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EDIT 8/1/13 Uploaded the final rules and switched title to contest ready. More info in the 8/1/13 post below.

EDIT 7/31/13 Uploaded the final color parts. More info in the 7/31/13 post below

EDIT 6/21/13 Switched rules and parts to version 2.0. More info in the 6/21/13 post.

EDIT 5/18/13 Changed the title to reflect game's name.

EDIT 5/16/13

2.1 Rules (8/1/13)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1959F3ebGsNBhlqjfZU8AqKxk...

2.1 FINAL COLOR Parts (7/31/13)
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx82aPfBGzTIbWtDV09vNTUtQjg/...



I started thinking about this when I saw the brainstorming discussions about an In a Tin/Express contest a few months ago, and now that I saw it return with "In-A-Tin" / "Express" Print-and-Play Design Contest - Discussion Thread, I think I'm going to start working on one of my ideas. My thought is a dice based version of Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game.

My thought right now is each team is made up of 6 dice and a chart or two of athletes, and the players compete for highlights created by another set of dice. Once the highlights are rolled and placed, the players take turns revealing a die, and placing it on a side of a highlight. The chart would instruct the value to set on the die while placing it and any other special instructions or powers. After all the dice are placed, each side is added up and the matches are won by the player with the highest total on their side.

However, the first thing that popped into my head, is the contest's warning about copyright. While it seems that Fantasy Flight has been pretty good about letting fans create express games, I think that Team Manager is already using another license, and I could see issues with doing a direct "express" game of BBTM. I'm leaning towards doing a retheme from the start to avoid any trouble. Plus, it helps me to start with a theme, so I'd like to figure out this part first.

The retheme question splits into two parts for me. First, what's the new theme, and second, how far away from the original can a game get and still be an "express" game. I'll get the the first part in a second, but on the latter issue, is it an express game of the theme or the mechanics, or are both needed to be an "express" game? For example, I think most would think RoboDerby to be RoboRally: Express, but I don't know that the same group would consider Pirates Dice to be an express game. I'd like to keep this as an express entry, because I don't think I can get 12-18 dice inside an Altoids tin.

As to the retheme, any idea or other thoughts are welcomed. The first option would be to do a name change like Blood Ball. However, other posts make me think that would be risky. I don't think the general idea of an extra violent rugby/American football is out of the question. There have been board games like Battleball, and video games like Mutant League Football or Blitz: The League which seem to use a similar setting. I think these would clearly show their inspiration from Team Manager, even if the name wouldn't be BBTM express, but I would welcome your thoughts on it. The other option is a new theme, away from rugby/gridiron altogether.

Thanks for looking and any thoughts you have.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
Well, I'm afraid my ideas are always pretty much the same... but I'll say it anyways: Add. More. Robots.
You can always add more robots and see how things will turn out. Not sure if it's good enough? Add some more robots, sure way to go. Seriously though, from all sports games I find the idea of battling mecha the coolest. Blood Bowl with Gundams and/or Battletech mechs would be supercool.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
Working on a low ink version assuming a football theme. Still don't have a name, but feel with a gridiron style game, it will feel like an express game and still be generic enough to avoid a copyright issue.

Right now there are four 'skills' and five teams. The skills are tackle (roll and the winner removes an opponents strength), sub-in (reroll a player), hand-off (get the ball for a small bonus), and cheat(roll another die at the end and take whatever happens). The teams are ones that favor each of the skills, plus a generic team that uses all. I hope to have a low ink version with rules up by friday.

I could use some thoughts on a few things. There are a few new skills from the expansion, but I haven't tried it and don't know how they fit in with the other skills. I'll look up the rules, but if someone has played it, I would love to hear your thoughts. I also have a few name ideas and would like to hear opinions.

