Surviving NaGaDeMon 2012

Ok, I know this is crazy. I'll try to design a game, create a prototype and play it, all in one month. Thanks to Nathan Russell, who raised the challange with his National Game Designer Month! I'll share the experience in this blog, if I survive!

1 , 2  Next »  

Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 30 - Defeated

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I couldn't slay the Demon

BUT

It was a very nice experience!meeple

NaGa DeMon hunting helped me a lot: my game is very advanced in the development, it feels very close to be done. In addition, I felt I was part of a nice community where all of us were doing the same thing! (Thanks to the FB group for all the feedback!).

In my case I found that what it's needed to make a game is:
1. Time
2. Inspiration/Motivation
3. Energy

And that the problem is having all three at the same time!

I found myself with good ideas and time to work on them, but really tired after a busy day with work, wife, home and kids. Other days I was not very tired but motivation level was down. This is true for both working on the game and writing about the process. And for reading and commenting about other hunters' work as well.

NaGa DeMon encouraged me to make the most of the time when the three conditions were met. This is something I can note in my game and in this blog. I'm happy for this cool

According to Nathan Russell, this is the checklist:

Handy NaGa DeMon Checklist

[ ] Create a game

[ ] Play said game

[ ] Talk about said game

[ ] Win!


Indeed I create a game (the rules are complete), I played several times and wrote a bit about that. But I don't win because the game is not done! There are things that don't work well. I think most of it can be solved by balancing and tuning the resources.

Next step will be more and more playtesting, adjusting things little by little until the game experience feels well. But that will be another demon . I'll keep this blog as a WIP document, so just stay tuned if you're interested.

Thank you for reading. See you soon!
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Fri Nov 30, 2012 3:10 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Game design process: Step 2 - From mind to cardboard

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the previous entry of this series I explained how I got the idea of the game and the way the movement would work.

Now it's time to talk about the board. I knew it had to be hexed, but I couldn't imagine what would be the best shape. After a quick search on the web I found Unlur's board. That shape was perfect! I just adjusted the number of hexes to have the longest distance equal to the maximum possible movement (12 hexes).

I added six starting hexes (I'll try to make the game work with up to six players) and numbered other hexes to have a system to locate items on the board. Finally, I colored the border hexes to use those colors to define the movement direction (more on this in a moment).

I set the size of the hexes to match well with the 20x20 mm counters I was planning to use for items and characters tokens. This was the result (it fits in an A3 sheet):


Board's first version

Numbers on the board are arranged in six gray rings. Each ring's number is located in the white central hex. Each ring has six "positions", numbered from 1 to 6. To locate an item, roll 2d6. One result is the ring and the other is the position.

I really liked the way everything in the game was around the numbers three and six (the movement rule was slide = run x 3, remember?).

The simultaneous selection of movement direction is done by the players indicating secretly a color in their mats. This color wuold match the colored border hex the runner will move towards.

When I was describing this in the rulebook, I realized that this system doesn't work! Just imagine your runner is located in the position 1 of the ring 3, and you select the yellow direction. There're two possibles path.

To solve this, I shifted out the colors to the border of the hexes, getting this:


Board's second version

It worked quite well! I think the mechanic is easy to get and you can be moving your runner around the board very quickly by indicating direction and speed on your mat.

Which will be the topic in the next entry of the series: player's mat.

Thank you for reading. And remember that any feedback will be highly appreciated meeple
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Nov 23, 2012 7:21 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Game design process: Step 1 - An idea hits my head

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
(Note: Here I explain in detail the design and development process of my NaGa DeMon game. This is the first entry of the series)

I've been living in Norway since 2009. In this country, everybody takes their shoes off when entering a house. Which is very sensible in the winter time, because of the snow on the soles.

This means that you can find yourself wearing socks whenever you are indoors. And, naturally, I started to slide on the wooden floor when playing at home with my small daughters. Then the idea came: a boardgame where players wear socks, run and slide.

It was clear to me that the movement should have two phases: run and slide. And the more you run, the longer you slide. Also, I wanted the runners to have the risk of falling down. In every turn players should check (using dice) to see if they manage to make the desired movement. Long distances and turns would penalize the check, extra equipment or improved abilities would add bonuses.

But another appealing idea came: CRASHES! Of course I wanted the runners to collide while running or sliding!

