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by in Games, Tutorials

John Pappas, an advocate for boardgaming in public libraries, has been publishing a six-part series of articles dedicated to board games. These articles provide a crash course for anyone interested in the very social hobby of face-to-face gaming. I have found this series enjoyable and educational, and would like to share it with the rest of you.

As Mr. Pappas puts it, the scope and quantity of board games available to play has exploded in the past ten years. Most of us grew up playing at least a few board and card games, even if only the ubiquitous Monopoly and UNO. There’s a much bigger world of social, real-time, table-top fun available to us now! So if you’re new to the hobby, or curious about gaming unplugged, then this series of articles will welcome you in while providing you with a wealth of knowledge. If you’re an experienced gamer, I think you will still find this series a fun read, and will probably learn something.

Four of the articles have been released so far. Here they are for your reading enjoyment:

Part One: An Introduction to Designer Board Games

Part Two: A Progressive List of Game Types

Part Three: Thematic vs Strategic Games

Part Four: Interactions, Lamentations, and Vanquished Foes

Be sure to share these articles and leave comments on their pages to let Mr. Pappas know what you think of them! Peace,

- David

 

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by in Games

2013 was a good year for Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, the card game of rhyme and reason, and 2014 is looking just as good! Game-O-Gami’s first published title has been getting a lot of positive attention, been receiving glowing reviews, and is being recognized for various awards in the hobby gaming industry.
I’d like to share with you a few of the accolades that GDFR has received over the past months:

 

Another mention on the Dice Tower podcast! Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! was Tom Vasel’s pick for the game with the best artwork of 2013. It’s not a choice I disagree with… Of course, as the game’s creator, I am biased, and “best artwork” is a very subjective category. But I think there are very few people who would disagree that Mike Maihack’s charming goblin and fairy illustrations deserve to be recognized among the best game artwork of 2013. It’s an honor that Game-O-Gami is very proud to receive. Tom and Eric talk about GDFR and it’s beautiful artwork around the 1:15:00 mark of this episode: Dice Tower Podcast episode 335

 

Selected as Ravenwood Castle’s Game of the Month for September 2013. The award included a review as well: “Unlike many games designed specifically for kids, this one has enough substance to be enjoyable for the adults as well. That makes Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! a perfect game to sit down and play as a family, which makes it perfect for our mission at Ravenwood of encouraging families and friends to spend quality time together.” You can read the full review here: Ravenwood Castle Game of the Month

 

Received the Major Fun Award and a review. According to Will Bain: “All these features created an intriguingly strategic game. Knowing when to play a card because it would help your cause and when to play one so that it would harm your opponent was a big part of the decision process. All cards are visible so you can make plans for yourself as well as plans to thwart your rivals.” Read the full review here: Major Fun Award

 

Earned a video review from the popular Rahdo Runs Through YouTube series. Richard Ham, “Rahdo”, covered Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! in his signature casual style, breaking up the review into a 3-part video. The first video can be viewed here, follow the links on the YouTube page for the second and third videos:

 

2012 Golden Geek AwardsAnd finally, Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! has once again been nominated for a Golden Geek Award! Listed for Best Children’s Game of 2013, we’d love to get your support in the voting and give the game the recognition it truly deserves. You can vote for GDFR by heading on over to the voting page – but be quick, you only have until February 17 to do so! Note, you must be an active BoardGameGeek.com user to participate in the voting.

 

 

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by in Events, Games

Just a quick post to let you all know about something amazing happening this weekend. The gang from the Great Big Table podcast reached out to me, about a charity gaming event they are running this weekend (October 25-27). They’re playing board games for 24 hours to raise money for Children’s Miracle Hospitals, through the Extra Life charitable organization. What a fun way to help people! The funds they raise will go towards improving the lives of sick kids. You can read more about it, and make a donation if you wish, at Extra-Life.org:

Raising money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Wishing you all a safe, healthy, and fun weekend!

 

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by in Events, Games

Yesterday, Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, our card game of rhyme and reason, was featured on “Watch It Played”. This fun YouTube series teaches you how to play games without having to stick your nose in boring rule books. Watch Rodney and Andrea play GDFR in this fun, quick video:

How to play Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! by Watch It Played

   

If you enjoy this video, subscribe to their channel to learn about more fun games!

