A preview of The Captain Is Dead by The Dice Tower.
All Us Geeks interviews JT about The Captain is Dead Kickstarter, The Game Crafter Community, and lessons learned from the Village in a Box Kickstarter.
We asked Allen Lamb, the designer of Scarborough Fair, one of the games in The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter Bundle to tell us how Scarborough Fair came to be. Here’s what he had to say.
Scarborough Fair is the only game that I designed where the name came first and the game came later. About four or five years ago, I heard the song playing (the Simon & Garfunkel version) and thought “Scarborough Fair sounds like a cool name for a game.” And that was it for a while. By the way, if you’re only familiar with the Simon & Garfunkel version of the song, you should know that it’s based on an old English ballad dating back to at least 1670. The ballad is about an actual fair that was held in Scarborough England every year which lasted 45 days .
A few months later that “Scarborough Fair” thought slipped back into my mind and I started thinking about designing a game for it. I had been playing a lot of a game called “On the Underground” at the time and it served as the inspiration for two games (Scarborough Fair and Of Power & Glory). The central mechanic in “On the Underground” involves a passenger that players try to persuade to ride their routes in the London underground. For Scarborough Fair, I thought “What if I turn the Passenger into a Customer at a fair that players try to guide to their goods?”
The only thing I kept from the early version of the game were the tents. In the beginning, the resources were going to be Flour, Cloth, Herbs and Jewelry. The customer came into the fair from one direction and left in another as indicated on a card.
Then in 2011, The Game Crafter had a contest to design a game using vehicles. I decided to take my half baked Scarborough Fair and re- theme it into an airport game called ATL. I was never happy with that version and have since unpublished it, but here’s a picture of the board from that variation:
After the contest, I decided to take Scarborough Fair back to the
Renaissance where it belonged. I decided to fully embrace the song
and make the resources Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Then
came the new, more interesting mechanic for moving the customer
around the fair. I made several simplifications. Originally, I wanted
the resources to have some concept of “quality”; higher quality
goods being more desirable to the customer. That idea was scrapped,
though I may revisit it again in some future game. One of the more
interesting design decisions in the game concerned the victory
condition. At first, it was going to be purely based on money, but the
game suffered from a runaway leader problem. If you have a lot of money, it’s easier to make a lot of money. So I figured I needed to get players to trade in their gold for victory points. But that alone isn’t enough; players could just use their money to make money and then at last moment, exchange their money in for victory points. I needed something to get players to trade in money constantly throughout the game. So I decided to make the cost of victory points increase as they were taken which in turn would encourage players to buy them earlier in the game. This mechanic worked great and the runaway leader problem was largely eliminated by this mechanic alone.
In November of 2012, Scarborough Fair was published on the Game Crafter. Since then, I’ve made several tweaks to the game. I have adjusted the number of workers players have, the number of tents in the fair and the values on the cards. I’ve also modified the rules for adjusting the market a few times and added in a special rule for 2-player games to shrink the fair. I have also made several subtle cosmetic enhancements.
Each change has been an improvement, but the essence of the game has remained the same. What I love most about this game is that there are so many different ways to play and win.
We have always been the champion of the small game designer, and we want to further that today by offering bulk pricing that matches the kinds of orders created for crowd funding campaigns and conventions. So rather than give you our best pricing at 400 or 500 copies, we’re offering our best pricing at 250 copies now! And as always, you can start accruing discounts at just 25 copies!
We’ve also lowered our bulk pricing on all of our boxes, tiles, and chits. And on top of that we’ve just upgraded our Medium Pro Box to be higher quality, and $1 less even at normal retail prices.
Depending upon the components in your game the new bulk pricing algorithm may or may not affect the Best Cost your game was able to achieve. However, in every case, you will now be able to achieve the Best Cost at only 250 copies rather than 400. That means you have to spend less to get the best prices we can offer you. In a small game that might mean a dollar less per copy at 250 copies, and in larger games it could be several dollars less per copy at 250 copies.
To make this whole process more transparent, we are now showing the bulk cost per sheet at 250 games on our printed component pricing page. This will enable you to see how much of a discount you can expect to achieve before you even start designing your game.
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve upgraded our Medium Pro Box. It now uses the same construction techniques as the Small Pro Box, which is to say slightly thicker chipboard which results in less folds creating sleeker and more professional box. In addition to being a better box design, the new manufacturing process is slightly more efficient, allowing us to bring the box to you for $1.01 less ($8.99 instead of $10).
All boxes currently in the queue have been automatically upgraded to the new box. In addition, there is no change to the artwork you need to upload for the new box as it has the same outer dimensions.
The latest stretch goal for The Captain Is Dead Kickstarter has implications for The Game Crafter Community as well. This is a custom wooden meeple upgrade for Scarborough Fair, one of the games in the bundle. If this stretch goal funds, we will release these in all 8 of our standard colors as a permanent edition to our parts shop!
Please back Scarborough Fair or any of our bundled games in this kickstarter today so we can make these pieces a reality for everyone.
The Game Crafter has teamed up with Cards Against Humanity to co-sponsor Tabletop Deathmatch 2014. Last year there were over 500 entries and this year we’re expecting even more!
The Game Crafter has been a big fan of Tabletop Deathmatch because it’s all about challenging indie board game designers and promoting some of the awesome games they make! This is right up our alley and so it’s a great opportunity and a natural partnership. It was also neat to see that 5 of 16 finalists at last year’s event were from The Game Crafter community and printed their prototypes through our service. :)
If you’d like to enter Tabletop Deathmatch 2014, just head on over to the signup page and fill out the submission form. We also recommend that you watch the prologue video above so you can learn more about the contest and the people/heart behind it.
Robert Huss is a talented game designer and an active member in The Game Crafter community. He’s created several titles and his game company is called Counter Clockwork Game Design.
