Gaming History: Loz

I’ve been gaming for so long I genuinely can’t remember the details of my first games. I was 12 when my older brother Tim got into Warhammer 40k. So I played 40k against him, and lost a lot – but I enjoyed it. I think he had Eldar, Orks and Space Marines, and I used his models as I didn’t have my own.

For I think my fourteenth birthday I received the Warhammer Fantasy boxed set. It had elves and goblins in it. I built an orc and goblin army, and played that for ages, against my brother’s dark elves, and against my friends various armies – it’s at least in part from here that my lifelong dislike of fantasy dwarves stems, because of a friend’s really cheesy dwarf army.

Somewhere around the same time I picked up my first role playing game – Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I honestly cannot remember most of the games we played with it, they probably made little sense as we didn’t know what we were doing, I mostly remember creating characters by the dozen. It clearly triggered something inside me though, because I’ve loved RPGs ever since.

By the time I was doing my A-levels (17ish) I had a regular gaming group, and we played White Wolf’s various games (Vampire: the Masquerade, Mage: the Ascension, Werewolf: the Apocalypse), and Dungeons and Dragons second edition. Planescape is a fantastic setting, but due to having too few players we played two characters each – I had Bjorn Bjornson son of Bjorn Bjornson’s son Bjorn, a taciturn norse fighter, and his twin brother a wild mage named simply Krapotkin.

I went to university in Bangor. I went there hoping there would be a gaming society of some sort. It turned out they had what was at the time one of the largest and most respected university gaming societies in the country – Bangor Wargaming and Role Playing Society, or BWRPS. I also met Ali there.

While there I played and ran just about anything I could. I was rarely in more than three games a week though, which was probably wise – I knew someone who was in eight (one every night and two on Sundays), and he failed his course and dropped out! That’s not to say my studies were unaffected by gaming – in my third year I would regularly go to a Vampire game run by Ali on a Tuesday evening, play until 2am, then go home and work on my project until my nine o’clock lecture in which I would frequently fall asleep!

I also played a lot of different wargames at BWRPS, including various historical games, something I still find interesting but don’t really get a chance to do any more. I kind of stopped playing any wargames after a while, I never really intended to, it just happened that way.

After graduating I lived in Bangor for a few more years, it’s a very pretty part of the world and I had good friends there, but eventually I managed to escape and moved to Manchester, where i stil live. Here I fell in with Vague, Manchester Metropolitan University’s gaming society. Here I’ve played and run a lot of different RPGs as well with a lot of very good people over the last decade or so.

But to bring things full circle rather nice, I’ve recently finished playing in a Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (second edition) game, and the latest edition of 40k has got me back into the game as well – my Space Marine army even has some of my brother’s old models in it! .  

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Gaming History: Ali

Ste suggested we talk about ‘our first game’ That’s tricky. First played, first rpg, first time GMing?

 

As a kid, I remember two gaming moments distinctly. One was my sister deciding the way to win at Monopoly was to be the banker. The other was the summer I decided to ‘solve’ the Choose Your Own Adventure book I’d been given, by going full on decision tree. Two months and lots of computer paper later, I discovered there wasn’t actually a path from start to win. Several endings where you died or failed or some such. But the win didn’t track from the start. Moral: plan your games. I still don’t entirely, but i generally have a shape to how I expect things to pan out.

Fast forward to Uni, and I joined the RPG society. Sucked in by the ‘Have a Go’ LRP (technically LRP was a sport since you needed insurance) I turned up to a roomful of fellow nerds – some of which were even girls! No longer the Only Nerd In the Village!

My first proper rpg was Whoops King Arthur there goes the Round Table! I played Sir Bruce Sans Pitie, pretending to be Lancelot, and later pretending to be several other knights. The line I remember was the closing one. Most of the PCs crashed through the ceiling from Guinevere’s room into the Great Hall, where Mordred was looking forlornly at a lone cupcake. Arthur extracted himself from the pile and said “Happy birthday, son, we got you a sex-scandal-o-gram!”

