Dec 2, 2014

Well hey hey hey, how appropriate for the season! Local indie dream team Breakfall will be re-releasing their super chill (pun intended) exploratory platform game Marvin' Mittens on Steam on December 17! If you're interested in checking it out, you'll be able to pick it up here. The game is a really unique experience that I totally recommend folks try out. So grab your toque and toboggan and see you in the snow!

Nov 1, 2014

Great Food in the Azores

Let me begin by saying that this post has absolutely nothing to do with games. I know it's off topic and everything, I just wanted to share the wonderful dining experience I had with my wife last night. 

A great diner is sometimes defined less by the food, delicious as it may be, than it is by the people. Our experience last night at Boca de Cena in Ponta Delgada on the island São Miguel in the Azores stood out thanks to one person in particular. You see, the restaurant, which serves reasonably priced upper class fare in a modern but intimate setting is owned and operated by the most delightful character. And, when I say owned and operated, I really mean it. He serves up to 30 diners, lunch and diner, five days a week and diner on Saturdays, all by himself. Absolutely no staff. He is Maître D'hôtel, waiter, busboy and chef all rolled into one. My wife and I couldn't help but chuckle as we watched him cartoonishly yet defly navigate the dining room bringing food to some tables and taking orders from others. A sight to behold. 

If you ever find yourself on São Miguel, find this wonderful little restaurant run by the most amazing and charismatic little lunatic and as you finish and make your way to exit, make sure and ask him how to get the door open, it's magic, you see.

Special thanks to the nice couple from B.C. who recommended the place and held out the restaurant's business card while I took a picture. 

Sep 23, 2014

Great Saturday Spent at Cardstockawa!

Every year (sometimes more), Martin Éthier of the Game Artisans of Canada invites us all into the woods for a cottage weekend of board game design and testing we've come to call Cardstockawa! 

Sep 19, 2014

Got Two Games From Tasty Minstrel

I got a package from Tasty Minstrel Games today containing Coin Age and This Town Ain't Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us. Both of these games were part of a series of microgame Kickstarter campaigns that Tasty Minstrel ran a few months ago. 

Aug 27, 2014

Theme ≠ Setting

Game designs discussions, especially around board games, often round the corner of comparing the value of theme versus mechanisms. Well, I say we've been using the word "theme" wrong. I posit that what we really mean to say is setting, not theme. So, what's the difference?

Aug 18, 2014

Sword & Penguin Now Available For the Mac!

Calling all Mac users! Get your polar bear fighting, puzzle solving penguin fun right here!

Aug 8, 2014

Free Version of Sword & Penguin Now Available!

If you've been waiting to see what the fuss is about, you can now try out Sword & Penguin for FREE! This version includes 16 brand new levels, so even those of you who've already bought the full version can try something new in the free version!

Jul 18, 2014

Sword & Poker Loses a Little Something in Latest Facelift.

Sword & Poker VS Sword & Poker Adventures

Konami recently released the latest version of Sword & Poker to the App Store under the name Sword & Poker Adventures. The thing is, in "upgrading" the graphics, I feel the game has lost a lot of its charm from the previous two versions. I've said it many times before that the more you leave out of your artwork, the more iconic you make it, the less you give your viewer to dislike. By adding detail, I feel Sword & Power Adventures has strayed from the likeability of previous iterations into a melodramatic style that seems to take itself too seriously. So, in protest, I urge everyone to pick up Sword & Poker or Sword & Power 2 in protest! ^_^

Jul 7, 2014

Sword & Penguin Gameplay From iOS Gameplay Videos!

The fine folks from the iOS Gameplay Videos channel have posted over 7 minutes of footage from the first few levels of Sword & Penguin. Should give everyone a good idea of how the game is played!

Jul 3, 2014

Scepticism And Games! My Two Great Loves!

Anyone who knows me well knows that, besides games, the only topic about which I am likely to talk your ear off is scientific scepticism! This awesome video from It's Okay To Be Smart combines the two beautifully to explain why we all thought it helped to blow in our Nintendo cartridges when they weren't working, all the while giving folks an intro primer to cognitive biases and logical fallacies!

