Our little ‘Cult’ of Sandbrook Pt. 2

Part 2: Latest News: Danger on Board!
Part 1

SS Sandbrook sinking in flames

Terror on Board!

News has come in about trouble aboard the SS Sanbrook. Telecomunications sent from the Captain during the night indicate foul play. Apparantly members of the crew were awoken suddenly when an explosion rocked the ship in the night. On investigating the engine rooms our famed Mystic Madame Fazir saw a robed person leaving the scene. A statement fron Sandbrook Shipping indicates that a royal inquisitor is on board and may be the target of the attack. Negociations between the Sandbrook Cult and the Inquisition came to an explosive end last month following the assasination of Head Inquisitor Lord Broderic and this could be linked.

Want to find out what really happened aboard? Mystery on the SS Sandbrook is our free to print and play card game for September. You can find it here from the first of September.

Heist at Sandbrook Museum!


The only released picture on record of the person known only as “The Mastermind”

A heist at Sandbrook Museum took place on Monday, with thieves taking several valuble treasures, including an ancient book supposed to be over 3000 years old! According to the local investigation team the task was well planned and has lead to the arrest and investigation of 2 suspects, one of which has been released without charge. According to our sources, the person known only as ‘The Mastermind’ left his calling card of a bloodied severed hand at the museum and a message to the investigation team stating simply “He lives”. Very strange!

Sandbrook Heist! is a free print and play card game currently in development for a late 2017, early 2018 release.

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Summer Shutdown

Morning all!

Those of you who follow this blog know that as a teacher the bulk of my playtesting is done with my students in a school club at lunchtimes and after school. Well today is the last day of the Summer term!

What this means is that you’ll see a change in the weekly schedule as there isn’t likely to be any playtests – however that doesn’t mean that work stops! We’ve got a few things lined up in the pipeline including :

Will link to these as they come out above 👍

Keep up the good work all – have a great Summer break!

Sunday Progress Update: 11th June 2017

Hi all! Here’s our roundup of this week’s progress, an overview of what’s available and what’s coming soon.

What’s available to download or order now?

Free for anyone

Pocket Munch: see here

Let’s Photograph: see here

Free to Patrons

Cat Academy Micro Battle 0.8: a wallet game version of Cat Academy, see below.

The Lowest Bidder 1.0: a simple wallet card game where player’s compete to sell their products.

Harle games, the lowest bidder card front

$5 subs: 

SS Sandbrook 0.7 print and play, see below

$20 subs:

Sandbrook Heist Alpha 0.2, see below

Cat Academy Beta 0.7, see below

Don’t forget Patrons are only charged when a full, complete card or board game is released not every month, and it doesn’t cost you a penny to sign up!

What have we been working on this week?

Village life version 2 being played at Harle Games

Village life under heavy (messy) Playtesting

Village Life: currently working on prototype 3, an economy game designed for teenagers, but with a complexity that adults will also enjoy. We have been Playtesting version II this week and the players are enjoying it, but the economy needs a little tweaking to make it more enjoyable. Playtime currently between 30 minutes to an hour. More info here, and here.

Game mechanics: 0.4
Artwork: 0.2
Rules and rulebook: 0.4
Costings: 0.5

SS Sandbrook: A social deduction card game for 3- 9 players. Version 0.7 has been playtested fully and we are now finalising version 0.8 for printing. We hope to have this as the first finished release to Patrons in the next month or so. An expansion is also currently on hold at 0.3 whilst we complete the main game. More info here and here.

Game mechanics: 0.8
Artwork: 0.2
Rules and rulebook: 0.6
Costings: 0.7

Sandbrook Heist! A quick social deduction card game. Currently playtesting version 0.2 with an update to 0.3 in the pipeline.

Game mechanics: 0.5
Artwork: 0.1
Rules and rulebook: 0.3
Costings: 0.9


Sandbrook Heist v0.2 printed for playtesting. Also shown ‘Spell Wars’ not currently being worked on

Unnamed kid’s matching game, basic emotional vocabulary. Idea stage. To be used in schools / young parents. Likely to be released free to Patrons.

See here

What’s also in the pipeline?
Current progress of all games not mentioned above:

Cat Academy Battle: a fun, fast mix and match game about getting the best Cat you can. Players match adjectives to their Cat cards to earn the most points they can in a round. In Battle! Mode, players also fight for their team – friendly or ferocious.

Version number: 0.7
Game mechanics: 0.7
Artwork: 0.6
Rules and rulebook: 0.5
Costings: 0.7

Evolve! A new 3 round board game where players build up their plant and animals over 3 seperate rounds. Taking on a different plant/animal each time with winner takes (eats?) all. Printed but not Playtesting due to time restraints. Pre-alpha stage.

Tranquility Station: players arrive, job cards in hand to their first job on a space station. Chaos ensues as traitors, aliens and viruses spread through the ship. Board game for up to 8 players. More info here. Pre-alpha stage.

Tranquility station being played online

Tranquillity Station on TTS

Sins of Satan: My own card game based on “Secret Hitler”, where players try to to promote virtues and stop Satan from playing Sin cards. More info here. A quicker play through designed for a younger audience.

Version number: 0.7
Game mechanics: 0.7
Artwork: 0.3
Rules and rulebook: 0.7
Costings: 0.8


One of the sins players must try and avoid

A note on game versions, alphas, betas etc.

Alpha means it is in a playable state, but either untested or needs a lot of work.

Beta means it is playable and has been well playtested, but requires some additional work or finishing off.

Version number: How close we are to completing the game overall.
Game mechanics: How close we are to having the mechanics tested and set in stone
Artwork: How much artwork we have completed for the game, usually the final part.
Rules and rulebook: How much the rules are set and the rulebook written and edited.
Costings: How far we have cost/benefited the game and considered publishing costs etc.

