New Updates and New Projects

Adam Here! I’ve been doing some very needed updating on the website (we published Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Party!) and realized that I haven’t posted an update on the 4×3 in a while. Although I’ll still be working on games from it – you can find some of them on the Games in Development page – I won’t be working on the 4×3 anymore. Although I’ve learned a lot from trying to do the project, I was behind and lost track of where I was.

So instead, I’ve got another set of game projects that I’ve been working on: making a game for each of my siblings and parents. Because I’ve set the deadline for their birthdays, I have a bit more accountability to create a game for a specific time. Thus far I’ve created a trick-taking game, a social deduction game, and I’ve been working on two Role-playing games. I’m excited for the future! Look for more updates soon.

The State of the 4×3

Like I said in an earlier post, I gave myself a goal to make 12 games using four different mechanics. 3 games for each mechanic. Here’s an update on the state of the challenge.

Name of Game Theme Main Mechanics Player Count Development Notes
They’re a Fallin’ Autumn Roll and Write 1+ Pretty High in Development, need to balance points
NEB Space Ships Building Space Ships Player Interaction and Secret Roles 3-10 Figure out Balancing and other key issues
Doctor’s Note Giving people medicine/potions Player Interaction/Party group 4-10 Need to do first playtests
Unnamed Abstract Trick Taking 2-6 Need to make cards and do first Playtests
Team Scum Fantasy/Medieval Augmentation and Secret Roles 6-15 Need to finish making cards and do Playtests

Two of these games are games that I’ve been working on since about the challenge was started, one in February, and two in the last couple of weeks. Suffice it to say I’m behind!

As of now I have one Roll and Write, two party games, two games with secret roles, and one trick taking game (though I have been experimenting with trick taking since before the 4×3). We’ll see which categories fully flesh out but I think I would like to continue develop trick taking, secret roles, and hopefully some roll and writes (although I believe Roll and Writes are making their way out of fashion again…).


Updates! March 2019

So, unfortunately it seems that I’m updating about once every 4 months – you know what, I’ll just own it. Day job has been busy (always is around the holidays) and I’ve been busy as well.

Important things for the last few months:

  • My son was born in February. So, life is great and coffee helps!
  • I’ve been exploring trick taking games again recently and hope to have added some to the 4×3 challenge. This is somewhat thanks to Adam’s Boardgame Wales Youtube Channel where he has a great breakdown of different types of trick taking games. Go check it out and check out his channel, it’s really great!
  • I’m prepping to do a final push for Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Party. Hopefully, I’ll have a final Dev. Diary on that soon!

And that’s where I’m at! Parental leave has been good and I’ve been able to devote some time to game design, which has been a welcome addition back to my life after taking a couple month break.

Cheers! Spring (in the Northern Hemisphere) is here!


Updates! Circa Oct. 2018

You: “So, where you at?”

Me: “Um… busy?”

You: “No, but that actually doesn’t answer the question.”

Me: “Well…”

I’ve decided to post a quick update because of my 4×3 personal challenge. Nothing like an update, right?

  • Games designed this year: 2
  • Months this year: 3
  • Ideas: less than I’d like to admit
  • Other (BIG) projects: 3

So, I’ve been busy putting the final touches on Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Party as I plan to be either releasing it very soon for Print on Demand or sending it out more to publishers. Up next in that project is to make a “How to Play” video and to spread out the rules even more, making the rules as language-independent as possible!

Second and Third projects aren’t actually related to Jack of Peace Games but are personal life things which have taken my focus away from game designing for a little bit. Like, having a baby on the way and figuring out if we want to buy a house before that baby comes, kind of life things.

BUT, things I’d like to do soon in the midst of all that busy is:

  1. Take more games to playtesters! (there’s a great Friday night gathering I’ve been meaning to go to!)
  2. Design a game from The Drinking Meeples’ latest idea extravaganza (I haven’t forgotten about you all!)
  3. Make sure that I’m thinking of game design ideas and trying to make rough prototypes that are playable. I’ve found that trying to cultivate game design thinking throughout the week is important to coming up with new ideas!
  4. Finish up and develop games that I have already!

So, until next time, be expectant!


Adam – Jack of Peace Games

Game Dev Diary – Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Party (PT. 3)

I recently realized that the last post I wrote about Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Party was almost a year ago. It was called Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Pile back then! A few things that have changed (it’s been a year after all!) and I’ve been slowly making improvements.

