Monday, May 23, 2016

Building the Team

 Building the Team

This is why I need artists on my team!
Here is view of the "Command Board". This is where the Incident Commander runs the Negotiations at the beginning of the game. As the game progresses, the Command Post, Negotiations Van, and Bomb Squad arrive to work form here. There is also a place to park the Armored Vehicle for possible deployment to the main board later as well as a place to park the equipment truck.

Since my last post a lot of things have been happening and I have several people interested in joining up to help me on this project. Once people get officially committed there will be introductions, but for now I just wanted to update you on what has happened over the weekend.

I currently have interest from a very talented young artist from here in the Denver area and I think her talent will be invaluable to getting this game a unique and stunning visual element. I am also speaking to a talented artist, graphic designer, and general internet wizard who will help me bring this project to life online. A good friend of mine is helping me setup a company and will handle accounting responsibilities. Another good friend who helped me play test my first version and even changed the way the entire game started will be helping with design. My sister-in-law has graciously volunteered to help with marketing which will be huge as that is way over my head.

Finally, I have already had a lot of friends say they are excited to play test the game to help work out the bugs. I go on vacation at the beginning of June and when I get back I will begin scheduling play test events through Facebook and other mediums as they get launched. They will eventually be open to anyone in the area so stay tuned.

I am meeting with my team members throughout this coming week and will keep you updated. One of our first decision points that I would like to include the community in, is this: What should the game be called? I gave a brief description of the game in my post "One Small Step..." near the bottom.

Comment below with suggestions for a name or join the poll on Facebook!

Until next time...


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Kickstarter needs backing!

Campaign Trail

I saw this game being promoted many months ago and was not interested due to the current state of politics in this country. Based off of the box art and title, I did not want to give this project a chance. Since then I have read the current Kickstarter campaign site and see that this is a game about how campaigning works, or is supposed to work. The creator's father came up with the idea and now they have brought it to life after development since 2012. I hesitate to call this a game and would probably call it a simulator. You advertise, campaign, travel, debate and try to get enough voters in the electoral college to be elected President; and you do it all without getting in to actual politics.

This game comes to us from Cosmic Wombat Games and is their second Kickstarter campaign. They are doing things right by listening to their audience. I remember what turned me off initially was the logo they had with a boxing elephant and donkey. Now the box features a capitol dome and invites a more educational feel than a me vs. you fight. The best part though? A viable third party option! This game can teach us a few things about current American politics and can show us how a third party candidacy can affect the game.

As of 5/21 they are 96% funded with 12 days to go. For more info on the campaign, click here.

What do you think about this game? Would you play it? Will you back it? Anyone want to play it on Tabletopia?

Friday, May 20, 2016

One small step

One Small Step...
I am designing a Board Game! Yes, several months ago I began developing a game that is unique, fun and very versatile. The photo above is my hand-drawn first version of the game. It has been play tested be several friends and family and I am currently working on version two. After several plays I believe this game has a viable chance of becoming successful. Those that see my occasional posts on the blog know that I back Kick Starter projects frequently and I am now looking to start a project to feature on Kick Starter.

This is going to be a large task, possibly one of the largest tasks I have ever attempted, but with the help of friends and family, I hope to bring this game to a professional quality of manufacturing and artwork. I am currently assembling a team of artists and other business-savvy people to help with this endeavor. A timeline has not yet been set but the first step begins today. I will keep posting about progress towards a launch day and will keep you updated about the development of the game itself so that I can provide a top-quality game that you would be proud to show on your "shelfies."

About the game: The game is a cooperative board game for 1 - 4 players set in modern time. The premise is that the players are controlling a SWAT team attempting to bring a hostage situation to a successful resolution. The game uses resource management, press-your-luck, and grid-based combat mechanics. 6 (or more) situation variables allow for the game to have a high replay value.

What can you do? Share this with your friends and help me generate hype as we take this adventure together. In the Denver area? Keep following this blog as I will need play-testers to help fine tune the mechanics.

Until next time...


Monday, August 10, 2015

A gateway to the hobby: "Takenoko" and "Chibis"

Takenoko: 2 -4 players, 45 minutes, Ages 8+

Overview: By placing tiles, growing and eating bamboo, complete goal cards to score the most points. The player that can balance growing their species (red, yellow, green) of bamboo with the appetite of the hungry panda will win the game.

Child Playability: Symbol reading required. Language reading skills not required. Low number counts. Bamboo pieces are small enough to be eaten.

Game play: Starting with an irrigation tile in the middle of the play area, roll a "weather die" that tells you to "gain 1 action", "rain" on 1 tile, take two of the same action, move a panda, obtain a tile improvement token, or pick one of the above. Then you get two actions to draw and place a new tile, irrigate, move the gardener (to grow bamboo), move the panda (to eat bamboo), or draw a new goal card.

Review: This is a fairly simple and light family game that is great to play after a dinner party or with your kids. The components are cute and well made and the tiles are sturdy. The art is great and the game play is easy to learn. If you have friends (especially of the female variety) that are not into board games so much, this would be a great way to introduce them to the hobby. The mini goals that need to be met throughout the game keep you engaged and make you keep thinking about how to meet your next objective. The strategy is light but still enough to not bore the moderate gamers.

