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Aussie Tabletop Creators

A few months back, a friend of mine and fellow board game designer Peter Sanderson interviewed a number of board game designers, including myself, about our current projects. Interviews took place at our local incubator meetup and a local board game convention, OzBunnyCon, both in Melbourne, Australia.

I show up at 4.35 play-testing Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas if you wish to jump right to it but it is fantastic to see so much boardgame game design and development happening in one city.

Also, a shoutout to Peter on his successful Kickstarter campaign Mothership: Tabletop Combat!

Foam Core Inserts – A How To

Toward the end of 2015 I received my much awaited copy of Posthuman from Mr B and Mighty Box Games. Posthuman places you as one of the last humans trying to get safely to the sanctuary while trying to fend off mutants, or give in to the inevitable and allow yourself to become mutant and bring your party down with you.

I really enjoyed my first play but it took probably half an hour to sort and set up all the cards & components. Because of this, it has sat on my shelf gathering dust ever since. A month or two ago I decided that the best way to get it on the table was to cut the setup time as much as possible by utilising properly organised inserts that could be placed straight on the table to replace the basic cardboard insert that the game came with.

After some research into solutions I found that 5mm foam core board is the most common material as it is light weight and easy to work with. I even found a few photos of other peoples inserts for Posthuman on BGG but nothing quite fitted what I was after so I took to designing my own.

Step 1 Design

As with any design, you need to know your design goals from the start. What do you want out of the end product? What are you trying to achieve? For me, I wanted all the components used during play in their own trays, I wanted all 13 decks that sit around the outside of the board on sorted trays that could be used straight from the box, and I wanted 2 dice trays integrated into the design for encounters (although this idea did come to me part way through the design process).

Next I took pen to paper (so to speak) and opened up my trusty copy of SolidWorks (a 3D modelling CAD program). Being an engineer by trade I can sometimes go over the top when designing things and this may have been one of those times….maybe….. but I believe it made my construction stage a lot easier. If you don’t have the skills, access, or desire to go to this length of design, you can always sketch away on a note pad (this design took my ~6 hours to get it how I wanted it), but I would recommend some form of layout and measurement taking to make sure everything fits how you want it.

Posthuman set upMy first design step was to set up the game, assess what I had to make, and start measuring the inside of the box to create it in CAD. Looking at everything in front of me, I needed the trays for the decks around the outside of the board, and the trays for the food tins, bullets, foraged markers, dice, player components, events, terrain tiles, and also leaving room at the top for the character sheets, board and rules.

The 13 decks sit along the top and bottom of the bi-fold board, meaning that 4 trays will be able to accommodate the cards and still fit in the box. I measured the size of the cards and spaces between each deck and CAD-ed up the trays, leaving 5mm between each deck for the foam core. It is also important to measure the height of the stacked decks, especially for this build as the components are fairly spaced out. It turned out that the height of these boxes stacked 2 high left the perfect height at the top for the player mats, board and rules so I locked this in and set about fitting the rest of the components in the other half of the box.

Looking at what I had left to fit, I went for the tiles next as they were the next largest thing to fit and potentially difficult to find space for. Looking at other foam core inserts on BGG a few methods have been employed to contain the terrain tiles. I really liked Zarniwooper‘s sideways stacked tiles, but after trying a few different it just took up too much room so ended up stacking them as they are shown on the board in 2 stacks – with a layer of foam core below they just fit with room for the board on top.

Solidworks AssemblyInitially I wanted to split up all the remaining cards into individual decks. I designed an angled rack with the cards lying on a 30-degree angle, but it was just going to take up too much room so I decided to stack all the player aid cards together & the event and character cards and store them flat. I decided to make a single tray for the dice and event/character cards with a removable divider to use as a dice tray. This left a small space between this box and the tiles so I decided to utilise it for the scavenge tokens. To make my life easier with cutting and packing I decided to replicate these trays again for the starting tiles/starting equipment/action cards/wound markers and a food tins/bullets tray. This meant that I could batch cut out pieces and that they can be stacked any way around and still fit. Last part was the player components tray – as there was one space left covering the top of the 2 trays, beside the tile stacks I made a design to fit within that space.

