I’m eating some Skittles for a snack, and I asked Pepper how she would eat them. Just shove a handful of them in your mouth? Or sort them by color? If sorted, are they eaten in a particular order?
We both agreed that we’d sort by color, and yellow/lemon are the worst. So you eat those first, to get them out of the way. Then you go through the rest, preferably from worst to favorite. Here’s my Skittles tableau:
It’s worth noting that I have a combination of “traditional” Skittles and “wild berry” mix here, which explains the blue and pink ones. And the pink/strawberry and red/cherry ones are equally awesome, so they can be properly eaten together.
Today marks a quarter-century since the fateful day I married my best friend. It seems like those years have just zipped past, and occasionally when we’re sitting around watching a sunset or sitting in the hot tub or finishing watching a movie or whatever, one of us will say something like “can you believe it’s been this long?”. And it’s not in a bad way; it’s pretty cool how the time has passed and yet we still love being together.
I’ve posted this picture a few times, but it’s my go-to shot from our wedding because it sums up so much about us.
I’m glad I’ve stuck with her all these years, and I’m looking forward to at least twenty-five more…
Little did I know when I created the virtual version of Hexteria that my friend Brit would play one game with me, and then come up with a steady stream of ideas and suggestions. For the past few days, he and I have been trading long emails with thoughts on the game mechanics, tweaks, and new possibilities. It’s been a lot of fun– very much a refreshing change from when I was feeling a bit like I was in a rut. This afternoon we had a long video chat to flesh out some of the ideas.
It’s a good thing I have three monitors, because I had the rulebooks open, a list of cards, some notes, and a bunch of other resources. I was frantically typing and updating things as we talked. Good times. I just have to be careful that Hexteria doesn’t become overwhelming as I add more icing on the cake!
Although I’ve been working on Hexteria on and off the past few months, I’d hit kind of a rut where I was feeling “stuck”. The game was at a point where I felt like it was solid: the rules were well-defined, the player interactions were interesting, and overall it didn’t totally suck. In fact, many people who’d played it said they enjoyed it. (Whether they were only saying that to protect my feelings, I’m not sure, but it still felt good to hear people tell me it wasn’t awful.)
However, I’d kind of “burned out” my local gaming friends, since all of them have played it multiple times with only incremental changes each time. Unless you really love a game, you don’t generally want to keep playing it over and over, every time you get together. Much of what I’ve read about game design stresses the importance of playtesting… over and over. So I felt stuck, because I couldn’t keep playtesting it locally, but needed to engage other friends and perhaps one day, complete strangers.
Enter Tabletop Simulator, a “virtual” table where you can create game pieces and invite others to join you at the table. A simple physics engine makes the pieces feel realistic as you move them around by picking them up and setting them down. Although it’s definitely not the same as sitting at a table in person, it’s surprisingly good. I’d been resistant to using Tabletop Simulator– despite a recommendation from Ben– because it just felt clunky, and my first experience playing around with it six months ago was pretty negative. But I rolled up my sleeves and went to work. One Saturday afternoon later, I had all the Hexteria pieces created and loaded into the simulator. It looks pretty sharp!
Ben was willing to be my first remote playtester, so we opened a Google Meet chat and sat down to play. It went well, and I was thrilled that I now have a new avenue of introducing the game to friends, and getting more feedback without burning out too many people. Thanks Ben! Now I’m lining up games with friends in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska. Hopefully they’ll like it, they’ll have some good suggestions, and Hexteria will continue to edge closer to being a marketable game.
So I’m revitalized in my hobby, and excited to move forward. It reminds me of this quote:
In a few months, I hope to put on my marketing hat and create the Kickstarter campaign that’ll introduce it to the world and maybe get a hundred or so people to buy the game. Fingers crossed!
It’s been a few months since my first “beta” version of Hexteria was released. And by “released” I mean “printed so I have a copy of my own game”. Since then, I’ve played it many more times with various groups, and even printed larger versions of the hex tiles (which are way better, albeit way more expensive). Now that I’ve kind of exhausted my local group of gaming friends, I need a way to play remotely with others.
Enter Tabletop Simulator, an online gaming engine that basically allows you to upload board game “assets” and sit at a virtual table with other people to play a game. As long as you have the assets for a game– the board, pieces, counters, whatever– you can slide them around on the table as if you were really sitting with someone. I’ve never actually played anything on Tabletop Simulator, but it’s a popular platform and many people recommend it as a way to playtest new games. So I spent this afternoon creating and uploading all the pieces for Hexteria, until I finally had everything sitting on the “table”.
As far as I can tell, it should be possible to jump online with some friends, explain the rules, and move all the pieces around as if we’re playing. I’m excited to see how it goes!
Well, I’m officially a grandpa. Although I usually think of myself as “just over 25”, apparently I’m old enough to have a grandson. He arrived this afternoon.
Everything went well– as well as these kinds of things can go. Pregnancy and birth are always amazing to me because there are so many things that could go wrong, but most of the time it’s all fine. Here are the proud parents:
Alex called us in the evening and we chatted for a bit. He showed us a video of the little guy, who was doing what new babies do best: sleeping.
It’s pretty exciting to add another member to the family, and Pepper and I are excited to head down to visit in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’re imagining what Alex is going to look like as he holds a baby… because I don’t think he’s ever held a baby before this. But I know he’ll figure it out, and he and Kaitlyn will make great parents.
Most Saturday mornings involve online board games with the Magnificent Seven. We had a marathon session today, crunching through a full game of Terraforming Mars (about 2.5 hours) and then three games of Sparts (another 2.5 hours). So I didn’t finish until early afternoon. Then I checked in with Kyra, and we played three games of Dominion for an hour.
It’s a lot of fun to combine video chats with board games, and hang out with my friends and my girl for hours and hours. Yay internet!