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Mixed Emotions Posted October 5, 2010

Posted by natemarrs in Game Demos.
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I just posted the game I made targeted towards teenage females. It is called Mixed Emotions.

This is not the final product, I know there are a lot of glitches. If people like it, I will edit it and fix a bunch of the glitches.



Notes 4 N00bs posted October 5, 2010

Posted by natemarrs in Game Demos.
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I put up Notes 4 N00bs, my educational music game. It is available for play at:


This is still a beta, and made in Game Maker. If enough people like it, I will make it bigger, better, more fun, and in XNA.

Prototyping speech May 14, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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This speech was very infomative. It tells of approaches that you should take in prototyping. Sure they spent a lot of time talking about the 3d/programming aspect vs. just paper prototyping, but that’s where I’m headed anyway, so it was good to listen to and kind of see what I need to do to effectively get my games out there faster and more effeciently.

They talked a lot about how making games doesn’t always go your way. There are things that you want to see implemented, that when tested are just unrealistic. But that’s one of the main purposes of prototyping. When testing, it’s cheap and easy to figure out that a problem you’re having may not be solvable. So you can move on, rather than spend time trying to figure it out.

They talked about how people see different things. What may be clear to the people designing the animations of a maya character, may be completely over the head or confusing to someone who just wants to see the character rendered.

They stated that design documents are effective and ineffective because they show what needs to be done, and steps on how to get there, but there is no interaction. I felt this was an important tidbit because it brought out some of the other ways to design a game, and complained about it.

Prototype reading #1 May 14, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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Facts for designing in low-tech.    http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/622/paper_prototyping_5_facts_for_.php?page=3

This article was interesting to say the least. It really shows the value of paper prototypes before going digital. It mentions good points such as the fact that we have been using the tools for paper prototypes since we were little kids, so we are more familiar with them. Plus making mistakes with paper is much less frustrating than if it happens when working with a final draft in digital copies.

The group in the article talked about their experiences as a team. This may or may not be important to future game designers reading the article. It shows their success in using paper prototypes.

T.I.A. final playtesting and digital game May 11, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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Playtesting overall went well. I think we playtested this game too many times so the same people were kind of becoming bored with it after like 3 weeks straight. I enjoyed it, and I think the playtesters did too. There were some revisions that I had to make like modifying money, and rations. And I had to add some more realistic components like children and natural disasters… which actually never got tested unfortunately. There was kind of a problem with the fact that if you die, you pretty much lose. I’m not sure if (as a message game) I want that to be the end all or not. There was talk of having other players buy you a new person, but to me this just seems a little farfetched. When was the last time that you could walk in to a mall and buy people for your family. Maybe adoption, as that idea hits me just now… but still, there should be a different way, if any to get people back into the family. I suppose that’s part of the reason I added children to the game. 

There is also trouble with the rebel player. He/she has to sit out most of the game, and comes in every third turn or so. I think that there should be some implementation of a camp or something, so that the rebels have something to do, just like the other players. Maybe even limit their daily movement, and add necessity for food and water. There is the possibility of either only letting them attack every third turn or whatever, or the possibility of attacking whenever they want. Im not sure how reasonable the latter would be right now, but in my head it seems pretty fair because the rebels would want to attack in large numbers probably, and if they all die they lose, so there is a good opportunity for strategy if I let them attack whenever they want.  

I’m kind of  just rambling now, but the basic gist is that there is still work to be done on the paper prototype. The digital, well that’s another story… It’s got a ton of work left, even in game maker before I actually start programming it.

Where I am right now as far as the digital game:

The board is created. The game is based on a button clicking GUI. Players can move for 11 seconds (subject to change) for each day. The timer starts when the button is clicked. Men and women move seperately. Rebels come every three days. After every day, food and water rations are subtracted by the number of people in a particular family for that player (so 2 if there is a man and woman). Players can gather food and water, but there is no restriction as to how much per day they can gather. The max number they can hold as a family is 12 of each at any time. There is a sell button you can click when at the village to sell rations of food or water. I’m still crunching numbers for how much each is worth… this may require testing as well. It’s okay, it’s easy to change the numbers. You can also buy houses and walls but there’s no defensive value or anything yet. That’s my next immediate step towork on.

