Train of Thought on the cheap – and another positive review of Belfort!

Tasty Minstrel Games is having a Black Friday sale, which ends Monday at midnight EST, and they’re offering up Train of Thought for 50% off! That’s $9.95 instead of $19.95! Go grab a copy, if you haven’t done so already. My apologies to all the Canadians out there who want to take advantage of this deal because there’s a $30 shipping fee to Canada…boo! But for you Americans out there – gobble that up!

Also, Daryl Andrews has written a positive review of Belfort over at Games for All. Gamesforall.ca is a new online board game retailer for Canadians! Check out their selection as it’s growing every day and it’s way cheaper than buying from an American website (from a shipping perspective, as we all learned in the first paragraph above!).

-Jay Cormier

Alba Longa – Overview Video of New Euro Game

Alba Longa is the new Euro game from Tasty Minstrel Games (actually from Quined and Huch & Friends – but brought into the Americas by Tasty Minstrel). The designer, Graeme Jahns, is a member of the Game Artisans of Canada, that I also belong to, and so we thought it would be a good idea to make a video that showcases this award winning game. We decided to make a fun and informal ‘interview’ with me asking him general questions, instead of just doing a rules dump!

I had the pleasure to playtest this game about a dozen times (maybe more?!) and really enjoyed it – even though it does have a little bit of direct combat in it. Check out the video to learn about Alba Longa and then head over to Tasty Minstrel’s website to pick up the game for $40 – until March 2nd!

A Dozen Passengers on the Train of Thought!

Check out this great interview on BoardGameGeek for Train of Thought – 12 people played…12 people had a great time…14 people are happy (the 12 that played + Jay and I!)

Train of Thought box art

For more info, check out Tasty Minstrel Games

For those of you wanting to pick up a copy of the game, Train of Thought can be purchased online from BestBuy (Canada).  Stock up early for all your Christmas gift-giving needs!

BestBuy Logo

Go to BestBuy.ca to purchase Train of Thought online!

The Big Belfort update!

There has been plenty of action with Belfort recently! Let’s break them down:

The Hotness

Belfort is currently, as of this writing, the 5th hottest game in the Hotness List on boardgamegeek.com! This is just a fluctuating list that tracks which games have the most activity on their pages. Lots of people are interested apparently. Not only that, but on the people side of the Hotness List, both Sen and I are hot. For some strange reason, Sen is hotter than I am!

Belfort at the Printers

On June 1st, Belfort was at the Printers being printed! We’ve been told that it takes 28 days to get everything printed and fully boxed. Then it gets placed on a boat and is shipped to America, and that takes another 30 days. That means Belfort should hit America around August 1st. Some time will be needed for it to get to the distributors and then even more time to get it up to Canada for our Canadian readers out there. Still, we’re expecting to have it in our hands sometime in August!

Final Rules are available

Belfort Board Game rulesIf you can’t wait that long for a taste of Belfort then, you can check out the final rules with all the amazing art from Josh Cappel. They are posted on the new Tasty Minstrel website (which is much more functional than their last site!): http://playtmg.com/products/belfort. If you’ve been interested in the game but wanted to know how it works, then give them a read!

Contest to win Belfort!

For our American readers, Tasty Minstrel is holding a contest in which you can win one of 15 prize packages that includes: Belfort, Jab: Real Time Boxing, Eminent Domain and Homesteaders (2nd printing). To enter the contest, check out the rules and link here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/661048/tasty-minstrel-games-mega-giveaway-contest

Pre-orders for Belfort – even for Canadians!

You can now pre-order a copy of Belfort for yourself, even if you’re not in the US! They’re even offering a package deal if you want to get a few games from Tasty Minstrel Games (like, say, I don’t know…Train of Thought maybe?!). Straight from Michael Mindes, the owner of Tasty Minstreal Games comes this message:

I have been receiving numerous emails about shipping costs worldwide through PlayTMG.com.  I was planning to offer no shipping outside of the United States, for various reasons.  So, let me preface these costs with the following information:

    • These rates are non-negotiable.  They are as low as I can afford to make them, and I will continue to learn about how to get better rates.
    • These rates do not include any import taxes or duties imposed by your home country.
    • I will not make any adjustments to the stated value of the games to help you avoid those import taxes or duties.  You will need to address that through the political process afforded in your home country.
    • Yes, you can combine orders of multiple games from multiple people for combined shipping costs.  Up to 25 pounds.

In this fashion, I am able to offer worldwide shipping for those that desire it.  Tasty Minstrel fans have asked for worldwide shipping and it is now available.  Those are the terms.  Here are the rates:

    • Hawaii & Alaska = $30 USD
    • Canada up to 25 pounds = $30 USD
    • Canada 26-50 pounds = $50 USD
    • Rest of the World up to 25 pounds = $50 USD

Promo video for Belfort

Sen and I have finished the script for a promo video to help promote the game and now we’re in the process of getting it animated as it will only feature real people at the end when it zooms out to show people playing the game.  Of course we’ll be sharing it here as soon as it’s done – which might even be a bit after the game launches.

Comic Book for Belfort

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve partnered up with Tim Reniert to write comic books. We’ve written a bunch of scripts already, but the first one we’ve commissioned an artist to draw is a story set in the world of Belfort. We found an amazing artist, Rob Lundy, who has gone above and beyond our expectations for this story. We’ve seen some rough layouts and are excited about how it’s coming together. We’ll be sharing more as we progress, but for now, here’s some character art for our two main characters in the story.

