Game Prototyping


Watching the Sausage Be Made

I’m still hacking away at Packer’s Last Resort, but if you’ve got a stomach for games that are lumpy, uncooked messes… you can hack away at it too. I’ve uploaded the latest iteration of the game as an ugly, crudely-done print-and-play file. The file includes a version of the rules and cards so new, I…

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Packer’s First Prototype

As promised earlier this week, I recently plopped the revised prototype for Packer’s Last Resort onto the table for a playtest. It was a cold, lonely playtest in which I myself played the parts of four different players, like some sort of game-designing Peter Sellers. It’s fine, though. I prefer to keep these initial playtests strictly internal….

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Up From the Ashes

Last week, I wrote how my original design for the “Alfred Packer Leads a Bunch of Noobs Into The Mountains and Ends Up Eating Them” game was no good. “Burn it down!” I wrote. And so I did. And since then, I’ve completely revamped the game, written a new set of rules, and put together…

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Burning Cannibals

One of the challenges of game design is knowing when to stop designing. Sad to say, some designs are just dead ends. It’s better to shove them into a well-labeled box somewhere, take a day to clear your mind, and start over from scratch. That’s where I’m at with the “Alfred Packer Cannibal Card Game”…

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And Now, the Robots

As I left the grocery store, a mousey woman stopped me. Her three children wriggled around and climbed her legs like kittens. She ignored their antics as she fixed her gaze on me. “What’s new with the game?” she asked. “You know. The one with the robots? Dropping?” “Ah,” I said. “I see what’s happening…

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Robots Dropped, Rules Changed

I finally fought my way free of the Sarlacc pit long enough to do some playtesting on that Robot Drop game I keep muttering on about. And, as I suspected, the game as written was as dull as a butter knife sealed in rubber and wrapped in bubble wrap. The biggest problems were these: When…

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Dropping by Design

Last week I casually brought up that I was working on a new game, and rambled on like a senile old man about its components. (“Back in my day, we didn’t have numbers on game pieces. We had shapes like triangles and birds’ feet, and you just had to count ’em!”) Today I’d like to…

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In Defense of Default

I’m working on a new game. It’s called “Robot Drop” (for now) and, while you might think it sounds like a typical “dudes fighting on a board” game, it’s actually an exploration of temporal and tactical game play space using… dudes. On a board. Who are… um. Fighting. Okay, it’s not exactly smashing genre boundaries,…

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Spider Plan

Weeks ago, I promised to work up what the Spider Siege board game looks like from the perspective of the spider player. It’s got to be different from the human players, right? While those two-legged meatbags scurry across the board trying to gobble up resources like iron, food, and population in order to create and…

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The Cost of Killing Spiders – Part 2

“So we’re spending these ‘points’ of resources on units,” says my hypothetical reader, picking up the conversation from where it dropped earlier this week. “What does that get us? How many points is each type of unit worth?” It’s at this point I admit that early prototyping is as much art as science. Ideally, there’s…

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