Of course all the basics of games are there, saving, loading, help screen, quit, restart, etc. I put in a song for the title screen. I need to change the button sprites, because they look like crap right now. That’s about it, I think. Oh, and you can choose how many players you want 1-4.

As far as what’s to come that I can think of, there’s a lot. I need to make the walls and houses actually have defense value. I need to give the players some starting materials, like walls or something. I need to look at my resource cards for that one. I need to be able to sell guns, and maybe ammo? I would like to have a trading system with the players, that may be complicated and would probably be one of the last things I add if I get really bored. I need to create natural disasters and children. Maybe give the rebels a jeep or something, and make them a camp. I need to create a fighting system. Ummm, ya… that’s all that’s popping into mind right now, but there’s probably more… so basically I have a long way to go.

Checkernation gone digital April 27, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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I have finished creating a game maker version of checkernation. The rules are the same except the original pieces are just normal. This summer I will program it in C#. The digital copy actually turned out to be pretty cool. For my first semi-complex game maker game, it worked out well. Took me a while to get back into digital design, and spent a few too many hours debugging this game considering there’s not much to it, but oh well. I guess that’s just the process. I’ll attach a copy of it in a zip file when I get around to it.

Playtesting went well. We didn’t really play it too much in class, but I think people had fun with it. Just one of those games to play when you’re bored and sick of beating solitaire every 5 minutes. I guess the only problem with it right now is that there isn’t any A.I. You have to have 2 players to play unless you really want to try to beat yourself. (I don’t get THAT bored, but other’s might… not for me to decide)

Interplanetary Risk March 30, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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– 1 board, risk game pieces, 3 black/red dice, 2 white dice, objective cards, goal cards, territory cards, special cards

Horses are marked as transport ships or can be representing 5 infantry. If the horse is on land, it represents the 5 infantry, and if it is in space standing up, it is used as a transport ship. If it is lying down in space next to a transport ship, it represents the 5 infantry in that transport ship.

Cannons work similar to horses, except they represent 10 infantry or a battleship.


To start the game, shuffle the territory cards and divide them up between the number of people playing. The territories that are recieved by each player are that player’s starting territories. Space starts off as unoccupied. Each player starts out with 25 infantry, two objective cards, and one goal card. They may place these at will on their starting territories, as long as there is at least one infantry in each of the territories, negating space. After all starting infantry are placed, roll a D6 and the player with the highest roll may begin play.

Turns are taken in an offensive manner. When it is your turn, you may if you choose, first turn in territory cards and recieve all additional reinforcements. After this has taken place, you are allowed to attack adjacent territories to attempt to gain control. To attack, use the 3 red/black dice and the defender uses the 2 white dice. The higher numbers win, one infantry is killed for each dice lost. In the event of tied dice, the defending dice win. Attackers may not lose all infantry on an attack, as defenders may not control new territory when it is not their turn. As such, the attacker may not roll all 3 dice if he cannot lose 2 men without sacrificing the territory. If he only has 2 infantry, the attacker may only use 1 die. When a defender loses all infantry in the territory he/she is defending, the attacker wins and must move at least one infantry into the newly controlled territory. Players may attack as many adjacent terrritories as desired on their turn.

At the end of the turn, the attacker recieves one territory card if he wins and any number of new territories. He/she does not recieve one territory card for each territory taken, but one per turn. The player may also consolidate infantry between one adjacent territory, but nust not be done more than once.

The territory cards may be turned in when 3 of the same or 3 of a different style (infantry, horse, cannon) are acquired. The number of infantry recieved is based upon the “card trade-in” table located on the bottom of the board. For each set of cards turned in, the number of reinforcements increases for the next set to be turned in. 2 additional reinforcements are recieved for cards that you turn in with territories that you control.

