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The last update of the year is here – and unsurprisingly, things have been busy.

Where is Chris now?

Tbilisi, Georgia – after a few months in England, we arrived in Georgia (that’s the country northeast of Turkey, not the state north of Florida).

Why? I’m so glad you asked:

This, everyone, is Khachapuri. Imagine a bread boat filled with cheese with an egg on top. Yum.

Reason #2: Georgian wine. Tons of grape varieties if that’s something you something about (I don’t), and you won’t need to spend more than $6-7 for a bottle unless you want to.

What games are you playtesting?

Several games in the playtesting rotation:

  • Bug Bounty – now in late development, this game has come a long way. It’s still gateway-level and focused on bluffing and deception. The theme has slightly changed, though I still need to update the names – you’re all basically the IT departments for the biggest companies in the world, protecting your own system and hacking the competition… Keep your vulnerabilities hidden, patch them for money, or negotiate with the hackers to acquire the hacks…

  • Civ18 – Civilization in 18 cards? Ye gods must be crazy… It definitely works, though – and at 18 cards it fits in your pocket. Draft cities, buildings, people, and tech, then place them into countries and score based on how they’re arranged in the spatial puzzle.
  • Travelers London – gateway-plus Ticket To Ride like game of resource management and set collection. I’ve recently changed the structure of the cards and the resources paid to do stuff – a reminder that it can become necessary to kill your darlings, no matter how long they’ve been in the game. It’s also a bit more thematic – you’re spending money, energy, and time to visit the places, and just like in real travel, you never quite have enough time to get everywhere you want to get.
  • Stargazers – A new game that’s played on one sheet per player. Spot stars, plot stars on the map, then draw the constellations from your secret goals.
  • A game that’s been signed in recent weeks.

What’s happening behind the scenes?

Transylvanian Lottery (gateway worker-placement where you try to rig a lottery) was named a semi-finalist in the Fastaval contest – really excited to work on that a bit more and get it ready for the finals early next year.

A few of the publishers that have signed my games have been sharing some art or other details about the amazing progress they’ve made. Nothing that can be announced yet, but once it can be, you’ll know about it.

I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time being a developer with a couple of client’s games, and am really proud at how they’ve developed over time. With one client, we met almost every Friday for several months playtesting scenarios, refining rules, brainstorming different ways to play with the same board / components… My job is basically done at this point – the designer’s on their way to finishing up the art, gearing up for a Kickstarter, things like that.

Another client’s game I’ve helped to develop over the past few months was already solid. I saw some opportunities for improvement to the core loop while adding some more player interaction and interesting decisions. In the process, the designer and I found some places to simplify card text, add in a bit more humor, and ensure the game’s balance was as solid as it could be.

The obligatory commercial break: work with a professional developer to make your design the best it can be. Hire me!

What’s the next big thing?

A lot of fingers are in a lot of pots – several potential partnerships to make some very cool offerings are all… well, potentials right now.

 

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