by Skyway Library and Playtest Northwest
After the big success of All Day Game Day, Skyway Library is gearing up for the first of a monthly series called Mini Game Day! Our inaugural event will take place this Saturday, November 4, from 12-5pm. We will be featuring 4 indie games at a time, all accompanied by their game designers to teach you how to play.
But we could not pull off a project of this magnitude alone! We are thrilled to be able to partner with PlaytestNW. This organization was founded in 2015 with the mission bring enjoyment of tabletop games and tabletop game design to the masses. Passionate game designers and community organizers host events showcasing prototype games that are in need of some good testers! Together our designers and playtesters build great games together!
Nicole, a game designer and PlaytestNW event coordinator, is excited to help bring PlaytestNW to South Seattle in our collaboration with more events at the Skyway Library:
“PlaytestNW has grown so rapidly since it began in 2015. We currently host 6 meetups every month and put in hundreds of hours of playtesting at many of the local gaming conventions, like ECCC, PAX and GeekGirlCon. There are still many communities where we don’t have a presence that I would like playtestNW to be in the future. We want tabletop games to be accessible to all the communities in Seattle.”
Skyway Games is a new article we will be writing together, to highlight the many fantastic games we will be featuring. There are some incredible and exciting games coming to Mini Game Day, that we cannot wait to tell you about!
Designer: Joseph Z Chen
Recommended ages: 13+
Game length: 45 to 60 minutes
Fantastic Factories is a manufacturing industry race! In Fantastic Factories you must build factories, train your workers, and manufacture as many products as possible. Discover the best combination of factories and use your dice as workers. Training facilities allow you to manipulate your dice rolls and each turn is a puzzle to figure out the optimal placement of all your workers. Be the most efficient and out-produce all the other players. The most victory points wins!
The game has a very bright, colorful, and quirky art style that stands out. The game itself is simple to learn but hard to master with many ways you can build your factory. There’s very little downtime between turns, and there are so many cool interactions between cards to discover. The puzzle aspects of the game present a unique challenge each turn.
But don’t take our word for it! Check out these quotes from folks who played and loved Fantastic Factories:
“Really enjoyed this game. Simple to learn in a few minutes but deep enough to add many layers of strategy and dozens of paths to victory. Really enjoyed the creator too. A definite must back when released into Kickstarter.”
“Excited for this game to be Kickstarted. Played it at PAX and loved it! There are a ton of choices and so many ways to approach the game, but not so many that it is overwhelming for more casual players.”
“There are so many things,” that Joseph Chen, Fantastic Factories’ designer, loves about tabletop games! “First and foremost, it’s a great excuse to hang out with friends. There’s something about that physical interaction that you can’t get from playing video games online or social media. Second, there are a lot of cool games out there with interesting mechanisms. I really enjoy discovering the interactions within a game, developing a strategy, and attempting to master it. And finally the tabletop gaming community is one of the friendliest and most welcoming communities I’ve ever been a part of. I absolutely love it.”
Chen got started designing Fantastic Factories because “I’ve been a big fan of board games, and it always seemed like each game had some flaw or aspect that I didn’t like. So I decided I would try to combine together all the mechanics. Sounded simple at the time but it turns out it’s really difficult!”
When asked what he’d like to say to Southenders Chen told us, “Come out and play some board games! There are so many different types of games now so there’s something for everyone. It’s a great way to spend time with friends or make new friends. It’s a different quality of experience than most.”
We hope you will support and play Fantastic Factories at Mini Game Day and beyond! You can like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fantasticfactories You can also visit the website and sign up for the mailing list at http://www.fantasticfactories.com And finally you can follow me on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/fanfactories. For anyone interested in Fantastic Factories, keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign in early 2018.
Designer: Flatout Games
Recommended ages: 8+
Game length: 20-30 minutes
Abstract Academy is a small, quick card game that presents players with a unique spatial puzzle each time they play! In Abstract Academy you are one of many art students, competing for the top grade; but students will be painting on a shared canvas! Players will play cards to advance their goals while meeting the demands of their professors and teaching assistants. This fast-paced visual puzzle card game demands shifting strategies in each round!
The art feature vivid paint strokes and card design reminiscent of classroom chalkboards and art class sketchbooks. This game is very thematic and true to its fine art inspiration. Playtesters have praised this game as, “Great amount of strategy in such a simple game” and “It was a very thinky game. Loved the player interaction”.
Four designers: Molly, Justin, Robb, Shawn, make up Flatout Games and bring their unique backgrounds and shared game design experiences to their games. “Our design group features a graphic designer, urban planner, systems analyst/software designer, and a landscape architect. We create spatial things. The tabletop space is exciting because we get to create components and rules around which people come together and have unique interactions. Whether it is a battle of mathematics skills; a cooperative puzzle-solving quest; an all-in dice-rolling, risk-taking adventure; or a take-that dexterity game of silliness and laughter, there is so much that can be done in tabletop gaming.”
