Wednesday 8 October 2014

Meeplesburg notes from play testers at FallCon 2014. Photos included!

Meeplesburg notes from play testers at FallCon 2014
So I had a great time at FallCon this year in Calgary. I had 6 play testing sessions with Meeplesburg. I got in a couple of 2 player games, a couple of 5 player games and a couple of 4 player games. I received plenty of valuable feedback from the play testers. Mainly they found it to be fun, challenging, compelling game and it only takes an hour to play!
Here a few pictures from the event:
Here is the setup for a 2-player game

Here we are near the end of 5-player game

Hugh Polley is considering his options

A couple of turns into a 2-player game--and there's a copy of INFECTION on the table

Here is the signage I whipped up in Photoshop for the table

This is the FallCon scheduled Playtesting area

Almost at the end of a game by the looks of it

John Montague is weighing his options as he contemplates his next turn
Here is the useful feedback I got:
·         Put Construction, Purchase, Upgrade labels on both sides of the board
·         Move Apprentice area up and label it.
·         Put an arrow to move cards from Construction area to Purchase area
·         Use an arrow or some other kind of symbol in the Mason area for moving masons to the other 3 areas
·         Could use the phrase Legacy Points instead of Victory Points; less militaristic
·         Use a block or heavy boarder between the Worker area and the Purchase area
·         Use part of the Action board for Player action instructions
·         You can spend $35 to copy write your rules in the USA
·         On the building cards, move up the construction area so it is at the top and lines up with the double meeple symbol. Use the same background as the board
·         Change the row/column layout so that opposite meeples are different colours. Yellow-Blue
·         Check out Alien frontiers for the iconography they use. Keep this in mind for the “Or” symbol on the card and the Wall or Income on the action board
·         Tap card for money right away? NO!
·         Get rid of the building icon on the building tile. Put the Meeple inside a house of the same colour.
·         Put spots on tile for placing the house, tenant and monument
·         Move the money symbol to a different location on the card. I think it should overlap the construction section and the meeple section. The $3 coin will be a different color. Make it clearer. Don’t need the money symbol on the tile either.
·         Use 3 platforms instead of 5 for all number of players. Different platforms have different number of tenant spaces on them: 1, 2, 3. There will only be one space for a mason per round for getting a platform

Thursday 2 October 2014

Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp - First screenshots of the Video Game

Hunted Cow Studios have now issued a press release that they are developing my game into a video game and have shared 8 screenshots of the game; 4 from the PC version and 4 from the iOS version.

Here is some verbiage from the press release: 

We're pleased to release the first alpha screenshots of John Gibson’s Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp by developer Criss Cross Games. Scheduled for release in December for PC, Mac, iOS and Android; this is the first release from the announcement of the partnership between Hunted Cow Studios and Victory Point Games.

About the Game

Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp was named one of the Top 30 Solitaire Board Games by Box of Delights and one of the 2013 Best Thematic Solitaire Games for the Spare Time Challenged on BoardGameGeek!

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.

Here is the default view for the PC version of the video game

Here is the default view of the iOS version of the video game

Tuesday 23 September 2014

I walked a Mile in high heels in Calgary last week

Hi All,

So That Cowboy Guy walked a mile in high heels last Thursday in Calgary to raise money for the YWCA WALK A MILE IN HER SHOES®  fundraising event. The event raises funds to help women and their children take steps to walk away from family violence.

The YWCA of Calgary is helping women escape the cycle of abuse, helping children receive the safety, support and nurturing they deserve and helping men learn healthy ways of interacting with their families.

You can still donate by visiting my personal page:

Thank goodness I managed not to twist an ankle, but boy did my feet hurt by the time it was over! Oh, and I might have flashed the judges.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Meeplesburg design changes

So here are some of the changes to Meeplesburg I play tested last Monday

Play testers liked incremental cost of getting a Mason disc ($3, $4, $5 and $6)
Limited spaces for Masons for the Action spots made players add Tenants early in the game. (2 spots for Bridges per round, 3 spots for Monuments per round, 3 spots for Tenants per round)

Potential Issue:
The following units now generate income: Building tiles, wall segments, Monuments (no more cubes now), Bridges and Tenants. So this means there is more money in the game. A player with 4 building tiles, 2 walls and a Monument could make $7 with a single Income Generation action. A new player--Jerome?--ended the game with $25 which got him 5 victory points. So my concern is perhaps there is now too much money in the game, at least at the end. I might cut Tenants and Bridges from list.


