Reblog from Hyperbole Games: The Love of the Craft

Hyperbole Games LogoI believe I’ve mentioned it a number of times on this blog already, but if you’re into playing or designing tabletop games, you should really be reading Grant Rodiek’s blog over at the Hyperbole Games website.

The latest example I would like to share is an eloquent way of letting folks know what designers get out of the craft side of game design. It’s not always about sales or “likes” or BGG ratings. Sometimes, it’s just about enjoying the process itself.

Check it out here: The Love of the Craft from the Hyperbole Games blog.

Solitaire Games are on My Mind

Space Mission's 3D Space Ship ModelI’ve been thinking a lot lately about designing solo-play games, and about adding a solo-play option into games that are normally played with multiple players. It’s a different sort of task — and I think a harder task — than normal game design since you can’t rely on player interaction to add an extra layer of challenge for a player … you need to have the game system itself handle that part in addition to the main challenge of the game.

Blaster Waves Setup to PlayI’ve only finished one game like this so far — Blaster Waves. This game came about as part of the 2012 Solitaire Print-and-Play Contest at There are print-and-play files available for those that like to print their own for free, and also a TGC-produced version that can be ordered.

I want to get better at designing for this type of play, and I think I’ve worked out a plan for that … (more…)

What I’m Aiming at with “Danger at the Walls”

Danger at the Walls, Main Deck Back, June 2014When I first started Danger at the Walls this past January, I wanted a quick-playing, 2-player battle game that just used cards.

Initially it was going to be 2 small decks — 1 for Red, 1 for Blue. Take your deck, shuffle, and try to capture enough of your opponent’s cards to win. Both players had ways to build their own walls, tear down the other’s walls, and capture the other’s cards. Since the decks were small, there was a lot of cycling through the cards in a way that didn’t require more shuffling. A sort of deck-depleter (as opposed to a deck-builder) with room for some clever power card combos. But, it didn’t really work. I mean, it worked mathematically, but there wasn’t much “there” there. So I actually decided to put it on hold sometime in April.

Then, in May, I had an idea pop into my head … (more…)

Back on the Table: Magistrate & Thunder Run to Gratis-3

Magistrate, Evidence Cube ExamplesAs I look forward to the Protospiel event in Michigan at the end of July, it’s time to get a couple of my other games back on the table to make them ready. Namely: Magistrate and Thunder Run to Gratis-3. For the most part, Magistrate just needs to get the doco finished and a little more polish … but Thunder Run needs a bit more work. That one (and Danger at the Walls) will be getting the majority of my attention over the next few weeks.

More specifically …  (more…)

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? (more…)

“Danger at the Walls” Print-and-Play Available (beta v2.1)

Danger at the Walls, Castle Sketch, June 2014As promised earlier in the week, I have assembled a print-and-play file for Danger at the Walls.

It is a free download available here as a PDF: Danger at the Walls (55)

54 cards, 2-players, 30 minutes, Area Control.

It really is the same-old-story from the Land of Danger: one army attacking another King’s castle, looking to take control of those walls. Play as either the attackers or defenders, using your Archers, Cannons, Attacks, and Leaders, utilizing clever card play and a little bit of luck to give yourself more strength at more of the walls than your opponent.

The artwork and layout is rather rough and quite basic … just enough to make the game work cleanly. I do plan to upgrade and improve all of that after the gameplay gets nailed down.

The specific items I’m looking for feedback on at this time is spelled out in the PDF file. I do not expect to update the PnP until the late-June/early-July timeframe as I get it ready for the Michigan Protospiel at the end of July.

Update on “Danger at the Walls”

Danger at the Walls Prototype, Red Deck Back, Feb 2014After first introducing Danger at the Walls a few months ago, the game has gone under a lot of changes. I even just tossed the scribbled-up index cards into a corner at one point and moved it off my formal “current projects” list.

Then I had a new direction for it pop into my head as I was falling asleep one night a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve worked up new cards and tested it out … and it really works well. :) So, back on the current projects list.

I expect I’ll have a print-and-play doc available sometime later this week. This is a 2-player area control game card game that takes about 30 minutes. If that sounds like something you’d like, I’d appreciate if you’d try it out and let me know your thoughts. Just watch for a post later this week with the PnP in it.

If the game continues to play well and I get the gameplay and card info honed down, I’ll work on a better design. In the meantime, here are how the cards are looking right now … still very early and rough:

Danger at the Walls, Prototype Card Examples, June 2014

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, 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 (15)