Spreading infection

I’ve been working on a new game in which players control an infection, which they are aiming to spread across the world. No prizes for guessing where the inspiration came from. On her turn a player either places 3 discs in a row on her turn, or removes all the discs from an area that she has a majority in and redistributes these discs in rows or columns. When players redistribute discs, they can access a special box at the end of the row, which will give them regional scoring bonuses or other advantages. 

Which infections will mutate and become stronger? And which will fizzle out and die?

Down in the sewer

This week the new game about working in a sewer has had some playtesting. In Dirty Business, each turn players choose extend lines (sewage pipes) by laying cards or to score the line they are on and move their worker to another line. It has now been played at 2, 3 and 4. It works well at 3 and 4, but not at 2. To score big a player needs to join her line up with one that another player has constructed. In a 2-player game, there just aren’t enough lines to join. 

We had a debate about whether blocking should be allowed. Blocking occurs when a player places a tile that prevents a tile from being placed in an adjacent position. The consensus was that in this game, blocking should be allowed, so that players can attempt to prevent others from joining their lines and scoring off them.

I’m looking forward to seeing this one when the lines look like sewage pipes. We’ll have 4 different lines for four different types of waste. They’ll be rats… and maybe fat-bergs.

Cracker Tests

Samples arrived from the cracker manufacturer this week. These crackers are the same size and card thickness as The Dark Imp crackers will be, though not with our art work. We wanted to check that, when pulled, the central section of the cracker stays in tact. Some enthusiastic cracker pulling ensued and we got exactly the result we were hoping for. The cracker tube stays in tact and the triangles that make up the neck can be easily folded in, to allow the tube to stand upright. 

The graphic designer is working on the cracker and it will soon go into production. Here’s a sneak peek at part of the design.

Coaster Tweaking

Three of the coaster games have had more slight changes. All have now been tested. Free the Frog, the party game in which a group tries to guess a spell-breaking word to save their froggy friend from a wicked witch, works well with no restrictions on which categories can be used. When Dave Dawkins, who shared his eight games for eight occasions last month, was the frog, he chose the word ‘Kiss’ as the spellbreaker. The photo shows his statue of the word.

Ice Cream Truck works well with the inclusion of an umbrella and the new restrictions on the numbers of ice creams players can purchase each turn. 

The simplifications in Alien Farm, the action selection game about creating a farm full of alien creatures, have helped to reduce the text needed on the front of the coaster. There is still a question about whether the game is too complicated for a coaster game. We’ll have to wait for the blind playtesting to see how hard it is to learn the game just from the coaster.

In case you missed it:

On Monday we released a new video on how to teach new board games to your family. This is part of our Metagame series – helping parents to make game playing as harmonious and positive as possible. Have a watch.

On Thursday Trent Howell, head of The Board Game Family, shared his eight games for eight different occasions. There are some great suggestions here and most of the games on his list include links to his longer video reviews. Don’t miss this.