News: Starting to Move Forward

Greetings Killer Croquet Fans,

I want to thank you again for your support, and wanted to shoot you an update, now that the end of the Killer Croquet Kickstarter is sinking past the horizon.

Updated Rulebook

First order of business, an updated rulebook.

It had always been my goal to update the rulebook to really reflect the awesome intensity ofJacqui Davis‘s Artwork. Unfortunately, with many set backs and obstacles, I’ve only now been able to create a nearly “box ready” rulebook. If you’ve got you’re own print and play already (or if you plan to make your own) hopefully this layout will provide an easier instruction to the game.

Killer Croquet: A Most Unfriendly Card Game

Secondly, I would like to announce that a small scale Killer Croquet project is in the works: a most unfriendly card game.

While I really enjoy, and stand by the quality of, the original Killer Croquet Board Game. It is an ambitious game for a first time Kickstarter creator. A complex game around an unusual theme with a moderately heavy box. While I still plan to get it published, one way or another, I couldn’t help but think that I could streamline the game into something lightweight, easy to understand, and maintain the same excitement and feel of Killer Croquet.

I’ve tested a couple of iterations of the card game, and I think it is showing signs of promise. It’s still early in the process, but this will be the next step for Killer Croquet. There is currently no release schedule, but I think it’s reasonable to say that something will be available in 2015. Whether that means a simple Print & Play release or a very limited Kickstarter Campaign. If you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any Killer Croquet Card Game Updates, feel free to fill out our very brief survey.

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Wicket Wrap Up

With a few hours left in the Kickstarter, I want to thank everyone again for their help and support to get me this far. We will take the lessons we’ve learned, and help make our next projects all the better.

We’ve received a lot of great feedback from folks, and I want to encourage that. If you some feedback feel free to fill out our brief exit survey or post on ourFacebook Page. Feel free to address any questions you may have there as well.

If you’re interested in being notified about a relaunch of Killer Croquet, keep a weather eye out at our blog:

We’ll be updating the Print and Play files with a new updated hi-res rulebook, and updating higher grade images. If you’re interested in making your own prototype you can check out this linkhere:

It’s hard to say when and how Killer Croquet will return. Some creative design decisions can bring the cost of the game down, approaching certain Kickstarter professionals can get this game in front of more people, and the backstory can be fleshed out more with more engaging artwork and media. I’m excited for the future of Killer Croquet, who can say how it might shake out in the end, I can only promise to give it my best effort.

Also Ponies.

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Designer Diary: Origins of Killer Croquet

I picked up board games in college, and when I returned home for the summer, I found my friends had also found board games. The first “real” board game I encountered was Puerto Rico, followed by Last Night on Earth and Betrayal at House on Hill. It wasn’t long before my group of friends had amassed a collection, and played obsessively through the summer.

Almost immediately, I started tinkering around with the idea of designing my own games. The more games I played, the more I saw mechanics in everything I did, and wanted to see these ideas come to fruition.

My first attempt was an unwieldy attempt at creating a asymetric world building game centered around the old Canadian CGI cartoon “Reboot”. The game itself was such a massive thing that it never saw even a initial playtest.

That same Summer I rediscovered my parent’s old croquet set. When we needed to enjoy the beautiful Southern California weather (as mandated by adults) we took to a game of mallets and balls and the hilarious immaturity involved with such a venture. Croquet through the days, board games through the nights.

Thus was birthed my second attempt, the foundation for Killer Croquet. Basic mechanics with a d3, a d6, and a d12, and a ridiculous combat / collision system. This was the first game I trotted out to my friends, with all the fear and terror that such an endeavor entails. True to form, my friends thought the first few prototypes were unplayable garbage (and in many ways they were right). They were less brutal than I expected, though, so I kept on, redesigning and pruning elements of the games until they actually got to enjoying themselves.

I remember one night getting six friends around the board, and laughing uproariously as one friend got poison, and then was obliterated as each of the five other players ran up and hammered him into the dust.

It was then that I really decided that “game design” was a thing I really enjoyed and wanted to do. Dozens of half baked game prototypes came and went, time travel, street fighter analogues, super hero games, party games, and region control. I hit more than a few (if not all) of the pratfalls of new designers, “ooh it could be a CCG”, “it’d be like Magic the Gathering, but on a board”, “monopoly but good!”. And I learned through mistakes, and kept coming back to Killer Croquet, giving it a play with new friends and realizing the mechanics fell pretty squarely within the bounds of “good design”. My then fiancé, now wife, continually encouraged my game design, but pushed Killer Croquet as “the one”.

