Sunday, March 30, 2014

Welcome to Hoke's Games!


Hoke's Games was created in 2013 to publish the board game Emperor's New Clothes through a Kickstarter campaign. Although the funding drive is now over, this site is an archive of the campaign itself and will also be a place to share variant rules, photos and videos of gameplay, and future Hoke's Games releases.

I've copied over the Kickstarter campaign posts and updates—that way it's a little easier to read through the Kickstarter campaign in the order it was published. All of those posts will be back-dated so that they appear on the date they were posted to Kickstarter. If you'd like to follow along with the story from the beginning, simply start from the first post and then click the "Newer Post" link at the bottom of the page (on the left).

Thanks for visiting—I hope you enjoy your stay!

Jonathan H. Liu

Kickstarter Summary

By the end of the campaign, the front page of the Kickstarter page had a list of all of the artists named in all of the updates, as well as several links to other sites that had written about it.

Here's a list of what appeared on the home page:

  • "Anything that challenges my imagination and encourages creativity is going to score big points for me." - Jason Tagmire, Fruitless Pursuits
  • "Though the pieces might make you think it’s a ruse…it’s actually far from it." -- Cathe Post, GeekMom
  • This gets a big thumbs-up from me, too. Often games with this many mechanisms don’t do any of them particularly well, but they’ve managed to combine everything into a nearly perfect whole. Emperor’s New Clothes should be seen to be believed. -- Firestone, TheologyOfGames
  • Keith Baker's "Six Questions: Jonathan Liu"
  • "I think it’s hilarious and I have to applaud them for bringing the narrative of the game to life in such a clever way." --DMBigfoot, The Inlay
  • "the naked brilliance of the design is undeniably thought-provoking." -- Matt Blum of GeekDad
  • "There are many Kickstarter projects that seem too good to be true, and that’s mostly because they are–but we spend money on them anyway." -- Byron Campell of NerdSpan
  • "I give it three thumbs up (I borrowed one from my wife). This is truly a gem." -- Edd Allard, on
  • "I find the project highly transparent, especially with the availability of the print and play version, which both allows you to check that you can see ROOS and to make sure that the game is to your liking." -- Greg, 3DTotal Games
  • "I must admit however that this campaign is probably the most unusual I’ve ever seen." -- Dad's Gaming Addiction
Plus there was this video review from UndeadViking, which I mentioned in Update #22:

You can also check out the Kicktraq charts for the project here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Emperor's New Clothes Rules

This is where I'll collect rule sets for Emperor's New Clothes. Right now I've got the "official" rules for my version of Emperor's New Clothes, as well as rules for The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which can be played using the components you'll have in ENC.

Here's a video that explains a little more about how to play the game.

If time permits, I'll try to make a fancier version of the rules with diagrams, and I'll update this post. Also, if you come up with other games to play with your components that you'd like to share, I'd love to post them here as well. Either email me directly (jonathan [at] geekdad [dot] com), or post them to the BoardGameGeek files section and send me a link!

You can also see variants on the BoardGameGeek page, although some of these are ROOS-enabled and you may not actually be able to read them.

Note to backers: I noticed there is an error on the printed "Roles Summary" card included in the game. For the Farmer, it says to discard all gullibility and dignity, and then "score 1 point per ___." The blank should have a gold coin icon there.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Update #33: It's All Coming Together

Note: This is a copy of Update #33 from my Kickstarter campaign.
This may be the most colorful photo we've ever posted of Emperor's New Clothes. Game Salute said they're still waiting on the actual boxes—apparently those have taken the longest—but they do have most everything else: the ROOS bits and the TROO bits, cards, tuckboxes, dice, boards, tiles, sand timers… Some of these components only come in the larger sets, so depending on which version you backed you'll be getting some combination of these. (And, of course, each copy of the game comes with the invisible fleece, which is up at the top of the photo.)
 And here's a closer look at the sticker sheet: all backers at the $5 and up level get one of these, even if you didn't get the game itself. The three logo stickers are for the front and sides of the box (if you want your box to have a logo) or, you know, you could put it on your bumper. The dice stickers are there in case you want to use real, visible numbers for the dice-rolling, but I encourage you to try it out without them at least once. There are also some wolf and sheep stickers that can be used to play The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Oh, and that sticker in the lower left is for you to write the age, number of players, and game length to put on the box—if you're designing your own game you can customize it to your liking!

