May is the month for KublaCon and we held the first Letter Tycoon tournament there as well as hosting several games to get the word out ahead of the June 1st release. In between making words I’ve been testing a prototype about running hotels in Transylvania that’s been coming along nicely.

    Earlier in the month I picked up Roll for the Galaxy and have been digging into that along with Peter Vaughan. I really like the dual sided tiles and the way it gives you options after a blind draw.


    Under deep cover.


    I have been working on new tiles for my game Völuspá. I’ll let White Goblin Games do the announcing, but the universe of Völuspá might be getting bigger soon.



    No joke, but the best games I played at Kublacon were all games/prototypes from League members: Letter TycoonShadow Throne, and Saturn Rising. I also played Terra Mystica for the first time and quite enjoyed it though it’s probably too long and heavy for my collection. I wasn’t overly thrilled by Five Tribes, thought I would try it again. In the game I played, everyone seemed to specialize in one color of meeple which made the game seem rather one-dimensional.


    Kublacon was a lot of fun. We only got one playtest in of Campaign Trail, but the new version is a smashing success. We’ve already made a few minor tweaks based on feedback and will debut those at Origins! We are working on getting a few prototypes together to send to reviewers in anticipation of our August 18 Kickstarter.

    We also debuted a new version of Treasure Mountain at Kublacon which was very well received. We only have small mechanics changes and some artistic overhaul to do to that game before it’s ready for Kickstarter. We are targeting November for getting Treasure Mountain on Kickstarter.

    If you would like to play any of these games, be sure to find Nathan at Origins. He will be there with Stones of Fate, Campaign Trail, and Treasure Mountain. Also, you can still sign up for our events at Gen Con. Currently we only have 5 slots left for Treasure Mountain, and Campaign Trail and Grow Garden Grow are almost sold out as well. Hurry up and get your tickets before it’s too late.

    As for what we’ve been playing, well it’s been hard to find time to game with all the development we’ve had going on. But Jeff recently picked up Colt Express, and he and his family have been enjoying that. Also, at Kublacon, Jeff was introduced to Libertalia which is a really fun game that belongs in anyone’s collection!


    I’ve spent May dreaming about two-player games, and considering ways to make a cooperative two-player game that doesn’t make players compete against their past scores. I also travelled to MarCon in Columbus to demo Rocket Cats in Space, Knight Shift, and BEARanoia.

    I have been playing Island Siege and NanoBot Battle Arena.


    Inventor of deep cover.


    After our successful Kickstarter for The Amberden Affair Live at Gen Con 2015 in April, we’ve spent a lot of May planning the events. We’re so excited to have three sold-out events and a fourth almost sold out. Looking ahead to Gen Con, we’ve also been refining and developing Epoch Rift, our co-op time travel game. We plan to meet with some publishers at Gen Con to discuss this game’s future. In the more near future, however, we’ve been trying to get Four Omens of the Tui Tonga down from a 60 minute game to a 45 minute game. Four Omens is in the second phase of application for the Boston FIG Tabletop Showcase, and we’ve reached out to a few interested publishers regarding its future.

    We have been playing a lot! We recently moved to a new home with a great game room in the walk out basement, so we’ve enjoyed being the hub of game nights among friends and family. We just cracked open Relic Expedition and have really enjoy it with two, three and four players. Foxtrot Games has been on our table a lot, actually, as we have introduced Lanterns: The Harvest Festival to anyone who will play lately.

    Oh, and Mike is really into Hearthstone.


    My main focus has been finishing up Birds of a Feather, but I’ve also been having a lot of fun testing a big change to Techies.
    I have been playing Arboretum, a beautifully simple game.


    Well, now I’m a game publisher. Launching my first Kickstarter campaign for Food Truck Destruction Derby as Waitress Games in June. It’s a single-play RPG about Food Trucks, the foods they serve, and the way they battle. Guest appearances by story elements like the entire city of Montreal, Napoleon’s bored ghost, and a steampunk submarine.