The following week we had Whoops Sauron there goes the One True Ring. Totally sensible starting point. Moral: have fun. Now I work in gaming, some things I play are not necessarily what I would choose to. But there’s a joy in sharing time with my mates, in taking turns to play different people’s ‘most fun’  If I didn’t enjoy making game for other people, I’m in the wrong career!

Then I settled down to a Discworld campaign – playing an Ex-Sacrificial Virgin, and a Shadowrun campaign, playing something magical I think, but that didn’t last all that long, because we ran into a problem. Mike wouldn’t play in Alvar’s game, Alvar wouldn’t play in Mike’s game, Ian didn’t want to run two games in a week. So the group suggested I could GM. Mike had a load of the adventure modules, and I stumbled through most of them over the next couple of years – including one summer where we played five times a week. Oh the halcyon days of youth. Moral: try to maintain a work /game balance

Since then I’ve played several Vampire games; a long running Werewolf campaign set in Canada, full of epic poetry and snow; and a lot of DnD 4th. I’ve dipped my toe into most of the big systems, and had more indie and oneshots than would be feasible to namedrop. – last Nationals it was easier to tell them the categories I couldn’t run for! Long campaigns I’ve run include a lot of WOD – often crossover. All of those are firmly in the “action and antihero with horror elements” category – I don’t do well with true horror.  Moral: find what you like, and explore that. Until it gets old, then find something else.

After a long time of playing the local linear LRP,  a bunch of us went to try this new fest called Maelstrom. I had five characters over a decade of play, and loved each one. The perfidy of betrayal, real tears at loss, the joy as schemes came to fruition, the anger at invasion of our lands, and finally being on ‘the winning (surviving) side, leading a procession of converts into the sunset Moral : throw yourself at games hard, and they will reward you with experiences. I still play the next game from the same company , Empire. After six years,Sofia i Del’Toro i Riqueza has quite some depth, but I haven’t finished her story yet. The clan is growing, and we’re starting to be a political powerhouse.

I’m currently in a 13th age campaign, although this year I’ve dipped in and out of other short games as work and health dictate. I’ve been doing a lot more boardgaming, and recently dug out the cardboard crack which is MTG – and discovered that some of my cards are valuable, but most of my decks can’t play in anything other than casual. Moral: variety is the spice of gaming

So there you go. A whistle stop down Memory Lane. Why not share your weirdest gamer story with us? If we get enough, we might even publish some of them!

 

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Geeking About Gaming: Amy on Board Games

 

I love playing board and cards games, but I’m not very competitive – it feels nice when I win, but I will happily play a game that I know I never win, such as Power Grid.

I prefer games that encourage polite socials interactions, like cooperative games such as Arkham Horror: The boardgame is actually my favourite game as it’s a game that not only encourages you to work together to beat the big bad but does storytelling in a very elegant way.

Arkham features another two elements I like in a game – firstly its design is cohesive, and I find that cohesive design make that game easier for me to pick up because it feels like it just runs smoothly. Secondly I tend toward turn based games, like Ticket to Ride and Settlers of Catan, both of these games I like to play, although I never win I often come second, which is a significant improvement on my previous tendency towards last place.

We’ve started playing deck building games which bring back for me some of the things I used to enjoy about Magic the Gathering without spending anywhere near as much and without the sore winners that you sometimes come across in that world.

I like how I can sit there building my deck quietly and there’s usually a theme or some cards that I like to put in – like in clank, I’ll always try to get the cute cat, I know this is bad in some ways [Ste Note: That cat is seriously powerful – it’s not a bad choice at all] but it makes it fun for me and the last thing I like about this game is to watch the deck roll out – and these games I can win sometimes.

Another type, I tend to quite good at is betting games but this is a thing that has taken some time because I’ve gotten better at working out the odds – though I’ve always been good at the social aspect.

There are a few games I really don’t like, like Werewolf and The Resistance: I know most people see these as social games, but I find the behaviour they encourage uncomfortable, the accusations making me feel targeted at times and these games seem to encourage fighting, and may be left team up with someone who being a dick to you, since the teams are random and I know in the end I can be happier to make him lose than anything else because he’s a sore winner – so I think these are more anti-social games than social ones.

