I’m at GenCon this year, showing off my game Hack to various people. Literally, anyone who is willing. The benefit of the game being in a small stout box means I can bring it anywhere. And the fact that a single round takes about five minutes with minimal table space requirements means I can play it anywhere. So in the airport I played a pickup game with someone, before some miniature-painting classes I played a couple, in a restaurant I played a game, and of course at TGC community night I played several. The consensus so far: this game is really cool, and way more sophisticated than in looks.
Today I’ll try to pitch it to some larger sized board game publishers, so we’ll see if they think the same!
And I figured out how to embed videos in my blog! How cool is this video?
No it’s not a double typo. This is the sort of thing that requires a person to be a nerd on two levels to appreciate. With only one level, a person might look at this and wonder why their superhero looks like a robot. With the other, a person might ask which Great House sports a paint scheme like this. But there is a group that fits into both categories and appreciates the joke.
And yeah, I need to thin my paints. I know. Some of them are old and clumpy. Nevertheless, I’m happy with how it turned out.
I went to GenCon this past weekend – my first attendance in five years. Looking back, I spent a lot of my time doing and buying Battletech things: 1) first thing I did was learn to paint a Battletech miniature under the tutelage of David Fanjoy (who has been a camospecs painter for years). I’d never really grasped the whole layering thing well, and learned that Walmart paints work just as well (and sometimes better) than citadel or Vallejo. Plus, I came home with another battlemaster, this one painted (by me!) to look like the one on the GoAC box. Sweet. 2) I went to Alpha Strike academy, where I learned the simplified rules and loved it. I think this will really work out better for my family of four boys age eight and under. I think I’ll tweak it to use attack and defense dice (a la Xwing) so that defenders actually do something on their turn. As it is, there is excessive downtime between player actions. 3) I bought the new Alpha Strike book and found it has cool little unit benefits. Build a lance with mostly heavies with firepower exceed X? Now you can call it an assault lance and get a special free perk. This is great. I also got the new dry erase cards! I have no idea why the corners are square instead of rounded, but whatever. Pretty cool. 4) I got a cool Battletech poster (free!), dog tag (also free!) and a tee-shirt (not free, but worth it!). It was fun waking around the con the next day and seeing all of us in our spiffy Marauder shirts. 5) I had another paint and take session with another Camo specs painter named Amelia, who taught us how to do jeweled cockpit techniques. And she taught us using a griffin! I now have both cover models from the new boxes beautifully painted to match! 6) I finally did it and played in one of those Battletech pods. I may have been 17th out of twenty or something, but I had a ton of fun in my Zeus. 8) I pitched my board game “Hack” to Catalyst! And Randall Bills took my prototype and sounded interested! Woot!
I did some other stuff too, but looking back, my 2019 GenCon seemed dominated by one of my first board game loves 🙂
I’m pretty excited about Battletech, and found these two little guys tucked away in a box. I’d made them years ago (I think in middle school). The Zeus and Urbanmech were big favorites of mine. The Zeus obviously because it looks cool, but don’t ask me why the Urbanmech caught the fancy of a 14-year-old version of myself.
It’s been said by some that only unlimited freedom can people have infinite creativity. I think this is bologna. Only if you are restrained by something will you create a truly unique and interesting solution to a problem.
March 19, 2019, The Game Crafter announced a new contest – create “a game simple in terms of rules, but interesting in terms of choices.” I don’t have a lot of spare time, so I typically can’t enter Game Crafter’s contests. But, after reading the requirements for this one, I thought to myself “here’s a contest I could possibly enter, but I don’t have a clue as to what kind of game to make.”
Then, March 21st, a few days later, I’m going up an escalator at the Great Homeschool Convention and it hits me. Make a game where the game pieces themselves are the dice, and moving them requires the dice to flip. Then, make players eliminate each other by comparing the face value. While it was loosely based off of an idea I saw once in a Playstation demo for Devil Dice (twenty years ago, yikes I feel old), the idea of eliminating each other’s pieces was borrowed from chess. After playing with a few different theme ideas, I settled on a 1999 LAN party. And the game HACK was born.
I’d originally thought to market the game to the strategic-minded gamer who likes intense competition. But I found that by giving myself a minor handicap, the game becomes equally fun with the younger crowd. Here, my 6-year-old son is playing a game of HACK with me. Because the game is fast (each round is about five minutes), he’s learned to cope with winning and losing. He knows that even if he loses one round, he could very well win the next, and that’s a major maturity bump he’s had. Additionally, his reasoning skills have improved tremendously since the beginning of our nightly routine playing, and that’s awesome to see.
Oh yeah, and I entered the game into the contest on TGC and it’s gone to the semi-finals! Hurray! Time will tell if it goes to the finals, but win or lose, I have a game that has been a real blessing to my family. And for that, I’m really grateful to God for the idea and to Game Crafter for their print-on-demand site.
I’ve always wanted to do this since my first Carcassonne game with expansions. The points in Carc can get pretty high with only a few add-ons, and there isn’t a great way of keeping track of your actual score.
I’d originally wanted to drill holes into the meeple hands and make flags with toothpicks and stickers, but this works much better.
Along the way of making cool art for Starflickers, I stumbled on a cool way to make space backgrounds using some (drastic) alterations of screencaptures from various windows media player visualizers. Nifty, eh?
I still need to figure out how to use these outside of the Star Flickers rulebook. I’d like to put them up on the gamecrafter but I’m still figuring out a good way to do that without being distracting.
You might be asking yourself, why is it sometimes spelled Star Flickers (with a space) and sometimes Starflickers (without a space). The answer is that the game is called Star Flickers, and the ship itself is called the Starflicker. This is mainly because the title and game logo look cooler with a space between the words, but the ship name looks cooler with it being one word. Sorry for the confusion!