The Games I’ll Have with Me at Protospiel-MN

Days of Discovery, Abbottsville, SharkBait, and Zombie ClownsIn just a few weeks, Jeff King and I will be co-hosting Protospiel-MN (click to register for your badge!), which will be another one of my favorite type of weekends — put dozens of tabletop game designers into a hotel ballroom and help them playtest each others’ games!

I will be bringing 4 prototypes of my own along — which is about double what I normally bring — and we’ll see which ones make it to the table.

Here’s a brief run-down on each one: Continue reading

I’m Headed to GenCon Indy 2016

Matt Demoing at GenCon 2015Once again, I will be attending the giganto gaming con that is GenCon Indy! And, unlike other years, I won’t be scheduled wall-to-wall demoing my games! 🙂 That means you’ll be able to find me to hang out and play games and such.

I’ll be driving down on Thursday, picking up a friend along the way, and leaving my Thursday evening open for picking up my badge and tickets, and finding folks to do the aforementioned hanging out and playing games with. For the next two days after that, here’s what my schedule looks like right now: Continue reading

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

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

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?

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! 😉

How I Used StoryForge Cards to Make Abbottsville Characters Deeper

Story Forge CardsI don’t recall how I first was introduced to Story Forge Cards, but I know that it didn’t take me very long until I ordered a set for myself. These cards are a deck of tarot-sized cards of different colors and suit icons that represent larger concepts that you’ll find in most stories, such as “destiny” and “wealth” and “identity.” More importantly (at least for how I want to use them), they each have 2 concepts on them — usually polar opposites of each other — each oriented to a different end of the card.

Story Forge Card ExampleFor example, one card has “Memory” on one end and “Amnesia” on the other, with brief definitions of each of the terms and hints at how you might use them in a story. The deck is accompanied by a booklet that gives all sorts of card layouts for different types of work — creating main characters, background characters, various types of genres and plots, etc. (Click on the link to the site above and choose “See Cards in Action” to see what I mean.)

Since I got them, I’ve dabbled with them just a little bit, such as forming deeper, more detailed background information around characters for stories I want to write someday. I even used them to do a character-build for a short lecture session at a confirmation retreat with 7th & 8th graders last year. But what does this have to do with Abbottsville? Continue reading

Abbottsville Submitted to TGC/TFC Contest

Abbottsville, Spring 2014As I’ve mentioned earlier (here and here), I’ve been working on a new gamed called Abbottsville, with plans to submit it to the contest held at TheGameCrafter.com, to be judged by the folks at The Flux Capacity. They are using the contest to find a new game to add to their publishing catalog in 2015.

I did officially submit Abbottsville as one of the entries in the contest last night! 🙂

Abbottsville, Early Playtest at Paul's Cabin, May 2014At this point, the contest is now closed to new entries, and the TGC community will be voting to narrow the field from 30 entries down to 20, before turning things over to The Flux Capacity to take it from there.

To see all 30 entries to the contest, click this link. To just view the rule book for Abbottsville, you can click here: Abbottsville Rules Booklet (67)

🙂