2013 Designer Community Preview!

Post by: The Design Community!

The question “what are you up to?” is often asked, but folks are busy, secretive, or just not quite ready to share. On a whim, I bugged the community a few times to send me blurbs about their 2013 projects: current hopes, great prototypes, and random inklings. The response was surprisingly large. Read or skim below to find out some of the cool things your peers are designing. 

Some quick notes! If you see text in Italics, those are my editorial notes. Click on the designer’s name for their Twitter link. Follow and join the community. Also keep in mind that I set the loosest requirements for submissions, so every designer’s “blurb” will differ. Questions? Contact me or comment below. 

Dave Chalker // Critical-Hits.com 

Dave is the designer of the incredibly popular Get Bit! Look for one, perhaps both of these games via DriveThruCards.com this year. Dave hopes to find a publisher for these games to attain wider release.

Criminals is a psychological game in the style of Mafia/Werewolf and The Resistance. Everyone is secretly guilty of a different crime, so players try to determine who committed which crime, while also disguising their own. Players can win individually or as a group depending on their ability to find criminals. Criminals supports a wide range of players, anywhere from 3 to 9, with no need for a moderator, and is quick-playing.

Inside Joke is a party game where players try to get one specific other person to guess a hidden word before anyone else does, while everyone is shouting answers. Inside Joke works for groups who know each other by making obscure references, or for groups who want to know each other better by having a conversation about what kind of references they would have in common.

Corey Young

I’ll be pitching Fiarrr! to publishers in the mainstream market. It’s a pirate-themed, 2-player board game for ages 8 and up. Players take turns blasting each others’ ships as they gradually pass each other in the classic broadsides tradition. I’d love to see Gamewright pick it up as the next entry in the Loot and Scallywags dynasty.

Santorini will be my first tile game, as well as my first “artisan” game. Inspired by the beautiful architecture and scenery of the Greek island region, the game will feature a nearly vertical playing board representing a growing tourist city. Players will play hexagonal tiles on the inclined playing board, building up from the waters’ edge to the windmills at the peaks of the caldera. Players compete to locate their hotels such that they have the most beautiful view of the blue domes and fountains below. I’m focusing on the game mechanisms, but the art is going to be key to this game’s success.

One Way Out (or 1WO) is getting a complete overhaul, so I don’t think I’ll have it ready to pitch in time for convention season. Primarily a racing and blocking game, the theme is time/space jumping, with each level being a different location and genre. The hooks for this game are its novel real-time level creation mechanism and its variety of themes. The core game will come with 3 level/worlds which can be played in any order. New worlds (expansions) will be sold as simple decks of cards.

Jay Treat

Completed Projects Seeking Publication

Intrigue - A trick-taking card game for 3-4 scheming spymasters. Deploy agents from different factions such as the Templars or the Shadowmen. Success will require working with your opponents, because every player shares one agenda in common with another. Can you manipulate enemy agents into advancing your own cause? The plot thickens when players plan secret schemes that can mess with the even the best-laid plans.

Assault on Khyber Station - A tense co-op for 1-4 players escaping from aliens on a failing space station. Your sleepy outpost among the stars has just been torn apart in a surprise attack. With blast doors slamming shut all around you and ravenous aliens teeming after you, can your team coordinate their unique skills to navigate the wreckage and find the escape teleporter in time to warn Earth?

Read more about Assault on Khyber Station here

Projects in Development

The Last Planet - A quick, tile-laying war game inspired by StarCraft. Three races vie for dominance on the last inhabitable planet in their war-torn galaxy. Establish your presence, claim valuable resources, and build your war machine before the others can wipe you out. The Last Planet features innovative tile placement for intuitive and quick play.

On the Horizon

Black Hills - A shared deck building game for aspiring chieftains of a demon-plagued village. The passing of your father, the chief of the village, has left you all vulnerable to the demons at the gates. Work together to save the village from disaster and hope that none of your siblings take the dark path when they realize only the most successful among you will win your father’s headdress.

Hollywood Disaster: Who can turn this mess of a film into something successful? Players compete to improve a random bad movie by re-writing, re-casting, re-shooting and editing the scenes to create more matching plot and theme symbols.

Brett Myers

“There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”

-Napoleon Bonaparte

One of the games I’m most excited about for 2013 is a compact tactical battle game I’m calling Sword & Spirit: Little Corporals. As you might guess from the quote, Sword & Spirit: Little Corporals is set in the Napoleonic Era. It tackles warfare in this period using a novel combat system that captures the positional tactics and volleying of the era, while encouraging dramatic action and swings of fortune. My goal in the physical design of Sword & Spirit is a compact size: it packs the punch of similar blocks-on-a-board tactical games in half the table space, and folds into a box about 8 inches square.

AJ Porfirio // Van Ryder Games

Note the images are placeholder art. 

Hostage Negotiator is a solo game where YOU take on the role of the Hostage Negotiator conversing with some unscrupulous terrorist or hostage taker hell bent on having his demands met. Your goal is, of course, to negotiate the release of the hostages and buy time for your crisis commander to hatch a plan to kill or capture the terrorist.

Game play features a mechanic I call Hand-Building (think deck building without the deck). The game encompasses the conversations that you have with the Terrorist. Conversation Cards are played to influence the Terrorist. The player faces difficult choices such as what cards to take and which to play and when. There is dice rolling to resolve cards, so there is some luck involved as well, but proper card choice and tactical reaction will separate the rookie negotiators from the veteran ones!

Players may take multiple paths to victory: do you concentrate on lowering the Threat level of the terrorist, which convinces him to release hostages and ultimately surrender, or do you concentrate on buying more powerful Conversation Cards to save hostages and eliminate the Terrorist? Or do you try a combination of both?

Hostage Negotiator plays quickly, in 15-30 minutes, and is one of those games you want to play again as soon as it is over.

Check out the Rules here. If you’re interested in playtesting the beta, email AJ at .

Chevee Dodd // CheveeDodd.com

I’m working on two projects that I expect to have completed early in 2013.  I plan on seeking publication for both games, but one will be made available on The Game Crafter while I seek out publishers.

Leathernecks ’43 is a simple dice game for 2-6 players.  It started as a game I designed for my daughters, Princess Dice.  There is significant difficulty in finding publishers for a girl-themed dice game, so I am in the process of re-theming it for a more gamer-centric audience.  The game is the first of a series I am preliminary calling Assault Dice. The system revolves around seven total dice of 4 unique designs.  Three of the designs represent members of the players’ squad: the Officer, Sergeant, and Radio Operator.  Rolling these symbols may allow you to advance those units, but suppressing fire from the enemy may hold you back.  The player may collect and use Smoke Grenades, however, to move through the fire.  Once one player’s unit reaches the bunker, the game ends and the player with the most Advancement Points wins the game.  There are no mechanics changes from Princess Dice to this game and you can read about the development at my website.

