A prototype winter

My schedule has been a bit busy for the past few months, but I’m still keeping busy with the games in my spare time.

The game that has moved the farthest forward the fastest has been Monorails of Mars. The map scale was good on the first try, and all I’ve had to do to the graphics was change the colors and lettering a bit and correct some duplication.  The cards have gone through three versions, and they’re pretty set now, though I have to make a couple of small changes because of moving from using red and orange cubes that were difficult to distinguish to using red and blue cubes.  Added one element to reduce the randomness of which new cubes come out.  The income track has gone through a couple of iterations and seems good now.  And everything seems balanced in the player scaling (how many players play) by just altering the number of cards out and how quickly the game ends.

With the rise of Kickstarter as a funding source and a place for gathering pre-orders, we are getting ready to launch two campaigns at once — a new campaign for Samsara, and a campaign for Robot Hamsters in Space.

Samsara’s last campaign last year only raised about half the needed funds, so this time we are going to give ourselves more time, offer better incentives, more pre-order options, and better publicity.  The game is probably one of the friendliest abstract strategy games, and one of the only ones that offers both multiplayer play and negotiation.

Robot Hamsters in Space is awaiting some artwork, and then it should be ready to go too.  The game scales well between 3 and 6 players now with the distribution of tiles and the changing rules as they are.  I usually describe it as a cross between the tile-laying mechanism from Carcassonne and the programming and moving mechanism from RoboRally.  The winner is the one to build a space station and move his or her robot hamster to all the repair stations in order first.

The newest game design is still very new.  It’s only been tested once, but it seems like an interesting and fun variation on worker-placement mechanics.  It’s called Avatars of Silesia, because you embody a different character in 13th century Silesia every two years, picking up where the last player geographically and karmically left him or her, trying to achieve the most balanced kingdom in three categories of achievement.

I will try to keep things more updated again now that spring is arriving here in New York.  It was almost 70 degrees today.

Mark Salzwedel

Monorails of Mars gameboard

New board for Monorails of Mars

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