While I’ve been making progress on several prototypes my number one priority is doing whatever I can to help get Letter Tycoon across the finish line for its June release. Fortunately Peter has most of that in hand.
    I haven’t played a whole lot this month, although I have finally caught up with the rest of civilization and played Hanabi for the first time and enjoyed it.


    PROJECTS: Tweaking prototype of Seating At 6:00,” a social interchange card game with memory challenges encouraging table talk based on the experience of a sit-down dinner on a cruise.
    HOT GAME PLAYS: The last game play I got in was at SoCalGamesDay and I played Splendor and Deus. I enjoyed both games, but would not necessarily say they were HOT.


    I attended Protospiel San Jose and got lots of positive and constructive feedback on my prototypes: Ruthless PiratesCheez, and Graveyard Wars. My main focus has been on Ruthless Pirates, a party game for gamers which plays 5-8 players in about 45 minutes. It involves voting and negotiation with lots of piratey backstabbing.

    As for hot games, I enjoyed many of the prototypes I played at Protospiel, but my two favorites were a new spatial game by Ted Alspach which I can’t talk about, and Brains, Grains and Trains by Mark and Christina Major. Brains, Grains and Trains turns the worker placement genre on its head by adding pesky zombies which can take over places your workers would normally be able to go. It’s very fun.


    We just received our shipment of Stones of Fate and have been tirelessly working on getting it to backers. Although we have hit a few snags we are pleased to say that most backers now have their copy of Stones of Fate. Also, Stones of Fate was the game of the month for Game Box Monthly. And, we are excited to announce that Stones of Fate will be competing in the Mensa Mind Games competition April 30-May 3!

    In other news we are continuing to put together prototypes for Campaign Trail to send out to reviewers. We are still preparing for a Kickstarter in the coming months. We think you will be excited about the direction the game is going; I know we are!


    I spent a big chunk of March and April in Paris on my honeymoon, so lately, it’s been all about getting back in the game. I’m working to get BEARanoia: One of You Is a Bear published, or at least for sale on a POD site. We should have more details in May, so keep an eye out!

    My husband, Pete, and I are also working on getting Rocket Cats in Space published non-traditionally. We plan to sell the game board as an art poster that can be hung on the wall or used to play the game with free print and play components. We’re finalizing the art and coming up with a shipping solution that doesn’t involve running to the post office three times a week. It’s been fun to think creatively about what it means to be published, too.


    Under deep cover


    We came into the month with The Amberden Affair Live at Gen Con kickstarter. (It funded, yay! And you can still attend by getting a ticket through regular Gen Con event registration). Our designing project was developing our game from the DFWNN Design contest, Four Omens of the Tuí Tonga.

    Our games to play have been Lanterns: The Harvest Festival and Stones of Fate since we just got them both and had highly anticipated their arrival.


    The Birds of a Feather Kickstarter ended in early April, so much of my month has involved getting that game ready for the printer. In addition to managing the artist and graphic designer, I’m finalizing rules for solitaire play and the drafting variant.

    I’m also looking forward to future games! Work on Shifting Shadows, the stand-alone expansion to Shadow Throne, is starting to really heat up, and I’ve also been excited about a new, yet unnamed game about wizards rediscovering magic and trying to become the most influential magical scholars of the new age. I’ve been having a lot of fun with the story for this one and am psyched to get some playtesting in at Protospiel San Jose!


    On April 1st, Unpub: The Published Card Game, co-designed with Doug Levandowski, went on Kickstarter through Greater Than Games/Dice Hate Me Games. It was the first time one of my designs has been on Kickstarter, and it was a huge thrill. The rest of the month has been preparing for and helping the Millennium Blades KS campaign through Level 99 Games.

    My three most-played games this month have been Patchwork (8 plays), Stones of Fate (7 plays) and Witness (5 plays), and I’ve enjoyed each of them very much!


    Like most designers, I have a lot of designs at various stages. Unlike most designers, I underwent major surgery on April 10th, and as a result I haven’t been doing much in the way of design this month. I’ve spent most of the month in my parent’s guest bedroom watching House of Cards and Daredevil on Netflix.

