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  A game to play over teleconference! 01:39 AM -- Tue April 7, 2020  

Hey folks! I have been sitting in quarantine for 3 weeks now (mostly), doing much of nothing (mostly), but I did make this game for you (mostly)! Looking for a way to entertain yourself via Zoom, Skype, or whatever you use to pretend you're still a member of society? Grab a pile of dice and print this roll and write game out to enjoy! You are also allowed to play it in person. You can even play it solo (I haven't tried that yet, to be honest)!

Uptown
Players: 1-4
Time: 15-20 minutes

The rules are pretty simple, and are printed on the paper. Each player will need 5 dice (unless they're in the same physical location). I mean, you could have one person do all the rolling if you're desperate, but it's weird to not roll your own dice. You'll also need a print-out of the image below for each person, and a pen or pencil for each person.
I think there are probably some nuances I was not able to squeeze into the paper, and I made sure to label the page "v1.0" so I can improve it later. Here are the answers to some questions my players had in the one and only group test I played:
  • Diagonals are not okay. Just take the word diagonal out of your head right now. It has no use in this game, ever.

  • The numbers in the houses are just how many points they're worth.

  • You don't have to use consecutive numbers to make a valid path - "1, 3, 4" is just fine.

  • X's reset the count as if you are starting over. You could (theoretically) have a path like "1, 2, 5, X, X, 5, X, 1, 3, X, 2, 3" (that is considered to be all ascending, because each X is resetting it).

  • X's do the same in Downtown, like "4, 2, X, 5, 4, 3"

  • You connect to a house by putting a number or X in a space adjacent to the house. It doesn't matter which side of the house it's on (though the chain of numbers from the Power Plant has to follow the rules in order to actually get power there).

  • A space can be carrying power to more than one house. Each house just needs a line of ascending numbers leading to it, it doesn't matter what else those numbers are doing, or what other numbers are around.

  • Equal numbers don't count - e.g. a path of "1, 2, 2, 3" is not carrying any electricity. The number must go up each space (or down, if you are in Downtown).

  • Any number or X can be put in any reachable space. You never have to create a valid path, you just won't score points for a house that isn't reached by one. The only time it would be impossible to place a number is if your board is actually full.

  • X's are worth no points in Beantown or Shantytown.

  • The number of rounds includes all shown - for 4 players, it's 8 rounds, 3 players is 9 rounds, and 1-2 players is 12 rounds (you can also just play until someone fills their board, it is approximately the same number of turns, depending on how you use Camptown).
  • Yes, you can fill in a square in Camptown if you wish when you put a number/X in Camptown. Any open square is okay.

  • The blocks you place due to using Camptown cannot be used as an adjacent object for placing new numbers. New numbers can only be placed adjacent to either the Power Plant or an existing number/X.
  • The 'lore' behind Camptown is that it's a national park, and people camp there, hence the name. Each time you build a power line there, you need to chop down a tree to do it, so you need to put that tree somewhere, hence the blacked out space. It's an uncanny simulation of reality.

  • Also Beantown is so named because of bean counters. Become one as you add up points.

  • And Shantytown, well that's just a dumpy place, so it's negative points.

  • And Downtown, come on, do I really need to explain that one?
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  2020 Biz! 08:51 PM -- Tue January 14, 2020  

Yeah, I'm still alive! As far as you know. I'm kinda-sorta getting in some sort of swing of things this year, working on a new game. I mentioned this previously (whoa, it was way back in August??), but I'm working on an action-RPG wizard game in Unreal Engine. I still have no idea if it will go anywhere (and if I showed screenshots from then to now, you'd probably wonder what I have actually done in between... at best it looks like it's gone way way backwards, which is fairly true), but the ideas have finally coalesced in my mind into something I'm really excited about, so maybe that will help it get somewhere.

For a little teaser, the idea is this: it's kind of a rogue-lite, I suppose the kids call it today. You choose one of 8 schools of magic, and hop in blasting guys away. There is one 'world' pertaining to each school of magic, which you earn by completing that world. So whichever magic type you choose, you don't actually get to play that world since you've already 'won' it. So you play through 7 worlds (in any order you like), expanding your magic capabilities as you go. The first world you do only has one level and then the boss, the second has 2 levels then boss, etc. And of course the levels get harder as you go. You actually can build your own spells in a simplified sort of way. The whole game revolves around putting those 8 different elements into different slots. And when you die (or win I SUPPOSE), you can start over with a different build, and some permanent upgrades.

It's a top-downish view for now, though that might change. I do prefer an over-the-shoulder view, but the main thing I like about the top-down style is not having to figure out how to build ceilings... I spent hours looking at how different games do the ceilings in cave areas and never found anything I was really happy with!

I'm still poking away at a few board games I'm really focused on, but I'm kind of stuck. I suppose at some point I need to just try submitting them to publishers and see what they say. I'd always like more testing, but you can't do that forever. I certainly don't have any interest in trying to get them out into the world myself, and I'd love to see them looking all professional and fancy!
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