Friday, December 27, 2013

The Last Day For Pixel Lincoln: Re-Election


Today wraps up our most recent Pixel Lincoln campaign. It's been a fun one, with lots and lots of unlockable cards. It ends in just 9 hours. I think it's safe to say Lincoln has secured his Re-Election.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Something From Nothing Episode 7

I had the opportunity to join up with the crew from Something From Nothing a few days ago and chat about game design struggles & feedback, having your own dedicated design space, and adding art to prototypes. You can also see my connection dip out for a good 50% of the time. 

This was a blast to do. Big thanks to Chevee Dodd, Jason Slingerland, T.C. Petty III and Rob Couch.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Play Pixel Lincoln at Jimcon This Weekend

Attn: Winnepeg friends! Our twitter pal @PoundSmiley is running Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game at Jimcon in this weekend. Look for the stove pipe hat... or the guy playing Pixel Lincoln with this awesome custom card. 

Have fun! And thanks to David Miller for spreading the word!

Details here:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Metatopia goodies from The Game Crafter!

My Metatopia 2013 panel Prototyping Using 'Print on Demand' Vendors is being sponsored by my good friends at The Game Crafter!

Just like last year, they have sent me a box of goodies that I will be showing, describing and giving away during the panel. Learn about the many possibilities of Print on Demand and get a chance to see some of the components up close before you order.

I went through the site and handpicked some of my favorite components to show off and to hopefully inspire some designers that haven't dipped into the Print On Demand scene as of yet. I'll have cards, tiles, boxes, boards, dice, tanks, meeples and more.

Stop by and get some goodies! 10AM Saturday, D037.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Win A Free Copy of Pixel Lincoln!

Our friends at Theology of Games are running an awesome contest where you can win a free copy of Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game!

All you need to do is the following:

1) Subscribe to their YouTube Channel at


2) Comment on their double take video review of Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game, letting them know who you agree with, Jeremiah or Scott. 

Here's a quick word from Theology of Games: 

Maybe you agree with Jeremiah, but you want to be fun and creative and play the devils advocate and make an argument that agrees with Scott, that's cool too! Video responses are also highly encouraged! The contest ends Nov. 20. We will select a lucky commenter (who lives in the US) to receive a free copy of Pixel Lincoln!

Good luck everyone! Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game retails for $45 and weighs about 400 lbs, so this is a pretty good deal.

Also, while you are checking out Theology of Games, you might want to listen to their most recent episode of their podcast, where I was the special guest. I spill the beans on lots of behind the scenes info like "Why does the Lincoln Meeple have an afro?" and "Why is the box so big?" and "What did I learn from the Kickstarter?". It was a fun one. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Help Storyteller Cards Artist Campbell Whyte

My good friend and Storyteller Cards artist Campbell Whyte has been doing a bit of travel over the last few months with his family. They spent time in Italy, Mexico and the United States picking up and creating things the entire way. Until last week in San Francisco when somebody stole all of their luggage.

Here is the whole story in Campbell's words. An open letter "to the person who took our luggage".

Hi there, we’re not sure who you are, but we’re pretty sure you know us. You probably know us really well actually, as you recently stole all of our luggage while we were on holiday.
Every. Single. Thing.
Well, that’s not fair, you did leave us with one salt and pepper shaker that was a gift, my 5 year old sons sandals and a 2014 Italian priests calendar. Those priests were pretty good looking, we’re baffled that you would pass them up.
Anyway, we hope you’re well. Really, we do. We hope that our loss has provided you with your essentials for a while, food, shelter, warmth, security. Although I’ve never been in your position before, where I rely on stealing from others to make ends meet, I imagine it is not an easy life.
I imagine you probably live in fear a lot of the time, fear of the culture you find yourself in, fear of the government, police, other people stealing from you. You must also look out at tourists like us with a great degree of resentment. Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is filled to the brim of snap happy, money dropping, grinning ear to ear vacationers. To you, we must appear as the 1%, rolling in wealth and decadence.
Although you might not believe it, this is really not the case with us. We are a small family from Australia. Myself, fiance, and our five year old son. For the past 6 years we have been saving money for our vacation.
Working full time, doing extra jobs on the weekend. Making money where we can from our arts 

practices. What you took from us that day, were pretty much all of our possessions.

Read the rest at:

I want to help Campbell out in any and every way possible, so the first thing I want to do is spread the word. I have no clue if their personal belongings can be found and returned, but I would like to hope so. If you have any way to share his story, or if you know of a great place to share it, please do. 