After getting some really solid feedback after college at the Game Makers Guild on Killer Croquet, ( and after a stint of trying to work a few contracted games through Game Salute, that’s a whole other story) I got some excellent support from my friends to really go for it with Killer Croquet.

The Kickstarter may not have worked out, but I haven’t regretted a minute of it, and I really appreciate my friends encouraging me to take a first stab at making a dream a reality. They’ve really given me the aggressive play testing early on that forced me to really understand what “good game design” means. Rest assured, getting a game to market is just one more hurdle that I’m dedicated to leaping, and I’m thankful to my friends for helping me along this path.

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Board Game Cross Over: Pack the Pack

Brix Rockstone is no stranger to Packing his Pack with all the treasure and loot he and his adventuring party can find. Brix joined the Pack to do all the dwarfly things- find gems, take gems, wrestle for said gems, pry gems out of cold dead fingers of fellow party members… you know, the basics.

But after a long day of adventuring, Brix discovered that his party members had beat him back to town and flooded the market making his valuables less . . . valuable. As such he responded the only way an adventurer knows how, and declared aloud, “Screw you guys, I’m going home”

Brix returned to the family bussiness of mining, and in his anger and frustration immediately dug too greedily and too deep. He began fusing gemstones directly to his hammer to create a more powerful mining implement and dug through dirt, rock, and stone like a man possessed.

As the hammer became more and more powerful it lead him like a siren through the rocky caverns and tunnels as though responding to some unheard call to hammers everywhere. Brix mined a path through the very bonds of time and space until he cracked a vein open and discovered he had mined upwards into a strange room underground fitted with strange artificial grass.

Shaken as if from a dream, Brix realized that the pathways had closed behind him and he was trapped in this unusual world. He pondered a moment to think if perhaps he ought to have stuck with adventuring.


brixcardBrix Rockstone is a character from Meg McGinley’s fast paced tile taking game called “Pack the Pack”, recently funded on Kickstarter! A game about stuffing all the loot into your bag, other party members be damned. It’s a game about greed and getting as much as you can as quick as you can. We tried to keep Brix Rockstone’s ability in line with that gameplay, as he is thrust into the violent world of Killer Croquet

Dwarven Greed: Spend an action to move any ball on an adjacent space onto your space.

Brix wants it all and he wants it now, using the gemstone attraction (?) in his hammer, he is able to pull other balls to his space. An important ability should he require a way to pull his own ball into line with a target, or should he want to pull an opposing ball off course. At the right time with the right aim, Brix can use his ability to devastating effect on the croquet lawn. However, it also draws folks to him, possibly angry folks (certainly angry folks), best of luck Brix Rockstone.

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Designer Diary: The Game Makers Guild

20140923-205851.jpgAs of this week, I will have been living in Boston for three years. My wife and I graduated college in 2011, got married, ran across Europe for 30 days, then flew straight into Boston to apartment hunt (without a hotel reservation or even a cell phone).

It was an crazy time, but we decided on Boston for a great many reasons, and have come to love Boston for a great many more.

Little did I know at the time, but Boston is one of the most up and coming cities for Board Games in the nation, and certainly the board game capital of New England.

One of the coolest things in Boston was a little group called the Game Makers Guild ( actually, at the time they started out as the Cambridge Board Game Prototype Circle). This group has the express purpose of getting designers together to playtest each other’s games.

It was here that I sheepishly brought my cardboard boxes of hand cut components made with hopes and dreams and had them crushed and rebuilt into playable games and things of beauty.

The most important part of the game design process is having people telling you all of the games flaws. It’s a painful process at times, but absolutely critical.

The Guild has since ballooned into a large organization, meeting twice a month, and a membership of approaching 500 members. We have fantastic designers who lend excellent insight, and enough play testers that for the last several meetups we have played every single game that someone brought.

They’re a very cool, very passionate group of people growing this organization to reach out to Indie Designers and make sure their game gets the testing it needs.

It was here that Killer Croquet was put through the fires and streamlined to the state it’s in today. Some of the early playtests, the other designers so enjoyed the game they really suggested putting it to Kickstarter and move forward with game in particular. They’re an incredible resource, and when Killer Croquet does go into production, I’ll be glad to know that they’ve got my back with all the resources, advice, and connections I’ll need.