Thank you,
Andy

Name ideas:
Fantasy Football
Gridiron Guts
Pig-skinners
(D) head Coach (the h is crossed out with the d)
Man-Slaughter Manager
Grunt Office
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
After reading up about the expansion, it sounds like much of it could be included. Enhanced balls and contracts would be easy to include, and a version of the bloodlust skill could also. However my design right now doesn't really mark downed players the same way, so I don't know if downed skills or the same regeneration skill will work. My thought is to combine the bloodlust with th regeneration into one, and the theme of the game would split them up based upon the teams descriptions.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
I had another thought about a name. In the US a few years ago there was an "Extreme Football League" and a separate XFL (the X didn't stand for anything) . I thought the word and letter X could ellitterate well with the word "Express." I'm not sure exactly what I would do.

Express Football League (EFL)
X-Press Football League (XFL)
Extreme Football Express (or "X" spellings for EFE, EFX, or XFX)
Extreme (e or x word I can't think of) Express (XXX)

and so on. Can anyone think of a word that could work? Exhibition?
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
Low ink, very early files available.

Low ink rules 1.0
https://docs.google.com/document/d/19QYlfYZEjNVy0I3fKuoCo18g...

Low ink parts 1.0
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx82aPfBGzTINVJudEVfOXZ3ZDg/...

Above is a very rough first draft of the game. As of now, I've only started testing with the first team (an all-around team), and the game will take a lot of testing. I'd like to try each team against each other, but that's 30 different match-ups in two players, and I doubt I'll be able to try multiple strategies with each. It will probably be the intended designed strategy in most cases.

The rules are also rough and assume you've played Blood Bowl Team Manager before. The rules do not explain the team powers at all, so if you download it, feel free to ask what they mean. As it is the first draft, it is also very likely that some parts will change.

I will hold off on art for a while. I'm still torn about a theme, and that could change some terms (if appropriate), and will definitely create names for the teams and/or roster members.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
Ho, boy. There is a lot going on here. And I'm not familiar with the original game, which means there's even more to dissect. I'm going to have to come back to this when I have more time to really absorb everything.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
My advice is to create your own, simplified 'sport'. Since the gameplay isn't simulating an actual football game, you can pretty much tweak it to be a unique sport that has similar elements, such as tackles, cheating, star players, etc. I think if you make your own sport, something more adaptable to pure dice, you'll be able to streamline it a lot, rather than trying to make a one-to-one dice version of BBTM.

Robots are a good idea. Maybe a Heroscape style tournament where the owners of the teams kidnap or warp in players from various eras or dimensions. That way you can have robots, elves, zombies, Greek gods, Star Wars characters, etc.


If you really want to be industrious, you can make the inside of the tin look like a stadium, with a field or rink or whatever glued to the bottom of the tin. Have little magnetic cubes representing players if you want to get that detailed with gameplay.

Call it Warpball.

(okay, maybe I need to just make my own game...lol)



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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
kurthl33t wrote:
Ho, boy. There is a lot going on here. And I'm not familiar with the original game, which means there's even more to dissect. I'm going to have to come back to this when I have more time to really absorb everything.
The original game isn't too bad. If you are familiar with Battle Line or Lost Cities, you would know the core part. Players compete at several locations by playing cards. Team Manager does a variation by giving different "teams" different ways to adjust the scores on the cards. It then coats that in a lot of theme which distracts a little from the simplicity.

There are quite a few videos on the main Blood Bowl: Team Manager – The Card Game page. Many of them give a good overview of how the game is played, and probably do a better job then the rule book (especially better then my rule book). If you or someone else wants to dive in to this express version, I think a video review of the game play would probably be all you need.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
VicDigital wrote:
My advice is to create your own, simplified 'sport'. Since the gameplay isn't simulating an actual football game, you can pretty much tweak it to be a unique sport that has similar elements, such as tackles, cheating, star players, etc. I think if you make your own sport, something more adaptable to pure dice, you'll be able to streamline it a lot, rather than trying to make a one-to-one dice version of BBTM.

