Wednesday, November 4, 2015

November Update

Hey Daikaiju Director fans! I know it's been a while since I last posted so I decided it was time for an update despite not having much to report.

There's not much going on in the development of the game at the moment, but I should be starting a new round of playtesting of the original 4 Daikaiju alongside 5 brand new monsters sometime in December/January. I'm also working on getting some concept art put together so look forward to seeing some images of the monsters you know and even some you don't in the near future.

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month again so I'm busier than ever. Any updates this month will be brief, but after November I might start posting some short fiction featuring the monsters of Daikaiju Director. I'll have to see if writing 50,000 words in a month inspires more creativity or burns me out.

Until then keep checking the site, Twitter, and Facebook for all things related to Daikaiju Director and giant monster movies in general.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Gen Con: "What is This? A Playtest for Ants?"

When they say that GenCon is "the best 4 days in gaming," they aren't joking. It was simply amazing. All of the play test slots went fantastic. Seriously, it was better than we could've ever hoped and thank you so much to everyone who participated or showed interest in Daikaiju Director. I want to especially thank Double Exposure Inc for running the First Exposure Playtest Hall so smoothly. We learned a lot and had a blast. Over 50 games were played over two days by 32 people, and we got a huge amount of feedback.

So what exactly did we learn?

Where's the Ants?

Due to a quirk with the typography of the play test slips, some people thought the were signing up for an strategy board game based on "Ant Monster Movies." With Ant Man in theaters this undoubtedly helped to a attract a few more playtesters and it inspired me to create another monster to be included in the game's release. But more on that later...

Players were very excited to play the 4 different monsters, but they wanted more. Whether they were taken straight from the Godzilla franchise or unique new monsters 1/4th of the playtesters explicitly asked for more Daikaiju in the questionnaires I handed out at the end of the play test slots. This is great because Space Hunter X, Eelian, Fenrir, and Vulcanus are just the tip of the iceberg. I really want Daikaiju Director to grow, and I've got 8 more monsters to playtest.

A Lot of People are Interested in a Kickstarter

A lot of people were interested in investing in a Kickstarter, which is fantastic. It was great to see so much support from complete strangers. Originally I was planning on starting a Kickstarter around tax return season 2016, but I don't think that's feasible anymore. I'm getting married next summer and I frankly don't think I'll have the time to get Daikaiju Director into investors' hands and on store shelves is a reasonable time-frame. I've got to push any Kickstarter or crowdfunding effort back to 2017, but don't be alarmed. This just means I'll have a bigger, more refined game when the time comes to actually produce it.

The Look

Comments on the look of Daikaiju Director varied greatly. It is going to change substantially as we get closer to the finished product. It's going to look sharper and a lot more professional. Specialized art for every twist card as well as monster art for every daikaiju is going to be commissioned. The prototype we had at GenCon was just a taste of what the finished product will be.

Game Length and Complexity

From all of the data we gathered, I believe the game length is pretty much perfect. People who had a lot of fun thought the length of games was either too short or great. People who didn't have as much fun playing thought it was a tad too long. Time flies when you're having fun. I'll include rule for modifying game length in the final release, but I think 10 scenes is pretty close to perfect. The complexity appears to be at a happy medium of not too simple and not too difficult. Those that had more fun with the game found it more simple than those that had less fun.

Randomization of the Set

More than a few people asked if the board could be rearranged or randomized. With the prototype this wasn't possible, and honestly I'm not sure randomization will be possible with the final version. I do want multiple map configurations, both to accommodate various numbers of players and to provide a multitude of scenarios. Balanced gameplay is paramount in any game, and set configuration is one area of Daikaiju Director that needs to be carefully redone. I'm working on it, and the base game is shaping up to have around 6 or so configurations, possibly more.

Wording Clarifications and Balance Tweaks

Of course, the main purpose of this play test was to uncover any wording or balance issues, and there were about as many as I expected.  Eelian's attack needs to be raised and Fenrir's defense needs to go up as well. Earthquake's range needs to be reduced one space and the wording on Vulcanus' water weakness needs to be completely redone.

Overall, most people thought Eelian was weak and under-powered compared to the other monsters, despite winning the most games. Fenrir was also viewed as under-powered in games where he died early, but overpowered in games where he stuck around until the end. This is probably caused by playtester playstyles conflicting with the Daikaiju's playstyle, but I am making some adjustments to try and make them more consistently balanced. Vulcanus was the second most frequently suggested weakest monster, which surprised me since in previous playtests he was consistently singled out as the most powerful by a large margin. I must have overcompensated in the most recent revision.

