Bunker 13 – Coming Soon

This week we have been pushing forward to finish our second Social Deduction game “Bunker 13”. Based on day/night games like werewolf, players must defend their bunker from raiders and mutants to survive the cold nuclear winter.

Narrator cards also help new players get to grips with how to play, avoiding the awkward problem of them forgetting which roles are in the game!

Coming soon to free print and play

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Playtesting extra: Tatorship

Today we had a go playing a guest game in development: Tatorship by MakerofGames

Tatorship rules

Checking the rules

Once we had worked out the rules we dug straight into a 3 player game – Russia, China and America in the runnings!

Trump taking their turn

Frantic action by Trump

Russia gets a good deal of force to play with, and America gets cash. 

Putin on the Ritz - game in play

Putin on the Ritz

Putin working toward government…

Putin is looking very sparkly

Running out of beads stolen from Cthulu Dice

Following this World War Potato broke out – leaving Putin the winner with 42 force to 38. A third player ended with 20 and was knocked out of the war quickly.

With a clear winner with 8 Tatorpoints we called it a day. 

It was a fun game with a good theme however:

  • We couldn’t quite work out from the rules what the real difference between force, potatoes(?) And money was. We just ended up swapping them for influence.
  • We couldn’t quite work out what was needed for some of the parts such as getting into power
  • We didnt understand the rule on buying laws
  • The Edward snowden cards didn’t seem to have a place so we left them out.
  • We thought having actual counters rather than penciling numbers worked better and was more fun

Overall it was fun and led to some good stories, but would definitely take some of the “fluff” out.

Playtest: Village life I

Edit: Now being developed as a full board game! Follow along herehere, or pledge $1 to get it when it’s completed!

Today we playtested Village life for the first time – the first board game I have created and looked forward to seeing the results!

We playtested it for about 30 minutes until we ran out of time and ended up roughly with a winner – though a longer playtest would be ideal.

Game playtesting for village life

Manic playtesting!

It went pretty well overall but the economy needs fixing somewhat – currently some buildings are too expensive in comparison to others and this can mean some players feel short changed. An example of this is the mine/smithy economy. Currently there are only 3 mining spaces on the boards and smithies are more expensive to build as they require iron.

Food however has more spaces and doesn’t require resources to build. In the market though the resources are all with the same, and convert into “products”, with the same value.

To overcome this one of two things could be changed:

1) The buildings are made equal in price (which could make it too similar to be interesting)

2) The mines and smithies produce dlgoods that sell for different/higher amounts (would we need additional counters to show these? Would also need additional testing)

The Council part of the game, where players fight to become the Noble

The second part of the game is one that, after some explaining, also worked well, but needs work to gel with the first part. This is the Town Council part, that comes into play once the Village has been constructed. Playtesters enjoyed the council aspect, but noone really used their powers – except to bribe others. The arresting mechanic also needs work as could be too powerful.

Finally the game needs to be designed for more players. I have made it for 4 solely due to the amount of cards I have printed, but think it would work with more. I am getting more coins etc in the post soon, so should be able to test this out.

Current state:

Mechanics: mostly work!

Design: Fiddly and impractical

Playtesters view: Generally positive! Some confusion regarding the interaction between the different ‘games’.

The Village portion of the game, where players build up their own economy as well as that of the village.

Things to do: 

Further playtesting of current version

Update smithies to work in economy

Make 4 further player cards

Flatten the crazy game board so everything doesn’t fall into the middle!

Make council gel with village part

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

Focus on: 8 versions of SS Sandbrook

A little review of some of the changes to the SS Sandbrook game over the last year of playtesting and updates.


The game started as an offshoot from a defunct game called “Sandbrook Museum”, a board game where players work to either place 6 artifacts and two ritual objects before daybreak (10 rounds) or prevent this from happening. Sandbrook Museum also started the Sandbrook series of game, based in a small town with a steam punk and Lovecraftian theme.

Placing artifacts on the board also caused players to become confused or go mad, causing different effects such as making good players place more artifacts etc.

Good players could also end the game early by placing 7 research cards onto the board before the final artifact was placed.

Sandbrook musem game board

A later version of the Sandbrook Museum game board

Playtesting revealed that, whilst fun, players were confused as to when to play the different cards and felt that it was too obvious who the good and evil players were within a couple of rounds.

