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Hello everyone!

We made it!  Thank you everyone for your support, and for making the Tinker Deck possible!  It’s been a great couple of weeks, and we ‘re very grateful for your support.

We do have 12 days and change left, so it’s natural to wonder, now what?

Well, we’d love to get these decks out to anyone who might be interested.  Please keep spreading the word.  We believe these to be a great design, and it’s been really great to hear others like it!  The more the merrier!

We also have a handful of stretch goals in mind, as noted in the main campaign.

First, at $12,000, we’ll make custom seals for every deck.  They will look something like this (the Rusty Tinker Deck will, of course, have its own, if we get to make that deck, too):

TinkerDeckSealCrop

At $13,000, we’ll make new Gearpunk Gamer Dice sets available as Add-Ons.  These are the Gearpunk dice designs from the Tinker Dice campaign, but a new batch in Black Nickel, a new finish.  We ordered them in between campaigns for future plans, and this qualifies.  (So they aren’t going to be draining funding from the cards themselves.)  That finish looks something like this, over on the right side of the image… sorry we don’t have the production photos of the dice themselves yet:

plating

Each Gearpunk Gamer set will have a D4, D6, D8, D10, D10 “decader”, D12 and a D20 and a random color leather pouch, for $40 (just like the other sets we have in the limited quantity pledge tiers).

At $14,000, we’ll introduce the Gearchips, which will come in two forms (unless you’d like us to make a different set available, that is).  Specifically, we’ll have two sets unlocked as Add-Ons:

One, the “Gearchip Sampler”:  $7 for 5 Gearchips, 39mm chips looking something like this, in five different finishes.  (Chrome for white, Copper for red, Black Nickel for blue, Antiqued Bronze for green, Dyed Black for, well… black, roughly correlating with some standard poker chip colors.)

TinkerGearchips

Two, the “Gearchip Playset”: $90 for 100 Gearchips, 20 of each color.  (We’ve actually already ordered a production batch of these, too, so again, these are incidentals that we had paid for outside of the funding for this campaign, we’re just making them available.)

The big goal, though, the one we’d really love to see, is what happens at $20,000.  It’s a bit of a jump, but it’s something we can get to if we keep getting new people on board.

If we can reach that goal, we can make the Rusty Tinker Deck happen.

RustyTinkerDeckTuck

This is another fully customized deck, effectively the Tinker Deck after a bit of time in the field, or after spending some time in a machinery warehouse or mining colony.  All of the art will be rusted and aged, picking up some nice oxidized green, brown and red tones here and there.  The silvers of the Hearts and Diamonds will be closer to the traditional reds, and everything will have a nice patina of age.  They will come with their own custom tuck box and seals, just like the main Tinker Deck.  We will make uncut sheets available for them as well.  You can see some of the preview images over at Max’s website at this link, or in our update on the deck.

The Rusty Tinker Decks will be available as a “deck pick” for any pledge tier.  If you’ve pledged for one deck, you can pick either.  If you’ve pledged for two or more, you can get them all in one style, all in the other style, or half in each style.

Thank you, everyone, for making this all happen!  We’re looking forward to the next week and a half, and hopefully, we can make some more awesome cards for everyone!

Also, please note that we’re still running the cross promotion with Ferrel’s Havok & Hijinks game, presently in its last two days on Kickstarter, where you can pick up a pair of exclusive Tinker Dragon coins if you back both projects; his for at least $15 and ours for at least $11.

TinkerDeckDragonCoins

Thanks, everyone!

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Just a quick sneak peek at the next big announcement for the Tinker Deck campaign.  It’s been fun, doing the new oxidation messy pass on these.

The campaign is around 80% funded, so thank you everyone who has been a part of it!  If you’ve a moment, please spread the word.  There are miles to go before we sleep, and plenty of fun places to take the campaign if we get into the “stretch goals” segment.

Thanks!

Rusty Diamond Ace

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My Steampunk/Gearpunk playing card deck proceeds apace.  I have only the Jokers to finish, and then a pass through everything to make sure it all works together visually.

A question, though, if anyone cares to opine:

Is this something you’d like to see on Kickstarter as a project done via Bicycle, to get some top notch cards at a decent price, since we’d be leveraging the “economy of scale” with a group order, or just offer them via TheGameCrafter.com, where it’s purely “print on demand”, no minimum order, but for cards of a slightly lesser caliber (TGC still does good work, it’s just not Bicycle Cards) at a slightly higher price.

I didn’t start this with Kickstarter in mind, but I’ve been poking around in the meantime, and it might be a viable option.  Any thoughts?  I’ll make them available for sale either way, and maybe both ways in the end, but if I’m going to do a Kickstarter, I’d lead with it.  It would just be a way to try to get a better deal and a bit more exposure.

In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the King of Diamonds (Jules Verne) and the Jack of Spades (Henri Giffard).  Thanks for stopping by!
ImageImage

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My preteen niece seems to have a bit of game design in her blood.  She experimented with the design of Phase 10 and a standard deck of playing cards and wound up with her own game… almost a Rummy-light.  Since Phase 10 is part of the Rummy family, that’s not a huge surprise, but it’s interesting to see her chasing down those game design principles and applying them in new ways.  It’s instinctive, it seems, rather than the sort of analytical approach I might have used.  Color me impressed.