That's all for this update. I'm going to continue to tweak and test Daikaiju Director as well as implement a lot of the feedback I got at GenCon. Thanks again to everybody who came out and played!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sneak Peek of Gen Con: What's in the Box?

Continuing our series of Daikaiju Director sneak peeks leading up to Gen Con, I present to you the game box! Before I go into the reveal I wanted to inform everyone about our playtest slots in the First Exposure Playtest Hall. Come by Friday or Saturday at the below times to play some games or talk about Daikaiju Director.


  • 8AM - 10AM
  • 2PM - 4PM


  • 2PM - 4PM
  • 6PM - 8PM
We hope to see you at Gen Con!

Anyways, on to what you came here for. Without further to do I present to you the new Daikaiju Director game box:

Snazzy, right? It's a much needed update to the old boxes from the UD Con playtest. It's got the new logo and some fancy art. There's also a blurb explaining what Daikaiju Director is all about. Now let's take a look inside.

It's a bit bigger than the original. There's room for all of the components. You can see the set tiles sitting snugly in the lower left compartment. The Twist Decks for all 4 daikaiju fit in the spot to the right. The daikaiju standees are just above the decks. That leaves the upper left compartment for everything else. There's the building and lava props, along with dice and the various counters for health, energy and ratings points. Below the box you can see the 4 daikaiju cards, more about those later...

What's this?

That's right folks! We've got 2 prototypes finished. That means that we will be running 2 games at the same time during our playtest slots! That's double the dose of Daikaiju Director!

That's all for this installment. We will probably have one more post before Gen Con so keep checking the blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twiter.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sneak Peek of Gen Con: the Set

With only a few weeks between now and the Gen Con Playtest, I figured it's time to give everyone a taste of what to expect. Today's feature is all about the set. We've been hard at work creating new prototypes for playtesting. Check them out below!

Here's the configuration that we have been using for all of the play tests so far, including Gen Con. This configuration is made for 4 player games. The center of the set, which is the focus of all of the action, features a city nestled between two lakes. The rubble hexes are where building props are placed when you start the game, and the dark green spaces are Daikaiju starting positions.

Here it is in pieces. You can construct different sets with these set tiles. There are 3 main tile types.
  • Starter Tile: These tiles are just a bunch green grass and don't have any special features besides the Daikaiju starting positions. There's 2 variations of this tile.
  • Waterfront Tile: These tiles feature 1 building prop and a whole bunch of water. This hinders movement for non-aquatic monsters.
  • City Tile: These tiles are the center of attention in every game of Daikaiju Director. The have 4 building props ready to be wrecked and a lot of space for Daikaiju to duke it out!

Up top there's the bases for the building props. Put three buildings in them and place the prop on the rubble spaces on the set. Then the game is ready to play!

Take a look at it all set up! Not a bad looking set. It'd be a shame if some angry giant monsters showed up and started breaking things... Actually that would be awesome!

Here's another shot of the set featuring some lava. Looks like the city is about to be burned down thanks to Vulcanus!

Well, that's all for this round of Gen Con Sneak Peeks. Stay tuned too see what we reveal next week and spread the word about Daikaiju Director. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter before Gen Con @Daikaiju_Direct!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I'm Going to Disneylan-er I mean GenCon!

That's right folks! We're going to be at GenCon!

I'm excited to announce that Daikaiju Director will be having an official play test in the First Exposure Playtest Hall at GenCon Indy 2015. We haven't worked out all of the details yet so we can't say for certain when our test slots will be scheduled. I'll post that information as soon as it's set in stone. What I do know is that we will be running multiple games during our slots so make sure to tell your friends and stop by for some giant monster board gaming goodness!

Don't know what GenCon is? It's the best 4 days in gaming! 
Click this image for more info:

Follow us on Twitter @Daikaiju_Direct and help spread the word!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

What a Twist!

Last time, I mentioned that Daikaiju Director is finally entering into it's beta version. With that comes some dramatic rules changes and interesting balance tweaks. The greatest of these being an overhaul to how Twist Cards work. As promised, here's the scoop on what's changing and what's staying the same.

Before, players played a single Twist Card at any point during the scene. They took effect immediately and were then discarded. It was simple an it worked, but it didn't always work right. Sometimes people forgot whether or not they had played a twist this scene. Sometimes they forgot what bonuses needed to be applied to combat. Sometimes they played Twist Cards at times that broke the game. These types of problems made the game less fun and they seemed to pop up every game.

