Trumps, sheep, and old dice

P.D. Magnus' ruminations on gaming, along with shrill promotion of his own designs.

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Warmth, the sea, and the Capital Decktet

P.D. Magnus
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In a recent blog post, S John Ross tries to articulate the sense of warmth that he looks for in "a game's systems, worlds, adventures, cartography, typography, illustrations, page design, themes, philosophies, morals, politics, history and resources." Ross doesn't give a definition of 'warmth' so much as he gestures to it and points at it. It is, he writes, "one of the stars I steer my work by: a core design ideal."

And I think it is for me, too. The Decktet is more something that steeped than something that crystalized. It has an abstract structure that underlies the mathematics of many different games, but the structure is woven together with art and implied context that makes it more open-ended than just the formal structure itself. Warmth is closely related to what Nate Straight calls the ambiguity of the Decktet.

The best Decktet games are infused with the same warm glow, and the cards don't just feel like a modular component which could be traded out for something with isomorphic marks.

This is part of what makes designing the capital deck hard and why it's literally taken years. The capital cards need to be something new, but they need to capture the same ineffable warmth that the classic cards have. They have to both work as a deck on their and look at home next to the classic deck.

Without any grand design, the capital Courts rank has a bit of a nautical theme.

From gallery of pmagnus


You can't sail a ship in Drydock, but without it there can never be a ship at sea.

The Stranger is a puzzle with missing pieces. As the story goes, the Stranger on the beach might kill you for no reason at all.

Having settled on a design for the card back, I'm trying to settle on a colour.

robotrobot The Capital Decktet is an ongoing project to create a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names. The preview here are works in progress and may not appear in this form in the final thing.
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Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:18 pm
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A sneak peek and doggerel

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Jeff Warrender is running a play-by-forum playtest of his Decktet poetry game. I know Jeff through Spielbany, and I've helped a bit with the development of the game.

He's using a tarot-sized Decktet which includes illustrations from both the classic and the capital deck. So the pictures may includes, just by chance, some as-yet-unrevealed cards.

bacon Links to threads about the poetry game:
Poetica: A Decktet poetry game
Seeking playtests/PBF for Decktet poetry game -- GG reward (No poetry skill required!)
Decktet poetry PBF Game #1
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Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:32 pm
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Call-outs in the Capital Decktet

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Here's another preview of the Capital Decktet, an ongoing project to create a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names.

From gallery of pmagnus


These two cards work on their own, but they also thematically call out cards from the classic Decktet. The Miller works at the Mill, and the two cards have the same suits. The Merchant passes through the Gate, on his way to the Market; and the guard watching over the Gate has a brother who is stationed to defend the Borderland.

The Gate was one of the first cards I started drawing when I started on the Capital Decktet. It was originally zoomed out further, so much that the details all disappeared when it was printed at the size of a card.

cinnamon It's approaching the tenth anniversary of the Decktet. Any ideas for how to mark the occasion?
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Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:42 pm
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Help me pick a card back

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Last Summer, I posted about card backs: Previous Decktet have had full-bleed, full-colour backs, mostly for technical reasons. Playing cards traditionally have symmetrical monochrome line art, and improvements in POD printing have made that practical for the Decktet.

I posted this as a possible card back for the Capital Decktet. Call it the questing design:

From gallery of pmagnus


Here's another possibility. Call it the cameo design:

From gallery of pmagnus


I've done test prints of both, and they look good. Help me decide!

Poll
1. Which card back design do you prefer?
2. Assuming you wanted to buy a copy of the Decktet and only one of these card backs were available, which best describes your attitude?
      88 answers
Poll created by pmagnus
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Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:28 pm
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Allies and adversaries

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Here's another preview of the Capital Decktet (an ongoing project to create a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names).

In the classic Decktet, the Pawn face cards are a thematically related pair. Here, too.

From gallery of pmagnus


These two were among the first cards I sketched out for what's become the Capital Decktet, when I was still trying to figure out whether I'd be able to draw in a similar enough style to fit with the classic deck.
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Wed Feb 7, 2018 8:08 pm
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Crowns in the Capital Decktet

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I've written this post once, but it failed to post and was swallowed in a cloud of dark bits. So maybe I'll keep it short.

Here's another preview of the Capital Decktet (an ongoing project to create a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names).

In the Decktet, the highest rank is the Crowns.

I decided to feature this bit of terminology by putting the word in the card titles. Initially, the thought was just to name them the "Crown of Moons", "Crown of Suns", ... to parallel the Aces.

Then I hit upon a different idea.

From gallery of pmagnus
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Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:17 am
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The Capital Decktet in the new year

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It has been too long since my last update on the Capital Decktet (an ongoing project to create a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names).

Here's a seasonally appropriate preview:

From gallery of pmagnus


The Blizzard is darkness made of light. Only go out if you have a definite purpose, because only the sure-footed can find their way forward.


meeple meeple meeple

As I indicated in a thread last month, I've decided against crowd-funding a giant print run. Running a crowd-funding campaign seems like all downsides: Lots of work. Having to develop skills that don't really interest me and which I won't use for anything else. Assuming risk and responsibility, should something go wrong in production or fulfillment.

