My GenCon Indy 2013 Schedule

 

Dicey Curves Demo Play at GenCon Indy 2011It turns out that trying to keep my schedule open for as much gaming and schmoozing as possible has lead to pretty full-scheduled evenings at GenCon.

I definitely want to find a way to meet as many folks as I can and to get in as many games as will fit.  This year, I am rooming with the other three guys that I joined for the “FreeStarter” contest a few months ago — Chevee Dodd, Grant Rodiek, and A.J. Porfirio. You’ll likely finding me hanging out with one or all of them (or in the Gaming Library, or in the game event hall)  whenever I’m not scheduled to be elsewhere.

Here’s what I’m looking at with a couple days left to add more stuff … come find me: Continue reading

FreeStarter Results

FreeStarter GroupLast week’s freestarter silliness on Twitter was a ton of fun for the four of us designers that put it on!

With it came some great results.  We gave away 8 games (2 sets of 4 games), posted “get to know us better” interviews, amped-up the (somewhat) witty banter between the 4 of us, and gained a number of new followers in the process.

The winners of the games were announced here: http://hyperbolegames.com/2013/05/24/freestarter-and-the-winners-are

The interview posts for each of us can be found here:

I hope everyone had a great time with this … we sure did.  Now see you all on Facebook or Twitter or at GenCon! 🙂

FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway

FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway

I’ve been chatting over past couple weeks with a couple of game design friends — namely Grant Rodiek from Hyperbole Games, AJ Porfirio from Van Ryder Games and Chevee Dodd — about how we all met through the online game design community, and that most of  us already have almost 1000 Twitter followers (Chevee is … special 😉 ).

FreeStarter GroupWe wanted to have some sort of event to celebrate this and share some of our games with those who are following us on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

So, we came up with the overly silly “FreeStarter Game Design Community Group Hug Giveway,” where each of us are giving away 2 games for two different drawings:

The Serious Gamer Drawing … The entrant who wins this will receive free copies of:

The Casual Gamer Drawing … The entrant who wins this will receive free copies of:

Entering the contest is easy. Follow these 2 Steps!

1. Follow each of us on Twitter:

2. Email Grant at grant@hyperbolegames.com. Tell him which drawing you wish to enter: Serious or Casual.

The drawing for both sets of games will take place on the morning of Friday, May 24th.  So , make sure you are registered before then!

If you are anti-Twitter for some reason, we can make that work out as well … we each have a website/mailing list and/or Facebook page as well as our Twitter accounts — we just want to spread the online connectedness love in one way or another.  So, if the Twitter thing seriously doesn’t work for you, send me a note and we’ll find a way to go you in.

FINALLY … for those of you that DO follow us on Twitter, you’ll be seeing links to discussions and other silliness as the week unfolds … please join in and help make things even merrier. 🙂

Watch for “FreeStarter” this Coming Monday …

Matt Worden Games Logo - 2013Do you like to get free things? Do you like to participate (at least vicariously) in silliness on the way to the free things? Do you have a soft spot for folks who try really hard to be creative and witty (but the jury is still out on each of those points, of course)?

Then follow me on Twitter and see what happens on Monday! #freestarter

http://twitter.com/MattWordenGames

TGC’s Shrinkwrapping Crowd Funding Project

TGC's IndieGoGo ProjectTheGameCrafter.com, which is the site I use for publish-on-demand for most of my games, has their own crowd-funding project on IndieGoGo to help them add shrinkwrapping to their offerings.

I was all set to write-up a pitch for you all to take a look at the project and offer your support if you could … but then Noble Valerian already did an excellent job of just that.

So … please read Noble’s description of the project, and why it should be funded: http://www.noblevalerian.com/1/post/2013/03/the-game-crafter-indiegogo-campaign.html

Thanks for considering it! 🙂

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

Some Things to Like: Castle Danger, Keeps & Moats (first in a series)

A Montage of Matt Worden's Games as of December 2012As I mentioned in my previous post, Grant Rodiek is one of the designers whose blog I read on a regular basis.  He recently wrote an intriguing post on the idea of purposefully designing joy into games.  It got me thinking about my own approach to design — how I go about it, what I focus on, and why I put things together the way I do.

It made me realize that when I’m designing a game, I focus mainly on creating problems for the players to solve, providing them some limited tools to solve the problems, and then forcing some tough decisions on when and how to use the tools available.  Usually, those tough decisions work around the player choosing to give something up in order to gain some advantage.  This means that while I usually start with a theme and then form mechanics within it, I’m really a mechanics-first designer … since the mechanics play a more important role for me.