Not anymore.

Here's how twists are going to work going forward:
1. You can still only play 1 twist a scene, but there are multiple types of twists that all function slightly differently.
2. You can only play Twist Cards on your turn, unless they are "Immediate Twists."
3. After you play a twist, it stays in play until the "Clean Up Phase" where it's discarded.

Clear as mud? Let's take a closer look at some actual Twist Cards!

This is what a normal Twist Card looks like. Cool redesign, right? The new card layout is jam packed with helpful information about every twist. Not only is there a name, card text, and some art like before, there's also a few new design changes that let you know more about the card. For example, the name of the Daikaiju this Twist Card belongs to is printed right below the card art.

Notice the twist symbol in the upper right-hand corner? That means that you can only play this card on your turn. That symbol is different depending on what type of Twist card you’re dealing with.

Unlike the previous card, this one has a lightning bolt symbol instead of a spiral. Veterans of the various playtests I’ve ran will recognize this card. It’s also the namesake of this post. This is what’s called an “Immediate Twist.” These are playable at any time, just like Twist Cards use to be in the alpha version of Daikaiju Director. Their effects take place immediately when they are played, hence the name.

This type of Twist Card is called a “Persistent Twist.” The symbol at the top is a roman numeral that indicates how many clean up phases it persists through, and it varies from card to card. This one happens to stick around for 3 turns.

This is an "Energy Twist." Each Daikaiju gets 1 in their twist deck. They're really powerful, but with a drawback. They have to to be played at the beginning of your turn, which can be a bit inconvenient. However, if you pay a certain amount of energy, then you can play them as if they are an Immediate Twist. That number is indicated both in the card text and next to the "e" symbol in the upper right.

That's enough about twists for now. If you have questions or comments please share them below in the comments section. 

Let's shift gears for a moment and talk about our growing social media presence. If you haven't already, follow us on Twitter @Daikaiju_Direct. Our official Facebook page went live yesterday. You can find that at Tell your friends to like our page! We're trying to build a bigger fan base before we make a big announcement later this month.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

C-c-combo Breaker or Combo Maker?

From time to time on the blog I talk about about things in metaphors or terms pulled straight from the film making process. Posts relating to changes in the Daikaiju Director brand can come from "the Producer's Desk" or when there's a break in content I will represent it as an "intermission." This is useful technique in explaining things and maintaining the overall aesthetic of the game, but it's not how I'm going to go about writing today's post.

Instead of looking at this update from a writer vs. director viewpoint like I initially envisioned, I'm just going to take the designer vs. developer route. It's simple, easy, and to the point so I'm going to drop the convoluted film metaphors for a moment and talk solely about how Daikaiju Director has evolved over the past month or so.

You've met all 4 of the starter daikaiju, you know the stories and trivia behind them, and you've already witnessed some stark transformations to the game. As both the designer and the developer, I am often at odds with myself when I try to keep a feature or mechanic as I originally intended throughout revisions. Some ideas have been in the game since its first iteration, but are becoming clunky, obsolete, or overpowered as Daikaiju Director evolves. It's becoming increasingly clearer that sometimes the developer in me has to tell the designer in me "no." This has happened from time to time like for example when I had to remove military units because they just weren't ready. Creative cool stuff doesn't always make for a better, more enjoyable gaming experience. Sometimes you've got to take a step back and ask yourself "is this really working?" So what does that mean for Daikaiju Director? Well I'll tell you!

It's time for Daikaiju Director Beta!

Let me explain. Up until now I've been working with Daikaiju Director Alpha. The numerous play tests we've ran with this version of the game have provided an enormous amount helpful data. Now it's time to implement and test the most promising changes to come out of the data. It's time for a whole new round of play testing with a whole new version of the game.

I'm revamping the way a core mechanic of Daikaiju Director works. The Daikaiju abilities are getting tweaked and even the rule book is getting rewritten. During this rewrite of the rule book I'm going to focus primarily on fixing a problem that's popped up in almost every single game of Daikaiju Director.

Twist Cards are an integral part of the game. They add an element of uncertainty and help differentiate the Daikaiju from each other. However, a lot of Twists don't work as intended. For example, Burrow was never meant to be used as a trick for escaping unfavorable combat, but with how the rules are written that is the best way to play the card. I could reword Burrow and the slew of other cards that shouldn't exactly be playable at any moment, but it not quite enough. There are other cards in the works for future monsters that can't function under the current framework for Twists. A drastic change in how twists work is necessary.

