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.

Mental Health: Can we be serious for a moment?

This may sound a little weird…

Talking mental health depressionI know we’re a gaming company and we try and have a lot of fun in our blog, but today I want to talk openly about something serious, mental health. After I watched Wil Wheaton’s video about his anxiety and depression on projectUROK.org, a website aimed a little (ok, a lot) below my age range, it really echoed my own experience. This subject should really be openly talked about in our gaming community, because let’s face it, we as gamers tend to be outcasts and more often than not, have some social anxiety issues. Not everyone, by any means, but if the national average of folks with anxiety disorders is two out of three, I would guess the ratio is probably higher among those of us in the traditional “nerd” space, especially those of us who grew up in the time before nerd culture was part of pop culture.

Mental Heath and the Gamer.

The object of this post is to talk openly about this issue, not to victimize anyone, seek excuses  or invoke pity. I feel that actually sharing this personally on video will be more effective than typing out a small novel so I will upload the following…

 

Please share your story.

 

-Steve P.

 

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Games Of Tomorrow: The Taskmaster Talks About The Future

Dàjiā Hǎo!

Welcome back…

As you all probably know by now, Gamergeddon was a great success! Some funds were raised, playtesting was done, and fun was had by all! Thanks to all who came out and joined us…you know who you are! I’d like to send out a special thanks to my wife Simone and my son Ethan for helping us out with the yard sale/ sidewalk sale. I could not have done it without you both!

Work continues on “Master of Spies”.

Indie Card Games
A sample of the new look for the “Phase 2” MoS cards that will be hitting the road/

Game play mechanics are just about complete. Official rules have been written, and the retail box has been designed. We still have some playtesting notes to comb through, but overall this game is very close to going to production. As soon as the final artwork is received full sized prototypes of the game will be made and then our team of Steve P. and James will hit the road for some “not-so-local” networking and even more playtesting.

So far the vast majority of our playtests for “Master of Spies” have resulted in positive feedback, so we are excited to move forward into the next stage of development. Hopefully we can bring “MoS” to Kickstarter soon!

What’s next? We’ll be digging out our second game, clean away the dust on it and resume development on that one as well.

Gamer gold
This is an older picture of the “other” game, but we are going to bring it out for further testing.

 

Things continue to be busy here at MR20!

Until next time….stay frosty!

Steve R

The Future of The Local Gaming Store Hang-out?

There’s a lot of talk about the impact of on-line retailers and the “death” of the local gaming store. There are even some closed minded curmudgeons (mind you I’m a curmudgeon myself so this is not light criticism) who think board and card games are on their way out due to the electronic alternatives.  I’d have to be a fool not to recognized that the terrain is changing, or to not see that we’re in a transitional period. It’s a fact, in this day and age we have more stuff to fill up our spare time than any other time in history. Just look at my Netflix queue, my unpainted miniatures, underplayed games and unfinished game concepts if you need proof.

The Fate of the Local Gaming Store

The Uncommons NYCThe fact is, as with all retailers in the age of Amazon, that the local gaming store needs to adapt. 20 years ago there were only a handful of places you could get obscure games,  specialized imports or rare small print run indie Human Occupied LandfillRPGs (anyone remember HoL?) So today’s game store owners need to adapt to compete against the discounted prices and vast inventory of the online retailers, The way most have done so is to create a community of gamers and given them a place to meet and play together. I came across one such place during my travels in New York City wandering around Manhattan. The place is called buy or rent gamesThe Uncommons“, a coffee shop and local game store where you can buy or rent games to play with friends and strangers. It was doing a fair amount of business for a 4th of July Saturday  afternoon. The selection of games to rent was impressive, the ones to buy admirable (about half the shelf space of the rental games), but I’m sure they would bring in any thing you wanted special order. It had the feeling of a mini-convention, where people came to try new games of meet new players.

The Uncommons NYC

There is many local gaming stores that have done similar things, putting large war-gaming tables with exquisite model terrain to bring in the war-gamer crowd.

We’ve based our company out of shared space with Rivendell Books & Games in Rehoboth, MA where the owner has a open gaming nights twice a month as well as the usual Friday Night Magic and Star Realms tournaments.

Do you have a favorite gaming space or combo-gaming and social outlet? Please comment and let us know. Also please like and share our posts to really help getting the conversation going!

-Mr. P

Games are made here