Paul Blake
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Hello all. Allow me to introduce myself.

My name's Paul Blake, and I'm the lead Game Developer here at ToyVault. When we're not busy making Monty Python plush toys, or cute-and-cuddly versions of Cthulhu, we often play games of all sorts. Board games, card games, even some miniatures games. We're fun loving people, and it's high time we got into the game publishing business.

In addition to numerous other projects ToyVault is currently working on, we've got a hankering to publish a version of James Kyle's piecepack. Certainly, there are versions you can already go out and buy, but they've primarily been a specialty-order item in the past. We'd like to see piecepacks in hobby-level game stores across the country - even worldwide!

Here's the deal: ToyVault will be publishing its own version of piecepack soon, and we'd like to include a selection of original games to be printed in the rulebook. What better way to illustrate the make-your-own-game nature of piecepack than to allow the public to submit game designs themselves?

The contest is fairly simple and straightforward: First, print and fill out the entry form. Then, mail the form, along with your game design to us here at ToyVault. We here at ToyVault will sift through the entries and pick the best games submitted. ToyVault's publishing history should not influence your game designs. We're not looking for games based on our existing media licenses, or any media license at all. We're looking for innovative, imaginative, and strategically rewarding games. They can be quick beer-and-pretzels games, or multi-hour epics, so long as they're fun. The top twelve entries picked by ToyVault will each receive 1 free piecepack.

If we think your entry is truly spectacular, we'll include your game in our rulebook: You'll be a credited game designer with a published design. Your name will appear alongside your game in our rulebook, and on the product page for piecepack on ToyVault.com. What's more, you'll receive 12 free copies of our piecepack.

ToyVault will pick up to 10 single-set games and up to 1 double-set game for inclusion in the rulebook.

All entries must be submitted by mail - no electronic submissions will be considered. Entries must be postmarked no later than February 28th, and received no later than March 12th. Winners will be announced on or before May 15th.

Official rules and entry form are available here. Send any questions to me at PaulB@toyvault.com with "piecepack contest" in the subject line. Happy designing, and may the best games win!
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Paul DeStefano
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Well, OK, but just what pieces are in this piecepack to include in the design? Can materials not in the piecepack be used? At what ratio?
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Ben Bishop
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Just wondering, is there a limit to the number of entries an individual can submit?
 
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Paul Blake
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Geosphere wrote:
Well, OK, but just what pieces are in this piecepack to include in the design? Can materials not in the piecepack be used? At what ratio?


It's a standard 4-suit Piecepack - Suns, Moons, Crowns, Fleur-de-lis. You can't use any other materials, just one (or two, if you like) piecepack(s). So, in each suit: 6 tiles, 6 coins, 1 6-sided die, and 1 pawn. You can read more about it here.

Windmillfighter wrote:
Just wondering, is there a limit to the number of entries an individual can submit?


2 entries per person.

Both of these questions were answered in the official rules section of the entry form.
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Jonathan Dietrich
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Geosphere wrote:
Well, OK, but just what pieces are in this piecepack to include in the design? Can materials not in the piecepack be used? At what ratio?


From the rules, emphasis mine...

Quote:
Those wishing to participate in ToyVault's Pile of piecepack game design contest must submit the complete rules for an original game to be played using either a single piecepack four-suit (Crowns, Fleur de Lis, Suns, Moons) set, or two such sets. All games submitted must be completely original designs, not appearing in any previously published collection of piecepack game rules in any format - either electronically or in print. Games requiring any additional materials other than one or two piecepack sets will not be considered for purposes of this contest.

Winners will be selected entirely at the ToyVault staff's discretion and opinion of "best games." ToyVault will select the top 12 (twelve) game designs of those received. The designers of these games will each receive 1 (one) free copy of ToyVault's initial production of piecepack, and honorable mention on ToyVault's product page for piecepack.

Of the winning entries, ToyVault will select up to 10 (ten) single-set designs, and up to 1 (one) double-set design for as Grand Prize winners. These entries will be included in the published rulebook included in ToyVault's initial production of piecepack, containing a single 4 suit piecepack set featuring Suns, Moons, Fleur de Lis and Crowns. The Grand Prize winning designers' names will be featured in the rulebook and on the product page for piecepack on ToyVault.com. Additionally, each Grand Prize winning designer will be awarded 12 (twelve) copies of ToyVault's initial production of piecepack.

For games designed by multiple designers, it is the responsibility of the individual designers to divide their prizes amongst themselves.

