Lithium

SEMI-Commercial…and now we return to our regularly scheduled program.

Sorry about the noise in here, it’s just the TV’s been going off and on and… What? No TV. No noise. No Zombie invasion?!? Well that would seem to imply that I’m insane. Hmm…meh.

It was early September. We had come back from our very first GenCon enthused, despite my insecurities. I was adding new side effects to the game because that’s what people felt it needed. Then, for no apparent reason, I just stopped. My wife was confused about my feelings towards both games. I expected Kaiju to be the star of the show, but despite decent reviews it was a lot rougher than I thought. Side Effects was just a light side project but it had stolen the show. I felt embarrassed to have even made a party game.

image 7

I was corresponding with Dirk Knemeyer, host of the Game Design Round Table and owner of Artana, about publishing and questions I had for the show. I had mentioned that one of my games was really successful in playtesting at GenCon but I didn’t want to put it out because I didn’t want my first game to be a party game.

It wasn’t until I received his reply that I realized how pretentiously I was behaving. It wasn’t that he was trying to make me feel bad about being a snob, but I was too embarrassed to reply after reading his email. Was I too good for party games?

We have a bevy of party games which I love, but secretly I’ve always thought, These aren’t real games they’re just fun activities. I might as well enjoy myself. Playing party games always felt like eating ice cream and pop corn at 2:30 in the morning watching a Netflix marathon of Matlock.

I also had a reasonable excuse to abandon the project. Gil Hova from Formal Ferret was getting ready to run a Kickstarter for his game Bad Medicine. Which, when pitched to me, sounded like the exact same game I was going for. I backed it. It’s not the same game. The games aren’t even in the same damn sport.

pulp
2 Cool Cats discussing Relations in Pulp Fiction

It’s not likely that Side Effects May Include is going to end up a gamer’s party game. It does one thing really well; it makes people laugh. One playtester who played laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe. Another playtester thought she was going to pee herself. And one came back with her man the next playtest. We became friends and they’ve brought the game to GenCon ever year since. Why would anyone put that on a shelf?

Side Effects May Include focuses on what board gaming is about for a great many people, especially newer gamers and Pearites. It focuses completely on having a good time with your friends or potential friends. Players are scientists working for Big Pharama and they are trying to make a drug that works without rapid hair loss, loose stool, and death.

SEMI-Cover
The little swirl in the corner was the logo of my now defunct board game publishing co. Tidal Games.

So the game plays on. I’ll revise the old cards to remove things which complicated the game. I have a few things to add to some of the cards as a suprise for my 2 dedicated Side Effects fans out there. Also, I have a list of about 300 cards and growing(my original offering of 148 was nowhere near enough), so I’m going to finish this project up and start trying to sell it to every publisher who might be into party games of this ilk.

Sometimes you have to step away from a project and see it from someone else’s eyes. Sometimes you have to look at it objectively. Sometimes you just need a swift kick in the ass to get motivated. Anyone else need one? I’ve been working on my drop kick.

Advertisements

Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment – 4. Magic: The Gathering Part II. The Third World

My first Magic experience was in middle school. It was much like my first kiss: bumbling, awkward, painful, and yet somehow altogether pleasing. My friends all had decks they’d been working on since the game had come out 6 months prior.

I begged my mom to take me to this game store 3 burbs down the El Camino (yet another in a long line of redundant the’s in street names). They had Magic starter decks, booster packs, life stones, dice, pouches to keep the stones and dice. It reminded me of Dungeons & Dragons, something I’d discovered a few months earlier. But it was just cards and I thought that would be easier.

All I could afford was the starter deck. So I took it home and I poured over the cards. I read the rules five, maybe six times so that I thought I understood vaguely how to play this game of tapping and attacking and interrupting. Then I took it all to school.

I sat down to play in the library during lunch.  Continue reading “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment – 4. Magic: The Gathering Part II. The Third World”

Holiday in Cambodia – Part 4. Magic The Gathering Part I. The First World

I’ve decided to split my last post into two parts after some revision. Sorry it was so long. 

After only seven treatments, I’ve been released on my own recognizance, maybe upon my wife’s pleas, I’m not sure. It’s all been a bit cloudy up here in the noggin. Oh, I haven’t told you yet? I’ve just had shock treatment, which makes me more punk rock than Joey Ramone; and he’s dead. Although, I’m not entirely sure how long ago just is. AliceOh, Alice dear!electro-chock-therapy

In any case, that’s the primary reason my posts have been, and will likely continue to be, quite spotty. Ramones songs and images of 1940’s asylums aside, the procedure itself wasn’t that bad. Everyone was quite friendly—perhaps they were former clients. I even got away with a song requests after my 3rd treatment. Naturally, my first was the Ramones.

Continue reading “Holiday in Cambodia – Part 4. Magic The Gathering Part I. The First World”

Anytime at All ̶ 3. Lanterns

Today we’re going to be talking about Lanterns. How they go, where they go, and what you can expect see when they get to where they’re going. Most of these things are true, some a bit of a stretch maybe, but true nonetheless. We’re going to talk about one of my favorite games of recent years, Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. Continue reading “Anytime at All ̶ 3. Lanterns”

I Saw Her Standing There – 2. Dragon Punch

Hello,

Oh this? It’s my after dinner Cognac. The brand is quite interesting. The barrels are floated down the river Charente to a small port on the Atlantic where they are loaded by hand into a small sea going vessel sailed by immigrant sailors from the Ivory Coast.

black-sails-season-premiere-flint
Sometimes things get a little out of hand.

Every year for the season, they brave the North Atlantic squalls and icebergs to allow this Cognac to touch my lips. On board, they entertain themselves by having bear fisted battles, sometimes even with weapons or robotic appendages. The twist? The must do so without leaving a 4 ft line made along the deck.

Oh, that? That’s my bathrobe. Well of course I have clothes on underneath, I’m wearing shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt. I’m not a pervert.

I understand that today is your 18th birthday. Is that correct? Well, have I got a game for you. Dragon Punch designed by Koen Hendrix and published in the US by Level 99 Games is a 2 player game which captures the essence of a 2-player fighting games all in 18 cards. Continue reading “I Saw Her Standing There – 2. Dragon Punch”

Please Please Me – 1. Euphoria

tower2bof2bbabel2bmetropolisThis is going to be an ongoing series where I discuss my favorite mechanisms and the scoring mechanisms who love them. All credit goes to Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games, except my writing which is 100% mine and copyrighted. So, get your filthy hands off. He has an awesome YouTube channel where he just smiles a lot and discusses his favorite mechanisms. There is an amazing amount of content on that channel and an amazing amount of charm in that smile. In honor of that contribution to this blog, I’m going to start out with one of Jamey’s games, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia. Continue reading “Please Please Me – 1. Euphoria”