This game will be available on The Game Crafter in early January.

Hedeby is a card driven dice game (isn’t it usually the other way around?) where the players roll dice to gain goods, and use those goods to purchase workers from an available market.  Once workers have been secured by the player, they may use them to build buildings which give them benefits as well as victory points.  It is based on the Viking city of Hedeby that formed around 800BC after a nearby Slavic trading center was sacked.  The city formed up very quickly as the craftsman and traders moved in. I will be seeking publication for this game as well and doubt that I will make it available on The Game Crafter due to costs.  I have made the game available as a Print and Play at my website for anyone that wants to test it.

I have a lot of playtesting to get through before the game is ready to show to publishers because the unique buildings need to be balanced and re-balanced.  To help with my playtesting needs, I also developed a VASSAL module for online play.  It’s available at my website as well!

Jason Tagmire // Champion Land

Maximum Throwdown is a light, 2-6 player card-throwing battle game. Each player has a deck of cards in their specific color / faction that they will throw onto the table one after another. Cards feature icons that will provide the player with points or special abilities, but only if an opponent doesn’t cover the icons with their cards. The dexterity is key, as cards must be touching each other when thrown, but you don’t want to cover your own cards.

The game is in its very early stages. I originally created it as part of an internal creative game jam at Island Officials (the video game development company that is making Pixel Lincoln, the video game, and now branching out into the awesome world of tabletop games), and I’ve been tinkering with it ever since. After a few intense discussions, Alex Strang came on board to help take it to the next level. That’s about where we are now.

My goal for Maximum Throwdown is to debut it at Unpub, get feedback, tighten, test, and tighten some more. As for publishing, it could be a fairly inexpensive game to produce, but let’s see what people think first!

John DuBois

I’ve got two games I’m hoping to complete significant work on in 2013:

Bread and Circuses: A 4-10 player bluffing/negotiation game in which the players act as Roman nobles trying to manipulate events and their fellow nobles to achieve their secret objectives and make the greatest profit from a revolting peasant population.

In 2013, I’m hoping to finish a TGC prototype in January for the PPP, pitch to publishers in the first half of the year (Protospiel at the latest), and investigate self-publishing if there isn’t other interest.

Microbrew is a 2-5 player light economic game in which the players are investors in a craft brewery, supplying ingredients to brew the recipes that give them the greatest return on investment. This game’s a little rougher at this point, and my goal for 2013 is to do further playtesting and determine whether or not the game is viable in the first quarter of 2013. If it’s viable, I’m hoping to pitch to publishers at GenCon.

And of course, I’m sure to have some crazy ideas during the year to chase.

Charles Beauvais

Charles intends to pitch these to publishers in 2013.

Standing In Line: 15-minute betting game, designed to be played while standing in line. This game is also a member of the PPP. Click here for more detailed information.

Chroma Cubes: A strategy dice game in which players color in puzzles with crayons.  Players race to complete figures in their puzzle before their opponents.

How does it work? Each turn has three steps, which all players do simultaneously.

  1. Roll: Players roll all their dice on the first turn. On subsequent turns, only roll the dice you’ve used.
  2. Color: Use sets of dice to complete sections of the puzzle.
  3. Score: When you complete an entire figure, you get the highest remaining score. Players who finish later score fewer points.

Click here for more information.

Mission Control: A map-building game with a space exploration theme. Click here for a walkthrough of the game.

Christopher Chung // Flash Forward Games

The main title I’m working on is called Bucket List.

  • 2-4 players
  • Ages 12+
  • About 45-130 minutes
  • Resource Management game.

The synopsis of it is that your Doctor has given you one calendar year to live because of your terminal disease, so you go want to go out with a bang and complete as many tasks on your Bucket List as possible. Each task, ranging from visiting the Mona Lisa in Paris or Base jumping in Machu Pichu carries its own Legacy, Thrill, and Fatality Levels, so you must allocate your Money, Sanity, and Vitality to as many tasks as possible before your time is up. You have control over what you put into your “IV Bag,” but what comes out of it is entirely random. Score the most Victory Points by the end of the year through completing Plans or scoring Counters at the end of each month and you win.

I’m working on balancing the prototype right now, and deciding if I want to introduce a cap on turns; rather than endless play, give each player 12 turns (one for each month) and see what they can do with them. I hope to playtest this at game designer meet ups, create some sell sheets, and then see where it takes me.

Daniel Baneson // Fishagon

Solar is a fast-paced deck building/dice fighting card game developed by Fishagon.

The game comes with 24 cards each being of a different “class” such as Knight, Pyromancer, Assassin, etc. It’s a 2 player game where players decide who picks first and then enter a draft with each player choosing 1 card each “turn” until both players have a 12 card deck. Then they will proceed to drawing 3 cards a turn using 1 and putting 2 back at the bottom of their decks. Players then proceed to battle with a series of offensive and defensive stages using 2 die and the class skills for combat. The victor of 5 battles will win the game!

The artwork shown is concept art by our newly hired artist “Kaorien” for the Pyromancer class. The game is scheduled for release around March 2013 after a hopefully successful Kickstarter campaign!

Chris and Suzanne Zinsli // Cardboard Edison

Cardboard Edison has one of my favorite feeds on Twitter. He collects interesting advice from board game designers and publishers and shares it. Follow them!


  • 4+ players
  • 30-45 minutes

The first game from Cardboard Edison, Skewphemisms is a party game built on alliteration. Guess the everyday expression suggested by a series of alliterative clues.

We’re debuting Skewphemisms at Cartrunk Entertainment’s Unpub 3 event in Delaware in January. Because it’s a mass-market game with lots of opportunities for expansion, our goal for 2013 is to find a publisher with wide distribution to get the game into as many word-lovers’ hands as possible!


  • 2 players
  • 30 minutes

A real-time card game from Cardboard Edison, Tessen pits two players against each other in ancient Japan. To win, players will have to move fast and think even faster. Tessen uses set collection and hand management mechanics. The game rewards players who can keep track of their opponent’s movements as well as their own on the fly.

