Okay so yeah, it’s been a good long while, hasn’t it? At least I did sit down and play my last iteration of the game with real humans!! Wonderful ladies from the board game community here in Toronto. It was a heartwarming experience, and I got amazing feedback. Which I wrote down and sort of forgot about, then did a bit more at some point and now I’m sitting here tonight looking through scraps of notes, print outs of new things, and trying to sort myself out over the written stuff in notebooks versus the typed stuff I have saved online. Good work, self.
I think the two biggest things to come out of the playtest were: scrap the ‘timer track’ and just use the depletion of the food cubes used for bidding to pace the game – and have a game end condition based on # of public goals completed. That, and to have upcoming polyominoes available before you can bid on them, to plan ahead a bit – rather than fishing around in the bag to grab the polyominoes, I’ve made some cards with the shapes on them, and they’ll get flipped to determine which come out for bidding (Castles of Mad King Ludwig style). Otherwise I just needed to come up with more goals, which – by the looks of a Google Doc I just found haha – I have mostly!
I think streamlining the setup and turns has come a long way, I think just after looking at it so much. And I guess I took a step back and looked at the procedure of the game as a whole, because I’ve thought to add some round bonuses throughout, for people to rearrange their bowers slightly. This is how it’s going to roll:
- Deal out 3 public “optical illusion” goals, set the rest aside
- Deal 3 mates to each player – they keep 2, discard one.
- Distribute one set of food to each player (valued 1 through 5)
- Set up tiles for auction this round and upcoming – number of tiles is # of players +1.
- If you have one food token left, refresh your supply to full.
- Players simultaneously bid a value of food
- Winner of bid selects their tile, and the rest of the players select theirs by bid amount (ties resolved by player order); bids are spent. Tiles do not have to be placed adjacent to existing pieces.
- Check public goals for successes, and score. If someone has completed 3 public goals, the game ends.
- Start player passes
I suppose it’s time to get my goal cards and mate cards all together and put this in front of people, again. Honestly, my next biggest stumbling blocks are: do I hate this and think it’s not fun, and how can I overcome my impostor syndrome! We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, here I am trying to keep myself accountable. And also mildly panicked about taking part in a board game design panel later this week!
Oh boy, it’s been a while! About 6 months. Things have percolated a bit in my brain, but I have only just finally tried to get some of it out onto paper. I needed just few things as a basic structure to tangibly poke stuff around on a table. So these are really basic ideas, which will very much need tinkering and fine tuning, but so far I think it’s a reasonable start. Whether or not after the start it keeps going or gets scrapped, who knows!
To start with, I have decided on some random public goals, as well as the “mate” cards which will be private – players will get 3 of those and choose two (scoring their choice at the end of the game, this is my attempt to offer a little flexibility). I have a Patchwork-esque time track right now, in which players will move to gain certain values of food (representing the bird’s time spent finding better food). Those food tokens will be used in an auction phase bidding on objects to place in your “bower”.
This is the “time track” – with the available objects for the auction round. I also have a few spots along the time track that are similar to the single tile patches in Patchwork – I think in this I’d like them to be bonuses for the last player to pass them over as a bit of a balance for not taking so many food tokens.
There’s my attempts at the public goals and mate cards. These are all really off the top of my head so they need a lot of work. But it’s just to get an idea of what I’d have players aiming for. A little set collection, a little puzzley stuff.
And here’s the “object” tiles! The idea is to have 3 types of objects which would be worth different values, but I haven’t exactly worked that into any of the cards yet (other than generically mentioning type). I’d like them to represent different things like, the garbagey blue things like plastic caps etc, and then the shinier nice things like glass etc. I know I had an idea earlier about birds being able to use one of their own feathers in their bower, but right now I’m not sure what function that could have. Still thinking!
I guess it’s time to show this to people? aaaahhhhhhh!
- What would be the basic turn structure?
My basic idea would be for players to spend (x) time (on the track) foraging for food (sort of the currency of the game) until each player passes. Then, spending food values, players can bid on a selection of treasure (nest) tiles – once a player wins a bid to pick a tile, they pay and the auction round goes to the other players (or once one player is left they pay minimum bid of one food for the tile left).
- What, if any, ways could a player interact or affect another player?