 A Story from XOXO Fest 

While I know a story is a poor substitute for having the actual game in your hands, I hope it's at least an appropriate continuation of the campaign. At the end of September, I had the chance to participate in XOXO Fest's tabletop night. I took my prototype of Emperor's New Clothes, hoping I could persuade a few people to try it out despite the presence of other crowd-pleasers like Cards Against Humanity, Werewolf, Dungeon Roll, Story War, Relic Expedition, and Machine of Death. But I grabbed a table, set out my blank white components, and waited for somebody to take the bait.
Since I had a limited amount of time, I gave a very brief overview of the Kickstarter campaign to those who weren't familiar with it, telling them about the ROOS but then skipping to the explanation so we could sit down and play. Many people were quite open to the idea, and even if they didn't quite get what was going on at first, eventually they got the hang of it and were coming up with fun action cards on their own. I explained that the rules I use provide a structure within which you're free to improvise, but if you use my complete rules there are limits on what you can make up. The dice have specific possible faces; the role cards have pre-determined scoring rules; the resource cubes represent three specific things. However, you only have to use as much of my rule set as you need in order to improvise a game. If the group agrees to use fewer of my rules in order to allow for more rules of their own creation, that's part of the idea.

One of the people who was really excited about the idea of a completely improvised game was Sandy Weisz. He said he wanted to come back later and try that, and I said he would be welcome. In the meantime, I played two rounds with various festival attendees (including Henry Smith, the designer of Spaceteam!). When the second game concluded, I left to go to the bathroom, and came back to find this:
Sandy (standing) had gathered a group of eight players to try the "pure improv" mode. The explanation he gave was that the only rule of the game was that all the rules had to be consistent with each other. They then proceeded to play an elaborate game that involved traveling between locations using bizarre vehicles, all made up on the spot, and the game lasted about an hour. Sandy said that he and Martin McClellan (the guy in the hat) are actually considering developing their idea into a game.
When that game wrapped up, a group of spectators approached and asked what was going on. Sandy spoke up, giving them his one rule: make up a game and keep all the rules consistent. Then they sat down and played a completely different game. 
This one was a party game of some sort—they played cards and rolled dice, but every so often everyone had to touch their noses or the table, or both. (By the way, that's Chris Darden in the background playing Dungeon Roll.) And then when they were done, a third group came over and made up yet another game.

I'd had the idea that a set of blank components could inspire creative play, but this was really the first time I saw it in action, with so many people collaborating on impromptu game design. This is what I hope happens when you finally get your own copy: that it leads to these unpredictable, delightful experiences.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Game Mechanic Ideas: Poor Decision-Making

I love the idea of Daniel Solis' blog. Among other things, he often posts game ideas that he's come up with, whether he's designing a game based on it or not. It's also a different approach to what you do with game ideas: rather than trying to keep them secret, he just posts them on the internet where anyone can see them, and if you can use a mechanic, great.

I've found that I simply don't have room in my life at the moment to spend a lot of time prototyping and playtesting games. Any time I have for playing games is usually devoted to games I need to play for review, and with the massive growth of Kickstarter board game publishing, chances are that I've got some prototype or demo copy that somebody has sent me and I've only got a few weeks to try it and write it up.

I've got a notebook where I jot down some ideas, but I thought maybe a blog would work just as well, and possibly even get me some feedback. Or provide somebody else with ideas they can use.

So today's idea is about poor decision-making. I've actually got some ideas about a game based on being a dad, where the kids run around the house trying to accomplish their own goals while not setting off dad's rage meter. You know, edutainment. I won't get into those details here, but I was thinking about the fact that when people (and kids especially) are tired or hungry they start to lose their ability to make rational decisions. How could you model this in a game?

Well, my game included the ability to pick from a set of actions, things you could do while interacting with the other kids: ask politely, yell, grab, hit, trade, tattle. I thought maybe these could be arranged in a way such that if your hungry/tired meter is high, then you start losing cards. First to go is "ask politely," of course, but then I could either arrange the rest in some sort of order or else say that you just lose one at random. Pretty soon, if you still haven't eaten or taken a nap, your decisions are completely random.

I wonder if there are any games out there that model this sort of impaired reasoning capacity and, if so, how it's done.