One can only imagine the amount of overlap among participants of table-top gaming and video gaming that exists. With the exception of big-box events like PAX and, well PAX, most cons and events are fairly delineated between analog and digital gaming.
Predominately a console/installation and generally digital gaming event, NYC Arcade also hosted a few table-top games for its 300+ attendees (judging by Facebook guests and a non-scientific head-count).
Overall it was a very diverse and well attended event. The first of what looks to be a potentially reoccurring phenomenon thanks to the team at Sheep’s Meow– an LLC formed last year in 2014 by founders Brian Chung, GJ Lee and … Sheep. Promoting themeselves as a games studio as well as event planning service, I headed out to this first NYC Arcade event, along with a copy my own table-top game Grifter and got a chance to speak to some of the handful of other, local, table-top designers in attendance.
First up: Henry Brown and his game, Splatterbomb.
Splatterbomb is a simple enough game for 1-4 players. It’s creator, Henry Brown, explained the rules before the two of us ran through a simple one-on-one.
In the game, players have small sprites or characters placed on a simple grid. Still in the prototype phase, the grid we traversed over was a simple sheet of plastic eraser board. Along the top of the board was the name of the game, along with its creators info while the bottom contained the rules for ‘attacking’ your opponent in simple detail.
These rules are fairly simple. On a players turn, you get to move through a total of six squares on the board. Players can at any point ‘attack’ squares or opponents through ‘splattering’ them with pixels– the phrasing includes Splattercapping, Splatterbombing and Splatterarrowing, among others.
At the end of a round, players add up the number of squares they splattered, and get bonus points for reverse splattering an opponents splattered square, and for knocking down an opponent.
It was a simple, quick and enjoyable game, still very much in the prototype phase. It was a game well suited for the venue considering console gaming was the dominant species of presenters in attendance.
Splatterbomb is definitely a game of anticipating your opponents plays, but with only a limited number of spaces to go leaves little room for advanced strategy which gives at obvious appeal towards more casual gamers.
In speaking about the future of the game, Henry, who is also an author and sometimes musician, mentioned expandability along the lines of adding more involved game boards and monsters and items, giving the game an even more console-like feel down the road.
The other local game designer I had a chance to speak with was Jeff Lyon. Contrasting sharply with Splatterbomb’s development-phase look, Jeff’s Magnets:The Game was a slick, well-polished, and long-historied affair.
Conceived of over a decade ago by a handful of Brooklyn collegiate friends in a run-down factory, Jeff’s game comes from a most unlikely source of inspiration– shower curtains.
The small, oddly shaped magnets found at the bottom of your typical bathroom drapery served as the basis for a game designed around collecting their odd pairing into groups of four or more.
In Magnets (a simple and straight-forward enough title) players toss a magnet, from one of the over two dozen that make up the game, into a simple area cordoned off by the only other component of the game– a simple belt.
The magnets, specially designed, weighted and manufactured, either get locked together with other magnets already placed in the area or they don’t. If you lock together four or more, you collect the set. When there are only 3 left, the winner is the player with the most magnets.
Simple. Fast. Fun.
It is definitely a game that goes in the category of Pet Rock for simple ingenuous obviousness, but with quality production, presentation and an appeal to the collector mentality (something any gamer worth their salt has in abundance) the game has a special niche, especially with a nod towards the budding gamer tot in your life.
Overall the NYC Arcade was a positive experience. Aside from the gamers I got a chance to speak with there were a few more locals in attendance and I myself got a chance, multiple chances actually thanks to the turnout, to play a few rounds of my own game–Grifter. The feedback and reactions I got were great–the year+ long slough has definitely turned out a great product (you can check out the games page here, if you are so inclined).
Following the event I reached out to the presenters for a possible collaboration in efforts considering my own gaming venue and the Sheep’s Meow’s goal as:
Our mission is to support local developers,
make game creation inclusive & accessible,
I’ve yet to hear back– Such is life.
But if the first event is any indication, then their next one, happening only a few weeks from now in Jersey, should be as much fun as the last. So if you are in the NYC metro area, find yourself in need of a console, or table-top fix, check out The Sheep’s Meow Hudson Arcade and,