Fears and feelings about the next big project

I’m more scared about the upcoming release of KnifeTank: The Shüffling than any other project I can recall. I’ve been working on this game, plus a few others, for almost 4 years now and I’m so anxious to finally release my first board game. There always seems to be one more thing to do, like grow my email list or find more reviewers before launch, but after this much time working on building an audience and testing the game, I just need to get it out there and let the cards fall as they may (pun intended).

I don’t think my friends understand, but spending this much time working on boardgames with nothing tangible to show for it has been the main cause of stress in my life. Wether or not this project succeeds, I’ll just feel so good to finally have it ready for the world to see.

This will be my 10th Kickstarter project, but my first time creating a game. I feel like I know the ins and outs of running music or yo-yo campaigns, but none of my previous experience has me feeling prepared to make the jump into games. Since most of my previous projects were for yo-yos or Game Boy cartridges in the $75 range, I only needed about 300 backers to reach my goal, but this game is only $13, which means I’ll need about 900 backers.

No big deal, it’s just 3 times more backers than my most successful project has done.

I am nervous about getting this right, but I know the game is rock solid and the art will really knock it out of the park. Games are a huge audience on KS too, so it’s not unreasonable to triple the audience of my more niche projects. Worst case is that the project might fail and I’ll need to make some tweaks before relaunching it, but I know I’ll feel so much better after the campaign is live.

If you’d like to know more about the project and get notified when the campaign goes live, check it out on knifetank.com.

If you live in the Bay Area, I’ll be doing free demos (and giving out a unique KnifeTank card) from 1 till 4 at January 4th and 5that Mission Comics and Art.

My Favorite Games of 2019

Holy cow, 2019 was an incredible year for games. Here are my favorites:

Dune

The only board game on this list, but it’s fucking incredible, so I had to list it here. When we heard that DUNE was created by the same designers as Cosmic Encounter, we knew we had to play it. CE is one of our favorite games, but I think Dune is even better. Definitely more strategic, but I think it has a higher replay value as well.

Stone Story

The art on this game is what got me hooked. I liked it so much, in fact, that it inspired me to learn how to create ASCII art. Luckily the game play is just as interesting as the graphics. It’s a bit hard to explain, but the game sort of plays itself. I mean, you make big decisions and you can micro-manage if you want, but really it’s a “lets see what happens if I do this” kind of game.

Bad North

Bad North is a beautiful game in form and function. The art is a unique low-poly style combined with generative islands for you to protect from viking hordes. You can create 3 types of warriors that can be used to defeat your foes. There’s an interesting rock-paper-scissor mechanic here were archers defeat pikemen, pikemen defeat shieldsmen, shieldsman defeat arches, etc. Every time you play this game, you’ll have a different experience in terms of generative landscapes, but what really makes the game pop for me is the tiny actions each and everyone of your warriors takes during gameplay. Sometimes someone chickens out or goes mad with rage. It makes it feel so organic and fun.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator

TABS is the most ridiculous game I’ve ever played. It combines a very real physics simulator with totally absurd character animations and ends up just silly and fun. It’s a strategic game through and through, but with the most ridiculous physics and logic.

Totally Accurate Battle Simulator Fun GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Return of the Obra Dinn

OMG return of the OBRA DINNNNNNN! This is one of those games you buy for the art, but luck out on the game play. This is a who-done-it style game, where you play an insurance adjuster trying to determine how everyone on the Obra Dinn meet their cursed fate. Christine and I loved playing this game together. There were several times when she saw a clue I totally missed and vice versa. I shared a SPOILER FREE write up about the game’s art style here.

Lucas Pope Indie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Sea Salt

You are an elder god that’s pissed off at the mortal “leader” of your church, so you wage war against him. Rather than playing as some giant space monster, you posses smaller things like hordes of cultists or plagues of rats. It’s quite strategic and unlike any other game I’ve played.

A Short Hike

An adorable exploration game with a fun flight mechanic. People say it feels like an improved version of Animal Crossing, but I have no idea what that game is.

Ape Out

Easily the shortest game on the list, Ape Out feels like playing your favorite 1960s jazz album. I mean “playing it”, as in playing it like a video game. Every move, every villain, and every action triggers changes in the music or scenery that make this an experience like non-other.

KnifeTanking it up

This weekend I finished recording vocals for my next chiptune album and wrapped production on the Kickstarter video for KnifeTank: The Shüffling.

Toss card in action

The video was shot by my friend Shalaco and is being editing now. So many of my favorite people showed up to the shoot. Shoutout to Kearstin, Andrew, Eddie, John, Hank, Stuart, Rob, and Shalaco for sharing their afternoon with me. I can’t wait to show y’all the final video.

In other news, I’ve been reaching out to board game reviewers about KnifeTank and have added the game (and myself) to the Board Game Geek database. That part was not easy. BGG is very confusing, but hey, if you’re on it please feel free to leave a review for KnifeTank: The Shüffling. Thanks!

Dune (the boardgame)

Cosmic Encounter was one of the first commercial board games with a simple set of core rules and a specific set of modifications to those rules for each player. Future Pastimes employed this technique in some of their other designs, notably the Dune board game.

Wikipedia

This re-issue of Dune is a fantastic boardgame. Definitely shares many qualities of Cosmic Encounter, but with a richer (and admittedly much longer) game play. When we heard that Dune was created by the same developers as Cosmic Encounter, one of our favorite games, we jumped right in and bought a copy. No regrets. We’ve played 3 long games of Dune now and can’t wait to get another 2 or 3 in before the year ends.