Tag Archives: Playing Cards

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.


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

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
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.


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!


The TM

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.

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

Tabletop Games: How many are “too” many?

Olá meus amigos…

So this past weekend I participated in another great Game Nite event at the best gaming establishment in the world…Rivendell Books and Games! We had a great time with great people and there was great selection of games on hand.

I myself ended up playing two games I had never played before; a classic Aliens game from “waaaaaay” back in 1989, a newer game called Gravwell (thanks Mike P. for bringing these in!), and we started the night with a Star Realms Tournament. I had a blast…as did all the attendees, playing whatever games they had going on!

Then, as the night was drawing to a close, I looked over at the shelf I have at our play area….and saw all the tabletop games we didn’t get to!

Great board and card games

There was my D&D Attack Wing…un-played since the first week I acquired it!

Next to that was my Pathfinder Card Game…with most of its expansions still encased in their original cellophane wrapping!

Memoir 44 was there, unused since that first initial month when we played it weekly!

Star Wars Armada and it expansions sat there too, waiting to be played for the first time!

And that’s just some of the games I keep at the store, never mind the ones I have at home!

Who knows when I’ll get to play in an RPG campaign again!

So, here I type and lament that I am surrounded by all these wonderful games and I just can’t play them all!

I am really not complaining too loudly though….I do get to play something (or multiple somethings) every week and on multiple nights.

It’s just that sometimes it feels like there are too many tabletop games and not enough time!


Until next time….always be playing!

Steve R


(Feature image from http://housekeeping.about.com/u/sty/cleaning101/Before-And-After-Cleaning-And-Organizing-Projects/Game-Closet-Makeover.htm)

Why Make Games?

Everyone who has made or is in the process of making games has probably asked themselves this very question. Different creators will have their own reasons for designing games. Some want to see if they can make something others will enjoy, while some may do it for the recognition. The most driving reason, however, is the desire to play. Without this desire, there would be no need to make games in the first place.

Games and the human brain

Wide selection of board games

The desire to play is not unique to humans. Many animals also exhibit this quality, especially among the young. Play promotes companionship and teaches many important life techniques, whether they be hunting and defense skills for the animals or math, critical thinking, and sportsmanship for people. Unlike other animals, however, most people tend to get bored playing the same games day after day, stemming from our longing for the newest and greatest. This longing has led to the evolution of games from the dice and cards of early history to the multitudes of games today.

What games stimulate you?

Not all games appeal to all types of people, so in an effort to make them more appealing, rules are changed, added, or removed. Sometimes the pieces themselves are changed, such as from dice to cards, cards to boards, and boards to electronics. Each has its own style of game-play favoring a combination of chance, skill, and strategy, appealing to different audiences. Games with high chance factors appeal to those who like to gamble and enjoy uncertainty. Games of skill appeal to those who enjoy the physical aspect, often as a test of strength or dexterity. Games of strategy appeal more to those who like to be in control of their actions and outwit their opponents. Few games will focus solely on one aspect over the others as this can lead to the outcome of a game being known early during play or even at the outset, removing the fun for most. At the heart of it, games are made so we can have something new to play.

-James McLean

Another Missive From Our Beloved Taskmaster

Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends!

Another week, another article!

And here I sit; scratching my “follicle-ly” challenged pointy head as I try to think of something to say that will be interesting and newsworthy to you all!

Y’know, the two biggest problems with writing these weekly “state-of-the-business” missives is that:
A. It is hard to write about something that has yet to be released to the general public…and…
B. I have no idea if my words are reaching anyone!

Bored Cat is BoredI mean I am not trying to go for some deep world-changing existential prose here. I am not writing the next War and Peace. I am just trying to keep you all informed on the state of MR20….and this week I hit a roadblock!

I guess could tease out that we do have an “event” coming up in June!

Or that we may be an actual legal company in the very near future!

And that it seems our Facebook page is finally gaining some traction…

Or that, so far, most of the folks who have playtested our first game have actually liked it enough to the point that they even want to playtest it again!

And that having Mr. P at my beck and call is as fun as it seems it is!
(I live to serve, Mr. R.)

Or that all of us here at MR20 are having a blast developing our games, despite all the work that has been and is yet to be done!

Oh well…stupid roadblock…maybe I will just go and re-write War and Peace!

Until next time….stay frosty!

Steve R