Art Preview for Zoospionage: Matterhorn

Made a recent change to Zoospionage: Matterhorn (working title) to promote a little more fun and add to the game narrative in the end game. Introducing the Matterhorn bosses: The Orb, Snapper, Hoverfoe, Gunsuit, Spiderbot, and Walker. We’re still working on the cards and who they target, but I’m excited and think they look great. Once more- we are looking for some good playtesters for this 3-8 player game.

Now… where’s the paper cutter?

Learn your maths!

Caleb, a good friend of Tamed Beast Games (and game problem-solver par excellence), works out the probability of various agents succeeding in the end game in Zoospionage, a current project. I was always a humanities guy, but man do I wish I had applied myself a little more in mathematics! Would have come in handy with these kinds of calculations. And no, we didn’t quite¬†get the probability equation figured out, but this was a good intermediary step as we try to put it together. Fun!

The moral: stay in school and learn your mathematics. For probably lots of reasons, but maybe board game design will be one of them.

Birthday Purchase

Recently it was my birthday and so I spent some of the birthday money (thank you!) on a key investment in my game design, this phenomenal and detailed book, Building Blocks of Tabletop Game Design,¬†by Engelstein and Shalev. It’s pricey, but part of designing is developing and growing in skills. Looking forward to receiving it, and who knows what ideas will jump into my head because of it.

Often I will start a game board design with a theme in mind, but even then, often very early in the process, I will think of a particular game mechanic around which the game revolves. Not all games need a unique mechanic, but it often helps!

Playtesters Wanted for Zoospionage


We are looking for playtesters for a 30-45 minute drafting game called Zoospionage: Matterhorn. If you are interested, send us an email at paul (at) and tell us why you would be a good playtester for this game.

Production Quotes

Just received the first quote from a board game manufacturer for a print run of Festival! It’s exciting to work through the numbers and begin to plan for a possible Kickstarter campaign. You learn so much going through this process, for instance where the big costs are, and where mass production brings down costs (some parts more than others). It would be nice to establish a relationship with a production company for future releases, so I’m taking notes not just on bottom-line price.

Shipbuilding Playtest 1


Friday we had a couple people over and rolled out our new shipbuilding game, very tentatively called Timber & Tackle. In the game you control a shipyard in one of seven major European cities in the 17th Century. The gameplay surrounds a couple unique mechanics:

  • A victory point-monopoly awarded every round across four ship-tonnage categories. This award is half-blind, as you add the constantly upgraded port developments to per-round ship builds. So there is an element of surprise every round in what each player has chosen to build.
  • Actions take place based on turn cards with one major and choice between two minor actions. You can add turn cards (and perhaps lose them too) throughout the game to add turn choice and be able to plan your turns accordingly.
  • The player boards take you through a rough approximation of the historical development of the port in that city with benefits and

The game is designed to be mid-weight and we are once again aiming for a large player count, with at least 7 players, so this requires economy of action and time each round so the game doesn't get unwieldy.


  • The right people were playing and have offered great feedback. Not afraid to work through some play-test issues.
  • The game was enjoyed!
  • Although there were some issues with the main game mechanic (monopoly-award), there was at least one moment that captured the goal of the mechanic: "What!? You built whaling boats too! No way. Ughhh." Nice to see.
  • The theme seemed enjoyable. Obviously, we've done a wee bit of work with the design/art already to convey a bit of the shipbuilding theme, and MUCH more remains to be done, but it was a good start.
  • M&M's, BBQ chips, Ginger Ale, and (as it happened) a boy's night. No- this has nothing to do with the game itself. Still positive. LOL

Needs Work

  • Not sure drafting of agents adds much to the game. Need to think it through.
  • Guild and crown cards need to be differentiated
  • Decided to make income based on the every-round port development tonnage, rather than the tonnage built out of your hand.