What I have left was a challenge from Paul Saxberg to make the game playable with 2 players, and I figure I might as well make sure it is playable with 5 players, since the 2-5 Players is the sweet spot for Euros.

To make it a 2 player game I would have to make the game boards double-sided. In a 2 player version the players would remove all the yellow meeples from the game. 

So the City Map board would have no yellow worker row or column, making the board grid 4x4 instead of 5x5. 
There would be 12 squares for placing buildings and 4 river spaces. 
The players would also remove all the building cards/tiles with yellow meeples on them: 10. This would leave 15 buildings/tiles for a 2 player game. 
3 Building cards would be available each round instead of 5.
8 Meeples would be drawn from the bag each round, so each player would have 4 workers to use.
One less Mason spot for each action space: 1 spot for Bridges per round, 2 spots for Monuments per round, 2 spots for Tenants per round
One less Mason added per round (Round 1: 3, Round 2: 6, Round 3: 9)

I feel I am getting close to a finalized designed game.

The question is about having too much money in the game. At the end of the game every $5 is worth 1 VP, and the new player ended up with $25 at the end of the game, which made him 5 VP. Money used for the following in the game:

• To place a building on the city map board costs $1, but if it is adjacent to one of your own properties then it cost $1 for every building in the group, including the new one.
• To purchase a building it requires 1 worker and $1
• To use a Mason it starts at $3, then $4 for the next one, then $5 and finally $6
I was worried money would be tight in the game, but for some players it wasn't

I myself tried to construct a building I needed and put it on the board, but then I discovered I had no money to place it. So I spent that turn generating income, at which point the next player bought the building I wanted.

So how do you find the right balance of money in a game? Is it based on how much is left at the end of the game? Or players complaining about not having enough money, or complaining that they don't have enough actions to spend their money on?

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Another successful play test session at the Sentry Box

Another great play testing session last night with the GAC gang at the Sentry Box. I feel very comfortable with all the changes I have made and I feel I am just about ready to commit those changes to my rules document. 

What I have left was a challenge from Paul Saxberg to make the game playable with 2 players, and I figure I might as well make sure it is playable with 5 players, since the 2-5 Players is the sweet spot for Euros.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Yet more changes for Meeplesburg

A new design suggestion which I want to implement before the next play test:

Each wall section will have two spaces next to it: 1 for Income Generation and 1 for Wall Construction.

So instead of having only 1 spot for activating Income for a row, you would now have 2. This change would make these actions more intuitive, more elegant and work better thematically.

Here are some more suggestions that will not be implemented, but are sitting in the hopper and may be used depending on how the changes above affect game play:

Instead of the Monuments being worth Victory Points at the end of the game, the player gets a  card from a bonus deck

Every time a player builds a new Monument and places it on one of their buildings, they get to draw 2  cards from a bonus deck, keep one and place the other at the bottom of the deck.

Bonus Cards:
  • 1 VP for every black meeple building you own
  • 1 VP for every orange meeple building you own
  • 1 VP for every blue meeple building you own
  • 1 VP for every red meeple building you own
  • 1 VP for every yellow meeple building you own
  • 1 VP for every Construction building you own
  • 1 VP for every $3 building you own
  • 1 VP for every Income Generation building you own
  • 1 VP for every Wall Construction building you own
  • 1 VP for every Mason/Worker building you own

So at the end of the game, players would announce the bonus Victory Points they received because of the building tiles they owned that matched the Bonus card. The player who bought the last Monument would not have choice of bonus cards. So another incentive to buy Monuments early because they could buy building tiles that matched their bonus cards.

