Monday, February 15, 2016


Sitting at my kitchen table I  noticed that both Carcassone and Settlers of Catan were both designed by men named Klaus.  I just thought that was interesting

Speaking of board games.  I've been flirting with the idea of actually making a prototype of one of my board games for awhile.  I think it might be time but I'm not quite sure which one to go with.  One of the difficulties of designing a board game is actually producing all the accessories required.  The game board is easy and various pieces can be coins for testing but when it comes to cards you have to put in some serious work.

There are only a handful of games that don't require a deck of cards.  I don't know if it was Monopoly that started the trend but it's a consistent element of modern board games.  There's no better way to put random elements into a game than with cards.  Dice are great for movement and such but cards add information and can shape a game in a unique way.  With a large enough deck of cards or multiple decks you can vary game play to the point that a person can play many times without repeating the experience.  Making all those cards is difficult.

My big game idea is a Mutant Chronicles style team dungeon crawl with many random encounters.  To give the game replay value you have to create many different encounter cards otherwise players will get bored.  With the system I devised each encounter card has to have calculated stats, flavor text, picture and rewards.  That's quite a bit to put on a single playing card and calculating that I'd need around 50 of these cards put me off the project for awhile. 

My next project was a city building game that also needed quite a few cards to play.  Each card was a building that players could build to gain points and power within the game.  Again, each card needed stats, pictures and other vital information.  In order to add all the flavor and depth I had imagined the number of required cards was significant.  Again I put this on the shelf for later.

With the prospect of designing decks of cards crushing my spirit I then turned to designing a game that didn't require them.  Instead I thought about a game system that instead relied on a good old set of standard playing cards.  You would have a game mat that was the playing field and your deck of playing cards was the random element with face cards as important characters and number cards representing faceless troops.  The idea was that a simple rules pamphlet, game mat and deck of cards would suffice to play the game.  In fact you could carry many different games in a backpack with this system instead of lugging around big boxes.  I was designing two different games based on this system, a World War I game and a game of royal politics in a fictional land.  I got backed up when it came to the math of it all and put that on the shelf as well.  I think this is one project I should really get back to.

So even though my name isn't Klaus, it is Keith and maybe that will account for something.  I should really get back to work on these games and just do the damn cards in Publisher and print them like a tech savvy person.  That would make the most sense.

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