Archive for November, 2010

Repost: Game Night 2-16 – Triple Human!

Posted in Game Night on November 12, 2010 by gryphonforge

<Another repost to get the Game Night segment going>

This is a classic example of how Matt, Eric, and I (and a small group of friends) spend our Monday nights. After grueling away at our day jobs (SW Dev and Civil Service) we all look forward to hitting the local brew pubs, slogging away some good beer (Black Butte Porter anyone!) and getting in a few hours of gaming. This was one of 1st posts on a classic moment. Enjoy!

-rob

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For those that may not know, the gang here typically meets Monday evenings after work for dinner (usually consisting of Hot Wings and Beer) and a night of gaming. The turnout typically ranges 4-6 players on any given Monday. We usually get one or two games in depending upon what we decide to play. Games vary from old standby’s like Settlers, Arkham Horror, MTG, or of course Wizard’s Gambit… to anything new that we feel like trying out. Not only does this help keep the gaming juices running, but it is just plain fun for us to all get togther to BS and let off some steam.
 
We thought it would be interesting to give some insights into the playing styles and excitement that keeps us all energized in this business.
 
A few weeks ago, BattleStar Galactica came to the table. We had all been really curious about playing this and finally had our chance. The 1st go round was pretty much learning the rules and intracacies of the game… with the outcome being accuzations of “He’s a Cylon!” being thrown out randomly at people in the weeks that followed. The funnest moments were when Matt, playing Baltar, and EricN playing the President were both uncovered as Cylon’s, yet refused to help each other leaving Baltar stuck in the Brigg most of the final part of the game.
 
This week, BSG was back on the table. And Matt, as typical, chose to play Baltar again. In the end, the Cylons won again. Mostly due to myself being the Admiral (and a Cylon) and EricN (the President by default, also a cylon) slowly and subtley draining our resources. Everyone focused on Matt (as Baltar again) being the cylon, especially after he received his 3rd loyalty card. The classic moment came at the end of the game with Matt fighting back against the allegations of being a cylon and throwing is loyalty cards on the table and yelling “I was triple human bitches!!”. Baring teeth
 
another classic moment….
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Repost: Game Design – Actual vs. Perceived Fun

Posted in Forged from the Founders on November 11, 2010 by gryphonforge

<another repost from the old archive> Here is an oldie but a goody from Matt..

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As my first Gryphon Forge Founders post I thought I would give some insights on my thoughts on game design – specifically some things we think about at Gryphon Forge when putting together a new concept starting with a prototype. This particular topic will cover a subtle but important aspect of overall design that is really important to any game: The difference between actual fun and perceived fun.

We’re all familiar with actual fun in a card or board game. This is the quantifiable fun you have after you’ve played a game – perhaps a new game for the first time. You usually learn about the game from a friend in your gaming group, from the local game store’s game night event, from a parent or relative, or a game you picked up from a review in magazine. Regardless of how you came to play it, you enjoyed yourself and may even want to play again. You would describe the game as one you like and recommend it to other friends, etc.

The more elusive type of fun is perceived fun, and probably more important in some ways than actual fun. Perceived fun is your measure of how fun a game is before you’ve ever played it! We’ve all experienced perceived fun too: When looking at the back of a box in a game store, when walking around a Con and watching others play a game, or looking at an advertisement online or in a magazine. You might see a game that looks really fun – even fun enough to buy! But the design of this aspect of the game is totally different from getting the mechanics right or keeping the rules simple.

For game designers, nailing both actual and perceived fun is key to the overall success of a game you intend to produce and sell. And it is readily obvious why both kinds of fun are important. You need perceived fun to get a game off the shelf and actual fun to keep people playing and spread the word on your game by word of mouth, review, etc.

Some thoughts on how to demonstrate perceived fun in a game include:

1. Ensure art quality is up to a high bar. Think about if you were to buy just the game art – is it good enough to hang on the wall? A lot of games that don’t look fun to play have lower quality art or are produced and finished at a lower quality.

2. Create an enticing box layout. Is your game pictured in a way that shows the fun in action? Are pieces arranged in such a way that makes it look like a really cool event is taking place? If your game has a lot of pieces, are they arranged in a way that makes the game seem easy to learn? Remember complex games are only easy to play once you’ve played them a few times, so depicting simplified play is important on games with high complexity.

3. Ensure you have some variance in your game components – especially if they are like components such as cards. If it’s a simpler game such as a card game, do you show enough variety in your cards to look interesting? Games with a homogeneous look to the elements will look less fun overall.

4. Tied closely to point #3 – Make sure the overall theme of the game is consistent. Do you have an overall look and feel that is tied together thematically or by style? Games that appear to be a disjointed collection of parts will look less fun or convey complexity that may not really be there.

Of course, as a game designer you want to achieve success on both the perceived fun and actual fun. Failure in either area can be failure for your games – especially if your game is actually fun, but doesn’t look like it. Here at Gryphon Forge, we work on the actual fun first for our games, then brainstorm ideas on how to ensure that our games are perceived as fun too using many of the methods above.

Post a comment if you thought this was an interesting topic. Eric and I will be sharing our thoughts and ideas on game design going forward.

Matt

We’re Back…

Posted in Forged from the Founders, General, Wizard's Gambit on November 11, 2010 by gryphonforge

With the exodus of Windows Live Spaces, we’ve decided to once again host our blog with WordPress. Not too big a deal because the old blog had become a bit stale anyway. But hey, we’re back, and we’ve even got some new stuff to talk about that’s been heating up nicely in the old foundry. More on that later. For now, we’ll start off by reposting one of the 1st blog post from Eric, enjoy! 

FORGED FROM THE FOUNDERS

Welcome to the Gryphon Forge Blog.

Yesterday marked a new beginning for us at Gryphon Forge. Our first shipment of Wizard’s Gambit came in. As excited as we are about our progress, many of you have been just as excited and have been inquiring about the game, our company, and even Matt & I, the Founders. Therefore we have begun this Blog, so that you too can join us as we move forward with our company.

That being said, this coming week we should have our game available to you on the Gryphon Forge web site. With our first game under our belt, we are already beginning work on our next release, which will continue the storyline from Wizard’s Gambit in the world of Hyrathia. For more information on Wizard’s Gambit, I refer you to the Gryphon Forge web site.

As for myself… I am a Gamer by night, but a cop by day. I supervise the Detectives of a Major Crimes Unit at a municipal police department in the Seattle area. I love my work, but I am torn away sometimes by my love for gaming. So much so, that Matt and I formed this company so that we can follow our dream of designing and publishing our own games.

In addition to being a Police Officer, I am President of our Police Officer’s Guild. I am also a father of two. One of which is only two months old. I can’t wait for both of them to grow old enough for us to game together.

My hobbies are gaming, photography, and paintball.

I am new to this blogging, so please be pateint with my short first attempt at blogging. I am more of a man of action than words. However, let me leave you with this thought. Between my Job, my volunteer position as the President of the Police Guild, my company with Matt, and my family with young ones, I have found time to pursue my dreams and take care of my family. It is hard work, frustrating at times. But if I can do it and succeed, so can you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. If they do, do it just to spite them, showing them that they were wrong. Dang! It feels good to be right.

Welcome again to our Blog, and welcome to the Gryphon Forge Experience.

Eric