Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blog Housekeeping: Consolidation, Best Posts

This is the last blog entry for both my Hobby Games Recce blog at LiveJournal and Schweig’s Game Design Journal at Blogger; I’m porting everything to a new hybrid blog – Hobby Games Recce at Blogger – where I plan to continue posting missives about the adventure gaming hobby and game design every Tuesday. Bookmark the new Hobby Games Recce blog site for updates; the old sites will remain, though this will stand as the last entry.

When I split my efforts with the two blogs almost a year and half ago I’d intended to use the Game Design Journal as a more personal insight into my creative efforts rather than the general survey of news and features in the adventure gaming hobby in Hobby Games Recce. While this broadened my scope, it restricted me to a general theme each week, one that sometimes oozed from one blog to the other. It also split my efforts between two blogging platforms which took time to transition between. Although the Game Design Journal enabled me to explore some interesting game design issues, it wasn’t really inspiring the interactive discussions for which I’d hoped (though the few discussions it did engender were rewarding).

I garnered several revelations from the experience. It makes more sense to focus all my blogging efforts in one place, both for my ability to navigate blogging interfaces and to direct people to one place for my gaming missives. It offers me the freedom to cover general adventure gaming hobby issues with occasional intrusions of personal game design when so inspired, without the self-imposed, every-other-week restriction on content.

I also realized, reluctantly at first, that I prefer Blogger as a platform better than LiveJournal. It didn’t crash as often, gave me more control over the look of the page (as you’ll see from keeping the Game Design Journal template), provided more information on my posts (specifically page views and +1s), and interfaced nicely with my other Google-based applications.

I intend to merge all the old posts from both blogs onto the Blogger Hobby Games Recce site for easy reference and to provide a continuous record of my past blogging exploits. While Blogger made things easy transferring Game Design Journal entries to the new Hobby Games Recce site, LiveJournal did not make a similar transition easy at all; so this may take some time to transfer several years' worth of entries locked up in LiveJournal’s byzantine interface to the new Hobby Games Recce site on Blogger.

In looking back on the 37-entry run on Schweig’s Game Design Journal, several posts stand out as ones of which I’m most proud:

“Admiring Interesting Game Developments” might easily have come under the purview of Hobby Games Recce; it allowed me to examine two games that recently caught my eye with some innovative game mechanics.

Posts about my random dungeon experience tied to my development of Schweig’s Themed Dungeon Generator included “Thoughts on the Random Dungeon” and “Revisiting the Random Dungeon with Themes.”

“Charging Off on Another Diversion” allowed me to indulge a sudden inspiration in using 54mm plastic soldier minis in a basic game in which a refreshing “horde” charges a fixed position of defenders.

“The ‘Pay-What-You-Want’ Experiment” offered my impressions of the sales trend encouraging customers to offer a “tip” for otherwise free online material.

“Oracle Game Engine Dice Mechanics” outlined my original die-rolling and reading mechanics for an upcoming fantasy roleplaying system I’m developing, based on “The Allure of Dice in Fantasy Games” post noted below.

My examination of the “D6 System Core Rulebook” garnered the most +1s from readers on Google+.

“The Allure of Dice in Fantasy Games” won the prize for most views.

Schweig’s Game Design Journal has enjoyed a good run during the past year or so, with some engaging entries that inspired a few encouraging discussions and a lot of self-examination. I’m looking forward to exploring more adventure gaming issues in the newly relocated Hobby Games Recce. Happy gaming!

Want to offer feedback? Start a civilized discussion? Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparing for A Convention

I’m getting ready to attend a convention and run a game – something I haven’t done in a while – so I’m slowly pulling myself and my materials together in a somewhat-familiar way so I’m as prepared as possible to put a positive face on the event.

I haven’t attended a convention as a gamemaster in a while. Before becoming a father I had a regular calendar of several regional conventions each year, at which I’d do the gaming guest thing running roleplaying game sessions, speaking on panels, mingling with gamers, and occasionally hosting a dealers room table. I’ve since had little time or energy to regularly attend conventions; most of my recent forays have been as a regular con-goer, hanging out with gamers, playing in a game or two, and shopping among the dealers. (I’ve previously discussed my annual pilgrimage to now-nearby Historicon the past few years.) Having worked both ends of the spectrum – from hard-sell game designer to average con-goer – I can appreciate the amount of work gamemasters put into their convention games as well as the relaxed and friendly atmosphere a good convention offers.

