Tuesday 27 August 2013

A new milestone: I am now Ranked on Board Game Geek

So I reached another milestone this morning. My board game Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp is now officially ranked on the Board Game Geek website. I reached 30 ratings with an average rating of 7.98, which ranks me 4302 out 9000 games. Not too shabby, eh? 

You can check out my game page on BoardGameGeek by clicking on the link below:

Monday 26 August 2013

Generating more Buzz for Infection, plus some ramblings about the promotion process in general

So how do I go about generating more buzz for my game? Currently there are 4 podcast reviews, 1 video review, 1 written review on BoardGameGeek, 2 reviews outside of BGG (1 in Russian) and finally an upcoming review in Counter Magazine.  Currently my game is in the top 10 selling games at Victory Point Games.

Some reviewers say this game hasn't gotten a lot of buzz, and it should deserve more. So my question is how to I generate it? It's a solitaire game so I know that limits the market for this game. It has been compared to Pandemic, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing: gamers who like the theme of fighting a virus may be drawn to it and check it out, whereas other players might think it is a Pandemic knock and not give it a second thought.

So what have I done so far to generate buzz myself? I have contacted most of the major podcasters, 4 of which have reviewed or at least discussed my game. I feel have promoted the heck out of it on BGG (am I getting to annoying?...Don't answer that!). I have been quick to respond to any questions or comments regarding Infection in the forums on BGG. I am also using Facebook quite a bit. I have done some Tweeting, but there is only so much you can say in 140 characters without spamming people. I have this blog, which I admit I don't update frequently, plus I have my own website as well--not updating it much either. I don't know if pouring my energies into the blog and website will do much if people don't know I exist.

That being said it is selling well relative to other VPG titles so I guess I shouldn't complain. If I am planning to be in the industry for the long haul then slow and steady wins the race, eh? I guess what I am getting at in this whole post is I guess I feel I might not be doing enough...that I need to self promote more...but I don't know what more I can do that I haven't already done. I am enjoying what has happened so far. I love the feedback I have gotten (not one bad review yet!) and I love answering questions and just generally sharing.

Right now game design is a hobby, but it is a hobby I am sharing with the whole world. People are buying and playing my little game in Spain, Poland, Great Britain, Germany, France, etc. and that is sooooo fricken cool! I have a lot more game designs in the pipeline and I can't wait to share them with all of you out there. I have learned so much from designing, developing, publishing and promoting Infection and I want to put those lessons into action in the future.

So yeah, this post was a bit rambling, but I just wanted to share both my joys and some frustrations. I know this game is good--pretty well a solid 8 so far in the ratings--and I would just like more people become aware of it so then might have a chance to enjoy it too.

Thanks for reading, and as always, any feedback is appreciated.

John Gibson

That Cowboy Guy

Friday 2 August 2013

So what have you been up to, Cowboy Guy?

Great question, unspecified reader!

Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp--my first published board game--was officially released on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013.

By May 28th I had broken into the top 10 selling games for the month:

On June 11th I had the top selling game for the month:
By the end of June I had sold over a hundred copies.

By July 24th Infection had broken into the top 10 selling games for the year, and it had only been on sale for 2 months:

Solitaire gamers from all over the world have bought my game: Canada, USA, Russia, Germany, Poland, France, Denmark, etc.

My first written game review was in Russian: http://tesera.ru/game/Infection_Humanitys_Last_Gasp/

I have since had my game reviewed--or at least discussed--on three different podcasts:

The 1 Player podcast with Albert Hernandez: 1P 042 - Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp

On Board Games: OBG 111: All Alone With Friends

The Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast: Episode 46: Belfort, Board Game Themes and Meet the GM: Brian

As of today, Friday, August 2nd, I am working on an expansion for Infection.

Here are some ideas I have had:

Infection: Virus with a Brain
1st Expansion to Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp

As I start to close in on 350 sales of my solitaire board game Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp, I need start thinking about making an expansion.

So I have an idea: The expansion would add a second player to the game, and they would play the role of the virus. The suggestion for the expansion name comes from one of the losing conditions in the current rulebook:

Infection: Virus with a Brain

The challenge would be to make a balanced but asymmetrical game play between the two players.

Definite ideas:
  •          The virus player will have their own player board, which will be smaller than the main game board. It will have its own funding track and a method for accessing proteins to use to build molecules, which can then placed on the Virus.
  •          Virus player will have their own tokens and cards which will aid/hinder them in the game.
  •          The Virus player will win if there are still molecules on the virus when the turn marker reaches space 10 on the Death Toll Track.

