Chip Off the Block

25 Dec

Chip off the BlockIt’s all crazy luck (and some good old-fashioned begging) in this super-light dice-rolling filler game.

Ages: 4+

Players: 2 – 10

Interesting Features: Got 5 minutes and a die? Well, now you also have a Game to play! Use Chips 2-6 for the 6-sided die, or add in 7-8 and use an 8-sided die (for more players). Roll the die and take chips (chips) from the middle of the table (the Block) … or from other players!

Extras Needed: a single 6 or 8 sided die.

DOWNLOAD: Chip Components and Rules

Printing Suggestions: The whole thing prints  onto one standard Letter size piece of paper. The rules are designed to go on a single playing card, front and back. The tokens can be applied to standard poker chips for something sturdier. (This can all be done much easier if you print the whole page on a full sheet label.)

Designer’s Notes: Just in time for Christmas, a little gift from my house to yours. Its light. Its portable. Its cheesy. And its free. As far as gifts go that’s not too bad (even if its not that good either). We hope you have as much goofy fun with it as we do … Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Rules Variants: Below are some new twists you can add to make the fun even more zany …

Spite and Malice – If you role the same number as a chip you already hold you may do one of two things. If you call out “Spite” everyone who has a chip must put it back in the middle (the Block). If they have more than one they choose. If you call out “Malice” you may take any one chip of lesser value (than the number you rolled) from another player.


The Tiltyard

13 Jun


Will you be the knight who makes his fortune, or might you be the one to lose your fortune or even your life? Its time to step onto the field of glory … It’s time to enter the Tiltyard!

Ages: 7+

Players: 2

Interesting Features: The lance, the axe, the sword.  Three rounds of gruelling passes to prove your skill, best your opponent and win renown. But battles are won or lost just as easily in the courts of royal favour as they are on the field of honour.  Having the King’s ear, or the Queen’s heart may be the boost to your renown that makes all the difference.

Extras Needed: A standard deck of cards (Jokers optional)

DOWNLOAD: THE TILTYARD (New and Improved Rules!)

Printing Suggestions: Pretty straightforward – one piece of paper with the rules printed on both sides.  Fold it in half and you are ready to go!

Designer’s Notes: Sean Ross, over at the Geek (BoardgameGeek) initiated a 2-player card game design contest.  This was my SPECTACULARLY AWESOME ENTRY … that lost …  As I post this the constest is still going on, but since the first round of voting is over and my game didn’t make it through I proudly (???) offer it here for your consideration and enjoyment.  When you have tried this out why not go check out all the other great entries in the contest.  You won’t be sorry (for them I mean … I make no such claims for mine!)

June 2013 UPDATE … Ok, in a word, this game lost because it kind of sucked … the more I looked at it the more I decided that it was more about the game playing you, than you playing it. There just were not enough meaningful choices.  So I went back to the drawing board and what you have is a brand new game with 75% less suckage … Give or take …

What you now have in front of you is a much truer Climbing style game, with some wicked little twists to keep you engaged right to the very end. Not bad for a two player game!  Anyway, to those who played the earlier version I apologize … and offer this up with the hopes that you will give it a try and like it so much that you forget all about the earlier one (earlier one? … what earlier one?)


31 May

A traditional Card game in the line of such greats as Hearts and Spades …

Ages: 10+ (could play younger if the child is comfortable with numbers)

Players: 3 – 6

Interesting Features: In Diamonds players seek to score points for all the Diamonds they claim. The twist, however, is that each player speculates (bids), using cards from their starting hand, on just how much each Diamond card they claim will be worth to them! Oh, and Trump cards are always played face-down, just in case you thought it was going to be easy to make a fortune in the diamond market.

Extras Needed: a standard deck of playing cards

DOWNLOAD: Diamonds Rules

DOWNLOAD: Diamonds Score Sheet

Printing Suggestions: The rules print onto standard Letter size piece of paper. The score sheets can also be printed on a standard Letter size piece of paper, and then cut in two.

Designer’s Notes: Careful speculation is key to this game, not just in earning points, but also in managing your hand to make it more likely to win the tricks that will gain you diamonds. Don’t be afraid to use higher value cards in making your speculation bid! Sometimes it is also better to give an opponent a diamond than to claim it for yourself … again it all depends on their speculation. Also, because both the speculation and any trump card played are  hidden, there is plenty of room for bluffing.

State of the Gaming Address

26 Mar

Imagine my surprise and chagrin when I realized that it had been over a year since I had last posted here … and that in that time I had learned the word “chagrin” … As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been taking a little different tack to my game designing, you know, like, trying to make a decent one sometime.

To this end I have been refocusing my efforts on taking my designs past the very first rudimentary stages of jotting down an idea, writing some rules and playtesting it against myself a few times. Now I actually have some friends to tell me when things are not good. (They are much more willing to hurt my feelings than I ever was – and I am most thankful for it!) Give me a few more years of toughening up my skin and I may yet reach my lofty goal of blazing mediocrity.

