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A Warrior Girl

Here I put my thoughts and stories and thanks and more...

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How the Wild Fun West was built... A story from idea, mashed potatoes, spring to finally - the card game!

Dwarf Bashful the 6th
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Warsaw
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No matter what others are saying, I believe that behind each game invention there is some personal reason, why that particular way was chosen as a solution to solve mechanics problems, theme etc. The main idea behind Wild Fun West was back stabbing! Well, this is not a personal input for this game, but... just hang on for a while to this thought. In the circle of events, you are influenced by one person and in that second by all means you feel that there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. Frustrating, isn't it? But what if I tell you that there is a way?

IDEA
One day Vlad said he want to have a game in which he will back-stab you and you will not be able to retaliate! Well, I believe that Vlad meant this for gaming purposes only and soon we witnessed how from idea we went all the way to the game. The first version of Wild Fun West (at that time it was called The City We Built) was just a handmade prototype with Vlad's MS Paint drawings nicely colored by me and my pencils.


Building Card (v0.5)



Profession Card (v0.5)


MASHED POTATOES
After we prepared the first deck of cards, we discovered that the game is pretty flat. You bid for the cards out in open or secretly... but the cards were missing something. The first deck contained more than 100 Objective cards, and 50 Professions and way too many Buildings. The game did not work the way we wanted it to. There was no incentive in the game to bid for anything, the only way to win was to really badly hurt a player on your left, as his income depended on your cards. The only way to influence your income, hence the amount of money you could bid, was to influence a chain of all players, in a circle - to the left, to the left, and the next person on the left, etc. You had to use your negotiation skills and any other skill you may find useful to get through X number of players, until the final one, who is sitting on your right. There was of course much more to it, for example if you did not like influencing and/or manipulating people, you could always try to make a deal with your the guy on your right by helping him in building a Building of his choice. Ha! And here was the trick, as we had an amount of objectives easily covering a 20-player game, there was a thin chance that you would have the same objective as the player on your right. Then why would you even consider helping your opponent winning the game?

Objective Card (v0.5)

Just in case, not many of you know why you need Buildings and why they are written on the Objective cards, a few words of explanation is needed. To win Wild Fun West you have to build in the town 4 out of 6 objectives which are listed on the Objective Card. The objective cards from the first version wary from the one you will find in the final box. But I will talk about that changes a little bit later.

Keeping this thought in mind, we had to come up with another option to 'influence' the other players,making it easier to influence players who were not sitting on your left. I call the version 0.5 of the Wild Fun West "MASHED POTATOES" as it was kind of a mess. Of course we play-tested it anyway, and even worse things happened. One of the players had been left empty handed. He was simply excluded from the game because of lack of any income. This was the moment when we were seriously considering abandoning the idea of the back stabbing game of Wild West. I will be honest with you, after several months of scratching our brains with hope it will increase our imagination and creativity, we found ourselves in the same point. As many people, as many ideas, unfortunately none of them was successful at that moment.






ALMOST "THERE"
Brain storming was the only hope. There is a saying that "two heads are better than one". Can you imagine how much better eight heads are? The result of the brain storming was incredible! We came up with lots of minor changes and on major one. This is the moment when we decided to implement the synergies between cards. Thanks to all the players around the globe who played-tested the game, we gather an amazing feedback on which we based our changes to Wild Fun West.

We were hoping that version 0.6 (I have to mention here that our V0.5 got to V0.5.11) of Wild Fun West will be the final one. O! We were so naive! Let me tell you what were the major changes we've implemented in V0.6.

First, we changed the name from The City We Built to Wild Wild West. Of course we were so focused and excited on the theme that we forgot about possible financial and legal consequences, after all we were using this famous (or infamous) movie title. The Board Game Geek community made us understand and convinced us to re-think our choice for the name. Of course, the decision came really fast, we went for Wild Fun West, as we wanted to keep an Old American West theme and emphasize even more what type of the game players will have on their gaming table.

The second change was pretty difficult to implement. We had to find a different, balanced way of mixing the objectives on the Objective Cards. One thing was sure, we had to have common objectives between players. Well, in Wild Fun West V0.6 we decreased the number of Objective Cards, what made us also to taking out some of the Buildings Cards. We also changed the victory conditions, a player had to build 3 out of 5 buildings from his objectives to win. Now we know that our way of thinking was correct, however we missed one thing, which is the different number of players.

The third change was made after we played a few times in three. We all agreed that the Wild Fun West is not so fun anymore in less than 4 players. To keep the replay-ability and the 'happiness' coefficient high we increased the number of players, from a minimum of 4 to maximum of 8. I would love to make this game for even more than 8 players. I am the one who believes in crowds - the more, the merrier!

