PAX Unplugged 2023

Hey folks! Just a quick update that Michael is at PAX Unplugged this weekend. Drop us a line if you would like to see the latest version of Legends of the Arena! We’ve been hard at work since Origins adding character upgrades, reducing the number of cards in hand, and, most excitingly, changing to a KO count win condition where you score a KO each time you knock an opponent off of the map. [Read More]

Player Aids in Tabletop Simulator

Why have a player aid? Standard playing card sized player aid. Note that we've recycled some Frosthaven statuses for prototyping! Over the years we’ve written full rules for Legends of the Arena (and done blind playtesting with them as well), but for most playtests - where the goal is to figure out if a mechanic or component is fun - it isn’t time efficient to force players to read the rules first. [Read More]

Decisions in board games part 2: Uncertainty

What does this AI generated picture of a donkey in space have to do with uncertainty? Read on to find out! Welcome to the second installment of “Decisions in board games”, a three-part series on engaging players through meaningful decisions in competitive multiplayer board games. Previously we discussed why decisions are important and why you should have them in your game. If you haven’t checked that out yet, I recommend reading it first. [Read More]

Decisions in board games part 1: Theory

Welcome to “Decisions in board games”, a three-part series on engaging players through meaningful decisions in competitive multiplayer games. In this post we will discuss why decisions are important and the basic outline of how to reason about the decisions in your games. The second post will be a deeper dive into what really makes decisions “meaningful”. The third and final post will share a number of examples from Legends of the Arena and how we applied board game decision theory to create a more engaging experience for players. [Read More]

The journey continues

Where we started Legends of the Arena prototype in 2017. This was the first version played by playtesters. We started working on Legends of the Arena with the goal of creating the team dueling board game we had always dreamed of as kids. The year was 2016 and we didn’t know anything about game design, but we knew the game needed to be fast, fun, and stand up to repeated play. [Read More]

Using Monte Carlo simulation in game design

Introduction “Shouldn’t I always attack with my whole army?” “Why would I ever pick this card?” If you’ve ever had a playtest that led to awkward questions like these - and realized that your players were totally right - you’ve probably wondered how you might catch this sort of issue during design. Maybe you recalled a confusing formula like \( {n\choose k} = \frac{n!}{k!(n-k)!} \), but found it woefully inadequate when dealing with the sort of scenarios common in board games. [Read More]

Prototyping on Tabletop Simulator using Squib

Introduction An early playtest on Tabletop Simulator using cards generated by Squib If you are interested in making a boardgame that involves cards (or a cardgame without a board at all), you’ve come to the right place! Even if your game doesn’t use standard-sized playing cards, it might have character sheets, player mats, or other significant components with ever-changing text. If you’ve already started making your game, you’ve probably found it can be frustrating to constantly update your cards as your game evolves. [Read More]