Getting Some Games Ready for Protospiel-Michigan

Abbottsville at Protospiel-MN, Jan 2016, with Cyrus Kirby (Father Geek) and JT SmithI’m already getting excited about travelling to Chelsea, Michigan, in mid-July for Protospiel (the original)! I’ll be road-tripping there again with Jeff King and Sheppy, just like I did a couple of years ago.

I’ll be returning with an updated Abbottsville, and I can’t wait to get it back on the testing table since my take-aways from playing it at Protospiel-MN this past January. It’ll have some new ways of handling resources and the crowd-favorite pumas. I still need to re-integrate the character cards and special powers into the game. I’ve got a few ideas on how to do it … so, we’ll see how that goes between now and July. Continue reading

What’s on Tap for 2016

Welcome to 2016!Wow — 2015 flew by very fast!

After the weird 2014 I had (last time I reference that, I promise 😉 ), I originally intended for 2015 to get back on track and catch up to all the plans I had made for the previous year … but it didn’t quite work out that way. After the failed Kickstarter project for Aether Magic, a number of other real-life, non-game-related things took priority. Days of Discovery — while solid as a solo-game from the start — took longer to get the multi-player game right, and I simply ran out of time to make everything happen that I wanted to last year.

So, the approach at the start of this year is going to be a little different. I’m only going to worry about one thing at a time, and move forward with whatever is next on the list after that. So, my “plans” at this point do not go very far past February … and I seem to be perfectly okay with that. 😉

Here is what I have on the list: Continue reading

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! 🙂

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.

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

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! 😉

“For Goods and Honor” Becomes “Aether Magic”

"For Goods and Honor" ... Setup for a GameA few months ago, I mentioned that I had signed a contract to have a game published by Happy Mitten Games.

That game was called “For Goods and Honor” at the time. Since then, a good deal of testing-and-tweaking has gone on, and the game has been completely re-themed … although the mechanics are nearly the same (with a handful of changes that simplified and tightened things up).

"For Goods and Honor" ... Folks in a BagThe game is now called “Aether Magic” and is on schedule for publication later this year. Jeff Large, at Happy Mitten, gives the first official preview of the game on their site. CLICK HERE TO READ THE DETAILS.

I love where they’ve taken the game, and look forward to these next few months as things continue to progress! 🙂