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!

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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!

Gen Con Plans

So, Gen Con is right around the corner and since I’ll actually be attending this year, I figured that I’d plan a little bit beforehand.

Since I really don’t know what to expect I’ve been moseying around the message boards at board game geek and came across some realizations:

  1. Gen Con is big. Like 60,000 people and several huge buildings, big. I think that I’m going to take a while to just soak in everything. I also don’t do as well by myself (introvertedness), so I’m also looking for people spend time with or else give myself times to do breaks.
  2. I need to start registering for events and plan my schedule accordingly. Also on the list is to meet developers, designers, and other awesome people in the business of gaming. Y’know, networking and getting to know people!
  3. Play games, take a lot of pictures, take lots of videos, play games!
  4. Buy games and get promos.

So with those goals in mind, it looks like I’ve got some basic planning to do. I would like to go to a few seminars, go to a few entertainment events, and spend some time just playing games in the library/demoing games that developers have brought!

So we’ll see what all happens!

(also, I found this article super helpful in beginning to plan what I was going to do. If you’re starting out, I’d suggest reading it! https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1608123/gen-con-2016-beginners-and-survival-guide)

Hey, we're working on it!

Good Intentions Never Get Anything Done

… It takes a lot of hard work too.

 And it seems like that hard work, well, it’s going to be a lot of work. Binge-watching Netflix isn’t going to write articles (unfortunately I could binge-watch all day long: I’m looking at you, Kuromukuro… but seriously, I’m watching Kuromukuro! So much good stuff to watch!).

 Hey, it’s Adam Stichter.

So, this is the first step in actually working on the creative projects that I’ve had on my mind for a while.

 At Jack of Peace Games, (Blog, Twitter, and Facebook), I want to explore how games tell stories, what kind of stories they tell, how they immerse players and creators, and if they promote and draw out the best in humanity. I’ve also been working on a few card and board game designs. I’m planning on starting to playtest these more regularly and allow others to comment and collaborate with me in order to get something that I would be proud to have others play and possibly buy.

 At my personal blog, https://welcometoadam.wordpress.com/, I intend to start writing reflections from the past couple years of moving around, living in under-resourced neighborhoods, and draw on what I’ve learned up till now. I haven’t written in a couple of years, and I really need to rectify that because I’ve got a lot of thoughts just waiting to be solidified into expressions of experience.

 On my personal youtube channel, I’ve been doing a video project for over a year now where I video one second of my life every day and then mash it all together into a 30ish second video. I’m also slowly preparing to write, videotape, and produce a fun, upbeat, and (hopefully) educational video series in the style of many of the short science/philosophy youtube shows out there today.

 Hopefully you’ll stick around to look at some of the things that are going through my mind. I’d love all the encouragement and feedback as I dive into all of these crazy, creative endeavors.

 Peace,

Adam