With this in mind, I just needed to set an objective and the resources the players were going to manage. I decided to have a closed hexed board where runners can move in all directions (crashes! remember? ). The objective could be collecting items that are worth victory points. These items would appear more or less randomly on the board during gameplay. This way players would decide on which items to pick as well as the speed they'll have that turn.

Then I started to work on possible run/slide speed combinations (i.e. number of hexes the runners would move in one turn). At the beginning there were lots of them: if you run 1 hex, you could slide from 1 to 3 more hexes. If you run 2 hexes, you could slide from 2 to 5. And so on up to running 5 hexes and slide from 6 to 10. Or something like that (I don't remember well because I worked on this years ago ).

I added multiple possible "status". At any given time your runner could be: standing, running, sliding or fallen. And then I left the idea of the game behind because the approach was very complex and confusing for a light board game!

From time to time I came back and tried to fix things. During this process I decided to have simultaneous turns. This is, each player would select secretly direction and speed of movement. Then all movements are resolved at the same time. The sliding paths are traced, and crashes occur when two paths meet. Neat, eh? cool

That was good, but not enough to feel comfortable with it. Then NaGaDeMon 2012 pushed me to work on this again, and brought some inspiration. I found a simple movement rule:
Run 1 hex, slide 3 hexes
Run 2 hexes, slide 6 hexes
Run 3 hexes, slide 9 hexes
Allowing a small change of direction (60 degrees) when sliding starts.

It seemed to be simple and elegant. The runners would have a limited area of movement, but still big enough to make some decisions on which items inside their movement range pick.

This system was in my first "official" version of rules to be fully playtested.

In the next entry I'll talk about the board and the implementation of the simultaneous turn mechanic.

Thank you for reading. Any feedback is welcome!
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:40 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 20 - History so far

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Twelve days since the last update.

I must admit that the enthusiasm got down after the euphoric first ten days of reporting. And I think this is due to the solo playtesting.

First part of desing process is what I enjoy the most: putting ideas together, imagining how it will work, designing, printing and cutting boards and tokens...

Then short and quick tests to see if the mechanics work. And then you try a full play. But at this stage you must do it alone or with people close enough to spend one hour or more having a bad gaming experience, since the game doesn't work (yet!).

The Wife helped me a couple of times, we found what worked and what didn't. But I lost heart for the next testing, because when I sat downd to try the game alone it was not pleasent to me. It's a bit frustrating when you don't feel like working on the project that was so exciting a couple of days before!

But...

Despite the previous, I managed to try the game by myself and go ahead with the development!

As an example, I'll show you the current version of the board:


New board, another step

It's still one weekend before the month ends. So I'll try to get a playable version of the game for my playtesters in Spain before it, to get feedback from them and see if the version at November 30th gives me the right to be called Demon Slayer!

PS. In next posts I'll explain the game in detail, describing the development process.

Edit: The rules are written in Spanish. In case you want to take a look at the current version, you can find them here. Needless to say that all comments are welcome meeple
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:19 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 8 - Updates

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So you want to know what I've been doing for my game the last days

On Monday I created a decent version of the individual boards that will be used to keep track of movement, items and wounds. I think I should have spent less time on it, since it's a very early design stage and most likely it'll change. A lot. But it's also fun to work on the aesthetics, even if you know your design is very far from looking professional blush

You can take a look:


And practice Spanish

The area at the left side is used in the Movement step. Players will mark secretly one color to indicate the direction they will run that turn. This color will match with one of the colors of the border hexes on the main board:


This is why I added those colored hexes on borders

Players will also mark the Speed, choosing one number from 1 to 3 in the grid below. This will set the number of hexes they will run and slide. Finally, they have to mark if they are turning left or right, by moving the counter to the corresponding arrow in the same grid.

This way all players plan their movement at the same time without knowing what the others are going to do.

In the center part of miniboards players will manage items: upper box for items that are just picked, the three small boxes for up to three active items and the next box for spent items. At the bottom players will keep track of ammunition. I'll explain shooting in future posts.

Finally, the wounds are tracked at the right area. You start to get bad effects once you have four wounds or more. Can you guess what happens at the seventh wound? devil

Tuesday and Wednesday were quite unproductive, with a cold that took away my enthusiasm about life soblue

But I feel better again, and I'm finishing the rules draft to send to my playtesters in Spain. Normally I would have waited for more initial playtesting before writing the rules in such a detailed way, but this is NaGaDeMon, and I need to start playtesting with others ASAP. Besides, the playtesters are my brother and a close friend, so I know they won't mind to test a game with some holes meeple

Next steps:
Finish writing the rules draft covering all details
PLAYTEST!!!
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Thu Nov 8, 2012 8:52 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 4 - First prototype

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Wife surprised me when asked "Are we going to test the full game today?"

