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 The game has to be unpublished and not going to be published.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.