New News No. 7

Hi internet, it’s that irregular time of month / season / harvest cycle / conventions season. I’m back from PAX and full of inspiration and con crud. On with the news!


It was fantastic to meet so many gamers and roll so many dice over the long weekend of PAX. We lost track of the number of times we played Ragnarol but hundreds upon hundreds of Vikings died imaginary deaths throughout the weekend.  You can find some pictures of the event on the End Game Games Facebook page, but if you’ve got any pictures yourself, perhaps taken with more stable hands than mine, please share them around. If you want more news from PAX, check out my PAX specific wrap up.

Ragnarol: The Long Summer

Ragnarol stood up to a full 3 days of demos and though it did bend, it did not break. I’ll be working on some balancing issues over the next couple of weeks, in order to get the heroes performing equally well and making sure that a glory victory is possible but pretty dangerous. This will be a long summer of development for Ragnarol but we should have a finished game in just a few months! Those of you at PAX saw a combination of actual art and pictures of people dressed up as Vikings from the internet, if you weren’t at PAX, check out the Ragnarol page on or our Boardgamegeek page to see where we’re headed with the art (and let us know what you think!).

Next, I’ll be sending out playtest packets (hopefully before the end of the month) to interested raiding parties (of which I’ve got more than a few). If you’d like to add yourself to the list, just reply to this email. In the meantime, I’ve got still got some dice stickering to do.

Hedron: Clarifications

It was great to get Hedron back on the table after a few weeks off while I went into turbo development for Ragnarol. I’ve started to have a few rules queries float back to me, and have started to put together a FAQ. If you do have a question, it’s probably frequently asked so please don’t hesitate to ask it of me, so it can also be frequently answered. Also, if you’re ever in the middle of a game and can’t decide how something works, don’t let yourself get bogged down, just pick an interpretation of the rules and roll with it. If your group has multiple interpretations, roll your flux dice and let the player with highest flux result pick the interpretation.

During the weekend, I also got to introduce the game to a great deal of players face-to-face. I was really happy to be see that moment where it suddenly clicked and players grasped the chain concept and move from confusion to mastery. I also got to experience some problematic interpretations of the Ram card, and after reading the card with fresh eyes, I believe the problem’s in my wording, not in player’s interpretation. The exact wording has been something that I was tinkering with to try and get just right and was briefing new players during balance testing. It was definitely a 1st time designer mistake not to put the final wording in front of a completely new player and watch the inevitable mistake happen. I’ve added an errata to the FAQ, but if you prefer your own interpretation, just roll with it. It will make the Ram card more powerful, and the game more dangerous. I will be making some changes to the Print and Play files and sending them out to backers to reflect the revision as soon as possible.

After getting a question about one of the maps for Hedron, I’ve also taken the time to put together a little campaign guide to better brief the players on what they could expect from each map and to give them a recommended path of progression through the maps. As well as some additional tips for designing your own battle galaxies.

Once again, thanks for reading along and sharing the journey with me.

Best, Jason


Hedron Campaign Guide

Greeting super advanced energy space beings,

At the time of writing this, I’ve just finished three full days of demoing, both for Hedron and my new game Ragnarol. I’ve also got some more copies out there and a few questions floating back to me. I’ve added some rule clarifications (the major one is Ram), and I also wanted to give players a little bit more guidance about how to approach the recommended maps. After the list below, I’ve included a little brief for each map, but if you’d prefer to discover the strategy of each maps, you can just go through this list in order. Skip all the way to the end for some guidance on how to design your very own battle galaxies. Continue reading

New News No. 6

Whoa, it’s been a few months since I’ve updated you, the internet, with news (although there was in fact a super secret New News no. 5 sent to out to super secret list). Since the last New News, I've delivered a Kickstarter, rescued a toddler from a burning building and got stuck back into development for Ragnarol… okay, one of those things is a lie, keep reading to find out!

Hedron: Counting up points

If you’re a Hedron backer, you should have just received you an update telling you that Hedron is on it’s way to being 100% delivered with packages going out to Aussie backers this week. If you’re not a backer, I’ll have a bunch of copies to sell at PAX and there’ll always be a digital version available for purchase online. I've still got a lot of dice rolling around in my head and I hope to come back to Hedron in the not too distant future. In the meantime, you can find some unboxing pics on the End Game Games Facebook or on Hedron’s Boardgamegeek page (a few got rejected, though).

Ragnarol: Apocalypse Pending

After finishing up Hedron, I had a look at my development schedule for Ragnarol and burned it. I was trying real hard to get Ragnarol ready to launch at PAX, but one of my key takeaways from the development of Hedron is that game development takes time, and Ragnarol just isn't ready yet. I’m now hoping for a release date of early next year but my number 1 priority is making the game as awesome as mythologically possible. In the meantime, I’ve got the Boardgamegeek page up with some teaser images.

I’m taking the time to examine a few of past me’s assumptions about the game, and this put development back a little as I’ve fiddled around with a few elements that weren’t sitting right with present me after the past year of development experience. After exploring a few different options, I’ve come back to the table with some minor improvements and a much requested addition, variable player powers. The current version is now running stable and I’ll be putting it through the gauntlet with 3 full days of demos at PAX. After that, I plan to be releasing those blind playtest packets I keep promising before Christmas.

