I received a wonderful email from a Mars Colony customer in Italy by the name of Tazio. He had given the game a try with great success. However, his concern was that there was no way to keep track of the lies that Kelly was telling throughout the story. As he put it, there was no sense that Kelly was “actually creating a new skeleton in his closet, which could be discovered and turned up.” To fix this problem, Tazio created a simple solution. Every time Kelly chose the route of deception, the players would take a new index card and record whatever lie, or “skeleton,” Kelly had created in the scene. As Tazio put it:
This had the side effect of creating truly edgy situations, as the skeletons became de facto flags just like the fear cards.
I thought the idea was a good one, and wanted to share it with all of you. I especially like how, if a Scandal occurs later on in the game, these Deception Cards would provide a reminder of exactly the sort of things that Kelly had done in the past to create such a furor. They might also help to inspire the Governor, for example, to create certain related types of opposition in future scenes.
The U.S. mid-term elections are fast approaching. I encourage everyone to go out and vote next Tuesday, November 2, 2010.
In honor of the political system that has given us all so much, I’m offering $2 off your next order of Mars Colony (pdf or book) or Hero’s Banner (pdf only). All you have to do is post, tweet, or otherwise tell me what politician, living or dead, you’d most like to play Mars Colony with. Send me your response (or a link to your response) along with you PayPal payment, and I’ll refund your order by $2.
Sale ends midnight, November 2.
One of the best things about having a good friend that also happens to be a skilled machinist is that he has the access and know-how to make you things like this for your birthday:
It’s made out of aluminum, cut on a CNC machine, and chromed. Thanks Rich!
After the whirlwind that is Gen Con, I usually like to take bit of time to simply fulfill orders, email customers directly, and generally play some of the other games I picked up. Well, I’ve done that, and then some. Now it’s time to take stock of what’s actually happened.
Mars Colony sold well for a small press release at the Con. Of those people who have played the game, I am nothing but happy. The rules seem to be communicating how to play the game well. And although sci-fi and politics is not the hottest genre in the gaming market, Mars Colony has certainly connected with a particular subset.
Tim C. Koppang’s Mars Colony, found at the Design Matters booth, is a tiny package of great ambition. In this two player game, the attempts of a colonial governor to right the many crises besetting a troubled Martian settlement provide a framework for the participants’ feelings about government and personal failure. The game brings the author’s interior life to the game table in a way few others have attempted.
There have also been some very nice actual play threads popping up on Story Games. For example, this is from Bret Gillian’s actual play thread, “Find a doctor, Roberts!”:
Kelly Perkins hiring a hitman to kill Council-member Stuart, who was one of the people to stand up against Kelly Perkins’s universal healthcare plan. He was actually one of the key individuals indirectly fostering anti-government terrorism. After his death, terrorist attacks subsided and there were rumors that he was supporting them more directly.
After initially passing a limp compromise bill that was never really intended to kick in, a gravity normalizer malfunction causes mass injuries in one of the domes revealing that healthcare is still a problem. The gravity normalizer malfunction, by the way, was caused by a new experimental wire created by a graduate physics student that was supposed to correct the problems in the old normalizers. The public blames Perkins.
Another interesting tidbit that I did not expect is the high ratio of international sales to U.S. sales. I’ve sold books and PDFs to people on almost every continent! Mars Colony seems to be doing especially well in Europe. Either Gregor has been pumping my game more than I know, or there is some sort of pent up demand for sci-fi overseas. Either way, I’ll take it!
Thanks to everyone who has purchased, played, and/or enjoyed Mars Colony so far. I hope the word gets out to everyone else who might enjoy political sci-fi and story-telling.
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure this is the best photograph taken all year, by anyone.
Is anyone going to eat that cupcake?
Yesterday I sent the final PDFs for Mars Colony to the printer! I think the game and the book turned out wonderfully. Now I begin the anxious process of waiting for the proof. Color is very important to the cover, and so I’m a bit worried that something will get lost in the translation from screen to print. I’ll just have to wait and see.
For anyone interested, the book will be 50 pages long. There will be eight full color photographs included, all taken during the NASA Mars rover and orbiter missions. The book dimensions are on the smaller size, but not too small. It will be a 6” x 6” square. My hope is that it will look bold and a bit stark. I’m really excited to see the final product.
Well, it’s official. I will be releasing Mars Colony this summer, and exhibiting it at Gen Con 2010. I am very excited to be at the Design Matters booth, along with fellow designers, Nathan D. Paoletta, Kevin Allen Jr., Gregor Hutton, Epidiah Ravachol, Elizabeth Shoemaker, Shreyas Sampat, Daniel Solis, Clint Krause, Cassie Krause, and Joe Prince. What a line-up!
Work on Mars Colony continues. I’ve received some great playtest feedback and now need to integrate all of the changes into a near final draft. This will involve yet more playtesting by me to make sure that I haven’t strayed too far from my original vision. From there, it’ll be off to layout, proofing, and the printer. As I’ve said before, all artwork for the game will be taken from NASA’s public doman (full color!) image galleries.
Speaking of NASA, it appears as if the Spirit rover has finally begun to give up the ghost after six years of operation. It’s struggling with broken wheels, dust covered solar panels, and an upcoming Martian winter. May it wake from hibernation when the sun returns.