W. Eric Martin
Another round-up of links from around the gaming world, most new and some only sorta new as I continue to clear bookmarks from my two-month hiatus:
• The nominees for the As d'Or for 2010 – France's Game of the Year award – have been announced and the titles up for consideration are:
* 7 Wonders by Antoine Bauza (Repos Production)
* Cyclades by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc (Matagot)
* Djam by William Attia (Asmodee)
* Fresko by Marco Ruskowski and Marcel Süßelbeck (Queen Games)
* Qwirkle by Susan McKinley Ross (Iello)
* Razzo Raketo by Steffen Bogen (Selecta Spiel)
* S.O.S. Octopus by Oliver Igelhaut (Filosofia)
* Skull & Roses by Hervé Marly (Editions Lui-Même)
* Troyes by Sébastien Dujardin, Xavier Georges & Alain Orban (Pearl Games)
* Water Lily by Dominique Ehrhard (GameWorks)
As always, an interesting mix of games among the nominees, with two pure kids' games (S.O.S. Octopus and Razzo Raketo) and a couple of family games (Qwirkle and Water Lily) among more complex fare. (I have no inside knowledge, but I've already predicted that 7 Wonders will win every award for which it's nominated, including Spiel des Jahres and DSP. We'll see how that prediction pans out.) The winner will be announced Feb. 24, 2011 during the Festival International des Jeux in Cannes.
• Purple Pawn has surveyed more than 7,000 companies worldwide that are involved with the analog games industry and posted the results of its 2010 Game Industry Survey as a downloadable PDF, which summarizes the methodology PP's Yehuda Berlinger used to contact these companies. I'm not sure what to make of this partial summary: "Of the companies surveyed, those that did not close reported good results, with 85% reporting that they had done at least as well or better in 2010 than they had done in 2009." So in general the companies are doing great, other than those that are no longer in business.
• At WordCamp Indonesia, a conference attended by more than 300 developers and users of WordPress, the Kummara design team broke out its WordPress: The Board Game, the first of its kind for this particular CMS. Here's a brief description of game play:
In the game, each player takes a role as a web developer who works on a team to release a new blog by implementing the WordPress engine. Each player needs to set the optimal combination of plugins. It sounds easy, right? But some elements in the game will make that simple task much more challenging. Three dice represent requests from the boss that the player must obey, and sometimes those will destroy all the work you've completed. When to cooperate and when to compete is another challenge that each player need to solve.
Interesting to see this, especially since Cloudberry Games' Rustan Håkansson released Drupal: The Card Game as a giveaway at Drupal conferences in 2010. Perhaps in the future every content management system will have its own game...
• Three Donkeys, a "game design, development, and consulting company specializing in unique solutions to problems in the areas of both electronic and board game design" located in Redmond, Washington has a fun blog with recent posts from Brian Tinsman, author of The Game Inventor's Guidebook, on "What Makes a Design Team a Team?" and Magic: The Gathering's Richard Garfield on Crokinole, Innovation and other games that catch his attention.
• U.S. publisher Atlas Games is soliciting proposals for non-collectible card games, whether original designs or titles previously released by another publisher.
• Michael Schacht's Gold!, just released by Abacusspiele in ye olde pasteboard format, is also now available for iDevices from Skotos Tech. Head to the Gold! listing on iTunes for screenshots and more details.
• In other analog-to-digital game news, USM's version of Reiner Knizia's Ingenious is discounted to $1 for the iPhone app and $2 for the iPod app through the end of February 2011. Puerto Rico is coming to the iPad sometime in 2011 from Codito Development. Alien Frontiers is coming to iDevices, in addition to being developed for play online. Twilight Creations' Zombies!!! has been released for Windows Mobile devices. Knizia's Pickomino is playable in a solo version on Facebook. And finally Steve Blanding's adaptation of Tichu for iDevices has been updated to include support for Game Center, which allows for worldwide multi-player games.
• Not sure you want to mimic Derk by tattooing the Tichu dragon on your bod? Then take a look at these game-inspired tats on Facebook for additional inspiration.