Friday, December 08, 2006

Clout Fans are Amazing!

The responses to the last post in my e-mail have been, well, really really terrific. What a great bunch of people we've gathered together (online, anyway!) for the express purpose of having fun for fun's sake.

M: What's that make us?
Z: Big damn heroes, sir.
M: Aint we just!

(Expect a lot of Firefly quotes from me in the next few weeks!)


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Clout, no Clout, more Clout, and Horses

Hi everybody,

Let start with some Clout news. Some not great Clout news.

Clout is essentially on hold for the time being. Right now Hidden City Games only has the staff and resources to support one product and that product is Bella Sara, a horse themed card/web game aimed at younger girls. Say what you like about this, it’s turning out to be a good choice because we’re having trouble keeping Bella Sara on shelves. There’s been a lot of concern that we’ll be dropping Clout in favor of Bella Sara, which is a fair concern, but not what we’re doing. We’ve got two Clout expansions more or less in the can, Clout Marvel Heroes, and the third Clout Fantasy expansion. Assuming Bella Sara is a success, it is our plan to launch Clout Marvel Heroes in the summer, run nationals and worlds as planned, and generally do all things I’ve been planning on doing for the last year. If Bella Sara isn’t a success…well…let’s not go there. =-)

What we are doing:

All organized play programs will be fully supported. In fact, Tuesday December 19th will be the last tournament kit mailing of the year and also the last tournament kit mailing with the current batch of prize chips. That’s right, starting in January I have 7 brand new prize chips for your Clout tournaments (why not 8, well I don’t have a new Pirate chip. It was to be printed with Marvel…sorry!)

Enhanced tournament support for conventions. Part of the ‘belt-tightening’ has our convention scheduled nearly cancelled, but that doesn’t mean we can't support those of you who’d like to attend the shows on our behalf. I’ve got a couple of different Convention kit builds (depending on your needs) and I can send those out to active VDT members upon request. I’ve also got a better system for keeping track of conventions, so I don’t miss any more shipments.

More events like the Turkey Shoot. Without a huge number of new chips for variety, I want to introduce new playing formats that stress different aspects and strategies for Clout. We’ve already got a number of great ideas on the table, and I want to run the next Turkey Shoot style event in February (a groundhog day themed event?). I’m looking for these ideas to come from fans, just like the Turkey Shoot did. If you have a great idea, let me know. It DOESN’T have to be holiday themed. In fact, I’d prefer it not be!

I’m working on all new tournament rules as well as a tournament rulebook, more detailed than the current rulebook with a lot of the clarifications players have been requesting (and a couple of the changes.) I’ll be working on that after the holidays, so expect that to be rolled out late January.

When it rains…it does pour a bit:

While it has nothing to do with what’s going on, I misjudged my demo kit supplies, and as such I don’t have the ability to build and ship any more demo kits (technically I could build one more kit, but it hardly seems worth it.) I only discovered this Tuesday, when I went to build and ship the current kit requests. If you have requested a kit, I won’t be shipping any more until I can print more inserts, again, after the holidays.

If you have questions, concerns, or just want to yell at me for not making Clout the “must produce” game on our schedule, I’m right here.

Merry Christmas!!!
Adam "Wildcard" Conus

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

New Year, New Prize Chips!

December will be the last opportunity to get the original CLINCH Promo Prize Chips for your CLINCH Tournaments*

When Hidden City Games returns from Holiday Break after New Years, there will be a new set of Prize Chips included with your CLINCH Throw-Down Tournament Kits. If you want to get a head start on guessing what the chips do, the art for the chips can be found on the Rally Medallions.

I'll be accepting requests for kits with the current prize chips for the next few weeks, but the clock's ticking.

* Sadly, a new Pirate chip was never produced, so the same 'ol tired Pirate prize chip remains in the set. The original chips will remain available as additional prize support for tournaments run by Hidden City Games. They will also be available to Venture Demo Team members for purchase with their Venture Points.


Gen Con So-SoCal?

The content of this post is completely colored by the fact I just spilled spagetti sauce down the front of my NICE SHIRT! BAH!

After a year of running convention tournaments, you'd think I'd be better at it. I mean, I do fine, but it's rough when you realize you aren't doing it at the same level as the other companies around you. I'll wager Clout players had as much if not more fun than anyone else, but the attendance numbers don't lie. It was a small-ish show with small tournaments. Why?

First, Gen Con SoCal is a small-ish convention. It feels like it wants to be huge (I think because its format copies the huge Gen Con Indy, as it should) but it's not huge. Thursday, in particular, was dead dead dead. To be fair, Saturday had it going on.

Second, I have been long been confusing casual with minimalist. I have intentionally kept the complexity and logistics of running Clout convention events to a minimum. The computers and loudspeakers and podiums and over-the-top decor of the other companies are not only expensive, but, I felt, a distraction from the fun of the game. Those things are a good choice for *their* games, sure. Not what I wanted for Clout. This was sort of a mistake. Sort of. Clout needs DIFFERENT tools, decor, communication tools, etc. to succeed at conventions. What it needs exactly, I'm not sure of yet. If I could swing it, there'd be sofas and round coffee tables surrounding the tournament tables, and large magnetic boards keeping track of points and standings for all to see. And a ICEE machine. Ooh yeah, that'd be perfect. All Con tournaments should come with refreshments. It's stupid that they don't. Could you imagine filling out your Pizza order along with your stack registration so it'd be delivered between round 3 and 4? We'd just charge and extra couple of bucks for the tournament to pay for it. Yeah.

Lastly (and this is going to sound bitter, because I am a little.) all the publishers seemed to get creamed by Upper Deck's World of Warcraft TCG. I just want to say for the record: I DON'T GET IT. It's so been done. Fantasy TCG, big prizes, nice licence. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. I don't see the appeal. Don't get me wrong, the game's fine. Paul says they followed the WoW model for MMRPGs and built a TCG that didn't have anything wrong with it. Perfected the existing TCG model, as it were. That flies in the face of my "innovate or die" worldview, so I'm ticked that it's working so well for them. I *think* WoW TCG is a product with a short lifespan, because it has brought nothing new to the table. As soon as somebody does innovate in a way that registers with gamers, they'll move on. Even so, I'd kill to have buzz like they've got. If nobody does innovate soon, it follows they'll have a good long run with it. If so, good for them! (grumble grumble.)

Anyway, it's good to be back home. I'm catching up with e-mail as I often must do following conventions and holidays (particularly when they butt up against eachother!)

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gen Con SoCal good / 3-player games bad

As is normal for a convention, I'm getting back to a mountain of e-mail (only 67 flagged for follow, and a lot of them are internal e-mails. Phew!)

As most everyone knows, we were going to have a booth at Gen Con SoCal and at the last minute we pulled the plug. It was all there, in the back, just no people to put it together or maintain it. The amazing Gabe "Mondo" Vega allowed us some space in his booth in exchange for helping staff it. That allowed many demos to de done as well as gave the new players a place to purchase Clout. Again, Phew!

My job, of course, was to run the tournaments and run the tournament I did. Thursday was dead dead dead. Through event registration mishap we only had one event scheduled, but it was only attended by 5 players, so having one event seemed reasonable. Aside from Thursday we averaged about 14 players per tournament. Without a booth, I'm pretty satisfied with that. It was doubly hard because of the all the attention going to the World of Warcraft TCG. Heck, even Paul spent a day playing it! (Research, I think he said. =-)

I've about had it with 3 player games. They are hard to judge, hard to make matchups over several rounds, and when there are prizes on the line, people get steamed about getting ganged up upon. I heard many complaints about the format over the course of the tournament, so I may not host any more 3 player tournaments with meaningful prizes. Fun is fun, prizes, even modest ones like I provide, change the dynamics dramatically and not in a way that works well with 3 player multi.

I want to give special thanks to Daniel, Ben, and Stephen who came and volunteers all weekend as well as Craig who came and ran the Dragon Invitational on Sunday while I ran demoes and packed up the mountain of stuff we had stored in the back. I couldn't have done it without you! You guys ROCK!

I also want to thank April and the whole group of SoCal Clout players for the wonderful card they gave me. I was really, really touched. I can't believe how lucky I am to such wonderful people in my life. I wish I could hang out with you all more!

Derak won the Saturday night Clout Dragon Invitational! Contgrats Derak!
Chris won the Sunday Dragon Invitational but I bugged out too quick to take a picture. My bad!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vacation with the Mouse

I freely admit I should have told more people I was going on Vacation, but since I was only missing Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, I didn't think I'd be missed. =-)
You've got to hand it to Disney. In a lot of ways, I'm in the same buisness they are. We both sell fun. The Disneyland fun machine is a work of art (literally, in a lot of ways.) I know it's not the same for everyone, but as soon as I walk through the tunnel onto Main Street USA, I've got a huge smile on my face. Part of it is nostalgia. I first went to Disneyland in 1976, for the bicentennial celebration. I was 6. The sights, the sounds, and particularly (this may sound weird) the smells of Disneyland bring me right back to the best parts of my childhood. I don't know if its the same for folks who go for the first time as adults, but from the smiles, I'd say it's still pretty good. If you have a 5-10 year old, and you can afford to go to Disneyland or Disneyworld, GO. They'll love it now, and they'll love it again in 20-30 years when they take their children.

