Tag Archives: Steve P

Total Con 2016; Five Things I Learned About Myself

Our trip to Total Con 2016

Total Con 2016 has come and gone. For us at Move Rate 20 Games, the last year was spent play testing, making demo copies and planning for this, the 30th year of Total Confusion and it all came together perfectly, though not without a few bumps along the way. But, I wanted to focus in the blog on what I learned about myself over the convention and the previous year in prepping for it.
Total Con 2016 With Move Rate 20 Games

Stuff I learned about myself at Total Con 2016

  1. I love to teach kids how to play games. When they are into it, you can’t get a better experience than explaining how a game is played to a young mind. They pick stuff up so fast and in doing so enjoy the game so much quicker because they grasp it within a few minutes. James (a.k.a. The Gamebreaker) and we came to the agreement that younger players don’t have and preconceived notions about what a game is or wondering if the mechanic is the same as another game they’ve played; they just want to play and have fun.
  2. Not every game is for everyone. This is a no brainer, but it get’s driven home every once in a while, when a person sits down to play and you can tell their just not jazzed about your game, or they don’t see the “tactics” or “how the mechanic works” and let you know they’re not impressed. I’ve learned to deal with that, not take things personally, listen to what their saying (since if you hear the same complaint enough, it may be part of a larger design issue). Most of all I’ve learned to move on, think on all the other folks who played and loved it.
  3. I use “italics” way too much. It’s a pretty big deal when an industry legend plays your game, and likes it. Frank Mentor sat down with us on Sunday morning and played Master of Spies. I was nervous, who wouldn’t be, this guy has been in the gaming industry since the 80’s, worked with and was friends with Gary Gygax. He said the game had a “solid mechanic” and his only “complaints” were about card design. He gave us lots of feedback on the graphic layout and pointed out that I use italics WAY too much on cards, making things more difficult to read. So now I need to put a picture of Frank near my computer with a text balloon saying “Stop using Italic fonts!”
  4. When in “Costume”, bring everything you’ll need to the table,
    Looking good in a Frock Coat
    Here I am all dress up at Bartholomew Vahn-Mott, merchant and Trader in the world of Eldinar.

    including water, snacks and a fan. I like to think I come to an event as prepared as possible, which paid off. Since we we in an interior suite at the hotel I brought a small desk fan so the room wouldn’t get stuffy. Well, Saturday was unusually warm and being in an undershirt, a “blousey” shirt, a frock coat, plus a sheep wool and leather mongol hat, I was a little sweaty. So I asked my lovely wife Naomi to run back to the room and grab our fan. It was a life saver and prevent the frock coat from needing to get dry cleaned.

  5. Your Goals can be reached. Three years ago we set a goal to have the game we were developing at the time (a.k.a. by its working title, Project Lightning Sword) ready to show our friends by Total Con 2015; which we did plus having an early version of Master of Spies to show as well. Our next goal was to be an exhibitor at Total Con 2016, have a Kickstarter ready to go and get Frank Mentzer to play test it. After a year’s worth of play-testing, networking and planning we managed to get all that stuff done. Our Kickstarter will launch in a couple days (Feb. 29th) and I believe we are as ready as we can be.

So there are the 5 things I learned about myself at Total Con 2016, now we begin to set our goals for Total Con 2017, which will probably have something to do with Project Lightning Sword getting a proper name and a Kickstarter next February.

Stephen P.
a.k.a. “The Creative”

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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Gamer-geddon 2015 official report!

Gamer-geddon was a great success and we would like to formally thank everyone who attended and the folks who volunteered to help us out on our, hopefully, first of many Gamer-geddons.

We would especially like to thank;
Rivendell Books & Games for hosting, Courtney Christopher & David Gulick for cooking & desserts, Brian & Kelly Estano  for smoked pork & superhero & mana cookies, Zak Lanoue for all around help, Vincent and Patrick  from Mech Deck for coming out and demo’ing their game, Kathy McLean & Mal Moen for the grill, and our friends and family. Especially my dear, sweet Naomi.

Here are some pictures from the event:

Gamer conventionWP_20150627_005 WP_20150627_003IMG_2725 IMG_2722 IMG_2720 IMG_2718 IMG_2716 IMG_2715 IMG_2714 IMG_2710IMG_2721

Now please forgive us if we take a little rest before driving into more game testing and development.

I am typing this in a half sleeping haze, please forgive any typos. -Mr. P.
I am typing this in a half sleeping haze, please forgive any typos. -Mr. P.

Thank you and sweet dreams without creepy clowns,

Mr. P.

 

The FTC Kicks In Kickstarter’s Door To Stop Fraud

And it’s about time.

You want more big government?