This post is getting a bit lengthy and I have a few more things I want to announce before I got into too much detail on this major gameplay change. Things are getting interesting for Daikaiju Director. I've got some events and play tests lined up for the near future that I'm really excited about. We're going to be making multiple Beta Test versions of the game for a couple of playtest groups across the country. A lot more people are going to be exposed to Daikaiju Director in the coming months and that's fantastic for both the quality and promotion of the game.

Speaking of promotion, Daikaiju Director finally has a twitter account. You can follow us @Daikaiju_Direct. We've also got an official Facebook page in the works so keep an eye out for that. I'll announce more about our social media presence in a later post. The blog here is also going to be getting a facelift with a bunch of new content that I think you will all enjoy. 

As always, thanks for supporting Daikaiju Director as it gets off to its rocky start. You guys and gals are the greatest! Tune in next time for a closer look at what exactly is happening with Twist Cards and an exciting announcement!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Daikaiju Spotlight: Vulcanus

Earth's explosive response to the recent, destructive arrival of two alien daikaiju, Vulcanus is lava made supernaturally sentient. Perplexed scientists are at a loss as to explain just how this impossible beast came into being, but leading theories point to Vulcanus being a previously unknown part of the planet's immune system. This destructive protector cares not for mankind or any living creatures in the animal kingdom. It's singular purpose seems to be eliminating the giant alien interlopers through brute force and it's mastery of geological phenomena. Since it's appearance, Vulcanus has ravaged city after city with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions chasing Eelian and Spacehunter X. Nothing can stand in his way!

The stage has been set for the clash of the kaiju! Vulcanus, Fenrir, Eelian, and Spacehunter X converge on the same battlefield and only one can be the victor! Will mankind survive their first contact with giant monsters?

Alright! We've finally got to Vulcanus in our Daikaiju Spotlight series. Remember when I said Fenrir was a fan favorite? Well this monster is THE fan favorite. Vulcanus has been picked first more often than any other daikaiju available at the various playtests I've ran.

But enough about his popularity, let me give you a breakdown of this lava master's -er I mean monster's evolution!

He started, as I've said before, with a mini. Here I was with a sentai looking robot, a space snake, a giant werewolf, and a lava guy. I knew I wanted a daikaiju that messed with the set and the lava guy seemed like a logical fit. So I created Igneous! Yeah, that's right, Vulcanus went through a name change just like Eelian, although his new name was picked by play testers and to this day I still sometimes call him Igneous by mistake.

Anyways, on to the mechanics. I had a lava monster who's shtick was going to be altering the terrain of the set. Obviously, I made him spew lava. The problem was, at least for the first Epic Games Contest playtest, that the rules for lava were not thought out very well. The player who played him sat down at the table and prophetically proclaimed "I'm going to break your game!" which is good and I'm glad he did. I just wish it would've been a bit more difficult. Vulcanus and his lava were Broken with a capital "B."

I hadn't given much thought to how lava actually worked in the game and my snap rulings on situations like "what happens when you 'Crack the Earth' in a space occupied by 3 building props" made it way too good. (Editor's Note: That ruling was that it destroyed all props instantly an awarded the player victory points for each prop.) I kept tweaking the rules for lava damage, but in all subsequent playtests players continued to state the obvious: Vulcanus was too good. His stats are perfect, but his lava ability along with Twist Cards like Earthquake and Burrow forced me to re-evaluate the way a lot of things worked in Daikaiju Director. A lot of play testers proposed a weakness to water as a way to balance out some of his advantages with an additional drawback besides his slow movement. These were all interesting ideas that have helped further the development of the game.

As the game continues to be tweaked and balanced, Vulcanus has been an immensely valuable indicator of just what need to be investigated or even changed.  He has a unique set-altering style of play that is a blast to experience, and I look forward to giving the fans the most fair and fun version of this problematic daikaiju. Vulcanus has truly been my greatest challenge in game development.

