Portugueses no Mundo – 29/07/2021

Cook-out, Interview, media, Multiuniversum

I was interviewed by Alice Vilaça for the radio show “Portugueses no Mundo”, which is about the experiences Portuguese people have when they’re living abroad.

If you speak Portuguese you can listen to it on their website or on the subtitled video below.

In addition, here is the transcript in English:

Alice Vilaça: Manuel Correia is 34 years old. He’s from Lisbon and is in Ireland. He arrived in Galway in January 2020 and it was here, in Ireland, that it all began – in 2013, followed by other international experiences. The two years in Ireland were followed by two in Germany, then two more in Sweden, until a return to Ireland in early 2020.

Manuel, is it predefined that these experiences are meant to only last two years?

Manuel Correia: Not at all. It’s just that I work in a very volatile industry and I don’t always have any control over what happens next.

AV: We’ll get to what happens next, this was just a bit of a tease.

2013, Ireland. What makes you leave our country and head towards Ireland, at the time?

MC: I think this needs a bit of context. 

I never found a career I identified with in Portugal. I was quite lost for a while and eventually I was able to find a group of people which were also interested in making games. From then on I tried to head in that direction. It took a while but I got there. 

I started at a studio in Portugal. About two years later I went to another. And at a certain point, when I started planning the next steps, I realized that there was no other worthwhile studio in the country, at least in my opinion, and I started to look for a job abroad. So when I had the job offer it wasn’t a surprise. It was because I had been sending CVs to other studios for a while.

AV: Was it at this time that you realized that Portugal is small – or at least your industry is small here – that you considered going abroad? Or was the international experience always present in your mind?

MC: It was always present. Games have always been a part of my life and I didn’t know of a single one that had been made in Portugal until fairly late. This lead me to think that it wasn’t possible to make games from Portugal. I didn’t know anyone who did this. I didn’t know of any studios in the country. It felt like a career that could only happen to other people. 

That’s why I was lost, because I was looking for a career that resonated with me and I couldn’t find it.

AV: Is it fair to say that you found your path when you got this offer to come to Ireland?

MC: I believe I found my path when I was able to get into the games industry, which was still in Portugal, but I felt limited and blocked. So yes, being able to leave unblocked my path and broadened my horizons.

AV: And what a path it has been! 

How was your first experience in Ireland? How was it when you got there? At the time, a different city from the one you’re at today.

MC: Oh yes, different for sure. At the time it was Dublin, now I am in Galway, but I must say it wasn’t completely new to me because I had already studied in the United Kingdom for six months in 2008 and Ireland has a lot in common with it. In fact, I’d say it only has the good parts of the UK.

AV: In any way, it was a different experience this time. You had already studied in the United Kingdom but I believe that the feeling of heading out to start a new life makes the experience quite different.

How was the experience of adapting to this new life, Manuel?

MC: It was very interesting. Naturally there were a lot of cultural changes, it was a new country, one I didn’t know yet. In fact, I moved here without ever having visited before. The whole process of finding this job was done through the phone. 

And to add to the new experiences, it was also the first time I moved in with my partner! We lived in different houses in Portugal and took the chance to live together here. So there were a lot of new things at the same time. 

The first encounter was already very positive. We found nice people right away. We started in a rented room in the city suburbs, in the home of a lady named Louise, and I remember that one of the first culture shocks, for us, was when she offered us tea and poured milk in it. It was something I had never seen, but it works quite well with the tea that they drink here.

AV: A different habit but sometimes you can see it in movies, when you hear someone asking if they want milk in their tea.

Before we return to Ireland and hear about the experience you’re having now, I’ve already mentioned at the start that you’ve also been in Germany and Sweden. We won’t be able to look into all these experiences in great detail but I will ask for a word, or moment, that defines each of those experiences and we’ll include Ireland.

Let’s start there. How would you resume your first experience in Ireland in a word or a moment?

MC: I’ll go with the word “Community”. Here I met a lot of people with similar goals and values to mine, so I felt very welcome. It was hard to leave and it’s a relief to find them again here, even in a different city.

AV: Germany.

