Thursday, May 9, 2013

Version 10.0 of this LDS Game is ready for general playtesting!


After banging my head against my computer for a frustrating morning, I finally got the latest revision of the cards prepped as a PDF and set on the site!  You can download them on the left, or by clicking here!

Now there's a common thread through the phraseology of the verse rules, the Mastery challenge DISCARD effect is now in place, and it's all ready!


Pleeeeeze give it a try and start playtesting it!  Let me know how it all goes.  It is a bit intimidating to print and cut apart all of those cards.  There are 143 cards, and each one is a set of six on its own page.  I haven't yet figured out how to merge my database to flow them so that there are six unique cards on each sheet.

But, you can print them all out, then cut one off of each sheet, and you'll have enough to play.  Then, if you cut them all out, you'll also have enough that two people could make unique decks and test your deckmaking, so the error does have its advantages.  I also recommend that you put the verses into plastic sleeves (available dirt cheap at hobby stores and card shops), so that they're easier to shuffle!

Thanks so much for giving it a try!


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Beta Version 10.0 of LDS Game Chapter and Verse

Every once in a while, things will bubble and boil up inside me, and all of the ideas that I've had over the course of six months or a year will all burst forth into...  What?   Stew?

I don't know where I was going with that metaphor.

But anyway, I just finished reworking the rules.  There are two big differences:

  1. I did away with the learning game and the standard game.  I found that when I taught people the game, I taught the standard game, anyway.  I also combined the meta game into the shame rules doc as the standard game.  The mastery game is so far from development that I shelved it, too.  I also created a "Quick Start Guide" so that players can get the overall idea of the game, and give it a try, then reference the more detailed rules to answer questions, or as they get more into the game.
  2. I did away with the "Quote Challenge" rule, and made it a DISCARD verse rule.  I found that many people testing the game were turned off by the rule, and by playing the game with the possibility of a challenge hanging over their heads.  Making it a verse rule follows the model of the Magic: The Gathering "Cancel", "Counter", and "Fizzle" spells.
Here in a few days, I'll put out the new cardset, too.  It has more verses, about 145, and my playtests so far have been lots of fun.

So, here is the new v10.0 complete rules document.  And here is the new v10.0 quickstart guide document. The links are also available in the sidebar, on the left!


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). In addition to playing LDS games, Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

LDS Game Design and Dr Grimdeath: Part 1

Recently, I got a facebook message from one of my old buddies from my high/school college days. He was one of our gamer crowd, and played a lot of D&D as well as other miniatures and role-playing games.

He’d developed a game, with a prototype, that he wanted me to playtest.  It was based on the old, corny B-grade horror flicks of the past.  The premise is a bunch of students spending the night in a mansion with a monster.  They have until midnight to 1) identify and kill the monster using weapons and items they find, 2) escape the island the mansion is on, or 3) die trying.

Our family tried it, and it was a hilarious and silly romp.  It’s a cooperative game, so we were all trying to win together.

Afterward,. by a few days, I got on the phone with him and we talked a lot of cool things about game design and our game efforts.  It was interesting to talk to him about Chapter and Verse, and about Dr Grimdeath, because he’s not LDS, and so that made it interesting to explain the concepts of the game.

I thought I’d share some highlights of our discussion, because it plays not only into LDS gaming, but also into game design in general.  I’ll touch on each one here, in the successive parts of this posting!

Feedback Loops

There are two kinds of feedback loops in game design.  A “Positive Feedback Loop” is a rule or a circumstance that encourages a situation to recur more and more frequently.  One broad example, it’s the way a Monopoly game is really won or lost in the first few turns.  The player that gets the best properties in the first few rounds ends up collecting more rent, and that grows into more re-investment, until he or she is unstoppable.  You have to watch for these in your games, or they can make the game balance run away from you.

A “Negative Feedback Loop” is a rule or situation that makes a situation LESS likely to recur.  In American Football, when you score a touchdown, you have to kick off to the opposing team, and it’s their turn to be on the offensive.

It’s important to note that the terms “Positive” and “Negative” don’t refer to any thougths about the outcome.  As a player a PFL can have a very bad impact on my strategies and my play of the game, and a NFL can keep my opponents in check.  Positive loops are things MORE likely to happen again, and negative loops are things LESS likely.

Early in the game, when a player closed up a book, he/she would draw blessing verses, and then continue on with their turn.  I soon discovered that players could use various drawing verses (like Prayer and Keyword) effects to just keep on playing and playing, closing book after book, and win in one turn without the other player being able to do anything.  A PFL was messing up the game balance.  I chose to fix it like the football game.  Once you close a book, your turn ends.

It’s interesting because in an LDS game, as in any game, you have to watch out for PFL’s because they can really mess up the balance of a game.  On the other hand, in LDS LIFE, it’s full of PFLs.  Like prayer, for example.  You say a prayer and you feel great.  You feel connected to God.  That makes you want to pray more.  Which makes you more connected...

Of course, temptation is also a PFL.  If you give in once, you’re more likely to do it again.

Next: Getting to Your Core Essence


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.