That covers the 4 daikaiju that you'll find in the game's first release, Daikaiju Director: First Contact. I'll be updating the "Meet the Monsters" portion of the site to include these terrific terrors! I've got an announcement to make in the next month or so, so stay tuned for more updates from your direct source for all things Daikaiju Director!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Daikaiju Spotlight: Fenrir

A ferocious beast ripped out of myth, built with science and given life through dark magic, Fenrir is not only a threat to mankind, but to other daikaiju alike! His insatiable appetite for destruction was instilled into his very essence by his neo-nazi techno-wizard creators. They summoned the Ur-Wolf's untamable spirit and bound it into a massive werewolf-like body that they had pieced together with genetic modification and profane surgical techniques. Using circuitry and magic to strengthen it into a worthy vessel and Dr Frankenstein's old methodology for animating dead tissue, this abomination is stronger than any natural creature this planet could produce. To further enhance Fenrir's capability to destroy, they sought out ancient god killing artifacts like the Spear of Longinus and even a fang from the original Fenrir of Norse mythology to create his claws and teeth. Now that two giant alien monsters have landed on Earth, the neo-nazi techno-wizards have unleashed this beast to not only save the planet, but conquer it too.

Fenrir, the "kaiju killer," has been a fan favorite since the beginning of Daikaiju Director. When I first started thinking about what different Daikaiju would be capable of in the game, I started a list of different archetypes and abilities that I thought were crucial to providing the most balanced and diverse gameplay possible. The first item on that list was a monster that dealt "increased damage vs. kaiju." When the time came to create the first monster for the game, I looked at that first item on the list and grabbed the meanest looking mini I had set aside for the Daikaiju Director prototype: a werewolf.

Fenrir seemed like a more than perfect name for a giant wolf-like armageddon-heralding daikaiju, so I borrowed the name from Norse Mythology and quickly drafted up his backstory. He got the Vicious ability, which made him deal extra damage to Daikaiju. This later got changed to just other actors in general when I decided to eventually add "extras" or smaller non-daikaiju units to the game. (More on that in a future installment!) Being combat oriented, I gave Fenrir the best attack modifier and more twist cards for modifying combat than any other daikaiju created thus far. I wanted him to be an unstoppable juggernaut when he got into a brawl with an adjacent daikaiju and these two things seemed like the most practical way of achieving this.

I was kind of wrong.

The extra combat modifying twist cards was later determined to be a boring idea. Even daikaiju with the normal amount of combat modifying twist cards drew them way too often. His original active ability, "Fight Dirty," allowed Fenrir to use a free extra Twist Card the turn it was activated. Either nobody used it because they never needed that extra boost in a fight, or they used it in conjunction with a particularly lucky hand to jump all over the set and make a bunch of attacks. The ability was either crap or way too good. There was no middle ground where it was just plain fun.

When something just isn't fun in your game, you've got to change it. Fenrir's Fight Dirty active ability got replaced by Pounce, an ability that let him use 1 action to move and attack. This turned out to be reminiscent of the lucky hand fueled, explosive uses of the old Dirty Fighting ability without being too powerful. Also, since Fenrir does not have an area of attack ability or twist, pounce functions as a way for this monster to hit more than one enemy on the set in a turn.

In the play tests I've run for family and friends as well as the ones open to the public at UD Con, Fenrir has consistently been a player favorite. His simple and ferocious play style is very appealing for players looking for a direct, straightforward win. There were initial concerns that dealing extra damage to other players on every hit was too strong since he could kill most other Daikaiju in 4 successful attacks or 2 turns if he is uninterrupted. However, it quickly became apparent that the amount of aggro his abilities attracted made him somewhat of a glass cannon if the player wasn't cautious. I foresee Fenrir being possibly too good in a 1 on 1 game, but I haven't done very extensive testing on that type of play as of yet.

Anyways, that's all for this round of Daikaiju Spotlight! Tune in next time for your first look at the explosive Vulcanus!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

From the Producer's Desk: Logo Change!?

That's right folks! If you haven't noticed already or if you're a Futurian looking back through time, Daikaiju Director has a new snazzy logo courtesy my graphic artist. Here's a comparison: 

The old familiar logo:

The old logo incorporated everything I thought I wanted: the red-white-black color scheme as well as the kanji for "Daikaiju." However, there was a resounding consensus that the kanji (my favorite part of the logo) obscured the name too much. Since a logo's main purpose is to bring recognition to your brand, I decided to work with my graphic artist to increase it's readability.