MC: Efficiency. I know this is a bit of a stereotype, but right when I started working at the studio they promised their players that there would be something new in the game every week. If you know how these games are made that sentence is enough to give you vertigo but we were able to do it, at a great cost.

AV: Sweden. 

MC: Innovation. I had the opportunity to work with tools which weren’t public yet. Several were secret, related to new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and it was really, really interesting to explore what could be done with them before they were commonplace, before standards were set.

AV: Manuel, were all these relocations caused by your professional life?

MC: No doubt. They were either the result of job offers or ambitions to progress my career further.

AV: So the return to Ireland in January 2020 was also motivated by your professional activity.

MC: Exactly. I was invited by personal heroes, which I’ve long admired, so I could not refuse.

AV: Is it fair to say you currently have your dream job?

MC: I’d say so. I am working at Romero Games, which will sound familiar if you’re into games because it was founded by John Romero, the creator of DOOM.

AV: I confess it’s a whole language I’m not familiar with, but certainly those who are into games will know what you’re talking about.

Manuel, did the return to Ireland feel like coming back home?

MC: Yes, in multiple ways. As I said, it was a chance to work with friends, heroes and people who I already knew but after two countries where we didn’t speak the main language, it’s such a big relief to be somewhere where I can talk to everyone.

AV: Language is a very important factor in an experience like this. The process of adapting and integrating is so much stronger and deeper when you can speak the local language.

MC: Oh yes, absolutely.

For example, English has opened many doors for me but in Germany not everyone spoke English and there were even some proud people who did not admit they did. 

No matter how hard people were to deal with, machines were so much worse. Whenever I needed to speak to automatic answering machines in a language I didn’t understand, without the chance to ask them to repeat or to speak a bit slower, it was very discouraging.

AV: In this return to Ireland and with the feeling of returning home, was there still a process of adaption? Was there some continuity to the process which you had begun back in 2013? Was it easier because you (or both of you, because this was something you’ve lived together) already had some experience moving to other countries?

MC: Yes, there was some continuity. Much of the paperwork had already been taken care of in the first time. We had the equivalent of a Social Security number. This was the easiest out of all the relocations.

AV: All that experience must have helped.

How would you define the Irish? Are they very different from the Portuguese?

MC: No, I wouldn’t say they are very different from Portuguese people because they are also very warm, kind and have a good sense of humor. The main difference for me is that they are excellent at telling stories. You can probably tell by the amount of celebrated Irish authors but it’s not just those. This is also true of people you meet in your daily life.

AV: Do you feel at home?

MC: Yes. But really, given the situation, that question is a bit of a trap. Due to the pandemic I have been at home for over a year and a half (laughs), so I very much feel at home. I feel very comfortable here.

AV: When I ask if you feel at home it’s to know if there are any aspects of the daily life there which you find hard to adapt to, so you don’t feel completely at home. Is this happening, in your case? 

MC: Not really. If it had been my first time here I’m sure there would be some, but this time we knew what to expect.

AV: You were talking about the pandemic and the fact you’ve been at home for a year and a half. You could say the same is true for a big part of the population. Do you feel that is preventing you from experiencing this fully?

MC: Yes, but I don’t think that is a bad thing. In the other times, after a year and a half I felt like I knew all there was to see in the area. Here, given the health guidelines we’ve had to take it one step at a time but that only leaves us with more to see in the future. I can’t complain.

AV: How is your daily life at the moment, Manuel? Are there still any restrictions? Are things slowly going back to normal?

MC: Yes, exactly. There are still some restrictions and things seem to be getting back to normal. The pandemic started right after I got here (it wasn’t me!) so I didn’t get to see a lot of what normal life was like. It’s hard to compare.

The vaccination rates are rising, some places are reopening with some caution and some controversy, but things seem to be progressing at a good pace.

AV: Let’s look at the professional side of the experience, since it seems to be driving it. We know you work with videogames. You might have worked on some games people are playing at the moment. What do you do, exactly?

MC: I am a game designer. I create videogames and boardgames. It can be tricky to explain to those outside the industry so I’ll compare it with cinema: I am somewhere between a screenwriter and a director. I have to come up with ideas, understand how they work and describe them clearly enough so that the team can bring them to life.