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Geeking About Gaming: Loz on Board Games

What do I like about board games? Well that’s a difficult question. I’ve been a gamer for over two decades, but my primary interest is roleplaying games, and then tabletop war games, with board games falling somewhere down the list. My first introduction to this form of geekery was when I was 12 and my brother introduced me to the original Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader (not the more modern RPG of the same name).

So what attracts me to these things? I guess the answer is creativity. I like the creating stories in RPGs, and I like the lore and background of wargames, plus the emergent story of how a battle plays out – I often theorise about how unusual things happen, like the Space Marine with a missile launcher defeating a Striking Scorpion in close combat by shoving a Krak missile somewhere unfortunate! I like the tactics of wargames too, and enjoy that in RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons – In all honesty I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy it.

So what pushes board games down the list for me? Part of it is simply a lack of experience, it’s not something I grew up with in the same way so there is less emotional attachment. Another issue is rules – I don’t much like learning them. With an RPG or a war game I’ll likely have to learn the rules once and then use them many times, but with a board game that is less likely to be the case as they are usually more limited in scope and so have less replayability. Oddly this isn’t helped by the fact I am actually quite good at analysing rules, which means if there is a particularly good strategy I can often see it even if I can’t actually master it in practice.

So what do I like? I like storytelling games, and I like games that are rules light (or at least quick to learn) but have some depth. I also prefer competitive games to co-op games because playing against other people provides a different challenge than playing against a simple AI (Artificial intelligence in computer games is another matter – it can be significantly more complex and less predictable).

I do like creating games – it scratches a similar creativity itch to writing, but with a more mechanical bent. I try to design games I think I would enjoy so previously it has mostly been RPGs but recently, at the prompting of Ste and Amy, I’ve been thinking about board games. I have ideas, oh so many ideas, but I don’t know how many will actually end up working out. I guess only time, and experimentation, will tell.

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Geeking about Gaming: Ali on Board Games

This month, we’re looking at board games. Loz and I play less than the other half of the team, so a few weeks back we went to a seminar on board game design. The fundamental question they told us to ask is “What makes this fun?” Who is it fun for, and what elements add to that kind of fun? Then one can work out how to make that kind of fun – be that problem solving, storytelling, surreality or whatever.

Not everyone enjoys the same things, so we’ve been thinking about what kind of games we like, as sample gamers, and this will hopefully help us make better games. May be not as technically brilliant, but more fun.

Me, I hate playing anything where the winner is pretty much “whoever owns the game”. I loathe the idea that a new player (especially if it’s me) can make a fundamental error through ignorance and just not stand a chance. I accept that there’s skill to most games, and that strategies develop with time. But it would be nice to think I’m not just fodder for a foregone conclusion. Conversely, I also dislike games where the outcome is totally random. Snakes and Ladders will not be featuring on my top ten anytime soon.

Best example of this ‘newb = loser’ problem is the Serenity boardgame. There is a best winning strategy here, and it basically goes *SPOILERS* get River Tam as fast as possible. I remember one evening playing through the game three times (someone had got it for a birthday and wanted to thoroughly road test it), and by the third one, we had resorted to making up our own stories about the cargo we were carrying, and pretty much ignoring the progress of the board part of the game.

One metric to consider is the “Christmas Day Test” Assuming you got this game for Christmas, how soon after that could you play it? Most boardgames, it should be a couple of hours or less. Wargames take a little longer if you have to paint models. RPGs, you need a group of mates, so that could be variable, but how long does chr gen take once you sit down with the book?

When Ste asked what my favorite mechanic is, I went with “incremental increases, slow build up of power”. I play a lot of RTS on computers, and my standard strategy for those is to fort up. Lots of towers, troops parked at chokepoints, and climb the tech tree. So I kind of like boardgames that have this element. Ticket to Ride, Stone Age and Privateer have all been played multiple times, and still have replayability.. I once played Lords of Waterdeep – and barring that it took ages to set up, that was great fun too.