This does a few things:  It means that I usually am able to get the elements of a design to work together mechanically very quickly, making it easier to test things at a mathematical/physics level. But, more critically, it means that I’m relying quite a bit on the players to convert the theme and what I think may be a nifty combination of mechanics into the “aha” moments of joy that Grant wrote about. And, even more critically, it clarifies for me what causes some players of my games to respond with phrases like “missing that magic spark” or “dry” or (more painfully) “soulless.”  I’m not sure what this means for my on-going designs yet, but I think it it will cause me to take a wider view of the design, and focus more on the overall player experience. (I just don’t really know what that means yet … but willing to learn.)

So, as an exercise, I thought I’d walk through some of my more-or-less completed designs and comment on a piece or two that I really like about each of them. Quite likely, these will be related to the game’s mechanics (due to what I wrote above).  The first two games I’ll cover are a couple of my earliest — Castle Danger and Keeps & Moats Chess.

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Designers Talking Shop: A Few I Read

Protospiel Discussion Panel at GenConIndy 2011One part of game design (and design or engineering of any sort, really) that I really enjoy is the discussion of the process by those who are in the midst of it.  To listen to other designers “talking shop” and to participate whenever I can is an important part of my own design process.

Twitter has been an amazing avenue for me to connect with dozens of other designers of various types and skill levels.  The best part of visiting GenCon this past summer was to meet eye-to-eye with these folks I’ve been chatting with via the Internet over the past couple of years.

So, I thought I’d take the time to point out a few of the designers I’m currently reading.  This isn’t a comprehensive list … just 3 guys I picked out who have blogs that I make sure to read.

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So, hey … how ya been?

Matt Worden Games Logo

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  It’s summer time and everything seems to be going on at once.

I’ve been coaching my daughter’s travelling softball team, and working the day job.  I’ve spent a little time working on game stuff, but not enough.  And, there’s been a severe lack of camping and fishing so far.  But we are hoping to get that to change in July & August.

My game-related priority right now is to get the DANGER! Expansion for Dicey Curves finalized and published via TheGameCrafter.  I’ve sent my rules draft over to a few designer friends for review and got some very good feedback, which I need to incorporate.  So, yes — very, very close now.

My secondary game-related priority is to get copies of Subtilla out to reviewers so that people can get to know that one better.  And, my third priority has to do with getting a couple of my current prototypes ready for testing in front of other designers.

There are two up-coming games-related trips that I had put on my calendar for this summer:  Protospiel, a couple weeks from now in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and GenCon Indy, in the middle of August.  Not sure I have the funds or time to make both … so, I may skip Protospiel and use the time to go camping/fishing/canoeing with my family.  We’ll see how are plans go.

Also … I have a computer-based game project brewing … not exactly sure of the form that it’s going to take yet, but I’ve broken open my Visual Studio again for the first time in quite a while and I’m tinkering … so, let’s see what comes of that.

That’s all for now.

Warriors of Destiny, Father Geeks, Games and Games

Playing Dicey Curves with Cyrus and JeffSaturday was a long (yet fast), fun day of meeting people, talking about games (and gamers) and playing games of Dicey Curves, Subtilla, and Space Mission.

I need to give a big “thank you” to the booth babes of the day (they each got to wear my secondary booth badge labelled “Warrior of Destiny”): Whitney Watts (pictured to the right), my wife Britt, my daughter Anna, and my son Seth.  Whitney has a bad tendency to beat me at my games — winning Dicey Curves twice (once as a playtest of the DANGER! Expansion) and also winning Subtilla twice.

Playing Dicey Curves (with DANGER! Expansion) with Whitney WattsThere was also a Father Geek sighting (see picture above and to the left).  Cyrus Kirby of FatherGeek.com and another local Twin Cities game designer named Jeff spent (also a TGC user) a couple hours at my booth to talk games and gaming, watch a game of Subtilla, and then play both Space Mission and Dicey Curves.  I also gave Cyrus a sneak peek at what’s up with the DANGER! Expansion.  Good times and glad to have these guys stop by.

The rest of the time was spent doing more games-playing and games-talking and even got some more discussion in with Donovan about multiple things, including additional progress on the “Magistrate” prototype.  Met a couple of people who had liked the “Jump Gate geocache” contest I ran a couple weeks ago.  They reassured me that I can keep the clues tricky, knowing who the target audience is. 😉  So, we’ll see what I work out for my planned “Dicey Cache” find-it-keep-it event in April.

In the main room where my space is located, the miniatures games have definitely taken over today.  I love the way these games look.  Here are a few examples:

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