Frustration. For weeks that was the predominant emotion. Maybe weeks is a bit too long, but for sure it was frustration. You see, I’d decided to enter the GenCan’t Roll and Write contest. A game design contest that with a one month deadline, that needed to involve standard dice (the roll bit), that involved writing on paper (eh…the write part), and that MUST include a solo mode. All three things made me uncomfortable as a designer. Generally I don’t like dice. I’ve very little experience with roll and write games. I’ve more experience with solo games, but have never designed one, and any ambitions I’ve had to design one usually end with exasperation as I try to find the balance between replayability (generally through random events, unpredictable outcomes etc.) and making the game about skill, not luck (generally though reducing randomness, avoiding hugely unpredictable outcomes). Continue reading
I’ve never roasted coffee. I do enjoy a good cup of coffee, and we’re lucky to have some very well regarded roasters in Dublin, like 3fe, Roasted Brown and Coffee Angel. Given my lack of coffee roasting experience, what follows is a wholly groundless assertion: it’s an art. Sure, you can measure the roasting time, the temperature, but I bet it’s never 100% exactly right every time. Neither is a game of Coffee Roaster, a solo game from Japan. Sure, you can math out some bits, try to count and make sure you’re as close as possible, but things don’t always go as expected, and you end up with a horrible cup of coffee from an over-roasted bean. Continue reading
Glen More is an older game – it’s not polite to talk about someone’s age, but I bring up it up is to remind us that it belongs to a different time, a time when the “Euro” and “Ameritrash” genres were more clearly defined, with less “hybrids”. As a matter of fact I think it’s a perfect game to demonstrate the difference in opinion Emmet and I have in relation to theme and its importance to a game. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Episode 7 of the podcast.
Glen More is ostensibly about building a small Scottish village, making whisky (interesting aside: it’s spelled with an “e” i.e. whiskey, if it’s country of origin has an “e” in the name. Ireland, America = whiskey, Japan, Scotland = whisky) and promoting chieftains to gain influence and power which is represented by victory points. Obviously. The theme is “evoked” through kilted men and sheep on the box cover, Tam o’shanter caps, highland cattle, whisky production and use of the word ‘chieftain’. It might sounds evocative, but there’s very little to drag you into the theme, to immerse you in it and make you feel like you’re actually in Scotland building a village.
But to me it doesn’t matter because the gameplay is so good! Continue reading
Normally the second Wednesday of every month is when we release our podcast, but due to scheduling problems the podcast will go up next Wednesday. Until then you’ll have to imagine my (Emmet) sexy voice while you read about my experiences playing a caring eastern European count who happens to have a taste for blood. We also chatted about Fury of Dracula on Episode 6 of the podcast if you want to check that out too.
Phew! What a fantastic day. Last Saturday, September 3rd, we held our first ever board game design jam in Pulse College Dublin, and we called it Build A Board Game. You may remember we talked about this in a previous post and on the podcast. We had about 36 people turn up on the day, and spend about 6 hours designing games using components and a theme we provided. Continue reading
What you see below is a real world, non-staged example, of how I arrange games of X-Wing Miniatures. “Pew pew” is a phrase that gets used a lot in our games, as we direct our ships to zoom around the table, try get in a good position and “pew pew” the enemy ships out of the sky. But is the game any good? How does it feel to actually play? Read on dear friend, and you shall find out.