If you went to Disneyland as a kid like I did, and want to relive some of those memories check out my favorite Disney fan site, Yesterland.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Server Reconstruction!

I've got e-mail again! I know a lot of stuff got bounced. I have no e-mail from Saturday through Monday. If you're not sure if a message got through or not, go ahead and resend. When I get behind like this, I group messaged by sender. If you request the same thing twice, I'll catch it!



Server Destruction

Hidden City Game's e-mail server died a couple of days ago and I've been without e-mail all week. It *should* be fixed today, but the inability to get the files I need have delayed the Turkey Shoot kit construction. I'm still shipping this week, but not in time for this weekend. I hope nobody was planning a Turkey Shoot event this week. The plan is to ship them out USPS First Class by Friday, and they should arrive by next weekend.

Friday, October 27, 2006


'Nuff Said!

Bella Sara is GO!

With test market launches in Phoenix, San Diego, and Seattle ,HCG is soon to be something more than just the Clout company! Warning! If you're a die-hard gamer that bleeds Mountain Dew, this may be a bit of a shock:

I've been aked to help with the web site's games and such. I hope I can find the time!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Up, Up, and Away

This graph shows the total event attendance over the last year. WooHoo!

April 133
May 334
June 124
July 285
August 483
September 608

Holiday Happenings!

Happy Halloween! My birthday is October 30th, so Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. Pirate King kicked off the spooky season early with his Orange and Black Tournament, and now AIM in Pittsburgh is running one. I supplied both events with Rally-Level Medallions for the winner, as well as for Goblins and Undead.

The response to November's Holiday Turkey shoot has been tremendous, and with good reason. The idea came from Brian Wildrick and Lucio "mndwrm" Rodriguez and some amazing turkey art has been provided by Bobby "Pirate King" Doran. This Throw-Down level event is available to all Venture Demo Team members who want to run it.

Before the tournament starts, each player receives his or her three Turkey
Turkeys are all thrown into the play area prior to the start of the
game. Pick a player to go first and toss the turkeys, one at a time, going
clockwise around the table (as normal.) In a two player game, if a turkey is
thrown off the table, the turkey’s Clout value is added to the opponent’s score
at the end of the game. In a 3+player game, the turkey is re-thrown by the
next player, in addition to the turkey he or she would normally throw. Once all
the turkeys have been thrown into the play area, game begins as normal.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gen Con SoCal

If you've been living under a Rock, Gen Con SoCal is coming!

11 AM Clout Starter Tournament $3 – 3 hrs

FRIDAY 11/17
11 AM Clout Starter Tournament $3 – 3 hrs
2 PM Clout Rally Clinch $3 – 3 hrs
6 PM Clout Rally Clinch $3 – 3 hrs

11 AM Clout Starter Tournament $3 – 3 hrs
2 PM Clout Rally Clinch $3 – 3 hrs
6 PM Clout Invitational $3 – 4 hrs

SUNDAY 11/19
11 AM Clout Invitational $3 – 4 hrs

All events except the Starter Tournaments will be CLINCH Rally-Level Tournaments. For players who know the game and want additional Medallions, I will run Throw-Down tournaments during the Starter Tournament slots if there is interest. Purchase event tickets as if you were attending the Starter Tournament.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Video Killed The Radio Star

Is this the coolest video I've seen...ever?

Okay, not Battlestar Galactica cool, but still pretty cool!


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Another Wildcard Weekend

I didn't compete this week, but I was the lone judge of the combat robotics portion of the show

That's right. Winners and Losers were decided at my whim (and a complex set of judging criteria.) The FOOLS!

Check out the photos of Robothon 2006. I'm the chubby guy in the red and black shirt.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Unique, and proud of it!

Well, that didn't take long.

After posting here and on the CloutUS Forum regarding the use of a 3rd party organized play website, and to some extent, their system, the results were clear:

No Deal.

I'm happy about. To some extent, it validates what I've been doing for the last year. CLINCH is being embraced by Clout players, and with new promo prize chips due out in January, the new Marvel set due in February, plans for the next Clout genre just starting, and talk about what we want to do with fantasy AFTER the next fantasy expansion is released next year, it's all good.

I should e-mail Al and tell him that after consulting with the fans and the rest of HCG, we're going to support our OP program on our own.

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Unique vs Efficient

I spoke with a fellow named Al a couple of days ago. Al represents an Organized Play website called Creative Gaming Events

To make a long story short, CGE seems to provide OP services similar to Wizard of the Coast's DCI, including rankings, event calendars, reporting, and the like. In short, it duplicates every other OP program ever done.

If we were to use CGE (and with Marvel on the way, I'd be foolish not to consider it!) it would mean:

Players would probably need ID numbers.
TO's would have to send reports via the website.
I would automatically get reports of new events being "sanctioned", and would use those reports to send out kits.
Whether we used it or not, there would be a rating/ranking system similar to other games.
Clout would be listed with the other participating games, perhaps gaining additional exposure.
Clout would be included in marketing targeted at member gamers. I was assured this was an Opt-in/Opt-out messaging.

CLINCH and the CLINCH Medallions would still the be the central mechanism for Clout OP. By automating the 'sanctioning/reporting' part of OP, I can keep the rest of our interactions relaxed and personal, the way I like things, even as the game grows larger. I'm honestly worried that the current system (simple, but labor intensive) won't be sustainable if Marvel is the success we expect it to be.

They also have some additional tools on the way in November, which I spec'd out for the HCG website, but we decided we couldn't afford. I'll keep the specifics to myself, just in case it's not public info, but it's cool.

All that and I'm still not at all comfortable with the idea of homogenizing Clout's OP program. I don't want to dive in and then realized it's not working and have to shift gears again.

Assuming we can keep the system going as-is (I think we can, really), what's more important. Remaining Unique or Becoming Efficient?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mixing it Up

What a great Monday of tournament reports. Great? Reports? In the same sentence? Yep!

Fngrz ran a rochester style event in Nebraska. All the booster packs went into the middle and were drafted from the one common pool. The games used 27 point, multi-factional stacks.

Mattimao in South Carolina ran a 3-stack tournament. I'm pleased to report it went well. I want to run one at Gen Con SoCal, though I haven't registered any of the events as such.

Blkthrn in Tennesee ran a team event. Again, it went well.

This weekend, Pirate King is running his Halloween event (you saw the poster a few posts ago.) with just Goblins and Undead.

Some of the formats will work, others won't. Right now the forum's talking about Big Games, more points, more chips. I can't wait for the event report when the first Big Game is reported.



I love it. I've been waiting all summer and I wasn't disappointed. Now I'm watching Studio 60, which I'm liking too, but as nobody flies or teleports, it'll be tough fo rit to match up.

If you missed it, don't miss it again. The real world, now. A very few people have super powers, and a very few people know (or suspect) it. The people in question all have real world problems that super powers don't help with. Oh, and the heroin addict guy who can paint the future has painted a picture of a mushroom cloud destroying New York just prior to overdosing.

I can't wait for the next episode!


Saturday, September 23, 2006


We all have Jirel to thank for this, the Clout Wikipedia entry.

Now, I'm a big geek for web-tools, particulary ones that I can apply to Clout. This one is special in a couple of ways. First, as per the rules of the Wikipedia, it's neutral. Now, it may surprise people, but I LOVE that. It's hard for somebody like me to (or anyone at HCG, I think) to step back and be neutral about Clout. I know it took a couple of tries, but Jirel really hit it out of the park, getting the gist of Clout across in text, which I can tell you isn't easy.

Could it be better? Of course. Everyone who's savvy enough to read a blog like this one knows that Wiki entries can be modified by anyone. Check it out. Make it cooler. Keep it neutral. Expand the entries that relate to Clout (like Goblins, for example).


Friday, September 22, 2006

Roll 'Em!

If you don't get it, I can't explain.
Found on Boing Boing

Goblins vs. Undead in California

More from PirateKing. If you're in California, I wouldn't miss this one!

Free at Last!

I'm 100% caught up with my e-mail for the first time in months. In a few minutes, something new will appear, but as of this second...I'M FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Honestly, as long as I've got a normal 5 day, 40 hour, work week I don't have any problem keeping up with things. It's those darned conventions and holidays. Just so everyone knows, besides the forums I don't work on holidays or weekends anymore. I will burn out if I overdo it. It's really important to me that I continue to love my job, and I do!

Speaking of conventions, Gen Con SoCal is my next trip. In addition to the show, I'll be taking my first vacation since joining Hidden City Games. Me, my wife, and my 5-year old will partake of Disneyland prior to the convention. Disneyland, in case you wondered, is my favorite place in the entire world. Happy Dance!

