Friday, October 6, 2017

Music to shoot rayguns to: The unofficial Rayguns and Rocketships playlist

As we rocket towards the release of Rayguns and Rocketships, I created a play-list of thematic music that is great to play the game to. Enjoy!

Mars - Bringer of War (Gustav Holst) (7:21)

Zathura Soundtrack: Zorgon's Return (John Debney) (1:07)

Flash Gordon Soundtrack: Vultan's Theme (Queen) (1:13)

Flash Gordon Soundtrack: The Battle (Queen) (2:18)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Soundtrack: Robot Army (Edward Shearmur) (3:01)

Sky Captain and World of Tomorrow Soundtrack: The Flying Wings Attack (Edward Shearmur) (6:31)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow Soundtrack: Manta Squadron (Edward Shearmur) (6:33)

Zathura Soundtrack: They Aren't Friendly (John Debney) (2:25)

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Soundtrack: Sail Barge Assault (Alternate) (John Williams) (5:06)

 Starship Troopers: Klendathu Drop (Basil Poledouris) (4:32)

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Soundtrack: Battle of Endor I (John Williams) (11:50)

Rocketeer Soundtrack: The Flying Circus (James Horner) (6:30)

 Captain America: Captain America March (Alan Silvestri) (2:35)

 Star Wars The Force Awakens: The Resistance March (John Williams) (2:37)

Zathura Soundtrack: Main Theme (John Debney) (2:23)

Starship Troopers: Destruction of the Rodger Young (Basil Poledouris) (3.28)

Zathura Soundtrack: Zathura is a Black Hole (John Debney) (1:20)

 Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow: Main Title (Edward Shearmur) (1:07)

Some advice to new designers

Recently on a board game design forum, a first time designer expressed concern that their design didn't have deep enough strategy. As someone who deals with first time designers (in my board game design class) I thought I might be able to help. This is the advice I gave him and I thought others could benefit from it as well:

An exercise I like to give to first time designers is to review all of the actions that the player can do and all the affordances the components provide.

For example in your game you have:

The 5 different classes of gems
The tiles with 2 different types of gems
The hand of cards
Drawing a card from the deck
The numbers 1-5 on cards
The card attributes - just dirt, +1, -1, mine closed, steal card, etc.
The action of revealing the cards
The action of collecting the gems

You want to think of all of the things you can do with these components and actions and what other things the players can do with them. For example, you could have a tile with 3 types of gems, the gems could have different values or allow the player to buy certain actions, there could be a restriction or method to how the cards are drawn (draw 2 and keep 1 and discard 1 or draw 2 and give 1 to another player, or draw 2 cards and keep 1 and place the other on the top of the deck) or how the gems are collected - the gems are of limited supply and you can choose whatever color you'd like or the gems must be taken in a certain order that causes actions to happen when taken (for example, a cave in) or that the gems must be thrown into a bag and selected blindly but they can be stolen or traded between players. As you can see, with just the elements you have you have lots of options.

So, what is a designer to do? Which are the best choices? First, I would say use these choices to make the player play the game you want them to play. What is the "primary action" of the game? Collecting gems? Playing cards? Something else? What type of game is it? Blind bidding? Push your luck? Screw your neighbor? Make EVERYTHING in the game move the player towards this type of game play. If it conflicts with this, then it probably shouldn't be in the game.

Also consider another (at least two) ways for the player to win the game. It might be "get points by collecting gems" or it might be "play sets of cards and get points for those" - I like to make games that you can get points during the gameplay and points at the end of the game. This is often called "points salad" in Eurogaming and it can get out of control in heavier Euros - but lightly done, I find it interesting. It obfuscates the answer to "who is winning this game" until the very end (and you always want to end with an exciting finish)

Finally, I designed a "make a value go up or down by making it +1/-1 game" and when I shopped it around, I was politely told by publishers that they weren't interested in that type of game. That it was too basic and not engaging and they see a millions of these types of games. The game now lives on my shelf. I merely mention this so you might benefit from my own experience.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New games for 2017!

I am bringing the following games to Gen-Con and would love to talk to you about them. I have a wide a wide variety of games set in a wide variety of genres.


Diamonds and Dinosaurs is a miniatures and card-based action game for young and old. Intrepid explorers have landed on Dinosaur Island in search of fabulous diamonds! Setting out from their base camp, the explorers hack their way into the jungle in search of the lost gems but will they get attacked by vicious dinosaurs first?

BGG link:

The Magician's Club is a "trick-making" card game. The year is 1921 and the Academy of Magicians has gathered once again at their swanky club to perform their greatest stage tricks. The competition to win the title of World’s Greatest Magician brings out the worst in these rivals who won’t hesitate at a chance to ruin each other’s act. Fortunately, a good magician always has an assistant by their side and a trick up their sleeve…

BGG Link here:

Scram! is an abstract strategy game for the whole family. In SCRAM! up to 4 players are represented by a color on the game board. Players share from a common pool of tokens - each with their own special ability. Players take turns placing tokens to create chain-reactions that move their tokens into scoring position and send opponent's tokens scrambling away... or make their token SCRAM! by driving it off the game board! The player with the highest value tokens on their own color at the end of the game wins!

BGG link:

Seance is a card game where players are spiritualists trying to make contact with "good spirits" while dispelling "bad spirits" from the mystic circle. Play cards onto the séance circle to “make contact” with Spirits – contact your spirit by matching its incantation or steal another player's spirit by spelling out the word “Séance”. Use special chain cards to "lock" incantation cards in place or scare the other players silly with game-changing "fright" cards. Collect Spirit cards for points.

BGG link:

Spinnenweben is a family game where players are spiders who move around a colorful web eating delicious flies for points. Roll the die to determine the number of action points and play cards to gain advantages and increase movement. The player who has eaten the most flies at the end of the game wins!

A Town Called Showdown is a card and dice game for two players. Steeped in theme, tension builds as the gunslingers pace their way down the street each turn. Players are dealt a hand of cards and each turn, advance down the street, increasing the street's tension level. When both gunslingers reach the end of the street they "shoot" using their pool of six-sided shooters - adding and subtracting for bonuses from bystanders and modifiers. Hit your opponent enough times to remove him from the competition.

You can watch a how to play video of the game here:
BGG link here:

Who’s Hue? Is a party game for 3 or more player who guess colorful characters created from colored cards and clever clues. Once all of the players have created a character, the player with the most points wins! It's who you know that matters!

You can watch a how to play video of the game here:
BGG link here:

Thursday, March 30, 2017


I have been sitting on this news since last year and thought I was going to explode!

 I am so proud to finally announce that Rayguns and Rocketships is heading to Kickstarter this April!! Please spread the word to all of your gaming frienda and hang on tight, as I will be sharing much more about the game right here and how you too can join the ranks of the Planeteers!

Here we go!!!