June began with the Letter Tycoon release at the Origins Game Fair. While I wasn’t there I was anxiously monitoring social media and getting updates from Peter. Post-Origins there was exposure at DexCon, a very nice Dice Tower video review and getting ready for GenCon. I also worked on a couple of card games, No Vacancy and the unnamed prisoner game, and started the noodling around process on a game with Norv and Peter that has become Route 66.

    Towards the end of the month I returned to a game I haven’t played in a while Glory to Rome and managed to get Peter hooked on it too.


    I was released from the hospital on June 3rd and I spent most of June recovery from a bout with viral pneumonia. About half way through the month I felt good enough to update some components on the prototype of “Seating at 6:00” which is basically a card game simulating a sit down dinner on a cruise ship.
    I also was able to complete a first attempt of a Route 66 prototype for Peter, Brad & myself to test and modify as well as reconstruct. Looking forward to being more productive in July.


    I agreed to be a featured guest at Haiticon, along with fellow Leaguers, Luke and Teale. I also agreed to help Luke run Celestispiel, in September. I have been busy getting my prototypes ready for these upcoming conventions.


    I have been playing a lot of games with my eldest son, Michael, who is only 4, but already a big gamer. His favorite game by far is Forbidden Island. He loves to hold the treasures and he likes we are on the same team playing together. When I showed him the sequel game, Forbidden Desert, he tried to shoplift the game out of the game store! On another day, my wife tried to play MONOPOLY Junior, with him, but about half way through the game, Michael said, “Mom, this is a stupid game.”

    I have also been playing a lot of Dominion with my wife as we explore the new cards in Dominion Guilds , a very nice small expansion for my favorite game.


    At the beginning of June, we received notification from Mensa that Stones of Fate received the “Recommended by Mensa” designation, placing it in the top 15 games of the 2015 Mensa Mind Games competition.

    We have also been further refining our game Campaign Trail. After a full four years in development, we are quite pleased with the result and very excited to launch it on Kickstarter in September and get it into players’ hands. We will be featuring a GIANT version (7.5′ x 5′) in our booth (#2333) at Gen Con! Please stop by and check it out.

    Additionally, we have been extremely busy this month with numerous aspects of preparation for Gen Con. In addition to our booth, we are running 100 different events as well as Trade Day demos. A large number of the events are sold out, so be sure to get your tickets while you still can.


    I’m making solid strides toward getting my first microgame published – though likely with a totally different theme.

    In the meantime, I’ve been playing a lot of two-player games as “research” for a new concept that’s been rattling around my brain.


    Missing in action.


    Mike has been designing a fun, silly party game that he can sell at merch tables after performances with his full-time improv comedy team.

    In preparation for Gen Con, we have been adapting The Amberden Affair to accommodate eight players in the live event of the game at the con. This has included a few rules changes and adding more cards for which Mike has been working on the art! Researching period drinks and food has been one of the most fun parts of this process.


    I spent a lot of the past month traveling. I really enjoy breaks like that, because lots of walking and sitting in vehicles gives me a chance to get away from my computer and focus more on planning and early prototypes. I ended up making a couple of new prototypes for simple, focused games. I also managed to get a new set of Shadow Throne factions ready for their first playtest.

    I playtested much more than I played last month, but one notable and very exciting game I played was Birds of a Feather! I got a chance to play the proof, a nearly final version, for the first time with my brother, who illustrated the game. It was quite the treat after working on the game for almost 2 years!


    Missing in action.


    I saw an image on twitter of a city building game that someone (named Steve Caires) is making, and it looked kinda like the cards had been thrown onto the table in the same manner as Maximum Throwdown or the upcoming Monstrous.

    When I asked if that was the case, the designer said no… but I thought it was funny and so joked that I should make a dexterity based city building game where you toss the cards into play. He joked back: “That would be about as much urban planning as a lot of older cities got…”

    A day later I found myself thinking about tossing building cards into play, and the fact that Dice Hate Me Games has a Dexterity Challenge on right now – and wouldn’t you know it, I wanted to enter the contest… with a Rabbit eligible (I co-designed a 54-card game called Isle of Trains that was published as a result of Dice Hate Me’s last design challenge) dexterity game based on the likes of Sim City, where you toss residential, commercial, industrial, and civic buildings into play, and gain points or card draws based on which buildings you have in play and their relative proximity to other types of buildings. Keeping it to 54 cards is a low priority, but it might be cute to do so anyway.

    I posted about the game in my design blog and then I got a friendly email from excellent designer Matthew Dunstan (ElysiumEmpire EngineRelic Runners, and the future TMG release, Frontiers). The topic interested him, and long story short, it looks like he and I will be working on it for that contest 🙂

    Other than that, I’ve started to work in earnest on the 3rd expansion for
    Eminent Domain: Oblivion. I have the expansion pretty much fully designed on paper, but last month I finally prototyped it, and I’ve now played a couple of times with the Agenda cards and Clout tokens.

    And finally (on the design front), Dan Keltner and I have started work on an expansion to Isle of Trains featuring Passengers and a more sophisticated delivery mechanism.

