Wip Assessment 1

I keep my files organised in directories on my hard drive, which is a thing the youths don’t do any more, because of woke. I even use silly tricks to handle how they’re organised. Did you know you can put a ! on the front of a directory name, which will ensure it’s always sorted to the top of the list, so if there’s some sort of universal toolset or template directory you want, you can use that to keep it up the top for easy access? These are useful tips for if you want to run the Windows version of Xtree Gold, which they call ‘Explorer’ to manage your files.

A banner showing several of the card backs of my games.

I keep my games in progress there. Hypothetically, that’s also where completed games go. I haven’t completed many games this year. Or last year. Or — look, it’s been rough since basically 2020, that’s when I can say for sure things got difficult. There have been a lot of reasons to slow down production, not the least of which is just money. Making games is a hobby and it costs money and I’ve just not had as much to play with lately. Shipping costs have changed, production costs have changed. I’ve talked about this before.

But those are why the game doesn’t get pushed to a product that I can sell you.

As of this moment I have 34 directories in my GameDev directory, with components of games of some degree or another, that are all labeleld as, in their own way, ‘WIP.’ Works in Progress. What are they waiting on? What is keeping the Works In Progress as In Progress?

There’s a piece of terminology you’re going to hear me use here, which is something-complete. Art-complete and rules-complete are the two big ones. That’s not the same thing as done though because games are more than just their rules and their art. There’s a final step which is all the presentation; putting the art in the card frame for people to read, making packaging, and presenting rulebooks. That stuff is things I’ll refer to as ‘presentation’ here.

A banner showing my cards, with the Botch card back centered.

The Botch

Start Date: This is a revision to the game planned in 2021.

Current State: This revision is art-complete and rules-complete kinda.

The Botch is one of my most successful games — in the context of paid games, it might be the most successful one. It was made in a week with the art of a great friend, who was also similarly easily inspired to burn on a project fast. I like it a lot but over time I’ve grown a want to improve things about the game.

First of all, the game’s original microgame form factor was an allure because it made it cheaper. No box, no tin, you just got the cards and you could put them in whatever container you liked. I’ve learned this isn’t pleasant to most people, they want a box to put it in. Second, there are some wording changes I want to standardise, particularly around reactive items like the Dog and the Drink. Third, this game is hard for players to play confidently at first.

What I want to do with a revision of The Botch is:

  • Compile The Botch and The Botch is Back into a single tuckbox sized game
  • Standardise the rules text across all cards
  • Make reminder cards for the items and roles for players
  • Adjust the rules for potential lock states
  • Make a new tuckbox for the game
  • Hypothetically if there’s room for a stretch, add a timer micro-expansion, ‘Botching the Clock’ that gives the game a limited number of turns

There’s nothing holding up most of these wants beyond the feeling that I can afford buying test prints from whatever source I have on hand. I currently have four options for that:

  • DrivethruCards
  • Gamecrafter
  • A local printer whose name I don’t know
  • A local (as in Australian) game prototyper whose name escapes me
A banner showing my cards, with the Unicornicopia card back centered.


Start Date: This game was meant to be available Christmas 2018

Current State: The game is a collection of pieces. It is not quite art-complete. The rules system is barely started.

What happened? The subject of the game turned fourteen! This game was made for a kid who was turning eight, and then things kept it from being available on time, and it got forgotten. But since that kid changed, so has the stuff that kid can handle changed.

Originally, the game was designed to be conflict-averse, so nobody had to feel like another player was punishing them. It was also designed to be non-complex, so a kid wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the things happening to them. There was also a push to make the game gentle in what it asked you decide, so the outcomes were pretty even. These are all effects that make a game a little soft feeling, a little toothless, even if it’s complicated to make. It’s not bad to make games for conflict averse kids who aren’t good at math, of course!

What I have here is a concept and some math. The thing I’m trying to fish around for now is the idea of a game where you’re collecting pairs of cards to make Unicorns; one half of them show butts and one half of them show heads, and you stick them together. Each card has one and a half symbols, and if the two halves match when you stick a unicorn together, then you get a third symbol. Each pairing of Unicorns does something to your symbols – right now, the only option I have is increasing or decreasing your score – and I want it so no unicorn card does anything to its own ‘half’ symbols. If you have a unicorn that’s got ABC on its cards, then you need another unicorn that does something to B cards to get anything special out of that.

This system intrigues me, and I like the aesthetic and the funny names you can get out of jamming unicorns together?

A banner showing my cards, with the Lysen Co card back centered.

Lysen Co.

Start Date: I made most of the work on Lysen Co late in 2023.

Current State: Art complete, rules complete, ready for a playtesting copy.

What’s holding up Lysen Co? The push I think this game needs is the feeling that I can get a prototype made. I need to look into the services that will get me a prototype and how quickly. As it is, the game is almost ready for a prototype copy – art-complete, rules-complete, and it’s even got the structure file I use to produce the prototype PDF!

But I feel like unless I can then do something with that PDF, then it’s just going to sit on my hard drive. I want to print it out and take it somewhere and playtest it. I have a class of students who I’d love to show me playtesting!

Also, making the pdf using the structure file is a little intimidating. I keep wanting to ask Fox for help doing it, and then modest resistance stops me asking.

A banner showing my cards, with the Die Rich card back centered.

Die Rich

Start Date: This game had its rulebook started in 2017

Current State: Art-complete, rules-complete

Die Rich is so complete I have a copy in my bag. I have played it with my students. I have played it at conventions. I like this game a lot. Right now it is waiting on a proofread and art revision from someone else and a decision on how many copies of it we can afford to stock. At the moment, that number is not a big number, which sucks.

I’m told the box is a little drab and could be made a bit better looking and the overall look of the game could use improving, so I’m waiting on being able to consult on ways to improve that, but as it is? I could just flick a switch on DriveThruCards and make this game available for sale right now. It wouldn’t have a properly written rulebook available anywhere, though.

A banner showing several of the card backs of my games.

I should get in the habit of doing this.