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milestones and updates

January 10, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year.  I currently have 41 subscribers (not many, in the grand scheme of things, but this is, after all, a blog about board games and board game design).  And the blog has just passed 9,000 hits, which really is just a stone’s throw from 10,000.  (I was hoping to have 10,000 hits by January first, but that didn’t happen.)

My blogging goals for next year?  100 subscribers and 25,000 hits.  We’ll see how that goes.

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I’ve recently updated my Guide to Modern Gaming.  It now has 29 games, ranging in weight from 1.1 (Zombie Dice & Incan Gold) to 3.6 (Agricola).  It’s a great resource if you’re just getting into gaming.

I’ve also recently uploaded pictures of some cards to the Wargame page.  That’s undoubtedly the best graphic design work I’ve ever done (and it won a prize, too).

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In 2011 I went to Protospiel for the first time and took three games:  Coloronimoes, Rum Runners, and Lemuria.  One of the three is currently being considered for publication, and I hope to hear something soon.

I plan to go again in 2012, and I intend to take several of the following games:  Capital (a.k.a. Urban Conquest, née Metropolis), Puppet Masters, The Game of Stuff, Hex Herders, Global Economy, and Tabletop Railroad.  I’m really looking forward to seeing all those folks again and being in a room full of game designers.  It’s an amazing experience, and, for me at least, feels like home.

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So what games have I been working on lately?  Puppet Masters (largely finished) and Capital (coming right along, but it still has a couple issues).

I played a three-player game of Puppet Masters with S and my dad recently, and it worked really well.  S and I were able to figure out that my dad was the traitor, and she was able to move in and make the capture.  While there’s a lot going on in that game, it’s really all about the table talk:  you’ve absolutely got to be able to tell a convincing narrative explaining why you’re doing whatever it is that you’re doing.  If you’re the traitor, you’ve got to keep a low profile and sow the seeds of doubt; if you’re trying to catch the traitor, you’ve got to try to figure out who it is (and how you can catch them) without doing anything that would cause other players to suspect you.  It’s a hard balance to try to maintain.

I think the traitor (whoever that turns out to be) probably has a slight advantage since no one else knows who they are.  The trick lies in getting close enough to the helicopter that you can make a break for it without drawing too much attention to yourself.

Capital is coming along splendidly.  It’s definitely my heaviest game to date, and it’s really quite subtle and nuanced.  Maybe even too nuanced.  The idea is that you’re bidding on properties and trying to connect them into chains while at the same time investing in the companies belonging to other players.  Spend too much time and money on your own company, and you won’t have any left for investing; spend too much money on your investments, and you won’t have enough to grow your own company.  I’m trying to rig it so you have to do both in order to win.

It’s fairly well-balanced at this point, but if anything the money and the bidding and the points are all too fine:  every dollar counts, and somehow that makes the game feel flat.  I’ve recently decided to make everything a bit chunkier and more granular, so we’ll see how that goes.  I’m hoping that by breaking things down into bigger pieces, I’ll give the game more texture and increase tension.  If nothing else, though, it’ll simplify the math.  :-)

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