Oh and in a complete opposite, quick little social games. I boardgame largely because my mates do, and so something a bit silly fits this nicely.. Braggart, In a Pickle and Ninja Burger fall into this category. Oh, and as a side effect of the mates I have, we tend towards words rather than numbers. That may seem odd for a bunch which contains multiple dyslexics – but words have more clues to meaning than numbers.

I guess I’m not a good fit for a boardgame market sample because one of the answers to “what games do you like” is ‘new ones’. That’s why I love the idea of boardgames libraries. Play something different every time!

That’s nice lead-in to giving a shout to our friend over at Dungeons and Flagons, who are doing a day event for Free RPG day on the 16th of June. Hmm, I’d better write something for that!

By the by, anyone who does Empire LRP, I’ll see you in a field this weekend. Hope for some good weather for us.

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Geeking about Gaming: UK Games Expo, Grokking, Modding and Creating

UK Games Expo was a draining weekend for me, followed by an unfortunate cold, so I’m a bit late in getting this up for you – but hopefully it’ll be interesting.

This month we’re concentrating on looking at various experiences and inspiration we each have with tabletop gaming – and I’m going to be talking largely about the most recent experiences at UKGE itself.

We met a lot of new people, but I’m not really going to talk about that today because social interactions are complicated and not really something I excel at – even if Board Games do make that much easier for me.

Instead I’m going to talk about the elements of Boardgames that speak to me more than the rest of our team:

Grokking Games

Loz likes learning new games – and may well talk about that on his week of this subject – but he tends to only go one-step deep with most games. He’ll play them until he fully understands the rules, and then move on. That early stage appeals to me, but I tend to be more of a deep-diver: once I understand a games rules I need to learn its metarules. 1)For an example, a simple metarule of Sudoku is that if you have two numbers that each have only the same two spots in a row/column/box they can be in, then every other number is impossible for that pair of boxes, even though they haven’t been filled. I then need to prove my understanding of the game by beating other players – but the winning isn’t the goal, that’s easy if I can choose my opponents, it’s the understanding that matters to me.

At something like UKGE I don’t have the opportunity to grok games without buying them. So, of course, I buy some of them. This time around I bought a discounted dice-crafting game called The Masters’ Trial and a simple munchkin-esque game called Champion of Earth. Both seem flawed, to some extent, but they also each have a level of fun.

The Masters’ Trial is quite a deep game, so I don’t know it after a few hours of play, but it lacks somewhat in the theming arena, and in the way the boxes contents are arranged when first unpacked – a lot of effort got put into some things, while others just missed the mark. Specifically – the cards are organised by card name, but have to immediately be reorganised by which deck they go in 2)yes, cards of the same name go in different decks. It makes sense in context and despite the fact that each monster is tied to one of the four elements they are all lava beasts…

Champion of Earth is a bit too easy to grok for me, so it’s not likely to get much play during my “serious gaming” time – but it’s a less cruel, and more pop-culture, version of Munchkin so it’ll probably see some play with my many friends who aren’t as deep into gaming. It also seems to lack the one player mode mentioned on the box – we’ll be asking the designers about that, given as we were chatting with them at the Con.

Modding Games

Talking about player numbers, we encountered Game of Thrones Catan at the con, but were unable to properly try it as it needs a minimum of three players (like all Catan games) – which inspired us to start discussing rules changes that would make it work for just me and Amy.

Modifying games is one of my favourite long-term hobbies. It started with computer games, but my programming skills are sub-par so I could never actually implement things like the four extra balanced teams I designed for Starcraft, so I eventually moved onto things like custom M:TG cards and houseruling board games, where I could actually implement my thoughts.

Making Games

Modify something enough and you make something new. For instance we did some more playtesting of Clash of Blades – our Swordfighting Card Game – at UKGE; it’s a game that started off as a concept of “How would magic look with a completely different resource system” and now looks basically nothing like M:TG.

Making something more purely innovative is where our story-telling memory game Adventurer’s Backpack comes in. We created it whole cloth, because we understand enough other games (including storytelling and roleplaying ones) that we were only taking a single thread from each – making the game as a whole new from its very beginning.