Robert’s game, The Shadow Over Westminster, was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Tabletop Deathmatch competition sponsored by Cards Against Humanity. The video above is from that event and it will give you a good understanding of how the game is played.
Yesterday, Robert launched his Kickstarter campaign for The Shadow Over Westminster and now you can get your very own copy! He’s also running a giveaway for an autographed TGC prototype copy of the game. You can participate in that by clicking here.
The current Captain Is Dead stretch goal has implications for the whole TGC community. The goal is for visual pawns. If we reach the goal then we will stock the pawns in all 8 colors and offer the stickers for the pawns. This will allow all of you to create custom printed pawns!
This summer, game designers and architects will converge in Witten, Germany for the first annual World Championship of Gameful Architecture. Check out the informational video above!
One of the teams attending the competition consists of several Game Crafter members, namely Hall-of-Famer Alex Coulombe, Morgan Shaw (known for their contest-winning game Rum Run), and Daniel King (known as Reluctant Pirate Games). According to them, The Game Crafter was an integral part of their application and acceptance to this contest.
We’re reaching out to TGC because your site helped us go from game players to game makers. Rum Run was actually a significant part of our application portfolio and gave the judges confidence in our ability to create a game-like, interactive public space. Without this site, We would have no way of demonstrating our game-making abilities, and to be honest, we may never have developed them in the first place.
The team is currently running a crowd-funding campaign through June to help raise the money needed to go to Germany and compete. We think it represents a great success story coming out of the site, and we’d like to spread the word as much as possible. The campaign is currently running on Trevolta.com.
The competition team has also hinted that they will likely be creating a print-and-play version of their final product, made available to anyone who backs the campaign, alongside the prizes they’re already offering. So watch the video, check out the campaign, and make sure to keep an eye out for these guys as they bring the good news of The Game Crafter to Germany and beyond!
JT Smith participated in an interview with The Inquisitive Meeple about The Captain Is Dead. Now on Kickstarter, The Captain Is Dead is a co-operative play sci-fi game, that puts you in the role of crew members trying not only to get the ship’s jumpcore (engines) back online, but also survive a hostile alien attack while doing so. All of this is done of course, is without your beloved Captain, because, well… he is dead! The Captain is Dead plays anywhere from 2-7 players and takes about 60-90 minutes to play.
That is not all though. We’re also putting Scarborough Fair and Turbulence into a bundle with The Captain. You can back just one game, or buy all three at the discounted price of $99 for three big games. Please back us today.
Later today, at 6pm US Central time, we will be launching our second Kickstarter campaign. As with our last campaign we have decided to do another bundle, this time with 3 large games rather than 8 tiny games. You get 3 big games for $99, including shipping! But if you don’t want the big bundle, you can back just one or two of the games as well.
Our anchor game is The Captain is Dead. It’s a co-op game for 2-7 players where the players take on the roles of the crew in your favorite science fiction show. The only problem is that things have gone so badly that the captain is dead!
The second game in the bundle is Scarborough Fair. Here you take on the role of the ultimate merchant. You set up shop in a fair, and try to lure customers to your tent as they move from music venue to food venue to theater venue. You can try to control critical areas of the fair to garner all their attention, or be the only merchant who can sell a particular type of good they are interested in. Lot’s of strategy to be had in Scarborough Fair.
The third game in the bundle is Turbulence. Here you take on the role of air traffic controller, trying to get planes to take off and land safely. However, the planes in Turbulence follow air streams that are only slightly under your control. You have to get the planes to follow a path to allow them to land safely, while also screwing up the paths of the other players so they cannot. If you like games with a “take that!” mechanic, then you’ll love Turbulence.
These are 3 amazing games at a sweet price. Please visit our Kickstarter preview page and subscribe to be notified when the campaign launches.
Push aside that dusty grimoire, pull a racquet out of a hat, and come on down to the greatest tennis competition of all … the AlakaSLAM!
AlakaSLAM is a 2 and 4 person micro card game where you play as a sorcerer competing in a legendary tennis match.
In Singles or Doubles, you’ll face your opponent across the net. Choose your shot carefully, because the cards you use to aim also determine if your ball snags in the net, flies out of bounds, or sets your opponent scrambling. Cautiously build up your mobility or strike aggressively with powerful Enchantments. A well-made shot could spell success… but miscalculate and forfeit the point! To win, you’ll need to the first to score 3 points.
AlakaSLAM is available now on Kickstarter. We’re very excited to say that thanks to our wonderful backers, we’re 100% funded! Contribute now to get a copy of the game and to reach cool stretch goals like character abilities and a 3-player variant. Thank you for your support!
Note: This article is being promoted on TGC News because the designer is participating in The Game Crafter’s Crowd Funding Promotion. If you would like to be promoted by The Game Crafter then read the details here.
At Gen Con 2013 we launched our first ever TGC Community Game Night and it was a huge success! We sold out tickets for our 40 person event and had a blast playing a bunch of games from designers in the community. So we’re making this an annual event!
This year, we’ve reserved space for 60 people and we’re excited to see all of you and your new creations! :) The event will run on Friday, August 15th from 8pm-Midnight.
This is an official Gen Con event and so you’ll have to buy a $4 ticket to participate. You can purchase these online at https://www.gencon.com/events/54981. Please be sure to purchase one in advance as we expect to sell out.
If you plan to attend, please join/RSVP one of our events on Facebook or Google+ so our community can see who’s going!
Our event will take place at Marriott Ballroom 1. We will provide additional details and directions once we get additional info from Gen Con event management. It’s connected to the convention center and within walking distance.
We’re also planning to host our 3rd Annual Community Social Night on Saturday, August 16th. Additional details for this will be announced soon.