Keep those e-mails coming. I CAN handle it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cultural Connections

Thanks to Yehuda for getting me thinking about this.

As I've been saying for a while now, community is everything. Part of any community is its culture. With gaming, the culture comes from mainly from the sort of players who like the game. To some extent, people like me can stress aspects of the game, and have a *minor* impact on the culture. Really, our job is to guess what the game's culture will be and try and accomodate it. If we guess wrong (and I think we did, at first) we then change our strategy and try again (which I also think we did.)

What is Clout culture?

Take a Stand - You play the game standing up. It doesn't really say that in the rules anywhere, yet people gravitate naturally to a standing positition. It even bothers me when people try to play sitting.

Playmats - As much as we tried in the beginning to avoid dictating the size and type of play surfaces, fans have really embraced the playmat as "the way" to play. Who are we to argue?

Fun vs Competitive- Playing Clout should be straight up fun, win or lose. This is something we've tried to stress from the very beginning. It's why CLINCH is more a collector's hobby than a ranking system. It's why there are up to 7 winners of every tournament, by faction. Also, the physical nature of Clout makes it hard to adjudicate. By relaxing the stakes, people are less likely to cheat and less likely to grouse about honest mistakes. Still, judges must do their best to make sure everyone is playing correctly!

Open Formats - This ties to the Fun issue. More and more, tournament organizers are writing me with different Clout formats they'd like to try, and asking me if it's okay. My goal: Get across that folks don't need to ask. The answer is always, "give it a shot, tell me how it went!" This isn't Magic: The Gathering. The stakes are low and if you're taking the time to run a tournament, you can call the shots. If it doesn't work, you don't need me to tell you. You'll know. As the tournaments grow larger, wacky formats will be tougher to pull off, but I hope folks keep trying them. Also, as the need for intro events starts to wane at cons, I can start replacing them with alternate format games.

Inclusive vs Exclusive - We know that every fan of Clout and every Venture Team member makes the game stronger (with hobby games, bigger IS better.) We all work really hard to make sure players know they can tell us what they think, and if they're right, we'll do what we can to act. When the game first started, very few players sent me their comments and opinions. I assure you, that's no longer a problem. =-)

There is a lot more, and I'm a bit sheltered from the kitchen tables and gaming stores where most of the games take place. As Clout culture grows, so will our community. I hope we can avoid yelling "BANZAI" before each tournament, though.

What is special about your local Clout Culture?


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yes, I read them!

And this is a good one.

A Venture Team Demo Report:

"The most memorable moments of the evening were due the Clout chips failing to remain on the table, not just the play area, but off the table, across the floor, under tables, under chairs, under people, and the immediacy of players to chasing after them in all manner of ways. The chips have a knack for thwarting even the most prepared of players, in advance of a player cutting them off at the path, the chips decidedly swerved in other directions and avoided their stalwart chasers. Finding themselves eventually exhausted, they were usually retrieved successfully as they rested from their run. I speak from experience as well as witnessing the events. Between the surface of the play area propelling them in certain directions at somewhat high velocities, the texture of the carpet lent to the chips taking paths not foreseen. It was at times as if they had minds of their own. Players had as much fun chasing chips as throwing them. I kid you not. "



Monday, September 18, 2006

Clout Formats

Hidden City Games doesn't want to tell you how to play. We'd rather not tell you how big the play area should be. We really don't want to tell you what makes a good play surface. Heck, there's four different range increments on the measuring tape (and we didn't use any of them for playtesting...we used 2" range increments.)

Tournament formats are another area where people expect guidelines, or worse, rules. After running a lot of tournaments over the summer, I've come up with some basic formats that *I* think work best for me, at conventions. I like:

One-on-One tournaments. 3-5 rounds. Each round consists of a single game. The winner of each game gets 4 tournament points, the loser 0. If there's a tie, both players get 1.

Multiplayer tournaments (2-3 players). 3 Rounds. Each round consists of a single games. The winner of each games gets 4 tournamnet points, the loser 0. All other players get 1 point, including players who tie for first or last place. Match up as many 3 player games as possible each round, with the remaining games being 2 players.

I don't like 4 player games because they take too long, and unless everyone is playing 4 players, to many people end up standing around waiting for the slow games to finish. The odds that somebody plays out of turn and has the wrong number of chips at the end seems to increase sharply at 4 players, as well.

Does this mean I'm not running any other sort of tournaments? Heck no! Now that Clout is taking off, and I can go to shows where players with constructed stacks will be attending, I'm really looking forward to reducing the number of "starter" events I run, and replacing those events with some wackier stuff. Stuff that players wouldn't normally play. For now, we just run these games after hours, but I'm going to start scheduling them soon. If you have an idea for a tournament format you'd like to see. Post it to the forum. I see them, and I'm keeping notes.



I've started a debate regarding the chip, Animate Dead (or really, the ability Reanimate) by posting a Poll on the Clout forum.

It's good: Change Nothing.
It's bad: Change it.
It's really bad: Ban it.

Now, there've been zero votes for banning the chip. That makes me glad, because I don't want to go there. I want to change the Reanimate ability, so the cost of Animate Dead falls more in line with its effect. Please note that if any changes are to be made, Paul will be making them, though I certainly have some input.

One post related how changes, by themself, are a bad thing. I disagree. I like the idea that a game can be tinkered with, increasing the value of the 'game experience' with each little modification. Computer games do this seamlessly. One of Clout's biggest weaknesses (or is that Weaken's) is the lack of room on the chips, forcing all the abilities to be written as single word 'keywords'. Now it seems we can turn that into an advantage by making changes to the meaning of the keywords and leaving the chips alone. Essentially, errata free errata.

Now, we don't want to go overboard, but in moderation (say, changing Reanimate) I think we can make the game straight up better. This is just what I think. Because I want to know what you think, I started the Poll!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Two Thousand Words, plus a few.

If this is what victory in Wisconsin looks like, I'll take two! Congrats my friend! Bonus points for winning with Goblins! Take THAT, Gangris!

Clout in SoCal! A great turnout for the Redbeard's Revenge Release event run by Zeb! Great job!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Blame Canada!

Last weekend's adventure was the Canadian National Gaming Expo, and despite the fact that I didn't want to go (I'm back to being way behind again) it was a fabulous show. Not only was Clout the hit of the gaming area, but I met some terrific people. Eddie, JP, Dwayne (and his buddies but Dwayne's the only name I can remember!) as well as 50% of the Canadian Venture Team in Robert and a terrific Gen Con volunteer who showed up, learned Clout, and demoed for us, Gordy. I can't wait to see all of you guys again.

Not only did I meet some great people, but because we didn't have enough volunteers for the show locally, we decided to fly Amy (AIM), Ryan (Clouthead), and Craig (Saxoncross) up. Along with Robert, Gordy, and our road warrior Sean, the team was top notch. With all the enthusiastic Ventures-to-be, I doubt we'll need to fly folks into Toronto again.

The Expo was also pretty cool. I was too busy to do much, but passing by in the halls I saw Vern Troyer (Mini-Me), Alice Cooper, Christina Hendricks (Saffron, from Firefly), Morena Baccarin (Inara, from Firefly), and about 10,000 kids dressed in some top-notch anime costumes. Naruto is friggin' huge up there.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Play Anywhere.

Posted by PirateKing to the Clout Forum. Dang, that beach looks nice!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Two Weeky No Posty?

Yes, I actually have been as busy as people thought I was last month! Funny how the world works.

In the last week the forum has featured the most in-depth discussion of the Clout turn sequence and 'timing' rules thus far. A number of players learned the game didn't work quite like they thought it did. At least one player was disappointed that a game that is supposed to be simple and fun would require such a discussion (at least that was the impression I got.) I think we cleared some things up and successfully navigated the most complex rules of the game with a fresh understanding of how the game works, and perhaps how it should work in the future.

In addition to a couple of other rulings, this is what we spent most of the week debating, debunking, and ultimately perfecting (IMHO):

Turn Sequence Detail

* Throw (or activate Movement abilities like Call, Place, etc.)
* Chip 'Lands'
* Activate and resolve in-play type Movement abilities
* Chip 'Rests'
* Activate Rally, Attack, and other non-Movement Standard abilities.
* Resolve all non-Rally abilities.
* Remove all chips affected by "Remove from Play" type effects.
* Chip no longer counts as 'Resting'
* Resolve any pending Rally effects, one at a time -> Repeat the turn sequence for rallied chip starting at the Throw step (you may not throw the chip, but you may activate Movement abilities like Call or Place.)
* Remove all Action chips from play.
* End of the Turn.

Pretty heady stuff, eh? Actually I like it. It's fairly short (as these things go) and really covers everything clearly. There's still some debate on semantics, but that's to be expected. It's important that I stress that this list is supposed to change NOTHING. It's an explanation of how the game has always worked, what be base our rulings upon, and how we plan on ruling in the future. If this changes how you've played it means a) you've been playing wrong or b) I need to fix the list so it reflects the game properly. Let me know if something comes out haywire!


