The 5-month update

Sorry to be out of touch for so long.  It was a really busy April and then a really slow summer, so I’ve been either too busy to write or with nothing to write about for a few months.

We placed three big reorders of The Climbers with Funagain Games, Boards and Bits, and Cool Stuff in April.  Thank you to all of you who bought from them and made those shipments possible.  We are hoping to get more reorders and some new accounts, even one national account, some time this month.

Otherwise, I have spent a lot of time making small refinements to several of the prototypes.  Star Hopper, which just tested well in a close 3-player game yesterday, is pretty solid for a light strategy game.  We played the most vicious rule variations, where you can siege a colony to take it over and collide with opponent’s spaceships to send them back to the space station for repairs.

Back in March, I did a revision of the board and cards for Monorails of Mars, and we did a 4-player test of it yesterday as well.  The biggest challenges have been to decrease the likelihood of a runaway leader and to balance the mechanics for varying numbers of players (3 to 6) without having to alter the board size.  Most of the games with players of equal experience are fairly close now, and the scaling for different numbers of players continues with more tweaks for 3- and 4-player games.

Robot Hamsters in Space got a component upgrade recently.  We found small hamster figures that fit on the tiles very nicely.

We also ran a couple of very preliminary tests for a role-playing resource management game called Avatars of Silesia.  The game is unique in that you switch roles at regular intervals and have to pick up where the last person who had the role left off.  Like Monorails of Mars, it is a component heavy design, so it may be a few months before you hear more about this one.  The current metaphor in the game is that you are time travelers who take over key figures in 15th Century Silesia to see if you can alter the course of history and enable one dukedom to dominate all the others.  You can only stay in each role for two years, and then there is a bit of fighting amongst you to see who gets to be whom for the next two years.

Mark Salzwedel

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