    [Editor’s note] JR’s game, Twirk, a game about spelling quickly, is open for preorder now from Breaking Games.


    I recently posted in my game design blog about my *5* active prototypes… I have been working on the following:

    Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done


    My euro-style mancala-rondel game about the Knights Templar. Play as the titular Templars (or another similar faction) and move your knights around Europe erecting buildings, fighting crusades, and spreading the influence of your order until King Philip issues arrest warrants and disbands the Templars.

    Alter Ego
    A cooperative Deck Learning game of vigilante heroism. Play as a vigilante who, in order to become a stronger hero and save the city from henchmen and arch villains, must neglect aspects of your alter ego life such as your job, your family, or your community.

    The Pony Express
    An attempt at a low-bid auction game. Play as a rider for the Pony Express, risking life and limb to deliver parcels in the old west.

    A future TMG title by Matthew Dunstan and Chris Marling (the designers of Empire Engine, among other things). Lead your wagon train westward, collecting townsfolk, cattle, and panning for gold along the way.

    Odysseus: Winds of Fate

    Play as The Fates, witnessing Odysseus’ voyage from Troy to Ithaca. Disinterested, you’ll place bets on the outcomes of his adventures, and then you’ll use your influence with the gods to try and make your bets pay off. Winds of Fate has been around a long time, through many iterations. The current version is certainly the best so far, but I think it might still have a ways to go.

    And I spent last Monday with Dan Keltner, working on an expansion to Isle of Trains (amusingly titled Isle of Trains More).

    As for published games, lately I have been playing Deus as often as possible (which isn’t often enough). I’m in an online game at boiteajeux.net, but it’s unsatisfying waiting a whole day for my turn to come back around just to do 1 little action. I don’t think that’s the best game for the play-by-web format.

    I’ve also been playing KdJ nominee Elysium, by Matthew Dunstan and Brett Gilbert. I know those guys a little bit, and I wish them luck in the contest – though not TOO much luck, as I would really like to see Orleans win!


    Under deep cover.


    Promoting: Stones of Fate is now available at retailers. I’m excited to see that lots of new people are discovering this game! It’s available on Amazon and Coolstuff Inc. if they don’t carry it at your local store.

    Development: I’m continuing to work on development and testing of The Manhattan Project: Energy Empire with Tom Jolly, Minion Games, and our playtesting team. I’m really excited about how refined the game is.

    Pitching: Saturn Rising is in a form that’s ready to pitch and find a publisher. I’ve started with publishers I know personally, and if that doesn’t work out, I hope to pitch it at Gencon.

    Events: I had a great time at Kubla Con running and participating in many playtests. I also helped run a Letter Tycoon tournament with Brad Brooks that went very well. Now, it’s time to start planning this year’s Celestispiel!

    I have been playing more games with my daughter Odessa lately. Recently, we’ve been playing Letter TycoonAsking for TrobilsLift Off! Get Me off of this Planet!, and a lot of Voluspa. Top heavier games of late include Aquasphere and Concordia. Hoping to try OrleansFive Tribes, and Alchemists.

    Luke Laurie running a Saturn Rising Playtest


    We got back from a bit of playtesting for Brains, Grains and Trains at Strategicon, and it’s balancing nicely. We also came up with a whole new card-based trick-taking game we’re calling Strife. The alpha tests have been going great, and any game that has suits like hats and spiders is a fun time if you ask us.

    We also picked up a copy of Tiny Epic Defenders at Strategicon, so we’re looking forward to breaking that out and giving it a spin. We’re big fans of Tiny Epic Kingdoms, so it’ll be interesting to see how a cooperative game works in that format!


    Under deep cover.


    Chris is enjoying the recent release of his game, Asking for Trobils. Chris is also working on a new game called, Flippin’ Monsters.


    Peter is at Origins promoting Letter Tycoon, which was a 2015 Mensa Select Game. Peter is also hard at work on a game called Boomtown Bandits.