by Skyway Library and Playtest Northwest
PlaytestNW is an amazing regional network of game designers, and community organizers, trying to bring a love of tabletop games, and game design to the masses! So having a regular PlaytestNW event at a local library just seemed like a perfect fit.
Skyway Library’s Mini Game Days will be an amazing chance to try out some local indy games, in all different levels of development. This is a great opportunity for the South End community to talk to designers, get to know the DIY game design community here in Seattle, and maybe start to imagine the game you would design!
#SkywayGames is a monthly article the Skyway Library and PlaytestNW will be writing to get the South End community pumped about our upcoming Mini Game Days. Also, a place to highlight the great games and designers who will be bringing their games to Skyway Library!
Designer: Danny Goodisman
Recommended ages: 10+
Game Length: 30-45 minutes
Jurassic Dominoes challenges players to enter the ecology of the dinosaurs and, by laying domino tiles next to those already on the board, create “food webs” (enclosures). Each tile is an organism type, eating or eaten by the next organism. A player owns and gets points for each enclosure created; the more enclosures the better. While many games can boast being fun, and loads of games boast being educational, Jurassic Dominoes manages to seamlessly be both!
Goodisman has always loved play tabletop games, when asked what his favorite games were when he was a kid he gave a whole list, “Scrabble, Parcheesi, Take Off, Pick Up Sticks, Boggle, Chutes and Ladders.” The world of tabletop gaming has changed a lot since he was a kid. When asked about the contemporary gaming landscape he talked about how, “many U.S. game companies have consolidated: Milton Bradley, Selchow & Righter, Parker Brothers, TSR, and Hasbro are one company now, which also owns all significant collector card games.”
But it’s not all big bad corporate news, “because of desktop publishing, Kickstarter, the internet, and affordable worldwide shipping, a larger proportion of titles sold are from tiny companies. The success of game cafes and the Internet have made European games popular (along with some brilliant European designers).”
Goodisman decided to start designing tabletop games because, “I love games and felt I could contribute.” Come and check out Jurassic Dominoes, and playtest this awesome local designer’s game!
Designer: Randy Flynn
Recommended ages: 10+
Game length: 45 – 90 minutes
Tabriz is a number-crunchy worker movement and material gathering game. You play the role of a carpet crafter working in the Grand Bazaar in the Persian city of Tabriz. You have two workers that move about the bazaar buying and trading five different materials – wool, plant-based dye, cotton, carmine (insect-based dye), and silk. You will take commissions from commoners, merchants, and royals. You will then use the gathered materials to make carpets to fulfill these commissions. Completing commissions will earn you Prestige, increase your Skill, and occasionally provide you with regular income. Earn more Prestige than your opponents to win the game and be the master carpet crafter.
Tabriz is a fun and interesting mix of worker movement, resource buying, and trading that is fairly easy to learn. Play occurs in a series of rounds where players take two turns, moving each of their workers to a new tile and taking the attached action. After each round, shops in the bazaar are replenished, income awarded, and first player token rotated. Then a new round begins. Once any player achieves 25 Prestige the current round is completed when the player with the most Prestige wins.
But you don’t have to take our word for it, here’s a quote– from Joseph Z Chen, designer of Fantastic Factories, who we were able to host at our last Mini Game Day–and how awesome Tabriz is!
It’s like a spatial Century Spice Road! pic.twitter.com/hIpG96xFii
— Joseph Z Chen 🏭 @ PAX Unplugged (@fanfactories) September 16, 2017
When asked what inspired him to make games, Flynn responded that he has always been a builder, “for as long as I can remember, and I ended up focusing that passion on computer software. When I started playing board games in earnest around six years ago, I quickly wanted to use those building skills on games as well.” As for why he created Tabriz, “I had thoughts about combining a new mechanic with worker movement. The combination didn’t work out, but some of the resource ideas worked well. The current theme is inspired by my time living in Iran as a child, my favorite of many places my family lived as I was growing up.”
Flynn loved tabletop games because, “It’s a great combination of enjoying time with friends and family while having fun thinking through a variety of fairly simple problems.” and when asked if he had anything he’d want to share with the South End community in particular Flynn had a very important message of inclusivity. “Games are about bringing people together to have fun and learn about each other and the world. That means all people. If the games you see are not inclusive, the game stores not welcoming to all, speak up! Vote with your wallet and your voice or in whatever way you are comfortable with. Tell the people in charge what they need to do differently.”
To keep up with Randy Flynn he can be found tweeting about games and other topics here: https://twitter.com/rf_seattle
Dollars to Donuts
Designer: Flatout Games
Recommended ages: 8+
Game Length: 20-40 minutes
We are thrilled to be hosting Flatout Games for another mini game day! They’re bringing all their games, and this time we’re going to highlight Dollars for Donuts! players take turns purchasing donut tiles from the conveyor belt and then placing them on their player board in an attempt to create mismatched donuts to earn dollars and matched donuts to score victory points. Players must make savvy decisions and balance their income with victory points as well as try to fill all of the spaces on their board or risk losing points at the end of the game.
Dollars to Donuts is a great gateway game – it can be taught in just a couple of minutes. Although the game is very accessible to young and non-gamer players with its simple buy, place, and collect turn sequence, the spatial puzzle is unique to each game and will keep even seasoned experts challenged by the emerging game states. Deciding which tiles to purchase and when to convert cash into filled board spaces compose the resource management aspect of the game which add an extra layer of economic challenge to the already puzzling spatial gameplay. High risk/reward items like the special cruller donuts add yet another layer of strategy and variability to gameplay.
Flatout Games is a collection of designers, “We are all gamers and have been playing games our whole lives. Recently, we have gotten more into hobby games as the board game industry has begun to explode. All being designers of one form or another, we thought we would combine our skills and passion for games into some game projects.”
“Seattle is a fantastic place to be a gamer and game designer!” Shawn Stankewich of Flatout Games mused, “PlaytestNW is incredible because it brings all of the designers together and gets us out in the community to share our games with everyone! We also have some of the best board game shops anywhere, and the community is filled with enthusiastic folks who are really into games. ” Flatout “are super excited to come to come to the event and meet everyone in the community! We think board games are such a strong way to bring people together. This event and many more to come will help us in our mission to start conversations, make lifelong friends, and tell amazing stories while creating great 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!
We are so excited to be continuing our monthly Mini Game Day series this Saturday, Dec 2, from 12-5pm! Come out, play some games with your neighbors, and get a fun sample of some of the best indy games in the Pacific Northwest!
And to know what’s happening at Skyway Library please check out our events calendar.
Featured image courtesy of Flatout Games