Thomas P. King Designs

A blog providing updates on my designs (gamebooks, card games, and board games). You can also check out my website for more including releases: https://thomaspking.com/

1 , 2 , 3  Next »  

Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Board Game App Reviews (part 5): Mystic Vale

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
This week, I've been reviewing board game apps that I've been playing recently.
Previous Reviews:
Thourgh the Ages
Viticulture
Aeon's End
Scythe + Tokaido + Lords of Waterdeep


Mystic Vale
Full Review

Mystic Vale is fun, though card variety is lacking. Many of the base game cards lack interesting interactions, so only certain cards will feel different. On the upside, there are already 3 expansions available for the digital game (and several already made for the physical game), and there's a season pass for $9.99 that unlocks them all, adding a lot more cards to the pool and some new things. At full price, the base game might not have enough replayability depending on how often you play, but it might be worth it if you already like the game and know you'll want the expansions with it.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:30 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Board Game App Reviews (part 4): Through the Ages

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
This week, I've been reviewing board game apps that I've been playing recently.
Previous Reviews:
Viticulture
Aeon's End
Scythe + Tokaido + Lords of Waterdeep
Upcoming review: Mystic Vale.

Through the Ages
Full Review

There are always compromises that must be made for phones and tablets, but I wish the desktop releases didn’t have to make those same compromises. There’s plenty of room to improve the UI, but it isn’t likely to happen at this point. At least they offered UI scaling. The expansion, New Leaders and Wonders, is also available. There aren’t many games this heavy available on digital platforms, and other than some UI problems, they’ve done a great job adapting the game.
Twitter Facebook
6 Comments
Sun Jan 16, 2022 4:03 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Board Game App Reviews (part 3): Viticulture

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
This week, I've been reviewing board game apps that I've been playing recently.
Previous Reviews:
Aeon's End
Scythe + Tokaido + Lords of Waterdeep
Upcoming reviews: Through the Ages, Mystic Vale.

Viticulture
Full Review

This is the first Steam game I ever refunded. Viticulture is a worker-placement classic, but the app is a work in progress. They have overlooked many basic elements of app design, and it makes me cautious to buy any of their other board game apps. And $15 is way too much for a clunky mess.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Sat Jan 15, 2022 3:35 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Board Game App Reviews (part 2): Aeon's End

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
This week, I've been reviewing board game apps that I've been playing recently. The first three reviews are in my previous post, here. Upcoming reviews: Viticulture, Through the Ages, Mystic Vale.


Aeon's End
Full Review

The app was Kickstarted, so to some extent, I can forgive the shortcomings which were likely a result of a limited budget (which is why there’s no online functionality). Aeon’s End is fun, and though I have some hangups both for the game and the app, the quickness of sessions and replayability help make up for the shortcomings. And the expansions have a lot to offer if I ever grow tired of the base game. It might be a tough recommendation at full price, at least on Steam, unless you’re a big fan of the tabletop version.
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Fri Jan 14, 2022 3:39 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide

Board Game App Reviews (part 1)

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
I know board game apps are a big turn-off for some people, but for me, it's one of the easiest ways to play games a lot of the time, and some games just wouldn't fit into my game group anyway.

This week, I've been reviewing board game apps that I've been playing recently. I don't generally play multiplayer, but if an app is known to have issues with connectivity, I try to mention it. Here are the first few reviews for Scythe, Tokaido, and Lords of Waterdeep. Upcoming reviews: Aeon's End, Viticulture, Through the Ages, Mystic Vale.

To read the full reviews, see the links.

Scythe
Full review

It’s a very solid app that runs well despite a couple minor issues, has good adjustable AI, has an attractive look, has excellent thematic music, features a few extra bells and whistles, and has one expansion (Invaders from Afar) available so far. Here’s hoping for more expansions. When not on sale, it is a bit expensive at $20. For that price point, Scythe is competing with a lot of excellent indie and older triple-A video games on PC.


Tokaido
Full review

Though replayability is low without the expansions (Crossroads, mainly), Tokaido’s digital implementation is a relaxing experience enhanced by the animations, rich colors, and great music. It’s also a quick game to play whenever you need to relax. Despite the lack of support, it’s one of my personal favorites thanks in part to the setting and immersion. But for most, it might only be worthwhile on sale (and you might have difficulty playing with friends).


Lords of Waterdeep
Full review

It’s an easy-going game that plays pretty quickly on the app, developed by one of the best at translating tabletop games to the computer. I didn’t see any reported issues of connectivity for multiplayer either. And the availability of the expansions can’t go understated. It still doesn’t feel like D&D though.
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:48 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

v0.8.1 Update

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
I've re-opened playtesting (the deadline thing didn't really work), and released a minor update to address some clarifications. Come sign up!

d10-8 Sign up for the playtest! d10-8

RPG Item: Winds of the North
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Sat Nov 20, 2021 7:08 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Winds of the North Cover

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
Playtesting ends today, so I got to work on an update for the cover. Here's an article taking a look at the different covers and the process of making the new cover:
https://thomaspking.com/2021/11/15/winds-of-the-north-cover/
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Mon Nov 15, 2021 8:35 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Winds of the North v0.8 Release

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
For those new to WotN, it's a sandbox RPG/Gamebook set in Viking Age Scandinavia where you'll make your own character and begin a campaign to become a King or Queen over the course of multiple in-game years. There have been several previews that detail more about the various mechanics and activities there are. Below are the updates for v0.8.

