Man oh man. Have we been busy here at Little Metal Dog Towers.
I know, I know, folks always say that when a site has been slipping when it comes to updates, but seriously: stuff has gone mad round here. Thankfully it’s all good stuff so I figured before getting back into the cycle of reviews (there’ll be a new one tomorrow, actually) I’d give my dear readers a bit of an update of what’s going on.
First of all (and definitely most exciting) is that Ace of Spies, the card game designed by myself and Mark Rivera has been picked up by a US publisher and will be released later this year (after it goes through a Kickstarter campaign that begins on April 20th, of course). Here’s the blurb that will (probably) go on the back of the box:
“A card game of stealth and sneakiness! Players act as spymasters, collecting sets of cards in order to complete missions. Only the greatest player will be declared The Ace Of Spies! By taking two cards at the start of each turn, you’ll build up a selection of Agents, Tools, Intelligence and Locations that will allow you to hopefully finish more missions than everyone else. More missions mean more points – as long as they’re complete! If they’re left incomplete by the end of the game, they score negative points and pretty much ensure you’re not going to win…
Four separate decks are needed to play the game. The Mission Deck cards state what combinations are needed in order to complete a mission. The more specific the requirements the more points the completed mission is worth – some can be very difficult to finish but will prove very lucrative, but there’s always the risk they’ll count against you.
The other decks represent three different cities – London, Paris and Berlin – and contain the Agents, Tools, Intelligence and Locations you’ll need. Intervention cards can be used as instants and will allow you to turn the game in your favour (as long as you play them at the correct time. Should that all important card you require be lost in the discard piles, you may be able to retrieve it, but that’ll come at a high cost. Between two and five spymasters can attempt to become the Ace of Spies! May the most devious and sneaky win!”
We’re both very excited but can’t reveal much more about the game as yet, but can say the following:
1. The game looks amazing. The publishers have got some ridiculously talented artists on board and have really brought Ace of Spies to life.
2. It’s been playtested to within an inch of its life and we’re honestly incredibly happy with it. The game’s accessible enough for relative newbies to get into it but also has enough in there for more experienced gamers. We reckon we’ve struck a good balance and hope you do too.
3. There’s some pretty cool things planned for Kickstarter backers. We’ve listened to what kind of stuff people like (and more importantly what they DON’T like) and reckon that there really is something for everyone.
If you want to keep up to date on what we’re up to with Ace of Spies, you can follow us on Twitter under the @Ace_of_Spies account. We’re also (finally!) on BGG and there’ll be a Designer Diary about our adventures going live over there sometime around the start of the campaign.
Seriously folks. This is going to be AWESOME.
The launch of Ace of Spies also means that I’ve taken a big step too; I’ve set up a brand new company called Sprocket Games that will act both as design house for other publishers as well as (hopefully) putting out our own games. It’s a bit terrifying and everything is all babysteps at the moment, but I’m loving the fact that I’m designing more games that I really hope players of all kinds will enjoy. At the moment there’s about five ideas at various levels of development; a couple are in early stages of artwork being done (including Pocket Universe which you can check out for yourself right here! – there’s no flashy art on it yet, but it still works!), while the others are still being tested.
A couple of publishing companies have expressed interest in some of my designs, so keep an eye out for updates here on the site. Especially if you’ve ever wanted to know what happens when penguins stop playing nice and get really pissed off.
Next up, I’ve been writing! Like, proper writing for a magazine and everything! You can check out my apparently pretty good scrawlings over at the lovely Continue Magazine. For issue #1 I contributed a couple of pieces; one on the battle for Merchant of Venus between Stronghold Games and Fantasy Flight, and another on the late James St. Laurent, the designer of legendary board game Crude. The magazine has a fantastic group of contributors and I heartily recommend checking it out. A digital copy will cost you all of £3.15 (which is about $5 for you Americans) – plans for a print version are also in the works.
Finally, we’ve been organising stuff for the upcoming UK Games Expo which again takes place in Birmingham, this time over the last weekend of May. Like last year there’ll be streaming video demos online of brand new games and well as interviews with designers and such stuff. For those actually attending the event, we’ll be showing off Ace of Spies and running seminars and talks aplenty. There’ll also be the first UK showing of the excellent documentary by Lorien Green, Going Cardboard, alongside a Q&A session with her! If you’re going, give us a shout and we’ll see if we can get some games in.
Right. That’s about it. I need to get back to the drawing board (literally) because… well, I like to eat and I have to earn some money.
Cheers for sticking with me!