Two more fantastic reviews for Junk Art!

Wow – the reviews are coming in strong now! Junk Art has been reviewed by my favourite reviewer, JonGetsGames, as well as by Board Game Authority. Both really loved the game and praised the replay value! Check out the video from JonGetsGames below and the written review from Board Game Authority here.

-Jay Cormier

Promo video for D&D: Rock Paper Wizard

Wizkids put together a fun promo video that highlights how Dungeons & Dragons: Rock Paper Wizard is played! This is our new game – designed by Sen and I – AND Josh Cappel! That’s right – the artist guy who has done some of the best art for board games, also co-designed this one (AND he did the art! So double Josh awesomeness). We’re really proud of this game and feel like it really offers something new in the gaming world – and we’re super stoked that we got the D&D license for this game. How cool is that?

It’s 1 minute long – so you can’t NOT watch it, right?

-Jay Cormier

Another fantastic review of our new game, Godfather: A New Don!

Godfather-boxOur new game, Godfather: A New Don has come out of the gate rather slowly. It’s flown under the radar for a bit but now the reviewers are finally getting their copies and getting it to the table…and they’re loving it! It’s so great to see people enjoying the game and discovering the smaller nuances to this title. Raf from Ding and Dent said some very nice words including:

This system of favors and options is the quiet brilliance of this light game.

It’s rare that a game that’s this good slips under the radar

The area control field is a crowded one but A New Don has made a powerful move into the “Best Gateway Area Control Game” neighborhood.

It punches above its weight class while still being approachable and accessible.

For justice you might go to Don Corleone, for gaming I’m going to A New Don.

Thanks so much for the praise Raf – much appreciated!!

-Jay Cormier

Game Informer loves Junk Art!!

gameinformer-junk-artGame Informer, which is better known for its video game news and reviews has posted a new review of our new game, Junk Art – and they loved it! Matt Miller raves about the game in his column, Top of the Table! Here are a few of my favourite quotes:

“I’m here to recommend a brilliant new game about creativity, engineering know-how, and a steady hand.”

 

“These vibrant wooden pieces seem ill-suited for construction, but the more you play, the more you find intriguing ways for the different pieces to fit together.”

 

“Designers Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim have done a remarkable job in providing twists on the formula.”

 

“depth and sensibility afforded by smart, heavily play-tested design”

 

“It’s an easy recommendation for virtually any game group”

Thanks for the awesome review Matt!!

-Jay Cormier

Geek & Sundry reviews Godfather A New Don!

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After 10 games, we finally got a game reviewed on Geek & Sundry! Charlie Theel wrote a
glowing review of our new game from IDW Games, Godfather A New Don. I really like his review style too as he infuses his own commentary throughout explaining how the game works. Reads more like a review and less like a rules summary. Here are a few quotes that stood out to me:

“It’s relatively simple and straight forward yet it’s incredibly smart.”

“It’s simple and elegant as you have a few options, but it never overwhelms.”Godfather-box

“While A New Don has an immediate impression of relying on extreme randomness, that’s far from the truth.”

“The most remarkable aspect of this
design is how everything is simultaneously so tight and loose.”

“Whatever occurs has a positive aspect and it keeps everything level emotionally. I really can’t emphasize too much how central this is to the fuzzy warm center of the design and why this game is so outright fun.”

Love it! Thanks so much Charlie!

-Jay Cormier

More Godfather: A New Don Reviews!

Godfather-boxA couple more reviews of our newest game, Godfather: A New Don from IDW Games has just popped up online! Both of them like the game (though both have issues with some colour delineation on the board – understandable).

The first is from Tahsin at Board Game Quest. Some of the things I liked about what he said:

It’s a testament to the skill of the designers that they’ve managed to squeeze so much game into such a short playing time.

More than anything else, players who love manipulating number collections and judging comparative positions will find a hidden gem here.

a product that stands out in the realm of lighter games.

The other is a video review from Game Boy Geek. Here’s what I liked about what he said about the game:

It only takes 45 minutes but in that time I felt you had a lot of good decisions to make.

The Godfather A New Don is a good area majority game.

That felt like a good full experience.

And here’s his 2 minute “Allegro” review in case you don’t have time to watch his full review!