Bidding highest to get the first take of a tile, mostly. And making it to a public bonus goal first.
- Why are the objectives secret if you’re fighting over the same mate?
Each player would have a unique mate hidden in their hand – possibly more, if it would work out like tickets in Ticket to Ride where you could possibly take more mates and score some of their points later in the game? But yeah, there’d be a chance to have different mates each time you play, anyhow.
- How can you use the secret objectives to create tension?
This is a tough one. Tension in the auction, and the race to succeed at the public goals? (i.e. who makes X shape first, who hits 7×7 filled nest spots first, for example?)
- What information is hidden?
The goals you’re aiming at for your mates to successfully lure them.
- How does that hidden information inform game play?
Definitely directs what tiles you’re bidding for, and also the patterns/size of the nest you’re decorating.
- Can you move tiles/remove tiles after being played?
Perhaps if I allowed during-game scoring of mates? But that doesn’t seem quite as thematic (that also leads to the thought of does having multiple mates to score mean it isn’t as thematic? But the male birds have many females come by to inspect their nests before one chooses, so…) So I’m guessing most likely no, once they’re played they stay.
- Are/is the tile pool/s singular or player specific?
The tile pool (nest treasures) would be shared – drawn from a bag (perhaps each auction round would have player number +2 tiles as a range to bid on?).
- Where, if any, would you incorporate randomness?
The bag draw for the nest treasure tiles for sure, and I suppose the allocation of the hidden mates (even if they’re drafted to start the game, and especially if more come out during the game). I know a game like Patchwork has everything visible to start the game, but I think that might be a bit much for this? Maybe to mitigate the randomness of the bag draw, the tiles would be visible during the food collection phase.
- Where would you say the interesting decisions are?
This is the tough part as I don’t have the game quite fully realized. I want the public and hidden goals to be challenging, but not so random they’re not obtainable. I want players to take their goals and use those as their guide on how to bid, when to let other players win certain phases and the like in order to most efficiently gather together what you need.
- What type of experience would you like this game to invoke?
A feeling of making the best puzzle, collecting sets to maximize points and having fun making something pretty!
Following on from this, I need to make a firm decision on the structure of the game, most importantly:
- Will players draft mate cards?
- Will there be opportunities to partially score mate cards throughout the game? (Or in drawing new ones, perhaps take 3, keep 1 for instance)
- How the timing track/food collection will affect the phases/progress/length of the game, and if that makes a difference for player turn order
- How many treasure tiles, what their shapes and types will be, as well as point values if that’s necessary (for public goals perhaps?)
- Draft up some shared goals for shapes, sizes, and set collections for treasure types
I’m sure more will come up, but I believe this little brainstorm and following up on those particular points will help direct me further into this game and the process.
I’m not interested in sending you all out to stuff that is just a big joke, so here’s some for real cool stuff to check out.
Let’s ease into it with this balloon cat. How delightful and static-y.
Now, I know this might seem really pranky, but it’s for real and amazing. Look at the skill.
I’ve just signed up for a bike sharing program here, so I will have to really remember my helmet wherever I go. Gotta say things would be easier with this awesome design. Fold down helmet! Please.
I’m a huge fan of dogs. I’m a huge fan of rescue dogs. So I’m always a huge fan of tactics to help find rescue dogs forever homes, like this wonderful photobooth initiative. Such sweeties.
I know this was released very close to April Fool’s, but Google’s Pacman layover of maps is a super fun thing! I love it when Google make the fun things, whenever it is.
Morbid but beautiful, ‘Memento Mori‘ is a book that documents sacred sites around the world where human skeletons are displayed. The ways that cultures do this the world over is fascinating.
Have you seen those ‘Shot on iPhone 6’ advertisements around? They’re lining the walls of my subway station right now. So I’m kinda in love with this parody of it, “Also Shot On iPhone 6“.
A quick snippet about how sriracha hot sauce is made! I like the sort of hypnotic factory footage. Mmm, bottles of hot.
Not sure how the drone fared with fireworks attached to it, but the results are gorgeous.
The concept and execution of these movie director portraits is incredible! I’d for real hang this David Lynch one.
I know I don’t have the patience for art. I know because I look at incredible stuff like this and figure I’d have a hissy fit 10 minutes in. But look how pretty and detailed! I’m thankful there’s patient artistic people out there. Make sure to click through for the time lapses.
