This week on Twitter…

Boardgames That Tell Stories arrived to first bakers and made them happy! 🙂

 

 

Blightygamer proves he knows who rules at Trzewiczek’s

 

 

Artem believes solo variant for Robinson is too easy and has some ideas…

 

 

and Rhiannon reveals her husband winning strategies…

Ultra Pro gonna hate me for that

[this article is not meant to offend anybody. Please, read it keeping that in mind. Read it… with tongue in cheek, as google translator suggest me]

I don’t use sleeves. I hate sleeves. I can’t believe that market for this product is growing and growing like crazy. Gamers, what’s wrong with you? Do you protect your table with some sort of plastic cloth? Do you put sleeving on your keyboard? Do you protect your chairs with stretch foil? Do you use shrink film on every item in your house?

So what’s going on with these slevees thing? Anyone?!

*

Yeah, I know, I am this thematic guy. I love old books, I love old furniture, I prefer pen over keyboard and pipe over cigarette. I visit every secondhand bookshop I can, I bring home items that have no use for me, but are old and look cool. I am the crazy one. I know.

I have the same with games. I prefer old games. I had so much fun when I discovered secondhand gameshops in Germany. Buying old copy of Tikal or Samurai was so much cooler than just purchasing online brand new box. I visit secondhand gameshops every Essen. Treasure shops! I have at home many these old boxes with faded colors, old fashioned wooden pieces and whole history behind.

Games from my collection slowly fade too. My copy of Citadels looks like it was lost in a rainy forest for few weeks. It is because we played the game more than 100 times. Without stupid sleeves. My copy of The AMEZing Labyrynth has adhesive tape all over the box and carcassonne meeples instead of original pawns because we were going with it for every holiday with our kids. My copy of Cash & Guns? Man, you should see that box. This is a mess!

And I love this mess. All those games with signs of spilled coffee and with signs of our kids having too much freedom with crayons and those boxes with my notes written inside, and replacement components in many games…

This is my history. This is something I want to stay with me. I want those games have reminder of all those great evenings I spent with them.

I don’t want to have my games kept like they are in lab environment, sleeved and clean. Blank.

*

But you sleeve your cards because you want them to be clean. Some of you are just this type of person who prefer things to be clean. I respect that.

But the rest? Do you all really need to sleeve every damn card in every damn box you have in your collection? Really?!

Do you really believe that after 30 games of Race for the Galaxy cards will begin to have some signs of use that will make it impossible to play? I tell you, I played RftG more than 100 games. Without sleeves. Nothing happened.

Do you really believe that after 50 games of 51st State cards will begin to have any signs that will help to recognize a card from back side? I tell you, I played 51st State more than 200 game. Without sleeves. Nothing happened.

And you know what? Here is the most important:

If you played one game more than 50 times… Let it be Citadels for instance. And if by any chance there is any sign o use that would ruin comfort of play for you, here is a deal.

Take your copy of Citadels and give it to charity. Let people in need have some fun in life.

Then buy new copy of Citadels.

And then send an email to Bruin Faidutti that says:

‘Dear Bruno,

I had a great time playing your game. We played more than 50 games having 50 amazing evenings full of laughter and bluff. My copy is ruined and I am so happy for all those great gaming nights we had. I decided to give my old copy of Citadels to kids in school and I bought new copy of Citadels. I plan to play another 50 games. Thank you, sir.’

That way you will do a good deed for kids and charity.

That way Bruno will earn 6 USD from Royalties instead of only 3 USD.

And that way Ultra Pro will contact me and kick me in the ass for asking you to get rid of sleeves in your life.

What do you think? 🙂

Unexpected jump back to summer 2007

Yesterday I was driving to Wroclaw and – as nearly always when I drive – I was listening to gaming podcast. In the line I had new episode of The Cardboard Jungle podcast so I connected my Iphone to audio system in car and began to listen.

At some point guys began to present their Top 10 games. My twitter pinged and said: ‘You’re going to be happy in a little bit #spoileralert’ The kind of spoiler I may accept.

Well, yes, I know that Matthew and rest of the team plays Portal Games games so yes, I was kinda hoping that Robinson will make a list. And I was right, Robinson did make it. 4th place on Anthony list. Then it got beaten by Neuroshima Hex on Matt list and then by New Era on Paul list. It was super cool and it made this trip far less sucking (two traffic jams and one cloudburst during one trip achievement unlocked!).