If an entire planet is controlled for a round (every player takes a turn) then they recieve an allocated number of reinforcements as shown on the “planet net-worth” table located on the bottom of the board.

At the beginning of each turn a player recieves reinforcements for territories controlled. This number is decided by counting the number of territories owned and dividing by two. The quotient is the number of infantry recieved. If the quotient is not evenly divisible, the number is rounded down for number of infantry recieved. There is a minimum of 2 infantry recieved for each turn.

Once objective cards are completed, the allocated reward is recieved, and that player picks up a new objective card. This is the same for goal cards.

There are spaceports on each planet except for Dramethan. A spaceport may be used every other turn to build a battleship or a transport ship if you control the spaceport.

Transport ships are the main method of carrying infantry through space. They can carry a max of 15 infantry. As they are slow and not meant for battle, they have a -2 on their attacking dice rolls and a -1 on their defense rolls. If a transport ship attacks land, it acts as a base that the infantry attack from. The infantry have no attacking hindrance. If the transport ship itself loses to a battleship, then the ship and all men inside it are lost.

Battleships are the main method of attacking in space. They cannot carry infantry, but do not have any bonus or hindrance on their dice rolls. Battleships may not attack land, but they can be used as transport ships in the sense that it can drop infantry to a planet to fight. If a battleship is beaten in space combat, it is lost.

All ships must wait one turn before moving when they are built. At the beginning of every turn, each ship can move one territory. Space may not be occupied by two different players, but can be fought in like a normal terriroty, except between ships.

There are four asteriod fields on the board. These act as normal space territories, except all defending dice rolls are +1 when defending in that territory.

A maximum of 15 infantry can occupy a given territory.

Modified start: to divide territories, whoever starts first places 1 infantry on the territory of his/her choice. The second player follows suit, and so on. When all territories are claimed, players may put the rest of their starting infantry on territories they just claimed. Gameplay continues as normal after all starting infantry are placed.

Testing, results, general feedback:

Overall I think testing went well. Players seemed to enjoy this modification on the regular risk game. Between the group of designers including me, kyle smith, tyler and mike, there were some discrepensies as far as details in the rules. Mainly everyone wanted different numbers for the dice rolls to make everything more even. The rules posted are the revised rules after playtesting a couple times and realizing that we needed to change some things. Moving around in space proved difficult, and the asteroid spaces were pretty much useless.

How we came up with the game:

We decided almost immediately upon recieving the challenge that we wanted to do a modified RISK game. Originally we wanted to just use another existing world or series of worlds such as Warhammer or the like. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we should make our own worlds, with space  between them. We had to create new rules to the RISK game to be able to use space, but it worked out in the end.

Word Stories March 30, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.
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The object of the game is to be the first to create teh best story involving everyone on the board before someone else does. The catch is that you have to use words listed on teh cards. Gameplay starts with the highest roller on a D6 and continues in the direction of the second highest roller. There is a judge who does not participate in the game until the very end.

To start, every player gets 3 cards with words on them that are shuffled randomly. The first player picks one of his/her three cards and plays it. He/she must use that word in a sentence to add to their story. The card is discarded once the sentence is written. Play continues with the next person.

Stories must continue to be written until all players have included all other players in their stories. The judge must pick their favorite story and that player is the winner.

business card challenge March 30, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.

My business card idea was to put a maze on the back. I created the maze myself using paint. Although it is simple, I was thinking of adding certain spots to gain extra points or something to make the game more interesting. I have always been interested in puzzle/maze games, and it was easy to put on the back of a business card.

To make the game better, I would add objectives (time limits, points, other weird challenges) that you have to try to complete during the maze. This way players can have a choice of how they want to play, to make it more fun on an individual basis.

T.I.A (theme/message game) March 18, 2009

Posted by natemarrs in Board Game Ideas.


