Archive for WIP Just in Time
My WIP Just in Time has been in the hands of publishers for review for a while now and since the whole process takes a long time, I've been keeping busy by continuing to tweak things with a focus on shrinking the overall size of the game into something more manageable. For a while I had some to a standstill, until I decided to make a PnP version of Love Letter themed after one of my favorite childhood (and adult for that matter) video games: Super Mario Bros.
At first I was borrowing the red crystals from Ascension: Deckbuilding Game to use as VP tokens, but I really wanted to find something more "Mario-y". Then I happened across a lovely article on how to create your own chipboard tokens and knew I had to give it a shot. So I bought a 5/8" arch punch (was close in diameter to the wood tokens I used to use).
Since I was going to be making tokens anyways, I decided to make a new copy of my prototype for WIP Just in Time (version 8 now). Decided that since the tokens were pretty small that I could shrink almost all of the components and then went ahead and printed every possible combination of token I could possible use, just in case. Ended up with a total of 348 tokens for Just in Time plus the 13 for Love Letter for a grand total of 361 tokens... Final game will use far less.
Here's all the tokens for Just in Time punched and bagged:
To say the least, my arm was sore and my arch punch took a major beating:
Mario coins turned out really good though!
While the tops of the tokens look good, the bottoms are really roughed up and often aligned poorly (newb alert). Here's a shot comparing tops / bottoms of Just in Time tokens (top row = top of tokens):
As for the actual Just in Time prototype, here's the board with rondel:
City cards added:
Tokens added to city cards (letters A through S):
Player tokens placed:
Initial event tokens placed along with their damage markers:
Whole game now packs up quite nicely!
First off, I'm going to get a bigger arch punch (probably 1") since constraining myself to the size of my original wood tokens was stupid and it'll give me more room to work with iconography etc. Secondly, I plan to nab a block of scrap wood somewhere to do my punching on so it doesn't dull my punch blade so fast (though my cement block outside looks pretty cool now...). The player tokens will likely get swapped back out for wood bits as I think making them stand out from the other tokens is important. I do like the overall design of the event and damage tokens, I'd just like to see them be a bit bigger, so I plan to print some different sized ones on standard paper just to get a feel for what I want before ordering a new punch. Also of note, swinging a 3 lb. steel mallet over 360 times leaves you with a really, really sore arm... lol.
Hopefully will be able to get some plays of the prototype (and Love Letter!) in very soon
Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:37 am
Lots of little blurbs today
First up, before I get to the normal stuff... IT'S MY BIRTHDAY WOOT!!!
Had a small pool party this past weekend with family and best friend. Having lots of good food to celebrate and otherwise trying to relax a bit. Good times.
In case you've missed the announcements, the iOS Nightfall version has been on sale for 99¢ as the release of iOS Martial Law approaches.
Nightfall: Eternal Darkness (base game and Nightfall: Martial Law combined) is for sale. Cheapest I've seen it so far is on Boards & Bits for $32.49.
Playtesting for NF7 is coming along great. We've finished testing it against previous sets and are now starting to mix several sets at once to see how well things mix together. Feeling pretty happy with the overall balance.
Also completed some more work on my prototype for a card creator website. Looking quite good imo and will have it posted for all to tinker with in the near future.
Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event #3 was a blast. Ended up playing mostly Asura (though I did run through the Sylvari character creation and the first few levels). Had some epic encounters and nabbed a couple great screenshots:
Overlooking Metrica ProvinceFighting a huge overly powerful fire elementalMy Sylvari character that I plan to main
With my guild Bound by Nails [BbN] starting back up, I've been looking into more options for the members. My latest VOIP service of choice has been Mumble. I've been running the server software on my personal PC so far, but will want something more dedicated to the task whenever it is that I open up access to the entire guild. I asked around on Reddit about my options and got some great answers. Seems like if I want to manage things on my own that I'll need a VPS and just so happens that Amazon's free tier can handle the job for up to 100 users. In addition to a VOIP service I've also decided against setting up a guild forum and instead am opting for a subreddit aka /r/BoundbyNails. For something the size of a small-medium guild this should do basically all the same things while remaining free and can support quite a bit of various content.
