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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Goblin Factory

Hello, all.

So, as most of you know, my wife and I have been working on designing a card game. Well, I'm happy to announce, it is pretty much done. We have all the numbers tweaked to where they need to be, which involved cutting the deck down from nearly 150 cards to eighty-six and reducing the point costs of each card to smaller, simpler numbers. The card layouts and colors are nearly done (we're still up in the air about a couple of colors, and we're debating how much information needs to be included on the Challenge cards.)

Right now we're working on the art for each card, by which I mean my poor wife is working on the art. I can't draw anywhere near as well as she can, and I have had no real experience with graphical programs. I greatly appreciate her hard work! Thanks, sweetheart!

(By the way, the art is the hardest part, because it's so crucial to making the game look professional and not like crap. Also, there is a huge amount of it. As my wife says, "Saying that everything is done except for the art is saying that we're about twenty percent done.")

We hope to have the artwork finished in, say, a month, at which point we can get a prototype made at www.thegamecrafter.com and start testing and presenting the game to the world at large. There is a big convention in Salt Lake City in May, and fingers crossed, we'll be there with a bunch of copies of Goblin Factory to demo and--hopefully--sell.

Now, I don't think this game will actually bring in a ton of money for us, but it'll get our names out there, for sure, and if it gets picked up by a game publishing company, who knows?

For those who haven't seen the game, it is a cooperative card game designed for one to six players. Each player takes on the role of a goblin working in a factory in their mountain home. Players must work together to assemble a machine in a strict time limit. The Challenge cards vary the type of machine that must be build, and occasionally alter the time limit, as well.

Each turn, you draw two cards from the community deck and add one to the machine. The other card is placed in the community discard pile. The idea is that parts are being sent down the assembly line faster than you can grab them, so you have to take the most useful piece and use it. You also have the option of discarding both cards and drawing a third card for that turn; however, you MUST add that part to the machine, no matter how good or bad it turns out to be. This is like reaching up into the assembly line and grabbing the next available part without looking at it. This strategy is useful if both the cards you draw fail to help you assemble the machine you are trying to build.

Once time is up, the point costs of the machine parts are added up. The players have won if they have achieved the requisite point costs specified by the Challenge card.

There are a small number of Disaster cards that force players to remove parts from the machine. (For those who helped playtest the game, you'll be happy to know that I decreased the chance of drawing a disaster card by about half, from a little over 2% to a little over 1%.) This adds an element of danger to the game, as well as strategy--if the removed part detaches a whole section of cards from the Starter Piece, those parts will not count towards the point totals at the end of the game, so you had better find a card to reattach them!

The machine parts all have symbols on the edges of the card, either a red square, a blue circle, or a green triangle. In order to add to the machine, players must match the symbol on the edge of the card they want to add with the symbol on the edge of a card already attached. Only one edge must match--for example, the red square of a Laser must be attached to a red square of a Connecty Bit. It doesn't matter if one of the blank edges of the Laser is laid alongside a green triangle edge of a Power Source card, or if the blue circle of the Laser is laid down adjacent to the red square of a Piston. Only one edge has to match in order to add a card. You're goblins, after all. As long as you can attach the part properly in one spot, you can hammer the rest into place.

The game is fast-paced and a lot more fun than I can probably describe. The rules are simple enough that everyone to whom we've demonstrated the game was able to grasp them after a single play through. It's a quick enough game that you can play it as a warm-up for game night, and fun and interesting enough that you can play multiple games in a row without getting bored.

I think that my wonderful wife and I have made something fun and unique. I really think that, with the right marketing approach and a little luck, we can get the game picked up and sold to a mass market. Which would be great; it's a really fun game that I think many people would enjoy, whether they be a hard-core gamer, a social gamer, or a parent looking for a game to play with his/her kids on family night.

Further updates, and probably artwork, will be forthcoming.

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