Oh man, am I ready for winter to be over… Thankfully, it’s warm inside, but man it makes it tough to go out and explore sometimes…

Where is Chris now?

Istanbul, Turkey — while not the capital of the country, it’s certainly the largest city by some margin. There’s quite a few places to play in Istanbul, and I’m grateful to the Istanbul Board Game Enthusiasts Facebook group for running consistently good events.

What games are you playtesting?

As usual, what gets playtested depends mostly on the crowd, but it’s mostly been newer stuff:

  • Defuse is usually a hit, thanks to the fast-paced action and language independence. Once explained to you in a language you understand, the cards are mostly icon-based and the game can be played in most any language. (The action cards have a few words on them, but the icon also illustrates what needs to be done.)
  • Royal Wedding has been requested more than once. I pitch this as a sequel to Love Letter thematically (which some players have heard of but few have played), but has some bluffing, some card manipulation and some take-that. (In the story of the game, a princess has been receiving love letters from a secret admirer, who has proposed marriage. She’s accepted, and people from four countries are invited to a royal wedding… but who’s the Secret Admirer? You want to have the Secret Admirer — the role that matches the most of the Princess’ hints — at the end of the game. It’s a small-box card game where the rules all fit on a single page.)
  • Secret Recipe has come out, though I’m still working out the kinks to find the best way forward. (This is a logic / deduction game about discovering the ingredients in a secret recipe, and aims to add a bit of luck and honest misdirection – there isn’t as much room for lying as I originally thought.)
  • The Next Great American Novel has been surprisingly entertaining, despite the amount of text on the cards. (This is a deck-builder about writing a book, and features plenty of real-world writing terms along with their definitions.) I feared having a lot of English would scare off some non-native-English-speaking players, and had pictured the market to be writers / authors / educators…

What’s happening behind the scenes?

I have well over a dozen playtested prototypes in various stages, and to be honest, I’m really hoping to get some of them shipping / published. There are also a few new ideas I’m close to testing…

I’m also keeping an eye on tabletop game contests, partially for tabletopcalendar.com but also because entering contests is a great way to design a game (it always has a deadline, requires you to focus on the restrictions, if there are any, etc.)

Also, Tetris 99 on the Switch. Oh. My. God. Amazing.

What’s the next big thing?

Pitching! Going to Essen to pitch is still a plan… but that’s once a year and there are way too many ideas coming out to be restricted to that. I’ve been going through Cardboard Edison’s Compendium (a great database of publishers — obviously not a substitute for researching the publisher’s website first-hand, but good for narrowing those publishers that aren’t a fit)