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Subject: Horrible Hex Game - feedback and comments appreciated! rss

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Jon Moffat
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So, like most of you, I've been designing games for myself and friends for years.

A little while ago, a friend of mine offered the opportunity to work together and see if we could get anywhere with some of these crazy ideas of ours...

Long story short, we're working on developing a game for Kickstarter (hopefully mid to late summer launch).

The game is called Horrible Hex. It's an abstract pattern-forming move-and-counter style game for one to two players. I've been working on this project on and off for years and I think it's finally just about ready rules-wise.

The print-and-play is hosted on our website here:

http://stonecirclegames.com/games/horrible-hex/

You can see the versions at the bottom as it's developed, with a full print and play version.

We have some nice artwork lined up for when we do move to KS, but I'd really like some feedback from those who know what they're talking about (i.e. you BGGers).

Keeping in mind that the artwork and layout are rough at the moment, how is the presentation of the rules?

More importantly, how does the game look?

Thanks in advance!
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Jon Moffat
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Re: [WIP] Horrible Hex Game - feedback and comments appreciated!
Ah, I forgot...

The rulebook hosted on our site does not yet have the single-player rules:

Horrible Hex Solo Variant
Setup


Set up hexes as in a normal game (3 in a triangle). Draw 3 goal cards and place them in a line.

Gameplay

The base rules have 2 phases of the turn, 1) Move/Score and 2) Place.

Solo play is:

1) Draw a new goal and place it at the left of all other active goal cards (total of 4 face-up)
2) Move/Score: as normal, all 4 active goal cards are potential goals to complete. For each goal completed, draw a replacement and place it to the left of all other active goals.
3) Place: as in 2-player
4) Discard the rightmost goal card.

Continue game until goal draw pile is expended (at which point you skip step 1) and all active goals have then been discarded or scored.

You will note that, you essentially have an progression last-in-last-out 'train' of goals that have several turns before expiring. The object is to get as many goal cards into your score pile as possible. You can compete with yourself (my record is 9) or compare to friends.

Again, any feedback here would be fantastic!
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David Somerville
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Re: [WIP] Horrible Hex Game - feedback and comments appreciated!
Wow, this looks REALLY smooth and playable! I'm jealous, the rules are awesomely concise and clear. I love it! Can't wait to play.

A couple of notes — first, your two turn phases consist of a phase with two parts, then a phase with one part. Would it be just as easy, and maybe clearer, to just list them as 3 phases? "Move, Score, and Place" seems easier to grasp than "Move & Score, then Place." Maybe there's a reason for that I'm not seeing, but possibly worth considering?

Also, this is working well as an abstract, but I can't help but think it might be just that extra 10% engaging with traces of a theme wrapped around it. (Disclaimer: I'm definitely a theme guy, so take that with a grain of salt.) But if that's something you'd consider, it would be easy enough to skin this as a saloon fight, a garden, a store display, a fleet, or any number of other stories. The game has a lot of quick, pleasant think to it ... Adding a theme could conceivably make it pop even more with fun.

Again, feel free to ignore the Ameritrash guy designing a game with 4 simultaneous themes.

Overall, I think this is already a REALLY strong piece of work, and can't wait to back the Kickstarter campaign!
 
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Jon Moffat
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Re: [WIP] Horrible Hex Game - feedback and comments appreciated!
Thanks for the feedback!

Yeah, the whole 'two-phase' format was a recent addition and was actually done to remove confusion. The most important element of the rules, is that patterns can only be scored as the result of a move. Adding a new tile to form a pattern does not score. Some people were confused about this issue so we made scoring 'part' of movement to clarify.

If you have suggestions for other rules presentations/order, I'm more tyan happy to see them.

With respect to theme, I toyed with the idea and the graphic designer I contacted for my prototype even suggested atoms forming molecules or something. I love theme too, but I just felt that it would feel too tacked on and not 'organic' to the game design. The other concern is that since the geometries involved in pattern forming can be fairly hard to get your brain around, a theme would just get in the way of the clean visuals.
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Jon Moffat
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Another thing I'd love some feedback on is the structure of the Kickstarter itself.