Everything fitted perfectly in my CAD design, with hardly a millimetre to spare which I knew might cause issues in practice, which brings me to…

Step 2 Cutting and construction.

Although these steps could be separate, I performed them simultaneously so I will write it the same way.

Tools of the TradeFirst, tools. For the construction process I used a craft cutting mat, metal ruler, x-acto knife (this is a recent addition to my kit, any standard blade will work just fine) pencil, eraser, PVA glue (wood glue, white glue, carpenter’s glue, school glue, Elmer’s glue etc)(I specifically found a bottle with a nozzle that I could handle with one hand), Vernier Calipers (these are defiantly optional, just the engineer in me coming out again) and a couple of 100mm bar clamps (also optional but useful. I got these at my local hardware store for under $10). And of course a sheet of 5mm black foam core, I used most of a 500mm x 770mm sheet (~19″ x 30″). You can get a range of colours so get what you think will look good, I am thinking of doing Above and Below in white next.

I ran into my first issue basically straight away. After purchasing my foam core and measuring its thickness, I found that it was more like 6mm foam core. Although this may not seem like a lot of difference, for a few trays this meant that I had to be verrrrry precise to make sure everything fitted. More on that later.

batch cutting the card traysI decided to do a lot of batch cutting to eliminate double handling, so I began cutting all 4 bases for the 13 decks first and put them in the box to make sure they fit. Another short-sight was that I assumed the box would be perfect dimensions all the way through (not so due to a dint gained in transport all the way to Australia. Trimming took place and once I was happy that they would fit I took to cutting the backs and extra strips for the dividers of the first 4 trays. Next were the 4 smaller trays bases and sides, again cutting everything in batches.

place glueI decided to start gluing the forage markers tray first as it is the simplest tray and would be easier than the deck trays to hold together to see how long the glue took to dry. I set up the tray in front of me with the 4 sides next to the edges they were to be glued too then smeared a thin layer of glue on a side and held it in place. After about 30 seconds it was stable enough to stand on its own and I went on with the other sides. Make sure to glue sides to sides too, not just the base. Once I had glued the whole tray, I wiped up any glue that had oozed around the inside edges with a folded piece of paper and left it to dry properly overnight. I did the same for the combined food and bullets tray.

and spreadNext I went for the dice / large card tray. I decided when designing it that I would make the divider removable so it could be used as a dice tray during encounters. This was also the first tray where those extra millimetres of the foam core meant I had to be extra precise as this tray didn’t have much room to spare (the Vernier callipers came in handy here). To make the removable divider I cut a piece of card board layer the width of the divider on both sides of the tray before gluing the tray, and made sure the divider was long enough that it would not slip out of the channel. When I glued the sides on I sat the divider in place and held the tray together with the bar clamps to make sure it was well glued and that the divider would definitely fit. I decided to leave the next dice tray / starting components tray for the minute as it was by far the most complicated and precise tray that I had to build. Instead I went on to the deck trays.

One thing I found when doing your cuts is to make sure you are cutting straight up and down, I found a few of my cuts were on an angle and it made gluing them straight difficult (although the clamps helped).

clamping the traysBefore gluing the deck trays, I sat them together in the box to see how high they would be and found that with the extra width of the foam board and my margin for error in cutting that they were going to be too high to fit the character sheets. This is important to check before gluing as it is going to be much easier to change before it is constructed. 2 of my trays were designed 5mm higher than the others so I decided to make them all the same height (something I’m glad I did as it is a lot more aesthetically pleasing when all set up and allows for parts to be placed interchangeably in the box). To get the dividers accurate I placed them next to the board and marked them appropriately. Had to be careful again to make sure there was enough room for the cards to fit in the gaps. I clamped all of the dividers of the trays for about 5 min each to make sure they had a good bond and were going to stay where I wanted them, being only glued on 2 sides. This worked well, although I should have been more careful to make sure they were straight, I have a few on a lean, but everything fitted well.