Jul 2, 2014

Sword & Penguin Soundtrack Also Available!

Hot on the heels of the game is the official soundtrack by Mike O.K. available through Bandcamp!

Sword & Penguin Out Now for iOS!

Friends of mine have recently released their latest iOS game: Sword & Penguin!! I got to help out a bit with the creation of the game and also designed some of the levels, so I'm really psyched to share it with all of you now.

Jun 20, 2014

Quick Thoughts on Monument Valley

I have been charmed. Utterly charmed by iOS game Monument Valley from ustwo. Something about the nature of this game makes me think that a full review just doesn't fit. it's not that kind of product. Monument Valley straddles the line between game and art piece. It's like a delightful and surprising little toy you just want to touch and explore. It eschews so much of what we take for granted from games. It's not long, it's not all that challenging and its approach to storytelling certainly leans more toward the minimalist and experiential than the epic and heroic. I fully recommend Monument Valley to anyone looking for a little surprise and delight in their life. If only for an hour or so. This Escher-esque journey is to games what poetry is to literature.

Available on iOS App Store
and on Android via Google Play

Jun 6, 2014

Check Out Salad Shark on Android!!

A friend and colleague of mine, Simon, has released his first game for Android under the Overtoast banner: Salad Shark! You can pick it up now in the Google Play store. Read on for a short description.

May 25, 2014

So, the Ottawa International Game Conference is officially kicking off tomorrow, Monday, May 26, but I got to attend a pre-conference workshop featuring the Unity game engine. I've been following the development of the Unity engine from its humble roots as a Mac only development platform to the multi-platform powerhouse it is today. Most of the territory treaded by the workshop was old hat to us grizzled ancients, but just about perfect for those unfamiliar with Unity hoping to learn how things are done in this powerful yet easy to use engine. The best part was definitely meeting folks from Unity Technologies and being promised a look at some of the rad upcoming features in Unity 5 tomorrow at the conference, including (drum roll) the much anticipated new Unity UI system!! I am SO psyched! I hope I can sleep tonight!

Image from

May 19, 2014

CoreTechs Tactics Kickstarter Campaign is Live!

Click This Link To Check Out The Kickstarter Campaign!

Some friends of mine have launched a Kickstarter campaign for their turn based strategy game CoreTechs Tactics.

The ideas behind CoreTechs are all really cool, but the community involvement aspect is really what sets this project apart! The team put on these rad "Cardcasts" over on their Twitch channel allowing anyone and everyone to contribute ideas toward the design of new units for the game. I highly suggest you all hop on over to the Kickstarter page and see what the game is all about!

Image from:

May 15, 2014

Ottawa Jam Game Making Headlines! recently posted an article about one of the most innovative games to come out of this year's Global Game Jam, Keep Talking and No One Explodes. The gist of it is that one player puts on a VR headset and tries to diffuse a bomb before the timer runs out while their team mates, who can't see the bomb, have to walk them through the procedure because they have the instructions! I haven't had the chance to play this game yet but all my friends who have tell me it's an amazing and totally unique experience. So, big props to everyone from for getting covered by such a prominent gaming news outlet! I wish them the best of luck with the game, the concept is just amazing!

Apr 11, 2014

Amazing Looking XNA Port of Heretic

A friend of mine who goes by the name of Daivuk has been fiddling around with porting the classic FPS game Heretic to XNA. Along with just getting it to run, he's been implementing some pretty damn fancy graphical upgrades. I recommend checking out his YouTube channel as he frequently posts updates explaining what he's been working on. The graphics nerd in me loves this stuff!

Mar 17, 2014

Extra Credit on the #1 Lesson in Game Design

Came across this and thought to share it. It is so on point! And, you know, true of pretty much any creative endeavour in my opinion. No one is born good at anything. And whether or not there is such a thing as talent, one thing is for sure, those who create great things have large piles of not-so-great things they've created leading up to that greatness. As a life drawing teacher once said to me: If one out of a hundred of your drawings turns out good, then draw more and you'll have drawn more good drawings. Do this enough and you'll find that more and more of your drawings are good ones. I mean, I don't pretend that practice makes perfect, indeed only perfect practice makes perfect but you'll notice, even the amended version of the saying still prominently contains the word practice!