All winners will be announced on BGDF.com, BoardGameGeek.com, and ToyVault.com.

All entries must be postmarked no later than February 28th, 2010, and received no later than March 12th. No electronic submissions will be considered. Limit 2 entries per person. ToyVault is not responsible for lost or misdirected mail.
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Paul DeStefano
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Thedalek wrote:
Both of these questions were answered in the official rules section of the entry form.


If only that link actually brought something up on my computer, I might know that. I have no program its compatible with. It must be a new version DOC. Strange to not put up a PDF.
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Paul Blake
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Geosphere wrote:
Thedalek wrote:
Both of these questions were answered in the official rules section of the entry form.


If only that link actually brought something up on my computer, I might know that. I have no program its compatible with. It must be a new version DOC. Strange to not put up a PDF.


Odd. It's actually an -old- version DOC, saved in OpenOffice. I would have thought it was more compatible.
 
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Here's a pdf version for anyone who the .doc version didn't work.
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Paul DeStefano
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PDF works great, thanks!
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Jorge Arroyo
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I must say this was a surprise, but a good one. I love the piecepack game system and think it deserves to be available more widely. I'm very curious to see how these piecepacks look and what materials are they made from...

I also think the contest is a great idea, and I'll see if I can come up with something... it's been a while since I made a piecepack game, but it's great that there's another piecepack contest (the last one was what, 2-3 years ago??)

Good luck with this!
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Andy Van Zandt
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two questions:

will pawns and dice have direction markings?

i realize the rules say no additional materials, but would that also disqualify rules that say the user will need "a pencil and paper to keep score with"?
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Paul Blake
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truekid wrote:
two questions:

will pawns and dice have direction markings?

i realize the rules say no additional materials, but would that also disqualify rules that say the user will need "a pencil and paper to keep score with"?


The dice and coins will have direction markings.

The pawns will not have direction markings. Manufacturing constraints on those, I'm afraid. Directional pawns are not piecepack standard - the pawn dishes add this. Our initial production will not include pawn dishes.

Also worth noting: Our pawns will be round. If they're laying on their sides, they will roll, but not in a straight line.

Pencil and paper to keep score: It's a borderline case. Games requiring pencil & paper to keep score will still get read, but might not get playtested. Games requiring any other materials - a deck of cards, for instance - will not even get read.
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Mike Haverty
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Hi, one more followup question on your piecepack. I notice that other versions of the piecepack (such as Blue Panther's JCD set) put the suit symbol in all four corners of the obverse side of the tiles, but in the Piecepack Anatomy page of piecepack.org it specifies that the suit only goes in the top-left corner of the tile. This isn't technically a direction marking, but could be used as such.

Will the ToyVault piecepack have pseudo-directional tile faces, or will they be "card-like" with identical corners?

Thanks!
 
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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The Blue Panther edition (from the JCD vector graphics files) has the suit markers visible in all four corners for ease of reference, but a line marks one of the four corners for directionality.
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Mike Haverty
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Ah, thanks! I didn't realize that just from browsing some pics.
 
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Paul Blake
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The ToyVault set will have directionally distinguishable faces. The backs of the tiles will feature a 4-space checkerboard pattern. The checkerboard pattern is slightly non-standard, but was thought by some within the company to make the 4-space area a bit easier to use - especially when used to make larger areas.
 
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Jorge Arroyo
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Thedalek wrote:
The ToyVault set will have directionally distinguishable faces. The backs of the tiles will feature a 4-space checkerboard pattern. The checkerboard pattern is slightly non-standard, but was thought by some within the company to make the 4-space area a bit easier to use - especially when used to make larger areas.


One problem with checkerboard patterns is that when you lay down face-down tiles to make a board, these are not always lined up. Many games use patterns where tiles are placed with an offset of one square, and in those cases the checkerboard pattern is messed. See these images as an example of what I mean:





Can you imagine how those maps would look with the uneven checkerboard patterns?

That's why I think it's best to make all the squares the same way, as in these cases the board looks much cleaner and clearer, and after all, this is a game system, so it's best not to make assumptions about how people will be arranging the tiles on the table...
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Jonathan Dietrich
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maka wrote:
Can you imagine how those maps would look with the uneven checkerboard patterns?

That's why I think it's best to make all the squares the same way, as in these cases the board looks much cleaner and clearer, and after all, this is a game system, so it's best not to make assumptions about how people will be arranging the tiles on the table...


My initial piecepack design included the checkered pattern as well, I have come around for two reasons: the one you mention, plus, the orientation of an inverted tile is less "hidden".