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Gaming Report (Pronounced re-POUR)

I love it when we get some ink on the Gaming Report

I was about to head out of the A/C wonderfulness of my Embassy Suites room and find some food here in Indy when I ran across that on my bloglines feed. I had to post before I went.



Monday, August 07, 2006

A Wildcard Weekend.

When I'm not throwing Clout chips, I'm fighting mini R/C combat robots (1 lb. each!). Normally I wouldn't bother you with it, but after four years of doing this, I finally won my first tournament last Saturday. All the photos can be found here

My robot is a grabber/lifter called Mission Control. The big improvement with this version is titanium armor all around the robot. Ironically, the guy who traded me the titanium (for a couple of beers, no less) has his robot in my grasp, pictured to the left. He's also the fellow I ultimately defeated in the final.

Back on topic. What I missed out upon to fight robots this weekend was Wizard World Chicago which ended up (a bit to my surprise) the debut of Redbeard's Revenge, through prizes and give-aways. I don't think it was for sale. I'm told the show was a huge success, with a 28 player tournament on Sunday. That's big for us, and especially big for a comic show like Wizard World where it seems like 90% of the attendees don't even play games.

I'm told by Swan, one of our Venture Team Volunteers that the WizKids group was really cool, and when they went for sandwiches, let us get in on the order. That's a big deal at a show, and sort of thing I like to hear! WizKids, we owe you one, maybe I can make good at Gen Con.

Well, that's enough break for me. Back to putting Redbeard's Revenge Release Kits together. They're coming together quite nicely, and I think everyone will be really pleased.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Super Table!

"Fan" is short for fanatic. Proof positive is Pirateking's amazing Clout table. He's going to post how to build it soon, and you KNOW I'm going to build one!

For the details and comments, as always check out the CloutUS Forum.

Way to go Pirateking!




Monday, July 31, 2006

News from Blackthorn

Check out some great reports and greater photos from Blackthorn Game Center in Dickson Tennessee.

Blackthorn News Page

Love the squirrel!

Update: My mistake, that's Chip the chipmunk!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Big Tournaments, Big Prizes

Nothing gets a gamers blood pumping like a room full of players. To that end, I am offering special prizes to TO's and players who participate in large tournaments at local stores. The original BTBP was for 15 player tournaments. The goal has been raised to 20 player events, confirmed with photos. My intention is to give the Big Prize away only a few more times, so the clock is ticking.

The Big Prize: One box of boosters for the TO, one box for the tournament winner. Promo chips and boosters for all the tournament participants (if the TO can round them up again!)

The first two TO's to send in pictures and win the Big Tournament Big Prize:

Doug's group at Matt's Passtimes in Kearney Nebraska. Not only does Doug run regular tournaments but he's also put on one of the first multi-week Clout Leagues.

Matt's Pastimes 2303 13th Ave Kearney, NE Ph: (308) 236-9668

Matt's group at the Tangled Web in Spartanburg, South Carolina. See the guy lying down, his Goblins just got crunched by some Centaurs. Sweet.
The Tangled Web 414 W. Blackstock Rd., Spartanburg, SC, 29301 Ph: (864) 574-1713

Great job guys, and thank you! Great stores and great tournament organizers make for great fun!

Update: If you are a Clout tournament organizer who can run a Big Tournament, details can be found on the Clout US forum


So close...I can smell them...

I just got the following message regarding the CLINCH Medallions...

"The container has arrived in Seattle. Phyllis will call me on Monday to provide a more precise update, and I’ll pass along the info."

SWEET! Happy dance!


Thursday, July 27, 2006

San Diego Comic-ON

What the heck happened?

We played some serious CLOUT.

2 player Starter Tournaments
2 player Constructed Tournament - CLINCH Medallions for the winners (when I get more!)
3+ player Starter Tournaments
3+ player Constructed Tournament - CLINCH Medallions for the winners
4 player Team (2-headed giant style) Constructed Tournament, with 6 player final.
5 and 6 player 'floor' games using the big range increments on the back of the Clout measuring tape.

We kept the Clout games rolling all weekend long, plus the volunteers and I played in the hotel after hours. Who won? Heck yes, I DID! According to them, I sharked 'em! My story...I was lucky. =-)

It was a great time, with some terrific games. I want to thank the volunteers, Derak, Craig, Robert, Stephen, and Lucio who really deserve the credit. Thanks guys, you guys rock AND roll.

(I also saw Seth Green and Robert Zemeckis go by while waiting in line at the Starbucks for 40 minutes. After 20, I feel you're committed to getting the #$%* coffee!)


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Gen Con Events

The Gen Con schedule of events is quite modest (I was estimating need based on Clout circa last March, things have changed a bit since then.) The Constructed Stack Tournaments will both be Rally Level CLINCH event (qualifiers, essentially.) I’ll also be running additional Clout pick-up tournaments based on interest, space, and time.

8/10/2006 12:00 - Clout: Fantasy Starter Draft
8/12/2006 14:00 - Clout: Fantasy One-on-one Tournament (Constructed Stack)
8/13/2006 12:00 - Clout: Fantasy Multiplayer Tournament (Constructed Stack)
8/10/2006 16:00 - Intro to Clout: Fantasy
8/11/2006 10:00 - Intro to Clout: Fantasy

There will be additional Clout events hosted by Gap through GB-7 6pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday. *I'll get the location of these events posted ASAP*


Playing Favorites

If you go to the Clout forum, you'll find a thread where we're discussing the limited nature of Clout factions. As each expansion is a new faction, it's impractical support each one eternally, at least with our current strategy. This has really got at least a few players pretty hot!

For the details of the discussion, click the link. I just want to share a bit about me and why I think this is an issue.

I don't have a favorite faction. When I played Magic I didn't have a favorite color (I had a least favorite color...white.) Most trading games are faction oriented in some manner, and I have never chosen just one and stuck to it. In fact, regardless of the game, I don't like to play the same faction twice in a row. For me, it's about variety. The more, the better. Those that have played me at conventions know I like to change stacks after every game. Not only that, I like to go up and rebuild and retune stacks after every game session, even if I won.

I think an individual's preference regarding single faction or multi-faction play is based on personal preferances in combination with game culture. As Magic was my game of choice, and color allegience was not considered a big deal, I never developed it. My observation of L5R players, on the other hand, leads me to believe they can be fiercely loyal to thier factions. I've seen a few Clout players who have also grown attached to their faction of choice. It seems there are many who fall into this category. That's just not me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

San Diego Comic-Con Day 1

Wow. The Con is incredible. Seriously, I'm blown away by how HUGE it is!

From a work standpoint I don't have much to report. We're doing demos, I'm running intro and starter events up in the farthest, darkest room of the gaming area ( 13) On the upside, I've got Stalag 13 all weekend. My own private Clout gaming room. I might try to do something creative if the same folks keep coming for the events.

Also as usual, the players I've met have been amazing. Really, really nice people. I don't think Magic players as a whole are near as nice as people to whom Clout seems to appeal. I mean, most Clout players have or do play Magic, but the nice ones seem to like Clout as well. Maybe I'm biased, I don't know.

Sadly, I forgot my camera so no pictures. That's a bummer because there really are some pretty darned cool things I could take pictures of. Well, lots of other people will be posting pictures, so I suppose you can see that stuff if you want to.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Heffalump Traps

Right now I'm reading House at Pooh corner to my 5 year old before he goes to bed. The last chapter I read involved Pooh and Piglet falling into a pit they had dug to catch the Very Fierce Heffalump.

I sort of feel like that's happened to me. I've found myself in at the bottom of a pit I dug myself. Despite the CLINCH medallions being available at Origins, I still don't have any to ship to TO's. My liberal policy regarding prize support has the new prize chips on e-bay before a single tournament has even taken place. I haven't compiled Venture points in so long, I barely remember how to do it. (update: while stuck in the San Fran airport, I updated the VP list!) My goal of a one day turnaround on e-mail is so lost some people think my e-mail has stopped working (it hasn't- Sorry Amy!)

All this and I'm not really as swamped as people think. I'm just disorganized.

Today I leave for San Diego Comic-Con. I'm looking forward to meeting several new Venture Demo Team members, running a really aggressive tournament schedule, and generally having a good time away from all of these largely self-made issues. When I return I'm going to take a look at everything, decide how to fix each issue, and then fix them.

Things will probably stay a bit screwed up for the rest of this month, but I'm shooting to be back on track in August (in time for Gen Con Indy to challenge my solutions.)

Other things I'm working on:

A system for getting prize support to international TO's.
New tournament guidelines for CLINCH.
Two documents: one for players and another for TO's. Very short, very open ended.
A league system for conventions that Ventures can also run on their own with just a printer, a sheet of round stickers, and some prize support.
A 'catalog' of items Ventures can purchase with their points.

At the end of the Pooh chapter, Christopher Robin came and rescued them. In my story, I'll be climbing out of the pit myself...then covering it with something...perhaps a new Clout Playmat!


