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CatheDraw REVOLT is out

The short story. I made CatheDraw a roll & write game and for a long time I wanted to fix some issues in it. I changed the game so it could be played without cutting cards and I added a threat to the gameplay. The threat being possible uprises & revolts. Now I put the game up for download because I want you to play it. I have used a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to present all the information on the Player Sheet.

My last score was 184. What is yours?

 

Get the game here.

 

CatheDraw Revolt Files

 

 

Here is a quick introduction to the game

 

FAQ Cathedraw Revolt

How to score flying buttresses or stone pilasters?
You only score points when pilasters and flying buttresses are placed furthest to the left or right in the row they occupy. So in this example the two red ones score zero points and the ones marked with green score 9 points together.


Designing for game competitions

For the last couple of years I have participated in several design contests driven and curated by the community. The most recent one being the Hookbox challenge by The Game Crafter. I haven’t used TGC before – but the title of the contest just pulled me in. Again and again I wish I had done things differently and better and that is why I want to share a few thoughts on how to get the best out of board game competitions.

Understanding the premise

A contest is by definition a competition where there is one or more winners and entrants are rated by judges.  This is some contest you might come across:

  • Contests that is community driven: This is like on Boardgamegeek forums or Bgdf. You will have a lot more openness and interaction during development. You and the other participants are the judges.
  • Contests facilitated by publishers with an intention of publication.  This can be a publisher looking for a new way to play an existing game or need another game of a specific type.

If you want a game published you might be using your time better that entering design contest  – but if you want to improve your design skills and challenge your passion it is a great way to interact with the community. Some games get picked up by publishers like the games of Todd Sanders.

Read the rest of this entry »



Art matters – even in indie game contests

The Hookbox challenge semi finalists has been chosen, and I am thrilled that Downhill Daredevils is among them.

Now it is time to conclude my experiment. I looked at all games before voting in this last article. Even if it NOT fair to only rate a game by the cover – this is what I did, to see if there is a connection between visual appeal and votes in contests like this. I wonder if the order of appearance on the site reflects the number of votes? 

 

My favorites  Semi-finalists
 Gunplay  Yes
 Mission Control  Yes
 Mine, Mine, Mine  Yes
 Smuggles N’Snuggles  Yes
 Gluttony 18
 Duelling Dinos  Yes
 Empire of Swords
 Battle Stations
 Turris  Yes
  Do not open
 A kings Jest
 

 Looked good

 Doomsday Device
 Saloon Goons!
 The Coup
 Totem’s Call  Yes
 Fury Road
 Crazy cat laydy
 

 My Close-ups

DomiNations
Commons
Canyon Racers
Heist
DuelofTheDungounDesigners
Starfighters
Shields Up  Yes
Armour Up  Yes
Inconceivable

 

Games I choose that looks good and could be printed in colour.

Since 20 of 129 entries was selected it is 15,5 % of all submission. If I selected 10 random of the 129 entries approximately 1 or 2 of them would be selected as semi finalists. Now there is 6 (60%). This to me indicates that the looks is a huge factor. This should off course be held up against how good all games where to play… because maybe the art is irrelevant and these games just was better in play.

 

Games that I think looked good but did not have a free PNP download

Only 1 of these was selected and this could indicate that the community don’t vote on thing they can’t test or see properly.

 

Among the semi-finalist there is a couple great looking games that I oversaw, like Reign.

 

The conclusion must be

When entering a board game contest – Hooking up with an artist friend is a good idea and remember to share your files with the community



The 10 best looking FREE titles in the Hookbox Challenge

How big a role does good art play? I decided to select my 10 favourite best looking games from the 129 entries in the Game Crafters Hookbox challenge. Showcase them here to later see how many of them that advance to the semi-finals. Many designers did not put up a download PNP which I think will be going against them in the rating…or will it? To also investigate that I will select a few of the most visually interesting looking games and write in the end.

 

And off course like in life it is what is inside that matters most – but this is an art investigation. Sorry.