gluingI had held off doing the terrain tiles until now as I knew from my design I was going to be tight for space. I cut the base as large as I could to fit in the space that was left with a little bit of room to remove it from the box. I decided to put just a divider and the 2 long sides so the tiles would be easy to slide out. I was originally going to enclose it completely with a slot to get your finger in to remove them but I decided that would be too difficult to use. I had to be very precise when gluing the terrain tiles tray as there was only about 1mm room to spare. I glued the tray and very carefully tested it with a tile, making sure not to get glue on it. I had to readjust the sides once to get them to fit on both sides. Once I had it where I wanted it I clamped it like the others.

The player components tray lives on top of the card decks trays. This is a large, shallow tray to keep each player’s components separate. I made the tray the same as I did all the others, and had planned to put dividers in the tray to make 6 sections but after sitting my 6 bags of components in the tray I decided it would be too tight with the trays. Besides, they worked well in the bags and was easier to hand them out to people.

I left the most difficult tray to last, the starting components tray. This tray was to house all the left over components including the starting terrain tiles, the action cards, the starting items, and the mutant damage markers. It was to be the same size as the dice and character cards tray and I wanted the insert to be removable, like the other tray to be used for rolling dice.

laying out the dice traysAfter trying just about every possible order and rotation, I settled on one that I was happy with. I needed one divider straight through one direction and two coming off that at different places. I decided to go with this one mostly because I felt I needed a full length divider for strength. I did the same as for the dice / large card tray and cut channels for the divider to slot into, making sure it was fairly precise as there wasn’t a lot of space to move. Once I cut the channels I glued and wedged the 2 shorter dividers in place and let them dry overnight.

Once everything had dried I went ahead and set the game up with everything in its place… and then packed up the whole thing in about 30 seconds. The transformation was fantastic. I promptly unpacked it again to see if it was just as fast coming out as it was going in and it was pretty well on par 🙂

Box filledOnce I had completed construction I decided to make one more modification to the game. Now this took a lot of consideration as I am usually the type to try and keep my games as pristine as possible, but as Boshar noted, the stat tokens just won’t stay in the character sheets. I conveniently had a sheet of thin black card left over from another project so decided to cut and glue this to the backs. I used a super thin smearing of the same glue I used for the inserts. This worked pretty well, but if you decided to do it, make sure it is a SUPER thin layer. I rushed 2 of mine toward the end and didn’t smear it as thinly and they have a slight curl to them. Final result was fantastic, all the pieces still fit but stay neatly above the sheets, without moving around.

Looking Back

Looking back at the project, I am pretty happy how everything turned out. Trying to make trays interchangeable with each other within the box makes it easier to pack up and meant being able to cut parts in batches, a great time saver. I’m glad I spent the extra time to make 2 of the trays into dice trays, it’s a neat touch and no dice have had to be picked up off the floor since!

Before and AfterIf I were to go it again, I probably wouldn’t spend as much time on the design, making sure everything is millimeter perfect in SolidWorks, as I now know the foam core can vary in size. I would make sure to leave a bit more room in the box, an extra millimetre around each tray, and make sure to keep your blade straight when cutting to make gluing that little bit easier.

I hope you found this post interesting, if you have any questions, comments etc, please feel free to ask, I am always interested to hear feedback and happy to help 🙂

 

Vectors, OzBunnyCon 2016 and Looking Forward

As usual, the lead up to this convention was very busy, filled with implementing changes and making new pieces.

My tiles are now in vector form
I used Inkscape for all my tiles. My colour palette was on my template down the right.

The biggest change for me was switching from CAD outlines and hand coloured tiles to vector images. The advantage of vector images is they are scalable to any size without loss of quality.  This was especially useful as I have reduced the number of tiles you play with so decided to make the remaining tiles bigger to give players more room to get at their ships. Additionally, having everything done digitally made making changes to tiles and generating new tiles a lot faster.

I also made new treasure map spawning cards and new player boards.

