Publishers and designers you'd follow anywhere

Without knowing anything about the game, I’m guessing no intersection? If that is just decorative, definitely bad placing of the… robot?

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No intersection for both. The intersection pieces have a square in the middle, like the non-intersecting piece with the square in the middle above…

Now to be fair, there are little visual cues, and there are no standard tiles in the game that intersect (the ones that do are special and proving very tricky to acquire), but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m constantly battling my own eyes, especially in lower light. The visuals should prompt the rule, not the other way around.

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The old circuit diagram standards assumed that wires crossing were in contact; if they weren’t, you put a hoop on one of them to make it clear. The new standards (all right, since ~1985?) assume that a crossing isn’t a contact, unless you put a dot on it. Either of these is fine as long as you know which standard someone was using…

I agree that it could be rather clearer.

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What’s the game?

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Curious Cargo, and I have to say, it’s a hell of a game.

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Is that the reason you’re keeping the anti-stink bags? The sulfurous smell?

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Heheh, honestly I’d prefer sulfur over this weird stink. With apologies for the alienating comparison, it’s a bit like hot plastic and urinal cake…

Anyway your joke has actually reminded me that there are anti-stink pouches (very similar to the silica packs, actually!) that use activated charcoal. I might try a few of those if it doesn’t work itself out over the next few days. I’m airing the whole thing out; it shipped relatively wet.

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*Apologies for the double, this was a quick edit that blew up.

On the subject of Curious Cargo and with a few warm up games under my belt, I’m about prepared to add Ryan Courtney to my list of designers. The main caveat being the fact that he’s only released two games (both sharing a core mechanism), but wow, are they firecrackers. Any concerns I might have had about Curious Cargo being a lesser Pipeline have been thoroughly quashed and on early impressions, it might actually be the more challenging game. As important, the game attached to the spatial puzzle is as dynamic and engaging its progenitor… and easily as nippy!

Beyond the chops he’s demonstrated so far, I can’t think of anyone exploring difficulty in games quite like he is, either. It’s a bit nebulous, but there’s a particular brand of challenge he’s reveling in with his games that I find novel. Splotter manages their niche through a smorgasbord of interplay and no parachute. Countless other games offer a stiffer challenge by going “tight”, forcing ruthless efficiency and/or planning…

Courtney seems to like to ask you to juggle fireballs while skeet shooting on a unicycle, without ever devolving into a competitive jigsaw puzzle. I’ll argue that, as usual, interaction is key. Not just through player interaction (which he heaps on in meaningful ways), either; The gameplay mechanics of Pipeline and Curious Cargo are integrated such that it’s never just about who surmounted the challenge best.

From an optics standpoint, he’s that new pipe-maze guy. But I think his hallmarks are a trifecta of being forced to plan deep while managing a bird’s nest of connections and staying limber enough to keep your competition in line. Delicious.

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