  •          Adding a virus player to the game will either eliminate the Status Report cards or simply have the players ignore the mutation section of the card. Another possibility is that the Virus player chooses what molecule is placed by the card.
  •          At the beginning of the game the virus player starts out with x funding, and the virus is empty.
  •          The virus player always goes first every turn, and then the Scientist player goes second.
  •          The virus player receives funds at the end of every turn based upon what parts of the virus is still populated.  3 for A, 2 for every B and 1 for every C hex.
  •          The virus player will have something similar (but different) to the Incubator which will allow them to purchase proteins to use to build their molecules.
  •          The virus player will also have to pay to place their molecules on the virus, perhaps in reverse cost: A = 1, B = 2, C = 3.
  •          The virus player could spend funding to purchase negative special event tokens to play on the Scientist player, or purchase cards/tokens beneficial to them.
  •          The player board could have a staging area where they place molecules face down that will go onto virus in future turns. The purpose of this is that the virus player has to plan ahead about what to put out and cannot change his mind if conditions change, plus the Scientist player cannot know what is coming out since the tokens will be face down. All he will know is the number of tokens and cost.


Globe Trotting Expansion

This expansion would add a campaign to the game, still keeping it a strictly solitaire game. There were would be 8-10 scenarios, each one getting more progressively difficult to defeat. It would use a small board displaying a map of the world with 8 to 10 locations marked by circles on which you would place a marker indicating your current location. The first location would be in Zaire (easiest scenario) and the last location would be in Atlanta, Georgia (hardest scenario). Half of the scenarios would use the Bacterial side of the board and the second half would use the viral side.

The expansion would add 25 cards and roughly 35 new tokens (quarter sheet) to the game. There would be a smaller board (8 1/2" by 5 1/2" ) added with a map of the world, plus a rulebook for the expansion.

These new components would be comprised of the following:

  •          New lab personnel cards with new powers.
  •          New lab equipment cards with new powers.
  •          New Special Event tokens.
  •          Perhaps add a sixth protein.
  •           New molecules with Greek lettering:  a, ß, O, etc.
  •           There would be new 3-protein, 4-protein and 5-protein molecules, plus a 6-protein and a 7-protein molecule.
  •          Some of the new cards would look like mini tablets, each displaying a different new molecule that could be placed beside the vaccine side of the board.
  •          New status report cards that have events that are scenario specific.
  •          A card that adds a 2nd 7-hex virus to the game.
  •          All the new lab and status report cards would have the same back as the base game, but there would be an icon on the face of each card to indicate it is part of this expansion.

The rulebook would set out each scenario, describing what new tokens and cards to add, or which ones to remove from the base game. Scenarios could be played as one-offs in any order that the player wishes, or as a campaign where the player plays each scenario in order, starting with Zaire and ending in Atlanta.

Some scenarios might require the player to count out 15 status report cards, face down, the add a special new Status report card mixed into the bottom 5. This card would signal the end of the game, so the player knows they have at least 10 turns to beat the game, but after that it would be up to chance.

Each scenario would have a paragraph or two of flavor text describing the situation and the location in the world. Some scenarios would introduce a new personnel card that might only be used in that situation (a local helping out the team that flew in).

Some of the more difficult scenarios would add a 2nd  7-hex virus to the game. When a Status Report card says to place a molecule on hex B4, and B4 on the main virus is occupied, then place the new molecule on the secondary board. If the secondary board is populated, then the player receives an additional -1 to their containment check die roll.

Thursday 16 May 2013

INFECTION: Humanity's Last Gasp

James Franklin—Patient Zero—collapses after stepping off a plane from the Congo at JFK International Airport. He is rushed to Forest Hills Hospital where he is placed in an isolation ward. It is quickly discovered he has Morbusian, a constantly mutating virus that is resistant to all known antibiotics. The survival of humanity itself is at stake!  

In INFECTION: Humanity's Last Gasp, by designer John Gibson, you are the director of the Department of Plague Control (DPC) field office in New York City. You make the decisions about what parts of the virus to study, which personnel to hire and what equipment to purchase. You’ll soon discover you are working with an eccentric group of scientists who don’t always work well together—and one very resourceful lab rat named Marvin. As the casualties increase, so does the stress and mistakes made, as you try to complete your vaccine before time runs out for all of mankind! 

This strategy game uses simple mechanics in a multitude of combinations to create engaging, deep gameplay as you try to eliminate an evolving virus that could spell the end of the human race. While random events from the Status Report cards might throw a wrench in your plans (or occasionally help you out), you’ll use the Lab Personnel and Equipment cards you’ve hired to piece together randomly generated Proteins into the different parts of a Vaccine, all while managing dwindling Funding resources as the Death Toll Track climbs; each time that your Containment roll fails you come one step closer to losing this battle, so make sure that you push everyone to their limits before the INFECTION reaches critical levels.