But I’ve set myself the goal of taking some new game designs to demo, playtest, and showcase at some small, regional conventions in the new year; so I’m trying to get back into the groove to make myself and my game look as professional as possible.

I’m planning on running a free-form, four-hour demo/playtest session of Panzer Kids, a kid-friendly wargame of World War II tank battles I’m developing. Although the first draft of the basic rules is complete, it hasn’t quite entered the layout stage yet. (And I’m still drafting “optional” advanced rules for the deluxe version.) So I’m prepping some essential materials for running a game at the convention, most of which are planned components of the final game: simple stat cards for various tanks for reference, a one-page summary of the stats on the cards, and a one-page rules summary to display at the table. My brilliant stroke of marketing genius (or shameless self-promotion) came in devising the stat card backs; since I intend to print and trim a host of them to give out to players, I put a short blurb about the game on the card back with the Griffon Publishing Studio website address so they can watch for further updates about the game in development.

Aside from game materials I need to produce, I must prep and pack all the wargaming paraphernalia for the convention: tank miniatures to match the stat cards, terrain pieces, my 4x6-foot, tan felt “desert terrain” mat, dice, hit tokens, and sign holders (for the aforementioned one-page game reference materials).

I always have to psych myself up for conventions where I’m presenting my game design projects. It’s not that I’m immersing myself in a role of game designer, but more training myself to project a positive, friendly, and open presence. Much of this actually comes down to believing in myself and what I’ve created to overcome a natural degree of self-doubt.

Once I finish with the “business” end of con prep – including making hotel arrangements, registering the game, and registering for the convention itself – I can move along to more enjoyable activities based more in my convention-goer role: perusing the program to look for games I’d like to join as a player, packing some board games to try in any open board game areas I find (and resisting the urge to pack everything...), compiling a short list of game goodies to seek among the dealers, and e-mailing a few friends I hope to see.

Over the years I’ve kept a small journal with notes from my past convention participation: game sessions I ran with times and number of players; impressions of convention space, attendance, and dealers; contacts I make; and ideas for future convention appearances. It’s all done in the spirit of learning by reflecting on past experiences. Using this method I’ve learned a lot and changed how I approach conventions, yet I also realize I am always learning, that I always have something I can improve and must adjust to new situations. I’m looking forward to the upcoming convention and my Panzer Kids demo/playtest session; we’ll see what notes I add to my convention participation notebook and what areas I can improve.

As always, I encourage constructive feedback and civilized discussion. Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Six Pilgrims

I’ve diverted slightly from some of my projects at the start of the new year to pursue a quick exercise channeling some recent inspiration into a personal challenge. The inspiration came from my recent admiration of the interesting “randomizers as pieces” element of CoinAge and an urge to explore the issue of whether mechanics or theme came first in designing a game (a topic I’d like to address in a future Game Design Journal entry). The result is a quick, abstract game with a medieval theme called Six Pilgrims. I apologize in advance...this is one of those posts where I ramble through my creative process, so please bear with me.

One of the elements I liked about Coin Age was how each player’s casting of the coins served both to randomly determine what action they could take in a turn and also define the available pieces to deploy on the map. Once placed the pieced didn’t move, but played a role in the territory control aspect of the game. Using randomizers as pieces appealed to me as a concept, though I wasn’t quite sure where I’d go with that.

I wanted to experiment with an idea of using six-sided dice as both randomizers and pieces in an abstract game I could lightly overlay with some basic theme elements. I decided to use a simple gridded playing surface like a chess board, though I chose to narrow that down to six dice on a six-by-six square grid; this would accommodate my intention to use a seventh die to randomly affect dice during play. I also imposed upon myself the condition that the game rules serve both a solitaire player as well as two players head-to-head (each using six dice on the board and a seventh one on the side). For my “randomizers as pieces” element I determined that during set-up players would roll each playing-piece die and deploy it on the resulting space within a column; for instance, rolling a “4” would place that die in the fourth square up from the player’s side of the board. In this way one die would occupy each column at a variable “height.” I wanted to use a roll of the seventh die at the beginning of each turn to randomly determine one column whose die would “drop” one space, possibly even moving it off the bottom edge of the board and out of play.