The fourth and one of the biggest changes was taking out the minimum cost of buildings. This small but highly influential change really sped up the game and opened a new door for bluffing and bidding even more.

Let's not forget about implementing synergies between cards. From now, all the Profession cards had special abilities. We can count forbidding other Professions from being in the play, doubling their bid on a specific Building or getting additional income from other Buildings or Professions.

SPRING
I will jump now a little bit in the future, by leaving version 0.7 without discussing it. What would you say if I told you that now, in the version 0.8 of Wild Fun West we added one more thing. For the sake of the conversation let's assume that the version 0.7 was just a re-painted version 0.6. Now, in the latest Wild Fun West, we added Character Cards. You can choose who you want to play, from a wide range of characters like Buffalo Bill, Jesse James, Wild Bill Hickok or Belle Star. There are 12 Character Cards in Wild Fun West. Each of them will provide players with his/her default income per turn.

You're probably wondering why did we choose an American Old West theme. Let me tell you why I cannot think of any other theme for this game. When I was 8 years old, every Sunday there was a Western movie on TV. In those times, when there were only two TV channels in Poland, watching a good movie was a real challenge. Especially when you are just 8, you're parents will make sure you do not watch any violence or blood on TV. Western movies were the only exception. My sister and I were waiting all week for Sunday to come and watch Western movies. At that time, my sister and I were calling Sundays - Bonanza. So, every Bonanza we were rushing with our dinner and bath, just to be ready to watch Rio Bravo with John Wayne, Star in the Dust with Clint Eastwood and many more. Amazing memories! I think you can see how much I am in love with the Old American West. Now I can put this childish flashes of memory into beautiful card game design and hope that whoever will play it will start gathering their own wonderful memories.

Here it comes!
And now I will share with you the logo design for Wild Fun West on www.warriorsandtraders.blogspot.com. This is just the draft, but it will give you an idea how the final game logo will looks like. I would love to hear your opinions, what do you think and like about it. Leave a comment and be part of the creation of Wild Fun West. The fun starts right here, right now!


Till the next one!

_________________
I've shared this story on the NSKN blog too (www.warriorsandtraders.blogspot.com), where you can find also more pictures.
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Wed May 23, 2012 11:40 am
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Lorien Green's Going Cardboard - my thoughts on it

Dwarf Bashful the 6th
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Warsaw
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A few days ago, after travelling to Romania and Poland, I finally got back home to Brussels. A few weeks ago I had ordered Going Cardboard: A Board Game Documentary (http://www.boardgamemovie.com/) from T-Cat Productions directed by Lorien Green and when I entered my home there it was, waiting quietly in the cardboard box, the DVD, the movie I was waiting to see for some time now.



Of course, before I even unpacked I was already tearing the box of my newest gift (I need to explain here: I tend to make gifts to myself, for example board games every week or so, new CD's and DVD's, books... and let's face it - it's expensive, but I believe every woman needs to be spoiled, so I do this on a regular basis ). That night I was extremely tired and it was long past midnight. I've decided to watch the movie the next day. "Going Cardboard" also has nice goodies included, which are one Shoot-out game by Reiner Knizia and at least 90 minutes of additional footage, on top of the main movie.

Early morning next day I've decided to have a breakfast with Shoot-out. Andrei and I had lots of fun while playing it. We discovered another way to play board games! An amazing way of starting a day. As a board game addict, I honestly cannot believe that I did not see that before, playing games at breakfast, with coffee and scrambled eggs and of course another player . Especially Shoot-out, which is a very simple and entertaining game, served its morning purpose of warming up your brain and getting ready for the day. Wonderful thing! I highly recommend! meeple

Coming back to the documentary, I have to say that I did not know what to expect from a movie about board games. Maybe this is one of the reasons that I wanted to buy it and watch it - pure curiosity - what is "Going Cardboard" about? Of course, the most obvious answer would be board games.. but after I've watched it, I have to say - it's not so simple.
"Going Cardboard" touches many deeper subjects, usually not so visible for the board gamers. This movie helps you understand how the board gaming world looks like from behind the scene. I will not write a review of the movie or even try to tell you what games, companies, publishers or persona are mentioned, you will have to see the movie by yourself, as it's worth seeing.

There is no doubt that Lorien Green did something unique here. Making videos, especially review videos is very popular in board gaming, however a documentary is an approach I've seen for first time.

