Recap: RinCon

This post was written by Ian Stedman of G.U. Games and awesome volunteer who facilitated the event. Special thanks to his wife. Trish, as well, for helping to bring Unpub to RinCon! The RinCon 2012 Unpub ProtoZone was a great success, attendance looked like it was going to be low, but we pulled some strings and got an announcement out on The Game Crafter at the last minute to bring in a few more local designers to fill the roster. Among which were Seth Jaffee, designer of Eminent Domain showing off TMG’s new upcoming game Captains of Industry; Patrick Nickell of Crash Games showing his newest creation Dungeon Heroes, which is set to launch on Kickstarter soon; and the legendary James Ernest of Cheapass Games joined us to demo his newest project Fish Cook which is actually available as a Print-n-play “open beta” project. G.U. Games hosted the event but wasn’t too busy to show off their newest deck-building creation, BattleMage! We didn’t have a chance to play all the games, although there were two other standouts: Toil and Trouble by Marcus Ellsworth, and Uncle Otto’s Vault by Red Rook Games both had a lot going for them and offered very unique and innovative gameplay, keep an eye out for them at future events! Thank you very much to everyone who participated, and to RinCon and their staff for offering the venue. Can’t wait to see you all again next year. For More Information on Upcoming ProtoZones and other Unpub Events, go here! For More Information on Unpub: ProtoZones, go here! Information on how to Host and Run an Unpub: ProtoZone, go here!...

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Recap: Congress of Gamers (Part 1)

Today’s post, a recap of this weekend’s ProtoZone at the Congress of Gamers,  is written by Darrell Louder. (Much Thanks to Darrell and TC PettyIII for taking the reigns of this event onsite.) This past Saturday morning (October 6, 2012) a Congress of Gamers was held in a little senior center Rockville, Maryland. Unpub was there with the Big Blue Noodle for an Unpub: ProtoZone. Designers Kevin Kulp, Alex Strang, Brad Smoley, Darrell Louder, TC Petty III, and Paul Owen were there at the start to let the good times roll! The first game hit the table, that game was MOVIE PLOTZ by Alex Strang. Sadly, I did not get to participate in this play session, but from the laughter and general hoopla the game was causing it looked like a lot of fun, and therefore I felt the sting of jealousy that I could not join in on the game about making a movie about a Dog (played by a carpenter squirrel) who wore his Sister as a sweater, but then she got kidnapped and the dog hired James Bond to rescue her from the clutches of the Taliban, who were stationed in the Roman Colosseum- which was moved to Afghanistan and converted to an Alien Spaceship (by the Afghans), and also was the secret hideout of an alien army who was addicting to reality TV and feared dogs. Yeah, that sounds crazy, but who wouldn’t see that movie?! So, I can’t give my feedback on this, but Paul Owen can (and has) in his blog here. The first game that I got to play was Paul Owen’s newest prototype EAST INDIA COMPANY.  EIC has you portraying ships from around the world, working for the East India Trading Company. You sail around the world purchasing goods and then delivering them to other remote locations. All this while battling pirates, debt, an ever-changing supply and demand, and the European Bank. The game was setup at 10:15 and from the first turn to the last- an adventure.   I freaking loved it. Paul knows he has the time issue to tackle, as well as a few minor balance issues- truly all TINY, TINY fixes. I don’t throw high praise around to just anything. The last prototype I threw high marks to was VivaJava, and we all know how that turned out. This game, EAST INDIA COMPANY, is by far the best prototype I have played since VivaJava. If this title isn’t on your radar- it better be, seriously. If you are a publisher looking for an amazingly smooth & heavy Euro, a publisher who doesn’t skimp on design or component quality, then you need to turn your focus to...

