Design diary January

Hi all!

Christmas is long gone and the winter is settling in here in the UK. We’re making headway into our choose your own adventure/fighting fantasy book with the first chapter being finalised and edited.

You can check out an early version on the Patreon now, and subscribers will get an early view at the completed first chapter when it’s released.

We’re aiming for around 400 pages in total.

Speaking of early releases, we’ve moved to an early access Patreon model so subscribers will be able to access games, books and other things either a week or month sooner than public release.

In the last month we’ve put up new versions of Village Life (0.7) and Pilgrims Walk (early alpha), so if you have time – check them out when they pop out from early access.

Finally were undergoing a little brand change at some point, so keep your eyes peeled!

Have a good month and see you all next time!

Support us at the following links: Ko-FI TES Patreon Blurb Amazon


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: 25th June 2017

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

I have been out quite a lot this week so less progress than usual. Village life is going well and popular with the students and Emotions is waiting on artwork. Take a look below!

What have we been working on this week?

Village Life: Explore, Expand, Elect. 

Turning over an exploation card in Village Life

Current version 0.3D
Still playtesting prototype 3, an economy game designed for teenagers, but with a complexity that adults will also enjoy. This has been our main target for playtesting this week.

About 20 new buildings have been added as upgrades to buildings from 0.2, players can now upgrade farms to estates etc, with new artwork.

Currently working on upgrading to prototype 4 which will:

  • Redesign and improve the politics aspect (started)
  • Look into practical aspects of printing etc. (Currently way too high. The prototype is going to cost $70 as it is now)
  • Ensure portability whilst keeping quality
  • Standardise the buildings etc

More info here and here.


See more information here.

Matching game based on matching emotional vocabulary. To be used in schools / young parents, especially those with learning difficulties or other similar. Likely to be released free to Patrons.

Only changes this week are assigning definitions to each card and finding someone to do the art work. I am getting an example done soon for feedback, currently we are going for cute chibis due to price and target age (kids)

Game mechanics: 0.8 (mechanics are based on familiar matching games like ‘Old Maid’)
Artwork: 0.3 (waiting on artwork example)
Rules and rulebook: 0.8 (as above)
Costings: 0.8 (54 card deck)

SS Sandbrook

A social deduction card game for 3- 9 players. More info here and here.

A small update this week 0.8-0.8a to change and standardise some of the cards to make them easier to read and understand. Also standardised the injury cards so there are less arguments over meaning!

Game mechanics: 0.8a
Artwork: 0.4
Rules and rulebook: 0.7
Costings: 0.7 (base game runs at approx 100 cards)

What’s available to download or order now?

Free for Anyone

Let’s Photograph 1.0: Photography ideas cards – see here

Pocket Munch 1.1: Silly quick and simple card game – 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.

$5/20 subs: 

SS Sandbrook 0.8 print and play, see below

Sandbrook Heist Alpha 0.2, see below

Cat Academy Beta 0.7, see below

Village Life Alpha 0.3C, see above

Emotions 0.2, see above

Sins of Satan Beta 0.8, 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’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: 0.8 (base game is 54 cards)

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

Sins of Satan: Beta 0.8. 

My own card game based on the mechanics of “Secret Hitler”, where players try to to promote virtues and stop Satan from playing Sin cards, with each card having a different themed effect (rather than blank policies). More info here. A quicker playthrough designed for a younger audience.

Now released as a Beta to Patrons!


 One of the sins players must try and avoid – art from the 0.7 version


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

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? Got an idea for a game you want making? Let us know in the comments below!

The inspiration behind Village Life

What inspired you to make Village Life?

Image shows Village Life 0.3, showing the main deck and additional building cards

The current prototype cards, ready to play

As you may be aware I run a little tabletop club at a school for a variety of reasons, alongside making educational, mental health and ‘just for fun’ card games. So why begin work making a board game? (And based on the costing to print it out professionally… an expensive one!) Here’s a little into how it started and just a couple of games that have inspired me.
The Guild/The Guild 2

Intro video

The Guild series of games, originally make by JoWood studios (who made games with awesome ideas, but that were bug ridden messes) has always been one of my favourites and spawned a good deal of expansions that never quite fixed the bugs but expanded the game further, keeping it interesting. Despite the inevitable game breaking bugs, the theme has always interested me in two ways.

Firstly the politics part has definitely influenced the elections in village life. Here players have to try to reach the rank of Noble via other positions, being elected in by other, competing players. Bribery is rife in Village Life, so to keep their positions, players will have to work together through exchanging favours or outlandishly bribing one another to get ahead or stay in position – don’t be surprised when you are backstabbed and overthrown if you are close to winning by the other players. This adds further competitiveness to the game.

Europa 1400: The Guild, Council positions. Currently mostly empty.

A little empty, but the council seats will fill up…

Beyond the political, the idea of building a business up over time definitely influenced the economy part of Village Life. In The Guild, players purchase basic workshops and use the income from these to expand their business empire. Originally instead of goods we had a set of secondary and tertiary resources. For example ore turned into iron which was then processed into weapons, armour or jewelry similar to that in the Guild. This ended up way too complicated (and expensive!) for a board game, so the idea of goods took their place. 

The guild 3 is due out sometime later this year, so fingers crossed we’ll finally get a new update on the big ridden series!


Before Village Life was a thing there was “The Regent”, which was a more indepth part of the politics area above, with a basic economy based on a simple version of a Slendor-style economy. Here rather than getting rubies, emeralds​ etc, players could invest in a building each turn which gave an income based on what other buildings you had. An example is farms – farms and mills both gave one coin per round each, however if you had both, you would receive an extra coin for having the supply chain. In this way players wanted to get certain buildings and made a different way to win. This idea was carried into the economy aspect of Village Life, with players building up their economies over time to become more powerful.

In playtests there’s one player who always goes for economy over Honour, with the idea that they will just buy it later. A good long term idea instead of fighting for political roles and getting round the need for bribes.

Splendor is available here. The app is pretty good, despite some bugs but of course it’s better in a group!

Game screen of Splendor showing the cards and resource

The economy in Splendor

The Curious Expedition / Renowned Explorers: International Society.

The exploration part of the game is definitely inspired by the exploration / hidden areas part of thess games. Early on in Village Life’s life there was a simple map that players put buildings into set areas. Pretty quickly however I wanted to change it to make it more interesting, where players can stumble upon areas good for different things or with bonuses. This also means much more replayability for players and is much easier to add expansions later if needed. 

Curious Expedition map screen

Exploring the map in the Curious Expedition

At the time of writing, Village Life is currently 0.3(D). Keep up to date each week with our Sunday roundup!

Want our games as soon as they are released? Want to play this and other games right now? Want to help our tabletop club stay open and provide free educational and mental health games to local schools?  Check out our Patreon page