Game Design Month 2014

Jeff Myers —  November 30, 2014 — Leave a comment

November is National Game Design Month, according to the internet. I wonder if anyone keeps track of these things. Is there a National Fork Day or an International Week of Picking Up Stuff With Only Your Left Hand? Anyway, I’ve participated in NaGaDeMon (worst acronym ever) before, and it’s a great way to get motivated. The idea is to create a playable game in one month, going from concept to a final product that can be shared with others.

Earlier this year, when I was a guest on Boardgames To Go, I had an idea about creating a game that would fit inside a mint tin. I decided to make that part of NaGaDeMon this year, and rather than being a limitation, I think it helped focus my ideas.

My initial concept was to make a tile game where players moved bulldozers along pathways, trying to create parks and gardens from abandoned buildings and parking lots. I played around with this for a while, but found that it seemed to play itself. All of the decisions seemed too evident, and it was just a race to a single end.

Moving cubes on tiles? Brilliant!

Moving cubes on tiles? Brilliant!

I kept the tiles and the renovation concept, but moved the tiles apart to create streets and intersections. The tiles became buildings in an aging downtown and the bulldozers became project managers at a design firm. Players would allocate resources to tiles and eventually score points for participating in the renovation. Players would have to manage their resources (cubes) as they moved them from their hand to the tiles, so I decided to keep it simple and only allow a single action per turn. Players either move their project manager to a location or bring cubes to a location from a reserve tile. Cubes can be moved from a player’s hand to a reserve tile when they move their project manager. This kept the players moving around the city.

Mechanically, this worked pretty well. It was only missing one thing. It wasn’t fun. Continue Reading…

Regular Show Fluxx

Jeff Myers —  August 28, 2014 — 1 Comment

RS_Fluxx_BoxTop_042514Looney Labs recently released a new flavor of Fluxx based on Regular Show, a very popular program on Cartoon Network. I was a little surprised that I had never written about Fluxx, considering I first played it back in 2008. At least I think that’s when I first played it, I haven’t always done a good job of tracking my plays of anything, especially fillers and short games. Fluxx is aptly named, because the rules of the game continuously change with each player’s turn. It’s a wacky and silly game best suited for casual play with casual people who can still play games just for the sake of playing and enjoying the company of others.

I own a few versions of Fluxx. I started out with Family Fluxx, which I still take to family gatherings. I purchased Zombie Fluxx for a Halloween party and I think that was the first game to feature the addition of the Creeper, unwelcome cards that usually keep you from winning until you can either destroy them or at least make them move on to another player. Later, I bought a copy of Pirate Fluxx for a pirate party. This flavor introduced the surprise card which is basically an action card that allows you to act out of turn.

I do think that the flavor of a particular Fluxx can have a real impact on your enjoyment of the game. Looney Labs does a great job of bringing all the Regular Show characters into the game. I’ve only seen a few episodes, so I consulted with a couple of experts, my son and my nephew. They were happy to see their favorite characters like Skips and Muscle Man. There’s even a booster pack of 7 cards that make reference to an episode where the main characters are versions of themselves from the future. Continue Reading…