Sunday, December 30, 2012

Unpub Challenge

Bryan Fischer, game designer / publisher (Nevermore GamesChicken Caesar, Mars Needs Mechanics) and Darrell Louder, game designer (Compounded) came up with a great idea for an unofficial design challenge that ends at Unpub next month in Delaware. Sometime at (or after) the event the designers will each get a chance to see each others games in person and try them out. This has given me the creative spark I was looking for, and also is detracting me from a lot of other work that needs to be done before Unpub, but whatever... You should make a game too!

Here are the details from Bryan's site (

We’re having an unofficial UnPub3 Game Design Challenge! By “unofficial” I mean it has nothing to do whatsoever with the official UnPub3 event. Basically, a few game designers are creating games quickly (deadline is UnPub3 in January) using very limited quantities of components. We will meet up at UnPub3, likely in the evening, and play these games and award a winner. You are invited to take part!
The Rules:
Your game must be a complete game playable by 1+ players. It is limited to containing up to the following components, but no more:
20 cards
4 dice (d6)
15 cubes
30 minutes or less game time 
The cards need to be a standard size: Euro, American, or a mini-version of either. No giant sized cards that double as a 20x10” board, cheater. The dice need to be six-sided, but may contain blank sides or have custom symbols. The cubes should be standard cubes, about 8mm or so in size, whatever colors you want. The rules should be printed out, but don’t worry too much about diagrams unless they are super necessary. Pencil drawings count! This is all about the gameplay, which btw has to be 30 minutes or less.
Rules update: At least one sets of components (cards, dice, or cubes) must have multiple uses in the game.
The Spirit:
This challenge is about the fun of designing a game with limited time and materials. Notice the bolded fun because you should definitely keep that at the forefront of your mind while making a game. Make it strategic, make it funny, make it whatever you wish, as long as it is fun!
The Venue:
Like I wrote above, this is an unofficial challenge, aka, it isn’t associated with UnPub3 in any way. We’re figuring out where/when we’ll play the games and enjoy our creations and will get back to that soon!

And here is a little about about my submission...

It's a currently unnamed realtime dice fighting game. As you may know, I've been playing too much Playstation All Stars Battle Royale lately, and I'm a massive fan of Super Smash Bros. So, in trying to capture the speed of those types of fighting games with dice, I made it so all players play at the same time. 

Players will both roll one or both of their dice over and over, trying to get combos that are higher than their opponent. Once a player has a die combo that they are happy with, they will yell "hit!", and the opponent must leave his/her dice on the table as-is. A quick evaluation will show if the hit succeeds. Each player has a red and black die. Both dice will each need to be higher than both of the opponent's respective dice. If so, the defender receives a point of damage. And if not, the hit fails and the attacker receives a point of damage. There are also blocks (any die with a result of 1), healing (both dice with results of 1) and special moves (specific die rolls that always win).

Once a player receives 8 hit points, they have to flip their player card over to the Last Chance side. Once flipped, they have 8 more hit points left before the game ends. And now, they receive a Fatal Flaw, which makes it harder to land the best hits. 

Those are the basics. There are still a few flaws (ha) that I need to work out. But it's quick, light and we've been having a lot of fun with it here in the last 2 days. Hopefully people will enjoy it (unofficially!) at Unpub.
Here's an image for now. Marty Cobb (Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game, Paper Route) is killing it with the art. And I have been killing myself with the layout. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Unpub Games - 1 of 3 Maximum Throwdown!

The game that I'm most excited to bring to Unpub is the card-throwing battle game, MAXIMUM THROWDOWN!!

Maximum Throwdown is a card-throwing battle game, where 2-4 players will fling, toss, and wing their cards across the table, covering up their opponents precious points and power-ups, while trying to come out on top. And being on top is very important, because, if your icons are covered, your cards are useless! It’s quick and light fun. 
2-6 players - 15 minutes
I've been working on this along with Alex Strang of Cybergecko Games for a little while now, and I'm super excited to get some solid tests in, get feedback, and take it to the next level.

We actually have a few variations of the game going. One is very abstract (as seen above and below) and the others introduce character types and special abilities. There is still a long way to go, even before Unpub hits in just a few weeks.

We're making some special gifts for anyone who plays the game. As soon as they are ready, I'll show them off here.

Hope to see you at Unpub!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pixel Lincoln @ SnowCon

Thanks to our very good friends at Flip The Table (a wonderful podcast about terrible games), Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game will be making a big appearance at SnowConMaine next month!

Along side of such infamous classics as Heartthrob and Star Trek: The VHS Game, you can play Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game before its release. Sign up early, because each session is limited to just 4 people. The Flip The Table guys will also have a handful of our unofficial Pause promo cards (which are running low!). But don't worry, we have plans to make all of the promo cards readily available at some point in the future for those who couldn't get to the events.

Here are the sessions that are available:

Saturday Jan 19th
Slot 2
9:00am - 11:00am
1 table
1 judge (waitlisting)
2 players (2 open seats)

Saturday Jan 19th
Slot 5
2:00pm - 4:00pm
1 table
1 judge (waitlisting)
0 players (4 open seats)

Saturday Jan 19th
Slot 6
4:00pm - 6:00pm
1 table
1 judge (waitlisting)
0 players (4 open seats)

The weekend of January 18th is going to be a big one for Pixel Lincoln. With Pixel Lincoln 2 at Unpub along with our John Wilkes Tooth promo card, and now SnowConMaine, you'll be able to get your Pixel Lincoln fix. Well, as long as you are in Delaware or Maine that weekend.