Tessen also will be at Unpub in January. In 2013, we plan to settle on a publishing plan for the game. We might self-publish, seek out a young publisher who specializes in quick, light games, or offer it through a print-on-demand service.

Jeremiah Lee

Zombie House Blitz from Stupid Awesome Games. Zombie House Blitz is a 2-6 player speed card game. Players race to get their family out of the house and safely into an escape car before the cars are full. Will be on Kickstarter in March.

Zombie in Your Pocket from Valley Games. Zombie in Your Pocket is a 1-4 player cooperative game of survival. Players are survivors trapped in zombie infested houses, malls, and game conventions. Find your friends, kill the zombies, and don’t let the bats poop in your eyes. This is a new cooperative game based on the popular Zombie in my Pocket print and play solo game.

Patrick Nickell // Crash Games

When I found out Patrick signed Tory Niemann’s new game, I immediately began bugging him for information. If Pay Dirt is as good as Alien Frontiers, this could be Crash’s break out hit.

Pay Dirt

  • 2-4 Players
  • 75-90 Minutes (Probably 2 hours on 1st play)
  • Worker Placement, Auction/Bidding
  • Industrial/Environment Theme

The inspiration for Pay Dirt came to Tory because he is a fan of the show Gold Rush and thought it would make a pretty cool board game. Tory just won a Golden Geek Award for Alien Frontiers:Factions and this would be his second published game and the follow up to the smash hit Alien Frontiers.

In Pay Dirt, a gold excavation game set in Alaska, players must manage and grow their entire mining outfit, from workers and personnel to equipment and gear. The Alaskan Yukon is an inhospitable environment, so players will face hardships that affect their entire outfit – not to mention the ever-dropping temperature that will eventually shut down their operation. The player with the most gold at the end of the game is the winner but this will be especially challenging since players have to sell gold in order to upgrade their equipment, gear and personnel.

On a personal note I have great hopes for Pay Dirt and I really feel that it will be my marque publication if it is successful on Kickstarter. I really love playing the game and I feel that it provides a unique and different approach to worker placement games. I feel the game plays very thematically and I have high hopes for the art.

I am planning on having the art completely done before the project launches on Kickstarter in September and I will be showing it off at UnPub3, Origins, GenCon and then launching it on Kickstarter in September.

Daniel Solis // Smart Play Games

Belle of the Ball: After a year of intense development, I’m ready to call Belle of the Ball a fully baked game. It’s the kind of game that apparently gets people to laugh out loud in bars and do impromptu interpretive dance. My plan is to put the current prototype up on a POD online store, build buzz, and pitch to publishers. Whether I DIY it or license to a publisher, I expect Kickstarter to be involved somehow, too. My hope is to have Belle of the Ball be my first published box title by the end of 2013. Ambitious, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

Diverse Testing! A few months ago, I noticed I had something like forty playtesters, but only five women. So, I actively put out a call for more women testers. It’s been a blast getting their feedback in the development and this is something I hope to continue in the new year. I’m going to highly recommend to all new game designers that they improve the gender balance of playtest pool.

My Measure of Success for 2013: I want the number of person-hours playing one of my games to exceed the number of person-hours I spent designing it.

Paul Imboden & Randy Field // Split Second Games

As designers, we’re in initial playtests for a trick-taking, everyone-for-themselves card game with changing contracts — possibly with a gangster theme, but virtually any theme would work, including none.

We’re rebooting Minimum Wage Gorilla, a blind-bid area-control game set in a zoo.  9 turns total, averaging 60-90 min with 4 players.  We’re excited about this one, and we hope it’s back into playtest mode.

And if we can find a way to not be utterly derivative, I’d love to take a crack at a modern-day ghost-hunting cooperative game.

As publishers, we’re also looking to import and/or seek out a few card games next year, as well as at least one dexterity game.  The Merchant of Venus fiasco has put us in “measure three times, measure once more” mode in terms of ownership, however, so expect us to call our shots VERY carefully.  This might mean pushing back to 2014… but rather that than the dual-ownership headache.

Also, this will not be the year we stop using Kickstarter.  We hope to rely on it less and less as Split Second Games becomes a known commodity, but we’re just not there yet.  Expect some offering(s) from us in 2013.

Marc Specter // GrandCon

Marc isn’t a designer, but he’s deeply connected to the community and is putting on a convention, GrandCon. He asked if he could share this info and I heartily agreed.

GrandCon features tabletop gaming in all its forms, as well as comic books and the creators behind them. We provide an atmosphere that will allow gamers and comic book fans to mingle and appreciate their shared interests.

Come to play or chat your heart out with fellow enthusiasts in a community that understands your passions.  Get lost in the adventure of your favorite role-playing game.  Admire costumes and art from vendors and attendees. Meet the creators behind your favorite mainstream and independent games and comic books. Check out unpublished games and sneak a peek at things to come.

Feel free to check out our Facebook page and website.

Michael Coe // Gamelyn Games

I’m currently working on 3 game designs to watch for.

1st being Lords, Ladies & Lizards. It’s a one-of-a-kind role playing adventure set in a medieval fantasy world threatened by an all powerful Dragon! Up to six Players get a chance to create and develop Characters through a complex journey that involves strategy, economics, politics and war! Players are able to play as either a Lord, a Lady or a Lizard, each with unique properties and leveling bonuses. Over the span of many game years, players will face personal struggles with jealousy and greed, deceit and rage! They will travel across three continents by land, by sea and by air, clearing the way of treacherous monsters. But there will only be one winner and that is the one who defeats the Dragon! Do YOU have what it takes to defeat the Dragon!?

2nd being Icefall. Players take on the role of ice climbers risking it all on the world’s most dangerous icefall! With a modular game board players will be adding to the top of the board as they climb and must stay away from the bottom of the board as it is removed periodically.

Every round players face the challenges of ice climbing by revealing tiles they are approaching. These tiles will present varying degrees of ice thickness, how slippery the surfaces are, the moraine gradings, crevasses, boulders and more! Each tile requires a different response from the player. Do you dig in and keep climbing? Do you swing to another location (tile)? Or, do you bust out the ice screw and hook in? Either way, you better decide fast, because every time the sand-glass runs out the lowest portion of the mountain crumbles into an avalanche. The players’ positioning on the board (mountain) will determine if they become part of the avalanche or live to make another tough decision.

The goal of the game is to reach the summit, where a rescue helicopter is waiting. The game incorporates press your luck elements with time control and quick decision making. Co-op games involve a steeper challenge requiring extensive team work including rope systems, leading and belaying.