AV: Are you fulfilled, professionally? Or is this a path in which every new project, every new game, offers a chance for higher fulfillment?

MC: (laughs) Both. At the moment I am fulfilled but it was that search that lead me from place to place. The industry is very volatile and it’s hard to control what the next project at the studio will be, and if it will be something you’ll like.

AV: Is there any project which you particularly enjoyed working on, or is the next one going to be the best one yet?

MC: That’s very hard to answer. There are two games that come to mind. 

One is a game called Cookout, which is a virtual reality game about making sandwiches with your friends. There are four people around a table and they have to prepare the customer’s orders. That was very fun to make because, contrary to the trend, this is a cooperative game so you have to coordinate and work together.

The other is Multiuniversum, the first boardgame I was able to publish. That one is very important to me because all the games I had worked on until that point had been sold digitally, which makes it very easy for them to disappear without my control. 

It’s a lot more fulfilling to be able to hold something I made with my hands. It’s here, it’s in my shelf. It’s mine and I can pass it on to my grandkids. To me that makes it a lot more valuable than the rest.

AV: We can hear that in your smile.

Manuel, when you were a child, if someone had told you that at 34 you would be in Ireland and working in your dream job, would you believe it?  

MC: Not at all! As I said, for a long time I hadn’t even realized that games were made by people. They just appeared in stores and they were fun.

AV: Let’s explore Galway! What kind of city is it?

MC: It’s relatively small but very vibrant, it has a culture of arts and music. There are buskers on the streets, but naturally not as many at the moment. The restaurants are excellent and I can’t wait to explore more.

I’m really enjoying it here. It is close to the sea so there are always boats, seagulls and rain. But it’s not as intense as in Portugal. The raindrops seem smaller and most people don’t even own an umbrella. 

AV: Since it rains more often the rain itself not as intense as here. When it rains here, it’s no joke. 

Have you found a favorite spot in the city, Manuel?

MC: Yes! I think the answer is predictable but it’s a place called Dungeons & Donuts. It’s a boardgame store that also makes their own donuts. They have a large game library and room to play, so it’s a great place to try new games instead of having to buy every single one.

When things were normal I went there every weekend to play with others and it was great. I really miss it.

AV: I started the conversation by asking if the plan was to be there for two years but you said it depends on your professional activity. Is this Irish adventure meant to last?

MC: I believe so, but judging from past experiences I can’t be completely sure. The two years in each place look deliberate but they were never planned. This is always so tied up to how things are going at the studio that it’s always hard to say.

AV: What has been the biggest learning of this game, or this experience?

MC: Learning how to live with this uncertainty. We plan things as best we can and stay prepared for whatever might come next.

AV: Do you miss our country? What do you miss the most from Portugal?

MC: I miss the people, naturally family and friends but I also miss the places I used to go to most often. Train stations, Gare do Oriente, downtown. These are places I like to revisit when I go to Portugal but with the schedule so full of people to meet, I don’t always get the chance.

AV: Due to the pandemic these visits to Portugal have become more limited. Have you been able to travel during the pandemic?

MC: No. We haven’t even tried. In the current situation we wouldn’t feel safe in an airport or a plane, surrounded by so many strangers. The last time we went to Portugal was before we moved here. Mine was in October, almost two years ago.

AV: In the last year and a half, was it more difficult to be abroad? Did miss it more, did you feel like you were even further due to the current situation?

MC: Strangely, no. I’ve been talking to my family more often than I used to, in part because social isolation has also forced them to use apps to communicate, so now I can follow the conversation too! I end up being a lot more in touch compared to when they were talking to each other face to face. 

AV: So you feel closer, despite the distance?

MC: I’d say so, yes.

AV: Manuel, the only thing missing is a word! What word would resume everything you lived in these years since you’ve left Portugal?

MC: Horizon. I felt very limited in Portugal and leaving broadened my horizons.

AV: We can tell! Thank you.

Manuel Correia is in Galway, Ireland. He is a Portuguese person around the world since 2013.