(This Is Africa, This Is Life)


1)      This is an RPG about the conflicts occurring in Africa. The game doesn’t focus around any specific country, however it is meant to spread awareness about the condition in places oppressed by “Freedom Fighters”. This could be the R.U.F, if it were on the west coast of Africa, which was my original intent, but for now I didn’t include diamond mining, so it may not be set on the west coast necessarily. Later I may add that, if I feel that the game play needs to be enhanced in any way. Live, Listen, and Learn. There is a lot of work still to be done in Africa, and every little contribution helps. This is Africa, T.I.A.

2)      The object of the game is to build up your community with the help of other players in order to withstand and defend against three consecutive rebellion attacks. In order to do this, players build up walls and strong buildings in their city. They help their communities become more organized and civilized.

3)      This is a 3 player minimum game. To start, players decide who amongst them will be the village families. One player needs to be designated as a commander of the rebellion. If you are short on players, or you wish to build bigger communities, it is possible for the person commanding the rebellion to build a family too because the rebellion only comes to attack every other or every third “day”. Attacks by the rebellion are determined by rolling a D6 at the beginning of the game. If it is even, the attacks only occur every third day. If the roll is odd, the attacks occur every other day.

4)      Place the village card on the board. This is your neighboring village from which you will need to go get resources every now and then. Unless you have a cell phone, the only way to get supplies is to walk back and forth. This village has to be placed at least 12 spaces from your village wall, when you get one. The holes in the orange outline are the only ways in and out of this neighboring village. The rebellion cannot attack the people that are in there. However, you may not have more than two people in the neighboring village at a time.

5)      Resources are assigned at the beginning of the game. One player picks three cards from the resource card pile, and that is the village’s starting resources. Converse and decide where you want to put buildings or resources obtained. Remember your outer wall has to be 12 spaces away from the other village. If you don’t get the starting money resource card, then you start with no money.

6)      Each family should play a part in building up the community. Players can decide to share water, food, etc, or to just fend for themselves. Each member of each family can move 15 spaces in one day. This is not a turn based game, so everyone can move their families around at the same time. If it’s easier for organization you can go in a circle taking turns on where you move your families. Family members are not required to move 15 spaces every day, it is just the maximum.

7)      People get money for doing things. This could include bringing back water, collecting food, building a square of a community building, etc. The pay is not great. Generally families survive on a dollar or two a day, so the point trade in system is based on that.  Money obviously can be used to buy any resource that a fellow villager may have. Prices of families’ resources are determined between players at time of purchase. Money can also be used to purchase building materials which have a set price per square. Some materials are stronger than others and can help hold back the rebellion better than others. Money can be used to buy resource cards as well. Resource cards cost $25. The whole village can pull together their money to buy one if they want.

8)      When the “Freedom Fighters” come to attack, only 2 soldiers can enter through the entrance. The rest have to break through the wall if there is one. The “Freedom Fighters” only have 6 soldiers to start but can capture men from the village to make them soldiers. Whoever is commanding rolls a D10 to try to break through the village wall. If the roll is higher than the defense rating of the material, then they break through and 2 more soldiers can enter per broken square. Each soldier can only attack 3 times per day. Breaking the wall counts as one attack. When they enter the village, soldiers can attack people that are out in the open. If the villagers out in the open are not carrying a firearm they are only a +1 defense rating. If they have a gun, they have +1 + the defense rating on the firearm. If a soldier beats a man without a gun they can choose to kill or kidnap them. If they beat a woman without a gun they can choose to rape or kill them. (All soldiers are carrying the HIV/AIDS virus which will kill the women slowly.) In a fire fight, there is no choice for capture, either the villager or soldier is dead based on a higher D10 roll by the parties. After each soldier makes his maximum of 3 attacks, the bombardment is over. If all the villagers are dead, the rebellion has won. If all the “Freedom Fighters” are dead, the villagers won and the game is won. If when the bombardment is over there is still some villagers and “Freedom Fighters”, the soldiers are forced to retreat and leave the game board until next attack time. If no villagers die, this counts as one consecutive defense against the rebellion. Remember the villagers need three successful defenses to win the game.

