Design Diary: Introduction

 

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A successful playtest meet up

One of our ambitions for 2017 here at the Crafty Players is to put out more higher quality articles. If you read our post about our new year’s gaming resolutions, you would have read that I have set myself the goal of having three games ready to submit to the Cardboard Edison Award in January 2018. To help facilitate both of these goals, I’ve decided I’m going to write about my experiences of trying to design board games. From the early steps of idea to early prototype, to playtesting and how I modify the game based on those playtests. Continue reading

2017 Gaming Resolutions

Happy new year everyone and welcome to 2017, Year 2 of The Crafty Players blog and podcast. We’re going to do a small review of our first year, and where we hope to go from here, in episode 9 of the podcast. But for now, Emmet and Paddy have made some gaming resolutions for 2017. Let’s see what they are! Continue reading

12 Games of Christmas – Part 2

Ding dong indeed! So here we are with only a few short days (today being the shortest!) until it’s Christmas. Huzzah! Let’s celebrate by finding the best games to backstab and murder your family and friends without actually doing so and thereby avoiding Christmas prison (which is reserved for murderers and those who riffle shuffle my cards).

Continuing with our 12 Games of Christmas, below are my (Emmet) choices for the best games to play with your family and friends over the holidays. The last few years pur families have created a little tradition of meeting up on Christmas Eve, ordering a takeaway, and playing some games. As my nieces have gotten older we’ve been able to introduce more complex games to our game nights, but even so the games here are very approachable and easy to pick up and play. These games will work with anyone from the age of 7 and up I’d say so they’re perfect for a family night tucked up with hot chocolate and mince pies.

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12 Games of Christmas – Part 1

It’s that time of year, Christmas, holidays, season of joy and generosity! That magical few days of the year when we go and spend time with family and loved ones, sharing our stories, dreams and hopes. Sometimes though, you don’t want to do any of that and instead just play some games. So here we are, sharing our 12 Games of Christmas, 6 games each which Paddy and Emmet feel could be brought out with the family at any time, that are easy enough to pick up, that everyone can enjoy. One or two might surprise, one or two probably won’t, but read on and see what you think!

We were originally going to do these lists in a podcast, but illness, busy work schedules and the inevitable overloading of pre-Christmas events have made recording a podcast nearly impossible. So here we are in written format!

Without further ado, here are Paddy’s 6 games! Continue reading

Shogi and I

Today I’m going to talk about something a little different. It’s still a board game, but it’s not a hot off the shelf release from Essen, or a Kickstarter reward or my latest adventure in solo gaming. It’s about shogi, Japanese chess, the game which I have undoubtedly played the most in the past 10 years. Many people compare the game Go to chess, but shogi is much closer. Several of the pieces move the same, lending a sense of familiarity to those who’ve played chess. But it’s also hugely different, and in my humble opinion, better by far.

Before we go on, I want to say that I won’t be using the Japanese names for pieces etc, just the names in English that I know them as, as taught to me. It may not be technically correct, but to me the words carry more than just meaning. Continue reading

Adventures in Design

The reasons myself and Paddy chose the name “The Crafty Players” may be obvious: we enjoy craft beer and like playing board games. But part of the reason behind the name was  to reflect that both myself and Paddy like to make things. He’s mentioned before in blog posts and podcasts that he enjoys making board games and that he has a few prototypes in the works (one of which almost made one of our friends cry, so it’s gotta be good!), and while I also have notes for my board game opus scrawled across dozens of pages, at the moment the “crafty” side of me is focused on creating and writing adventures for Dungeons & Dragons. The first of these, titled The Graveyard Shift, is free on DriveThruRPG now! With that in mind, this week I’d like to talk about how I approach writing adventures and I’m going to use my current work-in-progress adventure as an example. So strap in because we’re venturing deep into the depths of my DM-Brain!

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Live To Board

Board games have given me a lot. These simple objects made of cardboard, wood and plastic have given me a way to regularly engage with my oldest, dearest friends in a new way. They’ve helped make me some new friends. Through this blog and through trying my hand at design, board games have also given me a creative outlet, something I’ve felt was missing in my life. Yes, board games have given me a lot. But could they give me more? Continue reading

First Impressions: Above and Below

The straps of your pack dig into your skin uncomfortably as you shuffle ever forward into the unknown. The darkness flees from the glow of your lantern, cowering just at the edge of the halo of pale orange light. Above and around you, the weight of the stone pervades your every thought, and the air is stifling and stale. Up ahead the path splits, leading further into the heart of the cave system. You hold your lantern aloft to try to get a better look, the light glinting off sheer stone, but providing no answers. Before you can decide what to do, a heavy thump of a footfall draws your attention from the left hand tunnel. Then another. And another. Closer and closer they come. Your heart pounds in your chest as a hulking silhouette lurches forth from the shadows. What do you do?

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First Impressions: Honshu

 

Honshu is the main island of Japan. Why is this game called Honshu? No idea. What is this game’s connection to Japan? Seriously, no idea. But it doesn’t matter because what lies inside the box with the lovely art is a smart game. It mixes common mechanics so well that it could become one of my favourite games. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: I’ve only played it a few times, so let me just talk about my first impressions. Continue reading

Rhino Hero

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in details or the minutiae of games. You spend 30 minutes talking in circles about why mechanics should come before theme. You write 1,500 words on dice, expressing your frustrations but also in the end trying to work in some praise. Then you scrap that piece because something comes along that reminds you that games are meant to be fun. This time it was a small yellow box, that cost the princely sum of £6 on Amazon. Continue reading