One of the things that I want to do to help Campbell is to auction off a piece of his original Storyteller Cards art. I'm also going to include a deck of Storyteller Cards and one of each of the 3 Storyteller Kits we offered during the Kickstarter Campaign. The proceeds will go 100% to him and his family. I will cover the shipping and all the other fees and nonsense, so that a penny isn't missed. 

The piece of art that I chose is very fitting, it's the Criminal card. It's a criminal escaping on a toy truck... probably Campbell's son's toy truck. :( 

Here is the original art:

Here is the final card:
 And here it is in a sweet frame:

It's a great card in the Storyteller Cards deck that leads to tons of stories, just like Campbell's. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Metatopia 2013 Panel Schedule

Metatopia is a wonderful designer-driven gaming event in North Jersey (10/31-11/3 in Morristown, NJ) that's all about the panels and focused gaming sessions. Last year, I was fortunate to attend on behalf of The Game Crafter and participate in a few prototyping / self-publishing panels with Tim Rodriguez, Curt Covert and Geoff Bottone and this year I was asked to come back. Except the big difference this year is that I am all alone!

That's right, I will be talking your ear off all by myself for two one hour sessions.

The first is all about the POD:

D037: "Prototyping Using 'Print on Demand' Vendors" presented by Jason Tagmire. In this seminar, Jason Tagmire will speak of his experiences with The Game Crafter, Superior POD, Print and Play Productions, Rolco Games and others to fulfill various projects. Topics will include how to find and meet the minimum requirements for each, and how to select the right vendor for your project. Saturday, 10:00AM - 11:00AM; One Session; Serious, All Ages.

And the second is all about screwing things up:

D065: "Self-Publishing: Learn From My Mistakes!" presented by Jason Tagmire. Jason Tagmire has self-published board and card games in short run (<250), and medium run (1000-2500). He has experienced a variety of trauma from art delays to overfunding on Kickstarter and still not having enough money to fulfill the project. In this panel, he hopes to help you avoid his mistakes. Saturday, 10:00PM - 11:00PM; One Session; Serious, All Ages.

I'm looking forward to both of these and playing lots of games in the 11 hours in-between. Aside from the panels, last year was the semi-public birth of Maximum Throwdown. I chatted about it with Michael Keller first and then played a few rounds with Alex Strang and Kevin Kulp. We also had a killer session of Alex Strang's Movie Plotz. Hoping to repeat the fun this year.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Free iOS Maximum Throwdown Scorekeeper

If you are playing Maximum Throwdown this weekend (or any time that is) AND you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch), make sure you download the free Maximum Throwdown Scorekeeper app! It's a quick and easy way to keep score and keep the table clear.

My phone has been my preferred method of keeping score since I made the original javascript scorekeeper a few months ago. That one is still available for those without an iOS device, but it's the old prototype characters, requires an internet connection, and is as wonky as it gets. 

Check out the Maximum Throwdown Scorekeeper at the iTunes app store, and if you're up for it give it a rating too! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

This weekend in Minneapolis, MN

My good friend and Storyteller Cards artist, Campbell Whyte, is making the long trek from Australia for an all-night comic jam workshop at Light Grey Art Labs. This is in connection with their Nights & Weekends exhibition of his 8-Bit Dreams series.

The 8-Bit Dreams series is the entire reason I wanted Campbell involved in Storyteller Cards. He's bringing hundreds of the little NES inspired illustrations and you can leave with one (but not Megaman 2, DuckTales, Blades of Steel, Dr. Mario, Arch Rivals, Adventure Island or Bionic Commando.. because I already own them!). You can also stay up all night and draw pictures with him. I'm both sad and jealous that I can't make it out to this event, but hopefully you can.

Full details here and below:

All-Night with Campbell Whyte : Comic Jam!
SATURDAY Sept 21 -to- SUNDAY Sept 22
9pm - 5am
at Light Grey Art Lab

Join guest artist Campbell Whyte for an incredible ALL-NIGHT comic making session!
Campbell has flown all the way to Minneapolis from the great land of Australia to participate as our featured artist in the Nights & Weekends Exhibition!

Campbell is a prolific illustrator/ comic artist that has created amazing projects such as his 8-bit Dreams series, his Home Time comic and many more!
Check out his work here:

Get ready to make comics, learn all about Campbell's projects and process and be inspired! Part workshop and part challenge, All-Night wth Campbell Whyte : Comic Jam will challenge participants to make a complete 8 page mini comic, discuss, and finally print copies of their very own stories! We'll be making a late-night run to xerox our work, have time to fold & format, and participants will walk away with a big assortment of mini comics made by everyone involved!