9)      Family members can die of other causes too though, so keep track of your rations. It takes 3 days without food to kill a family member. 4 days without water will result in death. 2 days without shelter will also kill a family member because there are so many dangers of being out in the open. If a woman is raped she will die in 15 days. (I know this is unrealistic, but it makes the game shorter) If a man lives with a woman who is raped he will die in 20 days. If a whole family dies, the player who was controlling that family gets a new family, without any food, shelter, water, or money.

10)   Villagers can rape each other if they want. They have to beat the defense rating of the other person with a D10 though. This is just cruel and lame, but it is possible in real life so just an added thing. Why would you really want to slowly kill your own villagers is beyond me, maybe there is some legitimate reason.

11)   Every day that a family member spends in school they get +2 dollars. Each day spent in a library gets a +1 dollar. In order to get the money, they have to spend the whole day there, meaning they begin the next day at that location. All other prices and money awards are explained on the price chart.

12)   A family member can carry 4 days of water per trip. 6 days of food. Each family member eats/drinks 1 ration a day.






(This is Africa, This is Life)


                The goal of the game is to withstand the rebel attacks and destroy them. The game is over if: a) the villagers defeat all the rebels; b) the rebels kill everyone in the village.

                The point of this game is to demonstrate a RTS type simulation where the players realize the struggles of villagers in a small African community. There are genocides, civil conflicts, and material wars being fought everyday in Africa. Between diamond running and demonstration of the powers of brute force, rebel fighters are slowly taking control of what were once peaceful countries. These maybe the Janjaweed or the R.U.F., as these are two popular groups that are destroying innocent villages and corrupting the society and government in countries such as Sudan, Sierra Leone, and others.


1)      Find at least three players. If there is only three, it may be advisable for one person to act as a village family and the rebels.

2)      Open the board and place it on the table.

3)      Take out a man and a woman from the people envelope for each player, except one player.

4)      Take out 2 rebel fighters for the player who didn’t get people.

5)      Give each player a ration card and a death counter card and appropriate markers for each.

6)      Agree and place the pre-built town on the map.

7)      Shuffle and take 3 resource cards for the community.

8)      Place any received resources on the map to create your village. The walls of your village must be 12 spaces away from the town.

9)      Place people on map to start game

10)   Roll a D6. If even, the rebel fighters attack every other day. If odd, they attack every third day.



 Gameplay is turn based. Players can decide who goes first and the order it goes in. After everything is setup the first player starts the day. A day consists of each person moving a maximum of 25 spaces in any direction they choose. You can move diagonally if you wish. Both the man and the woman can move 25 spaces per day.

Food/Water Rations:

If during your turn you land on a farmland, you pick up a maximum of 4 food rations. You also get 4 water rations if you land on a river or well space. To keep track of your rations, use the tokens on the ration card. Families can have up to 12 of each water and food as shown on the card.

Each family member uses 1 ration of food and 1 ration of water per day. Move your tokens on the ration card appropriately.

Death Cards:

If you are out of rations of food or water your person goes into survival mode and the death counter card comes into play. Tokens start out on the highest number to signify the number of days they can go without certain necessities. For every day that you don’t have food, water, or shelter; move the token down to the next number. You can survive 4 days without water rations, 3 days without food, and 2 days without shelter. HIV/AIDS is also marked on this card, and will be discussed later.


If you die, you are out of the game for now. This may happen when any of the death card counters run out, or if a rebel fighter kills you in an attack.

If you suspect death is imminent, you may offer to will your assets away to another player before the rebels get hold of them. Once you are dead, it is too late. The rebels get all of your belongings.


Villagers can pay for walls, houses, schools, libraries, and town centers in a variety of different materials to increase their defenses by going to the town. They have to make it back to the square they intend to put their materials on. The only way to get a well is though the resource card. Farmland is the same

To protect themselves, they may also buy arms. Currently there are options to buy either a handgun or an AK-47. Guns can only be used by one family member at a time, so upon purchase, the purchaser can use that gun. If the purchaser and his/her spouse are on the same square, the gun may change hands, but only then, and not in combat. Children may wield weapons.

