Posts by jeff

Secret Game Design web log

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Game Design Blog | 1 comment

I have decided to keep a log of my secret game design process. Here are the reasons why I should not keep this log. 1. Nobody cares. It is depressing to address the universe and be ignored.  I’d rather talk to my buddies who at least are polite enough to nod and smile while they wait their turn for me to ignore their ideas. 2. Somebody might steal my stuff. See number one above.  I’ve had stuff in parallel to other designers but never had anything stolen. The fact is, putting my ideas out there is more protection than less. 3. I’m lazy. That’s right. I don’t want to have to do the work of writing stuff down. I’m so lazy, I accidentally put the above line in italics and can’t be bothered to fix it.   Having said all of that, it will be good for me to practice talking about my games in a one-sided forum.  I’ve noticed that much of the “Palaces” blind playtesting went horribly. I think this is because I’m much better at explaining in person than sending off rules. This forum forces me to think out loud in a way that doesn’t get feedback. Having said all of that, please feel free to give me feedback. This blog is intended for my private use.  This is the shelf above my workstation. Now, on to...

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Gorilla Games booth at Essen is F-132

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Looking forward to another great year at Essen.  We’ll have a case of “Desert Island” shipped direct to the show.  The rest should be waiting for us when we get home as it travels by slow boat across the pacific. I’ll be showing off “Palaces” and a prototype for “Battlestations” Second Edition. Stop by and say hi!  

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Writing Rules for Idiots

Posted by on Sep 14, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

First off, I’m an idiot so please don’t be offended by my calling you an idiot.  Of course, that is an argumentum ad hominem. You should feel free to be insulted regardless of whether I call myself one. That tortured opening bit is an example of how and why communication needs streamlining.  I’ve got a card for Battlestations Second Edition Plot Twist Deck that reads  like this: Radiation Leak When any Engine is pumped for power Everyone in any Engine module suffers one die of damage. Okay, so this could be interpreted as the enemies on the enemy ship all pump their own engines and somehow the heroes in their own ship all get cooked.  I could clear this up by having it read instead: Radiation Leak When any Engine is pumped for power Everyone in any Engine module on that ship suffers one die of damage. I only added the three words, “on that ship” but it there were only 18 words to begin with and anybody who intentionally misinterprets the card shouldn’t be gaming anyway. So, do you have to write “idiot-proof” rules? No. In the first place you can’t. People will always find something to make a mistake on and in the second place, trying to do so makes your rules more dense.  Leave out the extraneous stuff.  Give enough information so that reasonable people will have no trouble correctly interpreting them and snarky jerks will have loopholes to point out before consensus common sense shuts them...

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Wordariffic Launch Party September 19th!

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We’re doing the official launch party for “Wordariffic” at 27 locations across the country on Saturday September 19th. I’ll be at the Game Haus in Glendale, California at 5 pm.  Check out these other locations to find the Wordariffic launch party near you! Toledo OH Checkmate Games & Hobbies 419-720-6901 Aurora CO Shep’s Games 303-690-0566 Jacksonville FL Cool Stuff Games 904-256-2056 Ferndale MI The Loaded Die 248-240-4174 Aurora CO Crit Castle Games 303-745-4140 Goshen IN Better World Books 574-534-1984 Newbury OH Diversions Gaming and Hobby 440-564-9142 Mamaroneck NY Modern Myths 914-630-4246 Garland TX A Galaxy Called Dallas 972-530-2600 Independence MO Game Café 816-252-7529 Honolulu HI Other Realms Ltd. 808-596-8236 Oklahoma City OK Game HQ 405-691-0509 West Chester PA The Games Keep 484-905-5533 Leesburg VA Leesburg Hobbies & Collectibles 703-779-8600 Plainville MA Battleground Games & Hobbies 503-316-1195 Long Beach MS Dark Side Gaming Lounge 228-284-0127 Jackson MI Nostalgia, Ink 517-784-8955 Cedar Grove NJ Time Warp Comics & Games 973-857-9788 Midvale UT Hastur Games & Comics 801-352-2605 Bountiful UT Game Haven 801-298-3261 Madison WI Pegasus Games 608-833-4263 Fremont CA Game Kastle 510-651-4263 Adrian MI Acropolis Games 517-577-6192 Lawrence KS Rolling Gnome Games 785-551-7070 Hicksville NY Game Master Games 516-597-5555 Fort Worth TX Collected TCU...

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3 tenths of an inch

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in News | 0 comments

3 tenths of an inch I’m not just worried about angering the fans. Even more than designer and publisher, I’m the biggest fan of Battlestations. I would be first in line to tar and feather anybody who was going to ruin Battlestations. Battlestations is my favorite game. I play every week and think about it every day aside from the business aspect of it. It is the flagship game of Gorilla Games and the only boardgame/RPG hybrid of heroic starship adventure. The original game and the revised edition were both published with .7 inch squares because that is what fit on the table. Second edtion will be published with 1 inch squares that fit 28mm miniatures. Is is worth risking it all for 3 tenths of an inch? In May, I was looking at one of the sweet 15mm miniatures that Jason had made for the original game alongside a meeple and a 28mm mini (from Chaosmos) and there was no comparison. A meeple is just a meeple but it is bigger than a silicoid at 15mm scale and the 28mm mini was cool but it wasn’t from the Battlestations universe. I desperately wanted to make Battlestations up to scale with the industry standard. The problem is, I’ve tried it. Using the 1.1 rules, the ships just don’t fit on the table. At my local playtest group, we’ve got an awesome space with a huge table and it gets severely taxed when there are more than 2 ships on the table. After a few months we abandoned it but I still looked wistfully back on those times. I’ve also had to field questions from many people as to why we can’t make our game in a scale that is compatible with the industry. They’ve got space marine and jedi miniatures that just don’t fit in our tiny squares. In order to make the game work at 1 inch, I would have to make the ships have fewer modules and make it quicker, simpler, and easier. Then I realized that all of these things were good things. Even if I didn’t upgrade the size, I was going to implement rule changes that make the game quicker, simpler, and easier. We already have new starship movement rules that make the ships move faster but that won’t impact the size of the modules. Before, when people would ask me what is different in the new game, I would say, “Ships move their speed every phase and we cleaned up a lot of the special abilities and equipment”. It was really still only a partial new edition. The new rules for ships completes the metamorphosis into the greatest game Battlestations can be. Here are the nuts and bolts of the newest changes: ONLY HARDCORE BATTLESTATIONS PLAYERS SHOULD READ BEYOND THIS POINT Ship size is figured at 1/3 modules. Ship size is doubled for maneuvers. The hull rating chart is skewed less in favor of larger ships. Ships have fewer modules. You can multi-use ALL modules. Stations became smaller. Figuring ship size at 1/3 the modules (a ship with 9 modules is size 3) means that ship size is a smaller number and more easily fits into the simple equations. Ramming rules delivering damage based on speed and size were dealing hellacious damage. Tractoring was nearly impossible because even a small ship makes it so difficult. It was also hard to remember how many modules there were in a ship with the old rules. “Was a size 6 ship 12 or 15 modules?”. Now you know 12 modules is a size 4. Ship size...

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