Of course no matter how you get to making the game, you then have to go right back round to the top – grok it, then mod it, rinse and repeat – because it’s never going to start out perfect.

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References   [ + ]

1. For an example, a simple metarule of Sudoku is that if you have two numbers that each have only the same two spots in a row/column/box they can be in, then every other number is impossible for that pair of boxes, even though they haven’t been filled.
2. yes, cards of the same name go in different decks. It makes sense in context

Monstrous Mondays: P is for Panther

Panther

I don’t exactly mean the big cat – but in some ways I do.

History

A Panther is monster from medieval Europe 1)from a time when people did not understand what they truly were with magical powers, such as its coat being all the colours of the rainbow and being able to call animals to it.

Some stories call this monster gentle but all tell us how it awakens and roars, emitting a sweet smell that calls animals to it to become its food. The only animals that won’t come to its call are dragons because they are scared of the panther, and then the panther falls asleep until it is hungry again. But since it only sleeps once it is full then it most eat all the animals that come to him, there for he call them to there doom that don’t seem very gentle.

The female Panther only gives birth once because her young eat their way out of her, like some sharks do. This is somewhat at odds with the supposedly peaceful nature of the Panthers, suggesting that the myth may be an amalgamation of different stories.

This story have been used as a metaphor by the Christians for Christ and the devil and Christ’s story of rebirth, the beautiful panther is Christ and the devil is the dragon. It told of Christ dying as the panther sleeps, and when dead he defeats the devil (the dragon) which is why the dragon is scared of him. He is then reborn 3 days later and calls all the animals to him with his beautiful roar. This a case of Christians taking an old story and trying to make it theirs, like having Hercules be a version of Samson, but it is a strange version because the dragon stays away from the panther and because when the panther call the animals to him he eats them, not generally considered the way that Christ will behave.

These stores of it both the christian and nonchristian meant that people gave this beast magical powers and made it into more than it was, we tend to do this to things we don’t know about because of fear of the unknown. But it can sometimes make it scarier than it is, since these do eat animals and could eat human it might be due.

Nowadays we no longer see it as a monster but the beautiful animals which we now know is not its own species but any slender big cat, like Leopards, with too much melanin in their fur in the case of the black panther (which is more commen) and a lack of it in the white panther, so a panther is a big cat with some form of mutation in their fur usually making it be without marking on it. The white panther is what is described in most of the old stories as the monster is said to be white, rainbow coloured or to shine like the sun. which is interesting since it is the black panther that is more common and that most people think of – and was, of course, the inspiration for things like the superhero Black Panther, as well as the Black Panther political movement.

Physiology

Due to the time period this monster was believed in not all the images of it were the same, mostly it is shown as a big cat but there some odd ones out there one like an image of a donkey the another that has horns. I’m just looking at the standard version

  • The head of a big cat with small eyes and a mouth full of sharp teeth.
  • With slim body of a big cat like a leopard – not stocky like a lion.
  • It stand on all fours on long slender legs – but can stand upright when it wishes.
  • Large paws with sharp claws.
  • Covered from head to toe in beautiful soft fur of white or rainbow or of golden sun light.

 

Ideas

  • It come be used it a set as something that is treated like a deity, maybe a god of nature that only eats and sleeps.
  • It seems similar to the Tarrasque with how it acts and there be no information how to kill it. But it doesn’t roam the land eating all as it goes, it waits for food to come to it. Perhaps the Tarrasque is what happens when one of these doesn’t get fed – or perhaps it’s instead what happens if they eat a dragon.
  • How often the Panther must eat varies, but one version has it eating every 3 days. Perhaps the sweet breath makes the area nearby particularly fertile to support it.

 

Where to find more

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panther_(legendary_creature)

http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beast79.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_(comics)

https://a-z-animals.com/animals/panther/

 

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References   [ + ]

1. from a time when people did not understand what they truly were

Monstrous Mondays: S is for Siren

Sirens are one of those monsters that has changed a lot over the years, so they’ve got quite a history:

History

These beautiful singing ladies that bring sailors to their doom are best known through greek myth, but there are many stories of them, or very similar creatures, from different times and places in the world.

