Showing posts with label Diggity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Diggity. Show all posts

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Diggity from Sugar Dice

I have no idea what they're saying, but it's really neat to see people in another country enjoying (I hope) my game.

Friday, August 3, 2012

FatherGeek reviews Diggity

A terrific review of Diggity by FatherGeek!

FatherGeek looks at games from a family perspective, so that's why there's the multi-generational aspect to the review.  I was really thrilled by the detailed discussion of strategy that he got into.  I've always thought the game was pretty deep for having such simple rules, and FatherGeek's testers really seemed to pick up on that part of it.  I'm also really glad they had fun with it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Diggity site update - new art!

I've got the Diggity site updated including the newer art for the game.  Woo.

Diggity Review

The web is ephemeral, and that isn't always great if you're trying to build a following for a game.  I've been trying to find a nice review of Diggity that came out a couple years ago.  It was by JT at  It's no longer at the address it used to be, so I'm posting it here to preserve it.  The original is still at the Wayback Machine (now Internet Archive) here:

Diggity Review by JT of
Rating: 5/5

Diggity is a ridiculously simple game about mining. It's good for 2 to 5 players, and each game takes about 30-45 minutes if you have 2 players, though you could easily add house rules to make it shorter or longer.

The premise of the game is that each player is a miner, and you're all working the same mine to see who finds the gold first. Along the way you're trying to make patterns out of the symbols on the cards, and those patterns let you build "tools" that allow you steal other people's gold. The tools start a bidding war, which allows each player to try to outbid another player for the gold that was just discovered. I might have a shovel, which allows me to steal the gold from the player who discovered it, but then someone else might have a pulley, and still someone else has a cart. You keep playing tools until someone comes up with the ultimate trump card, a shed, or until you get to the highest tool you have.

That's really all there is to playing the game. You build out a mine, you collect tools and gold. Then you build a new mine, collect more tools and gold. However, the interactions with getting the mine pieces to fit together, while still trying to make patterns to build tools puts this game right at the top of the list of games I want to play. Because it's so easy to steal gold, you really need to be strategic about putting out pieces that give you tools so that no one wants to bid against you. This dynamic really adds a lot of strategy and viscous fun.

The rules are well written, and just as importantly, well structured. The artwork is clean, simple, and pretty. And the game is fun. It's hard to ask for more than that.

Though we don't allow games for children under 12 on The Game Crafter for legal reasons, this could easily be played by children, and would probably be a good lesson for them in building patterns out of shapes. Don't let that pull you away from the game though, as this game is easily just as fun with only adults playing it.

UPDATE: JT pointed out that the review is still present at the bottom of the Diggity listing on their site, but he said it's OK to keep the review here too. Thanks JT!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Diggity video review

The folks over at The Gamer's Table have been doing video reviews of games for some time, and this year they invited submissions of independent game designs for review in their "Indy" series.  The Game Crafter offered to pay for the shipping if any of their authors/designers wanted to pay for a game to send, so I took them up on it. The result is here:

The review of Diggity starts at 4:50, and the final wrap-up (where they rate it) is at 13:35.  An interesting experience; they seemed to like the game and "get" it, particularly the two guys on the sides (Chris and Craig).  The middle guy (Ken) gave it a significantly lower rating than the others, which was interesting - he didn't really say why, and I couldn't pick it up from the rest of the show, but it must not have clicked as well for him.

A lesson for other designers - they really pilloried the other game in the review because of one omission in the rules (play one card per turn).  It's important to have other people read your stuff, and to specify everything, even the stuff that seems obvious.

My thanks to the TGT guys for their review, and to The Game Crafter for facilitating it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New Diggity Art

Got my new version of Diggity, with art from Joshua Bennett, up on  The new art looks slick (see it here); my old art is here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Diggity sighting

Diggity, near the elbow of the guy in
the blue shirt and dashing facial hair.
Diggity made an appearance at Gen Con at's booth, thanks to Matt Worden. Photographic evidence here, on the TGC page of Matt's new game, Dicey Curves.

How's that for link-mongering?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Publishing hurts, at least for contests

So, word from the Ion Award competition at SaltCON now is that they've thrown Diggity out of the contest because it's published.  Which seems kind of off to me, although I guess it's a gray area.