One of the Guild Wars 2 focused shows that I watch is Tales of Tyria and in there latest episode Freelancer from Team Legacy went over one of his strategies for manipulating gaming markets to obtain a great deal of profit. For those interested, here's a spreadsheet of his market example and of course the actual video:
Also in the video gaming genre, I've been playing a bit of League of Legends lately (I'm S3rvant if you wanna group up). So far I've only gotten to level 7 playing coop vs AI and have been focusing on Ryze, but it's been great fun. Really wish I could find a good way to obtain riot points without needing to spend cash though... the gem market in Guild Wars 2 has me spoiled... So, back to Ryze: did some calculations based on how well he's boosted from mana and ability power and came up with the following item build order:
Sapphire Crstyal $400
Meki Pendant $390
Tear of the Goddess $205
Boots of Speed $350
Sapphire Crstyal $400
Sorcerer's Shoes $750
Amplifying Tome $435
Chain Vest $700
Glacial Shroud $425
Blasting Wand $860
Archangel's Staff $1,000
Blasting Wand $860
Needlessly Large Rod $1,600
Rabadon's Deathcap $1,140
Cloth Armor $300
Cloth Armor $300
Frozen Heart $650
Blasting Wand $860
Void Staff $1,000
Amplifying Tome $435
Sapphire Crystal $400
Blasting Wand $860
Null-Magic Mantle $400
Lich Bane $950
While I know that in real matches you have to adjust your build strategy on the fly I still like to have a good plan going in and am frequently able to get down to Sheen, though I've yet to make it to Lich Bane. I can say that with this build Ryze has some tankiness about him late game and can burst down most enemy champions that he encounters (I went 13/6/6 in my last game). Tis much fun.
Just in Time
Ideas for this one are starting to float around in my head again. Might be time to gather up the gaming group and get back to work! Most of the tweaks I'm come up reduce fiddliness and a couple I think just make it work better overall. Here's the list:
1. Instead of shifting the entire timeline backward at the end of each turn, just shift the players forward... no clue why I never thought of this before, it's so much easier to actually do.
2. Instead of buildings starting off with expensive effects and needing to be upgraded to offer a discount on their effects, the buildings will start free and be damaged by new events, increasing the cost to use the ability. This solves two problems for me: removes fiddly gain of disc from upgrading as now it makes since to gain a reward when you fix damage and before having everything getting cheaper over the course of the game during the cities impending doom felt kinda immersion breaking, so having things getting more expensive feels a lot better. I'm also thinking that a fully damaged building can't be used at all, forcing you to either abandon using it or invest an action repairing it first, with smaller buildings being easier to reach this point. Damage repair will most likely be "up to two per action point".
3. Once the last event has been placed in the timeline, the game moves to a sudden death state as time-space attempts to restore itself. Instead of only moving your own color-coded events down a slot in the timeline, now all events move down a slot, meaning the game will end in a furious rush to prevent a last minute defeat for the players. While I'll have to be careful with balancing the sudden death (don't want it to be too hard), I think it will do a great job of getting rid of the boring last few turns from before.
4. I'm considering adding tiles that cause additional effects ala Castle Panic such as: draw more events, shift all of the current player's events down an additional slot, damage every building adjacent to the current player, etc. Might not need this with the reversal of building damage, but it's something that I plan to implement if needed to keep the pressure up during the mid-late game.
5. I'm also thinking about swapping out all the chipboard bits for cards. Since the timeline will be stationary now, I don't need super sturdy event tiles while shifting things around and mini-cards such as those used in Ninjato may work out really well (and would give me more options for setting up the game such as having two stacks: one for locations and another for event type). I'm still debating what I want to do about the location tiles. I like having a modular board, but as-is you can have broken setups when all of the most powerful locations end up next to each other. I think I'm either going to have to move to a static board (which means better artwork for the board in the end) or semi-modular by having different backs on the location cards that match up with certain places around the board allowing me to force the powerful locations to be spread apart.
Just got back home from MACE West yesterday. The con lasted from Friday through Sunday, but I had to work most of Friday, so only managed to get down there as things were starting to wrap up for the evening. Did manage to try out Wooly Bully with the family, which while being a light game, was pretty decent.
Saturday was my main event day as I ran a demo for my WIP Just in Time, a demo for Nightfall and a Nightfall tournament to round out the evening. The Just in Time demo went very well with the guys enjoying the overall mechanics. Only real comment was that the game wasn't quite keeping up the pressure as I had wanted (we were able to catch up with the tasks being created). The players had some good ideas for various ways to tweak the difficulty that I'll be trying out very soon.
