Thursday, December 31, 2009

MormonFind.com

12:10 AM by Mike · 0 comments
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Mormon Find has a section on their site that contains several games, both for kids and for older kids (adults like me I guess).

For smaller children there is a match game, which seems pretty simple. I guess it's more about reading and sharing that time with your child. The other children's game is called Noah's Ark. You maneuver the ark back and forth in the water trying to catch the animals (2 of each of course) as they fall from the sky. All the while the water is rising. Not bad, but it was hard to catch the animals as sometimes animals already on the ark would be bounced out as others were caught.

There are also 2 3D maze games. One, Quest of the Plates of Brass, is about finding certain items that Nephi encountered in Jerusalem. They each have a particular letter next to them in the maze. You have to enter the correct letter next to each item at the bottom of the page. In the other maze game, 2000 Stripling Warriors, you have to find Christ in the maze.

Puzzles are also an option on Mormon Find. There are a plethora of jigsaw puzzles that can be done (mostly temple pictures). The concentration game can also be played (what I think of when match game is said).

Lastly, there are some quizzes/trivia based games.

All in all a pretty good place to go find some interesting/different type LDS games that aren't had anywhere else.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cache Valley Board Game Gathering

Jason (tuttleboy on the geek) has put together another gathering for us here in Cache Valley: the Cache Valley Board Game Gathering (CVBGG; quite the acronym!). It will be held on January 23rd at the Why Sound building on 30 Federal Avenue. It will run pretty much all day, 9 am to 9 pm (I'll post a flier once I get one from Jason). Jason's goal is to be able to hold this gathering once each month! Quite awesome, if I do say so myself!!

This time he asked me if our little group, Game Designers of Logan, would like to show up with some of our designs for people to play. Of course, I am super excited about that. I love showing people my games and getting their feedback and input. A couple other members of the group have voiced that they think it is a great idea. So, we should be there in the middle of the day with some of our designs to show off and let people try!

See you all next month.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book of Mormon Trading Cards!

So, there is an online vendor or site for buying and selling LDS related products called Latter-Day Village (here). They have all kinds of things for sale, apparel to music to games. And therein lies the focus of this post: the games, specifically the Book of Mormon Trading cards (here's a link to set 1).

The Book of Mormon Trading cards are available in two different sets. Each set includes 13 trading cards.

Set 1 includes cards depicting:
Ammon
Captain Moroni
Gadianton
King Benjamin
King Lamoni
King Noah
Kishkumen
Laban
Lehi
Samuel the Lamanite
Teancum
The Gold Plates
Zeezrom

Set 2 includes cards depicting:
Abish
Alma & Amulek
Bountiful Temple
Daughters of Ishmael
Hagoth
Helaman
Laman & Lemuel
Liahona
Moroni
Nephi
Sariah
Sword of Laban
Zarahemla

The artwork was done by Sam Wilson (link to his blog). The card design was done by Debora Woods (the webmaster for Latter-Day Village). Both sets are available for purchase (set 1 = $6.95 and set 2 = $5.95) and download.

Additionally, each set contains the cards set up for playing cards (each one in 4 different suits for a total of 52 cards) and some coloring/activity pages.

These look really cool. It's great to see all kinds of options available to us in the realm of LDS games!!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sticky Buzz Software



Apps for the iPhone and for Android!! Sticky Buzz Software has released the Book of Mormon Trivia iPhone app (here). The game contains over 200 trivia questions about the Book of Mormon people, places, and things. You pick the number of questions you want, the difficulty level, and attempt to beat your total score and/or your record time.


The goal for Sticky Buzz Software is to create fun and exciting iPhone apps. Some will be LDS specific but some will not. This is their first app that has been approved and now available in the app store. They also have a second app that was just approved: 1s and 0s (check it out here).

This is pretty exciting and I hope to see more LDS games from Sticky Buzz!!

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Mormon Game Design 101: Episode 00

3:13 PM by Mike · 0 comments
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Welcome to the hundred and first post of the Mormon Game Design blog!! I've decided that I want to start something a little different. One of my goals in designing my games and having this blog is to promote the design and development of quality, fun LDS themed games. As a way of promoting that idea I've decided to start a series that will be called: Mormon Game Design 101. This will be my little way of showing all you readers out there how I go about designing games. I will actually work through designing games, from the small inkling of an idea through to the actual "finished" design with rules/instructions and a nice prototype. So, sit back and enjoy this introduction to Mormon Game Design 101 (and let me know what you think).



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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Passive vs Active Entertainment

Yehuda just posted about board games and whether they are passive or active entertainment (here). And that post, of course, really got me thinking (his posts seem to do that) about these sorts of issues in the both LDS games that are currently available and in the LDS themed games that I am designing.

Passive Entertainment
This shows up in a game when the game is ruled by randomness: you roll the dice or you spin the spinner or the drawn card determines what happens in the game. In Yehuda's words: "When you roll the dice and laugh, groan, or jump for joy at the outcome, you are enjoying passive entertainment" In other words, you don't have to do a lot of thinking or "strategizing" in the game. Your involvement is quite passive.

Active Entertainment
If you play a game that involves you making many decisions, laying out plans, or thinking up different strategies that will help you accomplish the goals of the game, then you are involved in a more active entertainment. Again, in the words of Yehuda: "When you're called upon to think or make a decision, you are enjoying active entertainment. There are different levels of active entertainment, from the simple (trivia: do I know it or not?) to the complex (how do I get my battalion to that base?). Regardless of complexity, you can rank better or worse players, and most of the time you can work to improve yourself."

In my mind these two "levels" of entertainment would lie on a continuum (each occupying an extreme).



