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Magnate: New site launched

The new Magnate site has launched today. It contains key information about the game’s many features: like its comprehensive tutorial mode (designed to allow players to learn without a rulebook) or its realistic 3D buildings of different types. As we get closer to launch, I’ll be adding more details about the game as well as updating the art and design elements as they develop. If you aren’t already subscribed to this blog, you can sign-up there to get notified when the Kickstarter launches. The campaign is the due to launch in the Autumn of 2018.

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11 resources to help first time boardgame creators work with artists

A collection of resources to help you speed up and improve the process of working with artists. Especially useful if this is your first game and you’re the one in charge of making sure it’s beautiful. As part of my journey to getting Magnate to market, I’m embarking on an entire aspect of the game development process that I have very little experience with: finding, commissioning and working with artists; specifically game illustrators. At the community newspaper I run, we work with cover artists quite often and have produced lots of excellent magazine covers (link includes a selection from our print archive though only up to late 2017). But the briefs for Croydon Citizen covers are relatively simple. There’s a...

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A new model for game design: Moving beyond the "Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics" framework

The MDA framework is now well known in design circles. Here I take it a step further putting forward my own riff on the model for tabletop games specifically; incorporating the notion of access and mapping out some critical detail. Why build a model? I have always had a penchant for systems and frameworks. Huge geek that I am, I’ve always enjoyed a good railway network diagram or process map. In my professional life I’m the person who took on the job of mapping out my company’s technology stack’s to give us a comprehensive picture of how it’s 38 distinct components interacted (or over-interacted in many cases!). Such frameworks or models aren’t just fun for people like me though. They...

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Introducing Magnate

It’s time for Magnate, a project I've been working on for nearly 7 years, to become a reality What if there was a game that felt like what you imagined Monopoly was going to be, when you were a child? Not the crushing disappointment of what Monopoly actually is: a very random, overlong and mean-spirited game of simplistic and brutal zero-sum logic. But a game the captures the magic of Monopoly in the imagination: the feel of money in your hands, of the scramble to get the best property, dropping huge piles of cash on big risks each turn, the application of your cunning and critical thinking to make the best bet and sitting back to admire the empire you...

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When is a mechanic worth the set-up time? An illustrative example from Ticket to Ride: Pennsylvania

Applying a cost-benefit framework to a specific mechanic in a TTR expansion, I explore if we can create a more objective way of weighing-up design decisions; at least as far as set-up goes. Ticket to Ride: Pennsylvania is the “B side” of the United and Kingdom and Pennsylvania map pack and requires a base game to play. While the train ferries have been seen in previous outings (like the Europe base game I wrote about here), by far the most important special rule is the addition of share ownership to the game. As with most of the series’ expansions, it’s a pretty simple addition: when you place your trains as normal you can also take a company share of any...

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