 

Thanks for playing and thanks for the reviews!!

-Jay Cormier

First review of Godfather: A New Don!

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Alright people – the first review is in for our new game, Godfather: A New Don…and it’s a great one! Travis Williams from Tech Raptor gives a very concise rundown of the rules and then offered up his opinion. Here are some of my favourite quotes:

The Godfather: A New Don is a great gateway game, but it’s also a great hobby board game.

The Godfather: A New Don also succeeds in keeping players engaged, even during other players’ turns.

It plays quickly, can be taught in about 5 minutes, and provides a surprisingly high amount of player interaction and player choice considering the low component count and simple, straightforward rules.

If you like high levels of player interaction, and even remotely like the theme, you’ll almost certainly enjoy this game.

Fantastic! Thanks for the wonderful review Travis! Read the entire review here.

-Jay Cormier

Organizing Your Game Design Space

One aspect of game design that doesn’t get talked about a lot is organization. It’s possible that this has heightened importance since I live in a space-starved home in Vancouver, but I think all designers need to have a certain amount of organization. When you first start out making games, you purchase (or find!) the components you need for that game. But as you start to accumulate bits and pieces, you quickly realize that you need some sort of place to keep your components.

Often designers start out by using tool boxes or craft storage boxes as they both have many compartments to help you keep your differently shaped pieces separate. This makes it quite a bit easier when you need specific pieces – you can just go to that compartment and get what you need. These boxes also have another benefit – portability. If you find that you’re often going to other places to design games, then portability is going to be important to you. I only design at my home, and I’ve found that since we’re designing more and more games, my need to keep my components accessible has increased. So let’s take a look at the various ways I keep my stuff in order!

We’ll start with card sleeves. This is probable the most used component in all of game design for me. Often after a playtest that didn’t work, we have to totally change an entire card set – and instead of de-sleeving and re-sleeving, I have found that I have just made a new deck with new sleeves. This means that I get a pile-up of old prototypes that no longer work but are still consuming my sleeves. So every once in awhile I spend an hour or so de-sleeving all my old prototypes.

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Here are all the garbage old prototype cards that no longer need sleeves! You can see our prototype of Akrotiri and Orphan Black in here!

So then where do I put the sleeves? Well, I use a regular cardboard card organizer that one would use for Magic cards. I sort everything by colour which makes it easy to get what I want. One thing I do wish – I wish I only ever bought one brand of card sleeves. You can see that in some colours that there are many different groups. That’s because even though they’re all BLACK – they’re all a different BLACK! So I couldn’t use them in the same deck.

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Next up is all my bits! I’m pretty lucky because I found this amazing piece of furniture at a store that was closing down. It’s looks beautiful and it’s amazingly functional for my needs.

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Each drawer holds some amazing goodies for a game designer. Let’s take a look at each row of drawers.

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The top left drawer is for coloured wooden discs and coloured wooden cubes. My supply of wooden cubes is ridiculously low. I’ll have to go get some more! They are very useful when you need to make your own dice for a prototype!

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The top right drawer is for bags (like dice or chit bags) and trays.

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The next row I have a small drawer just for sand timers and then a large but thin drawer for dice!

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The next row I have an empty drawer on the left due to my clean-out yesterday (so I’ve put what I always use as money in games…actual money!). The middle drawer is all my sharpies and other markers. The right drawer is all my cutting and glueing supplies.

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The left drawer is all plastic pieces like pawns, standees, gems and other plastic doodads. The middle drawer is wood! Large coloured wooden cubes, small cubes, square wooden tokens, circle wooden tokens. And the right drawer is colour sorted wooden bits. In here there are 6 separate containers – one for each colour – full of similarly shaped wooden bits that I got from Fantasy Flight. Then I stuffed a bag of wooden cubes in there as well.

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Cubes! Probably my second most used prototyping tool I use – coloured plastic cubes. I find it imperative that these cubes be sorted based on colour. It makes prototyping so much easier. Often I’ll be leaving for a game night and forget that I need X number of a specific colour – and I can quickly grab what I need. I change the size of the compartments based on how many cubes of each colour that I have.