One of the first greek stories told of how they were Persephone’s three handmaidens: when she was kidnapped by Hades Demeter gave them wings, so they could search for her, and their singing voices to call her home with. When they failed to find them Demeter cursed them to only live until a man has heard them and managed to pass them by.

Another story tells of the three sirens losing a singing competition to the muses, and when they did so the muses plucked off their feathers so that their disgrace would be visible – so they threw themselves in the sea and became islands.

Both of them link nicely into the idea from another story where they were the daughters of Poseidon (since he is the father of monsters) but they still had feathers they were like seabirds – indicating where land is but without a clean path it might bring you to your doom.

The story of their relation to Poseidon may be the start of their shape changing – since Poseidon is god of the sea, depicted as part fish and connected to mermaids (and mermen, such as Triton).

The Sirens turn up in both The Argonautica and The Odyssey and many a sailor’s story throughout the centuries tell of how they saw mermaids and sirens and lost there ships and nery there live or know someone who had. These stories were part of the gradual change of the Siren’s form mixing and changing over time telling of how the mermaid sing to them to draw them close therefore taking on some of the siren’s qualities and therefore in story they became the same thing. so as can be seen the stories have changed their appearance over time but what set it firmly into its new shape was the paintings from the renaissance period, where they are depicted as a woman in water or a mermaid or some mixture of the two – thanks to this what we see them as – both in the media and our mind’s eye is very far from their original description.

 

Physiology

  • The face of a beautiful woman with long hair which in older versions may have feather mixed in with the hair.
  • A body of a woman some of the older version sometime have feather on the body but always had human breasts.
  • Older depictions often have the wings of a bird instead of arms, though sometimes they have both.
  • Older versions of the siren depicted them with the legs of a woman hideous bird-like feet with big claws and sometimes even scaled legs too.
    Other versions, especially newer ones, depict them with an elegant scaled fish tail like a mermaid.
  • They always have an unthinkably beautiful voice that is draw men to them.
  • They are unaging, and no-one who hears their song can harm them
  • They are usually found on an island out at sea, singing alluring songs until the men come to them and crash upon the rocks – then they eat them. In some more tragic tales their immortality means they don’t need to eat, but that they are simply surrounded by the corpses of those they called to them for companionship – as the island is too barren to support mortal life.

Ideas

  • A travelling singing act is actually a trio of sirens who travel town to town, drawing men to follow them into the wilderness when they leave and the players have to find the men who have followed them before they starve.
  • Adventurers might seek to remove the curse from the sirens – returning them to their past as immortal handmaidens.
  • A birdlike siren has set up its nest in a haunted cemetery, populated by undead. In fact, that siren has developed the art of necromancy, and is building an army so that it can challenge the gods that cursed it.

 

If like to know more about this here are some links you might find useful.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siren_(mythology)

https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Sirens/sirens.html

http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Seirenes.html

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Siren-Greek-mythology

http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/seductive-sirens-greek-mythology-how-heroes-resisted-temptation-008198

http://www.gods-and-monsters.com/sirens-mythology.html

http://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/the-sirens.html

http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/nymphs/sirens.htm

https://www.ancient.eu/Siren/

http://knowledgenuts.com/2014/02/05/the-difference-between-mermaids-and-sirens/

http://www.realmermaids.net/mermaid-history/siren-history/

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Idea Bargain Bin: A Hidden Movement Mechanic

Games about finding someone come in many forms

There are a good few games percolating in my noggin – at least a dozen1)though from what I hear many successful designers have far more. But there are even more ideas than there are games – and I don’t feel comfortable abandoning a good idea even if I don’t know what to do with it.

So I’m going to use today’s blog to do something with one of those useless (to me) good ideas.

I was listening to a podcast on Hidden Movement Games and I got stuck on a single thought: Why can’t the game pieces serve as a neutral arbiter? Perhaps it’s because I loved Stratego as a kid, or my interest in MtG’s design but I simply couldn’t resist fixing the problem of relying on player honesty.

The Solution?