I played around with a game objective motivating players to manipulate the dice on the board. Moving off the top of the board seemed diametrically opposed to the “downward” movement randomly determined at the beginning of each turn; so I settled on lateral movement, making the random “drop” each turn a nuisance and a means of eliminating pieces that might score at the game’s end. I decided a die could move off the right edge of the board only if all the dice lined up on the same row; for extra depth I allowed other dice of the departing die’s value to leave as well...so if a die valued at “5” departed the right edge of the board, all the other dice in the line showing “5” leave, too. This led to a short list of player actions each turn: move one die up or down one space; move one die to the right one space into an unoccupied column (possible only after dice start moving off the board); change the value of one die by one pip (to increase scoring or enable multiple, similar dice to move off the board). No action could affect the single die “dropped” by the random roll at the beginning of that turn. After outlining these rules in a far more clearly organized manner – and determining how conflicting dice would work with two opposing players – I ran a few solitaire games for myself to iron out the kinks and adjust the rules to those hastily explained above.

When creating games I generally tend to focus on a theme first – one that engages a personal interest – then develop mechanics based on a fulfilling game experience keyed to that theme. This exercise in employing a “randomizers as pieces” element proved quite the opposite of how I normally go about conceiving of and developing a game. I now had a set of mechanics I liked, but no theme to add some flavor (or even an interesting title) to an abstract set of rules.

Two generalized themes became apparent in the rules as I’d envisioned them: falling down and off the bottom of the board; and bringing the dice into alignment to “escape” off the right side of the board. I was immediately reminded of and inspired by a review of the Titanic SOS game (which fired my subsequent search for material about that game). I also thought about other themes involving evacuation or escape in my general field of interests such as history, science fiction, and fantasy, like abandoning a damaged spacecraft or leaving a doomed planet. Meh. Nothing really came together to excite me or provide some basic theme elements (like a title) to enhance the rules. I looked at the dice sitting on my chess board, thought about the medieval origins and importance of chess, and thought what general medieval setting ideas I had floating around. Then it dawned on me: it might fit the Infinite Cathedral fantasy roleplaying setting I’ve had on the back burner for a few years.

I envisioned the Infinite Cathedral as an alternate plane of existence where people were magically and inexplicably dumped from various other medieval realities, a vast expanse of mostly ruined cathedral architecture, grids of columned naves and transepts with cloisters in the spaces between them. Inhabitants (and their trapped descendents) frequently face a choice between accepting their fate and settling down in small enclaves or continuing a seemingly hopeless quest for some means of returning to their home worlds. With the religious overtones of the Infinite Cathedral and a built-in escape motif I found a thematic means of framing my abstract rules. The dice represent six pilgrims seeking to escape or “ascend” from the infinite bounds of the cathedral, with the downward mechanic symbolizing the pull of despair threatening to deter them from their quest. For one to “ascend” they must all align geographically and philosophically.

To complete this exercise I need to revise my draft rules, include a few diagrams and examples, work up a print-and-play board, and send it off to my usual keen playtesters; but overall I’m pleased with this simple diversion.

As always, I encourage constructive feedback and civilized discussion. Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Wisdom comes from examining and reflecting on one’s experiences with an eye toward learning from them. The turn of the New Year offers a milestone at which many people stop to reflect on where they’ve been the past year and where they’d like to go in the coming one. Some set their expectations high with those pesky annual and often-forgotten “resolutions.” Others examine where they’ve gone right or wrong in the past year and resolve to be more mindful of such opportunities to improve themselves in the coming months.

The New Year’s holiday offers a chance for me to reflect on my professional game activities over the past 12 months with an eye toward evaluating my strengths and weaknesses, finding my inspiration, and re-focusing my efforts

Achievements in 2013

Looking back over the past year I see my accomplishments range across a number of activities, few of which one measures in quantitative terms: publishing and promoting gaming product, communicating with the vast gamer community, and connecting with key individuals for both playtesting and networking. Some endeavors have had particular significance for me:

Blogging: Over the course of 2013 I wrote 52 blog entries on adventure gaming and game design. Yes, everyone seems to blog these days and many argue it’s going out of vogue; but blogging fulfills two goals for me. It enables me to communicate with gamers on both general subjects in the hobby gaming field at Hobby Games Recce and on specific issues of game design here at the Game Design Journal. Blogging also requires me to maintain discipline, both to produce relevant, polished editorial content in more than 750 words each week, and to do so on a schedule (every Tuesday morning at alternating blogs). I’m not always successful in the “relevant” and “polished” categories, but the exercise keeps my writing skills active.