You can purchase INFECTION directly here on the VPG website.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Proofs for INFECTION: Humanity’s Last Gasp

So I’m in the home stretch to get my first boardgame published. Last week I signed my contract with Victory Point Games and right now we are in the stage proof reading the rules, game board and components before they go to the printers. The target date is May 16th. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Here is an image of the game board:


The game board has 2 sides for 2 levels of difficulty: Bacterial (Easy) and Viral (Hard). Players should initially start with the Bacterial side, then switch to the Viral side when they feel they have the hang of Infection. Both sides have the same basic layout. The left part of the board contains the Virus Area, the Incubator, the Death Toll Track, and the Funding Track. The right part of the board contains the Vaccine area.

Game Pieces

The game's pieces are used to create and mutate the Virus, create the Antibodies to defeat the Virus and track the status of the Death Toll Track and Funding Track.


These are the basic building blocks of the Virus. They come in three, four and five protein configurations.


These are the basic building blocks of the vaccine. There are 5 different Proteins that can be used to create the Antibodies. There are 16 Protein pieces and in the corner of each piece it tells you how many there are of that piece out of the total; the number of each piece is also listed below each Protein.

Death Marker

This is a marker placed on the Death Toll Track to indicate game progression.

Special Event Tokens

There are 12 Special Event Tokens: 6 with positive effects and 6 with negative effects. These will be mixed in amongst the Molecule tokens.

Personnel Power Tokens


These are tokens that are placed on Personnel cards and can be spent to use their power.


There are three different types of cards used in the game: Status Report Cards, Lab Equipment Cards and Personnel Cards.

Status Report Cards


Lab Equipment Cards



Lab Personnel Cards


The Rules book is looking good. It has enough images and examples that I think anyone who enjoys playing challenging solitaire boardgames will pick it up easily and be playing it shortly.

Anyhoo, that’s all I have to report for now.

John “That Cowboy Guy” Gibson

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Soooo...where am I at with CDC game?

It has been a couple of months since I last posted to this blog, so I figured it was time for an update.

It looks like my first board game will be published around May 16th, 2013. he developer is trying to get hold of the CDC to learn if we can use their acronym in our game title. If we can, I am thinking of changing the name of the game to NY-CDC: INFECTION. The artwork is starting to come in and I am very please with the look of the cards:

Back of the Event Cards

Front of an example Event Card

Back of a Lab Card

Front of an example Lab Equipment Card

Front of an example Lab Personnel Card (the barcode at the bottom will actually work!)

So next we are waiting on updated counters and the actually game board itself. I am really looking forward to seeing what they come up with, but am a very pleased with the artwork thus far!

Oh, and the play testing went very well. We had about a dozen play testers and they all enjoyed the game. They gave me great feedback and we made many changes to game based upon their comments and suggestions.

What else...

The game will be in a box (w00t!) and sold in actual stores as well as being sold online, so that great.

Anyhoo, that is all I have to report for now on the game publishing front. I am waiting to hear back from FallCon about the Canadian Game Design Awards about whether my game FACTIONS: CITY made into the semi-finals or not... :: keeps fingers crossed ::

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Play Testers wanted for solitaire game INFECTION

So is anyone out there interested in play testing my solitaire game INFECTION?

It has to be a "Print and Play" version since I don't have any plat test kits left to mail out. If you are interested you can send me an email at ThatCowboyGuy@gmail.com. Give me your name and email address and I will email you the PDFs you need to make your own copy of INFECTION to play test.

Sunday 10 February 2013

1 Player Podcast Interview

On Friday night I was interviewed for the 1 Player Podcast by the host Albert Hernandez. When I had posted my thread on BoardGameGeek asking for play testers for INFECTION, Albert was one of the dozen so people who responded. Unfortunately Albert had other commitments that wouldn’t give him a lot of time to play test, but he did ask me if I were interested in being interviewed for his podcast—and I agreed.

We had a great conversation about my solitaire game and the design process. I hope you find it entertaining.

Here is a link to his website that hosts the podcast episodes: http://fractaloon.podbean.com/

Friday 11 January 2013

OOO (Out of Office) Playtesting started on INFECTION

So the OOO (Out of Office) Playtesting started on my solitaire boardgame INFECTION. VPG sent out 6 play test kits to players throughout the US and Canada, plus 1 fellow who got the Print-n-Play version.

The packages when out Tuesday and already I have started to get some feed back from players--the mail system is faster in the US then it is in Canada. 1 Player has played once and won the first game, and another has played 4 times and lost every time. Both players have said the have enjoyed the game so far, so that is good.

I have also learnt that the artist assigned to the game has worked in 3D modelling for props in video games, so it should be interesting to see how he does in the 2D world of board games.