Return to Fortune Tellers

boardgame prototype, Fortune Tellers
The second prototype for Fortune Tellers, 2013

Fortune Tellers is a game I’ve been thinking about for eight years.

Back then I tried two different prototypes. The concept had potential but the gameplay had flaws that I didn’t know how to solve at the time. It was enticing and intimidating, much bigger than the ones I had made before. Shortly thereafter I had to move out of the country and left it behind.

I still think of it regularly because the theme makes me laugh and because – as far as I know – there hasn’t been another game like it. Since it’s something I’d still like to play, I guess I’ll have to make it myself. I hope the added experience will help to cross the gameplay bump.

So, what is this game about? Here is the synopsis:

You are the village’s fortune teller. For years people have come to you in search of insights about health, relationships, business and more.

…until there was something you didn’t see coming: a second fortune teller set up shop in the village and your steady stream of clients has turned into a drip. It’s time to put your skills in practice and regain your reputation!

The only way to make points is by correctly predicting the future. You’ll write predictions, place them face down on the table and then will try to get the other players to do the things you wrote. When they come true, you get to say “Aha!”, show them the prediction and get to feel very smug.

The main design challenge in this project is that there needs to be another game to make predictions about. One lives inside the other and they need to work together. The game needs to have actions that can be predicted, but can’t feel too constrained.

I’m swapping the worker placement mechanic of the original for a rondel and an area majority game to emulate word of mouth around the village. Just like with Cortiça, I started by making a mockup “screenshot” of what it could look like during play to help visualize the full game and how many components it would require. This is what it currently looks like:

Current mockup for Fortune Tellers, 2021

The next step is to turn it into a prototype so it can be playtested. Since the pandemic is still going it will have to be digital, which is a good excuse to finally learn my way around Tabletop Simulator to playtest online. Maybe you’ll get to play it!

Stay tuned!

Quick catch-up

Cortiça, Empire of Sin, Imirt

Here is a quick catch-up of what’s been going on lately:

Empire of Sin

It’s out, boss! Empire of Sin was released on December 1st on PC, Mac, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. This is several milestones rolled up into one. I had never released a game on a console and now it’s out on pretty much all of them! Also, until now all of my videogame releases had been digital so it’s a special thrill to be able to hold it in my hands (once my copy gets here) and to see it on store shelves.

Imirt

Imirt represents game developers and creators from all disciplines throughout Ireland, both analog and digital. I’ve been following their work from abroad and now that I’m back I want to help. The first step was to give a talk, the second was to run for their 2020 board elections and now I was elected! Thank you to all of you who voted for me.

Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves and start putting those plans in action!

Cortiça

Cortiça made it to the top 10 finalists in Button Shy’s 18 card worker placement contest. I haven’t really mentioned this one here, have I? This one deserves its own post. Soon.

Digital catch-up

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, Cook-out, Empire of Sin, Glimt, Superhot

For the second part of the catch-up I’d like to talk about digital games. These don’t come up as much here because of NDAs but I do like to celebrate when they come out!

Cook-out: A Sandwich Tale

Cook-out was my main project at Resolution Games. It’s a cooperative game about making sandwiches in virtual reality, for the Oculus Quest and Rift S. It was really fun to work on because virtual reality is in such an early stage that there aren’t many standards on how to do things we take for granted in flat screen games such as menus, which suddenly become complex once they’re diegetic. If a floating menu takes space in the room, then it can also obscure the other players! Suddenly there are wrong ways to interact with buttons, such as from the back.

We wanted to avoid menus as much as we could, and on a multiplayer game this is even trickier because there are moments where players have to decide on things together like which level to play, if they want to restart and so on. That interaction was one of my favorite additions to the game. Instead of having “Yes/No” buttons you use your hands and do a thumbs up to vote “yes” and a thumb down to vote “no”. Once everyone has voted, the game moves forward.

We had to figure it out on our own and with luck, some of our solutions may stick around for future games.