For the purposes of this solution we’re reliant on a game with only one player controlling hidden characters: changing that is possible but awkward and, if you want characters to bump into each other, an engineering challenge (I’ll give a brief thought at the end as to how to make it work).

The core of the vast majority of hidden information in games is having something face down – and this is no exception. But just one face-down thing is useless for a hidden movement game – you can see exactly where it is!

Instead you use multiple face down things, just one of which matters – you pull a three-card monte. In addition to your “I am here” token, the hidden player has a number of “nuh-uh” tokens, with identical backs, that indicate places they could be – until searched.2)Amy’s suggested I was drawing on Flashpoint (one of my recent favourites) when I came up with that idea, and it’s set of false alarm tokens. She might be right, it has certainly been on my mind as part of another game design…

That gets the hidden placement down, but hidden movement requires a tiny bit of extra finesse. First you have to define how your hidden character can move.3)If you’ve got more than one type, they’re either going to have to all have the same movement method, or they’ll need different backs and separate sets of “nuh-uh”s. Then you have a three stage process of movement:

  1. Pick up any number of “nuh-uh” tokens, revealing them, and putting them into your hand. These are spaces that it’s now clear you’re *not* in.
  2. Choose any token that you want to move into previously empty spaces, and a set of empty spaces it could move into.
    1. For each such space, take a “nuh-uh” token, then take the original token (without revealing it) and put them all onto the board face down, as you wish. The original token may now be in any of the spaces filled this way (or even back where it started – this is after all about hiding your position)
    2. Rinse and repeat – remembering that this process can only be used with empty spaces, not ones filled earlier this turn.
  3. Pick any number of tokens on the board in spaces that weren’t empty at the start of the turn, and that can all reach each other by a single movement (in some games this will always be a pair tokens, in others it may be more).
    1. Pick up all those tokens, without revealing them, and then place them back down in any arrangement you want.
    2. Rinse and repeat, but with the restriction that you can never pick up a token you’ve already used in part 3.

 

And that’s it. Thoroughly hidden movement – how the other player goes about flipping your pieces to take a look is part of the rest of the game, and I’m not worried about it.

But what about having multiple players with hidden movement?

Well, each could player have their own tokens, each part of the board having space for one from each player. That’s really damn awkward – you could be in the same space as each other and you’d never know it. The engineering comes in at this point – each players real piece, the one that isn’t a “nuh-uh” has a magnet in it: just a small one, not very sensitive, but enough that if placed in “sensing range” of another players piece they’ll feel the tug. If placed directly on another players piece, it may even be obvious to the whole table!

What are your thoughts? Anyone got a brand new idea for how to make a great game from this? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter

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References   [ + ]

1. though from what I hear many successful designers have far more
2. Amy’s suggested I was drawing on Flashpoint (one of my recent favourites) when I came up with that idea, and it’s set of false alarm tokens. She might be right, it has certainly been on my mind as part of another game design…
3. If you’ve got more than one type, they’re either going to have to all have the same movement method, or they’ll need different backs and separate sets of “nuh-uh”s.

The End of the (Instant) Universe

The End of the (Instant) Universe

Last Thursday our kickstarter campaign for sci fi concept cards ended. It was, all things, considered, a rousing success.

The final tally was £5,544 and 244 backers. Thank you to all our backers – we couldn’t do this without you and we like doing this!

We have reached the stretch goals for two extra cards per deck, and three extra suit symbols.

What Remains To Be Done

Elvis may have gone home to live among the stars, but we still have work to do. There are a few cards left to write, more now we have reached that stretch goal, and we need to commission more art.

Then comes the process of proofreading. To be honest it’s my least favourite part of the job, not least because I’m not very good at it. Fortunately Ali is, and we have a couple of volunteers to aid in the process. It is very necessary, though – I am rather prone to making typos. By the time it goes to print I am confident that every error but one will be squashed (that one will show up three weeks later…).

After that is done we send files to the printers, and wait anxiously for them to send us boxes of decks.

Then we package and post them to the backers.

If you missed the Kickstarter it’s not too late to get in on the action – you can still join us on Backerkit

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