Hello neighbors and welcome back for another exciting boardgame extravaganza! Sadly, these last two weeks I was not able to get a ton of games to the table, but I will talk to you about both of them and give you a bit of an update on the process of the games I have been working on , some thoughts on the whole design process, and directions I plan to go from here.
So let’s grab some gems, save the kittens, and experiment til our brains bleed and find out what has been on my table as of 17 July.
So, Ill make this one short and sweet since we have done a review of Splendor before. We got our first game in of the physical copy with our current game group. Finally stepping away from the digital copy was awesome and being able to grab a hold of these hefty tokens and battle it out that way was great! The game is very significant feeling with the physical copy and plays nearly as easy as the digital copy.
A couple of thing on the physical box though: Do to the high quality of the cards (I know this is a very awkward complaint), it was a bit difficult to keep the cards from sliding and getting a little “mixed.” This was more of a nit-picking thing, but it did turn the appeal off just a little compared with the digital copy. Again though, the game was AMAZING and everyone seemed to enjoy the complexity of the game.
In the end (and as usual for my playthroughs on digital), I lost horribly in the end, gaining only 9 points by the time the 15 point marker was reached. My strategy of going for a color that was NOT among the noble cards apparently wasn’t the right way to go (go figure). Next time, I will be sure to take that into consideration from the beginning of the game and watch what everyone else is going for and try to find the right one before its to late.
Not much else to say on the game except it is still just as great on the table as it is on my phone. This will definitely be a go to for me when introducing new players to the hobby gaming genre. It is a perfect starter game for card buying/points games (kind of set collection too) and works amazing as an introductory game. If you haven’t gotten Splendor yet, you should really consider it. I am also looking forward to the expansion “City of Spledor” that will be released at GenCon and hopefully can pick it up as soon as it comes off the printing line.
Here, Kitty, Kitty!
So, are you ready for one of the most cutthroat, take that, deadly games of all time? Well, that’s probably not this game, but it is pretty exciting none-the-less. This game is all about collecting as many cats, of as many colors as possible and getting them into your home in the proper places in order to score the most points at the end of the game. Surprisingly, this is a lot more difficult than you would think and can have a lot more “take that” action than a lot of other games. Oh yea, I forgot to mention you get a hand of cards which have different abilities to contribute to you “old cat lady” sensibilities. “Oh my deary, maybe I should adopt all these cats!” (Put 2 cats in your house) “Oh my Mr. Neighbor, it would sure be a shame if I, lured your cats to my house with some cat nip!”(Move 2 cats from a neighbors yard to you porch).
It is things like this that make the game very interesting and strategic. Yea, there is a bit of luck involved with the cards that you pick, but there is still a ton of strategery to plan your moves ahead and actually come up with some sick cat lady combos.
This game isn’t a Terraforming Mars in complexity, but there is a lot more going on in this game than what meets the eye. It is clever, strategic, and has a great theme that makes it a good game to finish out a game night with. Pull this cute little cat’s paw out and everyone should have a good time (unless they have all their cats stolen from them, hehehe). Take a look at this one and determine for yourself though, but remember to harness your inner cat lady and get as many kitty cats as you can!
Game Design or “Geez this is hard to do!”
I have been diving into the game design/development pretty hot and heavy lately with a couple of game ideas/concepts that have popped into my head. I have learned one very important thing with this though:
Ideas are great, but bringing them to life is where it gets hard.
I read that ideas are one in a million and that everyone has them, but actually acting on those ideas it what sets apart the innovator from the dreamer. (Now that I’m thinking about it, that should have been my quote instead. Oh well) I have been working hard to get these thoughts onto paper. That has been the easy part. The hard part has been taking those ideas and adjusting them from there.
Let me go over some of the process so far as I have seen.
Stage 1 – Conceptualization
The basic idea for a game is fairly straightforward, but coming up with the mechanics can be rather daunting. First off, you have to decide what type of game you want it to be. This may sound simple, but I have already gone through one game being a 1 vs all, to a 1 vs free for all, to a game that allows for players to play all 3! Next in that conceptualization, you have to determine the overarching way in which the game is played and won. This is just a general idea and will change numerous times before the end so don’t get to bogged down on this part. Finally, you need a rough draft of the game in which you can move on to stage 2 with. Once all these base concepts are done, then we get to the fun (maybe?) part.
Stage 2 – Pre-Alpha Testing
This is where you start to put some of the pieces together and test out parts (and I mean just parts) of your concept to see if they are even liable. In this stage, I have ran into numerous issues that have caused me to scratch my head and just think to myself “Monte, you are an idiot.” more than once. It is here that you find out that your type sucks, your play methodology is not going to work, and that all that paper and cutting you did was a waste of time. Whoa whoa whoa, calm down there Mr/s. Overreactor. It was not all for naught! You have now seen the things that don’t work which is just as important as seeing those that do. It is here that you are going to start picking out pieces of the concept and saving them for a later date. Oh, that card drafting idea didn’t work exactly how you planned? Well, the combination portion wasn’t to shabby so lets set that idea aside for later use. See! Its not so bad after all, but with that pre-alpha test, it is time to move on to stage 3.
Stage 3 – Back to Stage 1
Haha and here it was you thought you could move on with your plans. NOT TODAY!!! Yea, it is time to go back to the drawing board and start writing down some new ideas and taking those lessons learned in Stage 2 and adding them in here. Make some adjustments and work your way back to testing. Its this idea bounce back and forth that is important and as long as you dont stop, eventually you will get to move on to stage 4 (or 3.5 if you want to get snippy with me over that stage 3 prank).
Stage 4 – Put it together and what do you got?
So, a quick caveat to this. I have not actually made it to stage 4, but I am getting close! I think this is going to be the point break for my game design abilities. From here, I plan to bounce back to stage 1-3 for a little while in order to get enough ideas and concepts going that I can be happy with proceeding to stage 4. There is no reason you can’t keep going back to stage 1 and getting knew ideas to throw in, but do not try to skip to this point in your design after you dive back into stage 1. You need to go back through the pre-alpha test and cull the design of any non-usable concepts. This is very important because if you don’t do it, then you are going to find yourself hurting later on when you put it all together again.
The design process has been a BLAST, but I find myself getting a bit discouraged at times when a concept completely falls apart. Then, I slap myself in the face (not literally sheesh) and get back at it and start throwing even more, new and improved concepts onto the table to test and learn. It is an awesome experience and I encourage any of you that are working towards designing anything to never give up! With that though, be sure to not rush ahead either. If you wish to create something, create it right and allow others to truly enjoy it. Work hard and don’t stop until you have something you are truly proud to show others.
Alright, alright, alright now that all of that is out of the way, a quick recap of all the fun. First, I wowed you with my quick walkthrough of our Splendor-a-thon (not really) and then I dazzled you with cat lady excitement. Finally, I showed you how pathetic and horrible I am as a designer and you thought to yourself,”Oh Monte, it isn’t that hard,” then you proceeded to try yourself and realized how right I was. Well, as long as you enjoyed the article and got something out of it, that’s all that matters to me. Now, get out their my budding flowers of game designage and make some games! Oh, and if you have any thoughts on anything discussed here today (or anytime throughout history!) feel free to send em my way and we can talk about it a bit.
Thank you for dropping by neighbor, and as always, feel free to comment on what you thing of the article. If you would like, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and suggestions. Be sure to follow over at Twitch to watch our live gaming, like me on Facebook and follow on Twitter. Take care and see you next time! Also, be sure to go over to BoardGameGeeks.com and hit that thumbs up button if you liked the article.