Monday, December 1, 2008

Stage two


Hippodice wants to play test my game. This means Noblemen made it past the first hurdle. That means that my game is one of about 30 they want to play test for the next few months and determine a winner.

So I took my game to the UPS store and they wanted $176 to ship my 6lb game! Holey smokes. I left there without shipping my game, thinking that I was not going to get to enter the second stage of Hippodice.

A couple days later I decided to try USPS and wow they were only about $60 to ship it. So off it went. I tracked it and I think it made it there on time. Cross your fingers.

Now we have to wait for a few months for them to play all the games. Should I get my passport now? Huzah!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth and some time later he created me. Is that too far back? Three years ago, on 11/04/05 I decided that I wanted to try and make a game that I could submit to Hippodice in November ’06. The goal was to make a game as good as Puerto Rico. I picked a time period that my wife told me about that seemed interesting and Mark Galvez and I started brainstorming what we wanted to see in the game.

Hippodice is a game design contest a game club in Germany holds each year starting in November. There are no prizes. You submit your rules, an abstract of the game, and some pictures. The game has to be unpublished and not going to be published. They say they get from 100 to 150 of these from year to year. The members of the club review all the submissions and grade them. Then they contact the owners of the top 30 to 50 games and request they send a full working copy of the game for play testing. They play test these games for next few months and grade them. Then they pick about 10 games one is the winner, some more are runners up, and the rest are honorable mentions. A list of these games and descriptions is sent to several game publishers. Those publishers often then send representatives to the awards ceremony where the games are available to be played.

Well I didn’t make it in 2006 or in 2007; but this past October I sent Noblemen to Hippodice for the contest that begins November 2008!

I don’t think it’s as good as Puerto Rico but I like it and I need to move on. So the development of Noblemen is finally done, unless of course some publisher wants me to continue.

Here is my submission: Noblemen Hippodice

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hippodice is getting close

For the 100th time I think that I have finished my Noblemen game. Of course it is not officially done in my mind until I submit it to Hippodice. I have made a pact with myself not to “work” on the game after that, that the game will be done. In fact the most probable outcome of this submission is that I will have a done game and therefore happy.

Noblemen rules V0.8.6.5

In this latest version I have once again taken the advice of my friend Seth.

The problem was with the new Masquerade ball rules. In the new rules players take the highest title they can get each time. There is no need to remember what level you were at. So then there is no real need for the signs anymore. A ball might as well be an event where players vie for prestige, score their VPs and move on. Between balls you don’t need the title. So if I want to keep the new rules, and I do, the noble titles need to do something between Balls.

Couple that with, a pond strategy falls a bit behind a building strategy, and I have decided to use a Seth idea. It is also similar to an idea I tried a while back when the game was much different. Noble Titles will give a discount when buying buildings: Duke will give a $3 discount, Marquess a $2 discount, and the Earl will give a $1 discount.

I like this idea because I believe it will help with the balance of the emerging strategies.

There are three strategies from my playing:
  • Farms, money, building structures with enough prestige to not fall behind
  • Ponds, prestige, Duke, with enough structures to not fall behind
  • Woods and farms, Bribe royalty, Acquire lands redeeming the bribes, and then donating lands
Building structures is more valuable than most people think especially now (again) that churches score 2 points with a Palace. I am happy with this because I like building structures being a focus.

I plan on submitting to the Hippodice peoples rules very similar to these if not exactly these within a few days.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rule book finally revamped

While the rules are still changing a bit everyday I have finnaly revamped the rules book with the major changes since version seven and with the all the new art!

Noblemen rules V0.8.4.1

PLEASE tell me about any improvemnts I can make in presentation.

Also please tell me any thoughts you have about the new changes to the rules.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family Fluff

Over the last few weeks I have been working on what I want to put on the outside of each of the five screens. To do this I started reading about the families. I have decided to focus on one person from the family during the time period of the game. What I found was some fairly interesting parts of 1600th century English history.

In most of the cases it was too bad that I had to reduce the history to a blurb. What will go on the game in some cases are even more condensed.

The high ranking Nobles sought power and money and killed each other to keep it:

Lady Jane Grey – Late 1536 to February 1554

She was also referred to as Queen Jane. She was the grandniece of Henry VIII of England.

Queen Jane ruled England for nine days in July 1553 is the shortest rule of England in its history.

