Move the Chains: The Powerful Potential of Player Cards

Move the Chains - Player Card - BackAfter a couple of posts (intro and gameplay detail) about my card based football game, Move the Chains, I have yet to give any description of what the “Player Cards” are supposed to be used for.

At this point, the game includes 18 of them, and they will become part of the players’ decks and used through the game to modify results.  They are also completely blank at this point … because I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to put on them.  I first need to test the way the plays work normally, without any modification, before I’ll be able to tell exactly what sort of modification will work right to add just enough spice to the game without overpowering it.  I also need to work out how the cards get into the decks.  Like the play cards, I’m assuming a little bit of dealing/drafting during setup, followed by some drafting-and-building during the game.

Here are a few things I expect to have them do … (more…)

Dicey Curves Update – November 2013

Dicey Curves, with new race cars, November 2013As I mentioned about a month ago, TGC’s supplier of their original racecar pawns had discontinued those cars and TGC was running out of them.  So, I started the plans for a full revamp of Dicey Curves to use new components.

In the meantime, TGC added a new type of race car to their parts stock. So, I ordered a set of them and tried them out with the original Dicey Curves track cards. And they worked great!

Check these pics out (click to see bigger pics)  …

Dicey Curves, with new race cars, November 2013 Dicey Curves, with new race cars, November 2013

I have updated the original Dicey Curves in the TGC shop to use these new cars now … so that’s available for order again. :) (more…)

Jump Gate, 3rd Edition, Back in Stock at TheGameCrafter


Jump Gate, 3rd Edition, 3D Box RenderOne of the very nice things about using a produce-on-demand service, like, for some of my games is that I do not have to do any of the sorting, box-stuffing and logistics stuff needed to make sure customers get a nicely-shipped product on time.  TGC does a nice job of it all. :)

One of the not-so-nice things is that if they are out of a part that is used in one of my games, that game is no longer for-sale in their shop until it gets restocked. :(  For example, they have been out of “purple wooden discs” for a little over a month, and that part is used by the new edition of Jump Gate … so it has not been available since early October.

BUT IT’S BACK IN STOCK NOW!  So, you can once again buy Jump Gate from … so, go ahead … click the “Buy” button … you know you want to. ;)


Magistrate’s Agents Finally Clicking into Place

Magistrate, Final Scoring on a 4-player Test Game, Nov. 2013

I’ve been working on Magistrate, in its various incarnations for over 4 years now. Yeah, I know.

During that time, the design has ebbed and flowed, but the core concepts have stayed pretty stable at the high-level … of course, the detail level has been all over the place. The piece that has really never worked or felt right has been the 1/3 of the game dedicated to the “Agents.”  I’ve even considered removing them a number of times … but I always came back to feeling like there needed to be a third thing in the game to pay attention to that would have a subtle-but-direct impact on the other two areas.  And, thematically, it kept seeming like it should be Agents that worked for each Provincial Governor.

But, I think I’ve finally worked around to a solution that I like! :)  Here’s how it came about … (more…)

Move the Chains: Offensive Plays, Results and Realism

Move the Chains - Offensive Play Card, Heavy FormationAfter introducing “Move the Chains!” yesterday, I thought I would take a deeper dive on the way that plays are carried out.  This will lead into how the Clock/Results deck works and, ultimately, how to make all of this realistic.

I look at the realism thing in two different ways: (1) Does it *feel* realistic (or “about right”) to the players while they play? And (2) Does it produce actual realistic results, whether it feels right or not?  Also, how much will realism need to be sacrificed in order to make a smoothly-playing game of a good length that is exciting and fun for the players?  I see this as the main issue to deal with during the design cycle on this project, as I’ll detail below.

A little background info first … Each player will have a deck of offensive play cards. The player currently on offense will have this deck distributed between their hand (5-7 cards), cards used to mark progress on the current drive, a discard pile of cards already used in the drive , and a draw deck.  A typical play will go like this … (more…)

Move the Chains: A Football Card Game

First Down MarkerI love football. American football. (I also really like soccer … but they are two completely different animals and really should never be compared. It would be like comparing water polo and volleyball.)

For years I’ve toyed with a couple of different sports-based tabletop games. I even brought a card-based football game called “Fistful of Football” with me to Protospiel in Ann Arbor back in 2009 … it wasn’t a very good game and was shelved as soon as I returned home.  But it sat there in the back of my mind, teasing me with different ways to make it work.

Eventually, I just started over from scratch, with the following goals:

  • *Just* use cards … no board or pawns/markers or other typical football game pieces.
  • Focus on the “chess match” of the two coaches trying to figure out which type of play to use and how to best use their players’ strengths.
  • The coaches should be able to build-up/hone/tune their playbooks as the game went on.
  • Keep the game at a “fantasy football” type level, instead of tracking ability ratings, stats, and other lower-level details.

So, here is what I’ve come up with so far … (more…)

I’ve Signed with Happy Mitten Games

Happy Mitten GamesAfter handing my “For Goods and Honor” prototype to Jeff Large with Happy Mitten Games during GenCon back in August, the past couple months have been a fun an interesting series of e-mails and Skype sessions.

The result has been a contract with HMG to publish the game, although it’ll likely have a new title and theme — we’re still working all of that out.

As part of the announcement, Jeff, Lee & Kyle interviewed me on their latest podcast. You can listen to us here: Happy Mitten Podcast, Ep. 16

Dicey Curves to be Updated

Dicey CurvesSpurred on by the loss of the cool race car pawns at — they were discontinued by the manufacturer, and TGC is running out of stock now — I have decided to give a full updated to Dicey Curves.

Dicey Curve's Cars and Dice

Sad that these cool-looking race car pawns are now discontinued by the manufacturer.

I’m not overly thrilled with the only other car pawn available at TGC, but the site is perfect for everything else I want in the game. Plus, they’ve hinted that they will have a new type of car available soon — I’m hoping it’s a new type of cool race car. So, we’ll see how that goes.

In any case, this full update should include the following … (more…)

Subtilla and Blaster Waves BOTH Make the 2014 GAMES Top 100 List


Subtilla, mid-gameI received word last week that this year’s GAMES Magazine Top 100 would contain 2 of my games! :)

Joining Jump Gate (2011 Game of the Year) and Dicey Curves (2013 Top 100 list), both Subtilla and Blaster Waves are on the 2014 GAMES Top 100 list!

Blaster Waves Setup to PlayYou can see them in’s annual list (click here … scroll to the bottom of that page).

This has me really excited, along with a couple more fun announcements coming up in the near future. Stay tuned!! 8)

Slowing it Down for a Bit

It's a Snail

I have a few originally-unplanned exciting weeks coming up starting right now … I took a new job. :)

After 10 years at my current employer (actually, it’s 6 under it’s current name, which bought out the previous company, which had bought out the original company that had hired me), I am switching to something new.  It’s similar work, and a similar mostly-work-from-home setup, but in a different industry.

So, after 2 weeks of travelling to close out my old job, and another week of travelling to orient to my new job, I should be able to get back into my usual groove again.  And at that time I expect to be able to continue on with this game design stuff.

But, in the meantime, I may not have a lot of game-related updates over this next month.  Keep an eye on my Facebook page and Twitter feed for more real-time updates as things go forward. Drop me a line if you have any questions. :)