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Board Games | First Time Flowing - Part 2
 

All posts in Board Games

Out of Focus Much Too Bright

I remember when I was working on House of Whack I could just sit there and create graphics for ten hours at a time. And I didn’t feel it. Time just blew past. Lately I’ve been noticing that it is hard to stay focused on any one thing, be it a job at work, a personal project, video games, TV shows, whatever. Part of it is an energy thing. I’m tired and unmotivated much of the time. After sitting at a computer for eight hours at work, it is a tough sell to tell myself “Okay, now it is time to be creative! Let’s sit in front of the computer some more!”

Another part of it is I feel like I’ve got to get it all done, see it all, play it all, before…what? Before I die? Before I’m in a relationship? I don’t know. So, unconsciously, I was becoming very results oriented, wanting to get to the end as quickly as possible. I really need to relax and enjoy the process of whatever I’m doing.

I’ve been learning some new software so I can create illustrations of the characters for the Dune game. Learning digital tools is like learning new spells. I want to be able to summon the floating palace right away, but first I need to learn how to push little stone blocks around. My mind cracks open with the possibilities and then is daunted by all there is to learn. There’s already so much information in my head.

Ugh, even finishing this post is getting to be a struggle. Sleepy sleepy…

Venture Forth

Here is a video I put together to help promote my friend Dan Manfredini’s board game Venture Forth. I wrote the script, had Marc Majcher record the voice over and then I composited original artwork from the game. I think it turned out pretty well for something turned around within several hours.

Help fund the game at Kickstarter

Set My Mind in Motion

The main board disc is essentially complete. Since I had graphics for all of the board spaces, it was a no brainer to put together the Spice Deck. The original version has the region completely isolated. I decided to highlight the space where the spice blow occurs and desaturating the spaces around it, so you could see where it was contextually.

I still need to come up with a good sandworm image. I’m looking for a good 3D model, but I might end up trying to draw one. Maybe I can have Nick draw one.

My mind has just been a flood of ideas lately, all potential projects. I’m trying to give everything the nurturing it requires at its current state while still focusing on things in active development, like the Dune board.

Speaking of nurturing, I finally got around to buying some potting soil to fill up the planter I built from an old cabinet and some bricks. I went to the local nursery, ready to pick out tomato and pepper plants only to find out there had been a rush on tomatoes as it had become hot much earlier this year. Now it was no use trying to plant tomatoes or green peppers until the fall. I did come away with a basil plant and a chocolate mint plant (yes, that is a real thing).

I also set up a timed sprinkler in the front yard to begin resuscitating the lawn. It feels really good to go outside and putter about, surveying the land, making plans.

Scattershot

Come with me on a wander through some items related only by the virtue that they sprang from my head.

I awoke from a dream in which I was in a relationship with Claudia Black. Or maybe it was her character Vala Mal Doran. I don’t have a Claudia Black thing going on, but I had been watching the last season of Stargate SG-1 recently. It was one of those dreams with compressed time and a lot of ground was covered. In the end things didn’t work out and we were both unhappy. I woke up feeling genuinely down about the whole thing. I tried to find a message in it. Maybe she reminds me of someone.

I think I have too many apps on my iPad. Like over 150. I had this feeling the other day like I was at a bar staring down a trail of shot glasses that ended at my hand, like I might have a problem. If something I might like is 99 cents, I buy it without question, archiving it for later. With physical objects and media, I keep it spartan, but with the digital I am a pack rat. If there were a show called CyberHoarders, I would be on it. I have a little black box with a million worlds on it.

Since I don’t track the passage of time well, I have a suite of reminders on my phone and computer which tell me when to do things. Routines can be good right? But sometimes they seem like fences or mile markers. Hedges around my life or notches measuring the remainder of it.

Here is what I can’t forget to do:
1. Clean out the litter box (every 3 days)
2. Administer nasal sprays (twice a day, 1 dose followed by another 30 minutes later)
3. Clean out the Roomba (twice a week)
4. Take a 1 minute exercise break (every hour)
5. Go to Boards ‘n Brews (every Tuesday night)
6. Write a blog post (every Saturday)

I guess that isn’t too bad. I wish it also said 7. Make-out session (every…week?)

As I was doing some prep work for the components for the Dune game, I realized something that could be designed differently. The original game has a disc for each of the characters. Why a disc? So it can fit in the disc-shaped slot in the combat wheel. But why do it that way? Why not just put them on a card instead? You can put your card face down to keep it secret. And why do you even need this huge combat wheel? Why not a card-sized wheel like the life counters in Magic? So now you can just hold a hand of cards: your leader, your Treachery cards, and your combat wheel card. There is something neat about the discs and putting them in that slot, but when you take a step back it is really a bit convoluted and unnecessary.

