Sunday, September 30, 2012

Preview of Viticulture....

Kickstarter has been used to launch some pretty great games like Alien Frontiers and even now big and emerging companies like Queen and Tasty Minstrel Games are using it to fund their projects.  Still, the majority of gaming projects on the crowd-funding website are independently produced labours of love.  And there is always some risk with helping to fund these projects as the games don't necessarily go through the rigorous development and testing that a major company's release would see and often the reviews are quite limited.

Still, I've had some great success with indy games lately - Alien Frontiers which I continue to mention, Vanuatu which I own but have yet to play, and Morels which wasn't crowd-funded but is still wonderfully produced and delightful.  I'm happy to say the upcoming game Viticulture seems like another winner.  We managed to play a 6-player round of a prototype copy after the Blitz yesterday evening and despite a few issues, the overall experience was surprisingly enjoyable.  I've had the prototype all week and had hoped to play it sooner but this just happened to be one of my busiest AND sickest weeks this year.  Yuck.

Drinking wine while playing a wine-making game
In short, Viticulture is a worker-placement game which lightly simulates managing a vineyard and creating and selling wine.  Now I know a ton of wine-making games have cropped up in the past few years, none of which I happen to have played yet as the complexity of many of them sounded high.  Viticulture manages to keep things fairly simple, thanks to easy-to-explain actions and a wealth of cards.  The quirk that keeps this game different from the abundance of other worker-placement games is that there are two distinct rounds of placement, a summer and winter season, and you need to spread your workers over both which requires a bit of planning.

Overall, it presented a relaxing but strategic experience involving planting vines, giving tours, harvesting and crushing grapes, and bottling and selling wines.  Now, there were a few glitches we experienced mostly due to the ruleset but I am certain we did not have the final version (and I will be sending some suggestions to the designers).  As well, some of the cards did seem a bit wildly powerful (note to future players - grab as many visitor cards as possible) but I know the designers have actually modified a few since we were sent a copy.  One other thing came to light while we played was a possible "perfect" strategy but this may or not be a possibility in a game with less than 6 players.  A certain player who designs games himself decided to choose the same action of giving vineyard tours every round.  He upgraded his building to get an extra point every time he did.  Combining that with one other action and repeating this every round, he managed to win the game by a narrow margin.  Now, I suppose a boring strategy like this can often win as well in a game like Dominion, you know just buying coins repeatedly and taking no actions until you can afford to buy everything.  But still this is something to be aware of.

In general, though, Viticulture is a very well put-together and engaging game.  It's got some chaos in the card draws but I kind of like that as I find worker-placement games can often be quite stiff.  There is a definite satisfying story arc and a relaxed pace to the game as you build up your infrastructure and workers over a few years (rounds) until you can finally produce and sell wine.  And considering how well the Kickstarter campaign is going, this game is going to be a gorgeous production.  It's clear the game has been playtested and that they are still fine-tuning it.  Good to see.

Future artwork
If this sounds interesting to you, definitely check out the Kickstarter site - there are 7 days to go and the designers have already hit enough stretch goals to add specially designed pieces, double-sided gameboards, and wooden buildings.  I kickstarted it, perhaps you might want to, too.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Deadly Danger Dungeon

Hilarious video. Inspires me to make crazy role & move games. Also, makes me wish I still had all my old crazy kid creations from years long past. Anyone else like me out there, who made crazy homemade games like Deadly Danger Dungeon?!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Eric on 570 News

Yay! Our very own Eric Martin was a guest of the Gary Doyle show on 570 news. I tried my best to capture the whole thing on my iPhone - but failed. So my gracious friend Marc Lanctot (founding father of the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz) saved the day and captured this audio file.

Listen HERE

Also, you can see some quotes from Eric & I (plus shout out to Christian Monterroso) about the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz in the KW Record: HERE

How To Make Money with your Game Design

What's your plans this Sunday?!

Game designer Keith Meyers is going to be at Snakes and Lattes in Toronto (600 Bloor St. West) on Sunday September 30, 2012 at 11am for a free 4 hour presentation and discussion and Q and A about the game industry.

Keith is an American designer of games including Shake 'n' Take, Tiki Topple, Sitting Ducks, Second Guess and Fast Figure. In 2008 he published "Paid to Play: The Business of Game Design", a terrific handbook on the practicalities of being a game designer for a living. Snakes will have some copies on hand for purchase at this event.

The Game Design Central website is also one of Keith's productions, a great resource for game inventors - beginners will find a terrific amount of helpful information there. Have a browse through to see what Keith has to offer and what you'll get out of the presentation at Snakes and Lattes.

This event will have a little something for everyone, novices to experts alike, and a great opportunity to meet and talk with someone with a wealth of industry experience.

Im tempted to attend. But not sure how I will do after the Great Canadian Board Game Blitz hangover I anticipate.

And let me know your thoughts if you attend!

-- Daryl Andrews

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Better learn quick...

I realized last night that I've signed up for a Euchre tournament that runs tonight but I have yet to ever play the game.  Been playing madly all lunch on my Ipod, trying to burn into my brain the stupid right Bauer rule (yes, that jack of clubs to the left is NOW a spade). 

I swear I'm gonna renege ten times in this tourney before I get it right....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nasty American politics as lame Monopoly ripoff...

Ah, board games! So often reflecting what people REALLY think.  Not sure which is more offensive - the depiction of people who need social assistance as lazy and useless or the vaguely racist image of Obama as a "Marxist clown".  Kinda reminds me of this game...

(Source, if for some reason you actually want to order it.)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Um, I kinda get the feeling you like Monopoly....

Hard to tell if this is a super-fan or an employee of Hasbro.  Definitely not the designer of the game because she's been gone for a long time.

Either way, I think I know which token this person plays the game with....


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Great Canadian Board Game Blitz!!!! (Kitchener-Waterloo edition)

If you're near the Waterloo region of Ontario on Saturday, Sept. 29th, you should really come to the GCBGB event in Kitchener organized by DOM contributor Daryl.  I'll be there helping out as well as contributing from my ridiculous wealth of sadly underplayed games.  What is it, you say?  From the website:
The Great Canadian Board Game Blitz (GCBGB) is a circuit of board game tournaments held at Canadian game conventions and retailers. You play several rounds of games over the span of eight hours, collecting points based on your finishing rank in each game. The finals are held each summer in Toronto at Fan Expo.
Join the Facebook event page for more info the Kitchener event which is only $5 to enter in a LICENSED ESTABLISHMENT (best part!) or the main website for other times and locations throughout Canada.

Hope to see some of you there!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A little test to see whether "Cards For Humanity" is the right game for you...

Do the following images make you

A)  giggle uncomfortably and/or laugh out loud?


B)  look for the unsubscribe button on this here blog page?

"What do old people smell like?"

"What did the US airdrop to the children of Afghanistan?"

If you picked A), you're a sick disgusting individual... and you'll probably enjoy this perverse update of the Apples to Apples formula about as much as we did for 3 hilarious hours last Friday night.  Play it. ASAP.

If you picked B), well, uh, sorry?  I did try to show some of the tamer cards that we encountered in our game.  Seriously, it's that bad.  Don't play it.