Thursday, July 13, 2006

New Tournament Score Sheet - Draft

Based on my experiences at Origins I've put together what is the perfect tournament score sheet *for me*. Everybody is different, so I expect this will be too simplistic for some TO's. Me, I like simple. Go ahead and use and copy these sheets if you like them. If you do, provide feedback! I'd like to turn a version of this into some score pads, if people like them and the demand is there.

These are both in PDF format:

Score Sheet
Score Sheet Info

The idea is that they'll work for both One-on-One and Multiplayer Tournaments. Again, if you don't think a one-size fits all sheet will work, please let me know.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


AHOY! Hidden City Games invites all scallywags, swashbucklers, able-bodied mariners and Clout fans to "get in the game" and join a randy crew of privateers at Gen Con Indy! Sail over to booth #845 to get yer photo taken and have yer ugly mug put on your own Clout chip! Then you’ll be a buccaneer in the red pirate faction with the launch of Redbeard’s Revenge, the new Clout expansion on sale first at Gen Con! Come dressed in your pirate finery or borrow our props – just be sure to get yer pirate on! Beware: Scurvy dogs and landlubbers will be keelhauled! ARRR!

(As there are no typos, you can tell I didn't write this myself! =-)


Monday, July 10, 2006

Origins - Big Tournament!

This was the 28 player Starter tournament, plus the 4 player Constructed Stack off to the side. I'm there on the left. You can see Amy, Cythia, and Gap at the end of the right hand table. You can see that everyone is seated, the tournament hadn't quite begun yet.

These were, in fact, the first CLINCH tournaments ever!

Are you ready? LET'S THROW DOWN!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Origins 2006

I can't overstate how successful Clout was at Origins this year. Where other vendors were complaining about light crowds and slow business we had our biggest weekend of of sales ever, hosted our biggest tournament ever (28 players), and were generally slammed doing demoes start to finish, all four days.

After such a successful convention, I'm expecting a flood of "my local store doesn't carry Clout, what can I do?" e-mails. While I don't have the final answer quite yet, in general the solution is to request a demo kit from me and show the store the game, and after a few demos the store will see how quickly people get into it. Clout is available through standard game distribution channels, so it's likely all the store needs to do is call their usual game supplier and ask for Clout. If not, they can contact me (adam hiddencitygames com) for info.

CLINCH launched at Origins, but it'll be a few more weeks before it can lauch everywhere else. I just don't have the metal Medallion chips yet. That said, the new prize chips are ready to go. Starting Monday, July 11th, Shrunken Heads and Helm of Leaderships will be things of the past. They will continue to be available as an option for Venture Demo Team members to purchase with points, but really they will become the standard give-away promo at conventions. We still have thousands...

Lastly, we still need volunteers for SanDiego Comic-Con, Wizard World Chicago, and Gen Con. Contact me if you'd like information on volunteering.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Welcome to Ohio!

Tonight is the calm before the storm. We've landed, we've checked in, we've eaten.

Tomorrow we PLAY (or work, depending on how you look at it.)

I've got the camera, expect pictures from Origins.

Also, e-mail is working fine again.

Monday, June 26, 2006

E-mail is down...again!

I don't know what the problem is, but for the second time in two weeks I can't get e-mail to work on my laptop. It's got to be a problem at the office (which I've called, but no word back yet!)

If anyone has written me over the weekend, I'll respond as soon as I can. I have been responding to PMs sent on the forum, but that's not my favorite way to communicate. (No spell check, for one!)

Origins Info for Volunteers:

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Downtown Columbus (adjacent to the convention center)
Origins info:

Exhibit Hall Hours
Thursday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm

In order to get ready each day, volunteers should show up between 9-9:30am (unless otherwise arranged.) I'll be down at 8am-ish for breakfast and would welcome company. I'll work out help with events once we're on the ground running.

Call me on my cell at 425-785-5214 for info or if you have questions. (That goes for anyone, really.)


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Art Madness Round 2

Here are the second round matchups of the Clout Art Madness forum event. Links to chip images thanks to Sporadicgames can be found in every poll entry (under where you vote.) Voting is open to all Clout Forum members, even if you just joined today and missed previous voting.

Each poll is open for two days and half of these polls will close tomorrow! What am I talking about? Check out the Clout Forum

Bone Wyrm (16-2)
Island Elf Captain (11-8)

Ravening Dire Wolf (9-8)
Gangris the Mad (13-4)

Pull Under (9-8)
Garrich (13-6)

Fury of Nature (16-4)
Infiltrator (13-7)

Shore Patrol (13-5)
Zharak (10-8)

Oozab (15-2)
Shaman Repoons (13-5)

Dragon Towncrusher (16-1)
Outland Courier (15-5)

Coordinated Strike (15-3)
Deluva's Chosen (12-6)

The numbers are the votes for-against from the first round of voting.


Five Finger Dis-Count

Does the title make any sense at all? No. Oh well.

We ran across this a few months back and all had visions of dazzling the peeps at GenCon. As it turns out I suck at this sort of thing. Maybe you all can do better!

Poker Chip Tricks


All Clout and No Robots Makes Adam a Dull Boy

This tape was made at Western Allied Robotics' last event in April. We're planning another event for early August.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

mARTch Madness!

Hidden City Games needs to choose a art for it's next (first?) Clout T-Shirt! We'd just argue, so I've put it to the fans to decide what they want on their shirt.

Art Madness is happening right now on the Clout Forum The forum members have already helped me select 32 of the most popular pieces of art in the Clout: Fantasy set, representing all six of the current factions. Now, the pieces are paired off in a single elimination battle to determine what piece is really the forum favorite, and our next T-Shirt design.

The first round is posted, and 1st round voting will begin closing tomorrow and will be completely closed on Thursday!

This is how they are set up, in order. Just add the lines. The winner of Bone Wyrm vs Forest Wyrm will go up against the Winner of Necromancer vs Island Elf Captain, and so on.

Art Madness Round 1 Matchups:

Bone Wyrm vs Forest Wyrm
Necromancer vs Island Elf Captain

Necro Lab vs Ravening Dire Wolf
Gagris the Mad vs Barge Captain

Banshee Wail vs Pull Under
Necro Neophyte vs Garrich

Fury of Nature vs Big Magic
Poison Mushroom vs Infiltrator

Shore Patrol vs Reef Outcast
Battle Maiden vs Zharak

Oozab vs Home Guard Squire
Shaman Repoons vs Merfolk Cavalry

Plains War Veteran vs Dragon Towncrusher
Outland Courier vs Water Nymph

Palimus the Ranger vs Coordinated Strike
Deluva's Chosen vs Juvenile Dragon


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Expect the Unexpected

Bella Sara

Check out the press release talking about Hidden City Games' next big thing, Bella Sara. Now, I don't really expect you guys to be that excited about this game, but you should know that we are all very, very excited about it. Like Clout, people just take to the game when they see it. Unlike Clout, the people taking to the game are little girls. So far, little girls in Denmark. Our goal is to spread Bella Sara to world beyond Scandinavia.

Excited? Well, if not, that's okay. =-)

How about this. We've designed and printed the first two sets of CLINCH promo prize chip sets. The first set is designed to support and tie-in with Defender of Undersea, the second supports Redbeard's Revenge.

With Clout Marvel Heroes being the next expansion due out after RR, the third CLINCH kit will feature new chips from ALL previous expansions, plus the two new factions of Marvel. That's right, the third CLINCH kit will feature 10 new chips, one for each faction plus two neutral. That is, unless the plan changes again. I don't think it will, which is why I'm writing this now.

The original CLINCH Marvel plan was to produce two kits that could be combined into one, but we decided our original Clout is Clout is Clout strategy is best. Each new Clout expansion, regardless of genre, is Clout. Different genres, one game. At best, Marvel and Fantasy fans will convert eachother. At worst, TO's will be stuck with a bunch of extra chips they don't need (I guess there's always e-bay...kidding!)


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Can't see, can't hear!

This is the only way I can get the word out, so I hope folks are reading this. My e-mail is currently down. I'll be going into the office tomorrow, in case the problem is with my laptop. I don't think it is, as my internet works fine otherwise. If you want to contact me, go ahead and use the forum PM or just post here.



Thursday, June 08, 2006

CLINCH Newz and Previewz

I'm going to break my own rules and predict the future:

CLINCH will debut at Origins 2006. Medallions will be here. Promo prize chips ARE here (arrived today!) I'll begin shipping on Monday after Origins, the first week of July, my normal OP shipping schedule.

This will be the last month to get Helm of Leaderships and Shrunken Heads.

Since my Armored Captain file got corrupted (I'll make another one, but not tonight) how about a couple of other CLINCH art previews!

Necro Adept by Clint Langly

Shore Patrol by Jennifer Meyer

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wizard World - Recap

Short Version: I had an awesome time!

Less Short Version: Flew in, Ran Tournaments with Swan, Flew home, Got Sick. (Con Crud, is the technical term.) EDIT: Just a minor cold. I'm fine now, thanks everyone!

