Inducted into The Game Crafter's Hall of Fame

Some really cool news I'd like to share with you all. I was inducted into The Game Crafter's Hall of Fame because a few months ago FAZA won the Big Box Challenge. While there's still a ton of work left to do for FAZA, I'm feeling excited to reach this milestone and also honored to have the game design work I've been doing be recognized by the game community.

The interview questions range from 'how long have you been designing games' to 'where the game idea come from' to 'any words of encouragement or advice to all the designers reading this' and everything in between. Almost every question in the interview could of been turned into a separate blog post, so check it out and let me know what you think.

FAZA Wins the Big Box Challenge from The Game Crafter

Remember that board game I was working on for the past year? Well, it won the Big Box Challenge from The Game Crafter!

Alex Coulombe, the judge for the competition, played FAZA with his gaming group multiple times. Check out his detailed document outlining what they loved about FAZA, with some highlights below.

He described FAZA as "far and away the most polished and engaging, while also offering the most value on repeat playthroughs, especially across 2, 3, and 4 players." After playing the game multiple times, they "realized there was no 'sure-fire' strategy, and the game forced us to adapt and improvise to changing situations." He went on to say that "FAZA is the best co-op game we’ve ever played."

If you get further into the document, he continues listing out the many wonderful aspects of playing FAZA:
  1. "Never have I played a game before that is so thoroughly engaging for all players the entire time. While some co-op games achieve this to a certain degree, the level of strategy and planning for an upcoming Faza round in our games had everyone feeling like brilliant tacticians working together."
  2. "Great balance with the different roles and their abilities. Everyone felt like were able to pick a role that suited their play style, and they had something meaningful to contribute every turn."
  3. "The game keeps the pressure on continuously-- from the word go we basically always felt like we were about to die (or run out of drones), then felt enormous exhilaration and relief when we managed to stave off our demise."
  4. "Rules are laid out in such a way that made reading through them easy, which is impressive considering there are some fairly complex elements in this game. The rules are exceptionally well-written with clear graphics and worded with a level of precision that immediately answered nearly every question we had."
  5. "Great synergy between theme and mechanics. I honestly couldn’t tell you which one the designer likely started with."
  6. "Average playtime for a game became 1 hr 30 min, which felt like the perfect length. We ended every game on a high of wanting to play again and adjust our strategies and roles to see how it might affect our next playthrough."

FAZA on Board Game Geek

Hey you! Yes, you! Do you have a Board Game Geek account?

Well, I've put together a BGG page for FAZA. Check it out and leave a comment to let others know you're interested in the game.

FAZA is a finalist in the Big Box Challenge from The Game Crafter

The Big Box Challenge started out with 55 board game submissions, and then the list was whittled down to 20 via a community voting process. Now, the list of games has been further refined to 7, and FAZA is one of them! You can read more about the seven finalists here and also see the scoring sheet provided by the judge Alex Coulombe.

If you start diving into the scoring sheet, you'll notice that Alex gave FAZA a total score of 42 out of 45. This score is then broken down into three categories: Rules/Mechanics (18 out of 20), Art/Style (15 out of 15), Marketing/Hype (9 out of 10). He continued to describe the game as:

"Great cooperative premise and graphics. Like how the play area is laid out, though looks like there's room for improvement in hierarchy of information. Really glad there's considerations for 'if this is your first time playing.' Rules are super well documented and the examples are helpful. Thrilled to see info for both 'here's what to do on your first game' and 'here's how to make the game harder.' Also nice touch with the considerations made for color blindness."

Faza: A Cooperative Sci-Fi Board Game

Hi Everyone!

For the past year I've been working on a side project, which I've been calling Faza. It's a cooperative board game set in a science fiction future. I'm hoping to have it up and running soon, and I've already put together a website. Please check it out, and share this with your friends that are into sci-fi and board games!

Faza Cover Art
And here's a quick video of the game in action.

Binaural Beat Generation, Creating an Illusory Sound with Code

A little while ago I came across a phenomenon known as binaural beats. It's an auditory illusion that's created when two tones are presented to each ear separately, meaning one ear can't hear what the other ear is hearing.

I was curious in exploring this and wrote a brief piece of code using processing, which you can try out below if you download the processing environment.

What I also thought was interesting is the ability of a binaural beat to generate synchronous neuronal activity corresponding to the following mental states:
I tested this code on myself for about 10 minutes and was able to quickly enter a meditative state. Anyways, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Balance Bike Reaches 250 Downloads!

It's been a while since I've written anything about Balance Bike, the educational android app I released last year. Young kids engage through pictures, touch, and sound to learn words, colors, numbers, and letters. 

This project was my way of teaching myself how to do android programming. I also haven't been marketing it, people have been discovering it organically and the app has finally reached a milestone, 250 downloads! It only took a year. :)

You can download it from the play store.

Balance Bike: A Learning Game

User Research Presentation by Michael Margolis

I came across this really great presentation and explanation on how to quickly do user research in the context of the startup. The presenter, Michael Margolis, is a Google Ventures partner and has been doing this kind of work for more than twenty years. He works with the GV startups to help them understand their users and to figure out how they should build their products in order to meet the needs of their users.

One argument that sticks out from his lecture is the reason for observing users. He argues that the importance of observing users is to understand the 'why' of particular user actions. He compares observing users to looking at detailed website analytics. Analytics will reveal what people are doing, yet it won't reveal why they're doing what they're doing. Seeing the metrics of a certain website funnel, or being able to see the data of people dropping off at a certain page doesn't give insight into the problem that might be causing users to drop off. Discovering the 'why' behind a certain problem will then reveal the solution.