But just so you know that I haven’t been idle I thought I would give you a little teaser of some of the projects I have been working on in the past year.  Here they are in no particular chronological order …

First, as I also mentioned in that previous post, I have begun going back into my catalog of crap and doing some re-working. O Tannen BOOM! got a bit of a face lift, and a couple of mechanical changes to really heighten the tension, and timing. Behind the 8-Ball got totally reworked, scrapped, rebuilt into Cue It Up!, and then scrapped and re-shelved. I am hoping something gels and I get some inspiration again soon. Pay the Prize also got a major overhaul, into something I’m now calling Profit Margins. I like where it is going. I have also revisited Balloon Tycoon, and I like what I see there …

420091_10150704129492059_1014883846_ncue it upProfit Margins

Next up I have been working on some new stuff too. For now I will let the pictures do the talking. I’m getting kind of tired (did I mention it’s been over a year since I did this much writing?)

Pillars and Postshold fast picDonkeyMonkey moonInfectiousCaverns and CoffersOver the Rainbow Proto

Some of these are actually pretty good, and at least a couple of them are worth publishing (if playtester reports are true … and not just my own opinion … )

And lastly, I have also worked collaboratively with a couple of really awesome designers, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’ve put together. Look for promising futures out of both of these creative minds. May I present the designs of Sam Maher (age 8) and Becca Maher (age 6)

Castle BuilderPippi Game

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my missing year in game design. If you would like to know more about any of the games you see here, or serve as a playtester for something here that looked interesting to you please drop me a line and I will be tickled to send you the particular files (seriously, all this typing after a year of nothing is tickling my fingertips like you wouldn’t believe!)

Happy Gaming!

Freedom Springs

14 Feb

Freedom Springs: Redemption has a price … and it might just be your life!

Ages: 10+ (for thematic content)

Players: 3 – 5

Interesting Features: The gambling games you know and love … with a twist … and a guy nicknamed “locoweed”

Extras Needed: a deck of playing cards,poker chips (in at least three distinct denominations/colours) and the included Character Cards (below).

DOWNLOAD: Character Cards


Printing Suggestions: Everything prints onto standard Letter size pieces of paper. The Character Cards can be printed on a full page label and applied (front and back) to some heavy card.

Designer’s Notes: Add the NaGa DeMon Challenge, an outstanding request for an Old West game, and more gumption than brains on my part, and what you get (three months late) is an Old West gambling game. Why gambling? Whenever I think of the old west one of the first images that comes to mind are poker games in a saloon. The second is a gunfight in the dusty streets. And lets face it, any time gunfights are invovled the whole thing is one great big gamble!

–  –  –

Designer’s Apology and Offering: The fact that this November Game Design Month Challenge is only now being published here for your enjoyment says about all there is to say about my life recently. Work, health, family additions … sometimes the game design has to come second (or third or last) … BUT you dear friend(s) and fan(s) NEVER will!  To thank you for all your patience with me, and to bribe you into playing the game I propose the following.

Give the game a try. Send me your feedback (the good, the bad and the ugly). Give me your suggestions. Ask me your questions. Helpme tweak it and make it even better. In return I will design an additional set of Outlaws using YOU! Along with your feedback send me a picture and a Cowboy name for yourself (or I can give you one) and I will work you into the expansion as one of Freedom Springs notorious Outlaws. Send these to “kenmgames @” This expansion will also allow for more players to be included in each game. Thanks again for your support!

Shot in the Back

1 Dec

Since I’m posting this after midnight it is now December and NaGa DeMon is over .  How did I do? Well … erruhhmmm … it’s not my fault.  (Yup here come the excuses)  As I was in the middle of printing some of the components my no good yella-bellied computer up and died on me. No foolin.  Dead – stone cold dead.  It was like being shot square in the back.  I dragged its carcass down to the electronic undertaker/mad-scientist who assures me that all (most?) of my files can be salvaged. When he brings me my files he will be paid a handsome reward. KenMGames most wanted will not get away that easily!

So where does that leave Freedom Springs?  Cooling its heels behind bars for a few more days at least.  I’ve been reworking some of my backups but it will take time so I ask you all to be patient with me. I will make it available soon.   The game exists, and it’s not even half-bad for a rough prototype. (Not that I’d go so far as to say its half-good though).   So in the meantime I will keep on playtesting and rules tweaking and for you I put together a picture of me having fun with the game  – consider it a consolation prize from me to you – or consider it a little salt in yer wound, a little spit in yer eye … enjoy!

A Sneek Peek …

19 Nov

For the past couple of days I’ve been crunching some numbers (trying to balance certain character elements). It’s fun for me but kind of dry for you I’m sure.  It’s all about finding a good balance where every character seems a little different, but no one of them is so lop-sidedly powerful that everyone who wants to win will take him/her.

Much of this number work has been broken up with scanning pictures from old library books, reading up on the Old West, coming up with some very brief back stories for the characters, and working on an initial design for the character cards.  Here for your viewing “pleasure” is a mock-up of a sample character card front and back. Things may yet change and Lloyd may not make it into the game, or at least not quite like this … consider this a proof of concept that I’m still working on seeing this game completed by the end of November!