The contest literature says the contest is for unpublished games.  The eligibility rules, however, say only this in that regard:

2. The game cannot be under consideration by any company at the time of submission or judging. 

That's definitely the case for my game. Nobody's looking at it, and I'd have happily licensed it to any of the publishers at the conference. Their problem is that I've got it up for sale at and listed on my site here. However, I've only sold six copies through TGC, and it hardly seems like that's the same as a commercial print run or "publication" in any accepted sense of the word. I can't imagine they'd care if somebody had come up with a game design, had some printed up, and sold them out of a suitcase at conventions - that's basically no different than what I've done, and actually more aggressive marketing and investment than I've done.

Apparently a sticking point for them was that my rules say that the game is "published by Plankton Games." I guess that was a dumb move on my part, but it seems kind of arbitrary that those four words of text on a document are definitive. The reality remains the same - I have no print run and no company looking over the game yet, and the judges at the competition are representatives of big companies looking for good new games to print and distribute, which mine potentially is, or it wouldn't have made it through the first few rounds.

Hippodice has a much more workable rule for these situations in their competition - they say the game can't have more than 100 copies created. That allows some space for people to create and distribute small print runs while still ensuring that the competitions will be populated by game designers rather than established games from bigger companies.

Very disappointing. To the organizers of competitions, I'd say consider the new reality of print-on-demand and web distribution by individual designers, allow for the fact that these micro-publishing efforts don't somehow make a game "published" in any traditional sense, and whatever your call, make your guidelines very clear on this point. To other designers, I'd say that if you're interested in entering your game in competitions, you should probably not put your game up on a POD site unless you're sure the competitions you want to enter allow for it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Upcoming stuff

It got quiet around here towards the end of the year as my semester ended and we traveled to see family.  Then the new semester began with a fury.  So, I haven't been posting much, but I do have some good news to report:

  • The new artwork for Diggity is complete as of late last year, and it's neat-o.  I'll put up some samples soon.  I ordered some copies from after tweaking my art uploads. Their printing is always pretty dark (they prefer the term "rich") relative to how the images look on the screen, so I had to lighten it after getting one made up to test it.
  • Diggity was selected as a finalist for the Ion Award at SaltCON, a boardgaming convention in Utah. I tried hard to find a way to get out there for the convention, but it ended up being too hard to get away from teaching and my committee work for those days (plus it would have ended up costing me about $700 - not impossible, but pretty expensive).  The competition organizers are willing to demo Diggity for me, so I've got a copy in the mail, and I'm working on a how-to-play movie for it which I hope will help.
Diggity's also in the running in the large field for the Hippodice competition in Germany.  I'm guessing I'll hear something about that in the coming weeks.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hippodice timing

OK, so, I have two good candidates for the Hippodice competition - Diggity and Yoggity.  Cult I think is too language-dependent; part of what makes it funny is the cards, and the jokes wouldn't be as funny in another language, even if most Germans do have pretty good English.  Galapagos isn't ready yet.  But those two games are both mostly language-independent (Diggity even moreso than Yoggity) and I think they'd appeal to the Eurogamers over there.

The issue?  They want only unpublished games, which both currently are.  They define unpublished more generously than other competitions; they suggest the games haven't been submitted to a publisher (true in both cases), that they not be commercially distributed (definitely true for Yoggity.  For Diggity, does TheGameCrafter count?), and that they be under 100 total copies produced (definitely true for both - Diggity is at about 23 copies, all but seven of which reside with me or friends and family, while there are only four copies of Yoggity in the world; I have two, one's with the artist, Jason Greeno, and one is in Tennessee waiting for GameCon Memphis).

So, I think I'm OK entering both.  The trick is, if I actually somehow get Diggity up and running, there's a chance I'd have more than 100 copies by March 2011, which is their final round.  I have to get the art finalized and in the right formats, and then I'll probably have to re-quote it, since it's been a while since I got most of the quotes and most of them are only guaranteed for 30 days or so, and then the printing takes a while.  So, if I figure it will take at a minimum at least a month to get the art ready, then a month to re-quote it, then 2-3 months for printing and shipping, plus holiday delays, I'm actually almost to when they're judging.  If it takes longer than those timeframes, as it likely will, then I'm easily in the clear.

So, I think I'm OK.  I can always withdraw it if things go faster than I expect, and just have Yoggity in there.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Diggity art

I'm making some progress getting the art completed for Diggity.  The new stuff looks nice - way better than what I was able to do, which is what I was hoping for.  I'll post some pictures when we're farther along.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Diggity all over

My friend Jon, one of the early adopters of Diggity, shared the game with friends in Pennsylvania over the summer, and he says it was well-received.  Neat-o.  He's posted a brief comment at BGG, too - he sort of apologized today for admitting that he was my friend in the comment, but of course he can (and maybe should) do that.