To make the Purchase Area make more sense thematically, the player needs to supply a worker and $1 to get a building from this area.

This means it will cost a player a minimum of $2 to place a purchased building tile on the city map board: $1 for the purchase, and a minimum of $1 for the Land Levy to place it on the board.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

More design changes for Meeplesburg

So I had another great play testing session last night for my game Meeplesburg. We played a 3 player game that lasted 68 minutes, which included a quick rehash of the rules--so it looks like this came can come in under an hour for experienced players. w00t!

Here are some the key changes from the last version:

1. Get rid of the remaining 60 white and instead make the Monuments worth victory points at the end of the game.

So in the last version of the game I got rid of 120 coloured wooden cubes and replaced them with money tokens (40 $1 tokens and 12 $5 tokens). And that was a great change. It reduced the component count of the game and gave players more action choices during their turn. It was easier to figure out what you needed to perform a given action.

Well now I was given a suggestion that would eliminate the 60 white cubes, which were generated by the Monuments during the Income Generation action, and instead make the Monuments themselves worth victory points at the end of the game. So here  the changes:

·         Instead of generating cubes, each Monument would generate an additional $1 during the Income Generation
·         Monuments at the end of the game would worth the following incremental victory points (the more Monuments you have, the greater the victory points!):
o   1 Monument = 1 VP
o   2 Monuments = 3 VP
o   3 Monuments = 5 VP
o   4 Monuments = 8 VP
o   5 Monuments = 13 VP
o   6 Monuments = 21 VP
A player with more than 6 Monuments would not make any more points after that.

2. Limit the number of Masons that can be placed on Action spaces during a round.

In order to tighten up the game and build more tension, it was suggestion that I limit the number of Masons that can be placed an action space during a round:

·         Construct a Bridge: There will be only 2 spots available per round to use a Mason to build a bridge. There are 5 bridges in the game.
·         Add a Tenant: There will be only 3 spots available per round to use a Mason to add a tenant to another player's building tile. Each player has 3 tenants in their colour.
·         Erect a Monument: There will be only 4 spots available per round to use a Mason to erect a Monument. There are 10 Monuments in the game.

In previous play sessions, players would leave adding tenants and constructing bridges till near the end of the last round since there was no sense of urgency to build them earlier. Now that there are limited spots available per round, players will have to consider building these in rounds 1 and 2 to avoid not being able to build them at all.

3. Add an incremental cost to available Masons

In the play test last night, all Masons cost $4 in order to use them on an action space. It didn't matter if the player used the first available Mason or the last one. So the change will be this:

·         In Round 1:
o   1st Mason: $3
o   2nd Mason: $4
o   3rd Mason: $5
o   4th Mason: $6
·         In Round 2:
o   1st and 2nd Masons: $3
o   3rd and 4th Masons: $4
o   5th and 6th Masons: $5
o   7th and 8th Masons: $6
·         In Round 3:
o   1st, 2nd and 3rd Masons: $3
o   4th, 5th and 6th Masons: $4
o   7th, 8th and 9th Masons: $5
o   10th, 11th and 12th Masons: $6

So the longer you wait to hire a Mason, the more expensive they become.

4. Having 2 walls in a row or column gets you $2 instead of a white cube

Since I am removing the white cubes from the game, owning 2 walls in either a row or a column will give you $2 during the Income Generation action.

Friday 29 August 2014

Trying to find a theme for a new mechanism for my game Meeplesburg

Looking for some advice on theming a new mechanism in my game, Meeplesburg.

The game board is a map of a city laid out in a 5x5 grid. Players build buildings by placing a building tile on a square, then place a wooden house of their color on it to indicate its theirs. At the end of the game players will receive 1 victory point for each building by itself, and 3 VPs for each building in their largest contiguous group.

The new rule is that when you are putting down a new building tile, if it is adjacent to another one you own, then you gotta pay for it! When I put a building tile down on the map board, and it is not adjacent to own I already own, then I can put it down for free. But if it is next to one I do own (orthogonal), the it will cost me $1 to do so. If I put one down and it creates a clump of 3 adjacent buildings I own, then this will cost me $2, and so on and so on.