Here's the new and improved logo:

As you can see, the new logo is much easier on the eyes while still including all of the elements I originally wanted in the Daikaiju Director logo. It took a lot of communication back and forth and probably 30+ different versions, but I am extremely satisfied with the end result. I hope you all are too!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Daikaiju Spotlight: Eelian

A mysterious terror from the depths if space, Eelian has set her sights on Earth to be the beginning of her new cosmic empire! Many millennia ago, her species once ruled much the galaxy with their mind controlling siren song and monstrous size before they were slowly driven to extinction. Eelian, the most ruthless and cunning of her kind, escaped her species' fate by going into a long hibernation in the vast void of space. As the last of her kind, now it is up to Eelian to remind the galaxy of the utter terror her species once wrought across the cosmos. She has begun slowly bending the pathetic humans to her will and establishing her dominance in Earth's oceans, but her machinations will not go on unopposed. Space Hunter X has followed her to this backwater world! Whether it's through the brute force of a thunderous tsunami or the mind bending music of her siren song, the giant interstellar bounty hunter has to be eliminated before she can continue with her plans for galactic conquest and stardom!

The idea for Eelian started to take shape even before Daikaiju Director reached its current incarnation. Back when the game was going to be a specific monster movie simulator and I was working on stating out Legendary's 2014 Godzilla and the MUTOs, I knew that I wanted to make my own monsters and scenarios. I had recently watched some episode of Godzilla the Animated Series and I was really inspired by King Cobra. I jotted down some notes and pretty much forgot everything about the character except that I wanted him to have a constrict and burrow ability.

Fast forward a month and a half: I had just started to make the first four daikaiju and I found a serpent-like mini. I instantly began to make a Daikaiju based on my old notes. I decided to ditch the burrow ability in favor of giving her more mobility in water. I knew water was going to be a special type of terrain and I wanted a character that had an advantage in it or could manipulate it. Manda, from Toho's 1963 film Atragon, is an aquatic snake-like dragon kaiju so I figured there was a precedence for this type of giant monster. Her origin quickly took form and I began to fill out her abilities. I added that weird constriction ability from my notes and some poison, and BOOM! Viper was born... 

Wait- Viper?! I thought we were talking about Eelian! 

Well, we are, but she went through some significant changes since her first incarnation (including a name change). Viper sounded too generic so I changed it. It wanted something that highlighted her giant "space snake" origin so I took the words "eel" and "alien" and mashed them together to get the punny "Eelian." 

The name was one of the last things I changed so let me take a few steps back and discuss the evolution of Eelian's abilities. Leading up to the first FASFAC playtest, I just couldn't figure out how to make poison work. I tried a few different things, but every solution I came up with either didn't feel like poison or it was too convoluted to work smoothly with the rules. I had 4 decks of 40 cards to make for the meeting that evening and I really didn't have that much time to mull it over (I actually cut the deck size down to 30 because I spent so much time on Viper). Swiftly running out of time, I ditched the poison ability and created what would become Eelian's iconic ability: the Siren Song.

The first FASFAC playtest convinced me that my wording for constrict was way off. Not a single player interperated it like I intended. I took that as a sign that it just wasn't working and I removed it like the burrow and poison abilities. Being rushed and messing up her abilities made Eelian what she is today: a fun character who wins through indirect and clever means. Her abilities are deceptively powerful and the UD Con playtest proved. She can outmaneuver most other monsters and use water greatly to her advantage. Pushing two daikaiju together to fight, pulling gravely injured daikaiju away from the action to score the killing blow, and making monsters take lava baths with the help of Vulcanus are all cool things that only the player controlling Eelian can do.

That's all for this installment of Daikaiju Spotlight. Tune in next week for more information on the mythical kaiju killer, the ferocious Fenrir

Friday, February 27, 2015

Daikaiju Spotlight: Space Hunter X

The 10th iteration of the most ruthlessly successful interstellar bounty hunter to specialize in bringing down giant monsters, Space Hunter X has come to Earth in search of its most dangerous mark yet. It was created through an aggressive mechanical-evolutionary process by aliens who's home world used to be overrun by tyrannical daikaiju, and it can adapt to any situation and always has some technique or tool perfect for capturing its quarry. After eliminating all of the giant monsters on their own planet, Space Hunter's creators hired out this deadly, sentient machine to anyone in the galaxy that had a particularly pesky kaiju in need of capture or extermination. It has continued to evolve and add strange new weapons to its arsenal. Space Hunter X is sure to be an insurmountable challenge for any other daikaiju looking to become the star of the show.

The development of Space Hunter X started just like the development of most of the other original 4 daikaiju: with a mini. The first playtest for FASFAC's Epic Games Contest was coming up, and I wanted a visually appealing demo that stood out from the competition. Until I could make my own minis for the daikaiju, I decided to use stand-ins that had a similar feel to what I wanted in the finished product. I found a few minis that I had lying around that looked good on the board I was using and created monsters around their appearance.