Robots are a good idea. Maybe a Heroscape style tournament where the owners of the teams kidnap or warp in players from various eras or dimensions. That way you can have robots, elves, zombies, Greek gods, Star Wars characters, etc.


If you really want to be industrious, you can make the inside of the tin look like a stadium, with a field or rink or whatever glued to the bottom of the tin. Have little magnetic cubes representing players if you want to get that detailed with gameplay.

Call it Warpball.

(okay, maybe I need to just make my own game...lol)
I'm leaning towards a sci-fi-ish setting, probably closest to an old Sega Genesis game called Mutant League Football. My college roommates and I played it a lot, and it was a lot of fun. It had a collection of characters like you're suggesting.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
The old Sega game also lends itself to a game name that I think works. Mutant League Manager or Mutant League Manager Express. Anybody have concerns or other thoughts between these two?
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
fur94 wrote:
The old Sega game also lends itself to a game name that I think works. Mutant League Manager or Mutant League Manager Express. Anybody have concerns or other thoughts between these two?
I'd leave off the Express, since it's not actually an express version of a game by that same name. Just make it clear in any notes that this is a re-themed express version of BBTM.

Additionally, I'd probably stick with Team Manager, as when I see League Manager, I generally think a game is a full league simulator, as opposed to a player playing just one team.


One other name suggestion: Freakball Team Manager.



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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
VicDigital wrote:

One other name suggestion: Freakball Team Manager.
I really like this. Your point about the league is a great one, and the "freakball" does a good combination of football, sci-fi, and mutants. If you don't mind, I'd like to use it.
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Re: WIP-Team Manager Express for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
fur94 wrote:
VicDigital wrote:

One other name suggestion: Freakball Team Manager.
I really like this. Your point about the league is a great one, and the "freakball" does a good combination of football, sci-fi, and mutants. If you don't mind, I'd like to use it.
Can't wait to see the final result. Good luck!
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
VicDigital wrote:
fur94 wrote:
The old Sega game also lends itself to a game name that I think works. Mutant League Manager or Mutant League Manager Express. Anybody have concerns or other thoughts between these two?
I'd leave off the Express, since it's not actually an express version of a game by that same name. Just make it clear in any notes that this is a re-themed express version of BBTM.

Additionally, I'd probably stick with Team Manager, as when I see League Manager, I generally think a game is a full league simulator, as opposed to a player playing just one team.


One other name suggestion: Freakball Team Manager.



Id leave on the Express as it tells people what the game likely is.
And other games forced to rename retained the express title.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
Well I warned you that things would be changing. I've tested it a few times with the all-around verses itself and two other teams, and have found a few things that I want to change.

First, I feel like the matchups are slowing it down. While rolling the dice don't take much time, the different prizes and amounts take evaluation, and I think this is what slows it down. What I'm thinking about doing is to replace the dice with points that the players can spend on upgrades as they see fit. For example, each player that has dice present gets 5 points, and the winner gets an additional 5 (10 total). What I fear is that it might remove the back and forth battles of the original game (which I really liked). I don't want people to just place a single one for the second place, and save the rest for another, the decision of team placement felt very coach-like in the original. I'm not sure how I could keep that tactic with a simplification.

Second, I'd like to reduce the number of tokens. I think much of it could work with a pencil or dry erase marker, but I'm not sure how people would make this reusable. I can laminate things, but I would guess many people can't. My thought was to sizes things around post-it notes, and a blank sheet could get stuck into the spaces at the start of each game. I think this would still need some markers, put probably 3-6 per player.

Last of all, I'm torn about dropping the number of dice each player has each round from six to five. The advantage is it would be faster, and people would have to figure out a matchup to prioritize. The disadvantage is I could see the above issue again, where they prioritize one by ignoring the others. I'm not sure if I'll do this or not.



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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Brainstorm Phase
The past week was really busy, as will this upcoming one. I didn't get to work on either game's files, but I did do a little testing and refining on this one.

