More Origins Coverage with Dice Hate Me Games

pic1031737 We spent a considerable amount of time with the folks from Dice Hate Me at Origins this year. You've already seen our visit with Heartland Hauling designer Jason Kotarski, today we bring you, not one, not two, but THREE videos from the Dice Hate Me stable of designers, including a chat with Mr. Dice Hate Me himself, Chris Kirkman.

The buzz around the Dice Hate Me booth was real, and palpable, so much so, that  we had a few audio issues while shooting our chats. Hang in there they are only momentary and getting a look at these great titles and the folks who brought them to market is worth the interruption!

Chris Kirkman - We chatted with Chris about the convention experience this year and how it differed from last year's experience at Origins, as well as a quick look at the future of Dice Hate Me for 2013.


TC Petty III - TC shared Viva Java the Coffee Game, and an advanced look at Viva Java the Coffee Game the Dice Game! (And in the middle of it all you'll hear Jason Kotarski start to explain how to play Lucky Dice as he chases down a passer by)


Darrell Louder - We chatted a few months ago with Darrell about his game Compounded, today we get to see some prototypes of the very soon to be released title!


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TOG Visual—An Origins Interview With Jason Kotarski

Kotarski 1 We're very excited to bring you an interview with the designer of The Great Heartland Hauling Co., Jason Kotarski. Jeremiah had a chance to sit down with him at Origins Game Fair in Columbus this past weekend and he gave us a look at 2 new games he's developing, and chatted about his church plant in Flint, MI.

Jason gave us a look at a barber shop themed trick taking game he's working on, as well as a game called Fidelitas he's designing with Philip duBarry! Both are in an early developmental stage, but have the foundations of a couple of interesting and fun games.


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A Look Back on Origins—Part 1

photo (20)- by Jeremiah, with contributions from A.J. and Sepos. Last Friday we made our way down to Columbus and the Origins Game Fair, to cover the con as best we could for the blog—in just one day.

The con featured everything you'd expect from an event of this caliber: tons of seminars, officially supported tournaments and game play, an Unpub gathering, and of course, the exhibit hall featuring hundreds of vendors, publishers, and more.

photo (19)We made our way through, and shot nearly two hours of video content, featuring interviews with Paul Peterson, Jason Tagmire, Kevin Sorbo, and many more!

The Games

As you would expect at a large-scale gaming convention there were a ton of great games, as far as the eye could see; we'll highlight some of the games we thought were of note over the next couple days.

The DukeAn Origins-released game, convention-goers were among the first to demo and purchase The Duke from Catalyst Game Labs. The Duke is a tile placement/tile moving, chess-like strategy game for 2 players. Each tile represents a different troop defending your Duke: Move a tile and flip it to show the different movement now available to that tile. The game plays fast but has massive replay value as it is tough to master, and different every time!

Council of VeronaCrash Games is currently Kickstarting this title as the flagship to their Pub Series of games. Council of Verona is a card-based strategy game with a very strong bluffing component. The Pub Series is a catalog of games that are compact enough to play anywhere, but still offer great depth in their gameplay. You can get in on the Kickstarter until July 3rd, and it's only $12 to get a copy delivered to your door!

Dice Hate Me lineupLast year Dice Hate Me Games had a booth that pretty much consisted of one game: Carnival. This year they're celebrating a successful release of The Great Heartland Hauling Co., as well as VivaJava, and they're looking forward to the upcoming release of Compounded, VivaJava Dice, and Belle of the Ball. Chris Kirkman has been putting together a great lineup of titles using a stable of unknown/first-time designers to bring great and well-designed/developed games to market. We're excited to see what's coming from them next!

Dungeon HeroesThis exciting game brings you the full experience of a dungeon crawl in a quick-play style. This vs. game pits your heroes against a dungeon player who will try and thwart your efforts to collect hidden treasures. The game board is grid-based with miniature meeples as your characters, who move, attack, and defend based on character abilities. Most importantly, the game can be played in 15 to 30 minutes, giving a busy gamer an opportunity to participate in a fast-paced dungeon crawl. The game is completely expandable and will hopefully offer a multi-player aspect to the game as well as larger game boards. This game looks fantastic and has done great on Kickstarter. We'll be keeping an eye on its future.

We'll be sharing more about Origins over the next few days, not too mention all of our awesome video coverage! For more about Origins, and some good old fashioned social-media fun, look for TOG on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Thanks for reading!

Compounded—Kickstarter Weekly

a9139fd6a72c5a9a688c060af796a10b_largeWell if you were here yesterday, you know a little bit about this week's featured Kickstarter campaign. The folks at Dice Hate Me have found another diamond in the rough and they are in the midst of yet another successful campaign. Compounded boasts "better gaming through chemistry"—it's a game of gathering elements, and compounding them to create...well, compounds. Players are scientists who are sharing a lab, and a limited amount of resources, elements, and lab tools, as they try to finish more compounds and score more points. For more about Compounded the game, you can check out our interview with designer Darrell Louder by clicking this underlined text.

