All posts by Steve P.

I started my life as a gamer in my freshman year of high school, back in 1981, with the D&D Blue box and a group of new friends. I had just moved into a new neighborhood and was invited to play this “new” game that one of the guys had just gotten. I knew of D&D before then, I had a friend in middle school that said he played, but no matter how much I asked, he would never invite me to play or teach me how. I was so new to the whole experience that when given a “Cleric” to play, I wondered what this magical race looked like. Since there were dwarves and elves, surely a cleric must be an equally fantastical being.
It’s been a long time since those humble beginnings, I’ve played countless games, created dozens of fleshed out worlds to run campaigns in, modified rule system so they ran smoother at the table and tried my hand at designing games from whole cloth. This is the first time I’ve tried to do it professionally.
I’ve been a graphic artist for most of my career and I bring that to Move Rate 20 Games as well as my gaming experience. Like most people who work with computers I have a love/hate relationship with them, but I certainly wouldn’t want to layout a rule booklet by hand (though I could in a pinch).

Total Con 2016 Report By The Taskmaster

So another Total Con has come and gone!

Total Con 30 was great fun and a real success for MoveRate 20  Games (despite the fact that I missed a Constitution Check and had to leave early Sunday with a stomach bug!).

The demos for our upcoming game, Master of Spies, all went great and all feedback from players was positive as we head towards the Kickstarter on Leap Day!

Kickstarter project Master of Spies at Total Con 2016
Our exhibition table set up for Total Con 2016

I would also like to send out a personal set of thank you’s to the people who went above and beyond this past weekend:

Naomi Price: Thanks for giving us a hand all weekend at the demo table. Takes a special kind of person to put up with me all weekend! More mudslides anyone?!?!?

LB (a.k.a. Robert Lynch): Thanks for all the help at the Rivendell vendor Table.

The Team at “Thunder” Role Playing: Thanks for your time and patience in answering all our questions and we look forward to working with you guys in the near future.

Don Higgins: Thanks for agreeing to do that ‘last minute’ art job we threw your way!

And a special shout out to Mr. Frank Mentzer, who not only came to Massachusetts a day early to game with us, but also played Master of Spies with us. Your insight and wisdom is invaluable sir…..!

See you all for the Kickstarter launch on February 29th!

The Taskmaster

Master of Spies Rules for your perusal.

I decided to post the rules for Master of Spies so people can take a look at them and comment if they make sense to people who never played the game before.

Please try and be constructive in your critiques and thank you.

(2/15/16 additional)  Here’s the video on how to play Master of Spies as well

Stephen P.
Art & Marketing Director
A.K.A. The Creative

Finalized MoS Rules

The History of Eldinar Part 1

Hello all…
So as some of you may already know, our upcoming game, Master of Spies (now scheduled for a Kickstarter in February 2016), takes place in the fictional setting of the world called Eldinar. What is this strange and mythical place? Well, Rob L is here with some answers to that question and more……

Master of Spied Card Game
Art by Paul Singer

1st Age- The Age of the Wyrm (2612 years)

Little is remembered of this age, and less is recorded. What is known is that the Dragonlords ruled supreme. Century upon century of harmonious existence, with little to interrupt their equanimity. Eventually, though, they grew bored with this life, and longed to turn the land into a living shrine to themselves.

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Art by Jack Holiday

Whether men were there from the beginning, or were created by the Dragonlords for their purposes, has been forgotten. Only Uthrax, the Dragon King & eldest of their race, may recall how they came to be. Regardless, the Dragonlords utilized the humans as slave labor, though the humans also came to worship the Dragonlords as gods, a notion the Dragons did not dismiss.

Over the years many shrines were erected & statues carved, though most important were the massive temples & carefully tended groves deep within the spawling forest which the Dragonlords called The Verdant Canopy (later referred to by the humans as the Umbrageous Wood).

As mankind spread across the land in their labors, they encountered strange creatures, similar to them in features, but taller & fairer, with an otherworldliness about them. They claimed to have come from “across the sea” to visit this land and discover its secrets. They called themselves elves, and some stayed among the humans for a while, and a few even mated with them, producing offspring. Eventually, most of the elves returned from whence they came, but their progeny remained, and these were regarded as fate-touched by the humans.

Time passed, and the numbers of men grew, while the Dragonlords slowly dwindled (this fact was kept hidden from the ever-increasing humans who still worshipped & feared them). Long life they had, but few offspring. To counter this, some of the optimal humans (nearly always ones with elven blood) were conscripted to serve as breeding partners for the few fertile Dragonlords who remained. They maintained that the purpose for this was to bequeath their own greatest aspects to the fecund but generally weak & short-lived humans. These pairings produced more hatchlings among the Dragonlords than had been seen in centuries, and succeeded in producing a hybrid that embodied many of the foremost traits of the superior race. Mankind, however, had contributed from among their keenest attributes as well, though many of these were to remain dormant for hundreds of years……

No one knows what caused the Dragonlords to sleep. Perhaps it was an inherent hibernation instinct, perhaps it was ennui; but sleep they did. And thus the 1st Age of Eldinar ended with mankind left to their own devices, for the first time in their existence.