I've already heard from so many of you who had a great time at WW, I can't tell you how great it is to get your e-mail and see you posting on the forums. It really makes the trip worth it, and not just in a ROI sort of way.

I'm pretty far behind with getting kits shipped, but I'm working to catch up as quickly as possible. Venture Points and shipping the Scouts, Hunters, etc. have taken a back seat to getting the Prize and Demo kits shipped, but I should have it all taken care of by Friday. *Should*, who knows what reality might do to me.



Saturday, June 03, 2006

Wizard World Philly Day 2

Wizard World Philadelphia

It's midnight here in the city of brotherly love, and because I fell asleep almost immediately after getting back to my room from the show, I'll probably be up until 3am. *sigh* Maybe inspiration will hit me and I'll get some work on my personal CCG done. (Not likely.)

My favorite story from today's event: One of the players (Adam, I think) from the morning's Starter Stack tournament was disappointed he couldn't come play in the 3pm constructed stack tournament because he had to go see "some guy speak". I'm pretty sure the speaker was Kevin Smith. Honestly, I'd ditch all you guys to see Kevin Smith if I thought I could get away with it. Adam, if you're reading this (and that is you're name), I hope you don't mind. It's was pretty good moment for me and I wanted to share.

Michael had a great TriGun Costume, complete with doughnuts!

Stuart adjudicating the final match of the constructed stack tournament between Carl (left) and Kurt (Right), both terrific players. Kurt took home the gold (in the form of a Bag of Greed + Loaded Chip Display). Congratulations Kurt!

Left to Right: Melinda, Mike, Adarian, Adam, Stuart.

Good night!


Friday, June 02, 2006

Wizard World Philly Day 1

A good day. I'm not sure it was a great day, but Fridays at cons rarely are. Despite Jetlag and foolishly following my workmates to an Irish pub last night the day went by extra smooth.

We had an Intro to Clout session, where the players played 3-player games. First with just Starter Games, then I provided boosters and they played with the slighly modified stacks. I'm really happy with it as a 'first tournament' format. This wasn't really a tournament, I just set up games and gave prizes to the players who won each game. Everyone got boosters and promos. [newt] They mostly got Helms and Shrunken Heads, mostly. [\newt] My favorite part of the tournament was a young girl named Danielle who (while a little loosey-goosey with the throwing rules) was still a dead-eye shot and won both her games. She seemed pretty sure she could beat her brother who plays Hero Clix. I think she's right! We'll find out tomorrow, as they both plan on playing.

Big thanks to Stuart (Swan on the forums) for helping me out. Out of 12 players, 8 were first timers and with 6 players we could have one judge per table. It worked out great. In addition to Venture Points, I've got to find way to thank him. We may be getting together later to play. It all depends on what the other folks want to do. He said they looked pretty tuckered out, and to be honest, so am I.

Tomorrow will be the big kahuna day. I'm running another Starter tournament at 11am (this time a proper tournament, rather than a series of indivudal games)

The plan: Lots of sleep, No Irish Pubs, Good Breakfast w/fruit, then CLOUT!


Thursday, June 01, 2006

I'd like to thank the Academy

Clout's probably a longshot, but it's nominated in two Gamer's Choice Award categories.

Click Here to Vote

I'd love to see us win one for the Gipper. (For this production, Peter Adkison will be playing the role of "The Gipper")


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

In case of Emergency...

Posted by Yehuda, a blogger from Israel I truly enjoy reading...

What? No Clout? In case of Rain of Frogs, play Clout? Yeah, that's the ticket!


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Wildcard's Eternal Auction 2.0!

If you play Clout but don't at least check out the Forum's Eternal Auction, well darn it, check it out!

After some glitches, I have rewritten the rules to make bidding less complex and eliminate the problems associated with a fixed end-time for the auction. For your enjoyment I now present, WEA 2.0:

Wildcard’s Eternal Auction 2.0

The auction that never ends! Any forum member may bid their own chips and the highest bid wins the auction. The contents of the winning bids then become future auctions.

Auction Rules:

* Bidding is real. If you bid, you will be expected send those chips in exchange for the current lot.

* Auction contents are announced in the “This for That” trading forum in the Wildcard's Eternal Auction thread. Active auction are always ‘sticky’.

* Legal bids must be posted in the active Wildcard's Eternal Auction thread.

* You pay postage for what you mail. I pay postage for what I mail. I don't care where from, so international bidders are welcome!

* Bidders must follow the rules of bidding. Illegal bids will be ignored and illegal bidders will be the subject of much pointing and giggling.

* Auctions begin as soon as the first Auction announcement is posted.

* The auction ends 48 hours following the final high bid. Example: A bid is posted at Sat May 13, 2006 6:41 am. If there are no other bids, the Auction will end Mon May 15, 2005 6:42 am, 48 hours later. If a bid comes on May 15th at 6:41, the auction will go another 48 hours.

Bidding Rules:

* Only rare, dragon and promo chips may be bid.

* A legal bid must exceed all previous bids in value.

* No Bids may include more than 3 of any single non-unique chip.
* No Bids may include more than 1 copy of any one unique chip.
* No Bids may include more than 2 neutral chips.

* Chips bid may not be the same as the chips available in the auction. Example: If a Helm of Leadership is in the auction, that chip is not available to bid with.

* For bidding purposes: Promo Chips are worth 2 rares. Common Dragon chips are worth 3 rares. Rare Dragon chips are worth 9 rares.

* A legal bid must include the title of specific chips being bid, their rarity, and the total number of rares (including totals for promos and dragons.) Non-english or dual-language chips should be specified as such. For this auction, language has no impact on chip value. Details: What if nobody bids? If an auction passes and nobody bids, I will add chips to the auction (rares, promos, dragons), and rerun it.

New auctions will start within one week of the old auctions end.

I'll ship the winner their chips upon arrival of their bid. All auction rules are subject to change between auctions.

Questions are welcome right here!

Star Wars - Deleted Scenes

I love this sort of thing: The Luke/Biggs scenes removed from the start of A New Hope. Quality is poor, but the content is COOL!


Friday, May 26, 2006

We used to we wusses, but now we're METAL

CLINCH medallions will be the same size and shape as standard Clout chips, but instead of plastic, they'll be metal. Shown here is an artist's rendering of a CLINCH Chip (not a real one)



The metal chips haven't arrived yet, but I can show off the designs using standard plastic Clout chips, pictured in the previous entry.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's like my Birthday!

About halfway through our weekly staff meeting Seanna, who handles much of Clout's production, says sort of off-handedly, "Adam, do you want the Clinch stickers? I've got them in my car?"

DO I!?!?! Well YES!!!

More specifically, she had (now I have) the entire CLINCH run of Medallion inserts. While the metal medallions haven't arrived yet, I can now make mock-up CLINCH Medallions using standard clout chips...the kind I have a few hundred of under my dining room table.

I've already got the okay to make some up and ship them out as preview samples, so expect CLINCH Pseudo-Medallions in the next batch of tournament kits. The only question...what color chip should I use? (I don't have white or dragon.)

Here they are on black chips, (the goblin is upside down)
The Medallions use the same art as the CLINCH promo chips (we're either being cheap or smart, depending on how you look at it!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Clout Mini-Games (5-chip stacks)

As I'm tired of using the phrase: 5-chip demo stack bag + booster freebee, I'm going to start calling them Clout Mini-Games. They contain:

* Playable 5 chip stack, including one base.
* One rulebook/measuring tool sheet.
* One Clout: Fantasy booster pack (for now)

Also pictured is the new Defenders of Undersea poster, included with each Demo Kit. The posters are available upon request. In fact, I'll be shipping a poster to every retail store I have shipping info for very soon.


Act Now, Supplies are Running Out!

In fact, this might be true. I've just procured a case of base set boosters to upgrade the 5-chip demo stack bags. Now Venture Demoers will have the 5-chip stack + 1 booster to give away.

Sean, Andre, and I had a meeting last week and one of the things Sean mentioned was how 'the lightbulb turns on' when a new player opens that first booster. My question was to we put that experience into the demo? My answer was equally simple...lets give each new player a booster.

Now, I don't have an unlimited supply of boosters, but I do have enough for a couple more demo kit mailings. Once my current supply is gone, we'll look at the success of 5-chip+ pack and decide if we want to keep it up.

Other demo team notes...with the next batch of mailings, the total number of demo packs shipped will have exceeded 500. Now, I know not all of those demo stacks are reaching new players, but if even a small percentage translates to new fans, the whole thing becomes worth it.

As I've said before, the reports of people getting hooked on Clout through the efforts of the Venture Demo Team are really exciting. (I have to say "Clout" and "Venture Demo Team" so search engines will see my posts! =-)



Sunday, May 21, 2006

Who doesn't love Kittens?

If you ask me, a blog isn't official until you post a picture of a pet on it. Without further ado, let me introduce the newest member of my family...

Maximum Orbit (Max)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Venture Update

Hi everybody,

Nothing helps spread the word like fixing my e-mail list (so it sends out messages to people other than just myself!)