I explained some of my recent rules changes - requiring three cards played down before a miner can be made, and making the high-point-value cards optional - and he seemed to approve.  I think he (like me) enjoys the more variable (and thus more exciting but also more random) scoring.

Anyway, neat to hear that it's been enjoyed elsewhere by strangers.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Another good Diggity review

Endymian (Ian Stedman), who's also a proud new father, reviewed Diggity over at The Gamer's University, cross-posted to  Quite a positive reivew; he seemed to like it all except the art, which I'm working on now.  I'm glad his group enjoyed it!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Game production costs summary

The graph at left (click it to make it bigger) shows some results from quotes I've gotten for my card game, Diggity. I thought it might be useful to other game designers and people contemplating publishing their own games to see what I've learned.

Tuck and Setup refer to box types - tuck boxes are one-piece boxes with a flap that tucks in, like a regular playing card box, while setup boxes are usually two pieces (base and lid) with an internal platform for holding the contents in place.

These numbers are tricky to compile and to compare - even though I send the same specifications to each printing company, I don't always get the same results back. For example, some of the quotes include different kinds of boxes, or different box materials, or different card sizes, or different paper stocks and paper coating. Some of them include shipping; others do not, and I have to estimate it, which I've done here. I have only included printing and shipping charges and setup costs where appropriate; no other charges like import duties, file preparation, shipping of samples, etc.

I often got multiple quotes for different quantities from the same company; these are connected by lines. I sometimes got quotes for different products from the same company, e.g. tuck box vs. setup box (a two-piece box with a bottom and a lid). In this case, I've grouped them with a number; e.g. everything marked "China #1" comes from the same Chinese printer, while "China #2" would be a different Chinese printer.

I'm still pursuing bids, and I will not necessarily go with the lowest bidder here. There are a host of other concerns, such as product quality, the component materials, the box type, my estimates of other costs incurred when dealing with the company involved (which are higher overseas), the professionalism I perceive with the company, and others. I'd love to have a "Made in America" on the label, too, if I can afford it.

For a look at how this plays out in terms of actually making the economics work, see this post and this post.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another Diggity sale

Somebody unknown to me bought Diggity off, bringing my total not-directly-to-me sales there to five.  Not flying off the shelves, but not nothing either.  It's a little frustrating that they keep the customers secret from the sellers - I have no way to do a newsletter or deliver rules updates or expansions or anything like that, stuff I could do if I had better control over the customer information.

Regardless, I thank you, mystery customer, and I hope you enjoy the game.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Playtest reports

I played Diggity and Yoggity with a game-enthusiast friend last week.  Both were completely new to him.  It went pretty well; in Diggity, I got some good cards at the start and built a lead he couldn't ever come back from, which isn't an ideal first-time experience, but should be somewhat rare.  The gameplay was better; it continues to surprise me that I've actually gotten a lot better at Diggity - I wouldn't have thought of it as having very deep strategy; you have a relatively small number of decisions to make, and there's usually one that seems like an optimal one - but every time I've played recently, I've noted some more subtle strategic decisions creeping in, and I tend to do consistently better (having played it more than anyone in the universe) than my opposition, which suggest there's some kind of skill (or at least an enhanced understanding of the rules) at work.

Yoggity, which I've entered in the Memphis regional of the Rio Grande competition, was much more balanced; I ended up slightly ahead, but the outcome was in question for most of it, and there was a definite impact from drawing cards.  The major strategy in the two player game there is when to collect and use your coins; the 3-4 player game, with item trading, requires much more shrewd deal-making.  The 2-player game is still a lot of fun, but it's just very different from the multi-player version.

The three-cards-before-miner rule that I added in the last rules revision continues to work well, although it is still hard to explain.  Not hard to understand; just hard to explain, which is weird.  I'll have to work more on the phrasing.

Anyway, an interesting (and thought-provoking) couple of games.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Diggity - an official pub game?

I played Diggity with some friends in a moderately hipster bar (or what passes for one in Greensboro, NC) the other night.  I don't know if that makes Diggity more cool, or the bar less so. The bartender (a friend) said he'd have thrown us out if it were Magic: The Gathering, so that's something at least.  There was beer, but no pretzels, if that matters.

I learned that same night that the game had also been played in a marathon session at a local CiCi's Pizza, an all-you-can-eat chain pizza place frequented by families and kids.  That probably balances the coolness factor out, I'm guessing.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Card games - addicting?

