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Jumping the Shark Podcast #153

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Having emerged from our respective turkey comas, the mad trio are all back together for Jumping the Shark #153. Bill gives us the lowdown on The New Science’s success at BGG Con, the latest developments in Tomorrow, and a few other cardboard bits and pieces that have been on his carving plate, including Spartacus, and the first deck-building game in a long while to grab his attention, Legendary. I spend a few hours with Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition (PC version) and find that, yep, it’s pretty much Baldur’s Gate, only it runs better on modern hardware. I’m also reminded just what it was like to play a so-called hardcore RPG in the 90s era of game design. Things really have changed and, it turns out, some of those changes were for the better. Finally, Brandon wraps up his time with Dishonored and finds a few more shiny spots behind the blemishes of Halo 4.

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The New Science Rolls Out, Tomorrow Rolls In

I spent the week before Thanksgiving in Dallas, Texas at Board Game Geek Con. It was my first trip to this con and also my first trip to Dallas — not that I saw any of the city. I did go to dinner at a place called Love & War in Texas. A lot of large hats. People in Texas really do seem to love them some Texas. I’m from Ohio. We just like the Buckeyes and various forms of awful chili.

Anyway, the convention was a great time (and an extremely well organized show) and the first chance many of the unclean masses got to sit down and play The New Science. I have grown accustomed to demoing our games to people but this was a continuous stream of patrons. I demoed the game so much that I could recite my 5 minute demo in my sleep. By the end of the show I could literally say it word for word every single time. My voice was gone.

It’s easy when people show a genuine interest in what you are selling/demoing, though. I ended up playing several full games of TNS at the show and didn’t get a chance to play much else. Such is life of a developer. But I was really in the zone demoing the game with a crowd of people around.

Those who know me seem shocked that I’d enjoy being the center if attention. (Straw time.)

Based on the reaction of gamers both at BGG Con and Buckeye Game Fest I am confident that the reaction to The New Science will be positive. I have no way of knowing how well it well sell, but I’ll be shocked if people who play it dismiss it. It’s a tight game and I’m proud of the work we did on it from the graphic design to the mechanics.

But while I am genuinely excited about The New Science, our next game, a game I am in the middle of developing as we speak, is something I can’t wait to share with everyone.

Our next game is called Tomorrow.

I have waited to share info on this one until it was deep into development but I’m confident in how things are shaping up at this point to start talking about it. In Tomorrow the setting is “the near future” and the world is on the brink — well not so much the world but the people living on it. Mankind has reached the tipping point where due to massive population, life is approaching the point of being unsustainable. Scientists, those who both believe in global warming and those that don’t have all agreed on this — we’re in serious trouble.

Rather than trying to solve the problem, the leaders of the major political powers have decided the surest way to save humanity is by massive global depopulation.

Nukes? Check
Biological Warfare? Check
Terror Attacks? Check
Military Invasions? Check
Cyberspace Control? Check

In the game, you play one of the major powers: USA, Russia, European Union, the Arab Caliphate, India, or China. Each nation will select a secret objective at the start of the game and will earn “Political Capital” for both saving and annihilating specific population locations. China, for example, may earn more points for saving people in the South China Sea, Japan, and Central Asia and earn bonus points for every USA, Indian, and Russian population pawn it kills and it’ll kill people mostly via nuclear and biological warfare.

The kicker in all of this is that everyone MUST work together to lower what we call the Global Threat Level and if it doesn’t drop far enough then mankind is doomed everyone loses. However, if the players work together to save humanity, only one player will end up winning.

We have a deck of random events that pop up every turn (earthquakes, U.N. Interventions, Sleeper Cells, Loose Nukes, etc. ), every nation has a specific set of resource tokens that are played each turn (Military, Diplomacy, Bio Attacks, Terror, Nukes, and so on) so every nation will play differently. The USA is filled with abundant resources but the US Global Impact is so high that they are a big target when the game starts — as is China. There are fewer USA population pawns on the board (5 in all) but each is worth a lot of points because we do so love our technology and big screen TVs. India has a ton of pawns on the board (17) but their impact is lower and are thus worth fewer points. Of course the USA and Russia, if angered to the point of exhaustion, have the option to press the Big Red Button. It does what you think it does.

Tomorrow is a game of negotiation, deals, alliances, backstabs, nuclear and biological war, diplomacy, and saving humanity by committing unspeakable atrocities.

And I can’t wait to show it to people. It’s light on rules but filled with tough choices and hopefully when the game’s over everyone at the table is mad at one another.

Good times had by all.

Look for a Kickstarter campaign soon.

In the meantime, since our website is still a work in progress (working to get this fixed this week) if you’d like a copy of The New Science shoot me an email at

Introducing The New Science

As I continue to make my way through my second Dark Souls playthrough (review coming this week but if you don’t already have this game then there’s just no hope for you) I have a special announcement today as Conquistador Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for The New Science (TNS).