Lastly, King’s Town. A 2-4 Player Civ Building Card Game. More about this one coming soon.

Matthew O’Mally // Black Oak Games

Knot Dice and Crossing Swords will be presented at UnPub 3, and I am discussing both games with publishers and considering self-publishing as well.

Knot Dice – Knot Dice is a box full of games, puzzles, and art. The dice themselves are custom Celtic knot pieces that can be put together like tile-laying games or into more traditional knot designs.

There are 40 dice in the box along with a two-sided game board and a scoring board. The game rules included are:

  • Kells – a cooperative game for 2-6 players, in which you try to form a closed design using as many dice as possible
  • Celtic Cross – a competitive game for 2 players, which feels somewhat similar to Scrabble
  • Speed Knots – a competitive game for 2-4 players, in which you try to form a closed design with your dice as quickly as possible
  • Hill Fort – a competitive game for 2-4 players, in which you try to form closed designs on a verticals space
  • Gordian Knot – a competitive game for 2 players, in which you try to form closed designs that wrap around all of the sides of the dice in a 3-dimensional space
  • Osbox – a competitive game for 2 or 4 players, which feels somewhat similar to Tetris, designed by Cameron Browne (used with permission)

I’ve come up with some other game ideas that won’t go into the game box, but will be posted on the web along with player-contributed games that I hope players will come up with once they have the dice in their hands.

Finally, there are a number of puzzles to be worked, solo or with 2-4 players, and plenty of designs to create and enjoy using one or more sets of the dice.

Crossing Swords – This is a sword-fighting card game in the fencing era (think musketeers, pirates, all those great sword-fighting movies). The idea was to come up with something that approximated the feel of a film sword fight, including both speed and strategy. I’m still working on some of the gameplay, so I hope to do a lot of playtesting at UnPub.

Unnamed – Lastly, I’m starting work on a worker-placement game. This is the kind of game I actually spend the most time playing, but it’s taken me a while to come up with something that I feel is good enough to pursue. I’ll post more on my blog as the game develops.

Grant Rodiek // Hyperbole Games

Ready to Go?

Empire: This is my big hope for 2013 and has been submitted to a publisher. Pending their input, it’ll hopefully be developed and published, or I’ll revise it for the Con season and new pitches. Empire is a medium heft area control Euro/war game for 2-4 players in about an hour. The game features four unique factions and entirely card driven gameplay for a low-luck game of strategy. The cards are simple and provide one key piece of decision tension: Do you play the card for Reinforcements, or combine it with others for a powerful Tactic? Read more, check the rules, or get the PNP here.

Livestocked and Loaded: This is the expansion to Farmageddon and will be published by 5th Street Games. The game adds Animals, Weather, and new Action cards to the mix. The game still needs testing time for polish and balance. The game will be put into circulation in the PPP soon and should be out sometime in 2013.

In Development

Insurrection: I’m on my fourth significant design revision for this game. It is now a 2 player tactics game broken into two distinct layers. Firstly, you have the high level game, where players play powerful cards to position their fleets and put Units in place. Actions take place on a 3×3 grid of cards with “orbiting” fleets on the outskirts. The key is positioning to strike when it is most advantageous.

Then, when a battle takes place, players bust out the dice and meeples and quickly battle through a simple skirmish game that incorporates cover, suppression, and flanking tactics. You can read about some of the earlier ideas for this here. My hope is to enter Insurrection into the TGC Map Builder Design Challenge. We’ll see where it goes afterwards.

Extra! Extra!: This is a silly game where I’m trying to take some of the laughter of a party game and mix it with some light strategy. 3-5 players are newspaper reporters trying to gather and write the best stories for the deadline. Players will build stories out of Who, What, and Why cards. The key is playing the cards to the right story at the right time. This game is set to test early next year.

Poor Abby Farnsworth: This witchy game might make a return. Maybe. As something completely new.

Have a great and fortuitous 2013 guys and gals!

Hardly Board: 2012 in Review

Post by: Grant Rodiek

Looking back helps one look forward and prepare for exciting things. I always enjoy retrospective pieces, so here we are. 2012 was a big year for my board game hobby. I really hope 2013 is even bigger, with a second game being licensed (hopefully!) and more unforeseen excellence. This piece will be a bit of a “best of” in regards to my blog, but also my year. Enjoy and share your own highlights in the comments!

The Family Friendly Farming Game of the Apocalypse

In the summer of 2011 I designed a simple card-driven farming game called Farmageddon. After months of seeking a publisher, Phil Kilcrease of 5th Street Games offered to publish the game at the start of 2012. We held a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that brought in over 1200 backers and raised 500% of our initial amount. This also allowed us to finance the expansion, still in development (we’re hoping early 2013 for release). Farmageddon is currently with the largest distributors in North America, was translated into Italian by a fan, won a Parent’s Choice Award, and has almost sold through its initial print run of 2700 copies.

We’re absolutely delighted and surprised by its success and really hope and expect good things in 2013.

A Burgeoning Brohmance

Although I’ve been actively engaged with members of the board game Twitter space for year plus now, it wasn’t until GenCon that I really cemented a few relationships that I can safely put in the friend-zone. A day rarely passes by where I’m not holding length IM conversations with Chevee Dodd about terrible things or our designs. AJ Porfirio and I similarly talk about our designs, enjoy some schadenfreude, and talk mad trash about our year long, 300+ game Ascension rivalry. And how can I forget the kind, sarcastic, and prolific designer Matt Worden?

Obviously, I enjoy the partnership with many of my peers. The Twitter space is quite vibrant and lively. It’s full of good discussion, good thoughts, and good links. I think community makes us and our games better and I greatly appreciate it.

Imperial Hopes

After Farmageddon I wanted to design a game with a little more meat, especially a game that could be called a war game. Eventually, Empire emerged. This is easily the most difficult thing I’ve designed and it was an absolute delight to balance test and refine it over the course of several intense months.

Some of the things of which I’m proud are the four factions, creating a dice-less game system that still involves some luck and variability, condensing the game down to an hour’s play time, and playing a dozen games with GenCon testers without it breaking down or failing. People liked it and some even asked when they could buy it. Maybe just being nice to the designer, but I’ll take it.

I learned a great deal about the game at GenCon and I managed to play it with a publisher. That was incredibly cool. Now, the game is in a “wait and see” phase as I wait to see what the publisher thinks. Obviously I hope for riches beyond my wildest dreams, but if I get a “no,” and that’s very likely, 2013 will be a great time to refine it further, make it amazing, and try again. I think Empire could be a great little game and I really hope to find a publishing partner who agrees.