    Just before the surgery I was wrapping up artwork for Exotica, the 2nd full expansion to my card game Eminent Domain, as well as Dungeon of Fortune, an upcoming TMG game by some Protospiel friends of mine – Ken Gruhl and Quentin Weir. Also, right before the surgery I went on the BGG cruise, and I’ve been mulling over thoughts on a sort of worker-group placement game about cruising and going on excursions. On the cruise I hung out with Peter Hawes, and played several games of his including his new title, Royals. I even won a copy in his tournament by scoring the highest out of all participants! Finally, while holed up in my parents house, I’ve been spending some time working on jigsaw puzzles with my mother. It’s gotten me thinking a little bit about using jigsaw as a game mechanism. I asked around for games that do that, and got some replies I wasn’t aware of. I’m not sure I’ll pursue it, but in the back of my mind I’m considering ways to utilize the solving of a jigsaw puzzle in a meaningful way within the context of a board game.

    As for recent gaming, I’ve played some Patchwork and Scribes Arena this month, as well as a little bit of Tiny Epic Defenders. My mother likes Scrabble, so whenever I find an interesting word game I think she’ll be willing to try, I give it a shot. Scribes Arena is based on Hangman, so I thought she might at least try it, and it went over pretty well. Patchwork uses several mechanisms I really like, and it’s quick to learn and play, so I picked that up in hopes people would play it with me. I’ve played a couple of games with my dad and my girlfriend, but it hasn’t gone over as well as I’d hoped. My girlfriend really likes Tiny Epic Defenders, so we played a few games of that the other day.

    I did get the opportunity to try some “new hotness” I’ve been looking forward to: The Voyages of Marco Polo, by the designers of one of my favorite games, Tzolk’in: the Mayan Calendar. I was skeptical about this one because I haven’t really liked any of the dice placement games I’ve played all that much. Marco Polo was getting a lot of good buzz though, so I hoped for the best. I’m not surprised, but I was a little disappointed by this one. With how elegant and brilliant Tzolk’in was, I had higher hopes for Marco Polo.


    Finishing writing a short SF story and finished writing a book.
    My game of interest is Five Tribes, but I haven’t played it yet.


    So many irons in the fire! The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is in development with Minion Games. The fine tuning going on with this heavy game is very interesting to be a part of. Tons of playtesting is required to know all the possibilities and circumstances. Saturn Rising is coming along very nicely. Stones of Fate has been published and is shipping now to Kickstarter backers. I’m excited that its getting good reviews on BGG. It will be in stores soon! I attended the Protospiel-Unpub in San Jose and had a chance to playtest my own games and many others.


    We’ve been working on Brains, Grains and Trains quite a bit, and the balance of points between rail-building, zombie-killing, and delivery. Might have to add “chili-cheese-fry defense” after one particular worrisome playtest. The other big thing has been experimenting with rules changes in Oceanica. Got some table time for both at Protospiel-Unpub in San Jose.

    As former Cards Against Humanity Deathbabies, our eyes were also glued to the announcement of the winners of this year’s Tabletop Deathmatch this month. This season is well worth a watch, because they clearly added a lot of strong direction and care to the contest. The games all had graphic design support and clear motion graphic explanations for the audience, which was amazing. Jasmine and Pete got us a prototype of their finalist game Knight Shift to playtest, so that’s what’s hot for us! We’re really looking forward to getting them lots of good feedback.


    I am currently working on Hand Of War,Face 2 FaceZombierun and Party (till the cops show up.) My April hot game (if I had the time to play) is Xenoshyft Onslaught. I will probably try it in May.


    I’ve been delivering Asking for Trobils this month, and the reviews have been awesome! There’s still some Backers waiting on theirs, and that’s my main priority, but I’ve been talking with players about the game.

    I’ve also been working on a new game that popped into existence one night while I was trying to solve an issue with another game’s design. I love when that happens.


    Latest projects: Jammed on Letter Tycoon art changes and adjustments after Toy Fair and Pax East notes – it’s the same game but we put it in a big ol’ 10 inch box (King of Tokyo size) to give the components the proper room to breathe AND we added a special surprise in the box. We made it just in time to get a few copies to Mensa judging!

    Not a moment later, we began serious jamming on Boomtown Bandits after a few months of play testing. We’re shooting (pardon the pun) for a Gen Con release in style! I solidified the final card balance and mechanics with the designer and began approaching artists for samples and we’re finishing up a bunch of elements to go to print. There have been some fun components challenges in making a special player marker and custom dice – posts on that process to come!

    Other games are also in the works, but that’s enough for me this month – whew!

    Hot games: Tabletop Day was the biggest game day for me this month – I played 7 games from Sheriff of Nottingham at 10am to an epic Dead of Winter all the way to midnight. It was a special day for me – not only playing games and introducing folks to new games – but we did all of that for charity, raising funds to fight Pancreatic Cancer! Clicking that link shows the funds raised on the donation page and shows the youtube videos of our play.