7th July 2020 - The Cardboard Designer

7th July 2020

  • You can check out all my development diaries here
  • Update on the progress of “For The Hive”
  • Initial concept of “Plague Doctors”
  • Initial concept of “Fields of Amber”

For The Hive – update

This is a “risk-lite” game I am working. The basic idea is that players can level up their base stats to improve their position on the board. It is intended to be a quick strategy game – aiming at letting people fit it in before something a bit meatier or to let them get their strategic fix when travelling.

After play testing a few dozen iterations of the game with my wife in the kitchen, I decided it was time to get a mock of it put into tabletop simulator. After a couple of hours I had a good few bit of the components together:

It’s not much to look at but it has all the necessary elements I needed. A big design change I made was moving the walls (yellow bricks that block movement) and have them as game components rather than drawn onto the tiles – to allow for more map variety.

The light blue bricks were also added as “bridges” that can increase unit movement speed for a little more variety. I am now at the stage where I can start play testing it with friends for some feedback!


Plague Doctors

I was watching a film the other night called “The Lovebirds” on Netflix. Fun film, I have been a fan of Kumail Nanjiani since I saw him on Silicon Valley. There is a scene in the film where they enter this cult, and they all wear these plague doctor masks.

I couldn’t get the image out of my head. Maybe it’s partly due to the times that we are in with a pandemic sweeping the globe, but the idea has played out a little in my mind.

“I want the player to fight the black death of the 1350s.” The obvious comparison would be looking at Pandemic, the great co-operative game by Matt Leacock. I don’t know if I want to have my game be as co-operative or work at such a global scale as his. I am thinking of even just selecting London as a location, rather than even a country or continent.

I haven’t had a chance to refine it more really, but I am really keen to make it a gritty, hopeless feeling sort of game. I love how Pandemic forces you to be reactive to growing issues – I am wondering what I could do to make it more pro-active on the part of the players… hmmm.


Fields of Amber

This one I have been tossing around in my head for a bit longer and it’s starting to take a little more shape. I adore the aesthetic of all of the Uwe Rosenberg games, and other titles like Viticulture. I enjoy the charm and whimsy they they exude.

I also knew that I wanted to work on a new worker placement game. I was talking in a thread on BGG about worker placement and someone had pointed out how most of the worker placement tiles offer an instant reward for placing your meeple on a location, rather than having them actually work before you get anything. What an interesting idea! How could I implement worker placement in a way that planning in advance reaps rewards later…. “Reap what you sow” as it were.

The idea of a euro-game with players competing as farmers intent on getting the very most out of their produce at market really appeals to me. I’m still toying with the idea of whether it will be straight from field to market, or if I want to include steps like grinding to flour or baking bread.

The above gallery are some of the images I am using for inspiration at the moment. I really like the idea of working in the earlier days of farming, before machines and automated collection became a feature… maybe these could be upgrade paths….

Thats about it for now… a few concepts to work on and a bit more development to be done on For The Hive in the hopes I can get a few play-tests of it going this week!

–Tom
“What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?” “Cliff”

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