A few Venture Team members have reported good luck running demos, followed by a quick tournament. I’ve found that tournaments using just the Starter games make for fabulous beginner tournaments. If you’re running events in a store, make sure the store’s stocked with the Starters and invite people who are taking demos to come back for a Starter-only tournament that same day. You and the new players will have a great time, and the store will make some sales (that’s always makes you popular with the manager!) Also, if you have a tournament already scheduled, make sure to include that information in the player’s demo stack bag so they know when to come back and have some fun. Running both events also gets you 8 Venture Points rather than the usual 4, which isn’t a bad deal for your time!

I’ve just put another dozen of the new, improved, Demo Kits together as well as a pile of tournament prize kits (with the new Whale Call promo.) They’re just waiting for some Venture Team Members to request them. I’m basically shipping on demand right now. There’s still time to get prizes or demo-freebees for next weekend. For those of you who have requested kits or mats, I should be completely caught up with shipping by the end of the day tomorrow.

Hidden City Games will be at KublaCon next weekend, and Wizard World Philly the weekend after that. If you’re nearby, please come by one of these conventions. We’ll have special giveaways just for Clout Forum members and Venture Demo Team members. If you’re free to help out, you can make some quick Venture Points.


Letter to the UK

I just sent this via e-mail to Dave in the UK, one of the few TO's there. I'm proud of the information contained in the message, so I decided I'd share it with everyone. A lot of this is old info, but it never hurts to repeat yourself:

Hi Dave,

Worlds will be taking place at GenCon SoCal this November 16-19th. I’m planning for nationals-type events to take place in September and October. Nationals-level events will provide CLINCH medallions with value enough to assure a place in the Worlds. Because of all the delays with CLINCH, I’ve been hesitant to make commitments. Once CLINCH is available, there will be lots more info. Because the Medallions are the basis for invitations, nothing strictly feeds into anything else, but winning an event at any level provides enough Personal Clout to qualify for the next level. Throwdowns (Store, Club Events) and Rallies (Qualifiers) feed Roundtables (Nationals) which feed Summits (Worlds). Local tournament organizers may always run Throwdowns. Rallies may also be run by local tournament organizers depending on how your local distributor wants to handle things. In the US, I have several TO’s who I completely trust to run the events properly, so that’s how I’m going to do it. Also, all events at conventions, run by Hidden City Games, will also be Rally events. The higher level events are ‘company’ events and should be handled or at least overseen by Hidden City Games or the local Clout distributor, like Hobbygames.

Worlds, just like every other CLINCH event, is open to any player who has enough Personal Clout, regardless of how/if they played in Nationals or even lower level events. This relaxed, open-door policy is a huge departure from other top tier events, but the philosophy is simple enough: If you’ve got the ‘Clout’, you can play.

Prize money for CLINCH is up to the local distributor. CLINCH was originally developed for our Asia-Pacific partners where prize money is essential to the success of an organized play program. This actually runs contrary to our vision for Clout and CLINCH where the games are played primarily for fun, rather than big prizes. Every region internationally needs to support the program in the manner that makes sense for their gaming culture. Prize money is an optional part of that. We can’t really compete with the big money games like Magic and VS., so we’re avoiding that route entirely. I am hoping to find a way to get Nationals winners to Worlds in California (across the street from Disneyland) which would be a pretty sweet prize.

For now the Venture Demo Team is a North American program only. I just don’t have the resources to support the program internationally. We’re working on expanding it internationally, and once I begin to see strong returns here in the US, I expect that to be the next step.

While I don’t normally ship internationally, send me your contact info and I’ll provide a supply of US Promo chips to spice up your tournaments for a few weeks. The chips I can send are Helm of Leadership, Shrunken Head, and Whale Call. I’ll get you enough to run several tournaments.

Adam "Wildcard" Conus
Hidden City Games
Organized Play Manager
Website -
Fling into Action Blog -

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Auction Woes

The last Eternal Auction had all sorts of problems. *sigh* Of course, it was the biggest auction we'd had, so the competition to win was particularly fierce. Lots of things came to light:

First, putting in a large bid at that last minute is/can be percieved as a problem. First off, the forum software isn't quick enough to be fair about it whose bid makes it in and whose does not. Also, lots of people just can be on the computer right when the auction ends, meaning those people miss out entirely.

Second, *I* run the thing, which means things are just going to go haywire (welcome to my life). Somehow my forum clock got off by an hour, so I said a bid at 12:01 was in time, when by the rules it wasn't. Until I fixed the clock, my screen said 11:01, and it didn't occur to me that it might be ME that was off by an hour, not a whole forum of fans. Doh!

So, I've got two players who really deserve to win the biggest auction yet, and I only have chips for one of them.

Right now I have to decide if I want to run the next auction, as is, or put the thing on hiatus until I can come up with some improvements. I hate hiatusesus (sp?) so I'd better get the next auction up and running. For now, sniping is part of the game as is dealing with an idiot admin (i.e. me.)

All this in the pursuit of FUN!

Monday, May 15, 2006

What's Up?

After getting my son Alex to Daycare (he still goes to the Wizards of the Coast daycare) I start work:

My usual day consists of catching up with all the E-mail, both at the address and the address. Soon I'll take on the venturestore address as well. I'm meeting with Sean, our director of sales, this week to get on the same page with him on that program so I can provide daily support and he can handle the tough stuff.

If I'm not working with Paul, I spend most of time streamlining Venture Demo Team or CLINCH documents. Of course, I keep an eye on the forums all day. The last couple of weeks I've been trying to get CLINCH and VDT to be Euro-friendly. We'll see how that goes as I continue to communicate with our partners overseas. Starting this week I'll be contacting our Asia Pacific (APAC) partners to see how CLINCH will work for them, and what I can do to assist them. This is WAY overdue. Because I specialize in social connections and communities, I'm way more comfortable working within my own culture. Tough, I've got to suck it up and send those e-mail and make those calls. =-)

On Mondays I gather all the Venture Demo Team reports that have accumulated over the past week (most reports come in on Monday) and get them entered, if they haven't been already. If it's been more than a week, I'll put togeher the Venture Point totals and get those posted. I'm pretty happy with the bi-weekly schedule, though I can't wait for a website to post the info to.

Tuesdays I try to get everything mailed out that needs to arrive by the following weekend. That includes Playmats, Demo Kits, and Tournament kits. I'm not sure they actually get there in time, but at least there's a good chance.

Wednesday is sort of a catch-up day. E-mail, general paperwork. I do a lot of my concept work on Wednesday, figuring new ways to handle demos, tournaments, and such. There's a fair amount of crackpot ideas that never see the light of day dreamed up on Wednesdays. Example: I'd like to run a convention league that rewards players for the number of players they defeat, rather than the number of wins overall. This 'viral' league would directly reward fans for finding new players (and then crushing them.). Losses would be valuable as well, so there's a reason to let your buddy kick your butt, even if you know you can't beat him. On the last day of the con, players would be able to collect prizes based on a combination of their wins and success finding opponents. Note: Fans that are successful networking at a con will tend to have networking skills that make them top-notch Demo team members.

Thurday is the HCG Staff Meeting, so I generally spend the day getting ready for that if I'm presenting, or at least making sure I know what everyone else is up to so I can contribute at the meeting. This usually doesn't take too much time, so I can keep up on e-mail, etc.

Friday, like Wednesday seldom has a set agenda. Make sure there arent' any merchants or fans who need something. Make sure I've taken care of absolutely everything that needed getting done over the course of the week.

I also work on other HCG projects - I help Paul with R&D during playtest sessions. They ususually last 3-4 hours per day for a few weeks at a time. The last one was Marvel, and the Marvel expansion is probably not too far off (we're still 2 expanstions ahead on Fantasy) We've got a new game that I can't really talk about yet. I'm still working on how I'll fit into what that'll need.

I also have my own project, which I usually work on off the clock, but if an good idea strikes me I don't feel the least bit bad about spending some time on it during the day.

I spend a lot of time on the internet, just keeping up with what other game companies are doing. Some, like WizKids and JoyRide (FullMetal Alchemist), really impress me. Others don't. I read a LOT of gaming blogs, just too see whats hot. Those who can't do, read blogs.

My favorite sort of day is one where I start work and go non-stop until I have to leave to pick up Alex from daycare. I have the best job, ever, and I like it best when I've lots to do.

Adam "Wildcard" Conus

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Board 2 Pieces: Bringing the Funny

Board 2 Pieces is one of my favorite on-line comics. Pure gaming humor. If you already subscribe to the Boardgame News RSS feed, you know what I mean.

It helps a lot to play Eurogames, but after a few installments the humor sets in regardless of your gaming habits.



Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Biggest Clout Forum Auction Yet!

Want Dragons? Want Rares? Check out Wildcard's Eternal Auction #18

You don't need money, you just need chips. The bidding starts at one Clout: Fantasy Common. Have fun!

Auction Rules


Monday, May 08, 2006

No Such Thing...

