Our latest playtest session and design roundtable was a great success – all four of us had promising games to show, two new ones, and two revisions of designs-in-progress. I’m looking forward to seeing each one work its way into the hands of eager customers. I’ve actually been selling copies of Honeypot to people I don’t know, so now it’s time to keep turning the crank on the old game machine and get some new stuff out there.

The two top contenders at the moment are RocketYard, a card game about bidding for rocketship parts and shooting various animals into space, and Pangaea, a board game that uses some neat territory control and move-limiting mechanics to replay the breaking apart of our Mesozoic super-continent. RocketYard has been playtested pretty thoroughly, and probably only needs one or two more go-arounds before I can get some final art locked down and deepen my search for card game manufacturers. (The quotes I’ve received so far for smallish runs have been extraordinarily out of my acceptable price range. If anyone has any leads, I’d be delighted to hear from you.)

Pangaea, however, is brand spanking new, and that was my bring-to for playtesting this week. It started with my fiddling around with a little bag of plastic dinosaurs, trying to figure out if I could make a game that only used them as pieces, and blossomed into a larger strategic game that has a board with sixty spaces arranged in a grid (which is much too regular and ugly-shaped to work in the actual game – I’d like to retain the same topology, but squish it around until it looks like an actual land mass), sixty counters in six colors, and a small number of markers that the players use to nail down their territory as the continent separates. The rules are fairly simple – I’m a big fan of the one-page rulesheet – but still a little fiddly. It played well, however, and everyone in the group enjoyed playing it more than once, so I think there’s a good bit of promise in there. I almost hate to say that it feels like it almost works right out of the gate – game design is such an iterative process that when something works this well straight off, I get suspicious, and start trying to pull it apart and adding and taking out bits when it might not need pulling and prodding, just because that’s how it’s “supposed” to work. Either way, I’ll mock up a slightly prettier board and run it through a bunch more players, and see if I can smooth it out some more.

So, there’s that. Fun fun.

I’ve also got a card game in the pipe that has some potential connection to a hot little chunk of IP out there, which I’m still working the kinks out of, both game-wise and deal-wise. I’m pretty excited about getting the fire stoked under that one as well, but one thing at a time…

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