tl:dr working 7 days a week in a factory is time consuming, downtime is used for con preparation and development on next titles. Links after the jump.
A few days ago, as I was working my second job (Teamster Local 633!), I received this email from a customer who had just ordered from us.
Hello Glenn, The Responsible Designer!I thought you’d get a chortle out of knowing where your games end up and the fun times they create. I work at an all girl boarding high school in Mclean, Virginia. Each Sunday, I bring a selection of my personal stash of games to a growing gaggle of gathered girls to what we’ve started calling Casual Sunday. As far as selection, it’s really whatever will fit in the bag I’ve got for the day or whatever they’ve been bugging me to bring. Some days it’s every Fluxx I can get my hands on. Other weeks it’s games like The Resistance, Settlers of Catan or Magic the Gathering. But consistently, and with great enthusiasm, Slash is asked for. “Miss Roy! SLASH this weekend, right?” It’s been rationed like lembas bread or they’ll play it constantly and overdose into a frenzied puddle of glitter and leather. They adore Slash. It’s been a great treat for me because I can see who ventures into AO3 and Tumbler when fan jargon starts creeping into the debates and justifications for pairings. It also keeps them on their toes because I’ll sling it right back at them.Their love has gotten so fierce, a few went online to purchase it. Now, I follow your twitter so my co-keeper of Casual Sunday and I had a great chortle that we’re set and you’re successful. One of them came to us with such a sad face trying to shock us with the news. What she doesn’t know, and I hope will ease her troubled heart for the next four months while she waits, is that I bought a bunch of the blanks for two reasons. One, is that this Sunday we’re going to make some changes to the deck and each of the weekly participants will get to impact the deck for future generations of Casual Sunday players. The second is that I’m going to give a few of the cards to the English department as part of a pick-up lesson that I’m co-building on game design and development in the English classroom. Slash is a great way to distill a character to important characteristics as well as work in some themes and types discussions. Not to mention discussion of game mechanics, development and strategy issues.Anyways, really what this longer than I had anticipated email comes down to is that this is a love letter from my Casual Sunday crew and I to you. Thanks to you and your team for making such an awesome game.Slash/Casual Sunday = OTPCheers,
A while ago we were contacted by Cecilia Tan editor at Circlet Press. It seems that the Circlet crew took a copy of slash: romance without boundaries to their romance/erotica writers retreat where it was a big hit! We ere, of course, thrilled to hear that actually talented people enjoyed our silly party shenanigans. What blew us away was that Ceclia just forwarded us some of the micro fanfics that were written in response to playing slash! Hit the jump to check out the fics created by IPPY award winning author Janine Southard.
Hello Boston folks. We are headed to Arisia this evening! You can find us at table A3 in the dealers room. In addition to copious free high fives we will have the following products for sale!
slash:romance without boundaries
slash: the blanks
slash: shipwreck 2014 expansion
as well as some great games from our indie friends!
File Me Under: Darryl, the teenage years
What It’s All About: Zombie :15 from Iello is a cooperative zombie survival board game. Players take the role of one of 8 teenage survivors and race through their actions to complete various scenario objectives. Whether you are clearing a path to the Police Station or facing down the Alpha Zombie, Z15, once you grok the slightly awkward division of labor, plays smoothly. Teamwork is necessary not just for success but for the basic flow of play. On a player turn their teammates are handling resource management, inventory, card drawing and zombie placement while you focus on choosing the best possible use of your four actions. During the mad dash to push your plastic and chits about the game soundtrack is signaling you to add more zombies to the board; a hot-potato mechanic that serves well to motivate quick play. All the standard concerns of a zombie scenario are well represented: division of force, management of resources, stealth vs. effectiveness all become tangible concerns.
As a Zombie game Z:15 does well enough. By now we are all tired of the theme and tropes but the individual characters do bring a sense of charm to the affair. As a Cooperative game it fairs better. There simply isn’t the time or luxury for the type of quarterbacking that generally ruins coop games.
Tweaks: It’s entirely possible to make our own campaigns and a few downloadable official expansions are available
Gripes: Zombies, who cares anymore.The setup time is a bit excessive but that is perhaps the cost of a good coop experience. There should be a easily remixable app for the soundtrack a la One Night Werewolf.