Thoughts on Game Length

An important aspect of games that needs to be kept in mind while designing a new game is its length. While not immediately apparent, game length has a surprising amount of influence on other aspects of the game including its fun and playability. While designing a game, try to imagine how long players will be able to continuously play while still having fun. Once you have a reasonable idea of how long this will be, try to set up your game so that it will finish before then. You want to be able to finish the game while the players are still interested and engaged, it is much better to hear “I just needed one more turn, let’s play again” than “how much longer is this going to take?”

Indie game designer

Mechanics are a useful tool in determining game length. Many games make use of a set amount of turns in order to keep gameplay within the expected timeframe. Some will overtly tell you that you have a set number of turns, usually delineated somewhere on the game board and occasionally dressed up thematically as something such as years or seasons. This method is most often found in games involving repeatable actions that can be taken every turn. Other games use the same principle but rely on a limited resource, such as the deck of cards or tiles being place, to achieve this effect. By controlling the number of turns, the designer has a reliable way of ensuring that the game will end when they expect it to and while players are still enjoying it.

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Game length also affects the groups of people that the game should be designed towards. Shorter games, usually under thirty minutes, tend to be less complex than other games. This simplicity, along with the shorter time required to play, makes a good target for younger gamers, who generally have a shorter attention span and may not be able to grasp harder mechanics yet. Another group that appreciates shorter games is those that play with larger groups. A short, simple game can fill the time after a longer game has finished while waiting for another group to finish so the play groups can intermix. Medium length games tend to be popular as there is sufficient time for more complex mechanics to be used, without completely dominating an entire play session. Longer games can be just as fun, with many interesting mechanics in use, but usually require advanced planning to make sure that they can fit into all the participants’ schedules. The next time you find yourself bored with a game, try asking yourself if it is the mechanics of the game boring you or if the game just went on for too long.

 

-James the Gamebreaker

Our Card Game: Big News for September!

So much is going on as we break our silence from the dog days of summer. We got our newly printed, full sized cards for the next phase of Master of Spies and we are ready to take it on the road. Below is the “sexy” unboxing video of the product.

 

We are also an official LLC in the eyes of the Massachusetts and Federal government. It took a lot longer than we expected but it was important to use to do this right and at the beginning of the month we received our official documents.

Indie card game developers
Straight from the Attorney General desk, our stamp of approval.

Also last weekend on Sept. 12th we took part in the Boston Festival of Indie Games. It was a really great day and a bit of a learning experience. James, our “Game Breaker” and myself manned the table and demonstrated our card game, Master of Spies to lots of nice folks there, and got really encouraging feedback. One of the greatest things said to us was, “Thank you for having a short game”, in a show that was loaded with a load of great, but intensive, indie games, that really meant a lot..

indie game developer
We felt so official when we saw our table sign.
indie card games
Our table, all set up and ready to go when the doors open.
Card ganes
Picture of our neighbors to the right of us.
indie card game
James standing to welcome in anyone who wanted to try our card game.
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A group of attendees giving Master of Spies a try.
quick card game
A never before seen, 3 tokens on one card. It one of the things I love about our card game, every game is different.
Good reward
My end of the day celebratory drink to a show gone well.

 

We will be bringing our card game around to local, and a few not so local, gaming stores and shows. Please check in regularly and stop by, say hello, and give Master of Spies a try.

 

-Mr. P

More Move Rate 20 News From Our Beloved Taskmaster

Hello all…

Here are some further updates on where we stand heading into September:

All the artwork for Master of Spies has been finalized and added to cards. New prototype decks will be manufactured using this artwork and will “debut” in September.

Master of Spies Move Rate 20 Gomes
Card art by Chris Rooks
Master of Spies Move Rate 20 Games
Card art by Chris Bennet
mini-cards
Card art by Brian DeClercq
Card Art by Simone Rego
Card Art by Simone Rego

The rules have been revised and these will also be printed and “blind” tested in the coming months.

A new design for the game’s “chits” has also been completed and will be manufactured in the same time period.

(Special thanks to Steve P for all the design work and time he has put in for all the above!)

Move Rate 20 Games will be hitting the convention circuit starting with the Boston Festival of Indie Games on September 12th. Other convention appearances will follow…stay tuned here for updates.

As of now, we have re-worked our Kickstarter timetable, and we are aiming for a February start date.

We also plan to continue development on our second game…as this one has kinda been pushed off to the side the last few months while we got MoS ready.

Stay tuned here folks for further updates!

May your dice always roll true…The Taskmaster.

Peace,

The TM

We Take Our Card Game On The Road!

game convention
We will be at table U4 demo’ing our card game “Master of Spies”

As we steadily head into fall, we are getting ready to launch our Master of Spies Demo tour. First stop is Boston Festival of Independent Games on Sept. 12th from 10am to 5pm at the Johnson Athletic Center on the M.I.T. campus in Boston. We will be at table U4! Get your passes here!
As we confirm more stops, we will share them here and to our email list. We will be visiting several local gaming stores, small cons in New England and possible visits in NYC!