There are two more things worth of mentioning. First of all, my very personal thought and concern: Are there really so few women in the world playing board games? While I've been watching "Going Cardboard" I was actually counting how many women appeared (this are the names which I actually captured while watching: Alison Hansel, Robin Hill, Tery Noseworthy, Sheila Davis) in the movie. I am not a feminist and frankly I do not care if I play board games with men or women. I am just concerned why are women not into board games?

Second of all, something really worth of noticing and mentioning is Lorien Green's extraordinary way of filming and combining all the parts into a whole movie. "Going Cardboard" shows and tells you how the gaming industry evolved in the past years. Personally I would like to see more different games mentioned in the movie, however I understand that this will require a few more years of filming.

Thanks for reading and till the next one!
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Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:57 pm
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To paint or not to paint?

Dwarf Bashful the 6th
Poland
Warsaw
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Sometimes you need a break! Yes, you need to rest from all the strategies and ideas popping up out loud at random. The worst are those which will not let you to fall asleep. They are like a herd of sheep jumping in a circle in your head and the enlightenment is "beee..beee...-ing" you hard every 5 minutes. As you know I am working on Exodus: Proxima Centauri and Wild Wild West. Two extremely different types of games. To keep myself sane, I decided to play relatively "easy games" this weekend.

And to be honest, I do not know if my hyper-activity was generated by hard work throughout the week or by the type of work I did on Friday (pics talk for themselves).




Home painted wooden tokens for Exodus: Proxima Centauri prototype

So I've played:
Ticket to Ride: Europe

From the left: Ina, me, Ducu, Simi


World Without End

Yes, I know how it looks... I was checking resources of Yellow with the excuse of taking a picture ;-) brilliant!



Alien Frontiers

Really great game. From the left: Florin, Dan, Andrei


Risk

Romanian version of Risk. Totally relaxed after a game play which did not make any sense - at all!!


If you would like to read more, check www.warriorsandtraders.blogspot.com

Till the next one!
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Mon Apr 2, 2012 4:56 pm
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Good deeds... and addiction?

Dwarf Bashful the 6th
Poland
Warsaw
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Let me introduce myself. I am a Dwarf, Dwarf Bashful and as you know I am the 6th in the line. If you wish you can call me Agni, as most of my Friends do.

I've noticed first symptoms of my addiction about a year ago, but I just ignored it. I think most of us addicted cannot simply admit that we are not able to go through the weekend without ... board games. And after I had to put together my first shelf for board games which I gathered in just 6 months - I started to think: "I need another apartment with another room, designated just for the board games! Or.. maybe.. I will move the bed..hmm Yes, kitchen is too small.." Still.. I live in the same place but looking for bigger shelves. I am addicted and I like it!

You can see what actually I am doing and what is happening in my world on the Warriors & Traders main page www.warriorsandtraders.com and the website of NSKN www.nskn.net where I am the letter "K".

For those who do like just the Board Game Geek and are not fond of clicking too much outside, I am forwarding the post I wrote on the blog http://warriorsandtraders.blogspot.com/

Here it goes:

An amazing thing happened! Warriors & Traders has been nominated to The Game Of The Year 2011 in Romania at http://www.jocul-anului.ro/



Voting has already started, so if you are proficient in Romanian - vote for us today! If you are like me - having troubles with understanding anything written or/and spoken in Romanian - you can always use Google translate.

As most of us already know, what really counts for a board game publisher is the players' feedback on the game they launched. And to see a session review or an amazing picture or a video review uploaded by people owning Warriors & Traders brings a huge smile on all NSKN Legendary Team and motivates us all to create more and more new unique games.

And then it makes you think - who are those people? Is there more to it? You have at least one bonding point with all of them - passion for the board games and especially this specific one. Whoever managed to produce their first game, the most pampered and occupied by many years of hard work, they understand how amazing and cheerful feeling it is to see others posting and commenting on 'your child'. And do you know how some times working on one thing continuously for 'too long' makes you not see the obvious anymore? Thanks to all the feedback we gather for the past year we gained a lot of knowledge on how things can be done differently.

So, now we are working on four (yes, you did read correctly - 4!) new games which we will try to produce in the second half of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Two of our prototypes still do not have their name! We are brainstorming and looking for great new titles. You can help and be a part of our gaming family if you want - just check our website (ww.nskn.net) or the thread Empire building game - be a part of the making! - choose the title and get rewarded. It will give you better understanding of each prototype and then you can just post comments here or send us an email with your brilliant ideas!

And it is all thanks to you - players of Warriors & Traders, commentators, friends, reviewers and every single one of you who Liked us on Facebook, Tweeted about us or shared on Google Plus ... and a very special thanks to the Board Game Geek community!
So you can hug yourself now or pat on your head on our behalf - you have done more than one good deed this year!
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Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:24 pm
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