The mini that became Space Hunter X was a sentai-looking robot with a jetpack and a gun, so I started there. I started with giving it flying movement and a ranged special attack. That eventually got reversed and Space Hunter X ended up with a ranged attack passive ability and a flying activated ability. Then, I decided his role. I knew that I wanted each Kaiju to have a distinct play style after I made Fenrir, the first daikaiju I designed, a "Daikaiju killer." Since I didn't have much experience with sentai, I resorted to the tropes I knew.

Unless you consider the original Ultraman series to be loosely associated with the genre, I haven't watched any sentai series in this decade. To me super sentai represents a kind of space police, so I decided his twist deck should be full of neat tricks to subdue or apprehend other monsters. I gave him cards that stole energy from enemies, ensuring they won't be able to bother you with their annoying special abilities. In addition to that, there are twists in his deck that stop enemies from moving and even can make them skip their turn.

After the stats, abilities and twists were figured out, Space Hunter X's backstory grew organically. The name is a play on "Monster Zero" and "Monster X" from the Godzilla franchise. In the initial playtest, he varied wildly from being completely useless and too good. This largely depended on how the player playing him used his abilities and twists. If they stayed back, took pot shots at vulnerable daikaiju and controlled the set with Super Snares and EMPs then they could usually out maneuver and outgun the other players. This led to complaints that he was too fast when in reality, his flying ability only puts his move speed on par with Eelian's.

At the UD Con playtest, Space Hunter X wasn't played much, so I don't have too much data on how I should tweak him moving forward. The player controlling him never drew his good twist cards and only had the combat modifying ones to work with. This put him at a significant disadvantage. Moving forward, I'm scaling back the number of combat modifiers in twist decks and upping the number of cards with interesting abilities. I'm going to be doing a lot of play testing in the coming months and maybe I'll come up with some more changes to implement then.

That's all for this installment of Daikaiju Spotlight. Tune in next week for more information on Space hunter X's quarry: the mysterious Eelian!

Monday, February 23, 2015

UD Con XXII: Giant Robot Con - Punching Things in the Face Edition Play Test

Wow that title was a mouthful...

Anyways, this past weekend I held my second public play test of Daikaiju Director at the coolest Con in Dayton: FASFAC's 22nd annual UD Con! I got to see some old friends and meet some awesome new folks this year. On top of that I had a blast running all of my events. (Not all of the Daikaiju Director related) FASFAC always hosts a wonderful con and I look forward to going every year in the foreseeable future.

Before I get into the details of the play test, let me show off something I got in the mail Friday (just in time for con.) Behold the prototypes for the boxes of the first two sets of Daikaiju Director!

Now the images of the monsters will definitely change when the temporary standees are finally replaced by the actual minis of the monsters or possible even some art. Anyways, let's take a closer look at "Daikaiju Director: First Contact." 

The first set of Daikaiju Director will feature the dauntless Space Hunter X, the mysterious Eelian, the ferocious Fenrir, and the explosive Vulcanus. I'll tell all of you more about them in the coming weeks. This is the set I tested at Con, and everyone's response was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. I got some excellent constructive criticism from people much more experienced in game design than me. Let's take a look inside the box.

All four twist decks fit snugly in the box. As you can see, each monster has its own unique design for the back of their respective deck. There's also four slots for each of the monster minis. Right now the temporary standees are sitting in there awaiting the next game.

I'd like to give a shout out to my dad for not only surprising me by building these amazing boxes, but also for designing the cards, printing them out and cutting close to 1000 corners just to get all of this ready for me before Con. Thank you so much for making this past weekend that much more awesome.

Here's a closer look at the second set, "Daikaiju Director: Age of Monsters," but more on that later.

Here's a candid photo of me participating in one of the play test games. If I remember correctly, this was taken shortly before the other two players turned the tables and beat me. That's embarrassing. 

Anyways, I've some takeaways from this weekend include the following:

- Vulcanus is still overpowered, but his stats are near perfect. I need to consider revising his twist cards or how lava works; maybe both.
- Eelian is deceptively powerful.
- Fenrir can be a bit of a glass canon since he draws a lot of aggro really early.
- Space Hunter X has a lot going for him, particularly his ranged attack ability.
- I need to look into letting players spend energy to play more twist cards.
- Some twist cards have unforeseen side effects when they're all able to be played at anytime. Consider making some playable at anytime and some only on your turn.
- The game is simple enough to teach new players how to play in under 10 minutes.
- I need a more structured format for gathering player feedback.

