Runways, Holidays and Protospiel Magic

"Days of Discovery" at Protospiel-MadisonI’m out of runway to get Days of Discovery ready for a launch this year. I have a number of reasons for this (for example, my Patience & Priorities post still fits). Mainly, the game is still not where I would like it to be.

I’ve made significant improvements to it by stripping it back to the main set of cards and getting rid of a lot of the extra fluff I had added in the prior couple of versions. So, it’s better, but it still feels a bit flat in multi-player games. So, I’ll keep developing and look for an early 2017 launch at this point. (see more on this below)

Expect to see more game development type posts on this one, along with more of the story mode type posts that will give a bit more background to the Land of Danger storyline.

In the meantime, we are verging onto the holiday season. So, I’d like to remind everyone of my silly little stocking-stuffer game that I made last year: Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam. Continue reading

First Written Review of “Santas Little Helpers” & a Green Gift Bag

All components in the Green Gift Bag of "Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam"This past weekend, my family participated in a local holiday boutique that runs every year at our middle school to raise money for our school district’s band programs.

Students trying out Santa's Little Helpers at a Holiday Boutique - Nov. 2015Knowing we were going to have a table at the boutique was the original spark for what lead to Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam. I purposely wanted to make a fun, easy-to-learn game that might be interesting to folks that don’t normally play board games as a hobby. Admittedly, this is outside of the market I normally target … but I figured Jump Gate and Dicey Curves wouldn’t do as well as a cute little Santa-and-Elves game at this particular boutique. Once I got the game down, I liked it a lot and decided to make it a general for-sale item in addition to having it at the boutique.

NEW Green Gift Bag of "Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam" - $10With that said, I have about a dozen sets of the game left over now. I packaged these in a spiffy, green, drawstring bag instead of in the tuck box you normally get when you order from TGC. They also cost 33% less — just $10/copy — and since I already have them on-hand, I can send them out as soon as you order them. Click here to buy one of these Green Gift Bags of Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam for just $10.

Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam - Review by TheFamilyGamers.comAlso, the first written review of the game has been posted at TheFamilyGamers.com … and they really liked it, exactly for what it is. Click on the link to check out what they wrote! 🙂

Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam

Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam - Title GraphicsIntroducing my newest game — available now at TheGameCrafter.com for just $14.99!

Santa’s Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam is a lighthearted look at a little-known aspect to life as an elf at the North Pole. Late every autumn, colorful cube-shaped fruits magically appear on the ice and snow surrounding Santa’s Workshop. The elves call them “ice cubes” and Santa makes a pretty wicked jam out of them. Every elf wants some!

Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam - All ComponentsTo get the biggest helping, you need to gather up sets of the ice cubes and get them to the Workshop. If you’re the fastest at gathering and delivering enough sets, you win! The game is easy to learn and plays very fast — about 30 minutes per game. It combines a randomized map with tile-laying and pick-up-and-deliver mechanics wrapped in a jolly holiday theme … it’s a perfect stocking-stuffer for your family- and casual-gamer friends. (Click here for full rules.)

For those who like a little extra fun, there’s a FREE COLORING PAGE (click here) of Kristijan Hranisavljevic’s title illustration available for download. Add your colors to it and send it back to me — I’ll share your work on this website and my social media feeds!

Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam - Box Image Santa's Little Helpers and the Ice Cube Jam - Back of Box

My Game Design Duct Tape: Multi-Use Cards

Examples of multi-use cardsWhile I try to do something different in each game I design, and I try to let the theme of the game drive what mechanisms are used, I do have some common tendencies … and most obvious of them is my love of multi-use cards.

As a player, I love to have options, flexibility, room for creativity to use whatever my current resources are. The ability to combine things or otherwise have a choice in what a specific card is used for gives the strategy-crunching part of my brain a lot of enjoyment.

As a designer, I love the way multi-use cards can expand a design without much, if any, increase in number of components. There’s usually a bit more math and/or spreadsheet work that’s needed to make everything come together right … but that’s a trade-off I’ll take most times. Continue reading