Working Titles

The theme of my blog three months ago was “no more excuses” in which I made a promise to myself that I would write more. My intent was to have a more frequent post cadence than once every three months. However, having my hands on a keyboard, working on this second post feels great. I want to write about a couple of different projects I’m really excited about, but first I thought I’d share a quick update of what’s been going on in my life.

This year has been careening forward at full speed for my wife, Leah, and I. We’ve been making our house into a home, work has been crazy for both of us, we have had our hands full raising the puppy we adopted back in October, and there was a particularly special announcement that we were able to share with our family and friends over the holidays; We will be welcoming a new member of our family into the world within the first weeks of August, 2017. Leah and I are bursting at the seams with excitement and we’re looking forward to the journey ahead of us. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous and anxious, but these emotions are drowned out by the excitement and love I already have for this kid and I haven’t even met him/her yet.

On top of the awesome news above, I want to share two of my favorite tabletop projects that I have been working. The first is a card drafting and push your luck game with a working title of Elixir. The second game I’ve been developing is a wallet sized RPG, focusing on social interaction with complete strangers with a working title of Wallet Warriors.

Elixir

I came up with concept for Elixir somewhere between energy drinks and frequent pit stops on the 14 hour drive home from Gen Con in August, 2016. The concept of Elixir is to draft ingredient cards used to brew potions, while also trying to sneak unwanted ingredients into your opponent’s potions to gain an advantage over them.

One of my favorite game mechanics in tabletop gaming is card drafting. Something about starting on a level playing field and drawing upon a shared resource pool really appeals to me. When I used to play magic cards, my favorite format was draft, and most of my favorite board games rely on some form of card drafting as core mechanics for example, Inis, Blood Rage, Morels, and Dominion.

I made a prototype of Elixir the day I got home from Gen Con and since then I have lost track of how much time I’ve put into developing the game. Elixir is no where close to being done, however I have learned more about game design and prototype development while working on Elixir than I have by reading any blog or listening to any podcast. If there is one thing that I would want to pass on to my peers about game design is that you need to just start doing it. Draft up a quick ruleset and create a rough prototype so that you can start testing as soon possible. The sooner you can test, the sooner you find out what works and what does not. I have been taking a little break from Elixir and I plan on picking it back up in a couple of weeks to see if I can smooth out some of the concepts I have been struggling with.

Wallet Warriors

I’ve been kicking around ideas for an RPG for some time now and I got a boost of inspiration from my time at Total Con this past February in Marlborough, MA. The core concept for Wallet Warriors is to take the mechanics from a stereotypical RPG such as D&D or Pathfinder and remove most of the overhead reducing the character sheet to fit on a business card. I’m very enthusiastic about this game and am excited about bringing my passion for RPGs forward in a unique way. Wallet Warriors is being developed as a fast paced game that can be played between two people while standing in a line at a convention. There is a lot of potential for great social interactions between people gathered at large conventions, gaming events, or walking down the street and Wallet Warriors aims to be the catalyst for these unique social experiences.

My goal for this post was to share my enthusiasm and excitement for the events and projects I have going on in my life right now. I look forward to sharing my prototypes, my thoughts on game mechanics, and updates for the projects I’m working on, specifically Wallet Warriors and Elixir. Thanks for reading!

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Excuses and Beginnings

I read a blog post by Jamey Stegmaier today, titled Write a Blog. In his post, he states the following:

If you haven’t started a blog, you’ve probably convinced yourself that one or all of the following are true:

  • “There are so many blogs out there already–what can I possibly add that’s new?”
  • “I don’t have time to write a blog.”
  • “I have nothing interesting to say.”
  • “I’m not a good writer.”
  • “Blogs are outdated–I’m already on Twitter and Facebook.”
  • “I don’t have anything to promote yet.”

As I read the list, I mentally “checked off” each item and by the time I finished reading the rest of his post I had a new tab open in my web browser set to the landing page of wordpress.

I’ve always felt like writing a blog would be a great exercise. However, I’ve lurked on reddit long enough to experience what the internet can do to your most cherished ideas. By putting my thoughts and opinions on the internet I’m expecting to receive the same reaction I would get as if I presented Gordon Ramsay a burnt grilled cheese with a side of girl scout cookies. But that would just be another excuse and Jamey really hit the nail on the head: the above are just excuses.

This blog is going to be about:

  • Who I am.
  • What I am excited about.
  • What projects I’m working on.
  • What I find interesting.

Lets dive right in…

Games are ingrained in me. Some of my oldest/fondest memories include me hovering over my grandmother’s shoulder as she sat in her big pepto bismol pink recliner playing Solitaire on her aluminum folding TV table while watching “Murder She Wrote”. When I was around 8 years old, my older brothers and I created what we called “The Paper Game”, a D&D inspired RPG, which was invented out of necessity. Our parents didn’t want to purchase us the official D&D product due to moral obligations and a poor media representation. In middle school, my friend Marlin and I created “Brick Hammer” (I’ll let you figure out this one), another rip-off out of necessity, using our legos instead of the proprietary plastic miniatures that your average college graduate with a job in the tech industry, let alone a middle schooler, can’t afford.

Flash-forward to today: I keep a black notebook reserved for game design ideas within arms reach. I have notecards, markers, pencils, dice, wooden tokens, and marked up playing cards strewn about my kitchen table (which I should clean up before my wife gets home from work). I have a goal to one day create something that I am proud of, a game that I can put on the table at game night and see my family,  my friends, or strangers, enjoy.

Ultimately, this blog is about me and I figured that a good first impression was to share one my passions: playing and creating games. I look forward to writing more about the games I develop, my career as a system administrator, and other side projects/tinkering I do. No more excuses.