All in all, everything went great and I want to thank the University of Dayton and FASFAC for letting me play test Daikaiju Director this weekend. We're one step closer to the finished product!

That's all for this installment from your direct source for everything Daikaiju Director. Tune in sometime in the near future for your introduction to Space Hunter X: the interstellar kaiju bounty hunter!

Monday, February 9, 2015

What's in a Game - Part 2

When I last left off with my "What's in a Game" series, I promised to provide some more concrete examples of the game's evolution over time. Well here you go:

I decided to revisit the "Giant Monster Battling Game" that I had started for last year's contest with some major changes. This year I felt I had the time to make something truly "epic." Work quickly began in the complete wrong direction. I decided that the coolest thing to do with a giant monster themed board game was to simulate the creation of giant monster movies. This wasn't wrong, but I didn't do it quite right. I started with something way to complex. I had to change and cut a lot just to get something barely playable, which taught me my first lesson in game design: "The easiest way for a beginning game designer to set themselves up to fail is to start with something too big and too convoluted."

At first, it was an actual movie simulator. Kaiju were directly pulled from movies and every game was a unique scenario based on that movie. This was impractical for game that had ambitions of actually getting published. Besides copyright laws and licensing nightmares, the rules would need to be specific to every single scenario. Also, there would be a ridiculous amount of unique pieces that needed to be produced that might not have a lot of reusability between scenarios. This could be solved by having generic, uninteresting pieces that could represent a variety of actors, props, or other things, but that's not very visually appealing. Therefore, I tossed out the scenario idea in favor of a more collaborative game building experience where the players made the game unique each time it was played. This required only a single rule set that revolved around kicking the other daikaiju's ass.

In this version, I had a game master, called the director, who controlled the set, military, and other things. They had a lot of control over each individual game, but couldn't win. They also had a lot of sway over which player eventually won the game because of the game altering power they held with their twist deck and military units. This wasn't fun and it took a lot of set up. The Director built a whole new twist deck for every single game and the multitude of military units were too tedious to keep track of. The twist deck was a cool idea so I give one to every player and got rid of the Director. The military is an interesting "faction" that could be implemented in a later version of Daikaiju Director, but it will require some major reworking.

That left me with something that very closely resembles Daikaiju Director as it is today. The set is built out of some "set tiles," which are made out of hexes and filled with props. There's 4 different monsters that players get to control on a city-wrecking rampage that ends with one Daikaiju becoming king of the monsters and the star of the show. Each player had a twist deck tailored specially to their chosen monster, which played differently than all of the others due to different stats and abilities. The resulting game was quick and easy to learn, while giving enough choices to give value and consequence to every action. Gameplay was fast and varied and after a few play tests and minor rules tweaks Daikaiju Director is well on its way to being a fun and interesting game that I'm excited to share with the world.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


First and foremost, I'd like to apologize to my one or two readers out there for taking over a month to update the Daikaiju Director blog. The past month has been particularly hectic with both developing the game and my personal life, but I promise to keep this site updated on a weekly basis going forward.

Things are looking very exciting for Daikaiju Director in the next couple weeks. The University of Dayton's Fantasy and Science Fiction Appreciation Club is hosting their annual convention February 20-22nd, and I will be hosting the second public playtest of the game there. In addition to that, I should be getting all of the new Daikaiju Cards and Twist Cards from my graphic designer. This will make play testing much easier and give the game a memorable look and feel. 

After the con playtest, I will start a series of posts outlining the backstory and development of the 4 monsters that are slated to be included in the base game. I greatly look forward to introducing all of you to Eelian, Space Hunter X, Fenrir, and Vulcanus. If there's enough interest I might continue the series to cover the 4 new monsters that are set to debut at the convention.

As I mentioned earlier, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows this past month. There have been some very annoying issues I've been working through with the development of the game. FASFAC's Epic Games Contest pretty much fell apart. There was a serious lack of interest in the contest so it quietly ended with no real winner. I was not informed of this until mid January, almost a month after the fact. At first I was very angry, but now I realize that I got a lot done because of this misunderstanding, and I'm happy that I'm now "free" of the contest's restrictions. This gives me more time to perfect Daikaiju Director, and I won't have to rush any aspect of its development at the expense of the game's quality.

Anyways, this post is running a bit longer than any intermission should so I'm going to end it here. Be on the look out for "What's in a Game - Part 2" sometime in the next few days.