My, it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Yes, there’s been lots going on behind the scenes, but few things that felt like a blog post was worthy of writing. I’ve also been battling some burnout from blogging (something I’ve done for over 10 years on other websites), and some time off designing / developing games has been great for that.
From here on out, I’ll aim to send out at least one update a month to let the world know what’s happening behind the scenes, using the same set of questions each time. I have a couple of Post-it notes full of blog post ideas, and it’s just coming down to having the time to write them out.
Where is Chris now?
Budapest, Hungary. He leaves for Ljubljana (pronounced vaguely like Lee-oob-lee-AH-na), Slovenia mid-month, and plans to stay for a couple of weeks.
What games are you playtesting?
Most days I’m carrying four of my games to board game cafes / playtesting events:
- Who Shot the Sheriff?
- Unicorn Zoo (think Modern Art meets Ticket to Ride… with unicorns!)
- Ice Cream (a 1 or 2 player game for an upcoming contest)
Several others will also make an appearance every so often:
- Defuse (basically finished, except for a tweak or two to one role’s win condition)
- Help! I’m Stuck on a Japanese Game Show
There’s typically more games than time to play them, naturally…
What’s happening behind the scenes?
A ton of stuff!
- Cryptomillionaire became a finalist in the Board Game Design Lab contest! Excited is an understatement.
- I’ve hired an artist to create the world of Cryptomillionaire. Some of the early art he’s already sent on is pretty cool — see one of the proposed card backs here (goes without saying, but expect it to change!)
- I’ve requested and received a few quotes for manufacturing Cryptomillionaire. These are normally only good for 30-60 days, so getting them now just gives me a ballpark of how much things should cost
- I volunteered with Inside the Box Games at the UK Games Expo to demo / play a couple of their games. Great times! Beyond their booth, I had the chance to walk around and see some folks, some games… Not as much time to play, of course, but it was great to see a fair bit of new stuff.
- I created a game for Jellybean Games’ contest using components from one of their upcoming games. It’s harder than you think designing a game when you can only use a specific set of components (in this case, 15 numbered cards, 3 ‘suit’ cards, and 24 tokens (8 each of three different colors).
- I’ve been playtesting games at two of Budapest’s board game cafes — Game Up Pub and Vault 51. They can be a little hit or miss, but I’ve learned that showing up early and having a friendly face goes a long way. Protip: go on the weekends!
- I met some of the awesome playtesters over at kicktester.com, a professional game testing service. They’re based here in Budapest, and from playing each game only once or twice, I left with pages of notes on making each game better. Highly recommend giving them a look.
- I started an Instagram feed over at @entrogames. Pictures there are more ‘spur of the moment’, so you’ll see stuff there that won’t appear on the blog.
- Outside of game design, I’ve taken to playing Jurassic World Alive a lot more than expected. At first, I expected it to be a Pokemon Go knockoff with copyrighted dinosaurs. It’s definitely inspired by Pokemon Go, right down to supply drops / Pokestops, but certainly has enough distinctiveness to be worth a look (PvP battling, anyone?). Biggest complaint with the game is that it’s rather slow — I wish there was a ‘low-graphic’ version that would speed things up.
What’s the next big thing?
Planning the Cryptomillionaire Kickstarter is something I’m slowly doing. We’re quickly coming up on the convention season, a time during which I’ve read launching new games isn’t as recommended… but I’ve seen some great examples of how well some campaigns plan things out to play nice with conventions. The jury’s still out, but
While I’m not planning to attend any of the conventions in the US, I’m definitely planning to attend Essen in Germany later this year. See you there?
We’ll head off to Ljubljana for a couple of weeks (mid June to early July, and from there Sarajevo for a couple of months. This will be our first time there, and I’m not sure how much board game culture there is in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have definitely been pleasantly surprised in cities like Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and others before…