Posted on

IDW Games at Gen Con 2018

IDW Games Booth #158 is excited to be attending Gen Con 2018 with new game demos, previews, releases and designer meet-ups, this year is packed with a lot of exciting board games from IDW!

At Booth #158, IDW Games will be demoing exciting games and previews from our upcoming product line. To kick it off, we teased about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures during our San Diego Comic-Con International panel and we are looking forward to sharing an early look at this upcoming miniatures game. Designers Daniel Lansdown and Pete Walsh will be showing off the first preview of TMNT Adventures, the highly anticipated miniatures game in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles universe. We will also be demoing Munchkin: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, designed by Jon Cohn and featuring all new art from Kevin Eastman, which ran a successful Kickstarter earlier this year and will be shipping to backers very soon!

Adding to the lineup of exciting demos, Gen Con attendees will also have a chance to play Batman: The Animated Series: Gotham City Under Siege, which was first previewed at San Diego Comic-Con International and now making its way to Gen Con! This dice-allocation, threat management game based on Batman: The Animated Series, will be coming to stores in late August, but will be shown off at Gen Con. With over 100 pieces of new art and co-designed by Richard Launius and Michael Guigliano, this co-op game is a wonderful addition to game night for board game and Batman fans alike. Come by each day the IDW Games Booth #158 to play a demo of Batman: The Animated Series – Gotham City Under Siege!

 

New games will be available at the IDW Games Booth #158 this year too! For the first time, Death Note: Confrontation from designers Jordan & Mandy Goddard, will be available. This head to head game puts players in the roles of Kira and L as they face off in this hidden movement, detective game based on the popular anime series Death Note. Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, designed by Adam Wyse and fully illustrated by Gris Grimly will also be making its first convention appearance. This successful Kickstarter which is delivering to backers right now, will be available at Gen Con. Additionally, a selection of IDW’s top games will be available, games such as The Legend of Korra: Pro-bending Arena, Seikatsu, The X-Files: Conspiracy Theory, the Outpost series and more! Along with these games available at the booth, there will also be an early look at upcoming games and products from IDW Games!

What would all of this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action be without some pizza!? We will be hosting a Pizza Party at Pearl Street Pizzeria on Thursday Night at 8pm. We will be showing off our new TMNT games, giving away free comics and hanging out with the designers of TMNT Adventures and Munchkin: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Come by on Thursday Night and have some pizza on us! – FB Event for Details –

Posted on

Seikatsu An Inside Perspective

Seikatsu_Logo

A couple of years ago, Matt Loomis and I met at a convention, tentatively showed our games to one another, and decided to work together as co-designers. Unlike some design duos, Matt and I share all of our games. We have a Slack channel where we write down all of our ideas for themes, mechanisms and games, and over time, we pass ideas back and forth, with each of us adding new layers and ideas to the games as they take shape. Also unlike some design duos, Matt and I live a thousand miles away from one another, and so much of our collaboration happens online and on the phone.

Seikatsu_BoxMock-transparent

Seikatsu was one of those games that just kind of popped into existence. It was February of 2016. Matt and I were getting ready to spend a weekend together at my house polishing games in preparation for Unpub6, a playtesting convention held in April that year. That would be our last chance to get a lot of feedback on games before the summer convention season when we usually pitch our games. We were on the phone, reviewing our slate of games under development. The conversation went something like this:

“Dragon Trek is still really rough, it’s going to need some serious testing at Unpub. Daimyo is has come together nicely though, and I’m looking forward to seeing the first version of Exaria. Flip the Table will also be a great late-night dexterity game, I think that one is ready.”

“Hey, Isaac?”

“Yeah Matt?”

“I came up with another game I want to bring.”

“Oh? We’re showing like five games at Unpub. I can’t even put five games into their computer system.”

“It’s good. My wife and I just played it on Saturday and it felt really good.”

“Um, ok. Sell it to me.” I prepared to not listen and to argue.

“Well, it’s an abstract tile-laying game where players each score the same grid of tiles, but from different perspectives.”

“Abstract tile laying? It’ll have to be about zombies or  Cthulhu or something if we want it to sell. We’ll need a really catchy name too.” I love abstract games, but they’re hard to sell.

“I’m calling it Seikatsu.”

“Um?”

“It means “Life” in Japanese. That game is about planting flowers in a Japanese garden and attracting birds to the garden.”