9 - 10pm Meet Campbell & his practice! Campbell will be showing his work, talking about his process and sharing stories with us about his 8-bit dreams series, Home Time (his comic) and his other endeavors.
10 - 11pm Participate in some technique demos, creative challenges and awesome conversation about comic-making as we head into the prompt for the night!
11pm - 3am Make work alongside Campbell, the Light Grey Team and all of your new art friends! We'll be drawing, story-telling and getting down to business.
3am Late-night photo-copying run!
3:30 - 5am - assembling, reading, sharing and talking comics!

There will be unlimited tea and coffee throughout the night and plenty of great conversation!
Hope you can join us!

We have limited spots available for participants so grab them while you can! The workshop is non-refundable, so please let us know if you have any questions before you purchase!

In the spirit of bonding and spending time with great people, we are offering a discount for people bringing a friend! Just choose the option below. Entry for one is $20, and Entry for two is $36 (Just $18 each)

**Please bring your black and white art-making supplies. Ink or black and white watercolors are suggested if you would like to participate in Campbell's demo. Feel free to bring any other supplies (No oils, spray-paint or materials that require a lot of ventilation) Drawing paper will be provided (Feel free to bring your own if you like to work on something special!) and copies of the comics are included in the ticket of the workshop!

To learn more about Campbell Whyte. take a peek at his website :

Monday, September 16, 2013

Looking Back At Where I Was 5 Years Ago...

Today I wanted to take a look back to 5 years ago and where I was with game design in late 2008. I'd like to say that things have changed quite a bit, but I'm not so sure. My goals and methods have definitely changed, but the quirkiness of my games has not drifted. Now I have the 16-bit President, and back then there was Business Casual Bear. I'd like to think they would probably cross paths at some point. In a meeting... or at the coffee machine, I'm sure.

One of the first games I ever even considered making was Magic Gone Mad… a quirky/silly trading card game that was based on a set of videos that me, my brother (George), and my brother-in-law (Marty) made. But before I talk about the card game, I need to set the tone with the videos.

We made a series of 3 videos, each of which were less than 30 seconds each. I owned a decent video camera (Sony DCR-VX2100 represent!) and we had nothing better to do, so we sat down with no script and started recording.

After a few months we had three videos that we thought were hilarious. In fact, we still do. I have no clue if anyone else will find them entertaining at all. It really didn't matter because we had a blast making them. But at the time, I was both naive enough to think that everyone else would find it as funny as we did, and crazy enough to think that making a Collectible Card Game based off of a micro-series of YouTube videos was a good idea. We had dozens of views! If each person who watched the video bought a pack of cards we would be… 


But still, that naivety led to creativity, which is never a bad thing. Together, the three of us came up with a (semi)-functioning card game based off of this weirdo universe that we created. 

We focused more on collectibility than the actual gameplay, but it paved the way for a few things for me. 

1) It gave me my first experience with short run printing.  
We ordered 10 promo sets of 9 cards from Guild of Blades, who I think was one of the first Print-On-Demand card printers. You could order a minimum of 10 sets, and you could also offer it for sale on their website. This game didn't end up for sale there, but the very first edition of Pixel Lincoln did. Messing around with Magic Gone Mad led my curiosity right into the trials and errors of the original Pixel Lincoln, which led to everything I'm doing today.

2) It knocked out the thought of CCG's very early on.  
We were looking at printing this in a VERY short run (100 boosters), just for local conventions. But as everyone knows, that isn't how a CCG works. There are better formats for release, and without a lot of money to risk, a huge following, and a TV show companion, the CCG model isn't practical. 

We didn't know any better at the time, but even with our CCG naiveté it was going to be a huge undertaking, and eventually fell flat.

3) It helped me get into card layout.
I love good card layout, and I still stand by this as "wow, not that bad". Things are clean and clear and I think that is most important. Placement is second most and a little odd, but it still worked. It worked better than the game did! 

But it really pushed me to assume the role of graphic designer, whether it's at prototype level (Maximum Throwdown and many others) or release level (Pixel Lincoln). It's a skill that's very necessary as a game designer and I'm glad I jumped right into it. Note: You don't have to be a great graphic designer as a designer, but it's very important to be comfortable enough to make prototypes on your own. Even the ugly ones count.