This continuum could then be used to categorize games; games could be placed along this continuum. Some games would include some active and some passive entertainment. Other games would include more passive entertainment, but still include a little active entertainment. Snakes and Ladders could be used as an example. In this game players spin the spinner and move their pawn the corresponding number of spaces on the board. If they end their turn at the bottom of a ladder, then they climb the ladder to the space above. If they end their turn at the top of a snake, then they slide down the snake to the space at the end of the snake. So, there is no decision making involved with this game. The random result of the spin determines all that happens in the game. I would place Snakes and Ladders at the extreme end of passive entertainment on the continuum.



This all raises a question in my mind: LDS themed games (those currently available and those that I am designing and will design in the future), where do they fall on the continuum and where should they fall on the continuum? I ask this second part of the question because I think the audience of the games needs to be considered. If the audience is one that would prefer games closer to the passive end of the continuum then, by all means, design and publish games that fall closer to that end. This quandary also arises from the following news post: Star-Telegram. Were those who rated the games looking for a more passive or active entertainment experience?

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nephi's Courage

1:10 PM by Mike · 0 comments
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Published by: Covenant Communications
Cost: $10.95

This game is really a set of cards for playing your traditional Go Fish, Old Maid, and the Matching Game. It contains cards that depict prophets from the Book of Mormon (as well as a Gadianton Robber card; represents the "Old Maid"). There are 4 cards for each prophet with two different colored backgrounds, white and yellow (two of each). So, you could play the match game with all the cards and have to match yellow Nephi with yellow Nephi (if you were to match yellow Nephi with white Nephi, well then, that wouldn't be considered a match).

Overall, I like the artwork, it is very different from other things I've seen in games. A couple of qualms I have with this set of cards are:  

1) it was hard for my kids to hold these bigger sized (kids cards are very often "oversized") cards and know if they had matches in their hand (this is a problem in Old Maid as you remove matches from your hand). For example, my 6 year old just put all her cards down face up on the table and looked through them (not super strategic when playing Old Maid, ha, ha).

and

2) due to the "oversized" nature of the cards, they end up to be a little less durable. And with kids this is a big necessity. The cards need to be durable, able to last and not easily bend or tear. Playing the game with a 4 year old, 6 year old, and 7 year old, well, they are sometimes put in mouths, smashed together in hands, bent, folded, etc. The cards become "marked" quite easily.

These things aren't a big deal to kids. They will just play and not pay too much attention to them. Eventually they will learn which card has the big bent corner and use that to their advantage (at least I did when I was growing up) while playing. As I found this set of cards at DI for $1, I can't much complain.



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Friday, December 4, 2009

Hagoth Artwork Update

We are getting closer to having the finished product for Hagoth: Builder of Ships!! I can't wait to get the game in my hands! It's looking fantastic! So, I figured I'd show a little bit of the update to the cards.



Here we have Hagoth portrayed standing on one of his ships with wood and tools in hand. This will be the back of the cards. We also have the Sail card which is used to sail your ships on the board, moving them closer to the Land Northward.



This graphic displays several of the ship design cards that are used as you play the game. This is the largest ships that can be built. Using just the four corners will produce a different, smaller ship.

Thanks goes to Scott (here) for the beautiful artwork and to Seth (from Mayday Games) for letting me share this here on the blog.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chapter & Verse

I had never played a collectible card game before I was introduced to Chapter & Verse (here). If you are also unfamiliar with collectible card games (or CCGs as they are commonly referred to) then let me clue you in a bit. A CCG could be thought of like sports cards. When I was younger I collected baseball, football, and basketball cards. I would buy a pack of cards just hoping to get a particular player. You never knew what you were going to get. That's the collectible part of CCGs. There is a "base-set" of cards, usually. But beyond that you buy "booster packs" and hope to get the cards you've seen other players using. Although, with the way things are today, you can pretty much just jump onto ebay and find the one card you really want and buy it that way (I used to be able to do that sometimes by going to sports card shops and find that the one card I was looking for they had for sale by itself). Anyway, add to the collectible feature the idea that the cards are used to play a game and, there you have it, CCGs!!

So, Chapter & Verse is a game designed by Mark Hansen (website; blog). It is based in the four standard works: Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrine & Covenants. The cards each display a verse from the scriptures. Many cards also include bonus, "special" powers that that card offers to the play who plays it. For example, a card may give you the opportunity to look through your so far un-played deck and grab a card to add to your hand. Furthermore, each card belongs to a particular "color." There are 5 colors, each representing different things related to the Gospel, like Spirituality or Temptation.


The object of the game is create what are called "books." A "book" contains a total of 12 points, which come from the cards (or "verses") that it is made up of. Players take turn playing verses into stack in front of them. As they create books from the verses they receive "blessing" (a set of 7 cards removed from your deck at the beginning of the game). Once a player has received all 7 of their blessings, they win the game!!

Overall, I think the game offers a great opportunity for players to get involved in a game that is built around the scriptures. Players also need to be sure they know the scriptures they are playing in the game, as they may be required at some point during the game to recite a verse they have just played. Really, the only thing that I currently dislike about the game, and this is not a huge dislike, is that there is a mechanism built in for players to steal stacks of verses from each other. It makes the game a lot more interesting, as there isn't a whole lot of interaction that way, but in a game about scripture study and the power that comes from the scriptures, stealing doesn't quite seem to fit.

I would definitely recommend any and all to download the starter deck (here) and take some time to play the game. It's fun and definitely educational!!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And we have a winner!!

8:05 PM by Mike · 0 comments
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The drawing for a free copy of the Armor of God has been held and the winner is... (internet drum roll)

Gregory Fielding!

Congratulations!
Now, all we need you to do is to email me (mikedrys@gmail.com) some contact information so that we can get the game sent your way.

Thanks to all who have become followers and fans of the blog here. Never despair, we'll have other such contests and drawings in the future.

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