I am also unsure of what kind of support there would be. The Decktet community here on BGG has been pretty quiet for a while, but I know there are lots of people out in the world with an interest in it. So I have no way of knowing what scale the project would be.

So, unless a publisher approaches me out of the blue, I think that the Capital Decktet will be a print-on-demand item via DriveThru Cards. They do an excellent job printing on premium cardstock, so the cards will be as nice as if there were a big campaign for them.
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Wed Jan 3, 2018 1:50 am
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Much played games of 2017

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Tallying up last year, like you do. These are games I played five or more times last year, along with some commentary.

There were 26 plays each of Codenames, Escape, and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

Not a coincidence. We were going to play either Escape or Sentinels while doing laundry on Sunday. I mentioned that whichever we played would turn out to be my most-played game for the year, so Cristyn suggested we should play some of each in just the amount to make it a tie.

It's less Sentinels and more Escape than 2016.

I don't mind not playing as many games of Sentinels as in earlier years. It's still fun, but we've seen a lot of how it goes.

We used to play lots of Escape but had not for a while, and it was good to put it in the rotation again. We also did less gaming on laundry day overall, because we often ended up with work to do instead.

19 plays of the new Zendo. So far, we've been playing with the rules cards. This makes it easier to play one round after another, because one needn't think up a new rule, but the experience is different. I won't know what I really think of the new pieces as compared to old-school pyramids until we try it with freeform rules.

15 plays each of the Decktet and Scrutineyes. The former is a catch-all for games that don't have their own entry yet. The latter is a New Year's tradition.

13 plays of Kingdomino. A contender for my favorite game of the year. Even so, it calls out for mini-expansions like the ones for Coloretto. I'd like a little more, but not as much more as Queendomino. I'm eyeing Age of Giants.

12 plays Codenames: Duet. It's a clever variant that makes the two-player game intense and difficult. There's never any downtime, and you have to be thinking like a spymaster all the time. Adding it to the plays of Codenames and the 6 plays of Codenames: Pictures, I could count the Codenames franchise as my most played game of the year. I like all of them, with different groups and under different circumstances.

11 plays of Isle of Skye. This plays well with five, and I'm still enjoying it. I expect it will see some more play in 2018.

8 plays of Cardline: Globetrotter. It plays very fast.

7 plays of Perudo.

6 plays each of Clubs, Imhotep, The Little Prince: Make Me a Planet, Magnate, Mombasa, No Thanks!, Sidereal Confluence, Sorcerous Futures, and Unpublished Prototype. Unpublished Prototype is just a placeholder for things that don't have their own entry yet.

Sidereal Confluence would get more plays, but it's longish and heavy-ish. It is hard to teach, not so much because it's terribly complicated but because it is asymmetrical and simultaneous. I need to watch that newbies are playing correctly, they have some factors which nobody else at the table has got, and I'm trying to work through my options at the same time. Even so, it's a contender for my favorite game of the year.

Sidereal is different enough than Kindomino that it doesn't make sense to say that one is better than the other. Maybe the fact that Kingdomino leaves me itching for an expansion means that Sidereal wins.

5 plays each of Coloretto, Einstein, and Monster Trick.

robot Last year saw less gaming than the year before, because gaming lost time both to work and to other hobbies.

Since I stopped going to Wednesday night game night at Zombie Planet, there were no games of Kingdom Builder. That's something that's already been remedied in 2018.

robot The plays of Sidereal and Mombasa (plus a play of Caverna) made me realize in 2017 that I like evening-long games more than I thought I did. They'd certainly count higher in the year-in-review if I added up play time rather than number of games. Cardline would vanish, and Kingdomino would be further down the list. Even so, higher play counts indicate that a game won more rounds of What Shall We Play than the other ones.
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Tue Jan 2, 2018 6:44 pm
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Where the Capital Decktet is at

P.D. Magnus
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I keep trying to write a post wrestling with the issue of what to do with the Capital Decktet (a counterpart to the classic Decktet which will have the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names). I keep thinking I'll post another preview when I figure out what to write.

I haven't figured that out, but here's this:

From gallery of pmagnus
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Sat Oct 7, 2017 4:20 pm
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Capital crimes

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A question and a preview. Comments are welcome about either.

E What do you think is the best starting place for the Decktet, a first game to get started? Which rules should be included in a concise introduction to the Decktet?

Poll
What games are good starting places, first games to play with the Decktet?
      24 answers
Poll created by pmagnus


E There are stories suggested in the Decktet illustrations, and some of those play out across multiple cards. Here are several cards from the capital deck on the theme of crime.

From gallery of pmagnus


The Capital Decktet is a counterpart to the original Decktet with the same ranks and suits, but different art and card names. The peek here is a work in progress.
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Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:44 pm
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