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Supporter Suggestion: Spinner

hammerA Killer Croquet Supporter and fellow game designer took a look at the dice mechanics and decided to see if some cool fabrication could add a little more zaniness to the game. He took one look at the theme and thought players ought to really be able to “hit” their balls.

Thus a spinner became a clever choice, complete with a miniature mallet. The spinner he designed is actually quite clever, complete with three points of articulation. The direction pointer, the red ring, and the blue ring.

The red and blue ring are separate so that the wicked hard hit changes and does not remain static. Having a spinner would also free up extra space on the collision cards by combining the dice components and trajectory mechanic.

Which could allow for some other clever mechanics that could reach into the other parts of the game.

It’s not something that made it to my original quote, so should Killer Croquet be funded, I don’t believe it will become a standard part of the game, but that’s not going to stop me from trying it out and playtesting it a little bit.

If you have a prototype copy, try mocking up a spinner and giving it a try, I’d love to hear what you think!

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Killer Croquet Review: The League of Nonsense

Our latest review came in from The League of Nonsensical Gamers. Check out their article here and see some of the great things they have to say about Killer Croquet!

  • Killer Croquet is a relatively uncomplicated game that hits all of the notes suggested by the title. Providing a robust round of croquet interspersed with instances of deathmatch-level infighting, you’ll need to strategize between actually finishing the course and racking up the kills to inflate your score.
  • With traps and perils aplenty to customize the course itself, you’ll never be playing the same game twice!
  • The game does work well, as the dice rolling and collision deck are easy to understand. Short set-up  and play time are a boon for Killer Croquet.
  • The gameplay captures the spirit/rules of traditional croquet very well while the “bash your friends head in with a mallet” mechanics add a welcome level of player interaction to a sport that is typically devoid of such thing (tea, old chap?)
  • Overall, Killer Croquet is a light weight romp through the wickets; a mechanically sound game with an eccentric theme that is refreshing in a time where futuristic football games seem to dominate the sports genre.
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Board Game Cross Over: Ore the Mining Game

The earth contains a great many secrets, and, for some, it contains a great deal of profit. Mining companies crisscross every county and country seeking the wealth that comes from the underground.

Every mining company needs miners, and Orin Rockwell is one of the best. He grew up a coal miner in West Virginia, and coal mining is the lifeblood of Appalachia and the town where Orin grew up wasn’t anything more than a company mining compound.

Until one year, the companies decided it was easier to blow up the tops of mountains with explosives and get right at the ore seams directly.

The process needed half the employees, and suddenly Orin found himself a lot more lonely operating much bigger machinery. He watched the town dry up, watched the water supply get poisoned, and then in an onsite accident that destabilized the rock-shelf, the whole town was wiped off the map in a landslide.

orinHaving lost everything, Orin decided to travel away from the rural South in hopes that Europe would have more sustainable mining practices. He didn’t speak the languages, but they  could tell from the hammer in his hand and the glint in his eye that he meant to work.

He found himself in Ukraine and on one of the largest gold mining operations in the world. Their tunnel systems were so extensive that they had run into so archaic soviet tunnel systems, and Orin was brought in to make sure they were stable and secure.

They weren’t.

After testing some of the deeper passageways with his his hammer, the floor beneath Orin gave out and he fell through into a cavern below while the passageway above him collapsed. When Orin came to, he felt a soft astroturf on his face, and an unusual gentleman with an unsavory grin and a contract. Let’s hope our miner can play croquet.

Orin Rockwell is our latest addition to the contestants of Killer Croquet, where they must play a violent Croquet bloodsport in an old Underground Soviet Croquet Bunker. Orin comes from an Indie Game still in production called “Ore: The Mining Game”, where players control mining companies delving mines fro various riches. It’s very clever worker placement resource management game designed by Joseph W. McClintock and
Jason Lyle Steingisser. As a worker and a miner, Orin Rockwell’s ability reflects his propensity to get his hands dirty.

Contract Work: Spend an action to move a wicket on an adjacent space into an empty space adjacent to that wicket.

Orin is given a particularly unusual and powerful ability.  Very quickly  he is able to modify the course, putting himself on line with a wicket, while possible shifting his opponents off course. At first glance this might make Orin a little too powerful, but spending an action to move the wicket means if he abuses his power to much, he’ll be a prime target for violence.

