It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me so I’ve been having trouble focusing on game design. It’s not that I haven’t been working on it, but when I can’t focus I move from topic to topic. So I’m getting a bit done on a few projects. And because this lack of focus extends to writing this blog I figured I’d just write about what I’m working on.
First up, Comic Auction. This has been my focus a lot for the past few months. It was getting positive feedback from a lot of testing groups and I finally figured out a balance between a closed economy and letting a bit of new money in to give players a chance. It can still be very unforgiving if you misvalue things. But the play time is down to just under 30 minutes, so I’m ok with it being on the tough side. You usually need a game or two to understand how to properly value things in auction games.
I think I was starting to lose interest in Comic Auction a bit, but then my friend Derek started helping with it. He had some comic art assets that he put together and did a nice layout for the comics. Actually having art, even if it isn’t final, really helps this game. It’s about collecting comics after all. So that has really revived my interest. He also came up with the bonus goals which add a nice level of complexity to the game. So it has become a co-design and it’s definitely better for it.
Derek is also interested in working on Vanilla which I haven’t touched in months. So hopefully he can help breath new life into that.
Next, Plutocracy. I used to talk about Plutocracy all the time. Then I stopped working on it. Pretty much right after I had The Game Crafter version made. It looks great, needs a few minor tweaks for legibility. But I stopped testing once I ordered the new version. And during that break I started working on other things so it hasn’t gotten much attention.
I was kind of forced to bring it back out because it got into the curation process at the Boston Game Makers’ Guild. It involves a few levels of more intensive play testing. So I brought it to one meeting to refresh myself on it. Then brought it to its first intensive test. This was also the first 5 player test with this version. It went well. Several of the players had played earlier versions and liked how much smoother it played. It still has the issue of a slow start. But after the test I thought of a possible solution which I hope to have ready soon.
Island Chain was getting a good amount of feedback from the PnP I shared. It even got on a Twitch show which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. But I haven’t played it in a while. I think because it has been working well there isn’t anything to fix yet. So I was more interested in other projects.
Grab Bag is also in limbo with positive play tests but it’s still missing something.
Tempus Imperium, which I wrote about last week has been taking up most of my design time. It’s a solo, single sheet, PnP game. So it has been really easy to prototype and test. I’ve been really wanting to release it for public testing. But even though the game plays well I am having a lot of trouble writing the rules. It’s very hard to explain in text only and making rules examples is slow. I tried recording a how to video, which is easier to explain, but I made a few mistakes and need to re-record it. So hopefully that is out soon. Maybe even this weekend.
On top of all this I listened to the Board Game Design Lab about dexterity games today and it made me want to work on my old dexterity idea that I bought all the tools and wood to make, but never got around to. Think crokinole with magnets. Certainly a time consuming prototype.
So lots of things to work on and very little focus to get any one of them done. I keep saying my schedule will clear up in July and I’ll get stuff done. But I’ve been saying that every few months for a couple of years now. Wish me luck.