Regarding game changes, I have gone full circle with a number of things from my first version. Players need to carry treasure all the way home before opening it, similar to the first iteration, but can now hold one chest per crew member on your ship. The idea behind this is to add in the excitement of chasing someone down before they get back to their port.

OzBunnyCon First Playtest
First playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon2016

I have also changed how treasure spawns yet again to stop people camping islands (I’m looking at you Sye 😛 ), and players can now select where their port  is located during setup to give them slightly more control.

OzBunnyCon was a big 4 days of board games over the Easter long weekend. I spent the first 2 days playing a variety of games from the library with my partner, new friends, and people we have met at other conventions. The third day I signed up to an Arkham Horror all 7 hour session with all 8 expansions. The last day we had a Play Prototypes session for myself and other designers.

It was really good to play games for the first few days and not have to think about my game. Over the weekend I managed to squeeze in 15 new games (23 if you include expansions) and 4 I’ve played before.

OzBunnyCon 2016
How I spent my time gaming at OzBunnyCon 2016 & how I spend my lunch times at work.

A few that really stood out to me were: the pyramid dice roller in Camel Up, this was beautifully made for a die-cut and had me thinking about things I could make using similar principles; Rattlebones, this is a dice building (like deck building) game where you play around a theme park by rolling dice that you can change the sides on to change the outcomes. It was really fresh to see something so different; Dragonwood was a very cool little set collection questing game where you play sets to increase your chances to defeat goblins & trolls etc. This was a neat little filler that I would like to get my hands on; and Xenon Profiteer, this was a cool deck-deconstruction game that had some very nice visual design to make your element separation device cards all join together seamlessly.

We also met the guys from Games Vs Play on day one and played a few games with them. Games vs Play, a local Melbourne blog whose mission is to investigate, celebrate and experience everything that the strange and wonderful world of games has to offer, from board games to zombie shuffles, game theory to medieval re-enactments, retro computer games to the latest in virtual worlds.

Arkham Horror with all 8 expansions
Arkham Horror with all 8 expansions

Day 3 for me was an epic battle against evil as we tried to defeat Zhar, a colossal mass of tentacles that you have to beat twice if awoken in Arkham Horror. Well, after hours of closing gates throughout Arkham, we were on our final stretch, with 3 gates to close and 3 of us fighting our way through the Other Worlds when the beast was awoken. Although we put up a good final battle we were all slowly dismembered (I had my arm ripped off 😀 ) and brought to our demise. Although long and complicated to begin with, this was a great couple of hours with my fellow Investigators and we put up a good fight and I had a lot of fun.

Day 4 the real work began with the Play Prototypes session. Along with myself there were 3 other games on show. Sye Robertson had his new Hotel Game on show, where players are architects competing with each other to get more of their designs in a hotel commission. Although I didn’t get to play this iteration, it looks like Sye has made good progress with everyone building on the same hotel now and the addition of individual and public goals.

Denise Shaw has a finished game that she has designed called Celebrity: Race to the A-List. Players must answer trivia, perform impersonations, who am I? and celebrity challenges. The first person to get around the board with at least 1 million fan club members wins.

Peter Sanderson's Game Mothership
Peter Sanderson’s Game Mothership

Although I didn’t get to play, it is clear Denise has put a lot of time and effort into her game. It looks good and marketed to the right audience I think could do well.

The third game on show was Peter Sanderson’s Mothership. Mothership is a tactical space game where you battle your opponents while managing income and extensive tech upgrades, allowing each fleet to be tailored to your own play-style. The objective is to wipe out all opponents Colony Stations while keeping yours alive.

I played half a game of Mothership (only because we ran out of time) and really enjoyed it. Pete has put a lot of effort into Mothership and is getting ready to put it on Kickstarter, and it shows. The components are fantastic, the mini’s look great and the laser cut acrylic components really give the game a very classy touch. Gameplay itself moves fairly fast and the combat system is very intuitive. Really liked the tech tree and being able to spec your fleet as you wished too. I am looking forward to playing again in the future and seeing where this one ends up 🙂

I also got 2 playtests of Pirates in. As usual, some of my last minute changes made the first game we played a bit unbalanced with too much treasure spawning but it went fairly well with pretty good feedback. The second time round it played and flowed better; however, there were still questions about the heart of the game, such as ‘What do I think makes my game fun?’ and ‘What game am I trying to make?’.

