) I had an interesting chat with Grant Rodiek about a new design of his that might have some trick-taking elements in it, and (2) I read through a Twitter exchange between several designers on how complex the setups are for some of the currently popular card games.  This got my mind wrapping around the idea of a good, old-fashioned shuffle-and-deal card game … which brought me back to the trick-taking card game that was on the back-burner.

So, I present an early print-and-play version of “King of Danger” (aka “Castle Danger: The Card Game”).    The graphics are quite early and not overly great … but they are functional and should let people test the game out to see if it works, and what still needs work.

From the introduction to the rules:

“King of Danger” is a mix of old and new.  It is based on traditional trick-taking card games, but uses a custom deck of cards and adds-in special actions and an extra element of building and destroying castle walls.  Players score points by taking more tricks than other players and by having more walls in their castle.

And here is the download: {temporarily removed} … {updated to v6.0 on 1-Feb-2014 — this game has changed a LOT in the past year … check out the new version for a much better game! ;)}

If you give it a try, please let me know what you find.

Current Happenings

Matt Worden Games LogoWhile this is normally a pretty slow time of year for me (things really crank from Con of the North time in February through GenCon in August, andthen sort of change into a slow-mo through Fall and early Winter) I have been up to a few things.

I’ve been making a few updates on Facebook and Twitter — so, that’s a good place to get daily info on what’s up.

First, I’d like to direct your attention to a copy of Jump Gate that I have entered into the 2012 Jack Vasel Memorial Fund Auction at BoardGameGeek.  I will sign it and write an inside-the-cover message (if the winning bidder wants that sort of thing) … and I’ll ship it to anywhere in the world.  So, if you’re still looking to get a copy of the game and/or want to back a great gamer-focused charity, then put a bid on the thing.

Second, I’m happy to see that FatherGeek has had a chance to play Dicey Curves with the DANGER! Expansion, and really seems to like it, as do his little geeks.  I’d love to play a game with that crew — it has to be a blast!

As for games I am working on right now … lately, my time has been spent working out a simple dice game that recently popped into my brain.  I’ve put up a generic set of rules here: Simple Dice Game (Code Name: SB) (252)

MagistrateI do have a theme planned for the game, along with a specific target market … so, my next steps will be to get a nice prototype put together and get it tested by some folks.

Finally, I am continue to edge Magistrate forward. All of the post-GenCon changes have been worked in, I’ve figured out what would all go into the updated prototype, and I’m slogging my way through an updated rulebook … and, if you know how I work, you know that the rules-writing thing is a bit of a hang-up for me.  So, wish me luck and send me encouragement. 😉



Magistrate: Post-GenCon Changes

Magistrate "Map Board" with Kingdom Map and Judges' Track

The First Exposures Playtest Hall at GenCon gave me a lot of great feedback from the high-quality players who showed up to try the game out.  The core of the game still seems to be pretty solid, but I found a lot of different items that still needed some tweaking.

The week after GenCon found me in Denver for a business trip and I used my evenings solo-testing tweaks and changes in response to the things that were found during the FEPH playtests.  I group my changes into a couple categories: physical materials changes, order-of-events changes, and phase details changes. (more)

Continue reading

Magistrate: Final Pre-GenCon Tweaks

Magistrate in a 2-player solo-test in mid-August 2012

I am getting very excited to show Magistrate to people at GenCon … and I leave early tomorrow morning.  So, last night was my final chance to run through a couple of recent tweaks to the game — mainly around how the 2-player game works.

Magistrate really shines as a 3- and 4-player game, because the player interaction is very key in how everything comes together.  It also works as a 2-player game, but has shown that a player that gets a quick jump on developing can run away with the game. To combat this potential run-away feeling in the 2-player game, I’ve been modifying the way a few things works and giving special “in a 2 player game” rule adjustments.

First, during “Influence” there is now some random/system-generated movement of the Judge Pawns, so that they aren’t completely player-action controlled.  This automated movement is stronger in a 2-player game and very light in a 4-player game (since you have 4 opposing forces already playing on those pieces).  This means that instead of having different starting positions for the Judge Pawns based on the number of players, they will always run the full length of the Judge Track.

Second, I’ve increased the length of time needed to trigger the end-game conditions for 2-player games.  Normally, the game ends when a player has either gained more than 20VPs or has gained 3 different colored rings that show they had been the top scorer in that area during one of the scoring rounds … and a player can not have more than 1 of each color ring.  With a 2-player game, now a player may have up to 2 of each color ring, and must collect 5 rings to end the game.

My hope is that this will extend the game enough that someone with a slow start will still be able to recover and catch-up later in the game.  My test of these new rules (as shown in the pic above) showed that this might be working.  Blue jumped out way ahead with top scoring in all 3 areas during the first scoring round for each.  But Red had recovered enough to have won the next People scoring round and force a tie in the Agent scoring round … and was positioning itself very well to have the best score when the Military Judge Pawn hit the end of the track in the next couple of turns.

Of course, this may all fall apart (including the shiny 3- and 4-player games) once I get it on the table in front of motivated game-breaking players! 😉


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)

Continue reading

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 …}

Continue reading