0.0 – 0.4: Game/area is in early stages.
0.4 – 0.7: Game has been well Playtesting but requires work.
0.8 – 0.9: Game is in the final stages of completion, usually lacking final editing, artwork etc.
1.0: Game is completed and released. “Free for all” games will have a blog entry with download. Others will be available to download through Patreon as completed.

Comments and suggestions? Want to see something not shown? Please let us know in the comments below!

State of the game: Heist II, playtest and changelog

Heist! Has made its way through its second round of playtesting and is ready for an update. Its been professionally printed, been playtested about 50 times now and is recieving positive feedback from the playtesters.

Game cards made professionally

Properly printed cards!

In response to feedback here are the updates to version 3 and the challenges we still face:

Rules have been rewritten and updated to be more concise and include an FAQ.

The number of cards available to non-critical player characters has reduced from 7 to 5 to avoid duplicates and make more concise. This also allows for an 8th player character to be trialed: The Plague Doctor.

New character the plague doctor

An eighth character addition?

Two of the Catburgular’s cards have been changed in response to feedback that they are a boring character to play. I don’t want to scrap this character just yet, but need to find a good way of making them enjoyable to play.

Removed the Cultists’ “everyone miss a go” card as no-one used it in most of the games.

Currently there is an odd number of cards in the game (70 something), which will need addressing as it will make it difficult or expensive to print.

A few spelling updates etc also corrected.

Will update when the cards arrive to see how they came out when properly printed. I can also then begin blind testing properly in version 4 hopefully!

Alpha card design

Alpha Test III card back

FYI Artwork currently just placeholder art to give people the idea of what’s happening in the game 😀
 Heist! Is available for download to early adopters on our patreon

State of the game – Sandbrook Heist!

Playtesting of Heist version II was completed earlier today, with three games taking approx 20 minutes once everyone had arrived and set up. 

Set up was pretty quick as there are only 50 cards in total with 6 of them as the character cards. It was the same playgroup as the previous version so little explaining of the rules was needed and playtesting got under way quickly.

We ended up with a fair spread of points over the three games, one player ending with 5 points and the rest between 3 and 1. One unlucky player not received any points having been on the losing team each time! Players seem to enjoy it though even when not winning. Having no cards that remove players from the game seems to have been a good decision.

Playtesting heist version 1

Heist during play – here most of the cards are face down and not visible to the majority of players. Theres a card protecting one player, and another has had his turn skipped by the red player. We can probably deduce that the yellow is the mastermind and the red a policeman or investigator that the red player has guessed.

Having designed the game for a further 2 players it will be interesting to see how 8 players affects the dynamic as it is working well with 6. I would still like to see it expanded to allow further variation etc. Variation has definitely helped keep SS Sandbrook fresh for the playtesters, who still come to play at lunchtime months later.

Playtesting with revealed cards

Here we can see that as expected the player with the yellow card protecting them was the mastermind. With a final plan card the mastermind is due to win on their next turn, collecting 3 treasures for his team – not a massive win, but a win nonetheless.

Further playtesting this week so hopefully some good feedback leading to further changes as needed. Will update when I have more!

Playtesting in action with 7th character added

Lunchtime blind playtest

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Sandbrook Heist: expanding outwards and beyond

Now that Heist seems to be mechanically successful (and more importantly fun!) I have begun thinking about how to expand and improve it. Link to try it for yourself is at the bottom.

Currently version 1 is:

6 players, 2 police and 4 criminals.

Criminal players include one mastermind who must collect and play 3 out of 5 plan cards in order to win. The other criminals must help the mastermind but can also steal treasure for themselves. The criminal players so far are the street urchin, the cat-burglar and the ignoble gentleman.

In total there are 50 cards, meaning it can be printed out as a simple deck of cards pretty simply. 

Further to this I also have ideas for two more players – the cultist; a criminal who also converts players to his own team allowing them to win and the fallen wrench, who uses medicine to either help or hinder other players. 

Link to version 1 playtest Link (Edited to update to V.2, correcting spelling errors and changing face up/face down cards)


Players are dealt one character card face down each

Players begin with 3 cards from the deck and pick up three each turn. Previous winner begins or randomly.

All players close their eyes, the Police and Investigator open their eyes so they know who each other are. Everyone opens their eyes. 

On their turn players pick up three cards then discard any cards they have which they do not want, or are the wrong team (eg criminals cannot hold police cards) into a discard deck next to the play deck. They may then either play any cards of their character on themselves or other players. They may also pass cards to other players face down.

Cards played on other players are put in front of their character cards either face up or face down. Passed cards are given directly into their hands.

Treasure cards are placed face down in the center of the table. The mastermind also plays “plan” cards into the center of the table alongside them. 

Both police and criminals play treasure cards. At the end of the game the winning player colects any treasure from the center of the table and can give them our (or not!) To his team (or who he thinks is his team). These count as points for the round until the game ends, players run out of time etc.

The game ends when the mastermind is investigated by the investigator (after having a detain or arrest card played on them), or the mastermind plays three plan cards.

Any treasure in front of characters (stolen from the middle) gives them additional points at the end of the round.

Any questions or ideas? Let us know!

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Sandbrook Heist! First playtest

First playtest of the new social deduction game done – two games taking approx 10 minutes each.

Game went well overall for a first test, mechanics fairly solid however need to work on the rules for the masterminds plans. There are too many being recieve therefore need to either have less plan cards or have more played to win. The plan cards also too easily show who the mastermind is – perhaps have them face down in future? The mastermind would need to remember how many they have played.

Secondly the investigator has had trouble recieve their cards, so have been slow to act. A better amount of cards for investigator and police would help here. Police and investigator cards also need varying to keep interest over multiple games.

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