Cost: Too much. $80, though the miniatures are nice and the production value is high
Time Commitment: :15 (plus a half hour of setup)
Best For: People Tired of Zombie games, people tired of coops
File me under: Why have I gone broke?
What it’s all about: X-Wing is a turn based miniatures game about space plane combat. Players field a small squadron of Tie Fighters, X-Wings and the like, choosing skilled pilots and weapon load outs by purchasing them from an agreed upon budget. Fighters maneuver the tabletop by selecting a speed and direction from a dial based on their ship model. For instance, TIE Fighters are very fast and nimble and can execute much tighter radius turns than an X-Wing but are generally cheaper to field due to their low strength. Certain move will place stress on your pilot which prevents them from taking ancillary actions like establishing target locks or performing a barrel roll. When you have moved you target into your firing arc and have them at a shootable distance you can blow them up by pitting your custom attack dice against their defense dice. Space-spolsions ensue.
X-Wing does a really good job of encouraging aggressive play by tilting defensiveness in favor of maneuverability rather than just toughness. Clever prediction of your opponent is essential to success in the highly positional skirmishing. X-Wing feels more like a dueling CCG than a slogging wargame; and that is too it’s benefit. As you whittle your foe down the game increases in speed (simply because you have less to manage) but you have more on the line. That is a great feeling from any game, let alone a licensed product.
Tweaks: The easiest way to tweak X-Wing is to alter the point value of the squadrons before the setup. Alternately it can be refreshing to force players to not use named pilots and upgrade cards; that’s a great way to learn the contours of the ships.
Gripes: The Cost! As with any miniatures game the cost to field a competitive force can be quite large. FFG has begun the size creep that dragged down Warmachine and Hordes. Playing with 360 degree firing turrets is lame
Cost: The base set will probably cost between $30-40 depending on what your FLGS is doing. Really though you should look to invest in a few expansion ships (~$15/ea)
Time Commitment: ~1 hour per game.
Best For: Aerial dog fighting fans
File Me Under: Who you gonna call?
What It’s All About: Mysterium is a murder-deduction game by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko. It made a big splash at BGGcon 2014 and can best be described as a blend of Dixit and Clue(do). One player is the spirit haunting the mansion and the rest of the players are psychic investigators who are trying to unravel the story of the ghostly tragedy. Arrayed on the table will be a number of characters, locations and items (typically 1/per player +3 of each type). Each turn the Ghost attempts to guide each psychic by laying impressionistic/surreal dream cards out. The psychic interprets their dream message and uses the clues in them to select and eliminate one of the persons, places or items. Once the psychics have whittled the possible field of culprits, settings and motives down they get to make a final accusation guided by a shared vision from the spectre.
Mysterium is exactly the type of innovative boardgame that is difficulty to translate to non-analog space. Sitting across the table from a handful of friends as they try and decipher the meaning to your selection is maddening and thrilling. You get a bizarre insight into your fellow players based on how they choose to read the cards. It’s basically what Rorschah must have been going for. Mysterium is a tremendously fun game and there is supposedly a Libellud (Thanks Eric!) made English edition coming in 2015.
Gripes: So, obviously there is a translation issue here. The rules, while sensible require a bit of deciphering and the different source languages of the game (Ukrainian, Polish or Italian) haven’t helped a consensus be reached. Additionally the components in each version is slightly different, with some including the promo cards and, weirdly, the polish edition just straight having an extra item card. Furthermore, they each have different end game setups as well as slightly different difficulty scales for large player groups. It is, broadly, understood that the Ukrainian version provides a better play experience with less randomness.
Tweaks: There are numerous ways to adjust the difficulty of Mysterium, in addition to increasing the amount of cards per player you can also calibrate the ability of the ghost to cycle through dream cards. There is also a Spirit Board that can be used to allow the ghost to give subtle hints to the psychics.
Cost: ~$57 via IAGames,ua. Can I just say, this is a crazy good deal. Mysterium could easily sell for $50 – $60 in the USA and people wouldn’t bat an eye. The component quality is quite high and you get a lot of game for your money.
Time Commitment: ~1 hour
Best For: Ghosts you can stay quiet, people who enjoy watching their friends flounder about.