Villagers can buy a piece of wall and specify it as a gate. This one piece can be moved to one adjacent square to close off a village by any villager. When it is closed, it acts as a regular wall piece.


Town can be used to buy/sell goods and materials. The entrances/exits are the white openings in the orange outline of the town. Town counts as being in a shelter, but it has no defense rating against the rebels. However, rebels may come here to trade with the villagers, or kill them during their attack turn.


Buildings have a maximum capacity. Refer to the card for more details.

Buildings have a defense rating based on what material it is made of. When purchased from town, you pick which material you want.

Resource Cards:

Resource cards are used to get a head start on the game. It also helps every game be different by offering different things at the start.

Resource cards can be purchased for $20 each. This is generally a great deal, however can also be a waste of money. This is the only way to get a well or extra farmland.

Rebel Forces:

Based on the dice roll in the setup, the rebels come every other day, or every third day.

Rebels start off with two militia men, but can get more militia by killing men in the village.

The rebels come at the beginning of the turn, and roll a D6 to see how far they can each move. They may not start inside village walls or buildings, but can start anywhere else they choose.

The rebels have three attacks per militia man. This means they each have three chances to do as much damage as possible.

To knock down a wall or building, the rebel player rolls a D10. If he/she beats the defense rating on the wall or building, then it is crushed and discarded. This counts as one attack.

To kill a villager, the rebel player and the villager player roll D10’s. Any gun bonuses are added to the rolls. The higher number wins. In the event of a tie, the villager wins.

If a rebel loses to a villager, he is killed, and can no longer fight that day. He does come back for the next fights though.

If a male villager loses to a rebel, he turns into a rebel. If a female villager loses to a rebel, she may be killed or raped. If raped, mark the HIV/AIDS spot on the death card for 10 days until death. You can use a D10 to keep track of this.

The rebels may not retreat unless all of their attacks have been used. This ensures that they don’t run away for their own safety, thereby making it impossible for the villagers to win.


Schools and libraries give you +1 dollar for everything you sell. The catch is that you have to spend an entire day in school or a library to get this bonus. They have to start there, and not move that villager for the day.

Getting More People:

If a family member dies, they can go into town and get new people for a price. At least 20 dollars worth of assets must be traded for a person. This can include houses, money, food, water, etc.

If both members of a family die, community members may go into town and spend 20 dollars worth of assets to get a person for that player.




Children can be born whenever the family feels like it if the wife doesn’t have HIV/AIDS. To have a child, roll a D10. If the roll is a 6 or higher a child is born.

Limit 2 children per generation of the family. No incest, you can converse with the other villagers to determine marriage prices and so forth.

Children take 5 days to mature into adults. During childhood they may not visit town. They can only move 10 spaces a day. They can still carry weapons; gather food and water, etc. Children obviously cannot produce more offspring.

Natural Disasters:


 Flooding occurs randomly. After the first rebel attacks, the rebel player rolls a D10 to determine in how many days wills the river flood.

When the river floods its banks raise an extra five spaces. Flooding lasts for one day only, and wipes out all walls, buildings, and people that are in the way.

Water cannot be collected this day.


Just like flooding, sandstorms are determined by the roll of a D10 after the first rebel attacks.

They cover the whole land area and last for one day. Anyone who is not inside a building for this day is killed. No food or water collection.






There have been three playtesting games of this so far. All have gone well, but I think only one got the chance to finish. This was before the children and natural disasters rules, so we’ll see how that goes. From what I’ve noticed, people are enjoying this game even though it is long and complicated. Everything has been running pretty smoothly, which was not expected. We have been trying different things each go around.

I am currently trying to develop a digital copy of this game due to the success in class. Plus I think RTS’s are more fun on the computer anyway. I know there is a game called Darfur is Dying, which is similar. That is where my inspiration came from actually. The link is here. http://www.darfurisdying.com/ check it out.