Building Better Board games Together

Unpub Preview: Arsenal

One of our upcoming events is Protospiel-Milwaukee (and Mid-West Unpub.) This is not an event I will be able to attend, and it is being managed by James Mathes of Minion Games. Games coming to Protospiel-Milwaukee register through a different entity, and by doing so don’t get a page here on Unpub.net. This is our first time with this type of partnership and we’re testing these policies out. One way we can support the games and designers coming to this event is through these previews. So, today we are offering the first in a series of previews of games coming to Protospiel- Milwaukee. Arsenal,  a tactical combat/tableau building/dice combat game, was designed by Keith Matejka. He’s bringing it to the Ramada Plaza on March 9th and 10th for the big event. Let’s hear what Keith has to say about his game… What was your inspiration for Arsenal? Battletech, Heroscape, Summoner Wars, Mechwarrior,Neuroshima Hex, multiple modern First Person Shooter video games. What is your favorite part of Arsenal?  Constantly changing the loadout of the player’s robot to adjust to the current situation on the battlefield. To your knowledge, What do other people find most interesting about Arsenal? – The balancing of attaching weapons & gear and keeping the player’s robot light and agile. What has been the most challenging part of designing this game?  Throwing out and resigning core mechanics that just didn’t work. What advice would you give to players attempting Arsenal for the first time?  Leverage your Pilot’s abilities as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to remove a weapon to increase your action points for the next turn, especially, if it’s out of ammo. What has surprised you most in play-tests of Arsenal? How much people love chucking handfuls of dice. I tried multiple combat systems to simplify it and reduce the number of dice, but every time, players preferred rolling lots of dice at once instead of 1 or 2. People who like___________ will like this game. Why?  Heroscape What do you hope to accomplish at Protospiel-Milwaukee on March 9th and 10th? Design feedback to polish/balance card powers Tell us anything else you want to say about the game that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already. The core design goals of my game are/were — 1) Customizing the player’s robot on the fly. 2) Chucking lots of dice to resolve combat. Thank you Keith. Best of luck at Protospiel-Milwaukee (and Mid-West Unpub)!...

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Unpub Preview: Fog of War

As we move towards upcoming Unpub events we’re going to preview some of the games which will be exhibited. Today we preview David Perry’s Fog of War which is scheduled to appear at the March 2, Unpub Mini at Atomic Empire in Durham, North Carolina. This is the first time David will be exhibiting at an Unpub Mini and we’re excited to have him join us. Let’s hear what he has to say about his abstract war game Fog of War… What was your inspiration for this Fog of War? This game stemmed from thinking about aspects of medieval warfare that were brought to light by reading Game of Thrones – particularly the control of situational information; using outriders to screen the main army’s movement, etc. That concept has been somewhat abstracted, but the rest flowed from hitting on the central hidden movement mechanic, which I hadn’t seen used anywhere else and thought was particularly robust for its simplicity. What has been the most challenging part of designing Fog of War?  I’m prone to feature- and scope-creep, so the most challenging part has been refining the core mechanics and keeping in mind that the fun will emerge from the elegance of the rules. I can come back to more interesting add-on aspects after the core is polished enough. What has surprised you most in play-tests of Fog of War?  You can get a surprisingly intense sense of pushing your luck to outwit your opponent. People who like____ will like this Fog of War. Why?  I would say Fog of War is near the Chess-end of a triangle between it, Stratego, and Summoner Wars. What do you hope to accomplish at the Unpub Mini at Atomic Empire on March 2? It would be great to get more playtesting from a larger variety of people, as well as to get feedback on some potential additions and alterations to the game that would allow it be publishable. Tell us anything else you want to say about the game that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already.  This is my first. Good Luck David!...

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Video Moment From Unpub 3: Mike Young

During Unpub 3, I tried my best to make the technology work to do some video demos with some of the designers and publishers. While this didn’t always work on Saturday, I was able to make it work on Sunday and did as many as I could throughout the day. Mike Young was part of the original group of game designers at the Congress of Gamers in 2010 (which included TC Petty III, Nick Ferris, Josh Tempkin, and others) that really spawned the idea for Unpub. We’ve had a chance to speak with him and play his games at several events. Always an enjoyable experience! He had submitted Escape from Pirate Island for Unpub 2, even though he would be unable to attend. He was one of my guinea pigs in our blind play-testing area. It failed in a big way, and I’m still apologetic about that. Great news, he continued to see value in what we had to offer and he brought Escape From Pirate Island back to Unpub 3! Escape From Pirate Island is one of several games Mike has designed and made available through the Game Crafter. Give this new and updated version of Escape From Pirate Island a look and check out some of his other titles. And…enjoy this video where talks with us about the game at Unpub...

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Video Moment From Unpub 3: Josh Tempkin

During Unpub 3, I tried my best to make the technology work to do some video demos with some of the designers and publishers. While this didn’t always work on Saturday, I was able to make it work on Sunday and did as many as I could throughout the day. One of the last video shoots I did (though I haven’t been doing these in order) was with Josh Tempkin. Josh is one of the few designers who have been at all 3 big Unpubs. He’s been a longtime supporter of the program and he’s a darn good game designer at that. He’s had several games in the program over the last two years, but Throne Dice is his biggie and we’re all still hoping you’ll be hearing news of it’s publication someday soon. Always one of the more raucous and tense tables to be at (and just a little messy in a completely thematic and fun way,) Throne Dice continues to be a hit.  Take a look at this video to learn...

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Video Moment From Unpub 3: Dan Cassar

During Unpub 3, I tried my best to make the technology work to do some video demos with some of the designers and publishers. While this didn’t always work on Saturday, I was able to make it work on Sunday and did as many as I could throughout the day. One of the biggest regrets I have about Unpub 3 was that I went into the event so short of sleep that I coasted though the first day, plateaued the first night…and was on an almost constant downward on Sunday.I tell you this because in today’s video it is fairly apparent that I am falling asleep. Dan Cassar didn’t deserve that. He’s an awesome guy who has shared a few games with the program in the last year. He made an effort to get to the event on the second day and he donated a copy of his recently released Cavement: The Quest for Fire to our door prizes. We took a few moments to chat with Dan about his highly creative new direction for a game he brought to the Unpub Mini at 7th Dimension last spring. I thought the game was pretty cool then…and now, it’s taken a turn for the awesome! Legos and board gaming is an interesting idea (and obviously very profitable.) To be able to turn his card game into something of a Lego building game is a really cool idea… let me let him talk about...

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