I’ve been playtesting and developing the game to a point where I feel fairly confident with it. A couple of the major changes that have happened in the last year:

  • The game lasts only 1 round of throwing cards.
  • I’ve taken out throwing multiple cards at the same time. That rule was too confusing and often messed up the order of players throwing their cards
  • The game is fun and best when it’s not taken too seriously. Playing up to these strengths will make the game even better!
  • The rules have been refined and condensed. Basic play has been separated from advanced play.

I’ve gotten some good feedback through game design contests I’ve entered it into and while there has been some interest in the game, it hasn’t fit into anyone’s catalogue. I’m not very surprised, actually, as it’s a very simple game with a unique mechanic which is more like a lawn game than normal card games. (Although, more card-based games have become more active and real-time-action oriented, like Happy Salmon or 5 Minute Dungeon.)

Next steps will be to do blind playtesting for the game to make sure that the rules are easy to understand and a how-to-play video for the game! We’re going to be ordering several proof copies from Drive Thru Cards to send to people and have them play. I’m excited to see the results!

If you’d like to read the updated rules, click here! Feel free to comment and give feedback!

Pen and Graph Paper with Designs

My 4×3 challenge

I’ve given myself a challenge for the year. Before Gen Con next year, I’d like to design 12 games evenly distributed between 4 different game types. Because Gen Con is like Board game Christmas, right? (Does that make Essen Board Game New Year?)

Pen and Graph Paper with Designs

Designing a Roll and Write

I’ve already decided some of the game genres that I want to work on. I’d like to work on making 3 roll-and-write and three trick taking games. I’m not sure on what all games themes I’d like to design but I do know that I’d like to explore how to make a type of game 3 different ways! It’s not like I’m going to make the perfect trick-taking game on the first try (or even the 3rd) but exploring how to make a different game on the same premise is going to be a good exercise!

So, do you think I can do it? One game a month? And keeping to the standard of making games which promote peace and life?

Well, stay tuned!

ps. I’ve been working on a trick taking game where you gain tricks differently (it’s really rough) and I’ve decided this week to enter the Roll and Write Game Jam! You could join too! Also, I’ll post an update soon about Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Pile Party!


Game Dev Diary – Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Pile (PT. 2)

Recently, I’ve been waiting for feedback from blind playtesters in order to try to make this game a better game.

As I explained in Part 1 of this Game Dev, the game involves throwing cards to get close to another card. I’ve been working with a few other people to test the game and have gotten some good recommendations for the game which include:

  • stacking actions on top of each other so that you’re not always stuck with the same actions
  • throwing multiple baby monster cards at the same time
  • the game should only last one round, whoever is closest wins!
  • finding a way to make the rules a bit more easy to understand
  • having rules for adults vs. children – that way the adults can be more competitive or can play with stacking rules mentioned above

Of these I think that many might make it into the next round of playtests. I’ve already tried to identify cards which would chain well to other cards and have begun the process of making a spreadsheet which will work in a datamerge to produce a set of cards. I’m finding that I’m doing much of my design work in spreadsheets. (The accountants in my family would be proud!)google doc picture

I’ve also been tinkering with the design of the cards a bit. Although I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on the basic design (people like the simple sharpee drawings that are currently on the cards) my gut feeling is that I’d like to do something more.

Also, I’ve been given an arbitrary deadline to have something ready by mid-November. I don’t think that will be the final project, but it might be something that I’m happy for people to buy and play with friends. If that’s the case, then I’m looking at a quick turnaround to get the following ready:

  • new test of watercolor backgrounds (watercolor is fun!)
  • making a deckbox that looks really good
  • revamping the rules and cards to include chain-able actions and remove rounds (instead, the closest person wins!)
  • spacing the rules out better and making them easier to understand

Hopefully it’ll happen soon! (busy, busy, busy)

Yeay, playing games!

Game Dev Diary – Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Pile (pt. 1)

Super Awesome Monster Cuddle Pile is a card throwing game. Most people I’ve talked with who don’t regularly play games have a difficult time with that concept. Unless you’re pranking someone with 52 card pickup, most games don’t have a card throwing component.