You may know Chris, Jared, Flip and Professor Laserbooks from the podcast, but did you know that we go way back? All the way back to May of 2012, when the guys wrote and recorded a phenomenal audio advertisement to correspond with the launch of our Kickstarter campaign, and their podcast. Remember "You can't handle the Booth"? That was all them.

We also had a great meetup in Maine last summer, where we played Pixel Lincoln over burgers.

And speaking of Flip The Table, check out their big year-end special that just launched. I was lucky enough to contribute the following question to their very first listener Q&A:
If you could mash up 3 games that you've played, using theme, art, mechanics, components, etc.. to create the most terrible experience that you could imagine... which games would you choose?
Listen here: 

It's a great podcast, part of the glorious Dice Tower Network, very unique and well produced, and very much recommended.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Unpub News & Promo!

First of all, my Unpub stress is fading a little. There is definitely less stress, as I have chosen (and registered!) the games that I am bringing.

I will be bringing the following:

Pixel Lincoln 2 (temporary name)
The next batch of items, enemies, characters, and all new twists and turns in the Pixel Lincoln universe.

A head-to-head zombie/human asymmetric board game fight for survival.

Maximum Throwdown
A multiplayer card-throwing battle game by myself and Alex Strang. Dexterity?!

I'll be showing more of these games over the next few weeks before Unpub hits. But right now, I have one more thing to show.

We are making an Unpub Pixel Lincoln promo card! It's John Moller's alter ego John Wilkes Tooth, fighting with his trusty blue noodle!

And here's the scoop from John:
We are announcing, in association with Game Salute, Island Officials and designer Jason Tagmire, that Unpub 3 will have an exclusive promo card for Pixel Lincoln, the Deck Building Game! Pixel Lincoln appeared at a few Unpub events in the spring and summer. They've released a few promos since then, we're happy that they're working with us to make this special new limited edition promo just for Unpub 3! It will be available while supplies last, so show up early to get your copy!
More Unpub news soon!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Four Score & Ho-Ho-Ho

Twitter pal / game designer Benny Sperling (@benny275) mentioned that he was doing an 8-bit holiday door for his office at work, and mentioned that he was including Pixel Lincoln (AWESOME!). Since I have super hi-res blocky images of Lincoln all over my desktop, I offered to send him some.

Benny said he wanted the fan-favorite, Sausage Link Whip, and his other words ("Any Christmas?") made me leap into action to create the best Pixel Lincoln Christmas Tree-Wielding Santa Claus that ever existed.

Here he is:

It's also a rare look at Pixel Lincoln wearing a hat.

And here is Benny's door! There is a warm spot in my heart for Megaman with a Santa hat.

Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game also made Benny's Game of the Year list!

Best new to me game: Trajan.

Best game: Legacy: Gears of Time.

Best game w/ 16 cards: Love Letter

Best prototype: Nothing Personal.

Best Presidential game: Pixel Lincoln.

Best expansion: King of Tokyo Power Up

Best Game I designed: Leonardo's Apprentice.

Best card game: Guildhall.

Best Poultry Pun: Chicken Caesar.

Best Deck Builder: Fantastiqa.

Best Dice Game that was new to me: Bears!

Best Worker Placement game you probably haven't played:

Massachusetts Bay. Best Board with Gears: Tzolkin.

Best Components: Takenoko.

Best Game with Dart Guns: Dart Gun Desperados.

Hope everyone is having a nice start to the holiday season!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Unpub 3 Stress!

I've been looking forward to the next Unpub since the minute I left the last one. John Moller's game design-drivin playtest events are some of the best around, and the official "Unpub" event in January is the big one. It's a great way to start off the year, and while it's over a month away, I'm super stressed out about it!

I'm only stressed because I'm trying to decide which game(s) to bring. Last year I brought Sandwich City and received great feedback. We got about 6 or 7 sessions in throughout the day, and I still managed to play 4 or 5 other games. This year, it's a 2 day event, so I'm planning on bringing 2 or 3 games. One will be the proposed next installment of Pixel Lincoln: The Deckbuilding Game, which is still on paper (well, fake iPad paper via the wonderful Penultimate app), the second will probably be ZombieZone in its big, post-The Game Crafter limited release version, and the other one is ???????

And that is where I'm stuck. I have a bunch of games in the works, but I want to bring something big, meaty, and in need of feedback. And another part of this is that I need to get printing done over the next few weeks. I'll mess around at home with some ugly prototypes, but if I'm going out in public with it, I need to pretty it up.

Reverse Dungeon Crawler
I'm only calling it that because it slightly resembles what it actually is, and the name has stuck in my head. I have a long way to go with this one, but it's at the top of my list to get moving.

Famous Missions with new art
This is at the bottom of my list because it doesn't need high level testing. I'm just curious of what people think of the new art, and how it flows with the game.

Card Throwing game
This one is very light and quick to teach, and I want to see what people think. Alex Strang has been helping out as well, so together, maybe we can get this there.

Something else
I have a few others in varying stages of completion, but time is running out. I need another month!

I also want to play a bunch of games while I'm there. Last year I was able to play VivaJava for the first time, Wartime, Salmon Run, and others. And I need to take lots of photos and write a big recap. So much awesomeness going on... Can I pay somebody to run my games for me?

No matter what I decide, I need to get moving today. I'll have a mega-The Game Crafter order to place within the next week or two. I'll be ordering a whole bunch of these.