But the magical moment came when Paul mentioned how he got hooked into Neuroshima Hex. It was because of trailer for Neuroshima Hex. Paul said (and I quote here):

‘It had this kinda this gentlemen speaking but it was really deep voice that matched the setting perfectly and it was just kind like you know my soldier is going to attack your base for 1 point of damage but then your opponent places a sniper across the board who’s gonna kill that guy before he hits the base and then your opponent takes the next turn and it goes Oh, yeah, well this guy is gonna smash the sniper before he can shot that guy who wants to hit the base so he can get the base…’

It was like I was hit right in my head. In a second memories hit me really really strongly. I a moment I was back in summer 2007. Why is that? It’s because Paul just quoted word by word what narrator in this trailer said.

We published this trailer 7 years ago.
And Paul just said it straight out the head.

***

Back in 2007 we were 3 guys from Poland, from poor country with no board games market nor any board games traditions. All we had was Neuroshima Hex designed by Michal Oracz and belief that we can do impossible, go to Essen and conquer the world.

Back in summer 2007 we had no skills to make video trailer. Nor we had funds to pay for one.
But my brother was at college at that time and had lectures about that. He said he will help.

Back in summer 2007 we had no skills to make video animations. Nor we had funds to pay for one.
But one of Neuroshima RPG fans was doing movie for some sideback project and he agreed to give us for free few seconds of animation.

Back in summer 2007 we had no professional lector. Nor Polish nor English one.
But one of Neuroshima RPG fans knew a guy, who knew a guy, who might do it for a beer…

Back in summer 2007 we had no skills to make soundtrack. Nor we had…
But one of our fans here in Poland played in heavy metal band and said he will help…

***

I could say that back in 2007 three of us: me, Rafal Szyma and Michal Oracz had nothing, had no money, no experience, no tools to make an international debut.

I won’t say that. I rather will say:

Back in 2007 three of us: me, Rafa Szyma and Michal Oracz had courage to do impossible, had determination to do impossible and what is most important had friends who made impossible… possible for us.

From nothing we made a movie trailer that 7 years later Paul quotes out of his head.

I am proud of New Era at 1. place of Paul list.
I am proud of Neuroshima Hex at 3. place of Matt list.
I am proud of Robinson at 4. place at Anthony list.

But above that all I am so f… proud of us, back in 2007.

Paul, I have to thank you for bringing those memories and reminding me about the mission impossible we did going to our first Essen. That was hell of adventure. Summer 2007…

How much maths used for designing the game?

That is question that I was asked on Twitter by RPG Edo this week. Answer is simple: it depends on the game. And it depends on the designer too. If we put in one line Stefan Feld, Ignacy Trzewiczek and Roberto Fraga and ask them this question, I bet that the answer would vary. Even if we put one guy, like me and ask this question, answer would vary too – there is not that much math behind Convoy but on the other hand there is hell of a math behind Pret-a-Porter.

So basically my answer would be something like: I don’t know, sir.

This answer sucks. So let me do what I can do best and share three short stories from my design history and math.

***

I could write plenty of funny articles about me designing Pret-a-Porter. One day I will. They would all gravitate around one simple subject – before I published PaP my reputation in Poland was more or less ‘Polish Roberto Fraga’. Funny and crazy dude who plays all kinds of party games at every single convention he is at.

I do remember the very first time I brought Pret-a-Porter to convention for some testing. I asked my friends:

‘Hey, I have economy strategy game to test. Would you help me?’

‘Absolutely!’ Tycjan replied bursting in laugh. Ignacy and economy game prototype – this was hell of a joke!

Then I put a board on the table and began to explain rules. In a second Tycjan stopped laugh. And got this awkward impression on his face. You know, this kind of face that says: ‘WTF?!’

Few years later he admitted that he was 200% sure I was going to show him my new party game prototype and I was only joking about economy and that for the whole test game he couldn’t believe what was actually happening. He couldn’t believe that I really designed economy game.

The truth is that foundations for Pret-a-Porter’s economy were built by my friend Rafal. I had the very first version of prototype prepared – everything ready to play, but without even a single number. No cost of cards, no cost of resources, no income, nothing. I knew exactly how the game should work, I knew flow of the game, I knew that these resources must be more expensive, these less, I knew everything. Everything, except the numbers.