Sandbrook Museum was later developed into a card only game following feedback that it would be nice to have a portable / card version of the game. The game worked better as a board game though so the idea was quickly scrapped, however the ideas and characters involved in it were taken and used to develop later into SS Sandbrook and Sandbrook Heist.

Version 1-3

SS Sandbrook developed as an offshoot, following on from the incidents that took place in Sandbrook Museum. The cult has found an inquisitor aboard a steamship and intend to take him out before he can report back. The inquisitor player must work with the other members of the ship to route out the cult before they are all turned against him, he is killed, or the ship is destroyed.

In the first version there were only the same characters as in Sandbrook Museum, the Inquisitor – though with new found powers (to actually do something!), the Mystic (formerly ‘the Seer’) , the Traitor, the Tycoon, the Tourist and the Doctor. They also discarded their names to become just titles based on feedback from players.

In version 3, Miss Waintrop, now known as the Tourist was dropped as unnecessary and not a fun character to play as (she could only play grey cards).

The Tourist player reappeared occasionally to add an extra player to the game when needed, but has officially not been part of the game since version 3.

Game character card

Wainthropp – Museum style

Tourist character card

Wainthropp – Steamship style

Party game card which makes two players skip their turn

Players were quick to point out that this just essentially means “pick up another three cards”

Chat game card which does nothing

Noone wants a chat anymore!

Some of the grey cards were also dropped as not being fun to play and therefore taking up space where more usable cards could be. These were dropped from the game.

Version 4-6

A redesign to the card layout removed the “in hand/pick up” icons and mechanic – players were often either confused by it or ignored it completely. When it was used it often also wasn’t fun. Eventually any cards that targeted the player solely because they picked it up were scrapped as players found that (unsurprisingly) becoming injured for picking up a card wasn’t fun.

This shows the importance of constant playtesting and updating your games -if something isn’t fun you won’t always recognise it yourself but others will!

New characters: the Shapeshifter appeared to take over other players’ lives. The Shapeshifter allowed another player to take part but as more of a neutral character than strictly good or evil. This character is also a slow burner, better for slightly longer games of over 15 minutes as the longer they are in play, the more powerful they become, eventually being able to kill others outright.

The Engineer and the Seducer also appeared alongside the shapeshifter, helping to fix the ship and turn people to their will.

Kraken character card for SS Sandbrook game

The Kraken! He has his own deck, own agenda and is out to get you all!

With version 5 also came the first iteration of the Kraken character, an admin role I originally created to be able to help run the games but without being one of the main characters. This character didn’t get playtests until version 7, and has changed little since except for taking a few of the more crazy cards out (like the one that changed everyone’s characters around – somewhat out of the games theme).

Call of madness game card, lovecraft themed

Funny – but a game ruiner. Discarded.

Between version 5 and 7, the markers for expansions were also discarded. You will be able to see on some of the cards a circle with “base”, “broken” or “Kraken” on. The base game and broken expansion (engineer/seducer characters) were rolled together and after version 6 were removed altogether as it confused players. In version 5 and 6 the card backs were also different to show the cards as from an expansion deck (I wanted it to be quick to playtest with and without the expansion). Playtests found they could work out who each others characters were by looking at the card backs, so this was scrapped for version 7.

Version 8 (Current playtesting version)

In version 8 the Kraken character made its proper debut as a playable character rather than an idea. With it came a few other characters which allows the playtests to get further play out of the game by changing how the dynamic works.

Apart from the Kraken (above), players can also chose from the Captain, the Cook, and The Collaborator. The Captain can work somewhat against the Kraken with the Engineer, the cook can defend other players but also poison players who are eating making that card much more dangerous. The Collaborator is a new version of the secret cultist with his own orange deck, the ability to play cultist cards and imune to one of the inquisitors powers. This is a powerful character, but has found to be fairly balanced and add a different tactic to gameplay.

A change to the cult has also been added, there are two cultists if there are more than 6 players – one secret (or collaborator) and one “known” cultist, making the cult more powerful.

Murdered players now also discard their cards on death, meaning that they cannot take cards out of the game as some players were doing on purpose and elimination cards also now take effect immediately to avoid confusion

Changes for version 9 so far are:

Need to sort out layout errors such as making captain the right colour (blue rather than grey).

Editing the rules to make more concise and change the order in which players are dealt characters to avoided having one over powered character.

I will continue to update this page as changes occur over time, but hope that this has been a little insight into how one particular game has developed over time through playtesting!

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