Players Gonna Play

I played an inordinate amount of games this year. I took a survey the other day that asked how many new games I played and I got tired of counting around 40 or 50 new games. I wrote about the games that really stood out for me in 2012. My hope for next year is to find more truly engrossing experiences. This is something that’s really captivating me as a designer and I want to learn from the best.

I have several Memoir ’44 expansions I’d love to play in a 2 player day of gaming. I want to play through the entire Mice and Mystics story line. And I hope my friends that have prototypes finally get them ready, because I’ve seen some of their ideas and they are truly special. I want to play them!

Wannabe Publisher

I announced at the beginning of August that I intended to turn Hyperbole Games into a print game publisher. I was a little shocked that my employer’s legal department gave me permission for such a thing! Alas, I haven’t acted upon it yet. I filled out 90% of the paperwork to form an LLC, but haven’t quite pulled the trigger. I don’t like doing things just to do them and I don’t want to just have an LLC to have it.

As far as I can tell, my future still lies with being published by people better than I am. For now, my plan is to observe these smart people, continue designing, and continue playing to learn. Financially I can’t currently afford to publish anything (having a mortgage does that to you) and it just seems premature to call myself a publisher when I can’t do anything with that name. Perhaps I can save up the riches I earn from Farmageddon?

HyperboleGames.com isn’t going anywhere. And the Prototype Penpal Program is off to a strong start. I’ll focus on that and see what else comes my way.

So Many Failures

The very wise Dave Chalker, designer of Get Bit!, commented on Twitter the other day about the “Rule of 10.” It goes something like “For every 10 ideas you make one prototype  For every 10 prototypes you get a game. For every 10 games you get published.” For better or worse, that math is about right for me this year.

I designed several iterations of Poor Abby Farnsworth, a two-player deckbuilding game based on the Salem witch trials. I loved the theme, but ultimately I made a really slow, plodding version of Ascension. I took a few months off to tackle it again, but the spark never returned.

I had a neat idea for a game with transparent cards called Alchemy. Beyond the base mechanic, I couldn’t figure out what to do with it. I’ll try to tackle that again as I think it was a strong base idea.

A friend challenged me to make an epic space game like Eclipse in a half hour. I had a few really slick mechanics for such a thing…then hit walls.

Panda General had some solid mechanics. 1901 could have been neat. And poor Insurrection spent about a month of design and just never emerged.

The key is to accept the victories you do have. For example, Livestocked and Loaded is a solid little expansion for FarmageddonEmpire is a good, 60 minute area control war game. And the two smaller, simpler designs I’m working on now both show good potential. I’m prototyping one now and have a full set of rules. The other is being mocked up and drawn — who knows where it will end?

In conclusion

I really enjoyed playing, designing, testing, and pitching games this year. I really enjoy this hobby and I look forward to what 2013 brings. Anything of note happen for you? Anything particularly special I might have missed? Share in the comments below!

Happy holidays and happy 2012.

Posted in Blog | Tagged 2012, retrospective, the future, the past, year end | 1 Reply

An Interview with the Robots

have been enjoying the hilarious and goofy questions posed by the Robots and Red Tape Twitter feed for quite some time. Another gaming friend, Eric Leath, has met them in person and confirmed they are not only great people, but they are actually people (not robots). They asked if they could write something for Hyperbole and I thought an interview explaining their new Kickstarter game, Question Fun, would be perfect.

Hyperbole Games: Introduce yourselves. Who are the members of Robots and Red Tape?

RRT: Robots & Red Tape is made up of two brothers, Nick and Anthony, their wives Meghan and Amy, (respectively) and their best friend Fleming. These five make up the core of our Friday night game group. The group has a wide variety of hobbies,
likes, and interests.

HG: Where did you come up with that name for your company?

RRT: We were having dinner and we were discussing previous jobs held with very stuffy companies. Fleming made the comment, “yeah, that company is just Robots & Red Tape.” It was such clever phrasing, we all agreed it would be a great name for our company. As a group we are in complete juxtaposition to that mentality, but we couldn’t imagine being named anything else.

HG: Tell me about your first game, Questionable Fun. What are the core mechanics? What type of game? Who is it for?

RRT: Questionable Fun is a question-and-answer type of casual party game. All of the questions are hypothetical and designed to evoke humorous imagery.

The questions were all designed with one thought in mind: give players enough imagery to see some funny answer possibilities but leave them enough room for their own creativity and style. Each turn, one player reads a question and the rest of the players write down their funniest answer. Whoever’s answer is chosen gets a point. Answers are all read aloud by 1 person so that they are anonymous.

The great thing about Questionable Fun is that it can work for most groups. When
we play, it tends to get really wicked, pretty quickly! But, if a group isn’t as
incorrigible as we are, the answers definitely can be a little more modest. But
where is the fun in that?!

HG: What were some of the inspirations for Questionable Fun?

RRT: The core group that makes up Robots & Red Tape would get together most Fridays for a hangout/game night. We wanted to play something fun and light for Fleming’s birthday, but were just tired of all of our party games. Initially, you had to
make up your own questions on the fly. Then we started writing them down. And we
just kept playing the game over and over and we loved it. Everyone we had over on
game nights loved it too. Eventually, we thought “hey, I bet there are other
people out there who would like it too” and that’s when we decided to try and get
it published.

HG: What is the killer aspect of Questionable Fun that makes it unique?

RRT: The killer aspect is the ability to be completely creative with your answers! You
are not bound by luck or drawing a bad hand of answer cards. We learned very
quickly how much fun it is to have complete freedom over your answers. We have
yet to find a game that gives you that complete creative freedom.

HG: What are some of the best aspects of working on a game together? What were some of the hardships? How did you solve them?

RRT: You could not have put together a better group. We each have our own unique
strength to bring to the table (creativity, marketing, business know-how,
artsiness and tech savvy). We each have an area that we excel in, but we are able
to help each other in different areas, as well.

Of course, when you are working on project, there are always disagreements. But,
we openly and intelligently discuss our issues and come to a conclusion. We vote
on everything, majority wins. We each have the best interest of the game and
company at heart, so if the groups thinks something is a good or bad idea, the
person not on the side of the group quickly concedes and moves on.

HG: I noticed you are often hosting online, Google Hangout play sessions of your game. How has that worked out for you? How often do you see new people? It’s a fairly creative way to play test and I’d love to know if it’s successful.