As for the Nightfall stuff, I mixed all 4 existing sets together so everyone could really see the various cards and even made the starters decks from 1 of each available starter so they could try out the new ones. The demo had 3 players (not including me) and went very smooth with everyone picking up on the game right away. Two of the guys who demo'd ended up playing in the tournament with a total of four participants in the tourney (I didn't play). For the tourney we played a sort of End of the World Series (4 rounds, no elimination) with everyone swapping seats between games and the player with the least total wounds being the winner. We also used the Aggressive Wounds variant to put extra emphasis on quality deckbuilding, which the players enjoyed quite a bit. At the end of the 4th round we actually had a tie between the top two players, so they played a final 1v1 game with standard rules (2 player draft rules). The final winner won a copy of Nightfall: The Coldest War.
I did have a bit of downtime Saturday between demos, so I wondered around a bit to see what was going on at the time and found a game of Lords of Waterdeep. I've seen this one being mentioned a lot on BGG lately, so sat down to watch the game. For those that don't know, Lords of Waterdeep is a Dungeons & Dragons themed worker placement game. Players are dealt a character card (note: not 100% on my terms, so don't quote me here) which give them a secret way of gaining points at the end of the game. Players also receive a couple quests (public knowledge) and a couple intrigue cards (kept private) which give them 1 shot abilities to mess with their opponents or otherwise affect the condition of the game. Players start with a certain number of meeples of their color and take turns placing them in various locations around the board. Location abilities vary from gaining new quests to building new buildings which contain new locations to recruiting heroes for your party to playing those intrigue cards. Your heroes are represented by colored cubes (fighter/warrior, rogue/thief, wizard, cleric/priest). If you have enough gold and the correct combination of heroes to complete a quest at the end of the turn, you gain that quest's rewards. The game plays a fixed 8 rounds and the player with most victory points at the end wins. Overall I thought it looked like a great game (added at #2 on my want geeklist), looks to be rules light (rules are short and easy to understand) while maintaining some nice depth of strategy (looked like plenty of combo engines and ways to mess with people).
I caught wind that Tom Vasel is going to be putting together a podcast discussing Christian game designers, so offered up my time to assist. Looks like he's being swamped with such offers though, so he's asked me to put together a short 3-4 minute clip and send his way. Now the reason why I bring this up is that I'd like to see if you guys and gals have any questions you'd like me specifically to address. I know that some have questioned how my religious beliefs relate to Nightfall's theme, so I'll most likely be addressing that one, but I'd love to hear what other questions the community might have for me.
Just in Time
After the demo at MACE West I'm starting to feel pretty good about the game. I plan to work on some ways to add additional bursts of tasks to the timeline occasionally to keep the pressure up and that should pretty well wrap up the majority of the core mechanics. For this version I added some minor penalties that can occur each time a task is generated, but they only effect players that are in the same day as the task, so they don't always take effect and sometimes can hit multiple players. Those extra little penalties made things pretty interesting as someone's d8 roll would land on your day and you had to see what penalty awaited you. Now that the core mechanics are pretty well solid, the main things that I need to tweak is the balance of the location abilities (and to make sure each is useful and/or fun) and to make sure that the difficulty is balanced for 2, 3 and 4 players, preferably with a few difficulty options as well (easy, medium, hard).
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 will be available for pre-purchase starting April 10th and one of the benefits is guaranteed access to their beta weekend events for the remainder of the time up until release day. I think the game looks awesome (as if you couldn't tell from my want geeklist) and plan to order the digital deluxe version ASAP. Can't wait to try out the various professions that I've been reading up on and watching on YouTube these past weeks. Originally I was planning to roll a Sylvari Mesmer, but the more I see in the vids, the more I find myself drooling over the Elementalist and the Charr is really starting to grow on me as well. Perhaps I'll just make 1 of each.
We had a spot open up at my workplace last week and as I'm the new trainer I got to see how the applicant process works and am working on training the new guy starting today. I've seen how training works already, but last time was done with the previous trainer, while this time I'll be on my own. New guy is looking pretty like a pretty solid, nice guy, so should be pretty easy to train. Still, wish me luck.
If a video never loads for ya, try this page instead.
Got in a good bit of gaming this weekend between a get-together with my folks and a dedicated gaming day with my BFF and our mutual friends.
Our dedicated gaming day was yesterday and involved myself, Daniel and Mitch. Mitch has been working on his own game design project and our first game of the day was to playtest it. I won't go into much detail on mechanics etc as that's for him to discuss, but I'll say that it is coming along very well and Daniel and I both enjoyed the overall mechanics. Some things still need balance / tweaks of course, but I can definitely see it being a game that goes all the way to publishing.
Later on in the day we also got in a game of my WIP Just in Time, this time as a pure cooperative. Mitch had to leave a bit early, so I played with Daniel and his wife. Overall I'm pretty happy with the switch to pure coop as it lets the players be a bit more tactical with location upgrades and helping to make each other time travel to best beat the game. Unfortunately we found things to be a bit easy and by roughly 2/3rds through the game we had caught up with the game's threats to the point that it was going to be nearly impossible for the game to really do any damage to us.