I love this mechanic, but now I need to create a theme for its existence in the game.

Here some ideas. Let me know which one is best or if you can come up with one that is better.

Builders Guild Fee

We could say that each player belongs to the Builders Guild, and they have to pay a fee when they build a property next to a property they already own. Perhaps the Guild likes builders to spread out throughout the city when they build and charge you a fee to dissuade you bunching up.

King's Taxes

King Meep (king of the meeples, don't cha know) wants his new capital city of Meeplesburg to spread out and have lots of variety in the various districts. If a player is constructing buildings next to ones he already owns, then the King is charging property taxes.

These ideas for theme are very satisfying to me, but maybe I just need to improve the wording. I really like the mechanism, so I want to find a way to make it work with the game.


Thursday 28 August 2014

Renaming/retheming The Fractured Lands as Meeplesburg

So I had an idea yesterday to change the game I have been designing for about 2 years from The Fractured Lands to Meeplesburg.

I would describe the game play as light Euro, so I was thinking a retheming was in order to match.

So as a description, I am going from this:

In The Fractured Lands, a game for 3-4 players, you and your opponents each play a commissioner belonging to one of five races. You will be rebuilding the great city of Unity and vie for control and influence. As a commissioner you will direct workers from five different races: Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Minotaurs and Trolls. You'll gain prestige by constructing buildings, building walls and bridges, and erecting monuments in this epic building project. Can you reunite The Fractured Lands and rebuild the mighty city of Unity?

To this:

In Meeplesburg, a game for 3-4 players, you and your opponents are building the great medieval city of Meeplesburg, vying for control and influence. You will direct worker meeples of five different colors: black, orange, blue, red and yellow, plus the white mason meeples. You'll gain prestige by constructing buildings, building walls and bridges, and erecting monuments in this epic building project. Will you be remembered as the greatest builder of Meeplesburg?

Here is the definition of a Euro according to BGG: 


Tuesday 26 August 2014

The Fractured Lands - Playtest

I was soooo excited with some of the changes in my game I just had to share it with you all!

Game: The Fractured Lands
Playtesters: John Gibson (designer), Paul Saxberg, Tom Sarsons and Marty  
Play Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

I had a great play testing session yesterday at the Sentry Box. It was what I would call a breakthrough, and I was told that will all the changes I had made to the game since the last iteration, there was no downside.

So just a quick recap about what Fractured Lands is about:

In The Fractured Lands, a game for 3-4 players, you and your opponents each play a commissioner belonging to one of five races. You will be rebuilding the great city of Unity and vie for control and influence. As a commissioner you will direct workers from five different races: Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Minotaurs and Trolls. You'll gain prestige by constructing buildings, building walls and bridges, and erecting monuments in this epic building project. Can you reunite The Fractured Lands and rebuild the mighty city of Unity?

Number of Players: 3-4
Playing time: 60 - 90 minutes
Age Range: 12 and up

The game board is a 5 x 5 city map that you can put building tiles on. 5 of those squares are river hexes running diagonally through the map. The map is also surrounded by 20 wall sections. Players use 5 different coloured meeples (representing the 5 races) to construct and place building tiles on the board, and to build wall sections. Each building card has 2 meeples pictured on it, and so these are the meeples you would need to construct that building. Each wall section has a meeple beside it as well, indicating which meeple you need to build that wall.

How do players get these meeples?

There are 25 meeples dumped into a bag; 5 of each colour. At the beginning of each round, the starting player reaches into the bag and draws out 12 meeples at random. Then in counterclockwise order, beginning with the player to the right of the starting player, each player drafts one of the meeples, continuing until all the meeples have been drafted. In a 4 player game each player should have 3 meeples; 3 player game: 4 meeples.

I don't want to bore you guys with the rest, so let's get down to the changes I made before last night's game, and that should clear up some stuff.

