Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Showing posts with label East India Company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label East India Company. Show all posts

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Perspectives on Origins 2016 - Friday 17 June

Continued from Part 1, Thursday 16 June

East India Company
My primary purpose at Origins was to pitch "East India Company" to publishers.  At noon on Friday, my first appointment went well, but the publisher had issues with some of the liberties I'd taken with history in terms of which commodities were produced at which colonies.  I'd certainly made some "convenient assignments" in the interest of making the math work in the gameplay, but he seemed to think I'd gone too far and ought to revisit the historical basis of the game.

Friday, April 15, 2016

UnPub 6: Adjustments to "East India Company"

"East India Company" demo at PrezCon 2016:
(l. to r.) Darrell Louder, T.C. Petty III, Paul O.,
Matthew O'Malley, Jessica Wade
Photo by Chris Kirkman
I had demonstrated "East India Company" to a publisher at PrezCon last February, and came away realizing that the action cards I had added since UnPub 5 last year still needed some balancing.  I was also dissatisfied by the amount of down-time I observed (although the players hadn't complained about it).  In anticipation of UnPub 6, I made three significant changes:

Friday, August 14, 2015

WBC 2015

Keith Ferguson and I drove up to Lancaster, Pennsylvania last Thursday for our annual pilgrimage to the World Boardgaming Championships.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

UnPub Mini Fredericksburg


Saturday Jarrett Melville organized an UnPub Mini event at The Game Vault in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  This event was a nice informal gathering of game designers and playtesters at a friendly local game store that turned into a solid success.

Monday, February 16, 2015

UnPub 5 Saturday - East India Company

Saturday 7 February was the first full day of UnPub 5, the unpublished game prototype playtesting convention that has grown dramatically in the last four years.  I split a Tag Table with Tony Miller, and by mutual agreement, I took the table first on Saturday.  I was glad to do so because I really wanted Lesley Louder to get a chance to play "East India Company" before she had to leave the convention early.  When Lesley's husband Darrell, the convention director, heard that I was setting up a game of "EIC," he had Richard Launius (Arkham Horror, Elder Sign) join us.  Rob Weaver made our fourth.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

WBC 2014 Friday: WS&IM loss, Acquire victory, and EIC demo

(c) Rio Grande Games - used by
permission
Friday August 8 was the day that the Vendors' Area opened at the World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, so Keith Ferguson and I headed there as soon as the doors opened to see what we could find.  I had a few specific games in mind, and I was fortunate to find immediately the one at the top of my list, Concordia, designed by Mac Gerdts and published in the U.S. by Rio Grande.  I was initially attracted to this game simply because the title, after the Roman goddess of harmony, shares the name of the protagonist in my wife Kathy's series of historical murder mysteries.  Reviews led me to believe that I would appreciate this game in its own right, so I look forward to giving it a try.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UnPub Mini Chantilly Recap

Last Saturday, Keith Ferguson ran an UnPub Mini event at Game Parlor Chantilly.  (I helped a little.)  We had about twelve designers and about 20 gamers playtesting over the course of the 11 hours that the store was open that day.  It was about as successful as we could have wanted.  For my part, I got to playtest "East India Company" and "Reactor Scram" one time each, as well as to play about four other games, though there were many more I wish I could have played.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More designers for 21 June UnPub Mini in Chantilly, Virginia

As I mentioned in a post on May 8, there will be an UnPub Mini event this Saturday 21 June at
Game Parlor
13936 Metrotech Drive
Chantilly, VA 20151
We now have a full slate of eleven designers lined up, so we have plenty of opportunities for gamers to come and try out new game design prototypes and provide feedback to the designers.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Leaner, meaner "Company"

I've been giving some thought as to how to streamline "East India Company."  There are a few approaches I can take.  The scientist in me wants to make one change at a time and test each change independently.  I've heard at least one designer specifically recommend that approach so that you always know the effect of each specific design change.  But my gut tells me to identify the essential core elements of the game, eliminate everything else in one big purge, and then see if anything should be added back in, painstakingly, one element at a time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

East India Company returns to the shipyard

Last February I mentioned that I'd submitted a prototype of "East India Company" to a publisher at UnPub 4 to evaluate for publication.  I just heard back from them, and they
do not find it to be a good fit for our upcoming releases. At the end of the day, the play time and complexity does not create a conducive product for a broad success, as the trends are leading away from complex play and longer play times.
I can certainly accept that evaluation.  Game length has been a challenge with "EIC" since its inception, and it certainly is complex.  Given the nature of today's game market, I agree that its appeal as it currently stands would probably be somewhat narrow.