I had a chance to play Diggity with my long-time friend Jeff the other day.  We played a couple of games that I won pretty easily.  I got better cards than he did in at least one of the games, but I think my success was mostly due to having played before. This confirmed my opinion that it takes a few plays to figure out what good strategies are in Diggity, which is neat - the game seems fairly simple at first glance, but I think there's more to it once you've played a few games to see how it goes.

Jeff (who's incidentally running for congress in Virgina) also fell pretty hard for my computer game, Snood, a number of years ago, and he commented that he found Diggity, like Snood, addicting.  I know people got addicted to Snood - they wrote to tell me about it, and I've been there myself, playing game after game past 2:00 a.m., either because I have something else I'm supposed to be doing, or because going to sleep seems so mundane.  I hadn't thought about card or board games in that way, though.  For one thing, you need a partner to play, so you can't be addicted the same way.  But I've had games I've played over and over - e.g. Lord of the Rings, and Egyptian Ratscrew - that I certainly was essentially addicted to.

If Diggity can do that for more folks than just Jeff, I'll be pretty happy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Manufacturing in the comfort of your home

I recently got an order for a bunch of copies of Diggity, which is cool - a friend is buying 6-7 copies for other friends. He asked me about buying these a couple months ago, and it's been kind of a struggle getting them ready for him. I wanted to make these from the copies I ordered from SuperiorPOD, but the delay getting my order made that a pain.

Now that I finally have the games, I have the additional challenge to collate them. To get the best price from SuperiorPOD, which prints cards in sets of 18, I had to order the games in two pieces. I have 96 cards in the game, currently, so I did 15 sets of five sheets of 18 (90 cards), and then five sets of one sheet made up of the last six cards repeated three times. Complicated to set up, but it saved me not inconsiderable cash. But now, to put a game together, I have to take the set of 90 and count out a set of six to add to it.

Once that's done, I have to do the manufacturing. I bought some small white corrugated boxes, which I have to fold and tuck in about six steps to get them assembled. I also printed up rule sheets, which I need to fold a bunch of times to get it to fit into the box. I also printed up color box stickers on a color laser printer, and those have to be peeled and stuck carefully onto the box.  The laser printing didn't fuse with the sticker perfectly, so some of the stickers are speckled.

The box isn't a perfect fit for the cards (there was no standard box that would fit the cards closely). That's not a big deal when it's sitting on a shelf, but I didn't want the game to get beat up while being transported. So, I added some packing peanuts to each game too.  That took a while, and doesn't look great when you open the box.

I got better at this as I did it, but it was still kind of a pain, and I don't know that this would be great quality were I not providing the game for friends who don't really care about the packaging. I think for people who imagine manufacturing games at home from cheap standardized components, you should realize that (1) it takes a long time, (2) you screw up sometimes (I put a sticker on the bottom side of one box, and I lost one of the cards from the smaller sets of six - no idea where that is), and (3) the product you get, even if you're using reasonably high quality components, doesn't look totally awesome. It still is a white cardboard box with a sticker - not much different from what I'd have gotten from TGC if I'd ordered from them (other than my color sticker!), but I had to do all the work.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Diggity playtest and onlooker allure

I had another four-person game of Diggity on Friday, with one of my new customers and some students.  Total sales of Diggity are now at 10 - two from strangers, one from a friend (the copy above), and the other seven from another friend who gave them as gifts to a bunch of still other friends.  So, my current business model seems to be pegged mostly to people I know, which isn't a great long-term strategy, unless I become better at making lots of friends.

The game went well, I thought; one player hadn't played before, and he came in a distant 4th, which makes me think that there is legitimate skill/strategy to the game that you can learn over time.  The four-player game comes occasionally with a certain degree of kingmaking*, and that happened a bit here today, some of it intentional and some unintentional or misunderstood.  But that also allows the game to be balanced by the players - if somebody gets ahead, the other players do usually have the power to deny him or her more score.

An onlooker commented that she had trouble figuring out what was going on.  That's a little bit of a problem, since it's harder to grow by word-of-mouth if people can't catch on to what's happening.  I'm considering including some guidebook cards (a single card with the key rules on it) to hand out to each player.  Once you've played for even ten minutes, the rules are clear, but there's an initial hurdle to get over because the game doesn't play like most other card games.  But I think I can boil the rules down to about seven key points that I can fit on a card - I think that would be helpful.  I've seen that kind of thing used to good effect in several other games, and I think it will help.

*by this I mean one player can't score, but gets to choose which other player does - this comes up fairly regularly in multi-player games of Diggity.  It's not without its strategy, because you have to decide how to use your resources, and using yours forces others to use theirs.