Diary #27 – What’s in a Gnome?

I’m once again taking baby steps through a new project – exciting but full of challenges (for example, I keep forgetting how to explain the rules). It’s a similar experience to designing Master of Olympus, as I describe here. Overall, Dawn of Gnome is coming on nicely in a thousand tiny ways:

Solo: a game of tower doughnut defense

First off: player number, one of board game design’s most interesting variables. With five playtesters, everyone was deprived of one type of action card – movement, perhaps, or building. “It felt like I could only do what my cards said, there was no strategy”. The brute-force solution would be to add more cards, but what about a “wild” action which can count as any (there’s already a wild resource, after all)? Experiments are ongoing.

Lincoln: the new Panama Canal?

I’ve come round to the idea of designing the expansion pack (for depth of concepts) and the main game (for breadth of concepts) simultaneously. Oil, the wild resource, is once again at the centre of attention: as the mechanic for discovering it has changed, many of its cards have become obsolete. I have a feeling they’ll find a place in the expansion.


what'sinagnomeplaytestersThe most exciting recent developments, however, have been with the Birmingham Game Designers. This rapid snowball of a community has resumed monthly playtesing meetings (last Thursday of the month) and its boardgame bashes (18th May and 13th July) are attracting national attention. Birmingham is fast becoming the Place to Be for budding playtesters – why not join us?

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