Second Playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon
Second Playtest of Pirates at OzBunnyCon

I have been working on Pirates for nearly a year now and I feel that recently what I thought made Pirates a fun and great game has been lost in the process of fixing issues or doing what I thought would please people. It is because of this that I think it is time for me to take a break from Pirates and investigate another idea for a game that I have had floating around my head for the last 6 months or so. I would like to thank everyone that has helped, played and supported me on this journey so far. I have learnt a lot about game design and the board game industry in general, and am proud of all the growth I have had while creating Pirates.

Thanks for reading,

This will not be the last you see of Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas 🙂

MeepleCon 2015 & TGDA 2016 January Incubator

Hi World!
I have been a bit slack with my posts lately with Christmas holidays getting in the way and getting sidetracked with other life events so I will begin where I ended my last post (ConCentric).

Back to Designing after ConCentric
Back to Designing after ConCentric

After ConCentric I took a week off designing to let my mind settle and gather my thoughts. After that I got straight into transcribing the feedback that I recorded after each playtest. Taking all this information into account, changes began to fall into place. Between then and MeepleCon, with a lot of testing the game at home, I made several changes: the map and ports themselves, some changes to the way the turn is played to speed up gameplay, changing the actions, removing the player elimination, adding player boards, and ship upgrades.

Late Night Playtest before MeepleCon
Late Night Playtest before MeepleCon

During this time I learned of Tabletop Game Designers Australia (TGDA), a great community of Australian Game Developers. After introducing myself to the group, I thought I would try and organise an impromptu playtest to make sure everything was in order before MeepleCon. This was really good to meet some other local devs who were also attending MeepleCon, get some well needed feedback on my changes, and even play a few other games in development 🙂 Everyone in this community is very welcoming and I would recommend anyone who is interested in getting into board game design to join the group.

AHOY! MeepleCon Ahead!
AHOY! MeepleCon Ahead!

After a few more tweeks, MeepleCon was upon us. It was much nicer to only have to drive a few hours down the road rather than fly to Adelaide, and to stay with a friend who lived just around the corner (thanks Lachie 😛 ). MeepleCon had a really great setup for devs, allowing them to pay a small fee to have a table to themselves to leave there game set up over the weekend. This made it much easier to get people to play and meant we could get right into the action without having to take time setting up the game. This also meant that people could look at my game while I was playing other games too.

Explaining the Rules of the Seven Seas - photo by Uberjoi
Explaining the Rules of the Seven Seas – photo by Uberjoi

As with ConCentric, after each playtest I recorded the valuable feedback of the buccaneers game-enough to tackle the seas. Feedback was generally positive yet again; player interaction was a lot better than at ConCentric with ships being able to move further now and treasure spawning was a lot more consistent now, with barely a turn with no treasure on the map. The most common issues were: upgrading ships needed to be balanced a lot more, better benefits from the upgrades, and that the board should be smaller with less people for even more interaction.

Custom Dice ready for MeepleCon
New Custom Dice for MeepleCon 😀

I was also able to play a few other prototypes while there, as well as a few published games too 🙂 Darren Broad came across from Adelaide and brought 3 games he has been working on, I was lucky enough to play 2 of them; the first was Sensei, a 2 player, dice chucking game where you are trying to knock over your opponents standee. The resting place of the dice is also used to determine damage. This was the first dice chucking game I have played and I liked the feel of it; other than being very uncoordinated, it was simple to play and has the beginnings of a good, quick, portable, exciting game. The other game was Darren’s main project, Road Rage Rampage. I had been wanting to play this since ConCentric and it didn’t disappoint. Road Rage Rampage is a 2 part, deck building / car racing game (think Mad Max). First you upgrade your basic car, essentially building your deck with weapons and defensive measures until someone calls for the race to begin, Then players spend cards to race around the track, or use them to attack or defend against opponents. Once you get your wheels off the line, it is pretty intuitive. I liked that just because you win the race you may not win the game, as damage comes into it as well. Darren has also implemented a really cool mechanic to change gears, allowing you to travel faster on the straights, but you have to slow down for the corners or take damage. Really interested to see the next iteration of this.