1. Replaced 120 wooden cubes (24 cubes for each of the 5 colours)  with 40 $1 tokens and 12 $5 tokens

I have been working on different versions of this game for about 2 years now, and up until yesterday one of the key components was the wooden coloured cubes for each race. Players would get cubes by generating income on the map board. Each building tile would generate 2 cubes, 1 for each of the 2 races that you needed to originally construct the building. So for example after generating income a player might receive 2 black, 2 red, a blue and a yellow cube from 3 building tiles.

So what are/were the cubes for?

Players would use the cubes to buy actions on the action board. There were 10 spots on the action board, 2 for each cube colour. In the first row of 5 action spots, you could perform that action for the cost of 3 cubes of a specific colour, and the 2nd row it would cost 4 cubes.

For example, if you wanted to build a bridge to place on one of the 5 river tiles, it would cost you 3 blue cubes. If a player couldn't manage to generate 3 blue cubes because of the buildings they constructed, then they would never be able to purchase a bridge. Also, once all 5 bridges were built, then blue cubes were not as useful anymore.

I also had to limit how many cubes of one colour players could have at any one time (6) in order to keep hoarders from hurting those who were trying to generate income.

So I scrapped all the cubes and replaced it with money. Each building tile produces $1 when generating income. I then reduced the 10 actions spots down to 3: Building Bridges, Monuments and Tenants. Each spot costs $4 to perform that action.

So if we look at the example I mentioned before, the player would receive $3 for generating income instead of 6 cubes of various colours.

2. Players share a pool of Masons instead of each player having their own set of 3 Masons each.

Remember the actions spots I was referring to in my earlier comment? Well in order to use them you can't just have $4; you also have to have a Mason (They were called foremen, but now I am calling them Masons).

In a previous version of the game each player had 3 mason discs which they could use to perform actions not requiring a worker meeple. When a player ran out of their colour of discs, then they could no longer perform any of those actions. The reason for this was that when a player performed the generate income action, they might also end up generating income for other players. This became a sort of death spiral of actions in a 4 player game where a player might run out of cubes in one turn, only to have the next player generate them a bunch, thus allowing them to do more. So I gave each player 3 masons discs so they could perform only 3 actions per turn (they could turn a meeple into a mason with a special power, but let's not get into that right now).

But after trying different combinations of rules and components I (or one of play testers?) came up with idea of a pool of masons that can be accessed by the players. In the first round there would 4 available, 8 in the second, and 12 in the third and final round. What this means is that some players could end up playing more than 3 actions in the final turn, which also means another player might end up with only 2--you snooze, you lose! As to the incrementing number of masons, in the first round players are still working on building their economic engine so they will not have as much money to spend on actions anyway. So if one player can manage to squeeze out 2 actions in a turn, the somebody else is gonna get screwed!

I felt this added an extra element of tension to the game we played last night as players kept an eye on the dwindling supply of mason discs and considering the opportunity cost of performing a mason action versus an action requiring a meeple worker.

3. Got complete rid of the Blight Attacks mechanism.

As this game was evolving from version to version, at one point I found that players were not building walls because they were just not that interesting or compelling an action. So I added a mechanism where one or more times a round the city would be attacked. Using either dice which were rolled after a certain number of turns or flipping over a special card, the players would have to deal with an attack by the Fractured Lands most horrid enemy: The Blight!!1!

So players would have to build walls to protect the city. If the players won, then maybe the player who contributed the most would get a reward, and if they lost, then a player might lose a cube or even a building tile.

But my players found this to not be a good addition to the game and what was lost was too much dependant on luck (a die roll). This game is almost a solid Euro, so the dice weren't jelling with that style. So I scrapped it and the game went smoother.

4. When you are putting a new building tile down on the map, if it is adjacent to another one you own, then you gotta pay for it.

I haven't decided how to theme this rule, but I sure love the mechanic! When I put a building tile down on the map board, and it is not adjacent to own I already own, then I can put it down for free. But if it is next to one I do own, the it will cost me $1 to do so. If I put one down and it creates a clump of 3 adjacent buildings I own, then this will cost me $2, and so on and so on.

