The Lord of the Ice Garden

It was Pionek con when I first heard about this prototype. The guy brought it there and run few demo games. The game was set in a fantasy world from some Polish novel I have never read. It didn’t sound interesting. I wriggled out.

For the next year or so I met the guy dozen of times. I met him always at convention. He was running play testing, spending hour after hour at the table with new players and I was consequently avoiding to play it. Let’s face it – long heavy euro game not finally playtested. Sounded like a nightmare. The guy invited me few times to play it and every time I politely refused.

Months passed.

The guy finally decided to take his chances – he offered the game at Polish crowdfunding page. The game is heavy. The game has so many components that it costs like a big FFG box. The game is set in a world of novel which not too many board game geeks read. The guy has no publishing experience. They guy is not famous game designer. In Poland there was no single game funded so far.

There were so many cons and no pros at all…

OK, there were. There were two things that stood against all problems this project could face.

1. The guy was determined and ready to work very hard. For the 4 weeks of campaign he visited every single convention in Poland and run demo games over and over fighting like a lion for the heart of every single gamer he met.

2. And what is even more important, the game turned out to be damn good.

4 weeks later the game was funded. It was first Polish board game successfully crowdfunded. It got more than 200%. Great success.

The game will be published this year. That is true story that sounds like a fable. That is dream come true. This is the guy who design a great game and have the people making it real thing. This is amazing.

***

I tell you this story, because this game is now on Kickstarter.

And the story for you is quite the same.

You don’t know this stupid fantasy novel.

You don’t know this bloody fellow.

You don’t want to pay 90$ for a board game from Poland

You don’t…

 

Yeah, there are so many cons again.

But again, there are two pros.

1. The guy is a great guy, hard working designer worth your trust.

2. And the game is damn good.

 

Give him a chance. Let the pros win…

Hearthstone

7903-6221302753-HeartIt was for free so I downloaded the app and decided to give it a chance. I wasn’t impressed with the first game, but what the hell, it was quick, so I played again. I felt it was very random, with no real choices and stupid names for cards but I played again. And then just one last time…

I put Ipad on the shelf and… OK, few minutes later I took it back and played again. Hey! I had spare weekend, sir! Don’t blame me! I played a couple of more time and that was it!

That was it, because… I mean, battery got dead so I had to recharge my Ipad…

***

This is not reason to boast, but I was never into Magic. I do believe this is flaw for designer. Every game designer should know Magic. I don’t know. I played it few times, I got frustrated that I draw Land card when I don’t need it and that’s it for my whole turn and I refused to play it. I am 100% sure that I am missing something in Magic and as I said, I find it a flaw in my resume.

For the past three days HearthStone is like Magic for me. New cards, new abilities, direct combat, creating deck, everything I would love in Magic and what is more – it has very simple fix for the only one thing that I hate in Magic – Mana system. You don’t have Lands here. You just get 1 Mana each round. Brilliant.

I don’t know how long it will last. I know that at this point I have so much fun. This game is fast. It gives me new cards after every few wins. It let’s me kick real people in online mode. It has cool animations. It let’s me tweak with my deck.

I was never into Magic. Will I be into Hearthstone?

We will see…

Honor to Charles Darwin

I knew only the basics – Charles Darwin created theory of evolution. That’s what’s left in my head after years of education in school. Not too much.

Then Robert Masson came and made me work with him and design Voyage of the Beagle. So I began to dig in this story. I like know background of story I am recreating in my games and what is more, I felt that for Robert it is super important. He wrote epic introduction to campaign, he was pointing references to actual events in his every scenario. I saw it is important and I need to learn this story to make a good campaign.

I was reading, I was searching web, I was connecting some facts hidden deep in my head (Galapagos!), and finally I went to Amazon.co.uk and bought Creation, movie about Charles Darwin. That was a final piece. Everything just clicked.

Today, because of months spent with Voyage of the Beagle, I know much more about this events. Doing research, looking at scans of Darwin’s diaries, looking at his achievements with this whole historical background I know much more than smart ass kid like me could know just going to school. Darwin was not a boring scientist who added 2 to 2 and figured out it is 4. He was not a avarage naturalist who discovered something obvious. Oh, no. Not at all.

Charles Darwin took fundaments of knowledge of his times, took everything people knew about life and turned it upside down. His thesis were – as it looked for people of his times – contrary to teachings of the church. Quite a bravery, isn’t it?

Watch Creation. Play Voyage of the Beagle. Honor man with amazing mind and courage and spirit. I am proud, I could help to retell his story by creating expansion for Robinson. Thank you Robert for taking me for this journey. It will stay with me for ever.

darwinday_eng

 

 

When a friend design a game

Every year I meet more designers and every year list of people I love in this industry grows. Few years ago I knew only Michal Oracz, then I met Bruno Faidutti, Adam Kaluza, Emanuel Ornella, and list began to grow like crazy. Now I am often in this situation – I put a board on my table and I am so much excited about it because this game was designed by a designer who I know by person, who I like and who I really respect.

In most cases, like for example with K2 from Adam Kałuża I am so damn proud that this is my mate’s game. I love the game, I love the guy, I know that mountains are his great passion and I am so happy that he managed to design such a brilliant game about climbing K2. On the other hand, in some cases I feel really bad when I play a game that I don’t like that much. For example The Cave – it is also from Adam Kaluza. This is his other design. I find it fiddly and not that interesting. I wish Cave is better. I know Adam loves this theme, I know this is his hobby, I know he spent hundred of hours exploring caves in his spare time.

I don’t like the game. I feel really bad with this.

Good news is, my friends designers in most cases designs superb games! Like the one that Days of Wonder just – not yet officially – announced. This one is from Bruno Cathala. I played the prototype last year.

Put it on your radar guys because this one will blow your mind. Mark my words.

Even though…

Even though my router was down and I was offline for most of the day and even though I feel not that good and had to take day off from work, I have something super interesting for you – link to the awesome post at Boards and Bees about artist in boardgaming. Have a read. And wish me better day tomorrow 😉