Monthly Archives: May 2013

Get Off My Lawn, Old Man Winter

So, it looks like my prediction of 3 more months of winter at the start of February was pretty dead on. Thankfully, it looks like we’re finally ready to start seeing some live plants here in Minnesota. I just hope we don’t get another blizzard like we did the other day. May blizzards are really demoralizing, ya know?

It’s been an extremely busy couple of months for me lately, as I went to both GAMA and the Gathering of Friends in order to drum up business. Although neither show has resulted in a direct sale yet, a couple of other projects are cropping up, and I think it’s at least partially because of the exposure I got at those cons. Still, I’m glad to have a couple of months at home now to just buckle down and get games done.

So, how am I doing overall, you may ask? Well, my finances are in decent shape still, and I’m continuing to drum up work as I go along. I’m also continuing to come up with game ideas that I want to work on as I get the opportunity. In general, I’m really enjoying myself, even if I’m still having to hustle to get things ramped up.

So, how about a project update, then? It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about the projects in my queue.

Project Tweedledee – Last blog entry, I revealed that this game (a collaboration with my friend Eric Lang (@eric_lang on twitter) is based upon a comic book called Finding Gossamyr. Tweedledee is largely completed, although I continue to run playtests of it when I can and make tweaks to the game components. In the meantime, Th3rd World, the publisher, has been ordering art and otherwise getting the game prepped for the printer. Maybe in a month or two I’ll even be able to show off a bit of art. We’ll have to see.

Tweedledee features a tasty little action engine system that we think gamers are really going to enjoy, and most of the playtesting tweaks have been in order to squeeze a little more juice out of that system and to make the players’ decisions a bit more interesting.

Project Tweedledum – The other collaboration I’m doing with Eric, Tweedledum has been put on the backburner while Eric and I deal with other projects (Kaosball is his main focus for the moment, and I’ve been focusing on Rattler to try and get it done). Eric is going to be the “heavy lifting guy” on this game, as I was on Tweedledee. We talked about the game a lot and hashed out the major points of the design while we were hanging out at GAMA, now it’s just a matter of getting the components designed.

Project TopHat – I showed this game off to several publishers at both GAMA and Gathering, and although it got plenty of interest, it hasn’t sold just yet. So, I’ve decided to take some of the feedback I got at the Gathering and revamp the game a bit.  In particular, I removed an auction phase from the game and beefed up the player interaction some more by introducing competition for certain resources that enter the game. I’ll be trying out this new less filling, but better tasting TopHat 2.0 as soon as I get the chance, and then we’ll see where I go from there.

Project Rattler – I’ll admit it, this project has been rough going. The amount of text required for it has bogged me down a ton, and I’ve been struggling with some lingering issues that I had with the design. However, last week I had a major breakthrough on Rattler, and I’ve been making good progress ever since, which is a relief after beating my head against the wall for so long.

With last week’s changes, I really feel like Rattler is going to be a home run. It has a very unusual theme, a compelling setting, and a number of unique mechanics. The challenge has been trying to capture the proper level of drama vs. control, and that has proven elusive up until now.  Since my breakthrough, however, I’ve been powering through it, and I expect to be done with the design and components by the end of this month at the latest.

Project Lottery – I’m still waiting to hear back from a publisher on this game. More on it once I hear back on it for sure. Whether it works out or not, Lottery has been very educational for me, and has taught me a lot about the mainstream market, which is useful regardless of Lottery’s success.

Project Fury – I feel like Fury could be one of my biggest releases of the year. As a designer, you’re never 100% sure, but I’ve learned to trust my gut over the years. It has a good theme and an original IP, and it’s with a publisher that can really make it cool. I’ve mapped out the main mechanics now, and component design is up next. Now that I’ve broken through the wall on Rattler, I expect Fury will enter high gear soon.

Project Volcano – After a delay earlier in the year, the contract for this game is now being wrapped up, so that’s good. I’ve got some sweet ideas for where to take this design, and overall, I’m going to be focusing on making it a rollicking game of high adventure and exploration.

Other Projects – In addition, there are 2 more projects that I’m in talks with publishers about. I don’t have codenames for them yet, as they aren’t sure things at this point in time, but if and when contracts do get signed, they’ll get added to the queue and work will begin.

I also have a couple of design ideas for next year that are explorations of an entirely new type of game for me, but we’ll have to see if I find appropriate homes for them. They’re fairly experimental, so who knows, right?

So, while I’m obviously keeping pretty busy, I feel really good about the designs I’m working on this year. I feel like they’re going to help me take the next step in my career, and these games are really going to be designs that I can be proud of.