You can block other players or set them back by trying to accomplish your own goals which can frustrate children...but they need to learn sometime and why not do it with a cute panda bear eating their bamboo goals? 

As a group game I find that it is great with 3-4 people that are looking for a light game. For a little more strategy and PVP action, a two player game is good as you really start to watch the other player's moves in an attempt to block their cards you think they have. Adding additional rules like discarding goals you already have completed or making incomplete goals count negative like in Ticket to Ride can add more stress for those looking to make it a more medium weight game.

Expansion: The expansion (Chibis) adds a female panda, babies (3 of each color), 6 new tiles and some new goal cards. The expansion adds a little more strategy to the game and a bit of luck as each of the babies give you a random bonus. Watching other players' bonuses from the babies can push you into trying to get certain ones if you know what is left as all 3 colors have the same 3 unique bonuses. The new tiles can make bamboo grow anywhere, one tile grow all three colors, and a new way to obtain goal cards. Chibis adds to the game without making it too complex and keeps it at a light - medium weight game that is still good for new gamers.

Recommended for: New gamers, Friends and family of gamers, Children.

Not recommended for: Moderate - Heavy gamers

Thursday, May 28, 2015

100' Faux Steelpipe Bookcase

100' Faux Steel Pipe Bookcase

After years of wanting to do a walled bookcase but wanting to go with the eventual Steam Punk theme of my basement I finally figured out a cost-effective way to accomplish it. The idea was to do a bookcase made entirely out of steel pipes. This bookcase required over 100 feet of piping so that would require about $1,500 in pipes alone.

I finally decided to use PVC connectors, floor flanges, and wooden dowels. This made the project cost about $300 with the primary cost being the flanges as they only come in steel. I used ¾” PVC with 1 1/8” dowel rods.

What the wall looked like to start.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Best Treehouse Ever: 2-4 Players - Ages 8+ - 20 mins.

Game Play: Give each player a base to their tree house place one of their colored tokens in the middle space of the tree house and the other on the scoring track. The deal 6 cards to each player. Players then choose one card from their hand and place it face down in front of them and all players then reveal their choice at the same time and place it on the tree house. Players then pass their remaining hand clockwise and play continues until one card is left that is then discarded allowing five rooms played per round. Three rounds are one game.

The first time a color is played it may be played anywhere. The first level of the tree house supports two rooms, the second three rooms, etc, on up to six levels. The outside rooms can be played on only one supporting card of the lower level but interior rooms must be supported by two cards of a lower level. Any colored cards after the first must touch the same color or it cannot be played. Each time a room is played to the left or right of the center-line, the balance marker is moved to that side. If the balance marker is to one side or the other, you cannot play on that same side.

After the first round, you then randomly draw a "no score" card or a "double score" card. From last place to first, you play your card on a corresponding color scoring card to either double or cancel points. each player then scores their tree at one point for each color unless a modifier is on that card. On the last round you only score if you have the most of a certain color and you score as many points as you have rooms of that color. 

For the kid version, you do not play the score modifier cards and just select a color you want to score and all players score for every color selected by a player.

Review: This game is fast and fun. The simplicity of matching colors and balancing the tree house is great for younger children and fun for adults as well. My daughter and I played this several times and I do not get bored of it. My daughter is almost four and gets the basic concept of the game. Strategy will come with time but after about five plays, my almost four year old can get through a game with the only real help needed when she blocks herself out of a color. Strategy will come with time and the kid rules reduces the strategy and raises the luck but still makes it fun.

The older version adds a level of complexity that is great for older children and adults alike. Memory is needed to remember what color is in each hand and anticipating the next player's moves is exciting as you try and make sure you get the most of a certain color. But if you obviously are winning with a color, other players will just cancel all your points with the "no score" modifier. The game then becomes subtle strategy of trying to anticipate other player's moves, the colors still in each hand, and making sure you don't block yourself out of certain colors while trying to it all.

Since the game is only 20 minutes long, you can play more games and keep the score card running through each one. I supported this game on Kickstarter and when I get the published edition we will revisit the game.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Munchkin: 3 - 6 players - Ages 10 plus - 1 hr. plus
Game Play: In the base version of the game, each player is dealt 4 of the two types of cards; door cards and treasure cards. Each player begins the game as a "level 1 classless human".
On your turn you "kick open the door" by drawing a "door card" for everyone to see. If it's a monster you fight it or run away. If it's a curse, it immediately affects you. If it's something else, you keep it in your hand. If you defeat the monster by having your level plus any effects from other cards be greater than the monster's level, you get a number of treasure cards indicated on the monster card. Curses are variably bad or silly and other cards include changing your class, race, sex or getting your very own monster. Treasure cards have gear like weapons, armor, and potions you can use to beat monsters.
The wrench in the game is that players can help you defeat monsters, or they can help the monsters defeat you. If you die, the other players get to "loot" your body and you start over at level 1 with new gear. The ultimate goal is to be the first to reach level 10.
The rules to the game state that all cards trump any rules in the rule book. And there are exceptions to almost every rule. There's even a "cheat" card that lets you break any rule. The game has over 20 expansion sets ranging from zombies to super heroes to western. All expansions are interchangeable.