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Calculating your Hit

Croquet is different from golf. Golf has a lot of variables that can go wrong, you choose your club, and you try your best to hit it the same way every time, and unless you’re a professional golfer it’s all about trying to not screw it up.

Croquet isn’t a “simpler” game, but it is a much smaller game, so you have a lot more control over where exactly the croquet ball ends up rolling. However, choosing just how hard you want to hit your ball is still very much a challenge.

Killer Croquet approximates that challenge with a three types of dice throws.

Softly (Blue): 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3

Fairly (Red): 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8

Wicked Hard: Both Dice added together


As you can see from the diagram it sets up three major arcs for your ball to travel along. Simplified, you’ll likely roll a “1” on the blue dice, you’ll probably roll “3” or more on the red dice, and wicked hard will probably send you in the “5”, “6”, and “7” range. However, like Croquet there is a bit of room for error of over hitting or under hitting your ball, so your big hit might only end up going two spaces, or you might roll the “3” on the blue die when you wanted a “1”.

There are three major things to consider when lining up a shot:

  • Can I hit the thing I want
  • Can I line myself up for a thing I want
  • Can I score a Roquet without going off the edge.

Roquets are an important part of the game, knock your ball through a wicket or into another player’s ball and you’ll score two extra actions, but if your ball hits the edge of the board, you’ll lose those extra actions. So dependent on where you’re positioned on the board you’ll have to keep a close eye on what the upper bounds of your hit might be. When you hit your ball wicked hard, there is almost always a chance that your ball could hit the edge of the board.

Importantly, though, when your ball collides with a person or ball, it’s likely to bounce off in a new direction, or even stop altogether, so if you send your ball on a trajectory with many targets, you have a better chance of it staying on the board no matter how  hard you roll the dice.

dice2Lastly, it’s really interesting to see new players make the mistake of just blindly shooting towards their target, while on a second play, players are a lot smarter about trying to get “on line” with a target. Oftentimes it’s impossible to hit the target you want from your current square, but if you pay close attention, you’ll see sometimes you’ll have very high chances to hit it onto a space that can get to the target on the subsequent turn. Furthermore, hitting your ball onto a space with another players ball and scoring a roquet is often times the fastest way through a wicket, even if the other player’s ball is further away from the target wicket!

Goes to show how much variability that can go into hitting a rashafrassing ball through a rassafrassin hoop. Use these tips to ensure you really knock it out of the park! (well, specifically not hit it out of the park, because you lose actions . . . you’ll figure it out)



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Board Game Cross Over: Los Cthluchadores

Video image.In the darkest recesses of ancient Mexico there have always lurked elder gods and things beyond the understanding of mankind. Through to modern day, those aberrant horrors have duked it out in the wrestling ring for control of their acolytes. The matches draw quite a crowd of insane cultists, and the interest in these. . . Cthluchador matches has not escaped the notice of certain interested parties.

cuervacardIncomprehensible Cuervo was a legend, a dead god among dead gods. Dread Queen of the Ring, bubbling up to the top of the ooze pit of competition and laying the smack down on all newcomers. She relished the challenge, but once at the top, she felt a languishing in her beaked-tentacles. There was no new mountain of wrestlers for her to strive to conquer. But then she heard of a sport where violence was sprinkled between a game with mallets and gibbous rules. The Pall Mall had sensed her intent, and  Incomprehensible Cuervo was summoned to the croquet lawn. Where the Pall Mall offered so many wealth, power, or freedom, Incomprehensible Cuervo desires only an unending stream of worthy and desperate foes.

Croquet certainly seems to be the popular sport among retiree’s these days.

Los Cthuluchadores is a hilarious game with several novel elements, there’s tactical play, rock paper scissors, and a party “make the opponent laugh” mechanic. Designed as a co-project between Bob Kelly and Aerjen Tamminga, two fine fellows with particularly good heads on their shoulders for games. They have a few other games in their chute before returning to Los Cthuluchadores, but it’s such a fantastic theme, I needed to have a Cthuluchador playing in my violent Croquet Bloodsport.

Unspeakable Slam: Spend an action to choose an opponent exactly 3 or 4 spaces away, move your player piece to the opponent and make an attack.

A big part of Los Cthuluchadores is being very aware of positioning and when to strike, so we maintained that type of tension in Incomprehensible Cuerva’s special ability. Combing a move and an attack action is potent, but because he needs a running start, he has to be very aware of how he moves his ball around the field.

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