Tag Archives: board game design

Heartland – March Update

The state of my game is good. It has gone through several iterations in the past few weeks. I think the changes have been good and have improved the “fun factor.” After one playtest, I was sad to stop playing. 

One part I’m thrilled about is the effects the changing of the seasons has on gameplay. When Spring arrives, you may think it’s time for planting. One card has a late freeze set in, thus making farming more difficult. Not only does the late freeze affect the current season, but in the fall, livestock won’t have enough food. This will affect their production. The game forces you to interact with the random elements presented by the seasons. It also makes you prepare for their future impact. This creates a density of important decisions that is satisfying.

One aspect that I’ve had to tinker with more than I had hoped is the building upgrades. Each city will be able to construct buildings that help them thrive in the new economy. I have waffled between two choices. One is for the playings to each have access to every building type. The other is a common building “pool” for players to choose from. With the latter, once a player buys a building, it is no longer available for the other players. Both have their advantages.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your input to help me make a decision.

Heartland – February Update

 

My board game, “Heartland” is still under construction, and will be for several more months. Even after the construction phase, there is much playtesting ahead. I decided to finish the game before playtesting anymore. At first, I was playtesting individual facets of the game. After some thought and advice, I decided that it would be best to playtest with the full game. The last element I’m adding creates the most variation, so it is crucial to see that element in action.
 
Another idea I’ve been toying with is how I plan to publish the game. Kickstarter has made publishing more feasible for the average person. If you are willing to put in the work, a successful Kickstarter campaign can get your game out to lots of folks. “If you are willing to put in the work” is the key here. I’ve read about lots of successful campaigns and backed a few as well, and the workload is quite large. It is alway very easy to mess up. Traditional publishing may be the best bet for me and my current state of affairs. (husband, father, pastor, school teacher, graduate student, etc…)
 
Along with that same idea, I’ve decided to design a smaller game to test the Kickstarter waters. I’ll be posting about it soon. It should be a popular theme with a small production cost – perfect for a first game.
 
I’m still looking for playtesters for “Heartland.” I’ve had several from different parts of the country express their interest. That thrilled my soul. Once I get working prototypes (late summer goal) I’ll begin sending those out. If you’d like to playtest, let me know. Also, I’d love to hear any questions you have about my future games.

Heartland – A Board Game Design Project

Decades of drought have made life hard in America’s “Heartland.” Hard times can bring opportunity. Five once-depressed cities now search for a ray of hope.

With that sentence, I embark on a new project: designing my first board game. Several things inspired my new game idea. The place I grew up – America’s Heartland – gave me the lion’s share of that inspiration. The hard-working people and the beautiful countryside were my muses. Though I’m from the Missouri’s Bootheel, all the Heartland’s people see the world in a way that has always impressed me
 
My board game will be about survival after a time of difficulty has come upon the land.  Droughts have caused water to be scarce, so states must ration it, and sell it, to the highest bidder. The cities then decide how they will use their resources. Will they farm and feed their people? Will they gather and prepare for more hardship? Will they sell their goods to prosper? These are questions the player has to consider as they play the game. 
 
I’m currently playtesting the game, which I plan to write about later in the week. If playtesting goes well, I’d like to have a marketable product by the end of this year. After that, I’ll test the waters among available publishers. 
 
Publishing a board game has been a dream of mine for some time. I’ve been creating games since I was a boy, and this is an extension of that same spirit. To see this come to life, I’ll need the help of my friends from the Heartland. Would you like to see a game about the area you live? Do you know someone who would be into this? Tell them about it. Subscribe to my blog, and have others do it as well. I plan to give regular updates on the process along with my normal posts about gaming with your family.
 
I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas about this project. Please share in the comments section below.

Things I Read This Week: 1/1/2017-1/7/2017

I read a wide variety of things this week. I mixed in some weather, with some politics, and of course games. Here are five articles I think you might enjoy:

The Top Ten Weather Events of 2016

I love to read the blog by Jeff Masters as he gives a great global perspective on the weather. Sadly our planet’s weather has been politicized with topics like global warming.

9 Things You Should Know About J. R. R. Tolkien

Great read from the Gospel Coalition about Tolkien. I’m a giant fan of Tolkien’s and love most of his work. This information was fascinating.

Top 10 Most Innovative Kickstarter Strategies of 2016

Here is another one from Stonemaier Games. Great ideas in moving forward with my future game design.

A Feast for Odin Review

This one is from Board Gamers Anonymous. I read several other reviews of this game since it’s one of my newest. It’s a great game, and I love to read the perspective of others concerning games I consider to be great.

How to Brainstorm Ideas (for Boardgames)

This one is good for would-be game designers. It’s always good to be thinking, and this article gives helpful tips for that task.