“Best Laid Plans” vs. “Real Life Game Changer”

Matt in a Hospital - Jan 2014I was pretty proud of the work I did preparing for 2014 on the games front. I worked out my two main core themes for grouping my TGC-published games, figured out which pitch-to-publisher games to keep focusing on, worked out the order in which I expected to do things in, sketched out a vague con attendance schedule, and even got the website setup for the next materials to be coming.

And then the new year greeted me with a pretty serious medical emergency. (You can read the details on my CaringBridge site.) While I seem to be out of the immediate-danger situation, I have a bit of a long, slow road ahead in getting everything straightened out and to be back out in the clear.

And I don’t really have any clue how this is going to affect the games stuff.  I’m not really even figuring it out right now — I’ll get that all sorted over the next few weeks/months. For now, I’m thinking just about everything I had prepared to commit to is on hold until I get my feet back under me. I may not make any cons. I’ll just take things as they come and give you updates as things get rolling. So, stay tuned on that and we’ll see how things go.

Matt Worden's Games at TheGameCrafter.comNow, I did want to make sure that everyone knew that I WILL be carrying out the “Late Christmas Present” give-away that I just launched last week before all of the medical fun began. So, please add your comments to that post, or send me info via Facebook or Twitter … there’s still a couple days before I throw the entries in a hat and draw out the winner. 🙂


Right out of the Gate for 2014: “Late Christmas Present” Game Give-Away

Matt Worden's Games at TheGameCrafter.comOver the Christmas/New Year break, I picked up a few more Twitter followers, putting me over 1500. In celebration of that milestone, along with a fun way to start out 2014, I am going to be giving away some of my games.

Here’s the surprise: No purchase necessary. No “likes” or “follows” or “pluses” or “shares” or any of those types of things necessary either. 🙂

So, what sort of rigmarole will I put you through to be eligible? Simply: I want some direct feedback … and I want you to be generous, by suggesting someone *else* I should send a game to.

Here are the formal rules: Continue reading

Minor Site Face-lift Completed — Ready for 2014

Land of DangerIn preparation for some of the design direction I plan to take in the new year, I’ve updated my website header, menu tabs, and right column content.

It’s all rather minor, but should set things up nicely for new content that will be coming.

One of the more dramatic changes are the declaration of 2 “Core Themes” — Jump Gate and Land of Danger. I expect that nearly all of my new TGC-published games going forward will fit under one of these two themes. Jump Gate should be obvious, while Land of Danger will be a newly fleshed-out back-story of the setting for Castle Danger.

Stay tuned and keep an eye out! 🙂


2013 Reflections and a Holiday Pause

Merry Christmas 2013 from Matt Worden Games

It’s time for me to put the game operations on pause until after the New Year. I’ll likely still be on Twitter and Facebook during the next couple of weeks, but I don’t plan on doing much with moving my game designs forward, or posting about things until we’re into 2014.

So, it seems like a perfect time to look back at the fun and excitement that’s been had over the past year, and to mention a few things that I see coming up in the near future.

Let’s start with a walk through the 2013 calendar. Continue reading

Magistrate – The Economy: Cards, Cubes and Actions

Magistrate: Cards, Cubes and ActionsAs mentioned in the original introduction post, the main economy of Magistrate is: cards » cubes » actions » VPs. This post will get into more detail on this, such as: How do you get cards? How do they get converted into cubes? How are the cubes spent on actions, and how do those lead to VPs? How do the various areas (people/military/agents) have an impact on a player’s economy?

Let’s work through these aspects step-by-step …  Continue reading

Magistrate – Introduction: Paranoia, Power, People, Armies and Agents

Magistrate, Updated Main Board, November 2013I spent a little time looking back at all of the computer files — rules, graphics, spreadsheets, notes and change plans, etc. — that I’ve collected over the years for this game.

Magistrate started in 2005! It was initially called Uncivil back then, and the backstory was a bit different. The design bogged down and I put it on the shelf for a bit. It reappeared in 2009, as Show of Power, but then bogged down again and was sent back to its shelf. Then, in 2012, shortly before Con of the North was being held, I got the design back out, renamed it Magistrate, and have been working on it actively ever since.

In fact, I did a little collection of the various main game board designs it’s gone through over the years (click for bigger version):

A Graphic History of Magistrate's Main Game Board Designs, 2006-2013

But, I don’t want to spend any more of this post talking about the game’s development history. I want to just talk about what it is now … Continue reading

Magistrate: The Grand Overview

Magistrate Title BlockI’ve been working on Magistrate for a number of years. Now that it is really coming together, I think it’s time for me to give a grand, step-by-step overview of the game. I will write it over a series of posts, linking each one here as it gets published to the site, and leaving this one pinned to the top of the main page until they are all done:

1. Introduction: Paranoia, Power, People, Armies and Agents2. Influence and Scoring: Judges, Evidence and VPs3. The Economy: Cards, Cubes and Actions … 4. The People: Production & Popularity … 5. The Military: Forts & Fights … 6. The Agents: Obfuscation & Operations … 7. Conclusion: Interactions & Strategies


Move the Chains: A Wider Range of Possible Results

Move the Chains, Play Card Example, New 4x5 Design, Dec 2013One of the interesting things that results from working up a full physical prototype of a game is that you’re able to see how things fit together across the whole game. It also forces you to work out the details across the full range of the game as well.

From my first serious design steps with Move the Chains!, I wondered if having only 9 possible results (3 different defensive “stances” x 3 different random result icons) for each play would be enough. After I did the mock-up of all the play cards, I confirmed that it would NOT be enough possible results. It just wouldn’t allow for having what should realistically occur most of the time be the result that comes up most of the time, while still allowing for some stronger positive and negative results as well.

So, I will be expanding the range of possible results by making 2 changes. You can see my first mock-up of how that might look in the pic to the upper-left. (Click it to see a bigger version.)

First, instead of just 3 different random results icons, I will now have 5: Double Shield (super good for the defense) – 11%, Single Shield – 22%, Equals – 33%, Single Football – 22%, and Double Football (super good for the offense) – 11%. This will give an even nicer bell-curve-like distribution of this aspect.

Second, I tested and scrapped the idea around having the defensive player pick which type of offensive play they wanted to be “strong” and “weak” against … it was overly fiddly, and kind of lame. It also didn’t take into effect the reality how different types of defenses will give different risks and strengths against different types of offensive plays.  So, I am now replacing that system with having the defensive player select one of four different types of defense: Base, Run Stop, Short Zone, and Deep Zone.

The bottom of each play card will show a type of defense, and the defender will play a card from their hand against each offensive play. This will give the added benefits of cycling through your deck faster, and give an extra layer of depth around which cards you will draft to hone your deck as the game progresses.

I’m still working this out, but I like where it’s going.

Magistrate Rule Details Summarized in 2 Pages?

Magistrate, Final Scoring on a 4-player Test Game, Nov. 2013Yeah … I was surprised I was able to do it too!

Now, there’s no pretty pictures, diagrams, etc. But the 2 player reference pages give nearly all of the details needed to play the game without being totally overwhelming (I think).

If you’re curious, you can give it a look-over here: Magistrate Player Reference Sheets (36) … (please note: this document will continue to be tweaked as testing is done … updated to v2.1 on 12-Dec-2013)

And, since it makes reference to the requirements and results detailed on the Agent Ops Board, you can see that here (click for bigger version):

Magistrate, Agent Operations Mat, November 2013