Card game play mechanics are just about complete and the official rules have been written. A couple of new “Action” Cards have been added to the game to smooth out game play, and a few have been removed since they did not “make the cut” during play-testing.
All the artwork for Master of Spies has been finalized and will soon be added to the card game. A new design for the game’s “chits” has also been completed and will be manufactured in the same time period. New prototype decks will be produced using this artwork and review copies will be sent out to some game review websites very soon.
Recent Play-Tests and Kickstarter
So far the clear majority of our recent play-tests 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 (Early 2017? Keep posted).
We still have some play-testing notes to comb through, but overall this card game is very close to going into production.
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, Rob has also teased us with a project he has been developing that has some local flavor!
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
I 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…
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 game systems, created dozens of fleshed out worlds to run campaigns in, modified rule systems 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, and I’m realizing there’s still a lot to learn and a great community of indie game designers to turn to for advice.
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 and Marketing 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).
Is There Still a Place for Board & Card Games For Kids in the Modern Home?
The Wall Street Journal On-line posted a video that covered the benefits of teaching your kids to play card games at a young age; and while they focus on traditional card games, I couldn’t agree more.
In recent years card games have fallen out of favor with the modern family as our personal devices pull us away from the social interaction that a lower tech diversion can provide. When I was a kid I have great memories of playing Rook and Miles Bourne with my family on camping trips and New Year’s Eve, and clearly as an inspiring game designer I feel strongly that card and board games have a place in the home. I also agree that such games help develop social and life skills that a developing child will find incredibly valuable, including how to win and lose gracefully, how to read people and how to think strategically,
The first game we are developing is something that definitely could be a family game and we will have more details about it as we get closer to a release date. It has math, symbol recognition, tactics and long term strategy. But in game you could find to play with your family, either on-line or at your local gaming store there’s Munchkin, Love Letters, the Adventure Time card game, or the old stand by of Uno. For those with older teenagers there’s King of Tokyo, Settlers of Catan and many more.
There are a lot of options available to you as you set out to plan a family game night, the challenge is keeping it happening so it has a chance to become a tradition in your home.
Riding the success of his web series “Table Top” on the Geek and Sundry YouTube network, Wil Wheaton has revealed move info about his latest project; an RPG game based web series. Where Table Top had a group of comedians and internet celebrities playing a board or card game each episode, his new show will have a steady cast of players going through a campaign of his design.
Not the first web series about RPG Game play.
It will be interesting to see how they will edit the show to keep both the comedy and the story line intact. The creators of Beer and Board Games, Matt Sloan and Aaron Yonda have had success introducing “Rated RPG”, a web series that breaks up a one RPG game session into several episodes. As well as Community TV show creator Dan Harmon’s podcast “Harmontown” which started
devoting the last 20 to 40 minutes of each episode to playing complete RPG campaigns, first D&D and now Shadowrun. Not to mention the the PAX rebroadcasts of the “Acquisitions Inc.” D&D campaign that has been a major event at each PAX show and gets hundreds of thousands of views. So it seems there is a demand for this type of show where people actually playing a RPG game is the subject, but it needs to be funny and entertaining. People sitting around doing mundane tasks probably won’t cut it. It’ll be interesting to see Wil’s entry into this growing genre of entertainment. That said, I’m interested to see what this new web series will shape up to be, getting more exposure to different RPG game styles is always good for both players and GMs, even better if it gives you a good laugh.