3f02dfd9bc972191bc76408bf908999e_largeCompounded is already funded and has blown past the first stretch goal! You can do your part and pitch in $8 for a couple of snazzy buttons to add to your flair. Or for $42 you can get yourself a copy of the game and all the applicable stretch goals. You can check out the campaign right here.

Thanks for reading, and as always you can find and even "Like" us on Facebook. And over on Twitter too!

Compounded—An Interview with Designer Darrell Louder

a9139fd6a72c5a9a688c060af796a10b_largeToday's interview is a preview to tomorrow's Kickstarter Weekly. We're chatting with Darrell Louder, the designer of Dice Hate Me's Compounded, which is chugging right along on Kickstarter. Hey Darrell! Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to sit down and give us the answers that inquiring minds want to know!

First let’s start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Darrell Louder (yes, last name is my birth name.) I’m a 33-year-old graphic & Web designer—I guess game designer now as well. Father to a handsome 2-year-old named Ethan, and husband to the greatest woman in the world, Lesley. I work for Game Salute as their Web site administrator and a member of their graphic design team. I also tend to do freelance design for a few people when the need arises.

Compounded is your first game design that's getting published; is this your first ever attempt at a game design, or have you been beating down doors trying to get published for a while? Compounded is my first game, period. I never had the desire to make a game before, as I was totally content playing the games that my friends would bring over. Compounded only came about because my friend John Moller started a ‘revolution’ called the Unpublished Game Festival, now known as Unpub (, in 2011. Four days prior to the event, I was concerned he wasn’t going to have enough game designers in attendance, so I made Compounded. It was received pretty decently, and I was urged to continue working on it—so I did. I kept working on it that year, bringing it out every now and then to playtest, but that was it. It never left my hands or our play group.

So...a game about science; how did you land on that? Are you a science geek, or did it just sound like an interesting premise for a game? Well, this is a funny story. Initially Compounded was going to be about mad-scientist alchemy. Same mechanics, but instead of Hydrogen, Oxygen, and the lot, it was rat tails, snakes, etc. Before I built it out though, my wife questioned it. She pretty much said to be original, and that the alchemist track would be "white noise." She is an AP English teacher at the local high school here, so she immediately recommended using real compounds and elements. That was it. It was one of those EUREKA moments! My grandfather was a zoologist, so I was raised knowing about science and nature. So there was no questioning it; I had enough info from my childhood and schooling to get started on it. Add in a bit of research and BAM! It was just a perfect marriage of ideas and my childhood.

How long have you been playing games like this? And what made you want to design one of your own? I had been playing a little game known as Magic: The Gathering for about 15+ years. So I shunned all other games, as I was one of the ignorant Magic players that thought all other games were cheap and stupid. Turns out, I was the cheap and stupid one. I gave in one day and tried Reiner Knizia's Lord of the Rings, and I was hooked. Then came Catan, Carcassonne, and the usual lot. I still stuck with Magic, but my eyes were opened to the entire hobby of gaming. As I said above, I only designed a game for Unpub. Before that, I had no desire to do it, as I thought all others have done well enough.

a71da75228cceb9cf8b446084569305b_large Tell us how you ended up with Dice Hate Me. Then in the fall of 2011, John took it down to North Carolina with him (at my request) to playtest it with Chris and Cherilyn of Dice Hate Me Games. Now, this wasn’t to pitch the game to them; this was just for feedback. I had made friends with Chris and Cherilyn over the course of a few months through Twitter. They have very similar game likes and dislikes that I do, so I thought their advice on gameplay would be helpful. I honestly wasn’t looking for publication—heck, the game was only 6 months old! So anywho, John came back with the game and suggestions from them. I did those changes and liked the improvement of the game. So I ran with that for 6 more months to Unpub2. Chris and Cherilyn came up for the event (this was the first time I met them in person), and within 30 minutes of meeting them they asked for the rights to publish Compounded. So, really, I got incredibly lucky. My path is incredibly rare, and I am incredibly thankful for them for making my first design so easy!

Who is your favorite scientist—living, dead, real or imaginary... Wow, great question. Knee-jerk I have to say my Grandfather (Darrell Louder Sr.) but you probably mean famous, so I have to go with Michael Faraday. He's known as the grandfather of science, and is credited for giving so much to the field.

Give us your top 3 games and why you like them so much. Wow, this is a tough one. What do I base the three off of, games with lots of players, games with small players, different mechanics, there are many directions on this. Hmm... I’ll side with games that I get the most excited for when they are on the table. In no particular order:

  • Alien Frontiers
  • Stone Age
  • Road to Canterbury

What are some of the benefits gaming provides us? What are some of the downsides? Brain food. Gaming is problem solving and strategy practice. My wife is trying to bring gaming into the classrooms because of this very reason. Sure to dive into our level of gaming is like jumping into the deep end of a pool with only the doggy-paddle to survive on. But once you get a few down you can swim laps. So I think (and I would love to see a study on this) that gaming actually increases your brain power, social awareness, and makes you look better. Okay...maybe not the last one, but one can dream. :) The downside, beside the dreaded gamer-stink (seriously, SHOWER when at conventions) I would say distractions. I get distracted a lot wanting to play a game or work on a design. So I have to fight that urge to get my job done first.

