Wednesday, March 25, 2009

GameBits

I've opened my own shop at Shapeways.


I call it GameBits. In essence, anyone can check out the models I've designed and buy them. Shapeways will ship them directly to you!

I am going to offer any bit (component) that I design for my games. I will also model any bit that anyone would like to use in their own design/prototype; sort of like commission, I guess. It's just a lot of fun designing my own pieces for my games as well as designing the games!

I currently have 3 models up. I've got the ships I used for Hagoth, the Titles of Liberty for Peril, and I just put up a meeple that I thought was cool. I mean, they're so common now-a-days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Board Game Designers Guild of Utah

Well, I've been a member of the Guild for about 6 months now. I've only made it down to SLC for 1 meeting. I find it hard to take trips on a student budget (especially when I've got my wife and 5 children to worry about, you know, home, food, clothing, etc.). Anyway, the Guild has an official logo that was in the works for a little while. Here it is:

Very, very cool! Ryan Laukat, a member of the Guild, designed it (here's a link to a little about Ryan). He's done work for a few games: Bridge Troll (designed by Alf Seegert, also a member of the Guild) and a few cards for Dominion.

There is a Yahoo Group for the Guild and also a website.

It's a lot of fun and very informative being a member of the Guild and being able to interact, if only through the Yahoo Group forum. I feel that I've been able to learn quite a bit already. I can't wait to be able to attend meetings more regularly. I know that that will be an even better learning experience. Anyway, Phil from the Guild proposed a game design competition to culminate in play-testing the results during the first April meeting. Those who choose to design a game have to keep within the following restrictions:
1) Player decks of cards (up to 30 per deck)
2) Must employ either square or hexagon shaped tiles (up to 40 squares or 30 hexagons)
3) No six-sided dice (unless they are used differently)
I started working on a game that would match these restrictions. I've found that it's a lot of fun having certain restrictions placed on the design process. When I first found out about restrictions that would be placed on me in this endeavor to design LDS/Mormon-themed games, I didn't really like it. But now, I find it a lot more enjoyable. It give me some boundaries and guidelines. Alf provided the Guild with a great article that he found online that relates directly to this: here.

In the game I'm working on, players take the role of a group of "-ites" during early parts of the Book of Mormon when the split happened that created the Nephite and Lamanite nations. The players seek to build the greatest army and the most righteous nation. They do this by getting control of the Sword of Laban and the Brass Plates. I'll write more when things are more put together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shapeways

Update 3/19/09: I just got the lost ship in the mail (it came with an extra one). It didn't seem like it took much time to travel via "normal mail" and not UPS.

My models from Shapeways showed up in the mail!!!


The box was extra big for the models that I ordered, but I appreciate the nice packing that help make sure things will be safe and sound as they travel around the world to me from the Netherlands!







I ordered both the ships and the Titles of Liberty. They ended up being a little smaller than I thought they would be, but they work just fine.






The Ships


We painted these red, blue, and yellow (left some white) for Hagoth. I'll be posting pictures and things of Hagoth soon. I've pretty much got the design all finished. It's just a matter of putting the whole thing together.





The Titles


The bases are supposed to look like the top of a tower. That part, as well as the pole, will be gray. Then the Title itself will be painted (I'm not sure what color; like I have said many a time, I'm not an artist).




The material is kind of weird. My wife says it reminds her of salt. But it totally works for me.

My overall experience with Shapeways has been extremely good. I ordered when they were running a 25% off sale. A couple days after I uploaded the models and order, I got an email from Elena in production. She told me that the sail part of the ship was a little skinny and probably wouldn't come out when printed. She also told me that I could take a shot at fixing it and they would still honor the sale price. I made 3 attempts and finally got one that would work well. I kind of wish she would have said something about the Titles. A couple were broken as the pole was really skinny. Anyway, there was also 1 ship missing in my package, so I emailed Elena. She found it and put it in the mail, not UPS like the original package, but it will be here soon nonetheless. All I can say is that they are great to work with and look to give the customer the best experience possible. It's quite a difference from most of my experiences with stores I walk into. I am completely satisfied.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Peril in the Promised Land

Peril in the Promised Land is a cooperative game where players take on the role of one of the captains in the Nephite army in an attempt to recover cities that have been lost to the Lamanites. They play against the game itself, the Lamanites/King-Men as they attempt to take over Zarahemla.

