Where is Chris now?
We moved to Belgrade, Serbia in mid-March, and it’s been a pleasant change of pace. For obvious reasons, the game shops and cafes aren’t yet open to their full potential, and since all of the playtesting has shifted online anyway, I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to connect to the local groups.
What games are you playtesting?
Haunted House has received the most playtesting – the press-your-luck game about teens exploring a haunted house has received lots of tweaks… but there’s a major change that suggested (a second time) that I finally implemented… It’s going to reduce the downtime and get everyone making decisions at the same time.
I’ve also tweaked a less-used mechanic to add some interplay – as a Follower, you may spend one of your flashlight tokens to peek at a face-down tile and see what might be waiting there for you. You can then say anything you want about what you saw, so you could try to sabotage the leader or help the team out by warning them.
If you’ve played Incan Gold / Diamant, there’s a similar ‘do-I-stay-or-do-I-go’ decision (in this case, it’s ‘follow the leader’ or ‘bail’), but there’s plenty more to consider. Each player has their own player board and fear tracker (so the green creature scares you differently than another player). Choosing to follow or bail isn’t secret, since nothing is being split between players that bail. Very excited to test this one out some more.
Treasure Seekers (FKA Frequent Flyers) has just been rethemed from a fairly generic game about sending travelers around the world. You’re now a trio of treasure seekers aiming to find clues and the items to unlock them (and comments are open for a better title!). Send your Psychologist to the Nazca Lines to retrieve a key, then get them to the Eye of the Sahara to make a discovery and lead them to the next clue. It’s a race game – the first player to discover 5 clues and get all 3 of their pieces to the location of their treasure wins!
Much like Haunted House, I’ve added in the opportunity to play nice or play evil, depending on your player style and what seems more helpful. If one of your pieces stops on a space with an opponent’s piece, you can choose to play nice (swap 1 item for 1 item) or play evil (steal 1 item; they get a square token from the supply that lets them move around the board a little easier as compensation).
This retheme seems like it’s off to a flying start, and I’ll be checking to see how interesting the decisions are, or whether there’s one move that’s always objectively correct. Really excited by this game.
Sushi Words (FKA Letter Conveyor) won’t look like this the next time I mention it, but I’ll mention it here for those moments when you want to look back and see how far a game has come. The sushi theme can safely be ignored since it was sprinkled on to begin with – essentially, you’re drafting a letter tile (which can have 1 or 2 letters) or a goal from the cutting board in front of you. Letter tiles go into your 5×5 grid to make words. Words can fulfill goals to score more points. The game ends when someone has made a set number of words.
It works. It’s functional. This one can get pretty thinky pretty fast, especially because you can look ahead to see what letters might be coming your way. I fear it might get bogged down from having every player try to look ahead and draft something after another player does, and I don’t have a great answer for that. Maybe you can’t see the other boards, or the tiles are passed around face-down, or there’s just a rule that players aren’t allowed to look for precisely that reason…
For better or worse I’m not always astoundingly excited by every game that comes out of my brain. I’d love to add in a theme that makes sense, if only because I enjoy having that thematic / mechanic connection.
What’s happening behind the scenes?
I’ve signed a contract for a game with an Australian publisher – it goes without saying once there’s something to announce I’ll be shouting it from the proverbial rooftops.
I’ve also sent on the materials for another game under contract – no idea on timelines yet, but again, when there’s something to announce you’ll hear about it.
I just updated the in development page yesterday, so that’s finally up to date. This is always the best public page to see what’s cooking, and if you’re ready for the rabbit hole, come join us in Virtual Playtesting to see the latest in games still being developed.
What’s the next big thing?
A few new game concepts are on the horizon, but I really need to get back to pitching. Even with a number of games under contract, there are still about a dozen that have been developed, playtested, refined, etc. that are definitely in a pitchable state.