...As bad press, particularly when it's good press!

Our local newspaper just ran this story on Saturday. Hopefully you can view it (I already subscribe.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

New and Improved Demo Kits!

I think a few you of you who've got the Demo Kits were disappointed with the contents. I know I have been. Lots of chips, two starter games, and not much else. Well, help has arrived!

The next wave of kits will package each 5-chip demo stack in its own individual bag, along with rules that include a measuring tool printed on the side. The stacks become less a generic freebee and more a mini-game. The bags will be of the Zip-Lock variety, and I will be encouraging Venture Demo Team members and stores to pop open the bags and slide store business cards in there. This will do a couple of things. First, the store gets some of the much deserved credit for the demo and the freebee (nobody would be getting them without you guys!) and the customer will walk away with everything they need to play AND buy Clout. The sheet also includes information like website and customer service e-mail.

I'll be shipping the next wave of Demo Kits out early next week, in time for next weekend. If you don't have a kit requested right now, please make sure to those requests in by Monday.

My next planned improvement is a Demo-Guide. Probably 3-4 pages of hints and tips for planning and running great demos. I've got my own ideas, plus some great feedback from the forum. Keep those ideas coming!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Right On, WizKids!

Ok, technically they're the competition, but that's not how I look at things.

WizKids sent me two booster packs of their NASCAR game, Race Day in the mail today. I totally didn't expect it, and I'm not actually sure why they came, but came they did.

Race Day is a Pirates-esque game, with die cut plasti-card cards that you use to build little NASCAR race cars. Also included are clear plastic damage 'bits', also die cut. They attach to the cars as they take damage. Cool! The game is played on a paper race track, ala Forumula De, which they somehow folded up into a trading-card game sized package.

What's really clever is the entire thing comes with literally everything you need to play, all in the size of a single (thick) booster pack. I played a two player game (what you get in a single booster), and found it light and enjoyable. It played very much like a dumbed down Formula De, as the only die rolled for movement is a 6-sider. Yes, they included a tiny, tiny, die in the pack.

The game's fine, but I'm really impressed that it showed up on my doorstep ready to play. How often do fully playable games show up like that? After a decade in the gaming industry, this would be about the first time, ever.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Clout International Challenge

What is CLINCH?

CLINCH is an extension of the Clout hobby. It’s a great reason for Clout fans to play, trade, and interact with each other all across the globe. Unlike other organized play systems, CLINCH does not revolve around a strict ranking system. CLINCH is more like a game within the game, with winning and collecting the object.

How it works in brief – Players go to tournaments and win CLINCH Medallions. They collect an assortment of Medallions to gain access to bigger tournaments, including Nationals and Worlds. Each player’s Medallion collection doubles as his or her CLINCH ranking.

CLINCH requires no centralized database:

If we don’t keep track of who wins and who loses, who does?
• Players keep track of their own ranking with the simple tools and system we’ve provided for them.
• CLINCH is unique in that the players keep track of their own rankings by collecting the CLINCH Medallions, which work like trophies or medals.

CLINCH requires no reporting

Instead of reports being filed and processed, Medallions are awarded instead.

• Medallions
• Players are given non-playable metal chips…Medallions…which act as a sort of currency in the system. The more Medallions you have, the prestige you have acquired, the higher you are “ranked”.
• Different Medallions have different Clout values, known as Personal Clout. The bigger the event, the more Clout each Medallion is worth.
• Medallions are only officially available through CLINCH events, but once players have possession of a Medallion they are free to sell, trade, or keep them as they wish.
• As long as a player knows how much Clout they need to participate in a given event, they will by-default know if they’re qualified.
• If a player is short for what they need for an upcoming invitational tournament and there’s no events coming up, they still have the option to buy or trade with other CLINCH players for more Medallions.
• Each Medallion is worth between 1-6 Personal Clout each. There are over 20 Medallions, including the specials we’ll make for nationals and worlds.
• Only one copy of each Medallion is valuable to the player. You can’t count the same Medallion twice.

A typical CLINCH Medallion collection:

1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 2 = 8

This player has 8 points of Personal Clout. Multiple copies of these medallions will not increase it further. To go further, the player must win new medallions.

CLINCH Event Hierarchy
Throw Downs and Rallies are the events that require mass production of Medallions. These are normally ‘open’ events, not requiring Personal Clout for entry. Exceptions could be made for special events. Roundtables, Summits, and the Worlds will normally be invitational (all players with adequate Personal Clout may attend) and will feature custom made Medallions, either unique or run in extremely small numbers.

Throw Downs
• Kits are available to TOs upon request. These kits contain the lowest level of prize support.
• We’ll keep an eye on TOs to see how they handle prize distribution, but generally we let the players and TOs regulate themselves.
• It’s expected that all active Clout players will collect a full set of Throw Down Medallions in a few months.

• Next level of CLINCH events.
• Reserved for trusted, active TOs and Distributor/Publisher run events at conventions. We will establish criteria for what TOs we allow run Rallies. It may be very loose and we simply tightly control how many rally kits get released.
• Rally Medallion distribution is kept under relatively tight control. These Medallions really determine who goes to invitational events.

Roundtables include Nationals are events run by Hidden City Games in the US and our Marketing Partners around the World. We call them Roundtables

To enter the nationals, players must have (X) Personal Clout. This year we will lower the requirement to make up for the system’s late start.
Nationals winners win Medallions, just like any CLINCH event, but the Medallions are valuable for life (rather than just a year) and are worth even more Personal Clout.
Nationals winners are granted automatic entry in the Worlds event at GenCon SoCal.
Nationals faction winners should also have enough Personal Clout to attend Worlds, should they make the journey.
Travel arrangements to GenCon SoCal primary prize in nationals tournaments. We’ll work out arrangements with each marketing partner to arrange the prizes.
Summits represent large international tournaments, generally reserved for regional championships (APAC, North American, or EU CLINCH Championships,ect.) These are optional events for MPs who wish to have a “Worlds” style event with a smaller travel burden on the players.

Higher Personal Clout requirement for entry than Nationals. Nationals winners will automatically get in.
GenCon SoCal, Anahiem CA
Unique Medallions, again more valuable than even Nationals
Great additional prizes, to lure players from all over.

How Medallions are Awarded

The winners of a CLINCH event include the overall winner, plus the highest placing player of each faction (called faction winners).

The faction winners are rewarded regardless of how the player placed overall. If they are the best in their faction, they win a Medallion. In addition, the overall winner gets both their faction winner Medallion as well as the event winner Medallion.

In addition to the colored faction Medallions is the “special” Medallion. It is reserved for players who play Dragons and eventually players who play out of print expansions. The special Medallion is faction neutral and designed as a ‘catch all’ so any Clout expansion may be used in a CLINCH event, no matter what Medallions we have available. No Clout expansion will ever be banned from tournament play.

Prize Chips
• Non unique
• Collectable
• Faction specific
• English only.
• There’s one prize chip for each faction, plus one neutral, plus one winner chip created along with each new Clout Expansion. When a new expansion is released, a new CLINCH kit is released with new prize chips.
• Prize chips don’t change with tournament level. You win the same chip for Purple at a Throw Down as you do at the Nationals.

Players want to come back and play. Our prize chips are designed so that player will want to collect multiples of them. To win all the playable chips, a player will have to participate in seven tournaments, winning at least one of them.

Tournament Organizers
• CLINCH depends on trustworthy TO’s, but doesn’t require 100% perfection.
• Tiered system allows lower-levels to be open ended, while we retain more control over events up the ladder.
• In the US, TO’s are rewarded through the Venture Demo Team. Among the rewards are the same Medallions players can win.
• Removes the ‘prize penalty’ for running events.
• Reduces the temptation so ‘steal’ prizes from players.

Marvel and the Future of CLINCH

• CLINCH has a modular format.
• Tournament Organizers can order Base CLINCH plus one or more modules like Fantasy Expansions, Marvel, or both for a combo event.
• Stand-alone Genres will also have their own CLINCH kits, for playing without Fantasy at all.
• As new Fantasy expansions are released, CLINCH will stop supporting the older expansions. Defenders of Undersea will be the first expansion to ‘rotate out’ of CLINCH when the third Clout Fantasy expansion is released in 2007. The chips will remain tournament legal, but they will join Dragons as a ‘special’ faction.

Talking CLINCH

That phone conversation ended up being pretty short! I was talking with the head of Hobby Games, and really I needed to talk with the head of their organized play. I've started an e-mail conversation, which has started out on a strange foot. The first impression of CLINCH is that it's for the US market and not appropriate for the UK. The only successful US OP programs in the UK are from Upper Deck and Wizards of the Coast, and they all have a ton of money behind them. Well, we don't have that sort of system...

I've asked what sort of OP programs (if any) are successful in the UK. It could be the US model of game+OP=success simply doesn't apply. I'm looking forward to the response. I'll share when I get it.

Ironically, CLINCH was designed for the APAC (Asia Pacific) market, originally.