I need one of these for my desk at work. Or at least I need to figure out how I can make one.
Digital dozen – 12 ways to distract yourself with shiny internet things this hump day.
I think if I were to get married, this would be 100% the wedding ring I want. Yep. Adulting!! (via)
Though I’m not a fan of their coffee (it’s my last resort when there’s nothing else coffee..) I do love this Tumblr of Starbucks sleeves sketched on to transform them into awesome portraits.
This design is fantastic!! My keyring’s pretty slim these days but if I had more, I’d be into this.
These tiny creations are so delicate and wonderful. I don’t think I could ever have the patience for them.
I’m constantly amazed at how creative people can be when given a restricted set of materials to use to create something. Design Within Reach have a ‘champagne chair’ contest each year, and these are this year’s winners. Super!
Air safety is no joke.. but these are pretty funny, c’mon.
Pixar artists turns R-rated movies into kid’s book illustrations. GOLDEN.
While we’re in the Disney realm.. here’s some lovely Baymax cosplaying as other Disney characters. The best.
Rain-activated sidewalk art! Of course someone in Seattle made this.
New wave rock stars as Marvel heroes was built for my brain.
Old to new – discarded books carved into art.
- Tomorrow is Star Wars day. Enjoy these wonderful geometric and abstract Star Wars portraits!
- And while we’re at it, who wants to send me this hoodie? Han and Chewie in one! Yesss.
- Finding inspiration in negative space makes for good art. See?
- Seals love belly rubs – you’ve always guessed it, right? RIGHT? Well, now you can see it in action. (From 0:35 on)
- A pen that 3D prints as you write with it in thin air? No way. This is the future. Check it out!
- Remember that kid playing Space Invaders on the side of a building? Now someone’s done it with Tetris!
- I’m pretty sure these would cripple me, but I do love the look of them!
- This is a genius re-imagining of the houses from the Game of Thrones series as modern brands. All of them are wonderful, but this is the most golden of all:
- How would you like to kick back to a smooth jazz cover of the Game of Thrones theme? Yep.
- Someone went through a lot of painstaking photoshopping to create these images of classic album covers superimposed over real life locations. That is some very specific stuff. One of my personal favourites is..
- Giant machinery playing jenga – no, you didn’t think you needed to see it. But it is thoroughly enjoyable.
- I’m looking for work right now, and I’m beginning to think I need to something creative to sell my Administrative Superstar package just like this amazing Lego Resume! It stands out from the crowd, no lie.
Every so often I get overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that accumulates when you’re settled. I try and purge every so often, especially when moving.. but there’s still bunches of things. Kitchen gadgets, food supplies, boxes, clothing, books.. stuff one keeps because you think you’ll be needing it at some point. It would be so nice to minimize. Adam & I saw the documentary ‘Tiny‘ at Hot Docs a while back, and were fascinated & inspired by the idea of living in tiny houses. How simply you could have everything you really need. Then today I saw a couple of articles about tiny houses (linked by a friend, and randomly in my RSS reader) and it renewed my interest in the idea. I’m not sure when this would be practical in my life, especially living in downtown Toronto. I think it would be amazing to try sometime. It’s so inspiring to see what people can do with compact spaces.
While I’m not a fan of everything Felicia Day does, I admire her business savvy and her willingness to speak out when she has something strong to say. She’s recently written about the shit she’s gotten since cutting her hair, and how ridiculous it all is in the context of her being an entertainer/gamer who is female. I love that she can be forthright about this, even though she’ll likely cop flak about it. (And of course she’s lucky enough in a position of privilege as a white woman that she can make a stand a lot easier, but there’s still the shitty responses from dudebros no matter what.)
Speaking of amazing women, I love that Janet Mock has called out Piers Morgan for the bullshit way he approached his interview with her recently. She makes such amazing, common sense points – yet Morgan got so up in arms about being called out about it. Please, if someone is an activist in their community and calls your sensationalist and offensive bullshit (especially when it’s as personal as this issue!) – listen to them and apologize when you realize you’ve fucked up!
I love warm and satisfying meals on cold snowy nights. Mmmm. (You can try the amazing lentil loaf from the recipe here!)