This does a couple of things: a) Now there is another use of money that will be competing with a player using it to perform Mason actions. b) Players will be not so quick to clump their buildings together at the beginning of the game because it will be too expensive (players get extra victory points for their largest group of buildings). This gave other players the opportunity to stick one of their buildings between an opponent's squares to mess them up.

Finally all these changes made for the fastest, most satisfying game of The Fractured Lands ever! We played it in 75 minutes and I am sure after a few more plays with experienced players that the game will come in at under an hour.

Anyhoo, thanks for reading and I would be happy to respond to any questions, comments, suggestions, etc.


John Gibson  

Wednesday 30 July 2014

A new review of Infection from Hex, Dice, Fire! on Tumblr

Review of the day: Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp | Victory Point Games

GOING ALONE: GET INFECTED - An interview on the Indie Cardboard website by Jacob Coon

I was interviewed by Jacob Coon for the Indie Cardboard website. It was a discussion about creating the solitaire boardgame Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp.


Designer John Gibson on creating Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp

Friday 25 July 2014

Tuesday 22 July 2014

More news from Hunted Cow Studios regarding gaming platforms

We're really exciting to be working with Victory Point Games on developing and publishing digital versions of their games 

We'll be aiming to release on as many platforms as possible, including iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.

Once we're closer to releasing the first title, we'll most likely be looking for external beta testers who have played the original games to ensure they play and 'feel' good. Keep an eye on our Twitter (@HuntedCow) and the BGG forum for more details on this 

A team is starting work on a game within the next two weeks 

Andrew @ Hunted Cow (Hoofmaster)

Monday 21 July 2014

Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp may soon become an App for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac

Hunted Cow StudiosTargets Victory Point Gamesfor New Ventures
Elgin, Scotland - July 7th, 2014: Hunted Cow Studios and Victory Point Games are pleased to announce their partnership to develop and publish digital versions of some of VPG’s most popular titles.
Victory Point Games is a boardgame publisher staffed by many digital game developers,”VPG co-founder Alan Emrich remarked. “That’s why we’re so glad to have found our kindred spirits in the digital game publishing industry who ‘get’ manual-to-digital game translations. We’re very excited to be working together with a great publisher, our new friends at Hunted Cow Studios.”
Head of Marketing at Hunted Cow StudiosCraig Withers, said, “Everyone at Hunted Cow is incredibly excited to help bring Victory Point Games to a larger audience. At the moment, the first titles we expect to release are the solitaire games Astra Titanus, Dawn of the Zeds,Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp, and Legions of Darkness. The opportunity to work directly with a company of their quality doesn’t come along every day, and we look forward to showing our fans what we can accomplish together.”
Astra Titanus is a space opera game where the player must defend their fleet of starships and outrun the threat of the alien Star Titan. Dawn of the Zeds pits you against the perennial threat of the undead, as you co-ordinate the defences of the isolated town of Farmingdale and hold out until a National Guard relief column arrives to save you. In Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp, you are the director of the Department of Plague Control field office in New York City, with the fate of the human race in your hands as you desperately struggle to find the cure to the terrifying Morbusian virus. In Legions of Darkness, the brave defenders of Highmoor Castle are under siege and you have the responsibility of fending off the evil creatures assaulting the walls.
As well as publishing digital versions of Victory Point Games' titles, Hunted Cow Studios are also partnering with other developers such as Hex War Ltd and Criss Cross Games Ltd to bring more great games to the digital marketplace.
About Victory Point Games:
Victory Point Games was launched in February of 2007 and has been providing fantastic titles emphasizing gameplay above all ever since. They publish Card and Board games in every category and type, from Euro and Family, to War and Strategy. VPG is known in particular for their many solitaire games, including their vaunted States of SiegeTM games which includes their zombie apocalypse title, Dawn of the Zeds, the award-winning Zulus on the Ramparts!, and the recently released Cruel Necessity on the English Civil Wars.
VPG’s list of boardgaming hits includes Infection, Gem Rush, Circus Train, and Nemo’s War,with the popular Napoleonic 20 and No Retreat! series games a staple of historical war gaming tables. Their smash hit fantasy co-op game, Darkest Night, has taken the company to new markets and new heights. Their recent first-time Kickstarter effort for I Say, Holmes! (the case-solving party card game) brought in four times its lofty goal and began shipping in record time. Publishing their boardgames in their own small factory in the United States, Victory Point Games has truly proven to be “The Little Game Company That Could.”
What VPG game should be ported to an app first? Please, take the POLL to the left of this press release!
About Hunted Cow:
Hunted Cow Studios is a leading game developer and publisher which was founded in 2003. Their most popular browser game is Fallen Sword which has attracted over four million players since its launch in 2006.
Hunted Cow are currently working on their flagship 3D MMO, Eldevin, which has been well received by gamers and critics alike. They are also continually improving their other games, such as Fallen Sword, as well as releasing innovative strategy and role-playing titles on mobiles and tablets.
Hunted Cow and HexWar have a strong portfolio of iOS games, including Tank Battle: North Africa, which won the “Game of the Week” award on Pocket Gamer.
Hunted Cow also prides itself on working with other talented developers to bring their games to a wider audience. Developers interested in discussing collaborations can

