Presentation of Ruins

New expansion for Ruins is ready and it is a high time to tell you about all new features you will find in this little box. I say little box, because unlike New Era and Winter Ruins will be sold in a small package (like LCG packs from FFG). 40 cards, rulebook. Nothing less, nothing more.

What’s new?

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Firstnew type of cards is above – these cards not only let you store resources, but also – if you manage to have it full, let you gain something as a reward. If you have many barrels of fuel, you will be able to search the countryside to discover new locations (draw new card). If you have many Guns, it is quite easier to convince some people to join your empire (gain incorporation tokens).

It’s not that easy to fill these cards, but if you manage, they give quite a good benefit.

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Other type of cards that you’ll find in the Ruins are cards that let you draw cards from discard. It doesn’t sound very cool, but believe me, it changes the game a lot. It lets you hunt for cards discarded by your opponent. It lets you bring back card that you’ve just rebuilt, it lets you discard a card and then take it immediately back. In hands of smart testers, these cards were doing magic tricks.


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BTW: do you like democracy? If you use Leaders from 51st State, you may want to have two Leaders at the time, right? It is possible now – you just need to build Parliament. You will also find here two new Leaders. Very strong ones, I have to admit. Leaders that change the game and influences the game play a lot. I hope you will like them.




We are very close to finish our work with Ruins, new expansion for 51st State. And since it is a little bit too early to make an official presentation of this product, I have to say – I just can not wait any longer, I need to post at least few pics from this expansion. The artwork we received is just amazing. Credits to Piotr Foksowicz!

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Hurry up!

So we play Tash-Kalar – me, Michał Oracz, Multi and Walec. Another Essen 2013 release that needs to be tested, analyzed and hopefully praised.  After 60 minutes we are done. Alliance of Walec and Multi wins. Both of them are so fucking excited like they just  won at lottery. I mean, I know, they kicked Boss’s ass but hey, chill out boys. ‘You won’t believe it’ Walec says. ‘I have prototype of  the exact the same game. I wanted to present you it in two weeks’ he says to me. ‘Only difference, my board has hexes. Rest exactly the same.’ ‘You won’t believe’ says Multi and takes sheet of paper from his desk. ‘Here is a draft for my prototype. I was going to finish it this year. This is exactly this game.’  And he shows us his notes. This is Tash-Kalar indeed. 


So here is my advice, young designers – don’t make notes. Make games. Because when you are taking notes, some one is just finishing his work on this very same idea… 🙂

Don’t trust testers!

Walec was testing Robinson with me for a couple of months. He joined us early Spring 2012 and played during Spring and Summer months. After each test game he was telling me that game is good, and better and better. He was lying right in my face. Just like all 99% of other testers. He was telling that there are emotions, choices, lots of action. If I only listened to him…

But I didn’t.

I was trashing cards, and rules and changing and changing and did not listen assurances of playtesters that game is OK. I knew they had no guts to tell me right into my eyes that the game I want to release for Essen sucks.

Designer presenting his prototype is like young mother with her little boy. Do you really believe there is anybody on this planet who will tell her that her sweet child is fat, bold and a squint eyes? With playtesters is the same. Prototype is boring, chaotic, nothing really super cool, but still they pat you on the back and say: ‘It’s OK!’



In the middle of July 2012, after one of the very last test games of Robinson Walec decided to be honest. He said:

‘It was freakin’ amazing. When we played before to be honest, I didn’t like it. It was rather boring every time. I mean,just a game. But today! Today it was extraordinary. I am so excited!’


I know, you moron! – I said in my thoughts – It’s July! Now I finished working on that game and now it is good. Now! And I know you feel excited. And I know you were lying for the past 6 months!


This week I playtested with Walec our new project. Few weeks ago we discussed few different variants and now it is a time to check them all. Walec came with his prototype, set up it on the table, explained rules and we began to play. It took about 40 minutes.

‘I can’t produce it that way.’ I said. ‘We would need to change components…’

‘Damn it. I don’t know what to say.’

‘Say nothing. This prototype sucks and it goes to trash anyway. First of all [and I explained one reason]. Second of all [and I explained second reason]. Third of all [and I explained third reason].’

In 3 minutes I destroyed his day and trashed 3 weeks of his work.

I did not hesitate for a second.


Play testing is not a tea party at your aunt. This is trashing bad ideas and seeking for good ones. This is not time for being a nice guy.

I hope Walec is pissed off now. I hope he is seeking for revenge. I hope that when I show him one of my prototypes I will no longer hear his damn ‘It is OK’. I hope that with pure satisfaction he will trash my poor ideas.

I hope I finally have a tester, I can trust.

And you, dear designers? Remember – don’t trust testers.