RRT: Isn’t it amazing that you can open up your computer and play a game with someone on another continent? We started using Google Hangout as a way to play our game with anyone who wanted to see how it worked. We are actually using GoTo Meeting now because it’s easier to play and promote the game with that format.

We have been able to play with several cool people online. We want to add group
play to our online play. We think already established game groups or friends that
do not live in the same location, could enjoy playing online with us. As we grow,
we expect to play more and more with new fans!

HG: How has Questionable Fun changed since you began working on the game? What were some of the biggest challenges you overcame?

RRT: The game is relatively the same. With playtesting and reviews, we re-tooled the questions to make sure they were the best, funniest and most creative questions
that people would enjoy answering.

We have had such a amazing support from the indie gaming world! So many great
reviewers and designers have given us great feedback, ideas, encouragement and
insider tips! The biggest challenge has been navigating through the gaming world,
but we only encountered the coolest people that have really helped us get our
feet wet. There will always be challenges, but we fell completely ready for them.

HG: What are some of your favorite Questionable Fun moments from playing? Some of your favorite memories?

RRT: Remember when I said that, “When we play, it tends to get really wicked, pretty quickly!” This can make playing with certain people a little, well, awkward. We
were playing with Anthony & Nick’s mom-Dianna (which by the way is Amy & Meghan’s mother-in-law).

Do you see where this is going? Well, everyone was trying to give “mom” friendly questions and answers. Well, Amy, decided that “mom” friendly questions/answers weren’t nearly as fun. Amy busted out the question, Nick is a pimp, give him a pimp name. Not only did Dianna have to give her son a pimp name, she had to read all of the answers…including big daddy smack-a-ho.

Dianna took it all in stride and had a great time! She’s a good sport.

Some of our favorite answers “This movie is weird by Danny Devito”, Meghan’s
childhood nickname & stripper name (2 Q’s/1 A) Stumbles and what is Nick’s
superhero name and power-superhero name Kevin; power-being the most boring
superhero ever. These make great inside jokes. And we really want Danny Devito
to make that movie!

HG: You’re often asking weird questions of people on Twitter. Things like, “If you wake up in a cave next to Ronald McDonald, what is the first thing you say?” Are these a part of Questionable Fun? It’s an interesting marketing style campaign. Has this been successful?

RRT: Can we use that question? It’s amazing! Yes, all of the questions we post on
Twitter are in the style of Questionable Fun. We do the same thing on Facebook.
It has allowed us to let people play the game daily online and we have had great
answers and interactions. It is just a fun way to introduce our game, get people
playing. We have people who answer our questions every day. It’s great to see
people enjoying the game!

HG: Why are you using Kickstarter to gain funding? What do you hope to accomplish as a result of your campaign?

RRT: The new trend of crowd-funding is amazing. It takes the corporate publisher out of the equation. Game creators make a game, present it to the world, and if
enough people like it, it gets funded and published. How awesome is that?

It doesn’t take too much money to get off the ground this way either. In the past,
you had to jump through so many hoops to get published or if you self-published
you had to have the resources for the first production run. As any game publisher
knows, it is virtually impossible to have a run of less than 1,000 games
manufactured. Kickstarter is the most well-known (at least to us) crowd-funding
platform and creative projects like games are its bread and butter. We compared
about 10 similar web sites and in the end it was a unanimous vote for Kickstarter.

HG: Do you have other designs in development? Can you tell us about any of them?

RRT: We have one idea for a board game which involves pizza delivery drivers, supernatural monsters and weapons…called Bad Day Delivery Driver. It’s a very rough idea, but once we get Questionable Fun off the ground that is most likely the next game project. Also we are very committed to continuing work on Questionable Fun in the form of expansions.

We believe that there is nothing worse than feeling like you have played your favorite game too much, so we think its important to keep pumping out new questions so that people can continue enjoying the game without getting bored.

Thanks to the Robots for taking the time to talk to me! You can see their Kickstarter campaign here. 

Convergent Design

Guest Column by: Jay Treat

A friend of mine has been thinking about a game for years that lets your group play as the crew of a starship bridge. Each player would play his own mini-game that determines his station’s performance and the group’s individual successes would add up to determine how successful the mission is for the whole team. And then Stronghold Games printed Space Cadets. It’s not just the same theme and execution, there are even specific mini-games in common. He was understandably disappointed and I knew exactly how he felt because I’ve been there. A lot.

I was able to console him with the reassurance that this happens all the time. I’d be surprised if every one of you hasn’t experienced something like this yourself. Which is why I want to reassure you that’s it not just you. I call this phenomenon Convergent Design, after Convergent Evolution, the idea that animals with little-to-no evolutionary relationship have developed distinctly similar features through unrelated paths, largely because those features are fairly optimal and their development inevitable.

Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison independently invented the lightbulb within five years of each other. Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, and Pixel Lincoln were all released within a year of each other. The same year I finally got publisher traction for Assault on Khyber Station, I found Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space on a dealer’s table and a week later I heard people raving about Escape, which turned out to be The Curse of the Temple. While that last one is more coincidence than a duplicated idea, you can still see a clear trend. Even Space Cadets isn’t alone: Artemis is the same idea for the PC and Spaceteam for iOS.

I attribute it all to the global zeitgeist. While every human is as unique as a snowflake, we all consume the same media and participate in the same culture. Modern communication has reduced the latency of this effect from years to mere minutes and even mitigates the previously large cultural differences between nations and continents. With several billion people laughing at Seinfeld and holding their breath for Harry Potter, it’s no wonder that a few of us are going to wonder “Hey, what if you could set reminders by location instead of time?” all at once.

In the Unpub zone at GenCon this year I watched a Rick Collins game, Scrapbots, in which players build robots from junk and battle them against each other. Each robot’s abilities and well-being are defined by card slots in their hit locations (head, chest, arms, legs). In one fell swoop, I saw two of my designs preempted. I might have been crushed, but I’ve been in this position often enough to know not to take it personally. Instead, I laughed that I never did get around to developing either of those games, so if my goal was to see those ideas realized, I just got a present. I save hours of headache and hard work while someone else does it all for me, and I’ll get to just buy his game and enjoy it already completed. Thanks!

Now, I am being optimistic here. If the game does get published and is as awesome as it can be, then all is well. If, on the other hand, the game fails to be published, not only am I back to square one, but I basically have no chance selling the game to the publishers that turned down the original. And if Scrapbots does get published but turns out to be bad, then I’m really screwed: I won’t have a sweet game to play, I won’t have my desire sated to see those ideas well-realized, and making the game myself to do it right would be a fool’s errand because no publisher will want to touch a game seemingly derivative of a well-known flop.