Feb 7, 2014

ONLY ONE From Ernest Szoka Now Available!

Only One, the ridiculously fun and surprisingly tactical hack and slash from Ottawa developer Ernest Szoka is now available for free on iOS and Android. I've been a big fan of the game ever since I first played a rough build. There's something unique about the feel of combat that's really compelling. Oh, and the dude's little leg dance during the whirlwind attack still cracks me up!

Check out the trailer and game info here.

Jan 31, 2014

Rare Glimpse Into Ottawa Protonight!

Yves Tourigny, who hosts weekly design sessions at his place, recently got himself set up to do time lapse video of the testing. Here is attempt number one! Those of you who read my post about last weekend's game jam might recognise the first game in the video. Big thanks to Yves for the video!

Jan 29, 2014

Nominate Roll'n Bump for the Golden Geek Awards!!

Attention all Roll'n Bump fans! Here is your chance to let the world (Board Game Geek users) know that you think Roll'n Bump deserves mad props! Hit up this link and follow the instructions to nominate Roll'n Bump for each category you think fits. The Golden Geek awards are awarded annually through the Board Game Geek website and are entirely decided by you, the gamers! So, let everyone know what they've been missing!
(Just a note, I had a hard time finding it in the list in the left side bar, but using the search option above it worked.)

Jan 27, 2014

Only One Featured on Touch Arcade

Huge congrats to an old colleague of mine, Ernest Szoka! His upcoming mobile game, Only One was recently featured on Touch Arcade. I've been playing the beta for months and it's a ton of fun. The game should be releasing really soon and I hope the press gets him a ton of well deserved downloads!

Another Global Game Jam Come and Gone!

Last weekend I participated in the 2014 Global Game Jam hosted by the Carleton University School of Information Technology. This was my fourth year participating though my usual partner wasn't available so I teamed up with another local board game designer, Daryl Chow to produce what we call Eye of the Hunter.

The Global Game Jam is an event where teams are challenged to create a game in 48 hours based on a theme that's only revealed at the start of the jam. This year the theme was the phrase "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Daryl and I quickly agreed on the idea of giving players unique objective cards in order to work the theme into the game. Since each player has his or her own set of objectives to strive towards, they each view the game from their own perspective. From there we batted around several ideas for game mechanisms and settings before settling on what would become our submitted game. In Eye of the Hunter, two players play food tiles to the board to attract animals in from the forest in order to capture them according to the hunter cards they hold. It's a quick playing game and we are still interested in doing some development on it, mainly striving to get the number of tiles just right to keep the tension up as players hope to play as many of their hunters as possible before the tile supply runs out. If you are interested in checking out the game, there's a print and play version available from the GGJ site. I plan on posting an updated version to Board Game Geek soon as we ended up presenting a slightly different version on the last day of the jam based on things we tried out on the spot.

It was pretty different for me this year. As I mentioned, my usual partner, Leo, wasn't available so I roped in Daryl at the last minute. Leo is usually the one who does the art while I focus on the rules so I got to do the art this time. I'm glad Daryl and I had a pretty firm grip on the game play by the end of Friday as it allowed me to get started on the art Saturday morning. After a bit more testing with Daryl mid-day, I went back home and ploughed through the remaining art tasks, printed the components, assembled them and gave Daryl's rules an editorial pass, leaving me enough time on Sunday to create example images for the rules.

Checking out the games at the Jam on Sunday afternoon was super cool, as always. Though the competition aspect of the event is downplayed, local industry folks are invited to judge each year. This time, top honours went to first time lone wolf jammer Daivuk, a friend and colleague of mine for his game My Own World. I had a feeling he would do well at this!

So, another year, another Game Jam. Man I love it! It's a weekend of super concentrated game design and development, a great learning experience, great practice for the experienced and huge fun every time! I highly recommend participating to anyone who's into game design.