Online Playtesting: I sent several projects through various stages of playtesting using online contacts and access through Google Docs (or whatever they’re calling it these days). I viewed this as an offshoot of my activities to increase my online interaction with the gaming community. Early in the year I sent various iterations of my fantasy roleplaying game engine using some innovative dice mechanics (the Oracle System, about which I’ve written before). When inspiration hit me to create a customizable random dungeon generation system, my playtesters rose to the challenge and helped me refine my vision for the product. As with any playtesting effort, some participants offered vague suggestions and impressions (if any at all), but more than I expected provided constructive criticism, fresh ideas, and positive encouragement. I am fortunate to have cultivated a small group of intelligent and loyal playtesters during 2013, an asset I intend to continue using throughout the new year.

Pay What You Want: In 2013 DriveThruRPG.com and its affiliated websites offered publishers the option of pricing products as “pay-what-you-want,” giving customers the option of downloading product for whatever price they wanted, even “free.” The trend quickly gained popularity among publishers for a variety of reasons. I chose to convert all my previously free downloads -- mostly short scenarios supporting my Pulp Egypt and Heroes of Rura-Tonga supplements -- to “free/pay what you want” in an effort to raise some extra revenue from generous donors. (I examined the pay-what-you-want issue and my views of it as a “tip jar” in an earlier journal entry.) The change provided some additional revenue each month; subsequently released free product has fallen under the pay-what-you-want price rationale.

Themed Dungeon Generator: An unexpected project evolved from playtesting the fantasy roleplaying game rules under development. In seeking to self-test the character and combat systems I turned to the venerable random dungeon generation tables of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide (with my own modified monster encounter table keyed to my own game). After finding that experience haphazard and thematically meaningless, I set about creating my own one-page, fillable PDF form to customize my own randomized-yet-themed solo dungeon experience. It suited my needs; with some polishing and quick online playtesting it released to the public through my DriveThruRPG.com e-storefront. It was one of several small game design diversions in which I indulged and the only one to yield saleable product. I generally don’t like releasing small supplements with low price points, but this one sold rather well and made what seemed like sidetracked efforts pay off. (You can read about my solo dungeon delves and the rationale behind Schweig’sThemed Dungeon Generator in past blog posts.)

Goals for 2014

I think I set a positive course for 2013, so many of those trends I intend to continue in the new year; however, many new directions and challenges remain:

Project Completion: I’d like to complete and bring to publication two projects that underwent significant development and playtesting last year: my introductory tank wargaming rules for a younger audience called Panzer Kids; and a fantasy roleplaying game using the Oracle System’s innovative dice mechanic for a basic gaming experience similar to old school renaissance retro-clones, tentatively titled Basic Fantasy Heroes. (I’m also allowing myself to go off on a few other diversion to develop a small abstract board game inspired by some interesting game elements and a quick battle game using 54mm plastic soldier miniatures, which I’ve mentioned before on this blog; I intend both for eventual publication in PDF form, quite possibly for free.) I fully subscribe to the philosophy that “We will sell no wine game before its time.,” which, regrettably, means projects take their time to reach publication, but they meet my personal quality standards on several levels.

Convention Scene: I’m hoping to return to the regional convention scene this year, partly to playtest, demonstrate, and promote my game projects, but also to enjoy myself, mingle with gamers, try new games, and enjoy old ones with new friends. Unlike my previous convention experiences years ago where I attended as a gaming guest running games, speaking on panels, and hosting a dealers table, I’m taking a more relaxed approach, especially in these times of fewer and smaller conventions, tighter finances, and fewer invitations to gaming guests. I have plans to visit a few conventions I’ve attended before, as well as leads on a few others, both well-established and relatively new, I’d like to try.