We’re also asking you all to take part in a fun, community building game we are calling “Where in the World is Oger?” Our dwarven mascot/intern has been demanding a vacation, which we can’t afford to send him on, so the next best thing is to put him in your vacation pictures. You can download his picture by right clicking and choosing “save as”, then either put him in your photos digitally, or print him out, color him in and take a photo with him in an interesting location, in the style of “Flat Stanley”.
Right-click out picture of Oger the Dwarf and put him in your vacation picture, emnail them to info@MoveRate20,con and We'll put them together in a montage of the Travels of Oger.
Right-click on the picture of Oger the Dwarf and put him in your vacation picture, email them to info@MoveRate20,con and we’ll put them together in a montage of the Travels of Oger.
We promise to share every picture we get through our email on the webpage and our Facebook page and if we get a great response we will create a video montage of the pictures. Here are some examples our Beloved Taskmaster, Steve R., had created for inspiration.
Oger the traveling dwarf
Oger visiting the Liberty Bell
Oger the Traveling Dwarf
Oger with Lord Vader
Oger the traveling Dwarf
Oger at Epcot Center
Oger the Traveling Dwarf
Oger on a hike.
-Steve P.

Our Beloved Taskmaster Explains Our Summer Silence

So, you may be asking, “Where have we been?!?! Here it is the third week of August and you have not heard a peep out of me or the guys!”

Connecticut Comic Con
Our Beloved Taskmaster hanging out with comic con royalty.

Well…I won’t speak for the others, but I know that I have been on a much needed summer vacation. I packed up the car, jumped on I-95 South, and headed into the wilds of coastal Connecticut with the family.
(I’ve been working on the Demo cards for Master of Spies -Mr. P)

Move Rate 20 Games
The Groton Naval Base

While there, we traveled the Thames River, visited an old Revolutionary Fort, stopped at the Groton Naval Base to visit the museum there, and finally visited the Connecticut Comic Con at Mohegan Sun.

But don’t worry, I was always mindful of what we have going on here at MR20. I even talked to an artist or two at the Con to see if they would be interested in doing some work for us.

Summer Day Trips to Conneticut

Now that summer is starting to wind down, be sure to stop back here for more frequent updates!

Peace,

The TM

Our Beloved Taskmaster has an Announcement

So we did it…we finally really did it. We took the plunge, got our feet wet, and got the ball rolling!

We are an official LLC! The paperwork was signed last weekend and will be filed with the commonwealth. The four of us are now official partners in this thing called Move Rate 20 Games!

Here are some pictures of us during the “celebration”…

New Gaming Company Formed
From Left to Right: Steve P., Ethan, our Assistant Art Director, Our Beloved Taskmaster, Rob L., & James M.
Our Beloved Taskmaster, Rob L. and his daughter Emma discuss the import of what just happened.
Our Beloved Taskmaster, Rob L. and his daughter Emma discuss the import of what just happened as Simone looks on.
Rob L., James M, and Mrs. P at the "first" company cookout.
Rob L., James M, and Mrs. P at the “first” company cookout.
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Break out the games!!!
Gravwell is a new favorite in our group.
Gravwell is a new favorite in our group.
Here is Asst. Art Director Ethan's sketches dedicated to Sauron.
Here is Asst. Art Director Ethan’s sketches dedicated to Sauron.

 

Our Beloved Taskmaster Wonders If We’re In A “Golden Age” Of Games

IMG_2722Every month, sometimes twice a month, my local game shop, Rivendell Books and Games, puts on a Saturday Board Game Nite. Admission is free, and gamers are encouraged to bring and play whatever manner of game tickles their fancy. We also have a selection of stored owned games on-hand too. Couples come in to play, as do entire families and we always have a healthy and diverse turn out for every event. We encourage people to mingle and to try out games that they may not have otherwise bought or played for themselves.

So this lend me to thinking….are we now in the Golden Age of Board Games? Are we in a gaming Renaissance?

WP_20141224_005In today’s world, with our video game culture, the concept of sitting around a table rolling dice and moving pieces seems archaic. But a large and growing board-game subculture is not only thriving, but may actually be growing so much that it may not be a subculture any longer!

WP_20150126_003Since the explosive introduction of Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne (and other Euro-Games) some years ago, a rapidly expanding marketplace has given rise to a new wave of publishers and designers, most of which have brought a new sense of creativity and innovation.

Moving beyond the old mass-market favorites of the past, this new community of independent designers and publishers has been producing exciting and innovative games at a staggering pace. Games are better than in the past and designers are turning out products with thought-provoking mechanics and breathtaking artwork as fast as their customers can buy them up.

WP_20150220_007The internet has been a key factor in the growth of tabletop gaming. Blogs, social networks and online videos have all contributed to creating word-of-mouth buzz for the board game boon. Smartphone, tablet, and computer apps have given new and old players an inexpensive way to try digital versions of board games before buying physical copies. Online retailers, specialty shops, and game cafes have all made games more easily available than in the past, allowing gamers to try out games with friends before they buy.

So, all in all, it’s a great time to be a board gamer….if we’re not in the Golden Age, we must be damn close!

 

-Steve R.