Lyst 2015

Our bodies might have moved from Vartiosaari, the Finnish fairytale island, ticks, amazing people, crazy game ideas and freezing nights in tents, but our hearts and minds are still lingering at Lyst 2015 in Helsinki.

This year’s Lyst was the first Lyst co-organized by our Scandinavian network.

We held our Symposium in Helsinki city center in the cosy WHS Teatteri Union, and the game jam was held on the beautiful island Vartiosaari, just outside Helsinki city center.

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This year we introduced boardgames into the Nordic Game Indie Night and the duration process was a little different form the digital games. We had a team of dedicated board game experts playing all the physical prototypes.  These guys were looking for well designed, original games with interesting game play. They narrowed the submissions down to six excellent Nordic board games.

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NGIN 2015 Board Game Finalists

For the first time we will also be showcasing board games, along with the digital games, at the Nordic Game Indie Night. Submissions were open for unpublished board games from the Nordic region, and it has been very excited to see all the different designs that were submitted. In the end we received a diverse group of 20 very different titles. There were card games, euro-style games, games about love, games about war, fantasy games, quiz games and cross-platform analogue-digital games. Something for every taste.

Playing board games is a very physical, tactile experience and it was a pleasure to open all the packages and play around with so many different components. It was taxing as well to read so many pages of rules (always being the downside of game systems you have to assimilate in your head!).

Designing clear, short, easy to understand rules can be one of the most difficult challenges for board game designers, but it is often the least prioritised aspect of the design process. It has been both challenging and fun to test the games and find the six nominees. In our selection of the games, we have focused on:

Does the game use innovative mechanics, or well known mechanics in a new context?


Is the game well designed? Do the visuals and tactile experience communicate the mechanics, message and story?


How cohesive is the game; do the individual mechanics fit into the larger whole. Is the game engaging and engrossing?

The 2015 Nordic Game Indie Board Game Finalists:

Automania, by Aporta Games (Norway)

Bloom, by Lauge Lachau (Denmark)

No more money, by Erik Svedäng & Petri Purho (Sweden & Finland)

Hivemind, by Kasper Lapp (Denmark)

Slice and Dice, by Erik Svedäng & Nicolai Troshinsky (Sweden)

My Words Exactly, by Fried Dice (Denmark)

The six selected games will be showcased Wednesday May 20th from 18.00 at Slagthuset, Malmö. One of the games will be selected by public voting during the night to receive the “Nordic Board Game Indie Sensation Award”. The evening is free and open to the public and will features inspirational and experimental speakers and party all night. We will release more information about the program for the evening in the following days, stay tuned.

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Nordic Indie Game Night 2014

Photograph by Gemma Thomson

We are pleased to announce the Nordic Game Indie Sensation Award 2015, the 6th annual Nordic Indie Night Showcase. In collaboration with the Nordic Game Conference we will showcase a number of talented and interesting indie developers from the Nordic countries.

If you have a game that you feel deserves some more recognition, we invite you to submit your game to this years Nordic Game Indie Night. Last year’s showcase featured some awesome games, and we look forward to seeing your game this year. Read more »

w00t 2014

w00t banner

This years Play Festival: w00t is going to be blazingly fun. We are in the middle of organizing it and finding cool game designers and speakers to join us. Right now we need your games. If you have a game that could be played at w00t, please submit it to our open call here (deadline April 1st, so hurry).

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The Math of Who Took the Apple?

Last Nordic Game Jam I designed a physical card game called Who Took the Apple? The game is a four player game, involving giant sized cards, 4 beers, a bucket and an apple… oh – and it is played backwards in time!Cards and Bucket

The game feature beautiful artwork by Simon Gustafsson from RedGrim and you can download it, print and play it right now.

Some people find the mechanics somewhat perplexing, which has made me write this blog post. I have to warn you, this will be rather lengthy; involve a good deal of economic game theory a dash of temporal logic and constant references to apples, buckets and beers. In the end though, I think writing this made me realize a thing or two about why some board games works, even though they in “theory” shouldn’t. So please continue reading:

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Puzzle Strike Pre-Orders

Puzzle Strike

Pre-orders are open for Dave Sirlin’s upcoming board game, Puzzle Strike.

Lau and I are really excited for this one. The game seems like a clever mix between Dominion and arcade favorite Puzzle Fighter. Like Puzzle Fighter, it’s got that same thrilling dynamic in which you’re at your strongest right when you’re closest to death.

You can check out the rules here.

Hell, I even dished out the cash for the Deluxe Version. The initial print run is limited, so there was no way I was going to miss out!

Sirlin is the perfect guy to design this type of game. He was the designer who re-balanced Puzzle Fighter and Super Street Fighter II Turbo for their XBLA re-releases. His article on the process of re-designing Puzzle Fighter remains my single favorite game design case study ever written… mostly because I’m obsessed with Puzzle Fighter, but still, it’s an absolute must-read if you’re an aspiring game developer. I also enthusiastically recommend his classic articles on multiplayer game balance.

It sounds like Sirlin is working on a number of other upcoming board games. Check out his web site.