Before I get into what TNS is all about, I promise that we are not just making boardgames set in the 17th century.

Anyway this is a worker placement/area control game set during the Scientific Revolution.Whereas Road to Enlightenment is this big, somewhat sprawling combination of deck building and Diplomacy, The New Science is a quicker play designed to take about 60-90 minutes for 2-5 players. Well, technically, 2 to 5. Ideally this is a game that is best played with 3 to 5 players.

I had more of a hand in developing this one, and had a much larger role in the rulebook editing so if this rulebook is an issue…you can yell at me. I may yell BACK but you are free to yell.

Speaking of which if you’d like to read the rulebook in PDF form you can do so here at BGG.

OK, here’s what the game is about:

You control one of five famous scientists from the era (Newton, Galileo, etc.), each of which has slightly different “stats” in researching, experimenting, and publishing. The game is played on what is essentially a large tech tree full of important discoveries from the era. Each player attempts to earn prestige (victory points) by first researching, then successfully experimenting on, and finally publishing their works on a specific discovery. The trick here is that when you do decide to publish, every other player can take your findings and build on them, racing up that part of the tech tree (in this case they literally read your book) so deciding when to publish is a key part of the game.

There’s more going on as well with “happening” cards that throw a monkey in the wrench and other areas in which you can spend your limited energy each turn. You are only allowed three actions per turn so deciding where to use them is a big part of the game.

So take a look, see what you think, ask me any questions either here or at my CQ email address

Back the project so my family doesn’t starve. Think of the children.

So, Now What?

This has been a rather surreal week.

Over a week ago, last Monday to be exact, I started my new job as Director of Conquistador Games, a company that develops and publishes boardgames. If you have been reading No High Scores for any length of time, you know we’re all boardgamers to some degree — from the fanatical to the Brandon. So the idea of running the day to day of a company that deals in boardgames…well that’s something I couldn’t pass up.

However over the past week or so, I have played precisely zero videogames. Well, that’s not entirely true: I am still playing my online Summoner Wars matches, but that’s it. I remain hooked on that game despite my ineptness. It’s very odd — these types of tactical games are normally right in the sweet spot of the bat for me, but I continue to lose a LOT. I think I’m 8-15? I’m a friend list target.

My Xbox hasn’t been turned on in two weeks. My PC has been used solely for Firefox, Adode InDesign, Word, and Email.

(Again I am technically lying as I continue to run our OOTP 13 baseball league.)

But for the first time since the Clinton years, I spent a week that I wasn’t on vacation not following the videogame industry in any way, shape or form. If anything went down last week — I missed it. I am somewhat grateful to the fact that it remains a downtime for new releases and Steam Sale aside, there isn’t a lot going on at the moment. That will certainly change in August.

Dark Souls on the PC. Enough said.

But what does the Director of a new game company actually do? Yeah, see, I wasn’t sure either. Turns out, so far at least, a little bit of everything.

Still, it was a bit strange not playing anything plugged into a wall.

I certainly played a lot of stuff this week, though, all in cardboard and plastic form. Over the past week I have playtested The New Science (our latest game that is currently still in development), taught people how to play Lancaster (a brilliant worker placement Euro), lost a game of Olympos (got crushed actually), watched helplessly as my monster got trounced in King of Tokyo, and tried out the new Leaders expansion for 7 Wonders. I also traded Quarriors for yet another worker placement game called Fresco. Hooray! I have been in a serious Eurogame mode of late. It’s like Barnes and his JRPG thing. Hard to explain.

Oh, and I also taught myself how to play Macao.

So, a Director just plays boardgames all day!

OK, not really. There is much to be done and I have been exceedingly busy, which is why I haven’t been posting much.That WILL change once I start playing games again but in the meantime:

  • The CQ website needs an overhaul. I am starting to learn the CMS but there’s a lot of work to be done here from basic updating with our current designs to getting the store to work.
  • I have been editing The New Science manual, which is another high priority as the game nears completion. If CQ Games has bad instruction manuals, well, we can’t have that.
  • We’re also getting another Kickstarter campaign, this time for The New Science, prepared for the coming weeks.
  • We are also gearing up for WBC and getting the Kickstarter orders for Road to Enlightenment ready to go. This is going to be a long trip but I’m looking forward to it.
  • Speaking of — if you are in the Lancaster, PA area on August 3rd or 4th stop by the Academy Games booth. We are sharing their booth this year at the Con and I’ll be there in full Company Man mode, talking Road to Enlightenment and we may also be showing off Pocket Armies: Red Storm.

So a rather busy week. This does not include a trip to a chiropractor in yet another attempt to fix my neck/arm/hand nerve issues. That was wild. I have never heard my neck crack like that.

But I will close with puppies.

Jack and Monty came home last night and we have some great pictures of the little devils. They are full brothers and have been a blast so far. We have been visiting them for the past month so they already know us to some degree.

Little brown furballs of awesome.