    Besides my own games, I have been playing a lot of Deus, both in person and online. I like the game a lot. This past week I also played a couple games of
    Cacao, and a handful of Temporum.


    I’ve been developing a rule set for a Wiz-War Dungeon Crawl, that is, a light RPG version of Wiz-War that uses all the core rules of Wiz-War with a few tweaks to make it fit an RPG model and 1″ grid. My codesigner, David Johnson, ran it once, and I’ve run it once at Polycon. The core rule set is solidifying nicely.

    In the meantime, I’ve been awaiting responses from three game companies on three other designs I’ve submitted. We’ll just have to see how that goes.

    The last few weeks have found me playing Splendor and Cards Against Humanity. Having recently been bribed out of retirement by my previous employer, my “spare time” isn’t what it used to be. Looking forward to playing “Freedom” soon with Luke, but we have yet to pick a date.


    There is a ton of stuff going on for me right now in game design, but summertime home improvement is slowing me down.

    I’m heading to Haiticon 2015. Planning for Celestispiel 2015. I’m also heading to Gencon, which is right around the corner, and its exciting for me because It will be the first time I’m bringing my son, Maximus. Also, my game Stones of Fate will be featured in a bunch of sessions being run by Cosmic Wombat Games. They’ll be selling Stones of Fate at their booth (#2333)

    Saturn Rising is currently under review by a publisher – hoping to get that game signed soon.

    I’m continuing to work with Minion Games on development of The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire which looks like it will be on Kickstarter this fall!!!

    New game I’m working on: Califia (a game about building California)
    What games am I playing these days? Concordia with the Brittania and Germania board expansion. Dominion Adventures.


    We’re getting all our prototypes in ship-shape… literally! Our prototypes came in from The Game Crafter for a few additions we’ve made to Oceanica: the Captain cards and the Small Boats. As a dice drafting and placement game where you’re building a fleet of ships, you can rent from other players as well as use your own ships (a little like Keyflower). But we were looking for ways to integrate more unique choices for engine-building to make each fleet more personalized and special. Our tests went well with these additions, and we’re looking forward to showing them to publishers at Gen-Con!

    We also improved the card quality of our zombie farmpocalypse game Brains Grains and Trains and Strife, our new 8-suited trick-dodging game. These two are brand new this year, and we’ll have them along for publisher meetings as well!

    Between playtests, we’ve caught a couple other fun things. One of the folks at our Meetup brought a bunch of older games we had never played, and Christina had a lot of fun with Bootleggers. The flavor was fantastic and loading up little whiskey crates in the delivery trucks was too cool.


    Missing in action.


    I’ve been getting everything ready for our August Kickstarter, Flippin Monsters! Check out our website at www.flippinmonsters.com to find out more and join our contest for a FREE GAME!

    We at Kraken Games also celebrated our three year anniversary on June 15th and were proud that we’ve had two great games to show for it so far, Evil Intent and Asking for Trobils.


    June was AWESOME! The sleepless nights making games IS worth it.

    LETTER TYCOON RELEASED! in time for Origins Game Fair, and we sold out of all the copies we were able to get there. Letter Tycoon won a creative child magazine Game of the Year award in the family category, and was well received at the Dice Tower, as Brad mentioned.

    BOOMTOWN BANDITS PRINTING! Following great playtests leading up to and through Origins and a lot of hard work with the Breaking Games team, designer Isaac Epp and illustrator Erwin Haya, this Boomtown is ready to loot! The rules have been uploaded at BGG.

    There will definitely be demos at Gen Con, if not the very first production copies for sale! I have to share some of our art style here:

    In June, the Letter Tycoon 2015 National Tournament continued! 5 finalists have emerged, with regionals at Origins and KublaCon, and DEXCON had our final regional winner in early July. Lots of qualifier events at Gen Con coming up. Someone will take down Brad Brooks and become THE Letter Tycoon for 2015, winning a one-of-a-king trophy and more prizes!

    GEN CON: Just a huge amount of things planned. We’ve built a saloon to celebrate Boomtown Bandits. I hope con goers enjoy a game in there, and the photo op. Cowboy hats with pre-order or purchase!

    For Letter Tycoon, a very fun convention game is planned with promo “letter” coasters – it’s both a functional free gift and a chance to swap coasters to make a word and win more. AND there’s a coaster with new game effects, a sneak peek at our expansion powers.

    If you’re not at Gen Con, you’re still in luck as we’ll be giving a bunch of loot to #GenCant on twitter. Stay tuned for that in late July. And if you’re at the best four days in gaming, you must visit booth #461! Come by and say hello, and help us celebrate months of hard making these 2 games, plus try the other 20+ games from Breaking Games!

    As for games I’m PLAYING – I’m currently on a Carl Chudyk kick playing Innovation and Glory to Rome repeatedly, enjoying the heck out of the card engines. It’s definitely spinning my design wheels. Thanks or curses to Brad for addicting me. Now I must play Mottainai!

    I think that wraps up the June rundown. Can I sleep yet?