The print n play version will remain free, and may even get an upgrade, but here are the tiers we had in mind for the physical copy professionally manufactured and and with amazing art:


"Hexy IRL" ($18)
- One copy of the game

"Hex with a Friend" ($35)
- Two Copies of Horrible Hex

"Group Hex" ($50)
- Three Copies of Horrible Hex

"Impatiently Hexy" ($65)
-One advance copy of the Beta edition [GameCrafter Edition] + Hexy IRL.


"Uniquely Hexy" ($100) (Limit: X of Y)
- One custom advanced [GameCrafter Edition] custom colors and center icon + Hexy IRL.


"Hex, Mass" ($150)
- Ten hard copies

"Naturally Hexy" ($200) (LIMIT: X of Y)
- One hard copy of the KS-exclusive wooden version

Thoughts? We tried to keep it simple but also allow for some varied levels.
 
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David Somerville
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Having not yet run a Kickstarter myself, I don't have a ton of insight here, but I've found Jamey Stegmaier's insights on Kickstarter inspirational, if nothing else. His post on rewards is here: http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-8-reward-level...

The only thing I see him mention that you don't have included is a $1 participation level. I think you might want to consider this, for the reasons he mentions there. To quote him directly,

"$1 is very easy to spend, and here’s what you get from it: Backers who pledge to this reward level get your project updates in their inbox from then on, so you get to engage them and show them the type of project creator you are. The hope is that they’ll like what they see, and later on they’ll increase their pledge to get a copy of your creation."

This makes good sense to me, and I'd consider it if I were running a campaign.
 
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David Somerville
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MicroStack Games wrote:
smrvl wrote:
Again, feel free to ignore the Ameritrash guy designing a game with 4 simultaneous themes.


What do you mean by this?

Oh, I'm working on a game Jon knows about called Trove — I don't want to hog his post talking about it, the full details are over here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1175320/trove-that-crazy-asy...
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David Somerville
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MicroStack Games wrote:
Jon - I agree that I would include $1/5/10/20 levels.

Items like stone circle games bumper stickers, clothing, gaming merchandise, signed game copies, signed artwork, signed prototypes, signed artwork, etc.

Anyways, looks good and good luck on the campaign.

Nate

Agreed, any of these merch/"making-of" items are great for people who just want to support the project generally!
 
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Jon Moffat
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Thanks for the great feedback thus far!

I agree, $1 pledge level is a must-have. I probably meant to list that and forgot... oh well.

With respect to merch, what kinds of things would people think worthwhile (as opposed to just 'filler' that they'd toss out)? Stickers? Hex logo items?

I'd be more that happy to sign copies, but I'm not famous so would anyone be interested in that?
 
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David Somerville
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wowbagger44 wrote:
With respect to merch, what kinds of things would people think worthwhile (as opposed to just 'filler' that they'd toss out)? Stickers? Hex logo items?

Hex stickers would be cool! As long as the hex art is cool (which I'm sure it will be) I could see chucking one of those on a guitar case/gaming computer/whatever. What I always like to do is picture a world in which there are rabid enthusiasts for the project I'm working on, and creat the kind of merch people like that would want. (Hex joke t-shirts, hexagonal mugs, whatever.)

wowbagger44 wrote:
I'd be more that happy to sign copies, but I'm not famous so would anyone be interested in that?

Just speaking for myself, if I'm buying a person's product, it's usually because I'm invested in their authorship on some level — so having signed material sounds cool to me.
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Jon Moffat
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From feedback at a recent event, we're taking another look at the artwork for the game.

So as not to duplicate threads, I have a poll running here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1193362/art-style-abstract-g...

The basic problem is, what kind of artwork is best for an abstract game like this.
 
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Jon Moffat
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What are people's thoughts on including shipping in reward tiers on Kickstarter?

I'm in the middle of the financial analysis part of planning and shipping is a real beast. In addition to costing 3-4 times what actual manufacture does, it's an unknown based on distance. I'm planning to use Game Salute to help, but it's still daunting. Any thoughts on taming the order fulfillment dragon?
 
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Dallas Tucker
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wowbagger44 wrote:
What are people's thoughts on including shipping in reward tiers on Kickstarter?