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by in Games

Now that Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! has been delivered into the hands of Kickstarter backers and new fans, our first game has been receiving lots of love and praise. I get so excited hearing the positive feedback from gamers who have been playing GDFR with their friends and with their kids! The media has also been very kind, with game critics giving GDFR an enthusiastic reception. Of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it… Below are a few recent video reviews:

Dice Tower review by Tom Vasel

 

When To Play review by Robert Burke

 

Off The Shelf Board Game Review by Michael V.K.

 

And a great written review:

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! review on GeekMom
“I recommend Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! for all ages, but especially for younger kids who know how to read. [My niece] played a few times and has memorized the cards, so [she] can play faster and work on her rhyming skills. The point being, she wants to keep playing it. So a thumbs up!”

 

You can check out the full list of reviews from various media sites, blogs, and game critics on our Reviews page. More will be added as I find them, and when friends and fans give me a heads up.  :)
I’ll see you next time!

- David

 

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Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! cover image

We have an exciting announcement to make… drum-roll please… Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! has “gone cardboard” (and tin)! Game-O-Gami’s very first game is now released and available world-wide. If you haven’t gotten yourself a copy of your own yet, you can order it online or ask for it at your friendly local game store. This marks a huge milestone for myself, for Game-O-Gami, and hopefully for happy families who are getting to play GDFR together! Official press release below.

- David

 

 

 

For Immediate Release

July 17, 2013; Las Vegas, NV

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, the card game of rhyme and reason for kids of all ages, has gone from Kickstarter dream to retail reality. Developed by Game-O-Gami with publisher support from Game Salute, this charming and educational family game was successfully crowd-funded last year and is now available world-wide.

In Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule!, players put their rhyming and puzzle solving skills to the test as they compete to rid themselves of mischievous goblins and collect magical fairies. The game features innovative play mechanics by game industry veteran David Sanhueza, and beautiful illustrations by comic book artist Mike Maihack. GDFR is the culmination of David’s dream to create a game that children and adults can enjoy playing together.

The rulebook sets the appropriately whimsical mood by describing the setting, “For a long, long time, goblins and fairies have lived in a magical world right beneath our noses. If you look hard enough, you can find rings of mushrooms, called ‘fairy rings,’ which act as doors between their world and ours. Today, a gang of mischievous goblins escaped from the fairy ring, and it is up to you to send them back before they cause trouble! But an ancient spell of rhymes which transforms goblins into fairies and fairies into goblins makes this a trickier task than you might think…”

Gamers curious about Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! will be able to try-before-they-buy at the Gen Con Indy games convention. Gen Con, “the best four days in gaming”, will be held at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, from August 15-18. Players can participate in demos of GDFR at the Game Salute booth in the exhibit hall.

Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! is now available directly from shop.GameSalute.com, Amazon.com, and your friendly local game store. More information about the game, including samples of the artwork, can be found on Game-O-Gami’s website: www.game-o-gami.com

 

Goblin and Fairy cards

 

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by in Games, Kickstarter

Good news everybody,

Production of Goblins Drool, Fairies Rule! is complete. All 5,000 copies are right now on a big boat headed to America!

According to steamship lines tracking, the vessel is due to arrive in New York on April 19th. An additional week is expected to unload, clear, and truck the crates to Game Salute‘s HQ in New Hampshire. Assuming the ship arrives in NY on time, and Customs checks go smoothly, Game Salute should have them in their warehouse, ready for order fulfillment, by the end of April. Good times!

All the best,

- David

 

 

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by in Art, Design, Games

Today I am going to share with you the visual evolution behind Legends At War! To recap from previous articles here on the Game-O-Gami development blog, Legends At War is an area-control card game, where 2-4 players place down mythological character cards onto a modular board, in an attempt to capture their opponents’ cards and strengthen the position of their own cards.

Every character has 4 battle values (stats), oriented on the north, south, east, and west edges of the cards. Each card belongs to one of four mythological factions (pantheons), belongs to one of three elemental dominions (earth, sea, and sky), and ranges in power relative to the other cards (level I being the weakest, level III being the strongest). Most of the character cards also have a special ability.