When I was 15, Wizards of the Coast was accepting external Magic set submissions. I put together something I’d be too embarrassed to show anyone today, but with a few solid ideas in it just the same. The same year I mailed that off, they announced the big policy change and stopped accepting anything. I never got a response whether they even read my stuff. But that Summer, they released a bunch of new cards and mechanics that they obviously stole from me.

Except they didn’t steal them. I know this because it takes considerably longer to develop, template and print a card than the time they had to steal my idea.

Last year, I led a team that designed a Magic set that I am quite proud of. Not only were there a half-dozen nearly identical cards printed in Wizards’ version of the “same” set, there were cards released while we were still working that matched brand new designs and forced us to remove or drastically change them.

And that wasn’t surprising, because not only were we working in the same medium (this ubiquitous magepunk TCG) with the same frame of reference (the preceding 18 years of Magic sets), but we were even working within the same parameters (to design a flavorful core set that’s easy for new players to learn but interesting for established players to draft) toward the same goal (to lead into a multicolor-themed fall set named Return to Ravnica). In fact, one of the reasons I consider the project successful is the number of solutions our team shared in common with the Wizards’ team. If we hadn’t hit some of the same touchstones, it would have been a sign that we were off in our understanding of where Magic is and where it’s going.

When I go back and apply the same logic two decades ago, my old anger at having my ideas “stolen” is replaced by pride that even as bad a designer I was at the time, I was still on track enough to come up with the same things the professionals did. When Jason Tagmire learned about concurrent Lincoln movies, he used that as fuel to help market Pixel Lincoln. When Edison learned about Swan’s work, he sent goons to eliminate his competition. Wait, bad example…

The point is, it’s up to you how to respond when someone beats you to the punch with your own idea. You can throw a fit and let it eat you up inside. You can take it as validation. You can thank them for saving you the effort. And you can even team up with them and use it to your advantage.

You might even reevaluate what it means to ‘own’ an idea. But that’s another article.

Prototype PenPal Program

Post by: Grant Rodiek

UPDATE: I’m leaving this up so others can read, but this program is no longer active.

One of the greatest challenges facing me and many others as designers is the lack of testing. Great ideas will take a game only so far. Consumers and publishers are first and foremost interested in GREAT GAMES, not great ideas. There are some outstanding programs to help designers with this.

UnPub brings designers together for a day of honest testing and feedback. Alas, it’s on the east coast and I’m here in California. Board Game Designers Guild of Utah does this with great frequency, but is in Utah. Protospiel is the grand daddy, but I have a hard time spending vacation time and money for 4 days of testing. It’s what I want, but not necessarily what my finances and life want.

I was walking to the bus last night and thinking about how I want more feedback on Empire, but it recently cost me $120 to send 2 copies to 2 people. I thought about how I wanted to play the 6 PNPs in my inbox, but didn’t really have the time or components to build and play them. Then, I realized that it’s quite simple to do this remotely. Why not borrow from UnPub and Netflix and the United States Postal Service to deliver the prototyping event directly to one’s home?

Today, here, I’d like to get everyone involved! Let’s create a long-distance relationship built upon dice rolling and clever card play. Let’s become… Prototyping Pen Pals (this name is awful, but I loved the alliteration, which I should note is the trap of bad writers).

Here’s how it works:

  1. telling me you want to participate
  2. Tell me how many games you want to provide
  3. Provide me the shipping address (I’ll keep all of this private)

Once I have enough people…really, 2 for starters (me and you!), we’ll ship each other a prototype. We will then play this prototype a few times, provide feedback, input, suggestions, and more. Then, I’ll give you an address and  you’ll pass the prototype along. Over time you’ll gain outstanding blind test feedback from enthusiastic people and it’ll only cost you one game and the cost to ship it to the next one on the list.

The games you can submit to this will have a few simple qualifiers. Firstly, make sure the game works. The game needs to be in at least an alpha state, perhaps even a beta state. The goal of this program is not to tell you the wheels fell off your car, but to identify the tiny, less obvious problems that keep a good game from being a great game. Please test a little before you send this to your peers!

Secondly, please do the bare minimum to build a prototype with essential pieces. If you have cards, put them in penny sleeves with common magic cards so we can shuffle them. Or use index cards or something we can shuffle. Please use labels, not handwriting, so that it’s possible to play. I recommend sites like The Game Crafter, Superior POD, ArtsCow, or DriveThruCards, but that isn’t required. We know you’re on a budget. But, at the very least, make it better than flimsy paper.

Playtesters will play your game at least twice and will fill out, at minimum, a simple survey with information on the game. But, ideally you receive pages of notes on your rules, game play, and more.

That’s it! I intend to do all the paperwork for this, which includes keeping track of members, identifying the next recipient in line, and even gathering feedback if desired.

Let’s do this! and we’ll get going!

Outing Innie

Post by: Grant Rodiek

It’s been some time since I’ve said or written anything substantive about any of my new projects. One has more or less taken the slot of lead design, primarily as I have more ideas for it and was able to answer sufficient questions to push it forward.

I haven’t quite made it to the prototyping stage yet, but I’m about 90% finished with my first draft of the rules. I’ve discussed much of this with a friend, Chevee Dodd, via instant messenger, but I’d like to broaden the audience and gather early feedback. Many of the elements in the current design have gone through several iterative passes already, more than is typical for an early game of mine, so I’m hoping that pays off with some early success in the prototype phase.

My hope is to finish the rules tonight or tomorrow, develop the card content, then build the prototype. From there, test test test. For this post, I’m going to highlight a few of the game’s neat elements, followed by my thought process, concerns, and anything else that’s relevant.

What is Innie? This is the current abbreviated name I’m using for the game. It’s thematically about an insurrection against an interstellar empire. The game will combine drafting and tactics for 2 or 4 players in hopefully about 45 minutes. Note that those 2 or 4 players will be divided into two teams. I really love the team oriented play of Academy’s Birth of America series and I wanted to take a stab at it.

Drafting is really the overarching thought for the game. I was really inspired by some elements of Seasons, which did some neat stuff with drafting, but also buried it under many disparate elements. I want to use drafting, which I find to be a very simple and elegant mechanic in new ways and do so throughout the game. You will draft, and you will draft all the time. To be clear, I don’t think I’m innovating with the mechanic itself, but how it’s used. Hopefully.

