It’s that time again, a new month means a new Meeple Digest. Come check out our August 2018 edition where we talk GenCan’t contest winners, Gen Con Top 5 game anticipation, and don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter Highlight and the new Meeple of the Month.
Meeple of the Month
August brings a new Meeple of the Month. This time the Meeple of the Month is someone who not only designs games but also publishes and illustrates games. He does it all! Who is this man…myth…legend? None other than Jason Glover.
Illinois designer Jason Glover (and the man behind Grey Gnome Games) is someone that all board game lovers should be following if they have a twitter account (@greygnomegames). He’s frequently posting art for games he’s working on and letting people see behind the scenes of his games. He also occasionally even asks social media followers to weigh in the art direction his games should take (like his upcoming Iron Helm). If you’re not following him, go ahead and check out his account. It’s really great to see a designer (and publisher) engage with his followers the way he does. Also last month (July), I caught up with Jason and talked with him about his solo sci-fi game called Desolate. You can check out that interview by clicking here.
Incoming Transmission is a co-op deduction sci-fi game currently on Kickstarter from Magic Meeple Games. Inspired by the book The Martian “one player will take the role of Mission Control, and the others will take control of a Cadet stranded on a heavily-damaged space station set to self-destruct. You will need to use wits and cunning to interpret the instructions as they will not be delivered in order! “ (quote is part of BGG description). Incoming Transmission is part of Magic Meeple Games SuperNano line, which pays homage to old video games with its art and themes. In this case, Incoming Transmission pays homage to one of my personal favorite video games of all time, Super Metroid. It should also be noted that Incoming Transmission is designed by Michael Lipton, who also designed Magic Meeple’s Fire of Eidolon.
If you like to check out the Kickstarter you can do so by clicking here: Incoming Transmission Kickstarter Page. The KS is active until August 11th, 2018.
If you also like to learn about the story behind the game, you can check out this short interview I did with Michael: Incoming Transmission from Michael Lipton.
Gen Con, the biggest tabletop con in the United States is right around the corner. In fact, it’s tomorrow. We thought we reach out to some industry folks and find out what they are looking forward to either buying or checking out at Gen Con this year. We asked Fleet and Eggs & Empires co-designer Matt Riddle (@mriddlen) and publishers Weird Giraffe Games’ Carla Kopp (@WeirdGiraffes) and Grail Games’ David Harding (@GrailGames) what their Top 5 were.
I also like to note Grail Games and Weird Giraffe Games will BOTH have booths at Gen Con this year.
Grail Games will be at Booth 370 and will have the spiritual successor to Knizias’ Tigris & Euphrates, called Yellow & Yangtze. And yes, David listed one of the games he is publishing in his Top 5, he is a funny guy like that.
Cut Above the Rest (PNP)
Speaking of Gen Con brings us to a good segue to talk about our next subject, print-and-play games. Last month, we highlighted that GenCan’t (which is the stay-at-home con that takes place during Gen Con) had design contest going on teaming up with Button Shy Games and asking for 18 card games. The contest is now over. and well, the winners have been already been announced. With over 100 entries it ended up a tie between Tussie Mussie by Elizabeth Hargrave and Seasons of Riceby Corry Damey.
Both games will be printed by Button Shy as part of their Wallet Game Line sometime next year. However, while we wait for the future Kickstarter, we can still check out these winning games via print-and-play, which Button Shy is offering for free for gamers to check out.
You can find overview videos of the winning games as well as their PNP files by clicking on this link: https://buttonshygames.com/blogs/news-1/announcing-the-gencant2018-button-shy-design-challenge-winners
If you like to read what GenCan’t has to say about these contest winners, check out: http://www.gencant.com/gencant2018-game-design-winner/
For this month’s Cardboard Question we thought we ask the GenCan’t Winners we mentioned above to share a little bit about the creation of their games. We asked Corry Damey and Elizabeth Hargrave: What is the story behind the creation (and choice of the theme) of your contest winning game?
Corry (@corrydamey): The reason I designed Seasons of Rice is two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to start and actually finish a design, so I created an 18-card game. The component constraint made it much easier to focus on streamlining the game versus solving by adding to the design. And I believe that these wallet/microgames can be more expansive than they’re often given credit for. I wanted Seasons of Rice to provide strategic depth and variability while creating acres and acres of farmland with just 8 cards per player.
Secondly, I also wanted to pay homage to my mom. She’s a survivor of Pol Pot’s communist regime, the Khmer Rouge, imprisoned as a laborer in a concentration camp for several years. Though Seasons of Rice doesn’t touch on the dark side of history in regards to the rice fields, it’s allowed me the opportunity to start the conversations and keep my mom’s stories fresh. My desire is for these stories to pass down to my children so they know and remember where they come from, and eventually create a memoir to keep voices of the Killing Fields alive.
The theme for Seasons of Rice stems from my Cambodian heritage. After over a hundred playtests (not including blind playtests), I’m still passionate about it. But what kept me inspired were the stories my mom would tell (and told us many times as kids) of her childhood helping her grandparents on their rice paddy farm. Stories of stubborn water buffaloes, long hours in the heat bent over planting and relaxing in the cool of the shade beneath the stilt houses in hammocks. This close connection made it much easier for me to keep coming back to the design.
With the help of family to help verify the use of theme, I hope to keep designing in the vein of Cambodian culture due to its rich tradition and beautiful people.
Elizabeth (@elizhargrave): There are two parts really. A short while before this contest was announced, there was another one I entered that had 50 finalists, and only one of them was a woman. I learned from the organizer that this happened to be roughly proportionate to the number of women who entered. So when the GenCan’t contest came up, I was determined to enter and I encouraged the other women designers I know to enter. Then I had to make a game, in a month!
I’ve been designing games for a few years, and I think every designer has way more ideas than they can work on. I keep a running list of ideas as they occur to me, and “Victorian flower language” caught my eye as something that might work within the Button Shy constraint of 18 cards.
The “I split, you choose” mechanism occurred to me right away as a way to squeeze a lot of decisions into a small space. Then I just had to work out how to have the card scoring overlap in enough ways that the decisions would be interesting. I definitely design theme first, and I tried to keep the things the cards do related to the flower meanings.
Links to Check Out
Before we go, we also like to highlight some games that were in the GenCan’t Contest that didn’t make to the winner’s circle, but are available on the designer’s websites (or direct links or Google Docs, etc) to download, if you are looking for more 18 card games to play this GenCan’t you can check out these links.
- A Wizard’s Shelf by Cassie Friedman (@FriedmanCassie): Rules – https://t.co/kFXxVYBnGg & Game: https://t.co/dkVWJb45Mw
- Aces in Places by Jonathan Weaver (@j_weaves): https://t.co/kjJIrY2Mae
- Battle Force Fighters Engage by Alexander Shen (@alexandersshen): https://alexandershen.itch.io/battle-force-fighters-engage
- Canterbury Plains by Shannon McDowell (@ShannonCreates): https://t.co/dI9pCGhDxV
- Mag-Neat-O by Benny Sperling (@benny275): https://t.co/1wbf051EPO
- Perils of the Painted Pyramid by Jeff Black (@jbfeast): https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2034493/perils-painted-pyramid-wip
- Spin Rummy by J. Alan Henning (@JAlanHenning): http://troypress.com/spin-rummy/
That’s it from us for now. We hope you enjoyed this month’s Meeple Digest. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like us to continue Meeple Digest, please let us know, as it is a new type of article for us (this is only the second one).
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