Don’t get me wrong, I really don’t want to see the government start to regulate and clamp down on crowdfunding. I’ve personally backed a dozen or so campaigns myself, but there was always that worry, “Am I every really going to see this product?” Fortunately the Kickstarter campaigns I dealt with were on the level and never disappointed me. They did make me wait, but that’s to be expected in the crowdfunding experience. Then you start to hear about these Kickstarter nightmare campaigns. Last year Jyrobike, the auto-balancing bike, launched it’s campaign looking for $100,000 and was quickly funded and exceed its goal, then a month ago I read  a story about the inventor. His company’s board of directors, excited about the new influx of cash , started arguing over where the money should go. The inventor said, “To build the Jyro-Bikes every ordered.” The Board didn’t agree, voted the inventor out and never produced the bikes the backers had ordered. Now there’s two tragedies here, one is that the backers, who gave their money in good faith, never received their promised reward, of course. The other is that the inventor, the guy whose name was on the Kickstarter campaign, has had his reputation destroyed . He’ll never be able to run another crowdfunding campaign again.

Kickstarter and The Doom That Came To Atlantic City

kickstarter-thumbnail

I was told the cautionary tale of “The Doom That Came To Atlantic City” by a friend, and now partner in Move Rate 20 Games, who is familiar with the gaming industry. It’s a tale of how the creators of the game, Lee Moyer and Keith Baker, worked in good faith with a “friend?” who would manage their Kickstarter campaign to get it funded.  The campaign was a success, hitting $100,000 before even the first month, everyone was thrilled. Then slowly the updates from Erik Chevalier grew more and more infrequent. The backers wanted to know what had happened to the $122+K that had been raised and when would they be getting their game? On June 31st, 2013, a little over a year after the initial Kickstarter, Chevalier posted that the game studio had been shuttered and refunds would be forth coming. (You can read most of the posts here on the original Kickstarter page) Obviously the refunds never came and nothing was heard from Chevalier.

Tabletop gamesLuckily, Moyer and Baker were rescued by Cryptozoic Entertainment, who agreed to publish the game and provide the backers with the copy of the game they were promised, all out of their own pocket. These guys are the real heroes of this story.

Finally, Justice?

Judging Cat is Judging YouSo the FTC charged Chevalier with the failure to produce any of the rewards for the backers and never issuing any refunds. They fined him $111,793, however,  it has been suspended due to his current financial situation, ahem…he’s broke. He is also permanently barred from raising money through crowdfunding. So…”yea”…I guess.

What do you think about the FTC getting involved and the punishment they levied against Chevalier? Too soft, too harsh, just right? Leave a comment below and let me know.

-Steve P.

 

Getting to know the Move Rate 20 Games staff

Meet Mr. P. a.k.a. Steve P., a.k.a. The Creative!

Man in a little hatI 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).

Playing Cards: The 2nd Game mechanic

Chinese Playing cardsBelieved to first being invented by the Chinese, then traveling to the Middle East via India, playing cards may be the second oldest gaming tool in the world after dice. Despite the centuries and the adaptations and changes made to the playing deck by many cultures two things have remained fairly constant, they are Suits and Face Cards.

The Faces of Playing Cards

In early decks the face cards were all male with the Knight, the Prince and the King. It was the French who shuffled things up by added the Queen card to the mix, demoting the Prince and putting the Knight out of business. There are many stories a to whom the face cards represent and it’s hard to know which ones are true, chances are the face card represent personas unique to each culture and there is no one true origin storey to the identities of the Jack, Queen and King of each suit.

Each culture throughout history has modified the deck to suit its own needs, the biggest change to the european deck was after the French Revolution. Back when the aristocracy ruled, the highest valued card in the deck was the King; however, that didn’t sit well in a post-revolutionary France where “liberty, equality and fraternity” were the new slogan, So they took the “1” card, already called the Ace, and made it the trump card of the deck. The idea actually went back to the original Chinese deck, that had both a one card and a trump called the “Dragon” card.

The popularity and widespread acceptance of the playing card deck was largely due to its portability and wide variety of games of skill and chance that could be played with it. The first historic record of playing cards in in western Europe is in the 14th century, when the king of Spain outlawed them. Chances are they had entered a Spanish port via a Mediterranean merchant and caught on significantly enough to gain royal notice. Clearly his ban did not stifle the popularity of playing cards, and probably, as in most cases where something is banned, just fueled the desire to have them.

So what about the Tarot Deck?

The interesting variant is the Tarot deck. I’ve seen some articles that claim that the playing cards are descended from these tools of divination, and while I admit that my research is far from extensive, I believe that Tarot cards came either after Playing cards hit Europe or the Arab countries or may have been developed on a parallel track.From the standpoint of a travelling fortune teller, cards could be more easily hidden from the representatives of the church who would likely not look kindly on a person partaking in such activity.They would also be less obvious than reading the bones of dead animals or searching through their innards for portance of the future.

Regardless Playing cards introduced more of an aspect of skill into games of chance than dice allowed for. Calculating odds, misleading strategies and bluffing added more challenge to the games and an almost limitless variations to established games.