Many high-ranking nobles proved themselves pliable to having Jane as Queen of England. Acting largely out of financial self-interest, they supported her even if only as part of a power struggle to keep Henry's first-born, the staunchly Catholic Mary, from ascending the throne. Jane's rule ended quickly when the nobles abandoned their support once they realized Mary had won the day. Mary pardoned Jane; however after a subsequent attempt by her supporters to seize the crown, Mary had her executed for high treason.

She was Consort to Lord Guilford Dudley.

Lady Jane had a reputation as one of the most learned women of her day.

Mary, Queen of Scots - Late 1542 – Early 1587

Mary Stuart was the first member of the royal House of Stuart to use the Gallicised spelling Stuart, rather than the earlier Stewart. Mary had adopted the French spelling Stuart during her time in France, and she and her descendants continued to use it.

The six- or seven-day-old Mary became Queen of Scotland when her father died at the age of 30. She was Queen for 25 years. Five-year-old Mary was sent to France to spend the next thirteen years at the French court. For about one year she was also the queen consort of France at age of 17.

Under the ordinary laws of succession, Mary was next in line to the English throne after her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, who was childless. In the eyes of many Catholics, Elizabeth was illegitimate, thus making Mary the true heir.

After a long period of custody in England, she was tried and executed for treason following her alleged involvement in three plots to assassinate Elizabeth I of England and place herself on the English throne.

Saint Philip Howard, 20th Earl of Arundel – Mid 1557 to late 1595

Philip was an English nobleman.

Howard, and much of his family, remained Catholics during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was very dangerous to do so. They also attempted to leave England without permission. While some might have been able to do this quietly, Howard was second cousin of the Queen. He was committed to the Tower of London on 25 April 1585. While charges of high treason were never proved, he was to spend ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentery. He had petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his beloved wife and his son, who had been born after his imprisonment. The Queen responded that if he would return to Protestantism his request would be granted. He refused and died alone in the Tower. He was immediately acclaimed as a Catholic Martyr.

The Howard family is called England’s second family.

Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester – Mid 1532 to late 1588

Robert was the long standing favourite of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Robert Dudley was temporarily imprisoned, along with his father and brothers in the Tower of London, where his stay coincided with the imprisonment of his childhood friend, Lady Elizabeth Tudor, who had been sent there on the orders of her estranged elder sister, Queen Mary I of England.

He was executed in 1553 for his part in the attempt to put Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England. (Lady Jane was married to Robert's youngest brother, Guilford Dudley.)

He is said to have poisoned his first wife Amy Robsart, and then later killed the Earl of Essex in order to marry his widow. Several leading aristocrats became suspicious of his machinations, perceived as motivated to place him at the seat of power, and moved to thwart him.

Thomas Seymour, 1st Baron Seymour of Sudeley - 1508 to Early 1549

The Seymour family's power grew during Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn, to whom his Thomas’ sister Jane became a lady in waiting. Anne failed to give King Henry a son, which gave the Seymour brothers an opportunity to push their sister in the King's direction. In fact, Henry married Jane eleven days after Anne's execution.

Eventually King Henry moved on to Catherine Parr. When Henry VIII died he left Catherine one of the wealthiest women in England.

Though Thomas Seymour's name had been linked to Mary Howard he schemed to marry either Princess Mary or Princess Elizabeth, Henry VIII's daughters. He was unsuccessful, though his secret marriage to Catherine Parr, Elizabeth's guardian, was viewed as an attempt to become close to the young princess.

When Princess Elizabeth had gone to live with Catherine, Thomas therefore acquired the guardianship of Elizabeth and also of Lady Jane Grey, another young member of the household. The overly-ambitious Thomas started to make advances toward Elizabeth.

Thomas developed a plan to kidnap King Edward VI. Guards arrested Thomas, and he was sent to the Tower of London. The council sent agents to question everyone associated with Thomas, including Princess Elizabeth, who by now was suspected of a sexual relationship with him and even of being pregnant with his child, and possibly of being involved with him in a plot to seize the throne from her half-brother, Edward VI. Later, the council officially accused him of thirty-three charges of treason.

After nearly being seduced by Thomas Seymour, Elizabeth learned to be considerably more wary in her interactions with men.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

new land tiles!

An artist friend of mine agreed to help me with the art of the land tiles:
What is ingenious about this is he has added a quarter of a geometric shape to the one of the corners so that when you have a 2X2 set of like lands its clear how many you have and what type they are!