“Ok, an abstract, Japanese tile-laying, garden-plant birding game. Watch out Catan, we’re coming for you!”

“Also, it only plays 2-3 players.”

“Matt! You’re killing me. Why can’t it play 4?”

“Because it’s played on a hexagonal board, and there are only 3 axes in a hexagon.”

“3 axes, like hatchets?”

“No, like x-axis, y-axis and z-axis!”

Ok, that part didn’t happen, since we were talking, and he didn’t say ‘axes’ he said ‘ax-ees’. Still, my confusion was real.

“How do you play this thing?” I asked.

“You’re laying out tiles you draw from a bag, one at a time, onto a hexagonal board. Each tile has a bird and a flower, each in one of four different colors. As you lay them down you get points for putting matching birds next to one another, and at the end of the game, each player scores rows of flowers from their perspective. You’re always choosing between playing the tile for bird-scoring now, or placing it somewhere that doesn’t score well right away, but gives you the chance to earn lots of flower points at the end of the game.”

“Ok, I think I get the birds, sort of reminds me of Knizia’s Ingenious. Can you go over the flowers bit, and how you score from different perspectives?” I don’t think I managed to keep the skepticism out of my voice.

“Picture a chess board, and imagine that you’re putting out tiles with birds and flowers on it. At the end of the game, one player looks for flowers by looking down the rows, and the other player looks down the columns.”

“Ok, I get that.”

“Now imagine you’re playing on a hexagon. There are three ways to look down a hexagon.”

“[brain melts]”

I was intrigued, on the one hand, but I was also not very enthusiastic. The game’s description didn’t leap out at me, and we have so many promising prototypes that I really didn’t want to spend time on another game and dilute our efforts. But I know Matt loves tile-laying, set-collection and spatial-relationship games, and this seemed like it was some combination of all of those. And I love hexagonal board games like Abalone, Blokus Trigon, or even the old Milton Bradley game, Knock Out.

Poker_Chips

Seikatsu Prototype

Matt brought Seikatsu over to my house, and with the game in front of me, it was much clearer what was happening. I realized that we were really building a shared garden between three pagodas, and that we weren’t sitting next to an edge of the hexagon, we  were actually sitting on a point, or vertex, looking down at seven rows of tiles. We were each building a shared garden, but we were competing to have the best view of the garden from our pagoda! Fortunately, Matt spiffied up the prototype too, so we played on something that looked more like this:

Seikatsu-Mock

After my first game of Seikatsu, I was sold. We still had to work out some of the scoring, and we had many conversations and experiments around the core ideas. Maybe birds could move? Maybe we could do something with grass and water at the intersections of the tiles? What should the Koi tile do? What about other tiles, like statues, lotus flowers, or river stones?

Some of those ideas made it into testing, and some might eventually become promos or expansions in the future. But the core of the game, the game that we eventually showed to Nate Murray at IDW, was remarkably similar to the one that Matt hatched on a Friday night, prototyped on a Saturday, and shared with me by phone on a cold Sunday in February. A week or so later, Matt came to my house for the weekend and we worked on Seikatsu, and all of our other games. At the end, I drove Matt to the airport, and I went right home and produced my own prototype right away, because I all I wanted to do was play Seikastu again.

Since that time, we’ve gone through hundreds of playtests at conventions and meetups, and even online, using Tabletop Simulator. We figured out how to make the Koi tiles work as wild fish first, and wild flowers later, we sorted out how to score the birds and flowers so you couldn’t ignore either one when planning your moves, and we figured out how to use the bag-drawing mechanism to help remind players of their turns. Somehow we found a way to make the game feel Zen, but also feel competitive. We invented a solo version of the game, a partnership mode, and even a mind-bendingly ridiculous 4-player version that we may one day share with players.

3D-game-layout

Seikatsu was one of those games that just worked right and felt right immediately. The original game concept and mechanics were so solid from the start, and the effect on players was clear right away. We knew we had a winner on our hands, and we did everything we could to focus the game on the best parts of it. We’ve been enormously lucky to work with IDW, who believe in this game so much. From the incredible art and art direction to the heavy tiles and beautiful box, IDW has shown as much love and care for the game as me and Matt have. We’re really excited for the release, and we hope you’ll enjoy the Zen competition of different perspectives that Seikatsu is all about.