First, I think I''ll stick with 6 dice per round. 5 seemed to give too little of a choice on how to allocate the roster, and I felt like it removed some strategic thought.

To mix up the matchups, I've been trying the point system above (5 for having your dice at a matchup, a bonus for winning), but instead of a set 5 point bonus, I'm doing 5 + 1d6. This means there aren't tournaments, so I'm just playing five rounds. I'm testing different values for how the points are spent.

I think I''ll be doing some bigger changes to the roster rules. I'm planning on adding a permanent roster number, so the player can only advance along each number's row. I don't like that it will limit the choices, but I think it would make roster management easier, and the way I made up the teams the advanced player usually can do the same things as the basic one.

Lastly, I'm leaning away from the post-it notes idea, and back towards pencil or dry erase marker. Writing things down seems a little "coach-ish,"especially if people stick the paper on a clipboard. Instead of laminating, I'm going to try one or two things. The first is full paper report covers, which will be easier for me to work with. If I try to shrink the game down, I may try breaking up each team into 6-8 cards, and see how the dry erase makers work on card sleeves.

I still want to get a better version of my other WIP first, and with a busy week ahead, I don't think I'll do these changes until next weekend at the earliest.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
2.0 Rules (6/21/13)
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx82aPfBGzTIOEd2Y3p4eFpvcTA/...

2.0 Parts (6/21/13)
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx82aPfBGzTIbjJiRF9GVl9tNXM/...

I made some changes to everything and feel like they'll help. I switched the player charts to a little larger format, with almost no tokens to cut out. You'll still need some, but coins or cubes are fine. The sheets are designed to be put into sheet protectors, and marked with a dry erase marker. This link shows what I'm using:

http://www.staples.com/Staples-High-Capacity-Sheet-Protector...

The one page to cut up has 6 two-sided ball tokens, and 4 dice charts. The charts are also on the match-up page for reference.

The biggest change to the parts and rules is how teams get upgraded. There are no more match-up dice, each match-up wins points that can be spent as the players choose. I feel I'm close to the value of this part.

Most of the teams are the same as in the 1.0 version, though there have been a few changes, mostly because of the upgrade system. I put a little more info about the teams in the rules, but there isn't art or other thematic info yet. I've playtested all of them, and will have to balance them a bit more, but they are close enough if anyone wants to try it out.

I changed the rules to reflect the new upgrade system, and tried to expand them. It still would help to be familiar with Blood Bowl Team Manager. I will try to do a video about it.

Thank you,
Andy
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
Which page is the "matchup page"? Page 8, with the 5 funky-looking tables?
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
kurthl33t wrote:
Which page is the "matchup page"? Page 8, with the 5 funky-looking tables?
Correct. The middle blank box is to write in the bonus for each match. There are 5 for up to 4 players. If there are fewer, cross off 1 or 2 matchups at the start of the game.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
I've been trying a few experiments to balance the teams a little, and am torn about a few things.

The tackle team (Mammoths) has won a lot of games for me, which makes me think it's too strong, but I can't tell if it's the team or just lucky tackle rolls. I gave them stronger players to encourage the more expensive roster upgrades which I thought would work, but I think it still needs an adjustment.

My first option would be to weaken the team, but I feel that one point weaker in most cases might be too much. Another option would be to increase their costs to upgrade their team by a point. I feel this would work better, but I don't like that it makes the costs different on different teams.

My last thought is to give the players a few points to use before the game starts. What I like about this is it lets other teams use their strategies sooner, but I don't want the game to get too much of a head start.

I am going to try these starting with the last option. I'll let you know what I find.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bx82aPfBGzTIa2g2UVNNU19tQ2c/...

The link above is a demonstration of the 2.0 version of the game. I did include a variant I'm trying (5 points to spend before the first round), because my initial tests are going well with it, and I may add it to the rules.

The video is a googledocs file of a .wmv video. Some browsers many need to download the video and/or a codec to play.