Mainly because I didn't have the individual boards and item tiles done!

So I had to make them by hand very quickly, since the time is very limited (say, after the kids fall asleep and before we fall asleep laugh).

Here's a picture of a prototype made in 5 minutes, except the main board that was already printed. Well, we had to use crayons to color all border hexes.


There are two characters and seven items on the board.

Turns are simultaneous, so players must set direction of movement and speed secretly. This is done on the individual boards, marking the color of the border hex you want to run towards and a number from 0 to 3 for speed. Then, all players show their movement at the same time. This is why we needed the colored hexes.

The match went well. I think the base of the game is strong. It needs a lot of deveolpment to calibrate everything: values and effects of items, length of the matches, number of dice to solve different actions, etc.

Next I'll create more decent components for another prototype. Then, more playtest, and after some refining I'll get the material ready to be sent to my playtesters in Spain
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Sun Nov 4, 2012 10:32 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 2 - First draft / First basic test

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ok, the first draft of rules is done. Some details need to be defined yet, but the core is finished.

(Go here for a brief description of the game).

I also tried (with The Wife!) a match with the following elements:
1. Full movement rules
2. Items (without victory points or abilities to improve characters' performance)
3. Collisions between characters

So there were we, running and sliding, trying to get items and crashing with each other meeple

It worked quite well. The mechanics for movement (run+slide) feels smooth, with some decisions without getting too "chessy". It went a bit plane, but I think that after adding different victory point values and abilities to the items then the game will feel more exciting.

The game will include injuries when the character crashes against the walls at the border of the board. This will add more things to take into account: you may want to be fast to get that item first, but then you can get injured because you won't be able to stop in time!

As a curious fact, in a turn we went to collide face-to-face, and then I realized that I hadn't considered that case (I covered only when two sliding paths intersect in one hex). After a short discussion we came up with a solution that seems to work fine.

In short: very satisfied with the test.

Next, I'll create the individual small boards (one for each player) and the item tokens, to run another test play.

This is very exciting!laugh
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Nov 2, 2012 11:11 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day 1 - Writing the rules / Movement

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Finally November is started!

Today I worked a bit putting the ideas together and writing the first draft of rules. I know the basic mechanics I want in the game, but it's been hard to link them in a sensible way, trying to keep things as simple as possible.

I printed out the board and tried some basic movements (go here to find a brief description of the game). I was pleasently surprised when I found that the size of the board fits very well with the possible movements that can be done.

Movement is done in two steps: running and sliding. Every turn, a player can move in one of the following ways:
1. Run 1 hex, slide 3 hexes
2. Run 2 hexes, slide 6 hexes
3. Run 3 hexes, slide 9 hexes

Movement must be done in straight line when running and sliding, but players can turn 60 degrees after running before sliding. This gives 54 possible movements (55 if we consider staying still). I hope this brings interesting decision-making.

The first draft is not done yet; I hope I'll finish tomorrow. After that, I'll create the items.

It's bed time. Thank you for reading.

Important note: The Wife helped me to test the basic movements. This is the biggest achievement of the day! laugh
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Thu Nov 1, 2012 11:04 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day -1 - Board

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A few hours for NaGaDeMon to start!

But I found some time and used it to create the board blush

So you want to take a look. I'm glad you ask:



I created it in MS Word (I know it's a bit stupid to use something called "Word" to draw... but it was very straightforward)

If everything goes well I'll draw the board using more advanced tools... I just have to make the game work first!

Next steps (in right time):
Write rules
Create tiles
Print board and tiles
First test
Realize that nothing works as expected
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Wed Oct 31, 2012 3:59 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Day -2 - Cheating

Roberto Clemente
Norway
Sandefjord
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I couldn't resist working a bit on the project.

(Go here if you don't know what it is about)

Too many ideas around my mind, I had to write them down to put things in order. I know it's two days too early, but I had to do something, otherwise my head was going to explode!

So, the contest hasn't started yet, and I'm already cheating... This is promising laugh
Twitter Facebook
2 Comments
Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:48 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2  Next »  

Subscribe

Categories

Contributors

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.