She also designed another game from the ground up, a curious little game that has little resemblance to anything I’m familiar with.  It’s pretty solid for a small game, and I’m still trying to suss out the strategies and balance.  She does all this game experimentation and design simply with a deck of cards, just noodling around with ideas.

That sort of game design experimentation is something I’ve tried to capture with a recently purchased set of dice.  It’s a standard role player’s collection, seven dice of varied shape.  There is one twenty sided die, one twelve sided die, two ten sided dice, one eight sided die, one six sided die (the ever-popular cube) and one four sided die.  These are usually abbreviated as D(whatever) dice, with the twenty sided die labeled a D20, and the six sided cube labeled a D6 and so on.  It’s a nice spread of dice, with a variety of potential applications.

I’ve tried to come up with math games using them to teach my children.  I’ve tried to use them to teach my niece a little about game design.  I’ve used them to play with variations on themes I see in games that already use dice, like Warhammer and Settlers of Catan (which plays differently with a D12 instead of 2 D6).  It’s nice to have these dice for when I want to experiment with a bit of randomization, but want to try something a bit less common than the standard D6 collection.

I’ll share a couple of rudimentary games, then, in the hopes of spurring some thoughts and conversation.  I’d like to see what else might be done with this set of seven dice.  I’m still experimenting, but I’d like to hear other ideas, if you’re willing to share.  I’ve been keeping things simple; no board, no cards, nothing much more than scorekeeping.  That’s not the only way to design, and certainly not a restriction for conversation, but it’s been nice to keep things simple while I’m getting a bead on exactly what I can do with these things.

Game One:  Pick n’ Roll (2-7 players)

Each player picks a die (youngest player first), then rolls their dice.  Highest number rolled wins.

Simple, maybe too simple, but gives young children the chance to see the differences between dice and hopefully, to relate shape to numbers.

Game Two:  Roll n’ Toll (2 players)

Remove one D10.  Player one picks a die, then player two picks two dice, then player one picks two dice, then player two picks one die.  Both players roll all three of their dice.  Highest number rolled wins.  (Alts:  Start with two sets; D20,D6,D4 vs. D12, D10, D8.  Players just choose a set.  Highest total wins.)

A bit different choice involved, and with the Alt rules, a more equal chance to win.  Even with equal total potentials (max of 30 if using either set), the “swingy” D20 will make for a sporadic win pattern.  Minor addition practice for kids, some probability considerations.

Game Three:  Mix n’ Match (2 or 3 players)

Roll one D10, rolled number is the target number.  Players choose a set and roll.  Closest roll to target number wins.  Use these sets if two players:  D20,D6,D4 vs. D12, D10, D8.  Use these sets with three players: D20, D4 vs. D12, D6 vs. D10, D8.  Any of their dice count for target roll.  (Alt: Use any simple math functions using your dice results to get close to target.  Ex:  Target = 6, rolls = 2,8,10.  8/2 = 4, 10-4 = 6.)

More math potential, estimation of probabilities to match target.

Any of these could, of course, be mixed and matched.  You could also add complexities and other players like this:

A third, neutral player (Judge) rolls the extra D10 and keeps the number secret behind their hand.  The other players roll one of their dice (they have either two or three, depending on how many players), and the Judge tells each player if their result is higher or lower than the target (if this first roll matches the target, declare an immediate winner and move to another round, ignore ties).  Each may choose to keep that roll (lock their choice) or roll another die.  Repeat for as many dice as you have (2 or 3), if the player chooses.  Previous rolls are ignored; only the latest roll may be the locked number.  When each player has a locked number, reveal the Target, and the closest roll wins.

These are pretty simple math games. You could introduce some sort of brinkmanship mechanic, or a bluffing mechanic. Maybe use the dice not for their numbers, but for their shapes. Maybe see who can stack the dice better and/or faster. See who can spin one like a top for the longest, and which dice spin better. There area lot of things you can do within the seven dice box before you ever try thinking outside the box.

So what would you do with this set of seven dice?  What can you do with just those dice?  Maybe add in a pad of paper?  A few coins?  A whole bag of varied dice? Miniatures of some sort? A game board?

I start with seven dice because that’s a nice, streamlined set of data.  It’s great for number games for kids, and might just help nail down some balance issues before layering a bunch of complexity into the system.

Whatever the limitations you choose for yourself, like my niece’s game design experimentation with a deck of standard playing cards, I believe it’s a good game design exercise to work with simple game units and see what sort of games you can come up with.  Once you have a feel for those simple elements, you can start introducing a few new factors and see how everything interacts.  What works with 7 dice may blow up with 15, and what works fantastically for two players might be painfully political with three.  Something perfectly balanced for three players might fall apart with four players.  Hidden information might make a game better or just frustrating.

Like learning any new language or skill, playing with basic elements is useful for comprehension.  Complexity and shiny blinginess can be added as occasion permits.  Nail down the core game design first, and become fluent with the tools, and then branch out.

Interestingly, after I’d written this but before I posted it, Raph Koster reposted an essay about The Fundamentals of Game Design, and how designing in small pieces can be a good approach.  His “prototype kit” is a bit more than seven dice, but it’s still pretty simple compared to some final games.  Really nailing down the basic elements of a game should, in my mind, take precedence over any of the window dressing, including art.  Even Wizards of the Coast famously does iterative design with what they call “playtest” cards long before they get the artists on board.  Game first, trappings later.  As an artist, I do believe that art and appeal are important, but without a solid game to hang them on, they just can’t do much.

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