It's funny that this experience helped with publishing and graphic design, but nothing with actual game design. I will make sure to dig into the old notes one of these days and see how weird/bad it really was. But it is interesting that everything was geared toward publishing or self-publishing back then. I have yet to fully shake that mindset, no matter how insane it may be. 

So, looking back, I was crazy back then (short run CCG!) and I still have a little of the crazy in me (still pushing the publisher side!). The big difference now is that I know I'm crazy.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Congress of Gamers & Breaking My Own Rule

Around this time last year, I took ZombieZone down to the Congress of Gamers in Rockville, MD. It was a collection/gathering of people playing games in a huge senior center about 3 hours from my house. There was some organized play, but I went for the Unpub Protozone. Basically, it's a room for designers to test out their projects with other designers and gamers. Definitely worth a 3 hour drive.

Now I went on a Sunday, which is against all of my convention rules. And although I wouldn't really call it a convention (as there was 1-2 vendors and it was generally a really quiet setting), the rule still applies.

My Cardinal Convention Rule: Avoid Sundays at all costs. Why? Basically, the spark is gone. By Sunday everyone is heading out, packing up, tired, broke, and done with it all. I even booked a 6AM Sunday flight out of Gen Con this year just to leave on the wave of Saturday night (which ended beautifully with a huge 20 person dinner at Buca Di Beppo. Sunday wasn't going to beat that). So yes, Sunday is a big no-no for me. 

I went to Congress of Gamers on a Sunday last year because my Saturday was booked solid, and it looks like it's going to be the same for me this year. Sunday wasn't bad though. Although it was quiet in there, it was a focused group of designers (as well as gamers) and I made a lot of progress with my intentions for ZombieZone, broke some of my blind testing fears and made a few new friends. Someone who played even went home and bought a copy that night, so I can't be too down about it. 

This year, following tradition I'll be going on Sunday again (September 29th). Saturday is jam-packed here and won't work out. I would almost skip the event altogether (See the above rule), but Darrell Louder called me out on the most recent State of Games podcast saying something like "I'm sure Tagmire will be at Congress of Gamers". I took this as a challenge. Not just to be there like Darrell said, but instead to be there with a brand new game to test out. 

I have a few things in the works that need serious nurturing and locking myself in to the event is a sure way to force myself to press forward. I will also be locking myself in a room to finish these games... 

And it's not like I've been doing nothing either. I've been knee-deep in Storyteller Cards as they just hit production, neck-deep in Pixel Lincoln as I'm finalizing the next expansions, and underwater with Pigpen pre-production prep with Island Officials. It's time to take a breather and work on my favorite part... designing games!

So here is what to possibly expect at Congress of Gamers from me:

-A game about getting a judge sick to win a court case.
-A dexterity based space battle micro game.
-A huge inverted dungeon crawler.
-A 60 second game of frantic survival.

One of these will make it there no matter how ugly it may be. I'll probably have some new Pixel Lincoln stuff on hand as well.

Hope to see you there! Don't have too much fun on Saturday without me, and try to save some of that Saturday buzz for when I get there bright and early Sunday morning. Yikes. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pixel Lincoln at the 2013 Philly Geek Awards

It's been a few weeks and the Philadelphia Geek Awards came and went, but I never got to talk about it. I was away at Gen Con and didn't get to attend the event, and I heard I really missed out. While Gen Con was the best (and craziest) 4 days in gaming. This was a full-on, black tie, red carpet event at one of my favorite Philadelphia museums, the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Not only was it a really cool event in my home city (I'm right across the bridge in the South Jersey Philly suburbs), Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game was nominated as Indie Game of the Year.

The choice of being there to support the convention release of my game at Gen Con vs. being there to support my game at the Philly Geek Awards was a tough one. Luckily, I was able to get the best of both worlds by heading to Gen Con and having George Tagmire (my brother / Pixel Lincoln video game designer), and Ryan Harbinson (Island Officials co-owner) attend on behalf of the game. They got all fancied up and hung out with dinosaur bones and local geeks.

So, Pixel Lincoln didn't win the award, but I can't express how much of an honor it was to even be involved with such an event. And the same honor being alongside of the insanely successful Velociraptor Cannibalism by my friends at Board Raptor Games and Greg Lobanov's (now) award-winning digital puzzle game Perfection. Perfection makes my brain burn in the same way that Super Hexagon makes my eyes bleed. It's very creative and deserves every bit of its praise.

Congrats to the winner Greg Lobanov and nominee Board Raptor Games, and big thanks to Geekadelphia for everything they do. I'm not sure if I can out-geek Pixel Lincoln, but I'll keep pushing forward!