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.



Castle Danger, 10th Anniversary Edition, Rules Booklet Draft [updated 11-Jan]

Castle Danger, 10th Anniversary Edition, Rules Booklet Cover


As I announced last month, I will be updating Castle Danger at to a new edition in celebration of it having been 10 years since I put out the first edition of the game.

One of the updates will be a new rule booklet, using TGC’s new Jumbo Bookets, which are 8×10 and saddle-stiched.  This one will be an 8-page booklet.  I actually only need 5 pages for the rules, so I’ll use one for some advertising and have purely graphical covers.

Here is the first draft of the rules booklet: Castle Danger, 10th Anniversary Edition, Rule Booklet Draft (154) {updated to v1.3 on 11-Jan}

I’d very much appreciate anyone who would be willing to give it a read and let me know what needs fixing.  Thanks! 🙂

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.

Repainting the Castle: Castle Danger 10th Anniversary Edition on the Way

Castle Danger, 5th Edition, Quad-Fold Board GraphicIt’s hard to believe that my first completed board game design, Castle Danger, is about to turn 10 years old in the next few months!  The game actually got its start as a computer game in 2001, but by late 2002 I was working to get a tabletop version available for sale.

Four tabletop editions, 2 computer versions, and a free print-and-play set later and 10 years has gone by. Phwew. 😉

In the meantime,, where the 4th edition has been produced, has been steadily improving their services, offerings and quality … so, it was time to give my old classic a face-lift.  I plan to release it sometime in early 2013 — January/February timeframe, if everything goes as planned.

I’m switching to a thick 18×18 quad-fold board with brand new graphics (click the pic in the upper-left to see it full-sized).  I’m also getting my player pieces consolidated around a standard look and feel (no more mix of 4 different types of materials, etc., like in the 4th edition).  The player pieces look like this:

 Castle Danger, 5th Edition, Player Pieces

I also plan to redo the rule book, taking advantage of the new saddle-stitched booklets available at TGC … and a new box wrap too.  I’ll spend the next month-or-so tweaking the board graphics, creating something new for the box cover, and getting the rule book in shape.

I’m not sure what this will cost yet … I’m hoping that $39 will handle it, but I need to get all of the pieces finalized an setup on TGC to see what the underlying per-unit cost is.  I’ll post more pics and give more info as I progress on this.

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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Michael Fox Allows Me to Ramble On and On (Little Metal Dog Show)

Little Metal Dog Show's Jump Gate Ship

Oh, Michael! What has your dog been eating?!

Michael Fox of the Little Metal Dog Show — an always-interesting podcast about board gaming — recently interviewed me via Skype for the show.

That conversation is now part of the latest episode of the LMD Show!  And he lets me ramble on and on about things … for over 20 minutes! 🙂

I will suggest that you listen to the whole show, because he starts with a very interesting industry topic — board games getting develop for iPhones and iPads — and ends by interviewing Stephen Avery and Tom Vasel about a game they have in the works by the name of Capo.

However, if you really just want to hear *my* nasally monotones counter-point with Michael’s brilliant and lovely pear-shaped lilting, you can start around the 23:15 mark.  And, yes, I was serious about my part being over 20 minutes long … and that was after some skillful editing!

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!


Prepping for the Con

Banners to be Used at Con of the North 2012I seem to be working on a dozen things at once during the times I have available to prep for Con of the North.

I’ve put together a set of banners (pictured to the left — click for a bigger view) that I plan to display in my space.  I’m still working on how they are going to be held up, but I think I have a good approach so far.

I’m working on getting my for-sale products ready: the Dicey Curves are all ready, about half the Jump Gates are ready and the other half will be done tomorrow, and the copies of Subtilla were shipped from on Monday and I expect them to arrive tomorrow (cutting it a bit close with that one).

As I mentioned in my earlier CotN post, I will be bringing a few copies of some games just to play, and those are all ready to go.

I’m also going to have 2 different prototypes for testing — the DANGER! Expansion for Dicey Curves, and a heavier “Waro” that I’ve been working on for a number of years.  I was originally hoping to have at least 2 more ready, but they just simply aren’t.

Play Space Mission Online for Free at Yucata

Play Space Mission at Yucata.deI just found out today via a forum post on BGG, that my game Space Mission (the Schmidt Spiele European version of Jump Gate) is now available for FREE online play at a German board gaming website called “Yucata” — found at .  The site does turn-based games (you can leave the site between turns and get an e-mail to let you know it’s now your turn … or play in real-time when all players are on the site) between real people (no computer AI or “solo player” games).

To jump gate straight to Space Mission, use: .  This is pretty exciting.  I’ve already signed up under the extremely creative user name of “MattWorden”, and I’m already registered in 4 games.   (Please feel free to invite me to a game at Yucata.)  I’m impressed by their implementation … kudos to the game programmer that took this on as a project!

My hope is that this will do the following 3 things:

  1. Give people a lot of entertainment value as a fun online game to play.
  2. Encourage Europe-based people to seek the game out and buy it.  (Each sale translates to buying food for our cats … or putting clothes on our children … or buying me beer … whichever motivates you more.)
  3. Encourage some US-based publisher to team with Schmidt Spiele and bring the game over to retailers on this side of the Atlantic.

In the meantime, I’m just going to get online and play the game as often as I can … just like I play Castle Danger at or DareBase at … please feel free to challenge me to either of those games at those sites as well.


-Matt Hall of Fame

TheGameCrafter.comToday, I had the honor of being inducted into’s Hall of Fame.

Primarily, this was due to having first published Jump Gate at TGC, and the success that has followed for that game.

However, if you click over to the article, I think you will agree that my best hopes are for my freakishly-huge logo to take over the world! 🙂

Thanks to Tavis, JT, Jamie, and the rest of the team at TGC … it’s a great crew, and a great site for a guy like me to make some games!

Production Slow Down at

TheGameCrafter.comIt appears that — the on-demand publisher of several of my games, including the brand new Dicey Curves — has been getting slammed with lots orders … and, in particular, a lot of larger orders.  This has slowed down their ability to get games made and shipped.  For details, direct from TGC, click here.

What this means to me and anyone who is looking to get one of my games from there, is that it will take longer than normal to get it.  Normally, I would receive an order in about a week … now it’s taking 2 to 3 weeks.  They are taking steps to improve their throughput … but it will be at least a month before that starts having an impact.