Glimt: The Vanishing at the Grand Starlight Hotel

Glimt was a very interesting project as well. Our briefing was to make a more narrative-focused game for the Magic Leap. We quickly found that one of the advantages of the headset is that it allows you to walk around the scene to see it from different angles, so we thought that photography could be an interesting mechanic to use. Placing props and characters in a dollhouse set also felt very natural so we ended up combining the two: You are a psychic detective. If you can recreate the scene with your props you can look into the past and see what actually happened! Then you can take and bring back photos to prove it.

This time I was involved in the story as well, since it’s so connected to the gameplay. It was fun!

There was definitely a learning curve involved in learning how to use a Magic Leap. Finding our way around the limited field of view, figuring which minimum space would be acceptable, the ideal lighting conditions, only having a few buttons, working around the fact that dark colors just turn transparent…! That said, when everything works, it’s magical.

Empire of Sin

Now I’m in Ireland once again, this time in Galway. I’m now at Romero Games, working with a team composed of both friends and personal heroes! An offer I could not refuse.

Empire of Sin is a strategy game set in 1920s Prohibition-era Chicago. Slip into the shoes of one of fourteen bosses, assemble a gang, build and manage your criminal empire and defend your turf from rival gangs. I had never worked on a game with so many interconnected systems! It’s my first game on consoles, which is a big milestone.

If you want to see it in action, the team has been streaming it regularly on Paradox’s Twitch channel and the preorders are now live.

Tabletop Simulator

Last but not least… I ran into my own games on Tabletop Simulator! It was a nice surprise, it’s very heartening to know someone cared about them enough to create these modules, especially now that Superhot and Blight aren’t that easy to find.

Analog catch-up

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, boardgame prototype, competition, Cortiça, event, Fortune Tellers, media

Hello, how are you?

So much has happened since the last post, I thought I’d do a couple posts to catch up. This one is about my analog projects, in chronological order:

January 7th: I gave my first talk! I was one of the speakers at Run for the Border 2020 in Dundalk along with Jordan Bradley, Pete Mc Nally and Donal Philips. It was a short talk called “So, you’ve designed a board game. Now what?”. It was about the different paths you can follow in order to get your game published, with the suggestion of using print and play as a way to grow an audience before either showing it to a publisher or trying to release a full/premium version of your game.

I’m not used to public speaking so I must have made all the newbie mistakes but the reaction was very positive and I would like to do it again.

Thank you Ellen!

May 13: Agent Decker was featured by Shut Up & Sit Down! During the quarantine they’ve started looking at both solo and print and play games and they noticed mine! I’ve been a fan of theirs since their first video nine whole years ago, so this was an honor.

“On the off chance that you’ve not played a deckbuilding game before I would say print off Agent Decker immediately.” – Quintin Smith

July 27: It was a long journey but I finally have my copies of Blight Chronicles: Agent Decker. Nine months after the backers got theirs so I might have been the very last person to get one. Board & Dice decided to make it a kickstarter exclusive after the campaign was over so unfortunately you won’t find it in stores but there is the option of getting the print and play version online.

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They even sent extra goodies like the add-ons, playmats and the smaller version!

On the same day I submitted my first entry in a Button Shy design contest, but that deserves its own blog post. Soon. 🙂

Oct 2: Recently I felt inspired to go back to Fortune Tellers. This is a prototype I was working on 7 years ago. At the time the mechanics had some issues but I was enamored by the theme. Now that I have a bit more experience I might be able to do something with it, even if it means I have to scrap the mechanics and start fresh.

This is what it looked like back then.

I can’t stop thinking about this game. I don’t know of others like it, which makes me feel like I am on the verge of creating something original and that feeling is so great that I want to share the process with you. Step one was bringing the blog back to speed.

Can’t wait!

5 boardgames you can make at home

boardgame

If you’re stuck at home for a while but would like to play some new board games, I have good news for you. Have you heard of print and play?

“Print and play” are board games distributed as PDFs that you can print and assemble at home. Most of them are free and the paid ones are generally not expensive.

Usually all you need are common office supplies such as a printer, something to cut the sheets (scalpel + metal ruler, scissors), card sleeves (the kind used for games like Magic: The Gathering) and occasionally some dice or tokens. Assembly can be as complex as you want but don’t worry, the following games are easy to build:

 

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1 – D100 Dungeon

Starting the list with a game that requires no assembly, D100 Dungeon is a RPG for 1 player where you fight your way through dungeons which you draw on the page. Win or fail, you’ll bring back new equipment or gold to buy better gear when you return to town.