However, this idea came about as I was thinking about the combination of Bocce played indoors and throwing cards as an interesting mechanic came to my mind. As I thought about it, the concept of monsters trying to cuddle each other (and comically jumping to do so) seemed to fit the concept of throwing cards in a haphazard kind of way.

I tend to write rules and playtest as quickly as possible and this game lends itself to being able to playtest because of the limited amount of rules that it has. We playtested it with some friends and the game was really enjoyable!

You can find the mechanics of the game on the game’s home page but essentially, you throw cards to try to get close to the first card that was thrown. When you throw a card that lands monster-side up, you have the opportunity to get points at the end of the round. When you throw a card that lands action-side up, the players after you have to do that action. I have a list of actions here that you can view, comment on, and comment new actions to do!

Early on in the process I decided to try to fully develop this game. Usually this isn’t really advisable until you do lots of playtesting but I really enjoyed Daniel Solis’ year-long challenge to himself to publish a game a month on Drive-thru-cards and, while I don’t have the experience that Solis did at that time, I very much like the idea of building and developing a library of games for Jack of Peace Games. This game hits a kind of niche which would be a great addition Jack of Peace Games.

I’m currently in the process of doing a lot of playtesting with this game and I’ll have an update here soon about the changes that I’ve made. Because, before artwork or any other further development happens, I want to make sure that I have a solid game which will be enjoyed by a lot of different groups.

Stay tuned!

Why Jack of Peace?

So, quick story about why I (Adam Stichter) decided to call this endeavor Jack of Peace Games. Three main parts towards one outcome.

A while ago I realized that a lot of board games fall under the category of violent resolution to a struggle for dominance/power. This theme/story is quite prevalent in many popular games, video games especially. I don’t like that there is a large selection of games which use this theme because I believe that we as humans can find better solutions to our issues than resorting to violence or force. So I decided to go another way which led me down a different path. If you don’t follow the same logic or reasoning, just try to understand that this was how I came to come to the decision of the mission and name of Jack of Peace Games.

  1. I think that the games and media we engage with desensitize us and slowly make us accustomed to solving problems in a certain way. It’s why games have been for a really long time as a way to train and challenge youths as they strive to be part of the larger community. It’s been that way for a while and most of the first “modern” board games were meant to educate youths to make good choices. Most of them didn’t have dice or cards and most of them were boring. (Just a note: I don’t aim to design boring games.)
  2. I come from a Christian and Mennonite background. Simply put for this post, that has influenced me to understand my faith as one which is tied to alternative ways of conflict resolution. I try to follow Jesus’ example of resistance while condemning violence.
  3. Jack of Peace is a card pun/play on the term “Prince of Peace” which is often used in reference to Jesus, who I really really dig, if you got the essence of the second point. Also, I like puns and wordplay.

All three things came together to really inform and cement the idea of a game publishing company which seeks to make, develop, and publish games which break from the norm of violent themes and subsequently seek to teach people to think about peaceful avenues to conflict, respect each other, and – while encouraging healthy forms of competition – to love each other and the world.

If that just doesn’t strike you as a reason you want to make games, that’s cool because we’re doing it. If games which strive to provide a different theme than violence don’t sound fun to you then I bet we can change your mind!

And as always, I hope that you all get to play lots of good games which improve your life, your hope, and are good for the world!

– Adam Stichter, Lead Game Designer and Producer for Jack of Peace Games

Gen Con mk2

I was incredibly lucky or blessed or lucky to go to Gen Con this year. That’s Gen Con 2017, the holy OMG it’s been 50 years of Gen Con that’s like almost twice as old as me and they’re sold out max number of people are going to this and it’s gonna be busy, Gen Con.

Good & Great Things of Gen Con

  1. Went with friends
  2. Demo’d games with Matagot, a fantastic publisher!
  3. Was able to stay in one spot and let the craziness come to me
  4. Got to go in the trade floor area early each morning
  5. Learned a TON!
  6. Less kilts than there were last year

Bad/Not Great Things of Gen Con

  1. Didn’t get enough sleep
  2. Didn’t get to demo all the games I wanted to
  3. Got sick after the Con
  4. Still too many kilts (jk)

Overall I think that this experience is only going to help me as I look to pitch games to publishers or publish under Jack of Peace Games.

Here’s hoping that next year is even better!