Print and Roll Games - a self-publisher's diary

This is a project that I've been considering for quite some time now - so it's exciting to be finally embarking on it. I've been designing games for about two years now. I particularly enjoy dice allocation games such as Alien Frontiers, Troyes, Lords of Vegas and Castles of Burgundy and have been working on a range of dice based games of my own. I have looked at conventional publishing and self-publishing but found that the cost of repeatedly shipping dice would make the games rather more expensive than I would wish. So, I hit on the idea of a print and play website - providing the rules, boards, cards and everything that you would need to play the games, except the dice. As a gamer (first tabletop then euro-games) I already had a large selection of dice and have found a great many affordable sources for the few that I was short of - I hope that this will be the same for plenty of other gamers. I currently have two games coming towards the end of beta-testing and two more at the early prototype stage. I hope to be posting new games over the coming months and years. Each one will be available for a few pounds (GBP) and will use common and readily available dice and counters. I hope to have the site fully up and running within the next couple of months with the first two games available to buy. As soon as the site's up and running, I'll post a link on this blog. Adam Taylor June 2012
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Spellsmiths spells redraft

Adam Taylor
United Kingdom
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Microbadge: I'm a 1-year veteran of an active PbF RPG!Microbadge: Innovation fanMicrobadge: Tigris & Euphrates fanMicrobadge: Pax Porfiriana fanMicrobadge: I go to London on Board
More playtesting this week at London on Board and the Playtests and Prototypes Meetup which has unfortunately led to Spellsmiths (the new name for what was previously Ivory Tower) being put very much on the back-burner.

Despite some early promise, all of the recent playtests of Spellsmiths have fallen extremely flat. I still think that the central mechanism has some legs: your dice roll determines which spells you can power from a hand of cards (some allow manipulation of the dice so there's a puzzle element - working out which cards you can power) and you use the spells to compete to capture Mythical beasts.

The intention is that some information is known but some is hidden (ie cards are played openly but dice results are hidden - or perhaps the other way around) so that bluffing is a central part of the game. Unfortunately I've yet to find a method of playing the game so that bluffing is both enjoyable and profitable.

So - right back to the drawing board! While this is a little dispiriting, it is really helpful to playtest with other designers who know the value of a negative review: the game as it stands just doesn't work - it's far better to know that for sure and start again rather than flogging away at a horse with little, if anything, left in it.

On the plus side, Siegecraft got some extremely favourable comments from the other designers at Playtests and Prototypes and is still available to purchase at for a mere £2!

For the future; while Spellsmiths languishes in my sub-conscious for a while, I'll be working instead on Familiar - of which more in future instalments...
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