All of this data needs to be displayed on the cards for gameplay purposes:

Legends At War - card diagram

The challenge was getting all of this data displayed on the cards in a way that was organized, uncluttered, and visually appealing. Early on, I made the decision that the card illustrations should be obscured as little as possible, because they’re just so darn beautiful and add so much to the fun of the game. I wanted the card data to sit on top of the illustrations, giving the illustrations almost full-bleed, instead of confining the art to smaller windows like most card games do. This also meant that I would have to come up with graphic icons for almost everything, instead of resorting to text that would take up too much space.

My original card designs were hand-drawn on index cards. Sloppy, but effective. This was the easiest way to brainstorm and see what kind of layout would look best on final printed cards.

Next, I mocked up some tests in Photoshop. Once the game had been proven fun and worth pursuing further (after extensive alpha-testing), I roughly translated what was in my head onto the computer.
Late Alpha-test version of the cards:

LAW alpha card design

I threw in a placeholder illustration and built the “user interface” around that. You can see a few things missing from this first pass at the visuals. As the game became more complex, the visuals became more complex:
There is no pantheon icon, because although mythological pantheons were part of the flavor of the game, they did not have any use in the gameplay design at the time.
Cards had no level at the time, and were meant to be equally balanced against each other. This didn’t quite feel right, with cards like Centaurs being ranked equally with cards like Zeus and The Midgard Serpent. Separating cards into different levels worked out better thematically, and also made for a better gameplay experience with escalating power levels after each round. A visual showing the card levels would have to be added.
Dominions were represented by a colored border instead of an icon. Yellow for Sky, Red for Earth, Blue for Sea. In order to make the game more friendly for the color-blind, dominion icons were added later. The color scheme for the graphics did carry over into the final, to compliment the dominion icons. It also carried over into the art direction for the illustrations, with each character illustration having a color scheme representative of its dominion (whenever it makes sense and looks good.)

As the game moved from the design/test phase into pre-production phase, the graphic layout was updated.
Beta-test version of the cards:

LAW beta card design

Xia Taptara and Monika Palosz did an amazing job on the preliminary character illustrations. These first examples of the finished artwork were incorporated into the card layout, which was redesigned around them. New icons were added to communicate the new gameplay elements (pantheons, levels, dominions). The top-corner compass stats were added so players could quickly assess their options when holding multiple cards in their hands. The ability icons were made to stand out as much as possible, for easy playtesting.

This version of the graphics has been great for playtesting. They’re not pretty, but the graphics get the necessary info across and players find the game quick to learn (other than needing a reference sheet for what the ability icons do.) Visually, though, these placeholder graphics have always bugged me. The illustrations behind them are just so good, that the graphics looked weak in comparison, even though they’re obviously just there as a testing placeholder.

Being an artist myself, I have very high standards for the final look of this game. I devoted serious time over the past few weeks developing a polished aesthetic for the cards. Keeping most of the previous layout intact, I revamped the placeholder graphics, aiming for consistent visuals that would project the right mood for the game and look more professional. This new appearance will set a quality and style bar for the game’s art moving forward.

I wanted the graphics to be colorful and pop on the cards, while still being consistent with the serious style of the illustrations. After much experimentation, metal and jewels became the theme of the graphic style. The ability icons now look like ancient coins, with an additional ring of spikes to differentiate “persistent” abilities from “instant” abilities. Drop shadows replaced the old outlines to help the graphics pop out better from the illustration. I re-arranged the order of the bottom corner icons, to better separate the dominion icon from the stat jewels, and to put the pantheon icon in a more prominent position.

A visual overhaul, showing the latest version of the graphic design: 

LAW sample cards

These three examples are from the Greek pantheon, demonstrating the look for Earth, Sea, and Sky dominions. What do you think of this updated visual style? Your feedback is very much appreciated!

- David

 

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Art for Sale!

Whether you are Team Goblin or Team Fairy, you can find just the right artwork to decorate your home or office. Illustrations from our games are now available as prints, tote bags, and throw pillows at Society6:

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