Tag Archives: prototype

a quick peek at more of the LXIX prototype


I picked up the rest of the prototype pieces I’m printing at The GameCrafter. They look great. The cardboard tokens are replacing the wood blocks in my current prototype. They’re less expensive, easier to produce and modify, and more portable.

My next step is to update the LXIX game board. It’s a non-standard shape, though, so I can’t have it printed at TGC.


LXIX has a circular board with six interchangeable pieces in the outer ring and one round center board. I’d like the outer ring sections to lock together like puzzle pieces so they don’t move when bumped. To accomplish that with some measure of precision, I’m planning to have the pieces laser cut at The Bodgery, a hacker space here in Madison.

I’ll lay out the cut template in Illustrator and export it to DXF format – a CAD file – and send that to the laser cutter, which will can the board pieces out of very thin plywood. I’ll print the images on waterproof full-sheet Avery labels and cut them by hand before applying to the plywood blanks. I should end up with a fine looking, precision-cut board.





LXIX prototype cards have arrived!

A selection of LXIX influence cards.


I stopped in at the GameCrafter after work to pick up the first deck of cards for my LXIX prototype. They look awesome! Cant wait to get them on the table.

I should probably photograph them in better light soon.


A selection of Leader cards from LXIX.


A selection of Spoils of War cards from LXIX.


laying out a new prototype for LXIX The Year of Four Emperors

Alan Moon’s The Gathering of Friends is coming up next month and I’ve got a big-box game to show to some of the publishers in attendance.

I hammered on the design for this one heavily last year and, while it’s in great shape rules-wise, my old prototype is getting pretty ragged. I figured it was time to make something nicer and more presentable for the con.

I do my layout work in Adobe Illustrator. For this prototype, I wanted to add some artwork to the cards to give them a little more flavor. I found a great set of Ancient Rome-themed illustrations on a clip art website, and borrowed a handful of the most appropriate images. They’re a little more “cartoony” than I’d envisioned, but they’ll do for a prototype.

I’ve got the cards laid out and uploaded to TheGameCrafter for printing. Below are a couple of examples. The first is the main card back and the second is a sample influence card. I’m pretty happy with how they’ve turned out. I hope to finish layout on the remaining game pieces this weekend – I can’t wait to see the professionally printed results.

Card Backs

Senate 2

4P update…with a vengeance

That old saw about old habits dying hard is as true in game design as anything else.

To stay on track for 4P this month, I’d intended to have a first draft prototype of Canardo’s Dungeon ready for Board Games and Beer this week, but I fell victim to the worst of my bad prototyping habits and disappeared down the rabbit hole of “making it pretty,” sacrificing “getting it done.”


I spent way too long choosing placeholder art assets and colorizing black and white images to get just the right look for the game, and I lost a prime play testing opportunity with the casual game players who are the target audience for this game.

Still, I now have a reasonably attractive deck of cards and that can make a big difference when play testing with non-designers and casual gamers. Later today, I’ll mock up a functional board and tokens with card stock and Sharpies to finish the prototype.

I’ve got a casual game night coming up on Sunday and I’m hoping to get the first of my 4P play tests in there.

failure isn’t an option; it’s inevitable

This, right here. I need to embrace this, internalize it. You do, too, if you haven’t already.

“Every failure is an opportunity for betterment. Every failure is another chance to get it right. Don’t give these away out of fear or shyness. Fail faster, because failing is how we get it right.”

Fail faster.

Adding this to my list of mantras.