Continued Blogging: I sometimes debate whether it’s worth my time to continue writing two blogs, one each week, especially when I’m light on relevant topics, have little time and focus to write, or simply don’t feel as enthusiastic about my subject as I should. Part of my blogging satisfaction comes from a need to create meaningful content, but another comes from the interaction I enjoy in sharing these views on the adventure gaming hobby and game design issues. On occasion these missives and discussions inspire me in new directions. I’m looking forward to generating more discussions through blog topics that interest me and the gaming community at large.

E-Publishing: I need to re-focus some efforts to promote my e-publishing endeavors more effectively, beyond actually producing and releasing product (a challenge given my limited time, focus, and energy). I learned during 2013 to use social networking, blogs, word of mouth, and the Griffon Publishing Studio website to promote my activities and publications and intend to continue those practices. But I need to spend time to more effectively market my materials using the publisher tools offered by DriveThruRPG.com and its affiliated sites -- particularly the “featured product” messages -- to boost sales. I also need to start seriously looking to make several of my PDF products available through that website's print-on-demand program.

My reflections on where I’ve been and where I’m going with my game-design endeavors serves as both a kind of “annual report” of the past year and an outline of some tasks that lay ahead. In reviewing last year’s “New Year’s” post I’m relatively satisfied that I’ve at least confronted the challenges I set for myself in 2013; I’m looking forward to moving into 2014 with renewed purpose and some solid goals to achieve.

As always, I encourage constructive feedback and civilized discussion. Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Admiring Interesting Game Elements

I occasionally like to highlight and discuss interesting game elements I notice, whether they can actually influence or inspire my own game design work. Collins Epic Wargames’ Spearpoint 1943 by Byron Collins impressed me with its multi-faceted damage cards and overall smooth interpretation of World War II tactical skirmishes in a card game format. Tasty Minstrel Games’ Coin Age by Adam McIver incorporates an innovative mechanic in which the random elements determining what actions one can take also serve as the pieces one places, all on a “micro” map that can fit in your pocket. By sheer coincidence both games are running Kickstarter funding campaigns, though Coin Age’s ends in the next few days.

I first noticed this game while attending a small miniatures wargaming convention in Williamsburg, VA, where the creator was running demos. A friend who manages a comics and gaming store showed me a demo copy and was particularly impressed with the damage card mechanic, which, on first glance, offered a different damage complication on each of its four edges corresponding to one of the four unit types (infantry, tanks, aircraft, and artillery). I’ve had my eye on the game ever since -- in a casual sort of way -- but always hesitated at the $29.99 price tag. This past Thanksgiving Collins Epic Wargames had a Black Friday sale that, even with shipping, brought the game into my acceptable price range…so I ordered a copy that was promptly delivered two days later.

The game comes with 50 cards each detailing German and American forces, 25 command cards with advantages and special actions to play as the skirmish develops, and 25 damage cards. Players customize a force based on card points, deploy several units, then engage in combat. The skirmish game concept reminds me somewhat of what I’ve read about Up Front, the card game version of Avalon Hill’s venerable Squad Leader, though I imagine Spearpoint 1943 is a bit more streamlined than that hard-core wargame.

During the course of combat units can sustain damage in the form of points deducted from their endurance (a numerical value indicative of overall strength). Spearpoint 1943 employs an elegant little mechanic in which a card keeps taking damage throughout the turn, but at the turn’s end it defaults back to either full endurance or, if damaged below half endurance but not yet destroyed, then back to half endurance. Any unit taking more than half its endurance in damage also draws a damage card. Each edge of the card contains text for specific damage effects to one of the four unit types. Tucking the card beneath the damaged unit -- with the specific damage effect edge text showing -- also reminds players the unit’s now at half endurance.

Spearpoint 1943 also uses a few other innovative mechanics I like. The game requires players to commit crew cards when putting vehicles and artillery into play. This might seem like an unnecessary detail in a basic skirmish game, but functions as game balance for more powerful units. Players initially deploy only four cards, so a vehicle card and crew card to make that vehicle operational take up two card spaces that might otherwise go to two infantry units. In playing additional forces from one’s hand one must wait until both a vehicle and the associated crew appear when drawing from the reserve deck.