Thank you,
Andy
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase


Working on the graphics for the game to finish it up. Above are the team logos. I don't have the skill to draw players, so the sheets will be color coded and have the logo of their team, and should look a little like a playbook.

The logos for the teams are supposed to convey a couple of things to feel more sport like. It also conveys things about the style of the team.

New York Knights-Red and White, White Knight with a Big Apple shield. The knight should look a little like a skyscraper. The team subs in (protecting) weaker players. The team gets bonuses for not cheating.

Motor City Machines-Black/Grey and White. The MC wrench (for Motor City) is mostly copied from a hockey team logo, but I stretched it out to fit in the full name. The team is pretty straight forward, almost robotically focused on getting the ball.

Milwaukee Mammoths-Green and Yellow (go Pack!). The two M's look like mammoths. The team is pretty straight forward, and tries to use stronger players to tackle weaker ones. This makes them a little riskier then the Machines, but the risk can be overcome with expensive players.

Los Angles (LA) Claymores-Purple and Yellow. The LA highlights the city but is yellow for being a little cowardly (in this game's world). The team is weaker then most, but has good looking, famous players that get fan attention, especially if hurt. They are often called the "Fame Whores" for this reason.

Seattle Super Power (XXX). Blue Green Yellow and Red. The X to the (X times X) power is a way to write google with Roman Numerals. The team is owned by a singular all-powerful computer company (Apple/Microsoft/Google combined) and used the company colors. It also looks like a football play. The team can do everything, but has to focus the game plan against different opponents, doing everything often crashes.

Las Vegas Lucky 7s-Black Red and Orange. The 7 pointed diamond and the slot machine 7 show how the team is a gambling one. The 7 also alludes to the 7 deadly sins. Many players cheat, which means wins are even more based on chance.

I will be updating the team sheets next, and once done, I should be able to change the colors pretty quickly for each team. Most of the symbols and notes will be unchanged from the current version (2.0). I like and will keep the the variant from a few posts above (also used in the video), but I'll still need to adjust the teams slightly. I'm pretty sure I'll get this done in time, but I'll probably submit the game info to BBG this weekend, just to hedge my chances of it getting approved. The files can then be uploaded afterwards.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
Solid stuff with the logos. Simple, but varied and thematic.

If you aren't already familiar with it, there's a fantastic site called sportslogos.net that is all about.. wait for it... sports logos. More interestingly to this conversation is their concepts forum, where people post their alternate designs for existing teams, or entirely made-up teams. Some people even post designs for entirely made-up sports or leagues.

Here's one for a Dodgeball league.

http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/93267-professional-dodge...

Probably way more detailed than you'd ever want to get with your logo/field/uniform designs, but it's something to consider if you move forward with this beyond P'n'P. Sports fans love logos and colors and uniforms. But you already knew that. (this is just reinforcing it).

Looking forward to giving this game a whirl this week.
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Re: WIP-Freakball Team Manager, an express game for the "In a Tin/Express Game Design Contest"- Playtesting Phase
VicDigital wrote:
Solid stuff with the logos. Simple, but varied and thematic.

If you aren't already familiar with it, there's a fantastic site called sportslogos.net that is all about.. wait for it... sports logos. More interestingly to this conversation is their concepts forum, where people post their alternate designs for existing teams, or entirely made-up teams. Some people even post designs for entirely made-up sports or leagues.

Here's one for a Dodgeball league.

http://boards.sportslogos.net/topic/93267-professional-dodge...

Probably way more detailed than you'd ever want to get with your logo/field/uniform designs, but it's something to consider if you move forward with this beyond P'n'P. Sports fans love logos and colors and uniforms. But you already knew that. (this is just reinforcing it).

Looking forward to giving this game a whirl this week.
Wow, that site is really cool! I didn't know it existed, and probably could waste way too much time looking through it. I'll have to hold off on all of the details to get the game done in time, but would love to go all out with that much theme. Thanks for the link.
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