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The small leftmost drawer is just for elastics! The middle drawer is for tools I use – like the Crop-o-dile that makes rivets so you can make dials. The right drawer is my meeple drawer – again sorted by colour.

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This is the hardest drawer to keep clean. This is my baggie drawer. Right now it’s perfect! I put baggies of the same size in a another baggie of that size – so it’s easy to grab the size you want. But it gets super messy when I put baggies back as I’m not often as diligent in putting them back in the baggie they came from!

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There are still more drawers? Yep! The one on the left is a bit of a mishmash of things. Some wooden bits and some plastic. Couldn’t find a more thematic place to fit these bits. The drawer on the right are all coloured sticks.

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OK this is the last drawer – I promise! The one on the left is all flat, round tokens. The one on the right is another mishmash of things.

So there you have it! That’s one way of keeping your bits organized. My drawers don’t always look this tidy as I just did a clean-out yesterday. It feels great to have all of these components at the ready. Makes prototyping a lot easier if I don’t have to leave my house to get a specific piece. The danger is that you start to buy components just because they’re cool and you think you’ll use them -for sure- in an upcoming game. There’s a fine balance to owning what you need and being prepared for the next game you’re going to make. I know I have a lot of things that I bought that I thought were cool – but I have never opened the package. I think I’ve settled down now though and am comfortable in how many components I have!

The third thing we have to keep organized is our prototypes. If you’re only working on one or two games at a time, then this isn’t as much of an issue. But Sen and I are often working on many games at one time – so we need a system. This is my system:

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I bought this drawer system from Ikea. The top three drawers are a bit thinner than the bottom three. Here’s how I use them:

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The top 2 drawers are full of games that are ready to be play tested right now. I could grab any of these and take out to test. Once things have been tested, then the second drawer is the on-deck drawer if the prototype needs some tweaking before being tested again. Right now I haven’t been to a test night for awhile due to summer vacations and my teaching schedule so both the top two drawers are full of games ready for testing!!

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The third drawer is for games that are broken and need some more attention. We’re not too sure how to fix these ones – but they seemed close at one point!

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The next drawer is full of prototypes of games that have been signed or are being assessed by publishers right now. I keep them here until they come out because you never know if you will be asked to test another aspect of the game.

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The bottom two drawers are for games that we have currently abandoned. Some are super old but we have some games in here that are worth re-visiting from time to time. Often a game gets dumped in here if we can’t figure out how to make the game special and different. We have dug games out of these drawers and changed them up to make a totally new game later on! Never throw away a prototype!

So how do you keep your bits and pieces organized? Let me know in the comments below!

-Jay Cormier

Hey – a review for Orphan Black: The Card Game? Yay!

orphanblackcoverOne game that Sen and I designed that kind of came and went a bit too quickly was our first game released based on an IP: Orphan Black! We both loved the show and were excited to make a social deduction game set in this world. But alas, the game has flown under the radar for quite awhile even though it has received great reviews by Tom Vasel of the Dice Tower and Joel Eddy of Drive Thru Reviews.

So it’s always a pleasure when a new review pops up…especially when they also like the game!🙂 Christopher Richter from Boardgaming For The Win wrote up a nice rules summary and offered his thoughts on the game as well. Some quotes that stood out to me:

“If you are a fan of games that deal with intrigue then you will love the Orphan Black: The Card Game.”

“The game is very easy to pick up & learn. After the first round of play the game just gets progressively faster.”

“I recommend picking up this one.”

Thanks Christopher! Glad you enjoyed it! Read the entire review here.

-Jay Cormier

Opinionated Gamers review Junk Art!

Screen shot 2012-01-16 at 10.21.04 PMWe’re very pleased to report that those very opinionated gamers from Opinionated Gamer love Junk Art! Finally we’ve made a game that they all can enjoy! You can read all their glorious words of praise here, but here are some of my favourite quotes:

junkartThis is one of those games that I have loved from first sight.

the variety of goals and gameplay offered in the different city cards makes this one stand out from the genre

I’ve played this a couple of different ways, and every play has been simple, laugh-out-loud fun

This is an inventive entry into the dexterity games space with a great, almost obvious theme and really well-done components

Thanks for playing!!

-Jay Cormier