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Recap: Escapist Expo

The Escapist Expo in Durham, North Carolina was our first official ProtoZone. We were at the event at the invitation and guidance of Game Salute and the residency assistant of DiceHateMe and Monkey238. We’re always grateful to be part of a Game Salute area, they provide us with plenty of players and activity all weekend long. They’re the place to be at a convention. I was pretty excited about the possibilities going into all of this and the weekend did not disappoint. Despite the exhibit hall opening later than expected on Friday due to technical issues with some of the video game systems, board games were up and ready to play on time. Actually, as soon as the exhibit hall opened Unpub games were on the table. I started the ball rolling with a 4 player game of Flummox which ranks high among the best games of Flummox I’ve ever played. Whilst that game was happening, Daniel Solis was able to get a group together to play one of his games, I think  it was Utara. Daniel’s official selection for the event was Belle of the Ball and I know he was itching to get to that, but he had a panel to rush off to, so I think he went with a shorter selection. Things got busy once the exhibit hall was opened for sure and players were using the Game Salute Library to borrow and play all kinds of great games. Unpubs were still happening. I got in several plays of Flummox, Daniel came back with Belle of the Ball, and Chris Kirkman even got in a game of Compounded by designer Darrell Louder. I am always sad to miss getting in on a game of Compounded, but I took the opportunity to get another one of my prototypes on the table. Pageantry is something I’ve been slowly working on over the past few weeks, and I enjoyed a play through at the Escapist. I got some great notes on this one and will continue to develop it. That’s what an Unpub event is about.. I finally had a chance to sit down with Daniel and play Belle of the Ball. It was a good experience. I really like the interactivity of the game. You get to take actions based on the actions that other player’s choose. There’s a lot of strategy to that, and I didn’t plum the depths of it as much as I could have. The theme is original and really fit what was going on within the mechanics of the game, which is always a plus. It’s a game about mingling at a  Victorian...

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Unpub Preview: Fixed Le Mans

As we move towards upcoming Unpub events we’re going to preview some of the games which will be exhibited.   What type of game is it? What was your inspiration for this game? My daily bicycle commute to work What is your favorite part of this game? a continuously altering game board of obstacles.   What has been the most challenging part of designing this game? Amounts of each card type to have fair play. What advice would you give to players attempting this game for the first time? Just let the game evolve as you go. What has surprised you most in play-tests of your game? the amount of “interesting” rules and actions that just turned out to be tedious.  What do you hope to accomplish at this event? Fine tune some rules and fix bugs. Tell us anything else you want to say about the game that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already.First to finish the 3 lap race wins! But beware of pot holes, road debris and the other players! People will be racing to play Fixed Le Mans by Shepard Ritzen at the Unpub Mini at Redcap’s Corner on Saturday April 13, 2013 from 1pm to 8pm!...

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Preview: Mars Needs Mechanics

I’ve been waiting a while to post this review. I’m really excited about this game and you should be too. Mars Needs Mechanics was designed by Benjamin Rosset and has been a part of no less than 5 Unpub events! It’s a game we’ve had our eye on for over a year. We’ve seen it develop along the way and it’s absolutely beautiful. The first I heard of the game was in June 2011. It was called the Market and I didn’t get to play it at our first unofficial Unpub Mini. A few weeks later at the WBC I was given the opportunity to play the game and I have to admit I was luke-warm on it. I liked it, but it felt slight.  The game felt like a solid core waiting for something more. The basic concept was buying and selling of goods. The goods were limited to what was randomly available each round and their price was determined by what was bought and sold in the previous round. It was neat. Felt solid in it’s concept. It was interesting because the way you interacted with goods affected their future price, which meant you had to consider each buy and when you made it. Sometimes that meant you might lose out on an opportunity. Wait a tad too late and you lost the good to someone else’s buy. It became a game of wits where the goods were tools and the players were where the game lived. I really loved that aspect, but that was all there was to it. Well, the game continued to develop and in January of 2012, Ben brought the Market to Unpub2. He sold one of his prototypes to an attendee. Someone loved the game so much that they couldn’t go home without a copy! It was shortly after that weekend that Ben sold the game to a publisher. Nevermore Games was going to publish The Market, but the name and theme had changed. It was now Mars Needs Mechanics. Ben brought this new version to an Unpub Mini in Washington, DC’s Labyrinth Game Shop. It was one of the hits of the event. people came specifically to see Mars Needs Mechanics. I opted not to give the game a play that day because…well, I was busy and I knew I’d have another chance to play at Origins in a few weeks. Ben barely got a break as people signed up for a waiting list to play Mars Needs Mechanics, so I didn’t need to deny anyone a seat at his table. As mentioned, a few weeks later Origins came along. Ben and John...

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