Sonic Blast

We’re still rocking on with Tablepop, but have come to accept that our production schedule will always be a little erratic. We’d love to be able to put them out on a monthly basis but for the time being, it’s not our top priority (it comes slightly behind game development, putting food on the table and maintaining sanity). We’re 6 epsidoes deep now, with our latest episode on Star Wars released earlier this month.

If you don’t mind some slightly dodgy audio, you can also hear me talk with Allen Chang, co-designer of Rise to Power, about how we started making games with Toby and Lin from ATGN. Toby and Lin did a really great job of keeping us focussed and hopefully we provided some insights into getting started with game development. I also talked to the guys from the Action Points podcast about Hedron, Ragnarol and games in general. The Action Points podcast covers pop culture topics, including tabletop games, and have interviewed a bunch of Aussie designers recently, which has bumped them to the top of my listening list (also, fair warning some of their content is adult oriented, but the board game interviews are generally family friendly).

Thanks for reading along! You can expect some pictures from PAX and some more design diaries in November.

The Asia-Pacific Solution

Last industry post, I talked a little about my experiences at TAGE but there was one thing I didn’t mention, mainly because it was part of an elaborate self-delusion. In the lead up to the expo, the organisers announced the attendance of publishers Indie Boards and Cards and Stronghold Games. Both respected and awesome game companies, and this got me more than a little excited. Number one, I really wanted the Lancelot promo for Resistance: Avalon, and number two, publishers were actually coming to Australia! Heck, maybe they’ve heard of a lost tribe of game designers and ventured to the Great South Land in search of the next Francis Drake or Sushi Go. This was not the case. As the show got closer and closer, more and more publishers were announced, and I started to sense something was wrong. I was short a few prototype pieces for Ragnarol and contacted Mayday, another announced publisher, about getting some of their very nice wooden resources for Euro games. They got back to me, and said they would have no representative at the fair. It finally dawned on me, I was living a lie. Continue reading

Hedron Designer Diary 9

Hedron is launching on Kickstarter today, and I’m happy to say there’s been no changes since the last designer diary. Hedron’s stable and ready for some public scrutiny. This is going to be the first in a series of diaries that I’ll post throughout the campaign, looking back at Hedron’s development and focusing on my 5 design goals, but first… Continue reading

Hedron Designer Diary 8

Hedron’s been almost finished for quite a long time now. I’m in that final 5% that seems to be taking twice as long as the last 10%. The last few iterations have seen no major design changes, the system is working really well and I’m finally getting the climatic end game that I’ve always aimed for.

The Final Finish

I arrived at the final end game and scoring mechanic after being pretty happy with the current state of the game. Everything was working well, the game felt balanced and even, rewarding strategic play but with enough of a risk element to make catch-up viable. After being happy that the game played well with normal people, we decided to push it a little further and give the game an extra good shove to see if anything fell out, and one thing did. With the Flux mechanic, players were open to a variety of viable strategies but we discovered one strategy shut the others down and led to a slightly miserable end game. Continue reading

The Search for Community

About a month ago, I had someone ask me question on Twitter. Is there an Australian board game developers / designer community? And my answer at the time was, “Not really.” Now, there’s definitely Australian board game designers (let’s name drop Brisbanite Peter Hawes and the friendly and generous Phil Walker-Harding who gave a talk at the Protospiel at TAGE) and there’s definitely an Australian board game community (no references, needed!) but the convergence of the two just didn’t seem significant enough in my head to warrant recognising a separate community. Continue reading

New News No. 4

Hey internet friends,

This is just a quick little update to say things are in a constant process of being updated.

Games Games

There’s been a lot of development since the last New News, still primarily focused on Hedron. I’ve been rolling dice, doing stuff and achieving objectives. Hedron’s getting pretty close to done, but there’s still more work to do. Check out the latest designer diary for the full break down and write up, and expect a hot new version soon. Ragnarol is also back in development, I got a couple of really good playtesting sessions in at the Toy and Game Expo, and there’ll be a designer diary and a new version once I’ve got a chance to put the feedback into practice on real players / Vikings. Continue reading

Hedron Designer Diary 7

Since diary no. 6, I’ve been able to spend a couple of weeks holiday tweaking the game and got even more tweaking done after a day of demoing at TAGE. Thanks to the involvement of many people, the game is progressing well and I believe is very closed to being finished. Hedron seems to be engaging new players and providing a reasonably unique gaming experience. There’s been almost 2 diary entries worth of changes, so let’s get down to business (we’ll do design goals next time). Continue reading

Hedron Designer Diary 6

Just when you think you’re out, they drag you right back in. The latest playtests have been growing pretty well, the game feels tight and is proving to be engaging to pretty much anyone I can convince to sit down and play with multi-sided dice, but it doesn’t feel quite finished yet. I was hoping (and trying very hard) to get the game done and dusted before the Toy and Game Expo in July, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. Anyway, let’s get back to those design goals.
Continue reading

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