I'm in the middle of the financial analysis part of planning and shipping is a real beast. In addition to costing 3-4 times what actual manufacture does, it's an unknown based on distance. I'm planning to use Game Salute to help, but it's still daunting. Any thoughts on taming the order fulfillment dragon?


Here is an article you may be interested in.
 
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sunday silence
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hey Mr. Mofat: did you not read the session report and suggestion I posted on this game's own page? I would love to hear what you think. Good luck with the kickstarter, avoid GS.
 
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Jon Moffat
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Thanks for the article Dallas!

Yes, I did check out and respond to the feedback, thanks for the input!

The two-player core mechanics are set, the three-player variant you tried is still a little experimental. I like the idea of a 'hand' of goals as a cool little variant on the basic play. Thanks!
 
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Isaac Childres
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Jon, the game looks pretty cool, but I would second the idea of adding theme. I know you've thought about it and decided against it, but I think it would help tremendously with selling it on Kickstarter.

You might want to bold the following in the rules: "2. If any Hex tile that has moved during this turn completes either player’s pattern, those patterns are completed." And probably give a visual example as well. It seems like an important point, and I missed it on the first read.

Also regarding merchandise, a relevant post from Stonemaier: http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-63-stay-focuse... I would just focus on the game - $1 level and then the game itself (with perhaps multiple copies available as well).

Regarding shipping, there are 3 major schools of thought:
1. Don't include shipping at all: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/coolminiornot/zombicide...
2. Include basic shipping in the pledge and ask backers to add more to their pledge depending on what country they live in: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jameystegmaier/tuscany-...
3. Include everything in the backer levels: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cmxgames/copper-country...

I personally prefer the second method, as the first is a little shady since most KS backers expect at least basic shipping to be included in the pledge, and the third clutters up the pledge levels unless you're selling only one thing.
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Jon Moffat
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Thanks for the comments. We're collecting as much feedback as we can which we'll use to clarify the rules. One part of that will be to add loads more diagrams to show valid movement, scoring, etc.

With respect to theme, the most interesting thing to me is that, when asked about Kickstarter, some people have agreed that a theme will help. When asked about gameplay and aesthetics, however (especially in the Horrible Hex artwork thread, linked above) most of the feedback has been to go more simplistic and more abstract.

Honestly, I do love thematic games, but I don't want it to be at the cost of gameplay and I don't want it to get in the way of the spatial analysis Horrible Hex requires.

The artwork we've got in the works now, hopefully will strike a balance.
 
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Jon Moffat
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Thanks all for the comments and support thus far!

Ok. So we've been locked away in our dungeons working on our financial numbers for this Kickstarter. It hasn't been "fun" but we've learned a lot.

These are the tiers that we have come up with and the baseline prices for each. Tiers such as Naturally Hexy and Hex, any style you want can possibly go up due to the limited nature of them. I don't want to rip people off but would consider higher prices for them.

Our KS goal is projected to be set at $20,000. Domestic shipping included in all tiers.


"Hexy Online" ($1)
-We thank you for your support! Publicly! In the rulebook(?) and online! (Included in all reward tiers.)


-"You are Too Hexy" ($10)
-Custom Sticker (artwork pending)


"Hex on your Doorstep" ($20)
- One hard copy of the game.


"Hex with a Friend" ($40)
- Two Copies of Horrible Hex and 1 sticker
-- This is for people looking for a gift.


"Impatiently Hexy" ($75)
- One advance copy of the Beta edition [GameCrafter Edition] + Hex On Your Doorstep and Sticker


"Hex, Any Style You Want" ($120) (Limit: X of 10)
- One custom [GameCrafter Edition] custom colors and center icon + Hex On your doorstep.


"Hex, Mass" ($175)
- Ten hard copies, and we'll list you on our site as a retail partner. Multiple stickers?


"Natural Hex" ($300) (LIMIT: X of Y)
- One hard copy of the KS-exclusive woodburned Limited Edition tiles + Hex on your doorstep.

Any comments are very welcome! In addition to the tiers above we have bantered about the idea of offering a written game review/preview tier and a video preview tier. Do you think either of these would add to the Kickstarter?
 
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Jon Moffat
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For anyone who retains interest in this project, you can check it out now:

horriblehex.com

I'd appreciate any feedback or thoughts!

Thanks,
 
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