The other game under development I played was Sye Robertson‘s Power and Prestige. This simple card drafting/set collection game is very different to anything I have played before. Sye has come up with a fresh twist on the standard draft and how it moves around the table. This is the second time I have played it (although under a different name last time) and it was much improved. The simplicity of the game allowed it to be grasped by most people, while the draft mechanic created suspense as you try to determine what sets others are going for.

RedditSS2015
Gifts from my Reddit Secret Santa – Thank you so much 😀

After MeepleCon wound down, I got a bit caught up in Christmas. Although I never really stop thinking about developing, having time to think through your ideas before implementing them all can be valuable.

Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to be matched with a fantastic Reddit Secret Santa, receiving not one but TWO games as well as some more camping supplies 🙂 Both Codenames and Exploding Kittens have had a good workout since I unwrapped them.

My family have obviously caught on to my board game obsession too, with my parents giving me Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King and my sister surprising me with Cards Against Humanity 🙂

4 player test at Games Lab Incubator
4 player test on the new smaller board at Games Laboratory Incubator

After emerging from my Christmas / New Years food coma and welcoming in the new year with 3 days of board games at various friends houses, I got back to work on Pirates for the first of many Incubator meetups in 2016 at Games Laboratory in Melbourne. The Incubator meetups are basically a monthly meet for devs to test their games with other devs and a few people who just come along to play. There were 9 games on show this month, all at various stages of development from first open playtest to looking for a publisher.

I implemented some big changes to try at the incubator after feedback from MeepleCon and most of those changes worked really well. The biggest change now is that Captains only have 1 ship – this works well in speeding up the gameplay and fixes a few thematic issues with treasure being on ships.

3 player test at Games Lab Incubator
3 player test at Games Lab Incubator

Sinking ships is back on the board too, with a respawn mechanic if you get sunk. For simplicity, all the Sailing, Crew and Port actions have been combined. The player board has changed yet again, although this still needs some work to balance it, along with some balancing of costs of crew, cannons & sails, and the amount of gold received per chest. Overall I’m really proud if it at the minute, and most of the feedback was really good, I even got an “I wouldn’t change anything” 🙂

Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to CanCon, Canberra’s annual board and tabletop gaming convention, but if you can make it I would recommend going. The next outing for Pirates at this stage (other than the monthly Games Lab Incubator) will be OzBunnyCon in Melbourne, held over the Easter long weekend. There looks to be a large selection of board games for all to play and hopefully a few other devs there too 🙂

Until next time,

Karl 🙂

ConCentric 2015 & International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Myself (right) and my two offsiders at ConCentric 2015
Myself (right) and my two offsider’s at ConCentric!

From Friday 18th to Sunday 20th September 2015, Ark Angel Games and Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas had their first official outing at ConCentric 2015 in Adelade, SA.

ConCentric is one of many conventions held all over Australia (and the world) where people come to play board games. Although most people are there to play published board games, a few of us came with games in various prototype stages to put through their paces!

Convincing people to play a prototype game was actually much easier than I had anticipated, this may have been because 3 people in pirate outfits intimidated them into it, but I would like to think that board gamers are just friendly and like to try something new 🙂

The first ever public playtest of Pirates! Photo courtesy The Campaigner.
The first ever public playtest of Pirates!
Photo courtesy The Campaigner.

Within minutes of signing in on the Friday we had our first 2 victims at hand and from their the weekend just got better.

