Monday, August 17, 2015

Other games in development

This blog has mostly been about Sands of Time, but in case there's interest, here's a more-or-less comprehensive list of the games I've worked on (well, the ones that are worth mentioning, anyway...):

Finished or Nearly Finished

Sands of Time (Accepted by Spielworxx, publication anticipated 2016)

Civilization-building game set in classical antiquity.  Distinctive features include a board based on an ancient map, a scoring system representing players boasting about their grandiose accomplishments, and an economy in which players' costs to take actions are set by their empire's unrest level.

Lost Adventures (Submitted)

Co-designed with Steve Sisk.  Indiana Jones-themed artifact hunt with two phases, a globe-trotting information gathering phase followed by a temple crawl.  Uses a simple system through which the game "knows" the whereabouts of the lost artifact.  Players visit "theme cards" to acquire information, but must avoid and outpace "The Enemy" in their pursuit of the artifact.
 Le Sablier (Selected for Boston Festival of Indie Games 2014)
Real-time cooperative game about running a restaurant.  Players are each assigned an individual role in the restaurant, and must coordinate their activities so as to provide the highest quality dining experience possible to customers without them leaving in frustration.  Key feature is the use of 20+ sand timers to coordinate all of the different processes happening in the restaurant.  Super-frenetic and always fun; everyone has been to a restaurant at some point so the gameplay feels quite intuitive.

Santa's Reindeer

Breezy card game in which players are breeding reindeer for Santa's team.  Players play cards to present silly reasons why a current deer on the team is unfit for service, and must then propose replacements; but Santa needs to keep things simple, so replacement deer must preserve the original rhyme scheme.

Downhill Racer

Solo card and dice game about the Olympic Downhill.  Course is composed of cards, each of which represents a different element (a turn, a jump, etc), and symbols on the dice are used to pass these elements.  The player chooses how aggressive he wants to be on each element, and then rolls to see if he held his line.  If so, he increases his speed, if not, he must pay "save" tokens equal to his current speed, or else crash.  So, speed management is key to successfully navigating the course with the best time possible.


Dexterity game in which you toss "shuriken" tiles at "ninja" pieces, trying to knock down as many as you scan.  Semi-cooperative; each round one person tossses tiles to show where the ninjas will be placed, and the other players then toss shurikens to try to achieve as high a group score as possible.  Has been a very big hit with younger players especially. 


A game for the Decktet; drafting game in which you pay "time chips" to draft cards and then either use them in your newspaper or spend them to get "attestation cubes" in an amount equal to their rank.  You distribute these cubes to cards in your paper that match the suit of the card you just spent, and only cards with a number of cubes equal to the card's rank count in the end.

The Ministry of Knowledge

Another Decktet game.  A bidding game, in which the lowest bid receives chips equal to the bid card's rank; players then use chips they have won to publish papers, but number of chips paid must equal the rank of the paper being published.  You use the same cards to bid and to publish as papers, so good hand management is essential.

In Progress

The Acts of the Evangelists

Third in a planned trilogy of games about the first century of Christianity.  This game is about the process by which the "evangelists" composed the four texts we now refer to as the Christian Gospels.  Players will travel to various cities of the Roman empire, accumulating stories about Jesus of Nazareth, interviewing eyewitnesses to those stories, and arranging them into a pleasing literary account.  Two "prequel" games, Disciples and Apostles, are also in the works; Disciples is nearly complete but perhaps getting a big overhaul, Apostles is in the idea stage but seems to be converging.


Medieval-ish game of intrigue.   Players have "scheme" cards representing end game states they're trying to steer the board into (e.g. "[This] barony is biggest", "[That] Faction controls 2 cities").  Build a power structure to enable you to execute the actions you need to perform to achieve the schemes you're trying to achieve.   Form marriage alliances and utilize the power structure of your allies.  Most interesting characteristics are the importance of aligning your goals with those of other players, and the use of "loaned power" to access your allies' power, and to bribe other players into supporting you in elections.

 I Am Spartacus

Co-design with Rich Durham.  Recreates the iconic scene at the end of the classic film.  Large-group game in which most players are slaves, a few are Romans, and one is (secretly) Spartacus.  Romans ask for volunteers to confess, then some slaves declare "I am Spartacus!"  Romans must judge which slaves to execute, the confessors or those not confessing.  A promising idea but still needs some work.

Just Ideas at This Point

Sherlock Holmes

An entirely "visual" microgame consisting of 20 cards: 4 locations, 4 victims, 4 scenes, and 8 suspects.  Choose a victim, location, and scene to setup.  Players examine the cards to attempt to identify the common visual element that connects the three, and then figure out which suspect it implicates.  Game will have a built-in difficult system so that some cases are easy and some are nearly impossible without copious background knowledge.


Brand new idea about the investigation into the JFK assassination.  Collect evidence, interview witnesses, and chase down the conspiracy before the threads evaporate.


A game in the "Le Sablier" family; this one is a real-time strategy game about a villainous mastermind hatching schemes, and the heroes who are attempting to thwart his plans.  Diverges from conventional hero games -- it's not so much about comparing power levels and dealing out damage points as it is about time.  The villain tries to distract the heroes with irrelevant threats while his real plans (hopefully) go unnoticed.  Heroes must coordinate their action and time management to protect the city from the villain's major schemes!