Players get to setup the board in any fashion they like. It is composed of hex shaped pieces that fit together to create the Promised Land. The Nephite captains start in Zarahemla and must recover 3 of the 6 cities currently occupied by Lamanite forces. Furthermore, to win the game, players must raise a total of 3 Titles of Liberty.

On the players turn he/she has the option to move, draw a card, play a card, or fortify a city. Cards allow players to do things like attack or defend. The Lamanite action for each players turn is decided by the roll of a die. The Lamanites may end up attacking, defending, or the King-Men may advance closer to the Judgment Seat (the player may also lose some of the members of his army). If the Lamanites end up capturing Zarahemla or if the King-Men arrive at the Judgment Seat, then the players lose.

Do you have what it takes to lead your Nephite army forces under the Title of Liberty to retake your homes and lands?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Publishing Excitement

Well, this is extremely exciting. I started a thread over at boardgamegeek several months ago. Well, Seth from Mayday Games here in Utah, replied with an "we're interested in publishing Mormon themed games"!!! I had no idea that there could be someone out there, not "affiliated" with church, who would be interested in publishing Mormon themed games. It's very exciting. Needless to say, I emailed him right away and am "patiently" awaiting his reply. I can't wait to see what happens! I guess it just goes to show that you never really know what you'll find until you actually start sharing your ideas and insights. People really are very open to that and willing to share back.

I also was contacted by Shapeways today. It's seems the sail on my ship model was a bit (actually a ton) too skinny. So, it's probably going to delay the shipment, but I was able to tweak the model and it's good to go now. The great thing is that I order my pieces during their sale and they are still honoring that even though I've made changes and the sale is over! Great customer service there. I get that feeling from reading through their forums about problems that people have had and how good the people at Shapeways are to help them with everything. It's great to know that there are still people like that in this world. Anyway, I can't wait to get those pieces delivered! It's going to be a whole lot of fun.

The other pieces I ordered with the ships for Hagoth were Titles of Liberty for Peril in the Promised Land. Here's another screenshot:

I was attempting to make it look like the Title was raised on top of a tower. I can't wait to see these when they get here either. I've been looking into how to print the board pieces of Peril in the Promised Land and found BluePanther. I've been corresponding with Steve there about printing hex shaped board pieces. It looks quite promising and not at all as expensive as I had first thought. Self-publishing may be in reach for more of my games than I had thought as well.

Now to figure out how I would sell them online. And how to market them myself.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hagoth Update

11:28 AM by Mike · 0 comments
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Well, there's been quite the lull here on my blog. But this doesn't mean that I'm not doing anything. I'm getting serious about Hagoth and seeking to self-publish. So I've been heavy into finding ways to produce the cards and components.

Shapeways
I got hooked up on Shapeways as a beta tester like a year ago. But I hadn't been doing anything with it for quite sometime. Then I got a nice newsletter in my inbox the other day. That was a great reminder of what is available that I'd forgotten about. Shapeways allows you to create an account, upload 3D models, and have them printed and shipped to your home! So I ordered some 3D ships that I modeled in Blender. Here's a quick screenshot.


So I should have the ships in a week or so. Then I'll paint them. And I'll have some pretty sweet 3D components for the game.

New Design
I've also started to change the look of the cards. I want the ship pieces cards to look more like an actual plan or written design for the ships. In hopes that I can accomplish this the ship pieces cards now look like this:

I'm pushing my artistic talents to the extreme. But it's a lot of fun. Hopefully it will look good in the end, good enough to publish to the world!!
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