The Week of ToyconPH2016

When I first started my blog a month ago, I wanted to post every week to challenge and force myself to write. I didn’t have to write long or deep things; I just had to write and write. Less than a month later, I failed. I did not expect ToyconPH and the game design events that came with it to be so exhausting and time-consuming. Lesson learned: plan blog posts in advance so that if anything urgent suddenly pops out, I have the leeway. (Though now the problem now is finding time to write stuff in advance.)

Eric Lang at ToyconPH

ToyconPH ran from the weekend of June 10-12. Balangay Entertainment volunteered to help Gaming Library and UnpubPH at the talk of one of the most prolific game designers of our time: Eric Lang. If you don’t know him, you might know his games:

  • Blood Rage
  • Game of Thrones LCG
  • XCOM: The Board Game
  • Star Wars: The Card Game
  • and many many more
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For Glory!

The talk itself happened on June 11, Saturday. We were tasked to usher the attendees, set up the room, and record the audio of the talk.

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Marx “testing” the mics
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I knew my audio engg skillz would come in handy someday!

The room was jam-packed. The talk itself was only supposed to be around an hour long but since everyone was so enthusiastic, it stretched to more than 2 hours. Even then there were still many unanswered question from the crowd. (I was the microphone guy.)

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Full house

I can’t even begin to list all the tidbits of game design wisdom and experience that Eric Lang shared. If you are into game design or just curious about games in general, you can listen to the whole talk below. Sorry though if the audio isn’t so good. I made a mistake with the settings of my audio recorder.

New Games Acquisitions

After the talk, GamingLibrary was having a sale. I ended up buying three games for uhh “Research Purposes”. We got Colt Express, the Game of Thrones Board Game, and Eldritch Horror. We also bought Board Games that Tell Stories: a book about game design.

Cramming Trese Case Files

In exchange for helping out at the talk, Eric Lang agreed to playtest some local games the following Wednesday, June 15. Rewind back to before Toycon, we were told we could only bring one game to the playtest. We chose to bring Energy Superstar™ since it was already prototyped and ready to be tested. During Toycon week, we were told we could bring another game. Trese Case Files was nowhere near ready to be played the next week but the opportunity was just too good to waste. Eric Lang is known for making games based on licenses and we wanted to hear his advice for our own endeavor.

Without really thinking if it could be done with the time given, I crammed the design of Trese Case Files in preparation for the playtest. I worked on it day and night and was barely able to finish it on Tuesday.

I’ll write more about the Eric Lang playtest in a follow-up post. We actually didn’t get too much time but he still gave great advice on how to improve the game.

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Trese Case Files prototype at the Eric Lang playtest

Aftermath

I was so exhausted from the two weeks of nonstop game design that on Thursday, I couldn’t really think straight. Everyone was tired from the crammed prototyping and losing a weekend that we ended up just playing Dungeons and Dragons Wrath of Ashardalon on Thursday then Colt Express and Eldritch Horror on Friday (hard days at work “researching”). The games weren’t enough R&R for me though. I had a splitting migraine Thursday night and ended up sleeping 11 hours.

And that’s basically my excuse for not posting last week. In the next post I’ll go more into the details of the Eric Lang playtest and the stuff we learned 🙂

Follow Nico Valdez:

Game Designer

Nico is a game designer, programmer, songwriter, ex-audio engineer, amateur fiction writer, and president of Balangay Entertainment®. One of the less competitive members of Balangay, Nico only wins against 2k, Marx, and Aya when he's played the game before and they haven't. Nico always wins against Aa. He'll play almost anything as long as it's not loud. He likes euro games for their strategy and thematic games for their roleplaying. He doesn't like party games that much because they get too noisy for his ear disability.

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