Of course what sort of self respecting game developer wouldn’t launch a pirate game on International Talk like a Pirate Day Saturday 19th (this of course didn’t stop us dressing up on the Friday and Sunday either). Before returning on Saturday morning we heard a whisper that glazed treasure be afoot, so tried our luck hunting for the fabled loot! After a short walk we followed our trusty map and noses right to Krispy Kreme where we managed to hall away an amazing 36 delicious treasures for nothing more than a hearty ‘ARRRRR!!!‘. This newly acquired loot provided quite beneficial when convincing prospective gamers to set sail on the seven seas!

Another crew of land lubbers being put through their paces! Photo courtesy The Campaigner.
Another crew of land lubbers being put through their paces!
Photo courtesy The Campaigner.

After each play test I quizzed the buccaneers on what they liked and didn’t like about the game so far. I received a lot of positive feedback with people loving the boats & the map, and thinking it was different to other games they have played. The most common feedback was people wanting to be able to interact more with others on the other side of the map, and treasure to appear more consistently. I certainly have a lot of new ideas bouncing around my head that I plan on testing in the future.

Sunday of the convention for myself, a few other budding game developers, and some experienced developers, was filled with an organised prototype session run by Kim Brebach of  Secret Base Games. Kim has recently put his first game, Monstrous, through Kickstarter, reaching over 200% of his goal.

Valuable feedback at the Prototype session. Photo courtesy The Campaigner magazine.
Valuable feedback at the Prototype session.
Photo courtesy The Campaigner.

The day started with a brief introductions before looking over each others games (shoutout to @drbroadgames) and splitting up into groups to playtest. This was an especially valuable playtest as I had several people playing who have previously developed and worked on numerous board games, and I was able to get much more constrictive feedback on Pirates so far. After a quick break for lunch we reconvened and Kim gave a presentation on board game design. Topics included tips and tricks on how to define your core game mechanics, how to define your audience, and how to go about getting a game funded or published. This was an invaluable experience and I hope over the coming months I can put a lot of what I learned into practice.

A huge thank you to everyone that play-tested Pirates over the weekend, was a fantastic experience :) Photo courtesy The Campaigner.
A huge thank you to everyone that play-tested Pirates over the weekend, was a fantastic experience 🙂 Photo courtesy The Campaigner.

Aside from playtesting Pirates, I was able to play a number of games that I have been wanting to play for a while and a few new ones that I would like to add to my library, including 7 Wonders, Power Grid and Coup.

A huge thank you to everyone who played over the weekend. Without people willing to test and give feedback, new games would never see the light of day. Also, a congratulations to Ben and the rest of the ConCentric crew for organising a fantastic and very successful weekend for everyone. Of course I can’t forget my two pirate offsiders, it means a lot to me that you came over with me from Victoria for the weekend – your support has been great throughout everything so far. And finally a monstrous thank you to Kim for running the prototype session, I hope to show you the next version of Pirates at a convention in the future!

Hello World

Earlier this year, I was on my way to a mates place to play board games for the weekend. While digging through my collection I had an idea, and from that, Ark Angel Games was born.

Many months, lots of prototyping, playtesting and rule changes later and I am ready to show my game (and hopefully many more) to the world:

Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas

You are sailing the seven seas in search for buried treasure, but you are not the only one…
In Pirates: Scourge of the Seven Seas, 2-6 players captain a fleet of ships to explore the seas in search of treasure. To win you must collect treasure you find on islands before your opponents or sink their ships before they have the chance to do the same. A game of skill, luck and pirates – this swashbuckling adventure will have you immersed in this exciting world, whether you reign over the seas through your vast wealth or your feared name. You must be quick witted and decisive as you sail your ships, dig for gold, build your fleet, and battle your adversaries. So me hearties, will you captain your way to victory and become the ruler of the seven seas? Or will you be sent to Davy Jones’ Locker?

We will be making our first appearance at ConCentric in Adelade, SA from the 18th to the 20th September. Please come and say hi, more playtesters are always welcome and I am after public feedback.

If you would like to be kept up to date on this and other games progress please subscribe to our mailing list or check back here later.

Signing out,

Karl
Designer