We’re very excited about this game. As excited as we were for our first game, Train of Thought, I would say that I am twice as excited for this one. Belfort is the kind of game I like to play – the gamery game! We’re in the home stretch now!

Semi-Finalists in the Canadian Game Design Contest!

Sen and I made it into the Semi-Finals for the Canadian Game Design Contest with our game, Akrotiri! This is the second year in a row where we made it into the Semi-Finals for this contest, with Jam Slam making it in last year (and ultimately not winning).  The next step is to make two prototypes and mail them off so they can play them! So far everything has been based on just the rule book.

The winners will be announced at this year’s FallCon in Calgary. Stay tuned! Here is the list of everyone who made the Semi-Finals:

Akrotiri (Jay Cormier & Sen-Foong Lim)
Ciceron (Jérôme Morin-Drouin)
Coven (Paul Saxberg)
Potlatch Dice (Yves (Etienne) Tourigny)
That Flipping Property Game (Alan Biggs)
The Market at Kos (Doug Meldrum)
Undermining (Matt Tolman)
Yum: Realtime Icecream (Gavan Brown)

Congrats to all!

Here’s a video where they review the process and then announce the winner of last year’s contest (which was a fellow Game Artisan of Canada, Roberta Taylor!):

Jam Slam rules Requested by Publisher

Just got word that Gamewright is requesting to see the rules to our Jam Slam game.

This is how it happened.  About 4 years ago, Sen and I invented a game called Jungle Jam (which I’ve written about a couple times already in this blog).  It’s been to see a few publishers already, and has undergone some improvements over the years.  Currently it is in the Great Canadian Game Design Competition and is a semi-finalist.  This is when we found out that the name “Jungle Jam” had been taken by another game and was entangled in some sort of legal dispute with a game called Jungle Speed.  Not to be confused with that game, we changed the title of our game to Jam Slam.  We’re expecting to find out any day now if it made it to the finals!

Concurrently to this, I’ve been invited to participate in a group called the Game Artisans of Canada – a group of game designers whose goal is to work together to provide the world better games and help each other out whenever possible.  Rob, one of the members heard that Gamewright was looking for quality submissions of games that were easy to learn and played in less than 30 minutes.  That described our Jam Slam to a tee!

Rob sent them a quick pitch to them about our game and they just expressed interest to see the rules for the game.  If they like the rules for the game then they’ll ask for a prototype in a few weeks.  One step at a time!

Special call out to Rob from Game Artisans of Canada for the heads up and the connection!

-Jay Cormier

There’s a few really cool things about this “day in our lives” as game designers. It shows:

a) That no matter how old a game is, a good design is timeless. Keeping old designs on the back burner, but ready for showing is critical. We usually only keep the latest physical version of a prototype for space reasons (and to limit our confusion!), but always have the older versions as files on the computer if something we did before is beneficial. If you know your game intimately, you should be able to parlay an older design into something good when an opportunity arises. Jay’s use of “Night of the Dragon” concepts for another game is a good example of a game that was sitting doing nothing on the back burner (we actually have a forum called “The Back Burner” where we stick all of our games that are on hiatus) being used for the good of all mankind by being transformed into a game that is forthcoming for the Piece Pack called “Cream of the Crop”.

b) Versatility is an asset, because you never know when a publisher will say “Well, we like what you’ve just shown us, but we’re really interested in a card game…” If all you make is hardcore gamer games, you might miss out on some things. Of course, don’t make kids games if you don’t like making them, but versatility pays off – that’s all I’m saying.

c) Making games that are not tied to a theme, but can be rethemed easily is a good idea if possible. The name change was minor and it doesn’t change a thing at all about the game, but if it had to be done, “Jungle Jam” (now “Jam Slam!”) could be rethemed to almost anything because of it’s simple mechanics. It has a really good base for being used with a licensed character. Imagine Dora or Diego telling you “I need 3 red grapes!”

d) The Chinese (in the case of Jay and me, I’m talking about me) have the same word for crisis and opportunity – Crisi-tunity. Seriously though, it is said that luck is equal parts opportunity and preparedness. In this case, opportunity presented itself through a colleague telling us about Gamewright and we were able to take advantage because we were prepared – we have sell sheets ready, our prototypes usually ready to ship, and our rules done up for blind playing. In this case, because we have the two prototypes of “Jam Slam” out already for the competition as Jay mentioned, we’ll have to make another copy. But usually, we’re on top of that now that we’ve had a few publishers ask us for multiple copies of a game at once, etc.

e) Collaboration extends past Jay and myself. Now that we’re really delving deeper into the game design/production industry, we’re finding gold at every turn! Through our relationship with Tasty Minstrel Games, we worked with Gavan Brown, the graphic designer for “Train of Thought”. That wonderful working relationship turned into Jay being invited to work with the Game Artisans of Canada. They’ve already been immensely helpful in playing our prototypes and giving awesome, no-holds barred feedback for improving our games. And then, as icing on the cake, they’ve been super great with things like this! Opening up doors for us on several levels – they’ve already helped up get consideration from Amigo Spiel (a well-known German publisher) and now GameWright. How awesome is that? I can only hope that Jay and I can reciprocate in kind!

-Sen-Foong Lim