Friday 2 May 2014

Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo 2014

Hi All,

Last weekend I attended my 5th Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo (CCEE).

This event celebrates Nerd/Geek culture in form of comics, movies, tv shows, books, video games, etc. It also gives people who like to dress up as superheros and other characters a chance to do some Cosplay.  Here are some pictures of me dressed up as Wolverine and some other interesting characters:

Wolverine vs. The Aliens.
This was taken before the start of the Parade of Wonders (POW) on Friday. This is a father and son dressed in homemade Alien costumes.

Me and Captain Canuck, 2 Canadian Superheros

Wolverine vs. The Red Skull 
The Red Skull is from the Captain America movie. He is holding the Tesseract Cube.

 A whole family of Cosplayers

 R2D2 and Black and Gold Storm Trooper

 Trinity and Neo from The Matrix

Wolverine and a 40K Terminator

 Another shot of Wolverine and a 40K Terminator

Wolverine and Colossus 

Wolverine and Mystique

Monday 17 March 2014

The Top Ten Solitaire Boardgames You might not know You own

According to the BoardGameGeek website, here are the top ten games that can be played solo:

1. Agricola
To play a solo version of Agricola you start with zero food and the left-hand spaces on the left game board remain empty. Adult family members must be fed 3 Food each at Harvest time and the “3 Wood” Action space only supplies 2 Wood in any round. 

To make the solo game “competitive” you start adding permanent Occupation cards each time you play a series of games. So when you reach the eighth game of the series you will have 7 permanent cards. In the first game, your goal is 50 points, then 55, 59, 62, 64, 65, 66 and 67 points.

2. Mage Knight Board Game
There is a Solo Conquest Scenario near the back of the book. It is suitable for a player who wants to understand the game, but it is also perfect for a solitaire game. It uses one standard Dummy player. When taking tactics, you always choose first. The Dummy player then takes one random card from those remaining. If you succeed in defeating all the cities, you win the game. If you fail, you can still count your score to see how good you were. It is possible to play other missions solo by using similar set up modifications.

3. Le Havre
Le Havre plays as a solo game with no real special rules. The objective is get a higher score each time you play. Skilled players can score 400 points in a game if the buildings come out right.

4. Robinson Crusoe: Adventure on the Cursed Island
Robinson Crusoe is the latest hotness for solo play. In a solo game you play either the Carpenter, the Cook or the Explorer. You take Friday and the Dog. When you build Shelter, Roof or Palisade you have to pay the same cost as a 2-player game. You are always the first player. At the beginning of the Morale phase, increase Morale level by 1--because you’re happy to stay alive.  

5. Caverna: The Cave Farmers
The latest game from Uwe Rosenberg, the creator of Agricola. It is a worker placement game focus on farming--in caves. The solo game is played according to the rules for 2 to 7 players with the following exceptions: In the Work phase, place one Dwarf after another. The goal of the solo game is to get the highest score you can. (Try to beat the “magical score” of 100 points.) You start the game with 2 Food. Use the game boards for the 2-player game and cover some of the Action spaces with some specified Overview cards.