The best part is you don’t have to complete it in one session since your game is saved right there on the page.

What you need: Pencil, graph paper, two 10-sided dice and a 6-sided die. If you don’t have the dice you can even ask Google to roll them for you.

Assembly: None! That’s right, as long as you can browse the rulebook on a screen you don’t even need to print it.

Versions 1 and 2 are available for free on BoardGameGeek. Version 3 can be purchased on DriveThruRPG.

 

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2 – Terminal Dispute

“Roll and write” games are all the rage at the moment because they’re so easy to produce, which makes them a perfect fit for this list. In Terminal Directive 1-6 players are trying to escape by entering coordinates on a Navigation Matrix while trying to charge their phones!

What you need: Printer, paper, cutting materials, pencils, five 6-sided dice.

Assembly: Very easy. You just have to cut the shared board and player sheets.

Available for free on itch.io.

 

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3 – Sprawlopolis

Do you like Sim City? Sprawlopolis is a 18-card city building puzzle for 1-2 players where you assemble a city using cards, according to three goals which change every round. It’s quite challenging and the goal combinations give it a lot of variability.

What you need: Printer, paper, cutting materials, transparent card sleeves, cheap cards for added sturdiness (optional).

Assembly: Medium. Here’s a guide on how to make cards. I use the first method all the time, except that for this game you need transparent card sleeves since they cards are double sided.

Available at PNPArcade.

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4 – Tak

A fantastic abstract strategy game for 2 players with a simple rule set that allows players to be very creative. It is inspired by “The Wise Man’s Fear”, by Patrick Rothfuss.

What you need: The number of components depends on what board size you want to play. I recommend 5×5. If you have enough components which can stand or lay flat (like Lego!) in two colors, you already have all you need to start playing.

Assembly: Up to you. The Beta version of the rules has instructions on how to manufacture your own pieces but encourages players to come up with their own. You can print the board, but it’s optional.

The Beta version of the rules is avaliable for free on Cheapassgames

 

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5 – Agent Decker

A mission-based deckbuilding game for 1 player where you’ll acquire gear and skills by facing obstacles. The alarm raises every turn, so you must pick who you take out. Do you go for the cool weapon, or take out the security camera?

What you need: Printer, paper, cutting materials, opaque card sleeves, two tokens, cheap cards for added sturdiness (optional).

Assembly: Medium. Here’s a guide on how to make cards.

Available for free or an optional donation on itch.io.

Full disclosure, I designed this last one.

 

This is just a sample of the Print and Plays you can find online. They can be a bit tricky to find because they’re all over the place, but here is a nice library to browse through.

Have fun and stay safe!

If you enjoyed this list the best way to repay me is by sharing it online. The second is by donating when downloading Agent Decker. It will go towards materials for creating more games!

One step forward, two steps back

boardgame, boardgame prototype, game design, playtest, Public Squares

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Want to know what’s been happening with Public Squares?

1 – Rules and scoring systems

I’ve been experimenting with sets of rules and scoring conditions to motivate the players to create patterns, and it’s dawning on me why I haven’t really seen other games attempting this. Even though the brain is great at spotting patterns, turning them into an elegant, intuitive rule set is not easy. If you’re not careful there will be optimal patterns and every grid will end up looking very similar.

Ideally the players should be able to rotate shapes and patterns, even mirroring them across the grid. I created a few rule sets which do this in theory, but scoring them at the end of a game took as long as the game itself and resulted in three digit scores. Exhausting!

 

2 – Shapes

One of the core concepts for Public Squares is to use the pips of standard six-sided die as the shapes that fill the grid. When you take a die you can use a hammer to chip away blocks you don’t want, and then draw the remaining shape.

publicsquaresdie.JPG

After playing just a couple games, I began to notice a pattern. My largest area was ALWAYS composed of repeated X shapes.