Fortunately Daniel and his wife both had great input on possible tweaks, so I'll be reworking the following for our next session:
● Some of the locations currently allow solving a task within 1 day of your current time. This is overpowered as we were able to pretty much just focus on getting those locations upgraded and then using their abilities to focus down the tasks around us. I'll be changing these to still allow completing a specific task type, but only on the current day (so will only be helpful if you're far away from the actual task location). This change alone will do a lot to make the game harder, so I'll probably have to reduce the cost on these locations a bit to balance them.
● Currently there are 3 locations that can distort (remove upgrades, force players at location to time travel) which is really helpful if another player landed on a bad day and needs some help, but there's 1 location type that can't currently be distorted. I'm thinking of dropping one of the movement spaces in exchange for the 4th distort type. I'm also debating as to whether I want the distort to remove all of the upgrades or just one.
● Another change that I'm considering to increase the difficulty is for new task to cause some extra damage to the players. Since there are only 4 task types, it should be pretty simple to assign a penalty to each type (lose a time-travel disc, an action point, a location upgrade, etc). At first I was thinking that the player who's ending their turn should suffer the penalty as they place the new task, but now that I'm thinking about it, I have another idea: since these penalties are a bit harsh I'd rather them not happen every turn, so instead of penalizing the current player, I'll just penalize whichever players are currently located on the day that the task is added to. This way there will be roughly a 50% chance that someone will be penalized, but the players won't know who until the die is rolled to assign the task. I think this will add a good bit of difficulty and help to prevent the game from becoming too predictable/solvable.
Now I just need to get the bits updated ASAP for the next playtest session this coming weekend!
Saturday evening we celebrated my step-sis' birthday party with my folks, who request to play some sort of game pretty much every time we get together, though they prefer classic card games (Hearts or Euchre mostly) or lighter games (recent favorite has been Ticket to Ride). This time however, we went with an old party fav: Spoons. For those of you who've never played Spoons, it can be hilarious, though you'll need to be pretty quick at nabbing the spoons if you want to actually remain in the game for long. We play with actual metal spoons as I can imagine the plastic ones just getting shattered after a few rounds from the way we play. It isn't uncommon at all to see people diving across the table or wrestling it out on the floor to obtain that last remaining spoon that went flying from the initial grab. We've even had to get the ER involved a time or two (such as when my wife sprained her wrist during such a match).
Was good times, even though I came in 2nd
Back to our Sunday gaming day, between the prototyping testing we also got in a game of Chaos in the Old World, one that I'd heard of several times, but never had the chance to play. Mitch had obtained a copy and brought it with him, so we tried it out. I played the blue dudes, Daniel was red and Mitch was green. I think Mitch was the quickest to understand his win condition and really powered through his dial pretty well, with me catching on fast as well and mostly keeping up with him. Daniel took a bit longer to get his war engine running, but once he did, his points took off much faster then what we were able to keep up with. The game ended via VP's from Daniel with Mitch and I being only a couple dial rotations from our respective wins. The overall game was decent, but the quantity of counters that end up laying around the board seemed fiddly and I'm not a fan of games with overly dark theme such as this.
To wrap up the evening I started up a game of Ticket to Ride with Daniel and his wife, but my wife showed up to retrieve me before we could get very far. As my wife and his chatted for a bit, I showed Daniel how to play Hearts and Euchre so that we could get in some games of them next time our families get together.
So this weekend is MACE West and the family is ready to get in some serious gaming! I've got my events lined up for Saturday, specifically: Just in Time demo from 9am - 11:30am, Nightfall demos from 1pm - 4pm and a Nightfall tourney from 5pm - 11pm.
I plan to have the Just in Time tweaks listed above ready for MACE and am looking forward to getting some fresh perspective on the game's mechanics. As for Nightfall, I plan to use the base game mixed in with Nightfall: Martial Law with some specific commons / private archives to ensure some lovely combos / kickers. As for the tourney, I'll be mixing all 4 currently released sets into custom draft decks with each deck containing 2 of each color from each set. The players will play with starter decks consisting of 1 of each starter minion both new and old. The tourney format itself will be a End of the World series mixed with the aggressive wound variant with best final score after 4 rounds being declared the winner and any ties being worked out with a single game of the life total variant. Hopefully there'll be enough participants that I can really mix up the match-ups to prevent playing the same people over and over again.