No, there aren’t any mermaids in Murders & Acquisitions. Scratch that. There might be. Once I flesh out the magic and monsters rules add-ons, there MIGHT be mermaids. But that’s not what this post is about.
Playtesting is running a little longer than expected. I sent playtest materials to multiple groups on Halloween of last year. It will come as no surprise that the holidays slowed the playtesters down a bit. So I don’t have any playtest revelations to share just yet.
But that doesn’t mean I’ve let my game designer muscles atrophy. About a month ago, I said to myself, “Craig, you should design a card game for your niece. She loves games.”
So I did. At first, the game was going to be themed around monsters, because my niece loves monsters. I was told by my sister-in-law, however, that she’s recently gotten into undersea creatures big time – fish, dolphins, whales, sharks, octopi, starfish…and mermaids. After a little more back and forth with my sis, I came up with a basic idea for the game themed around undersea creatures having a party.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Before I began designing the game, I gave some thought to my audience. I’ve joked that I have an audience of one for this game – if my niece likes it, it’s a good game – but that’s not entirely true. I need to make sure it’s both playable and enjoyable by kids aged 8 and up. Cuz she has friends and all.
I noodled it around for a bit and came up with the following guidelines for my game in terms of the audience.
Bad bits. We’ve all had them. I know for me the most recent, and most frustrating experience with a bad bit was only made worse by the fact that those bits belong to my current favorite board game. Oh, I suppose I should clarify what I mean by a bad bit. I’m talking about those pieces in a board game that either through poor design, quality, or some other fault negatively impact the fun of the game. In this case I’m talking about Temporum an incredibly clever, well designed game by Donald X. Everything about the game is incredible, including the currency that comes with the game, except it doesn’t have nearly enough of the lower denominations of the currency. As a result every turn you’re making change. This slows the game down, and gets in the way of the fun. What do you do in this situation? Well, after confirming that I can’t purchase extra pieces I got frustrated.
Then one morning I found out about a Kickstarter project that will solve this problem, and similar bad bit problems. I’m talking about The Treasury by Know Chance Games. The Treasury’s primary goal is to give players access to a high quality alternative to paper money. As the Kickstarter video points out paper money is never fun to handle, and it doesn’t last, or look good. The Treasury fixes that on several fronts by giving you access to one or more decks of card money. This means the money looks good, is game neutral, and can be sleeved. I’m really surprised other game companies haven’t tried to fill this need before, but I’m glad it’s about to be filled.