There are no Harvest events in the solo game. Rubies will accumulate on the “Ruby mining” Action space from round 1 on. Before refilling the accumulating spaces, check if there are any spaces with more than 6 goods. Remove all the goods from all of the spaces where this is the case and return them to the general supply. For each Ruby you spend, you can prevent this from happening for one of these spaces. The goods on the accumulating spaces that you paid a Ruby for will be safe for another round.

6. Ora et Labora
Yet another creation of Uwe Rosenberg's. This time around you are the head of a monastery in Medieval Europe who acquires land and constructs buildings. The goal is to build a working infrastructure and manufacture prestigious items – such as books, ceramics, ornaments, and relics – to gain the most victory points at the end of the game.

In the solo version you use the one to two player game board and use the front side of the production wheel. Remove grapes and stone indicators from the game. Turn the district and plot piles upside down. At the start of the game you start with nothing, otherwise you follow the rules of the two player game. You also play with a neutral player who gets a heartland. When you want to use a neutral building, you pay 1 coin to the general supply. The game ends after the last settlement phase. The goal of the solo game is to reach 500 points.   

7. Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords - Base Set
Another popular game for solo play. You must choose your character wisely since some characters only good when there are other characters around. Merisiel the Rogue is great for solo play because she gains bonuses when no one is at her location. 

You can also play multiple characters if you like, treating each characters as if they were played by a separate player. But if your character cannot get out of the Treacherous Cave, your game will grind to a halt. It is recommended to remove such a card and replace it with another card of roughly the same type.

8. Nations
Nations came out in 2013 and is an intense historical board game for 1-5 players that takes 40 minutes per player to play. Players control the fate of nations from their humble start in prehistoric times until the beginning of World War I. The nations constantly compete against each other and must balance immediate needs, long-term growth, threats, and opportunities. 

In the solo game you play against a shadow opponent represented by Event tiles and a die. You strive to maximize your victory points at the end of the game. Instead of drawing a normal Event Card you will draw a random Event tile from the current age. It shows what values the shadow opponent has for this round, and possible changes. 

The game is played normally and all comparisons are done with the current value of the shadow opponent. If the shadow opponent has no value you win any ties in that category (always passed first, always most Workers etc). You lose the game if you have negative VP. You start as player 1, with 1 Book. The shadow opponent starts with 2 Books. On the Progress Board, use 4 Progress Card columns. NOTE: Total VP in a solo game is not comparable to a multiplayer game.

9. Suburbia
In Suburbia you plan, build, and develop a small town into a major metropolis. Your goal is to have your borough thrive and end up with a greater population than any of your opponents. 

In solo game 1 you are the Lone Architect: Gameplay is just like the 2 player game, but you’ll only need one Borough Board. Use the 2-player tile stacks setup, but don’t place or distribute any goals. Moving past a Red Line results in a -2 to Income and -2 to Reputation. After your turn is over, you must remove an additional tile, using the same rules as if you had placed an Investment Marker or a basic tile. 

There is also solo game 2 where you are playing against Dale, the bot, who has no emotions; he’ll always play with you, because he has no other friends!

10. Space Alert
Space Alert is a Vlaada Chv├ítil cooperative team survival game. Players become crew members of a small spaceship scanning dangerous sectors of galaxy. The missions last just 10 real-time minutes (hyperspace jump, sector scan, hyperspace jump back) and the only task the players have is to protect their ship. 

In a solo game play with 4 androids (ignore unconfirmed reports). Deal each android a face-down heroic action for the first phase. Spread the entire action card deck face up in front of you. Start the soundtrack, and reveal the heroic actions. Begin planning first phase actions. Each android can use any action card, but only its own heroic action. Unlike androids in multi-player game, it is allowed to change planned cards until the soundtrack announces end of the respective phase. Ignore announcements like Data Transfer, Incoming Data, and Communication System Down.

How many of these games do you own? Have you ever played them solitaire? If not--then try it out!