Yes, friends don't let friends leave the house with gamer-stink... Wanna give us a spoiler on the third stretch goal for Compounded? What can I say. Let me say this: Chris and Cherilyn (of Dice Hate Me Games) care first and foremost about the quality of the games they put out. So the first thing you’ll notice with this KickStarter campaign is that there are no "KickStarter Exclusives," and there are no bags, mouse pads, coats, cars—everything goes 100% toward the game and making the game components the absolute best they can be. The third stretch goal will continue that trend, and will be great. Out of all the goals, I can honestly say the third one is the one I am most excited for, and the one I really want to see become a reality.

Ok, here’s the One-Word Answer section: Answer the next 5 questions with only 1 word or phrase.

Favorite Muppet? Grover

Last Vacation destination? Outer Banks - Kitty Hawk, NC

If you could own a REAL ship from Star Wars, which one would it be? A-Wing

Yes or no, have you ever gone around banging two empty halves of coconuts together? Yes, very much so. I ain’t ashamed of it either.

Apollo or Starbuck? Neither. Not a Battlestar fan, sorry.

Darrell thanks so much for taking time to tell us about Compounded!

You can find Darrell on Twitter at @GetLouder, and you can check out Compounded on Dice Hate Me's site right here and the Geek right here. And come back tomorrow for more about the Compounded Kickstarter Campaign!

And don't forget to like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter! Thanks again for reading!

Heartland Hauling More Kickstarter News!

A few weeks ago Scott interviewed "The Great Heartland Hauling Co." designer Jason Kotarski, as he and game publisher Dice Hate Me Games kicked off their Kickstarter campaign to get the game into production. Since then they've hit their funding goal and they have also reached their first stretch goal! That means they've raised enough cash to include the Truck Stop INspansion. A feature of the game that will allow players to upgrade their rigs, give them special abilities, and hopefully an edge on other truckers while they're trucking cross country.

Last night we got a sneak peek at the next stretch goal for the project: truck meeples! Oh, and you can't have the orange's mine.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

And check out our interview with Jason here.

Step Right UP! - A Carnival Review

It's the fun of shoddy carnival rides without the danger of death or dismemberment! Carnival is a card game that is controlled by dice—which seems odd given this is published by Dice Hate Me Games... It pits players against each other as Carnies trying to build their carnivals before the other players finish theirs. Each player has 5 different attractions placed in front of them, which require 4 different elements to complete construction: Banners, Lights, Seats, and Materials. By completing 4 of the 5 attractions (Bumper Cars, Ferris Wheel, Roller Coaster, Carousel, and Flying Swings) you win!

Turn Sequence - At the beginning of your turn you roll 3d6 (that's gamer speak for three six-sided dice) and choose to use two of them; these dice are placed on a tableau and they give you a corresponding action that you can use at any time during your turn (steal a card from another player's midway, swap a card with another player, swap a midway card, etc.). Players can play any number of cards from their hand into their midway and complete their dice actions, and that is pretty much the turn.

There is a handy little twist though: Each player is given three Admit One tickets at the beginning of the game; they can play these tickets at any time and cancel a dice action that has just been declared. So you can tell your friend to get his grubby little paws off of your Ferris wheel lights! This also results in your opponent losing that action.

The cards, with the exception of wild cards, are all one of the elements needed to build your attractions. That is to say, there are no special ability cards in the game—that's what the dice are for. It works well. It keeps your hand balanced and not full of special cards that do you no good if you have nothing built—or even started—in your midway.

The Bottom Line - The game has a bit of an identity crisis in that it doesn't feel like it should be more than a filler game, but it took us a little too long to play than a filler (I'm guessing subsequent plays will speed things up, though). It's designed for 2-4 players and there are a few variants, such as playing with 4 players in a team-on-team scenario, instead of every man (or woman) for himself. I found it highly competitive as a 4-player game, and things got pretty cutthroat pretty quickly! (Yes, I'm saying that as a positive!) The game includes an expansion pack called "The Sideshow," which we haven't yet busted out, but when we do I'll post a quick review on it!

Free Stuff - Dice Hate Me Games included another little freebie in the game: a single card with the rules for a game they call "Lucky Dice." It's a completely random, up-to-the-roll-of-the-dice type game. Once you've "solved" it, you will go crazy because you never roll what you need to score the most possible points. They did, however, create a free iOS version that you can download right here! Give it a test drive and let us know what ya think!

All in all, you're not going to invest a ton of cash into the game, and if you're playing with the right folks it can get pretty competitive, so it's definitely worth a spin!

Have you played with the Sideshow expansion? What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

Keep On Truckin'! [Kickstarter Project]

This is really exciting news! A friend of mine  (Firestone) named Jason Kotarski—a former youth pastor and current associate pastor at a church in Michigan—just had his first game design go live on Kickstarter! I helped him proofread the rules early in the design process, when he was still looking to shop it to publishers, and I thought it sounded like a really fun and unique game. Well, he suckered convinced Dice Hate Me Games to take a chance on him, and as I'm typing this he's over 10% of the way there after only one day.So consider heading over to the Kickstarter page and helping Jason out on one of his dreams.