Monday, February 3, 2014

UnPub 4 Part III: Sunday publishers

Publishers' Panel
Sunday of UnPub 4 opened with a pancake breakfast sponsored by Eagle and Gryphon Games and a panel discussion featuring eight publishers in a question-and-answer format.  UnPub convention director Darrell Louder moderated the panel.  Panelists included

Sunday, February 2, 2014

UnPub 4 Part II: Heartland Hauling and Ten-acre Farming

"Great Heartland Dice Game" with Tiffany Bahnsen
and Adam O'Brien (r.)
Great Heartland Dice Game
I was tremendously pleased to get to meet Jason Kotarski (Great Heartland Hauling Company) in person.  I got to playtest his dice-game spin-off, "Great Heartland Dice Game," with Shawn Purtell, Adam O'Brien, and Tiffany "Socially Inept Gamer" Bahnsen.  This was a fun variation on GHHC, kind of Yahtzee with cows.  Actually, there is an element of resource management, since having a gas reserve makes it possible to re-roll dice and score more effectively.  It's also possible to sell of extra dice to other players for gas.  The result is a clever little filler game that deserves a publisher's attention.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

UnPub 4 Part I: Pitching and playtesting

I spent Martin Luther King weekend at UnPub 4, the fourth annual unpublished games convention for designers in Magnolia, Delaware.

Friday night - designers dinner
I had the privilege of an invitation to a designers and publishers dinner the night before UnPub, which I attended with my friend and fellow designer Keith Ferguson ("Santa's Workshop").  It was so great to see so many other designers and publishers again, many of whom I hadn't seen since UnPub 3 last year.  UnPub founder John Moller passed the reins to Darrell Louder (designer of Compounded), who hosted the designer-publisher dinner and directed the UnPub 4 convention admirably, with the able assistance of his wife Lesley Louder, Stephanie Straw, and other volunteers.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Congress of Gamers 2013 Part 5: Five-player "East India Company"

Wrapping up my Congress of Gamers coverage from almost three weeks ago, I've got a five-player playtest of "East India Company" and just a few other odds and ends to close things out.

Clockwise from left foreground:  Jason Tagmire, Marty, myself, Alf Shadowsong, Kiva Fecteau, and John Weber as I facilitate a five-player playtest of  "East India Company" - Photo by Mike Mullins


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Congress of Gamers 2013 Part 1: Mares and Mariners

Last weekend I made my annual trek to nearby Rockville, Maryland, to participate in Congress of Gamers, a friendly little weekend convention run by Eric Englemann of the Games Club of Maryland.  A series of Eurogame tournaments make up the convention's big draw, but CoG also features a number of other events, including the "Copyright Office," a game designer's prototype playtest room run by UnPub.net as a "ProtoZone" event.  That's where I spent virtually all of my time during CoG.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

WBC 2013 Sunday: Convention wrap-up


First, a shout-out to Charlie Hoopes, whom I mistakenly failed to mention in my "WBC 2013 Thursday" post.  Charlie is the designer of the family game Fill the Barn and has a work-in-progress abstract two-player called "AtataT."  I'd seen "AtataT" at UnPub 3 but missed out on playing it.  Charlie made a point of catching up with me during the Trains Planes and Automobiles tournament, and we had a nice chat about our respective game designs.  I look forward to seeing more of him.

Sunday morning provided an opportunity to catch up with the representatives from one of the vendors and talk a little about "East India Company."  This company is a well-known publisher with a line of games to which I think "EIC" would make a valuable contribution.  The fellows I spoke with weren't the people who make decisions about which submissions to evaluate, but they do much of the playtesting.  We talked a little about the wide variety of quality and maturity they see in some of the game designs that they are given to check out.  I thought it might be valuable to pass on to them a copy of the rules of "EIC" with my contact information, just as an indicator of how far along I've developed the game and to help with their company's evaluation of whether to get a closer look at it.  There's no telling what will come of this contact, but I was glad at least to have reached out and pursued a potential relationship.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A promising new business contact

I've been struggling to assemble additional prototypes for "East India Company," and I had been stymied by an unfortunate failed transaction with a printing company that set me back about two and a half months with nothing to show for it except a refund.

Looking for a new source for print-on-demand services that could do what I needed, I browsed an old resource page that I'd bookmarked at Spotlight on Games.  There I found a reference to Print and Play Productions, which seemed to fit the bill perfectly.  On Wednesday, I placed an order and sent a note to the owner, Andrew Tullsen, just to let him know where I'd found out about his company and that I looked forward to doing business with him.  He responded the next day to say that he had checked my files, that everything looked good, and that he hoped to ship my order that week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

East India Company: Two-player playtest holds up well

My current game design work-in-progress, "East India Company," is intended for two to five players.  My
"East India Company" two-player session.  The prototype
board might be too "busy" and need some toning down
for clarity.
very earliest solo playtests were set for two players, and many of the coarse physical mechanics that I developed came directly from those very early sessions.  Since then, however, nearly every playtest has been with three or more players, and over time I worried that I had neglected the two-player case and that perhaps EIC would come up short in that smaller format.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting serious about East India Company

I've had some time over the last few days to start really stepping out on my plan for "East India Company."  I've completed a survey of candidate publishers.  I've decided that I should have a second prototype in hand ready to ship in the event that I get a positive response from a submission letter.  So my current effort is geared toward making a second prototype that reflects the lessons I've learned from my first printing foray and from the playtesting I've done with it.