Monday, February 1, 2010

Finally getting started on "The Project"....


A few years back...actually, many years ago when I and my brother were just in grade school, I had this idea of making my own paper models that I could sell as either fully assemble toys or semi assembled kits.  The concept had followed me all throughout my art and hobby filled life until 'a few years back' I started making the Hakobots.  Originally, the Hakos were just a DIY toy similar to the vinyl toy movement.  I'd make a random batch for art shows with a select few to be placed serendipitously about Sacramento or handed off to individuals.  Eventually, the idea to make a game for them came about.  Hobby gaming is a big part of my recreational, family and creative life and I'm just fascinated with games in general.  "I'm most happiest when I'm playing games." was an answer I gave in a class once where they do that whole self evaluation project.  It's true: I am happiest when I'm playing games...more importantly, when I'm playing games with people I care about and enjoy being around.  To an extent, I see the way I create as a game.  There is a strategy you select, which is your subject matter, theme, materials and composition.  Then, once you get into the process, you have your tactics which is how you put it all together.  There's also a metagame with the creative process, but that could be a whole book by the time I'm finished with the topic (hint, hint...wink, wink, nudge nudge). 

So a game for the Hakos was developed, playtested and distributed amongst interested friends.  It didn't really pick up after that. I had designed the game where you would take a collection of Hakos and battle it out on a table top, floor or whatever against another guy/gals collection or even a singl Hako.  The cool part was that you could choose either a predesigned set of stats for you Hako or make up your own.  Well, "cool" doesn't always move the idea.  So I rethought the idea and came to this conclusion: People like the Hakos for themselves; having a game isn't all that important and if I wanted to get people interested in playing with the Hakos, I should keep the game quick and fun.  The "Strategy Table Top" game is fine, just a bit more than what most people have time to get into.  The next consideration was "How do I make this fun for me to make as well?" That was easy, develope several styles of play that could be applied to varrying formats and themes.  

One such theme is the resource race.  A fun concept that could take as long or short a time as the players wanted.  Enter "Asteroid Racers".  It's a board game with a start, a finish and a dynamic board where you can move your pieces in a semi random route.  The above photo shows a rough layout of the board which is actually the top of an IKEA end table I had in the studio for about two years.  Of course, there will be a small set of Hakos to go with it along with a pair of game dice and means to store the playing pieces when not in use.  The technical aspect of the playing board will be that it can still serve as an end table as I plan to lay down several coats of clear spray to seal it well.  I'm experimenting with Mimwax and if by the time the table is ready, I'm comfortable enough with Mimwax, I may use that as well as it will resist wear a bit better...or so I'm told.



Now that I've finished the paint, I'll let it set for an evening before clear coating.  Designing and building the Hakos to go with it will be the next step.  There's also the consideration of game dice and a means to store the pieces when not in use.  I think a simple, classic bag with draw string will do nicely.  There's a crux under the table where the three legs come together and it would be just the size for a bag of two dice and two Hakos.  I tested a few different predesigned dice and found that the rebound on the table is such that the dice bounced off a few times too many for my liking.  So, I'll also be building a Hako dice cup to help control that.  Another idea I used in a different game was to place the dice in one of those capsules found in coin-op toy machines.  You'd only need to roll one die; with the die in it's own container/enclosed die cup, you'd simply shake the capsule then place it on the table.  Die rolled, number generated and no "Quick!  Catch it before the cat does!"   The thing is:  I've used up nearly all my capsules in other I'll hunt around for a ready alternative or engineer a Hako to be a Dice Capsule.  Possibilties...I could design the Hako to look like a rocket ship with the view port large enough to see the die inside.  Check back for updates!