Assume you have a checkered pattern, and the "marked corner" on the face aligns with a black corner on the back. Now you can quickly tell if the tile is oriented with the "marked corner" turned 90 degrees, as the back will have a white corner in the top left. You have reduced the number of possible "hidden" orientations in half.
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: Want to get published? Design a piecepack game for ToyVault!
maka wrote:
Thedalek wrote:
The ToyVault set will have directionally distinguishable faces. The backs of the tiles will feature a 4-space checkerboard pattern. The checkerboard pattern is slightly non-standard, but was thought by some within the company to make the 4-space area a bit easier to use - especially when used to make larger areas.


One problem with checkerboard patterns is that when you lay down face-down tiles to make a board, these are not always lined up. Many games use patterns where tiles are placed with an offset of one square, and in those cases the checkerboard pattern is messed. See these images as an example of what I mean:





Can you imagine how those maps would look with the uneven checkerboard patterns?


The solution is to simply rotate any mis-aligned tiles 90 degrees, and then you don't have any same-color spaces touching. Incidentally, this could be utilized as a game mechanic.

Just as an example, I slapped together a shaded-checkerboard version of one of the boards you linked to:



porter235 wrote:
Assume you have a checkered pattern, and the "marked corner" on the face aligns with a black corner on the back. Now you can quickly tell if the tile is oriented with the "marked corner" turned 90 degrees, as the back will have a white corner in the top left. You have reduced the number of possible "hidden" orientations in half.


Only if the backs are consistently aligned on the same axis as the fronts. This need not be true. Some of the backs could be rotated 90 degrees, thus obscuring the information you describe. Certainly, on an individual tile, the alignment would remain consistent, but if you already know the value and suit of a tile, then you likely also already know its alignment. Unless, of course, the game you're playing doesn't take directional alignments into consideration.
 
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Spencer C
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I love to see Piecepack getting some much-deserved love, but I, too, will chime in with the suggestion to think long and hard about checkerboarding the back.

I'm not saying you absolutely shouldn't, but maybe play a variety of the "better" piecepack games out there with some checkered and non-checkered and see if you still feel it should be checkered.
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Jorge Arroyo
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Thedalek wrote:
Just as an example, I slapped together a shaded-checkerboard version of one of the boards you linked to:




That's true, but then you can no longer do layouts where the orientation must be random and keep consistency with the pattern. I'm not sure if there are games right now where this matters, but I wouldn't make assumptions based on what's available right now...

Quote:

porter235 wrote:
Assume you have a checkered pattern, and the "marked corner" on the face aligns with a black corner on the back. Now you can quickly tell if the tile is oriented with the "marked corner" turned 90 degrees, as the back will have a white corner in the top left. You have reduced the number of possible "hidden" orientations in half.


Only if the backs are consistently aligned on the same axis as the fronts. This need not be true. Some of the backs could be rotated 90 degrees, thus obscuring the information you describe. Certainly, on an individual tile, the alignment would remain consistent, but if you already know the value and suit of a tile, then you likely also already know its alignment. Unless, of course, the game you're playing doesn't take directional alignments into consideration.


I'm not sure if this is a good solution... It's a bit like if a deck of cards had two different types of backs randomly distributed through all the cards. I'm not sure I'd like such a deck as much as a regular one...
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Paul Blake
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After much debate, deliberation, and a few caffeinated beverages of choice, I was able to convince the higher-ups that the checkerboard pattern might not be the best idea.

Our piecepack should, therefore, conform to all the piecepack standards for graphics. The fronts of the tiles are directionally distinguishable, and the backs are completely indistinguishable from one another. The coins have a directional indicator on both the front and the back, and each face of the dice will also feature a directional indicator (not completely standard, but present in other commercial piecepack sets, and useful for some game designs).

In reality, it actually wasn't that hard to convince my boss to drop the checkerboard pattern: We're making this piecepack for the gaming-geek community. If checkerboard patterns interfere with some games, there's really no reason for us to have checkerboard patterns.
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Spencer C
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Any news on this?
 
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Ron Hale-Evans
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The results are in.

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/5171073
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Garrett Rooney
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porter235 wrote:
My initial piecepack design included the checkered pattern as well, I have come around for two reasons: the one you mention, plus, the orientation of an inverted tile is less "hidden".

Since you've changed your mind on this, is there any chance of getting a version of the JCD piecepack pdf that doesn't have the checkered pattern on the backs? It'd be nice to be able to point people to a print and play version that doesn't have the checkered pattern.
 
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