So I asked  Rafal to help me with numbers. He lives in Gdansk, 800 km away. He took train and visited me. We played one game of Pret-a-Porter without numbers, just imitating final flow of the game, role playing it and then he sat and in a few hours wrote numbers on every single component I had. Next day he took train and got back to Gdansk. And I spent next 8 months with my most trusted testers balancing the game and polishing those numbers. But if it is not Rafal giving me a good start…

How much maths used for designing Pret-a-Porter? Much, sir!

Do designer of Pret-a-Porter is some kind of MathGod? Not at all, sir!

***

Last year we published Legacy. This is medium weight and very thematic eurogame with cute funny pictures on cards. As me tweeter feed says many of you already played the game (thank you!) and those who haven’t yet… Well, pick your copy today!

When you play Legacy you got immersed by theme and you might not even realize how much math is involved in this design. Let me show you just a glimpse. There different nationalities – certain number of cards for each. There are different occupations – certain number of each. There are two main values on cards – Income received and Prestige received and new Cards received. There are also special skills – each of them must be somehow considered in terms of its value. And from these different values we need to calculate final cost of each card. And since this is a card game about creating combinations of cards – all these values have to be considered not separately – character with Prestige 3 is worth 9 points of balancing, but considered in pattern of all cards in the game – character with Prestige 3 nationality French, occupation Artist is more valuable than character with Prestige 3 nationality British, occupation Diplomat…

This is math I can’t do.

This is math I hire people to do.

I covered this in my article. And my MathGuy in Portal Games covered it in this article and in this. If you want to see his magic tricks, read those articles. You will see a lot of things from behind the scene.

How much maths used for designing Legacy? Hell of, sir!

Did Ignacy have any idea how to keep balance in the game after introducing all changes he wanted to do in the game? Not at all, sir.

 

***

New expansion for 51st State (called Ruins) is in print. Ruins expansion has 40 cards. There are cards with super new skills and abilities, all those cards players can’t wait to have in hands. But among those super cool cards, there are also boring ones. Disappointing ones. Cards that are nearly the same like cards from the base game. Did Ignacy have no new ideas and put crap into box? Really? I had this funny discussion with one of the testers. He asked:

‘Those cards that give Fuel or Gun, they suck. I have plenty of those in base game. Do I need to buy expansion to have more of this crap?’

‘Yes, you have.’

‘Couldn’t you design something with new abilities?’

‘Yes, I could.’

‘So?’

‘I put them, because you need them.’

Here is a thing. Behind these all cool cards there is a math. Take 51st State and check how many Iron icons you have in Contract section. Take The New Era and do the same. Take 51st State ad check how many Fuel icons you have in Contract section. Take The New Era and do the same. And Gun, and Brick… And Spoil section. And Action section…

It all has to match. Because when you play the game, you need to have well calculated and balanced chance to draw a card that gives you Iron. Or Fuel. Or Brick…

So if you buy Ruins and you add those 40 cards to the base game, it means that chances to draw this crappy and boring card that says: ‘You receive 1 Fuel‘ are lower. That’s why I need to add copy of this crappy, but very important card into the expansion. Expansion will add new abilities, new powers, but will also try to not blow balance of the whole set of cards.

How much maths used for designing Ruins? Well, not that much, sir.

Did Ignacy have any problems with that? No. This time he managed to do it by himself. Yay!

BGGLeaks

I have very important announcement.  I came into possession of documents from Boardgamegeek.com that were confidential and as far as I suspect were to be deleted! This is serious affair. As you will see below some games were deprived of the chance to receive prizes! I am very sorry but this is terrifying truth. Below you will find list of categories and games that would win the price if only BGG would not mess with the procedures and not hide it from us.

Best 3 players game
Half of the box of Space Cadets

Best constantly out of stock game
Robinson Crusoe

Best my 4 year old daughter draws better cover of the game
Caverna

Best unstacking box of the game
Dungeon Roll

Best to promote our hobby game
You suck

Best re-rethemed (so called backwards retheming) game
Love Letter Kanai factory edition

Best golden ring including game
Nothing personal

Best your better order it online game
Ogre Designer’s Edition

 

I am not sure if this is all. These are documents, I found. If you have any access to BGG databases, and can find more of this, I highly appreciate it. World needs to know!