Flatout Games is excited to be in this golden age of tabletop gaming.“We thought we would combine our skills and passion for games into some game projects. We have been designing games for about 6 months now, and what keeps us going is the fantastic community and the volume of totally inspiring games that keep coming out! We are in a golden age of board games and it is exciting to be part of it in an active, participatory way”.
When asked if board games have changed from the times they were kids, Flatout Games gave a definite, ‘yes’ and expounded on the topic: “The volume of incredible game mechanics and ways designers have stitched together story and gameplay is staggering. One thing that may be unique in our time is that there are so many more board games out there that it feels as if there is something for everyone. Many of the most popular board games we all remember from when we were kids were fairly basic in their mechanics (roll and move, roll for combat, roll for everything…) and there was a lot of random chance. This has changed a lot and the level of challenge and strategy in many games has been escalated. As the library of board games grows, much like literature or other forms of art, influence builds and games get better and better as designers improve on ideas that have come before.”
Flatout Games is excited to meet everyone in the South End community and encourages everyone to design and create games themselves. “Making a board game is a lot of work, but it is also really rewarding, and it is much easier to get into it than most people think! We want to help support design in the community as much as we can, and always want to be available to bounce ideas off of, answer questions, or just talk about games!”
You can find Flatout Games on Twitter @FlatoutGames, listen to their game design podcast ‘Flatout at the Table’ on iTunes and Google Play, drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sign up for their mailing list the next time you see them!
Affectionate Cats and Cuddles
Designer: Trevor Curtis Harron
Publisher: Blue Heron Entertainment
Recommended ages: 6+
Game length: 5-20 minutes
Affectionate: Cats and Cuddles is a cute, quick dice game that is best for families with kids 6+, even families that don’t regularly play games. Players will take turns rolling dice to see what they will do as a cat and how their human companions will react. The randomized dice rolls symbolize the different moods of a cat: sometimes playful, mischievous, or sweet. Players are trying to be the cat with the most cuddles by the end of the game.
Harron is a long-time game designer and Affectionate is his second published game with many more coming in the future. “I have always loved creating things ever since I was a child and I especially loved games. As I grew up I found that I liked a lot of different subjects but not their extremes in study and eventually decided to make games while I was at a stressful job as a way to understand the system I was in. Needless to say, I became hooked on making games and haven’t looked back.”
The story behind the creation of Affectionate: Cats & Cuddles is a sweet story that is relatable to pet owners. Harron says, “My sweetest cat Moku who passed away. He was a simple cat who helped remind me about determination and enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Affectionate is a game that emphasizes the sweetness that cats can bring to a family and one’s life.”
If you want a copy of Affectionate Cats & Cuddles, you’re in luck! The game is currently in printing and will available for preorder soon on our site www.bluherongames.com. You can also follow Blue Heron on Twitter and Instagram at @BlueHeronGames
Designer: Thomas Gutschmidt
Publisher: Daily Magic Games
Recommended ages: Officially 14+ (but Gutschmidt’s 9 & 12 year olds both really enjoy it)
Game length: About 30 minutes
In Sarah’s Singularity, players compete as alternate future versions of the same character, Sarah, and solve missions throughout history. Time unfolds as they chase outlaws in Norman England, bring Dinosaurs to Feudal Japan and road-trip with ’70s Rock-Stars to Ancient Egypt while trying to gather the most points for Science, Adventure, Fun and Profit. Players need to carefully monitor and outwit the others to ensure that only their alternate future survives to become the true timeline.
It’s easy to learn and fun to play (ie –it’s a lite game) but it makes you think (ie – it has enough strategy, tactics and engagement with other players to keep you engaged). But don’t take our word for it, check out the reviews players gave it on Father Geek:
“I really liked this game! Felt it was a time travel adventure from the very start.”
“I can see why my kiddo likes this game. It’s easy to learn and fun to play. Every game should be like this.”
When we asked Gutschmidt what inspired him to start making games he told us: “I’ve been obsessed with games since I was a little kid, but always liked to tweak rules and re-theme. I’ve made somewhat of a career working on games. I work at Xbox as my dayjob.”
He also had “SOooo many” favorite games growing up, “My family loved Clue and other classics and I was part of the Atari + arcade generation of the 80s. I fell in love with tabletop roleplaying games in elementary school and still play those to this day.”
But a huge part of Gutschmidt’s love of design and gaming comes from the PNW gaming community, and his friends and family. “I’m really proud of our geek community here in the northwest. I helped found PlaytestNW which is a group that gets designers and people together, and time and time again I’ve heard from folks who participate the same great story – which is that the gaming scene is an amazing, inclusive, and generous community.”
When we asked him what inspired him to make Sarah’s Singularity he told us, “I’ve been pretty inspired by my 9yo daughter who has helped me craft some of the backstory with her wild imagination.” How awesome is that!?
Sarah’s Singularity is live on Kickstarter right now! If you want to help fund this project, or have a copy of your very own please check it out https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dailymagicgames/sarahs-singularity.
We cannot wait to see you at our first Mini Game Day, November 4, 12-5pm! As you can tell it’s going to be a fantastic event, with truly incredible games, and we’re so excited to share this with the Skyway community!
And to know what’s happening at Skyway Library please check out our events calendar.