June 29, 2018
It was definitely a bit of a frenzy to make last minute changes to the game before Breakout Con. Luckily I wasn’t too busy at work and had the time to put the stickers I printed onto the dice I had bought. The con began during the day so needless to say I was really antsy to get out of work and start enjoying the con. Seeing as work wasn’t busy I ended up slipping out early and headed over to the hotel it was being held at.
Overall my first Breakout Con was great. Over the three days I got in a few plays of new games to me including Downforce, Barenpark, and Gravwell. I absolutely loved the first two and was finally able to find myself a copy of Barenpark while I was on vacation in Whales a few weeks ago. And I hope to buy Downforce along with its expansion as soon as I get a chance too. My son and I had the opportunity to playtest a new game by Tim K. Brown and Joshua Cappel being published by Kids Table Board Gaming called Wreck Raiders. It was a really solid worker placement game with multiple ways of collecting points. It’s one I will definitely be backing in a few days time on Kickstarter.
I also got to participate in my first two ever role playing games. I played Kids on Bikes by Jon Gilmour and Doug Levandowski which was a great first rpg experience. My character ended up delivering the killing blow to the creature that was trying to kill our group of kids. I had a blast and our GM was great. I already pre-ordered it and I should be receiving it in the near future. My son and I also playtested another rpg in development called Zany Zoo Escape. It was another fun time in which our characters (a penguin and a red panda) successfully eluded the GM’s zookeeper and escaped the Central Park Zoo.
Another good experience was taking part in Proto T.O.’s board game jam. Myself and 3 other designers I met had two hours to design a game based on the theme given which was ancient civilizations. It was really great to brainstorm ideas with other designers and put together a design so quickly. I also attended two panels How to Playtest Well and Breaking into Boargames as well as the Pitch Perfect workshop. While the panels were very informative, I got the most from the workshop getting to work one on one with published designers (Helena Cappel in my case) to hone my pitch for Primal Ordnance. The highlight was after the workshop, being able to give my elevator pitch to Rob Daviau in an elevator which was quite an amusing coincidence.
The ultimate highlight of the weekend though was the primary reason I attended, The Mentorship program. The four designers who playtested Primal Ordnance were game designer Jason Anarchy, RPG designer Hamish Cameron, Snakes and Lattes game curator and designer Steve Tassie, and game designer Jon Gilmour. It was an amazing experience to get these guys to playtest my game and they all gave invaluable feedback. The best part was that they all said they had fun and could definitely see potential in the game. Of course they also gave me very helpful constructive criticism that, while creating much more design work, I’m positive will push the design in the right direction.
It has been 3 months since Breakout Con (I know I’ve been lax with updates) but I almost have the next iteration of the game ready to test. The hardest job has been completely revamping the entire deck of cards. The key piece of advice given to me by Jon was to try and give the cards multiple uses and to have the majority of the games’ actions on cards. It was an eye opener and I immediately saw the benefit of this because in all my previous playtests, including this one, cards were not being bought often enough. Having multi-use cards would make the cards more enticing to purchase and would also give players interesting choices of which ability to use on each card. Finding the right balance of powers to match up was a challenge and I think the new deck will have the intended effect on the game. Also, moving actions like movement, support unit attacks, and ordnance attacks onto cards will hopefully speed up the game since it lessens the number of actions taken during a turn outside of your hand. It also eliminated a lot of the stats players had to keep track of throughout the game. Overall I hope the changes will have streamlined the game, making it easier to teach and more fun to play.
I couldn’t quite get this new version of Primal Ordnance ready for June’s designer night at Snakes and Lattes, but I did get something else ready to test … Fossil Finders!
More info in my next post.