Looking at the die faces it’s obvious why. Out of the 6 possible shapes, 5 of them help you make an X! Even without modifying the shapes, you can get an X by combining 1 and 4 or 2 and 3, making it a safe bet.

It would be easy to create six new shapes which correspond to the numbers, but then the game would lose one of its unique features. Fortunately I have a few ideas on how to deal with this one!

 

3 – Other Games

One of the ways to test rules systems is to cut most of them and bring them back one by one, to see where they break. I always learn something when I do this, and would suggest you to do the same.

While experimenting I stumbled on a couple of rule sets which were a lot simpler but showed promise. I tried them out and they were fun!

That evening I found not one but TWO games which use the same concepts:

  • Criss Cross (Reiner Knizia): Roll two dice, draw the resulting symbols orthogonally adjacent on your grid. In the end, check how many times each symbol appears in each line and column to know how much that line/column is worth. Add them up to know your score.
  • Mosaix (Christof Tisch): Roll four dice, arrange them into a shape (reminiscent of a tetramino). Every player fits them in their grid. Their goal is to create several big areas composed of the same symbol.

This was eye-opening. These games are so close to my goal that I’ll have to take a few steps back and find a new direction for it.

Glad I found them so early in the process!

Public Squares

boardgame, boardgame prototype, game design, playtest, Public Squares

D6YxryOWkAAHqIS.jpg

Last week I woke up at 5 in the morning with an idea for a roll and write game about Portuguese cobblestones. How could I ignore it?

In Portugal the ground is paved with limestone, often in intricate patterns that go from geometrical to historical. These are so common that, in their routine, most people forget to look down – myself included.

I only started appreciating them when I left the country and saw how grey and monotonous foreign sidewalks were.

calçada portuguesa

The main concept of the game is:

 

Each player is in charge of their own square, which they will decorate using the patterns they rolled. Players take dice, chip pips away using a hammer and draw them on the sheet. Negative space is important, as players score by creating patterns.

How does that sound?

I’m calling it “Public Squares” for now, a suggestion from Carlos Leituga!

This is very different from the other games I’ve designed so far but that’s part of the appeal for me. So much hinges on the scoring system, but that’s a topic for a future post.

Stay tuned!

Game news!

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, boardgame, boardgame prototype, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu, Superhot

Hello everyone!

Here’s a recap of news that have been shared in other social media over the last months:

SUPERHOT: The Card Game has been released in China thanks to Super Banana Games! It’s amazing to see my games travelling to countries where I’ve never been.

 

Multiuniversum: Project Cthulhu was reprinted! When the Kickstarter launched it was meant to be exclusive, but it sold out rather quickly due to its great reviews. You no longer have to go insane looking for the last copies, just check Board & Dice’s shop!

 

One of my favorite things about print and play is that it allows (and even motivates) the players to get creative and if they love the game some players take their copy to the next level. Look at BGG user BulldogBite’s awesome Agent Decker build!

 

Blight Chronicles: Agent Decker

As for the progression of the development and design perspective, we’re almost there, and we can see a bright light there at the end of the tunnel. On that note, we’re working hard with David Decker while Zoe and Hideaki are waiting for their turn since we want to have a solid base game before inviting other agents on the mission.

Since working on a game with multiple paths is challenging and we had to develop our own tools to be able to work together from different countries. One tool allows us to access an editable version of the cards at any time, without depending on software licenses and the other allows us to save the game. Saving allows us to “load” the game from that point instead of having to restart every time, and helps us see which cards we picked on our most successful runs.

Now let’s get back to work!

Blight Chronicles Kickstarter

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, boardgame, crowdfunding

Blight_funded.PNG

When the Kickstarter campaign for Blight Chronicles launched, Agent Decker had been downloaded over 10.000 times. On the download page there is the suggestion to donate 2 USD. Of those 10.000, about 40 people did so.

I am very thankful for those donations as they’re a serious boost to my motivation and the proceeds always go towards buying material to continue developing my games – so far, two sets of ink cartridges.

My fingers were crossed. Hopefully those people would see how much more content went into this version of the game – and they did! Blight Chronicles’ Campaign was a success, our goal was achieved and doubled, to a total of 264%.

Thank you, all 1253 of you!