The Genesis Effect

Perhaps my analog to having children is creating projects. The most satisfying projects are the ones that become larger than myself, things with a life of their own. I’m not entirely sure why that is. Maybe I like being able to diffuse the success of something over a group of people because accepting it myself is too overwhelming.

It’s like that with Boards ‘N Brews, a weekly board game meetup I started two years ago. My original thought was to play some of the games I owned that never seemed to make it to the table. I figured I could find four or five other people who might want to meet twice a month and play games. Fast forward to today where there are now 40-50 regular members, several other organizers, and several games scheduled every week at a packed venue. Sometimes I walk in to the Rockin’ Tomato and see all those people and think that I am somehow responsible for what is happening. But I try not to think about it too much. I’m just happy that it exists.

I like to bring ideas to life, set things in motion and then let them go. While I like to provide creative direction, I don’t really like being “in charge” of anything or anyone. A lot of the time nothing will happen unless someone decides to take action and sometimes that someone is me. But that is different from wanting to control everything for control’s sake. I’d rather have an idea and then find all the right people to make it happen and have someone else manage it.

In an ideal world, I’d be a facilitator for dreams, mine and other people’s. I’d nurture the most promising ideas and help cultivate an environment for them to grow in. And then I’d let them be what they are going to be. If you see any job postings like that on Craig’s List, be sure to let me know.

Brief Update

Just a short status report on where various projects stand… Continue reading →

Remapping Arrakis

I have made some progress on my custom version of Dune. I’ve got quite a bit of the board artwork done. I hadn’t decided on a particular style at first, but I knew I needed to at least have all the board spaces drawn out. So I re-drew all of the locations from the original board. As I did so, I started playing with textures, colors and effects. I went with more abstract outlines for the regions, more like something you’d see on a Risk board. My goal was to differentiate the types of regions and still maintain the desert planet look.

I still need to add some iconography and I may add additional texturing, but this is getting close to something I am really happy with.

You can click on the image for a larger version.

Here is the original board from the game, for comparison:

Talisman Revised

As a child, one of my favorite board games was Talisman, game of fantasy adventure that changed every time you played. There were even these things called expansions that let you add even more characters and monsters to the game. As with most things I liked, I took it upon myself to improve the game by adding my own hand-made cards and rules.

Even as a child, I recognized that there were flaws in the game and that it wasn’t realizing its full potential. The rules I came up with essentially turned it into more of a role-playing game, something more along the lines of HeroQuest. It wasn’t really Talisman any more. Continue reading →

Dune Sandstorm Board Concept

Before I decide on art or any of the other components, I need to tackle how I want the storm to work. In the original game, the sandstorm is represented by a small cardboard token that moves around the edge of the circular board. This is not very dramatic for how important a role it plays. It also fades into the background too much and is easy to overlook.

My idea is that the sandstorm should clearly overlay the entire segment of the board it is affecting. But how to do so without disrupting any pieces on that segment (in the safety of rock regions, for example)? I propose a layered board which is effectively one giant dial. The storm is printed on a transparent plastic disc sandwiched between another clear plastic layer (the actual board surface) and a base cardboard layer with the board art.

This way the sandstorm will move underneath the pieces on the board and clearly designate what area it affects.

Here is a mockup of the cross-section:

A fastener at the center would hold the three pieces in place but still allow the storm to rotate. There would also need to be some kind of adhesive at the four corners for stability, but also allow enough play for the storm to move easily.

The result would look like this:

As you can see, there would need to be sections cut out from each edge of the top frame to allow for access to the storm layer’s edge. My one concern is that it may be a bit clunky when moving the storm great distances.

I may further elaborate on this by printing the regions protected from the storm on the topmost plastic layer. This would provide a clear visual indication of which units are safe and which are destroyed.

Arrakis…Dune…Desert Planet

Like many designers who have played the out of print board game Dune, I have thought to myself, “I could make my own version of this.” Indeed, the image gallery on Board Game Geek is full of custom renditions of the game. It would be no problem to download some PDFs and print out a copy of the game, but I’d like to have a go at making my own artwork for it. Also, I have an interesting solution for the sandstorm I’d like to attempt.

So far, the project is in the planning stages. I have accumulated PDF components of the original game, reference artwork, and some links to sites which might provide game components which I will shape to my own purposes.

Most of the designs I have seen stick very closely to the components of the original, but I wonder if there aren’t alternatives to the combat wheel, for example. Beyond the physical aspects, I also feel like some of the more ridiculous mechanics (such as the whole blind bidding on Treachery cards) can be overhauled. We shall see.