 

129 entries in the Hookbox challenge

Art is generally a problem if you are a solo designer with no art skills. Many designers will find good places of royalty free images they can use for the cards – and that is a great idea to do for your prototype.  In many cases I feel this unfortunately make the game impersonal and generic – but it  depends also of the graphic design. But how important is the looks of a game? It is safe to say that people will generally agree on good art but in the many cases also be very affected by taste in themes. This is a few reason you need to find someone to help with your art.

 

  • The theme and story of the game will be more saturated – making the game more immersive
  • If you got good art – you probably invested time in the game, making it more likely to be tested
  • The game will be more unique and memorable
  • The art can be explanatory, and help players to understand the game rules.
  • Maybe increase your chance on a vote in a competition like this – we will see?

 

You could have a very illustrative game with few graphic elements, visa versa or a combination. I consider myself as an versatile artist that is quite good at both but definitely not the best (The best artist out there you will find in the Interview section). Sine I like game designing I usually tend to do a more clean graphic style in the game art because it is quicker and more flexible to work with and it can be pretty & functional at the same time (like the classic Innovation) . Unfortunately this usually sticks with the game and it is hard to find time to redo the art. There are many of the games that got handdrawn or more of an amateurish style but this can actually be really cool and authentic. Just be sure to keep it consistant.

For my own game I payed for the community art review that you can get on TGC. I payed because I was sure to score high and I wanted the badge to be an eye-catcher on the shop page. I only scored 80+ which first surprised me but when I thought about it made good sense. I have no story telling and different artworks on my cards. They might be pretty but when you see 9 almost equal looking cards on a page with no real motif it is not better than 8or9 of 10.

 

 

Now let’s get to the top ten – there was a lot of close ones to get to the list like, DomiNations, Commons, Canyon Racers, Heist, DuelofTheDungounDesigners, Starfighters, Shilds Up, Armour Up, Inconceivable,

The top 10

 

Nr. 10a A King’s Jest

Illustration:3

Graphic:3

Vibe:4

Even it this is not high quality final art – it really shout ‘indie game’.  And the work is detailed and consistent  – which make is vey appealing.

 

Nr. 10b Do not open

Illustration:5

Graphic:-

Vibe:2

Absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Also a bit ‘naive’ – which I like.

Nr. 9 Turris – City of Giants

Illustration:4

Graphic:3

Vibe:5

I do not know how much of this was painted for the game. It seem like a lot of collages with paint on top -BUT hey! it looks fantastic. And there are so much going on it really triggers your curiosity.  

Nr. 8 Battle Stations

Illustration:3

Graphic:4

Vibe:3

I was in doubt with this game. I think it really captures a war atmosphere. The design is very nice – and I LOVE the water.

Nr. 7 Empire of Swords

Illustration:3

Graphic:5

Vibe:5

The use of glow, colors, hard lines and grunge brush strokes creates a very strong and appealing visual style.

Nr. 6 Dueling Dinos

Illustration:3

Graphic:4

Vibe:3

This leans to how I would normally approach a competition. It works graphically and got some cute looking Dino’s. I like!.

Nr. 5 Gluttony 18

Illustration:4

Graphic:2

Vibe:4

This oooze of fun and gameplay. I get digital associations especially to “The Fat Princess!” on my Playstation. 

Nr. 4 Smuggles n’ snuggles

Illustration:5

Graphic:2

Vibe:2

This is really fantastic character design and linework. It lacks a bit in the graphic design and colouring IMHO. 

Nr. 3 Mine, Mine, Mine

Art by: Moy Shin Hung

Illustration:4

Graphic:3

Vibe:4

Strong illustration. No outlines and in your face coloring. It really pulls you in.

Nr. 2 Mission Control

Illustration:4

Graphic:4

Vibe:5

Spectacular style. Even if it might be a collage of images that has been given an series of effects it is consistent and very cool looking.

Nr. 1 Gunplay

Art by: Pha Chau – theArtManor

Illustration:5

Graphic:4

Vibe:3

Wonderful images. A harmonious color pallette. Nice type and elegant layout. Clean and cool character design

 

And to the many games that looked really cool – but had no free PNP – sorry!. I will write som here to see how they do.

Doomsday Device

Saloon Goons!

The Coup

Totem’s Call

Fury Road

Crazy cat laydy

To all the winners – all 11, are free to use the Gold Hooked award badge.

By Niklas Hook