The final version of the prototype board

The final version of the prototype board

This board was quite a bit of work. Every graphic on the board was designed by me. The game requires that a room be randomly selected by rolling a 20-sided die, so I made the numbers stand out as much as I could to make them easier to find, while still being lower on the page hierarchy. Information that players need quickly, such as legal moves, the clock, and the turn order, have been placed on the large central portion of the board. Because of the game’s Halloween Horror feel (a term I used in the early stages of concept work, referring to a sort of kid-friendly tongue in cheek scary-yet-funny mood), I wanted to stick with black and white as strong colors, with black featuring predominantly. After some internal debate, I allowed myself to use a third color, red, when an element of the board needs to stand out. In this case, the legal movement through the game. The black and white version did not stand out well against the drawn room borders.

The individual tiles are made of cardstock mounted on foam core board. Unlike the paper prototype, they’re much easier to lift up off the playing surface, since they’re nice and thick. I was originally hoping to find a place that could put them on chipboard or whatever most board games are mounted on. Altogether, the whole assembled board is 20 inches by 20 inches, about the size of games such as Monopoly and Clue.

I plan on having this sold at a certain site soon, but the board cost may be prohibitively expensive. The game mechanics are fine as they are, though they might need a little tweaking, but the price of all the tiles is unacceptable. I plan on redoing the graphic design and potentially messing with the layout so that each room will fit on a playing card, which will be considerably cheaper to produce. Sometime in the future, it might be nice to be able to sell it at its full size, though.

Hastily made from printer paper

Hastily made from printer paper

Here's a look from closer to the "table". I've used a few placeholder miniatures from other games for the prototyping.

Here's a look from closer to the "table". I've used a few placeholder miniatures from other games for the prototyping.

The game in a state of play.

The game in a state of play.

Here’s a few pictures of how the game looks right now. It was my senior project for school, and it finally got returned to us. I’ll post better pictures of the individual components soon, along with the initial barebones paper prototype.

The box, closed

The box, closed

The opened box

The opened box

Current Projects

September 13, 2009

As much as I love video games, I’ve been thinking a lot about “traditional” games lately. Board games, tabletop role-playing games, card games, miniatures war games, that sort of thing. Part of it is that as a designer, I want my products to go through as much iteration as possible and I want the ability to make changes myself so I don’t have to wait for a programmer to do it for me before I can resume work. Traditional games are pretty good at this. They’re also very affordable to prototype.

I’m working on a number of projects, not counting the current proofreading for Tenra Bansho Zero. The first is a series of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edtion supplements. I’m working on this with a friend right now. I won’t say too much about it, but I think it’s safe to say that it addresses a cultural niche that we think needs to be filled. Another project is the retooling of Escape from Midnight Mansion to make it suitable for sale with the resources currently available to me.  I also have a very silly card game in mind, which I’d like to publish before EfMM. It’ll be cheaper and it’ll give me a better idea of what to expect once I toss the product out there.

The last of the projects I’d like to mention for now is a complete tabletop roleplaying game system. This one’s been occupying my attention a lot lately. I’m in the early stages of development.  I’m going to have to say that having to do research on TVtropes is much more difficult than I thought it would be. In terms of systems, I’m looking at different die sizes and combinations and how they weight the distribution of results. I might be getting a little ahead of myself, but there’s a probability curve in my head that I’ve become curious about. I’d like to see how that affects the game. More on that later.

Escape from Midnight Mansion

September 10, 2009

Over the past several months, I’ve created a cooperative board game for children between the ages of 7 and 10, titled Escape from Midnight Mansion. I hope to sell it soon. There are a few sites I have in mind where it could be sold. The Game Crafter is a site where I could upload pdfs and select game components, and I can sell my game to people through that site. The current design will have to be reworked for cost reasons, though.

The current design of the game involves a series of 22 small boards, and unfortunately, every board in a game at The Game Crafter adds two dollars to the price of the game. It’d be prohibitively expensive. One solution in mind right now is redesigning the boards so they become cards instead, which are much cheaper.

I’ll explain how the game works once I can figure out how much I can openly talk about it, but it’s got some ideas I’m pretty proud of. My inspirations include Pandemic, Shadows over Camelot, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Arkham Horror.