While the cards at first seem overly complicated with many different stats and the rules might seem a little overwhelming as players try to put together all the numbers and procedures, the mechanics work intuitively when everything’s put together on the game table. (I wouldn’t mind finding rules for solitaire play….) Although the interesting elements I admire don’t seem to fit into any games I’m developing right now, they’re certainly approaches I’ll keep in mind for the future.

Collins Epic Wargames is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund a version of the game set on the Russian front (the original Spearpoint 1943 covers tactical engagements during the campaign in Italy in 1943). While I’m not planning on backing this particular version of the game -- I’m not really a huge fan of action on the Eastern Front -- I’d love to see a version covering German and British skirmishes in North Africa in 1942-43.

Billed as an “area control microgame,” Coin Age consists of a credit-card sized map with four similarly sized pages of rules; players provide the “pieces” using pocket change (one quarter, two nickels, three pennies, and four dimes for each player), though the Kickstarter campaign has already funded the stretch goal of a set of punchboard coins.

The game’s innovative mechanic involves using the coins not only as randomizers to determine player actions but as available pieces to place on the map to control territories. One player is “heads” and the other “tails,” enabling all coins to serve as double-sided counters on the board. Players “roll” (or more accurately “slap!” as demonstrated by the Kickstarter video) the two-sided randomizers (“coins”), with the combination of heads or tails to match the player’s side determining what actions the player can take: placing one, two, or three coins matching the player’s side, moving an already placed piece to an open territory, or even capturing an already placed piece and adding it to their “bank” of available coins to “roll.”

Players aren’t limited to placing pieces on empty territories; they can put a piece on an opponent’s piece on the board as long as the coin is physically smaller than the one upon which they’re stacking. For instance, a player might put a nickel on top of their opponent’s quarter, taking that territory as their own; but their opponent can re-take the area with a penny or dime on a later turn.

The game ends -- and the scoring begins -- after someone claims the last open territory or uses up all their coins. Scoring not only depends on who holds the most territories, but who has majority control of several “regions” consisting of one, two, three, or four spaces. Smaller coins score fewer points than the larger coins, which are already scarce within each players’ bank of available pieces.

Both the “randomizers as pieces” concept and the “stacking territory capture” elements appeal to me, though not for any game I currently have in mind. I could easily see rolling dice and using them with the values they roll as pieces of different strengths (and I’m sure someone’s already done it somewhere). Stacking pieces to capture areas from lesser-value pieces also adds a good bit of strategy to the game: if you make a grab for someone else’s territory you do so at a lower-scoring point value. (Hmmm, the stacking capture mechanic might work for a Gordon Relief Expedition game I’ve causally had in the back of my mind….)

I’m impressed and encouraged by several strategies in Coin Age’s Kickstarter that appeal to me as a potential backer:

Free PDF: Regardless of whether you back it, you can still preview and play the game for free with the PDF download rules and board available at the Kickstarter website. Try before you buy, so to speak.

Low Price Point: The minimum backer level (including shipping anywhere in the world) is a minimum $3, with a suggested “donation” of $5. When was the last time you paid $5 for a well-nuanced strategy game?

Stretch Goals for Everyone: The Coin Age Kickstarter campaign offers a veritable horde of stretch goals that apply to everyone backing the game. As of this writing people who back the game at any level get an additional map on durable “credit card-like” material, cardboard coin tokens (so you can save your change), stickers with the cardboard coin token design to apply to real coins, and -- yet to be unlocked at this time -- one or two additional maps! All this in addition to the originally promised main microgame board and rules. No add-ons or exclusive stretch goals for those backing at extremely expensive levels…just basic rewards for everyone to celebrate the game’s Kickstarter successes.

Support Our Troops: Midway through the campaign Tasty Minstrel Games added an extra backer level in which supporters could not only get copies of the game for themselves, but could also pay to have copies sent to troops overseas through the Operation Gratitude organization. [Edit: Kickstarter administration has since rescinded this pledge level as it supposedly violates their terms in not donating funds to charities...the exact wording and intent of which backers have debated -- and expressed their displeasure with -- at the Coin Age crowdfunding page.]

Ultimately I backed this project for multiple copies, one for myself and a few as gifts for friends.

As always, I encourage constructive feedback and civilized discussion. Share a link to this blog entry on Google+ and tag me (+Peter Schweighofer) to comment.