Changes/Additions

Milk & Shear now Tend Livestock. Slaughter Animals is now Slaughter Livestock for consistency.
New item: Feed (1s for 2). You can spend Feed for bonuses when Tending Livestock.
Harvest: Can convert Food into Feed (1=2).
Equipment slots: You have 2 hand slots, chest, head, cloak, banner.
All other items, including Tools, are placed into Storage and no longer need to be equipped.
Storage begins at 10, each Shed adds 5 to a max of 25. All items of the same kind can stack (including weapons/armor). Storage expanded to hold more information.
Combat Overhaul
Weapons deal D2 or D4 damage. Divide the D8 result by 4 or 2, rounding down. Starting weapon: Seax. 1 DMG, 1-H.
Armor Points. Repair with Craft or Services at the Market.
Voyages simplified. Shipmasters removed.
A Voyage costs 2 Food, 1 Meat, or 1 Preserved Meat for Coastal activities, 2 Preserved Meat for Sea activities.
Revised Trade: Foreign Trade Requests
Rearranged character sheets.
Can now name Hirðmenn
Map is removed (lacked function and took up space).
Population space added to Character Sheet: The total number of people you must feed each month. Yourself, the Household, and your Hirðmenn.
At Festival Feasts, describe how things have been progressing on your farm. Each description goes to a unique entry with a different effect.
Summer Festival = Miðsumar Festival
Spring Festival = Sigrblót Festival
Seasons= Early Summer, Late Summer, Early Winter, Late Winter
Late Winter: Consume 4 Wood at the end of every Month or 1-3 people get sick.
New Log Sheets with space for more information.
Improved Resource Track and tokens.
Full-page lists for Build, Craft, Markets
All tables and lists that were 8-point font have increased in font size for readability
Random name tables
Re-balanced Seeds (cheaper for most, improved Wheat)
New Activity: Leisure. Relax at home to increase Happiness. Useful during bad Weather if you don't want to risk going out and have little to do at home. New items for Leisure.

Playtesting Period: Oct 15th-Nov 15th

d10-8 Sign up for the playtest! d10-8
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Oct 15, 2021 3:07 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Board Game Session Report: Runebound 2nd Edition (solo)

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
I’ve never done a comprehensive review for Runebound 2nd Edition, but I’ll probably make one soon. It’ll be long and rambly, for sure, because this is still my favorite board game after a good 10 years in the hobby. And part of that is because I’ve used it as a design playground, making and trying out variants and modules.

One thing I’ve often tried to “fix” with the game is the length. It can be a long game, typically 60+ minutes per player. So, I’ve lately been toying with some variant rules to help address this and the randomness.

You have an “Adventure Log” which is a hand of adventure cards you play instead of resolving random adventures.
Events are pulled from the adventure decks and put into a single event deck that resolves every 3 turns.
It costs 3 experience to level regardless of player count.
You can spend your turn Camping, rolling the movement dice and healing wounds with dice matching your space, healing exhaustion with any dice.
You can take exhaustion to get +1 to your roll for each exhaustion you take (up to max stamina).

I also tried out the popular variant of sorting the Market deck into 4 decks: weapons, armor, allies, and runes/artifacts. Here's my custom hero inspired by my character from FFXIV:
External image


The event deck worked really well. The Adventure Log worked well too but might need a bit of tweaking. The different market decks are great and really help with finding useful items. The experience for leveling, Camping, and taking exhaustion for bonuses all worked great. I only camped I think twice, and that feels about right. Taking exhaustion for bonuses helped a handful of times but even after taking +2 stamina, there were rolls that still failed because I couldn’t push them enough. It felt perfect, but it might be hero-dependant. Some heroes have little stamina while others have expensive abilities, leaving them exhausted all the time. But this makes the stamina upgrades more valuable (instead of ignored). The overall length (about 80-90 minutes) wasn’t really improved, but I think I know how to fix that.

Check out the full session report (with lots of photos):
Session Report
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Thu Oct 14, 2021 12:17 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Winds of the North v0.8 Preview

Thomas King
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
badge
Winds of the North, a solo RPG of Viking Age Scandinavia
Avatar
Microbadge: WriterMicrobadge: Game Design HobbyistMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Runebound PBF playerMicrobadge: I'm a 2-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!
At some point, I may have said there were to be no further large changes to Winds of the North. Well, there were still some things bugging me, and I felt the design needed something more than tweaking to deal with the issues. The two big areas where I had problems were Combat and Trade. In addition, I’ve revamped some of the graphic design. It’s cleaner and easier to see the important information. There are still changes I’ll likely make, but they’re not a high priority right now.

One of the common pieces of feedback I had gotten was a request for someplace on the character sheet to add up all of the bonuses your character might accumulate, especially for combat. While I could have simply done that, I felt there was a more pressing, underlying issue. I was also unsatisfied with the overall balance. After running several simulated battles with characters of different levels of combat-readiness, I decided that I needed more than tweaks. So I've been working on a new combat system that should be cleaner and more engaging. Some of the benefits of the new system:

Fewer modifiers to total up.
More decision space for the player.
HP is now an active resource you can spend instead of a passive one lost when taking damage.
No tables to roll on. Enemies have their own stats.
Variable weapon damage to replace the attack table.
Weaker characters have a bit more of a fighting chance (except when fighting far outside their weight class).
Hirðmenn play a more active role in the fights.

A full preview of the new combat, new Trade activity, and other changes/additions is available on my website:
Full Preview

(I had been doing full previews here, but they're a pain to properly format, and it's a bit redundant since the same thing is posted on my website (and looks nicer)
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Oct 8, 2021 3:59 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3  Next »  

Subscribe

Contributors