Announcing Multiuniversum!

boardgame prototype, event, Multiuniversum, Pizza-go-round

A couple months ago I went to Essen to pitch my games and boy, have I got good news!

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Board & Dice really liked the mechanics of Pizza-go-round. So much so that they’ve got a very clear idea of where they want it to go, and it’s a lot more exciting than delivering pizzas!

It’s called Multiuniversum!

We’ve been working hard on streamlining the gameplay and creating a new scoring system which gives the players clearer goals and fits this new theme.

I don’t want to spill the beans right away, but here’s a glimpse of the latest prototype:

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If you were at Pionek this weekend, you might have seen it!

Stay tuned.

iDIG Music Festival

Agent Decker, boardgame prototype, competition, Contactics, event, Pizza-go-round, Sinking

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I spent the end of last week at the iDIG Music Festival showing my games to the visitors! I was surrounded by irish game developers showing their awesome games, and my boardgames stood out due to how different they were.

A lot of people wanted to know more about them, and some even sat down to play after asking how they worked! Agent Decker was the one that got played the most, mainly because nobody had heard about solo games and I could help them rather than compete against them.

I quickly put together a digital version for the show, and two players managed to complete it!

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The main goal was to have a version which looked a bit better than my scribbles on paper, and figure out how much room there will be for proper art later on. It worked pretty well!

It was my first time showing games at an event, so I didn’t know what to expect. A word of advice: if you’re presenting at an event bring some eucalyptus drops! If you’re lucky people will check your games out and ask about them, so you’ll be talking constantly and the voice will start to go away.

Time to write the Agent Decker manual so I can publish it online!

 

Round and round

boardgame prototype, Carousel, Pizza-go-round, playtest

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Just like the bikes go round and round, so does the game!

Changing the main goals in Pizza-go-round brought several issues to light, so additional tweaks were required. I was fortunate to get really good feedback and design suggestions from Vital Lacerda and now the game’s working well, so here are the changes:

First up, I replaced the standing order lineup for small piles of orders on the buildings themselves.  Instead of picking up orders to fulfill on your own, you prepare the ingredients and go to the building in order to deliver the pizza.

This increases player interaction and competition. When you see other players chop ingredients you can guess what orders they’ll be going for, and the race is on! When that order is delivered, that player keeps the order card for the final scoring and a new one is revealed. The game is over when four of the piles are empty.

That means the “Out of gas” card is out too. How could it stay, since the single pile of orders isn’t there anymore? The players weren’t big fans of the semi-random end of the game anyway, especially because they were penalized for any leftover ingredients they had. There was absolutely no downside to removing this from the game.

As you can see in the picture, the buildings have abilities now! Each one has a unique ability which is activated by the action cards. Using them is simple: play the “building” action to activate the building where you are. This creates a lot of possibilities both for the players and for the game, as building cards can have two different sides.

There’s also a “deliver” action you can use when you’ve prepared the right ingredients for the order, and a brand new one I’m experimenting with: “recycle”. Recycle allows the player to discard any number of cards from their hand in order to draw more from the deck. This allows the players to throw away cards that aren’t useful at the moment and to press their luck, while keeping the deck flowing.

Lastly, the direction of the bike doesn’t matter anymore. I thought the players would be confused now that the ramifications of their actions change, but actually it was the other way around. It flows better because it avoids the situation where a player wants to move but suddenly can’t because everything is pointing to the wrong direction, and removes the “fiddlyness” of having to turn the cards in a specific way – particularly noticeable when the bike cards are stacked in a single building.

How about a slice?

Pizza-go-round!

boardgame prototype, Carousel, Pizza-go-round, playtest

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Come to think of it, Carousel‘s theme clashes with the game mechanics. The postman theme doesn’t really work when you’re taking things from the board and keeping them for yourself.

To fix this, I added recipients to the envelope cards. Instead of picking them up, now you had to deliver them at the right location to get those precious points. This worked very well. It brought a new set of objectives to the players, and the chance to interfere with the other players.

I was having a lot of fun, so I tackled on another issue that had become apparent during playtests. First-time players were intimidated by the amount of possible actions during a turn. To avoid that Analysis Paralysis, I decided to cut two actions from the cards.

I still haven’t found a reliable system to distribute the actions throughout the cards the way I want, so I was forced to do it manually. That’s a pretty radical change, because it requires brand new files for all the game.

Is that bad?

On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity to improve the theme! I often think about the mechanics first, and would like to try developing both at once. So…

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I bring you “Pizza-go-round”!

Instead of a van you’re driving a pizza delivery bike. Orders replace the envelopes, and have varying ingredients and rewards. Action cards have six actions instead of eight, along with an ingredient. You can play actions to move between buildings and ingredients to complete your orders. The game ends as the “out of gas” card pops up from the orders deck.

The playtesters had a lot of fun! Although this is a branch, my favorite bits from Carousel are still here, along with a clearer set of goals and a more appealing theme.