One of the best things about drafting is that it keeps turns relatively simple and quick. You select a single card and do what it says. A big takeaway from Empire is that multi-step turns are both overly complicated and take too long. People get impatient and lose interest waiting for their turns. Drafting lets me keep the pacing brisk. Ideally.

And now, onto some of the features…

Territory…on the ground and from space

Developing a map for Empire was a PAIN. I really didn’t want to do that again (call me lazy), but I wanted terrain and spatial relationships. It’s difficult to do a tactical game otherwise. Another feature I left out of Empire that I wanted to incorporate was terrain type. How to make these things work?

A few things led me to my current design. Firstly, how can I incorporate territories into drafting? Can I draft a territory? Secondly, what if I just had a randomized set of spaces. Could the territories literally be cards?

I went to Google Drawing and created this grid that you see:

A simple 4×4 grid of what I envision to ultimately be punch board cards like in Forbidden Island. I gave each a simple symbol, many shared. This is its terrain type. I’ll go into this more later. I had to answer the question of how this would work for the FLEET player and how it would work for the GROUND player. Each team has one of each.

Ultimately, this is what I decided upon. A player on the ground must use orthogonally  adjacent spaces.

The fleet player is in orbit. He should have greater range and accessibility to territories, but nothing unlimited. For them, I went with this:

You’ll see here the blue fleet on the right is “adjacent” to all of the blue squares. The red fleet on the bottom is adjacent to the red squares. Both are adjacent to the purple squares. Essentially, fleets can access the 4 territories near their current side (fleets can only move to one of the four sides) and the 2 center cards facing them.

In summary, in every game you will have 16 territory cards that are arranged at random in a 4×4 grid. Players can access spaces differently based on their role. Territories have a property that will be used in the game. And, the territories can be drafted.

Drafting Territories

The game will be broken into rounds (approx. 4?) in which teams will draft 8 cards. I say teams, because the draft will take place as both teams will conduct and intra-team draft from a set of 8 cards. This was an idea that emerged as a way to make team play interesting, yet also a subtle part of the strategy. Can you intuit your teammate’s actions without speaking aloud? Can you watch what they draft and work together? I’m hoping to capture a little of the classic card game vibe that my grandparents would have enjoyed. It’s a solution to table talk without being heavy handed.

Cards will be drafted for their Actions and played: I draft, opponent 1 drafts, my teammate drafts, opponent 2 drafts, my turn again. These cards will be played to territories. At the start of a player’s turn, they select a territory on which to play their card. By selecting it, you prevent anyone else from selecting it, at least until you move your piece (which you must do on your turn). When a territory is drafted, you place its card (not the one from the map, but a separate card) onto a timeline. Your action is then played to this territory.

When all the cards are drafted, the phase ends and the actions will all be resolved, one at a time, in the order that they were played. I’m calling this the Action timeline.

In the (awful) diagram above, you can see that things are resolved from left to right. In the center with the orange arrow, multiple cards are played to a single territory. These are resolved from bottom to top (first in), then you go from left to right again with the blue arrow.

I think this will be neat and play out briskly. Players will play cards based on their desires, their positioning (remember the adjacency from above), but also in reaction to an opponent’s play. Players can also draft territories to use and block opponents, i.e. if I have it currently you can’t have it.

There are two variances that may or may not make it. One is that you can play a card face down, i.e. stealthily. To do this, you must discard an additional card from your hand. Essentially, you’re giving up an action to do one secretly. The other choice is that you can remove a card and play it face down. These cards will be used to bolster your chance to win a battle. Again, giving up an action to make one more effective.

Everyone will draft one at a time, then cards will quickly resolve. I hope this leads to a fast-paced, yet compelling team environment.

Card Mechanics

I have been working to bake a lot of potency and power into the cards WITHOUT a lot of complexity and fiddly content. I’m trying to build off the simple dual use of Empire in a way that works for this game. The cards in Innie will have a few properties.

Firstly, they’ll work with the territories. Instead of designing rules for the territories, things you needed to learn or re-reference, I’m going to bake it into the Action card content. Cards will have things like:

  • Required Territory: Card MUST be played to the specified territory.
  • Restricted Territory: Card CANNOT be played to the specified territory.
  • Bonus Territory: Card is more effective if played to the specified territory.

To use these cards, it’ll literally be a case of matching symbols. You don’t need to know what the comm center is, just that you need to play it to there. This gives me a way by which to balance and diversify the cards, give territories different properties, and make the territory richer thematically WITHOUT greatly complicating things.

Cards will also have a simple number in the top left corner. I’m calling this the Action Number. Currently it is used for a variety of simple things, like effectiveness of the card, Movement, improving your chances in battle, and hopefully more. If you don’t want to use the card’s Action, you can instead play it for its number. This is how I can (hopefully) make every card interesting while still giving them flexibility in their use. I want to avoid that “This card is only useful in this circumstance” scenario.

Finally, in case you haven’t gathered, cards will have Actions. Here’s a quick mock of a card. Ignore the content, focus instead on what I’m trying to do with layout and these variables I’ve discussed:

Strateg…er… Bluffing into a Fight

I really like Stratego. It’s ridiculously simple and fun. I wanted to continue what I started with Empire with my simple, one of a kind units. I also wanted a way to have an element of “fog of war” and hidden information as you maneuver on the battlefield and in space.

Therefore, the ground players for each team will have a limited set of two types of chips: Unit and Decoy. The Units will be worth 1 Unit apiece. The decoys will be worth 0. Chips will be played in a stack face down, so your opponent will know how many Units you might have, but not a precise number. My current thinking is that you’ll have limited quanties of each (15 Units/5 Decoys?). However, whereas decoys removed can be used again, Units are one time use. Once destroyed, they’re out of the game. Use your chips wisely.

Still to Solve

I have a few questions I need to resolve. I feel like I have an understanding for how ground combat will work. I need to figure out how the fleets factor into the game. Currently I have a lot of content envisioned for the fleets in a support role. Drop troops from orbit, move troops around, shell the enemy positions, send in bomber waves. But, how do the fleets engage each other? And, how can the fleet have an equal role with the ground units, not just a servant in the sky?

I have some hunches for the victory conditions, but I really need to nail this down. Otherwise, why are we fighting?

Those aren’t the only unknowns, of course, nor have I revealed everything, but I’m nearing 2000 words, which is about 1000 too many! Did anything seem interesting? Are there some holes you’d like me to address? Did anything seem boring? Have I blatantly ripped off a game of which I’m unaware? Fill me in with the comments below!