“Don’t Say!” at Global Gamecraft 5

boardgame, boardgame prototype, competition, Don't Say, Game Jam


I went to Global Gamecraft 5 with a few mechanics I wanted to try. I just had to fit them to the theme, right? Wrong. When the theme was revealed (“Party Game”, or a game you could play at a party) I couldn’t use them, so I started from scratch.

It needed to cater to a big number of players (infinite, if possible!), and ideallly it would also be fun to watch. First, I played around with this idea of a game about cupids, and people trying to find their match by asking questions to the group. I liked the concept, but it sounded a bit too easy and fast to play.

I wanted the game to be different from the other games I had made so far, and I wanted people to interact with each other in a genuine way – not because the rules say so. In all the party games I know, the ones that involve drawing are always a special kind of fun. Everyone interprets the drawings in a different way, and often be hilariously wrong.


So this is what I came up with: a player gets a card with a surreal image and must describe it to the others, who must draw it as best they can before the time runs out. There are two words the player can’t use while describing them, (and they’re pretty obvious!), or he’ll lose points. After the timer ends, players hand their custom notebooks to other players and everyone’s drawings will be rated for accuracy. The one describing is rated too! In the next round, another player will be describing, and everyone else draws.

The best thing is: you don’t need to know how to draw! You get points by having the right elements in the right place, now how they look.

I couldn’t play it myself because I had made the illustrations which were being described, but these playtests were a lot of fun to watch.


I won’t be developing this one further because it draws a lot from two other games: Identik and Taboo. Still, it was a great experience and the players loved it too.

Thank you all who played it! I look forward to the next 8 hour jam.

Dublin Gamecraft – Unplugged

boardgame prototype, competition, Game Jam, Grow your own Adventure


I spent last Sunday afternoon surrounded by fellow creatives at Dublin Gamecraft Unplugged. We had about 4h30m to make an analog game. Yep, that’s right! No videogames this time.

The theme was “Grow Your Own”.

I knew we didn’t have much time or materials but I wanted to make something different. A simple adventure game that physically grows as you play. I ended up with “Grow your own Adventure”: an interactive story where you follow a line, choose your path and your choices alter what comes next.

I started folding to see what I could do with one sheet, and accidentally got to this.  Twice! If you had asked me to teach this to you I couldn’t remember how to, but muscle memory brought it back.


I kept folding and realized you can make very interesting “page turns” from just a single cut in the middle of the sheet. It allows you to hide surprises but, most importantly, make choices that change the layout.

I started drawing a line and improvising. Taking notes, seeing how far I could go with it and how many “faces” I would be able to write on.

In the end, I got to something I’m very proud of. It’s an interactive story system you can fit in your pocket. Your choices change it, so there’s some replayability. It comes from a single page, which makes it possible to distribute as PDFs.

You can see the other projects here.

“Overpopulous” got 18th place!

competition, Game Jam, House of Brass, Ludum Dare, Overpopulous

“Overpopulous” got 18th place in Ludum Dare Jam 23, voted 10th most fun game and won the Coolness gold medal! This competition has been growing exponentially. On the first time there were 90 games in the Jam, then 174 and now 330. Added to the compo entries that makes a flabbergasting 1402 games!

Here is the list of the top 25.  This time I judged a mix of games from both the compo and the Jam and some of my favorites were azurenimbus’ elegant “Microscopia”, Draknek’s “Dr. Biology’s Educational Game” and 01101101’s eyecandylicious “Exposed”. Also, brackcurly’s “it’s a tab” is a very fresh concept you should see for yourself!

This time I noticed a lot of the top ranked games had nothing to do with the competition’s theme. In my opinion, that is the biggest constraint and the only way to gauge if the team made their game fair and square. Without that what stops me from starting to work on a game right now and deliver it when the next competition ends, three months from now?

In other news…

Rejoice! On the 21st of May Fantastic Creations: House of Brass (Mac) reached 1st place in BigFishGames’ Top downloads list, dethroning their own Mystery Case Files: Escape From Ravenhearst! PC version reached 2nd place and both are still getting really good reviews.

“alone I art” got 4th place!

alone I art, competition, Game Jam, Ludum Dare

“alone I art” got 4th place in Ludum Dare Jam 22, with gold medals for Humor and Coolness! This time there were even more games! 174 games in the Jam, opposed to the 90 in Ludum Dare 21. I’m really proud for the team and for being a part of it!

Here is the list of the top 25.  My favorite game in the competition – and I tested more than 90 – was number one. Midas has stylized graphics and almost no animation but the mechanics are sound. I can see this being a pretty popular game if they further iterate on it. /follow, the sweetest eye candy in the competition, came in third. It’s more of an interactive narrative than a game, but it looks and sounds gorgeous!

I recommend these game jams to anyone who wants to get involved with the industry. It’s trial by fire, and it is such a rush!

“alone I art” post mortem

alone I art, competition, Game Jam, Ludum Dare

Carlos Leituga wrote a great Post Mortem about “alone I art”, our second venture into the Ludum Dare Jam. It covers every part of the process of making this particular game in 72 hours. It has pictures, scribbles and good insights about the whole thing.

You can read it here.

I can’t wait for the results, which will be released in about 25 hours.

Ludum Dare Jam 22

alone I art, competition, Game Jam, Ludum Dare

Check out “alone I art”! Once again I was part of team Make a Game and we made this stealth game in which you’re an art lover that wants to spend valuable time with art. You have to steal all the masterpieces you can without getting caught by the guards.

Ludum Dare Jam is an online competition in which you are given a subject and have to make a game in 72 hours. The game is currently being judged along with all the other cool games and the results will be known in 11 days.

You can play it here.

Good job everyone!

Eggscape got 10th place!

boardgame prototype, competition, Eggscape, event, Game Jam, Ludum Dare, Overpopulous, Sinking

Eggscape got 10th place in Ludum Dare Jam 21, ranked the 5th most innovative game! As if that wasn’t enough, it got into PC World‘s “10 Free addictive games to play in your browser”  and Nerd Age‘s “Ludum Dare’s Favorite Games”! This is great motivation to finish everything that was missing and officially release it to the world as a complete game.

With all of the ties solved the boardgame is running pretty smooth! I’ll still keep on testing but seems like it’s complete – until I spot a splinter, which hasn’t happened in a while.

This week I contacted two portuguese boardgame designers with a respectable portfolio and they gave me some very good advice. Seems like odds are strongly against boardgame designers at this time. I reached the point where I have a fun game that people enjoy and that was the most important part of this project. Editing it would be another great step forward, but one that has to be carefully planned first.

I’ll be in Eurogamer Expo in London this next week. If you’re there too come and say “Hi!”, I’ll be the smiling guy with the tired eyes and the accent you can’t quite identify.