Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New NFL Season Format

My suggestions to the NFL...

- Drop the 4 pre-season games. Why risk player injuries during pointless games?

- Expand the season to 18 games. More football = more goodness.

Monday, December 20, 2010

DVG Free Holiday Gift!!

THIS WEEK ON FACEBOOK: Join the DVG Group and post the HORNET LEADER box cover from the Photo section as your profile picture this week, and we'll send you a coupon code for a neat DVG gift!


Sunday, November 21, 2010

8 and 8

Wow, settling for an 8 and 8 Viking season isn't looking so bad right now.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I want to take this chance to tell you about Vendetta. Vendetta is a fun family card I’ve designed where each player gets to be a New York mob boss fighting to build his mob empire and control the city.

Do you like the Godfather or Soprano’s? If you do, I think you’ll really like this game.

Here’s where I need your help. To make this game a reality, we need money to pay the printer before they start printing.

To make the money-part fun for everyone, we’re offering some great incentives through a promotional web site called Kickstarter.

If you contribute to the project, you can get your name in the game, on a card, or even have a mob boss named for you.

We have a great video on Kickstarter explaining all the game and money details.

Have a look, contribute if you’re interested, and please pass the information along to your friends!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


With Brett's announcement, the Vikings just went from an 8 and 8 season to a shot at the Super Bowl!

Time to start growing out the hair for the end of season Viking horns!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Air Leader

The Air Leader Series - Past, Present, and Future

The Air Leader series of games started back in 1991 with the release of Hornet Leader. The solitaire game placed the player in the role of a squadron commander for the US Navy’s FA-18 Hornet strike fighters.

Whenever I’d tell people about the game, they’d always ask, “Is it a card game, board game…?” and I’d respond with, “Well…”

Hornet was a new kind of game. It used cards to hold data, but you didn’t hold the cards in your hand. Nor did you play them. The cards were used to generate missions and to represent your pilots and aircraft. The game did use a board and counters, but most of the counters were used to represent weapons and pilot status. Also, because each pilot had his own unique set of skills, and could gain experience and improve, the game also had a mild role-playing element. All in all, it was a difficult game to describe. Twenty years later, I still have a hard time describing Hornet, but luckily, we now have google for those who are new to the series.

I designed Thunderbolt+Apache Leader a year or two later. The core concept was the same: solitaire, command a squadron, manage your pilots, blow-up the bad guys, but the details of how the two games worked were very different. For you TAL fans out there, yes, we plan of revising and releasing TAL. Hopefully in 2011.

Skip ahead 10 years. I dusted off Hornet to re-release it in Vassal/PDF format, and found the old game somewhat lacking. While a solid design, if had not aged well. It was too complex, had too many procedures, and had far too many die roll modifiers.

For any one taking notes on game design philosophy, die roll modifiers always seem like a great idea during the design stage, but they are the best way to kill the feel and flavor of a game. Here’s why. People use the emotional side of their brains to feel and become connected to a story, which is what a game is. When you force their brain to do math, they switch the logical side of their brain, and you suppress their feelings and emotions. This instantly turns an exciting mission deep into enemy territory into a mathematical exercise with little pictures of airplanes.

Anyway… I revised Hornet Leader and named it Hornet Leader II. I know, very creative. I streamlined the mechanics and simplified the game while keeping all the core concepts of flying over other people’s countries and blowing stuff up. Over the course of 3 expansions, I added new types of aircraft like F-14 Tomcats, A-6 Intruders, AV-8B Harriers, etc. Overall, I was very happy with the design.

Flash forward to 2010 and the release of Phantom Leader. Phantom built on the HLII design and took it a step farther. The game added some very cool new options for spending Special Option points that changed mission planning on a high level. Phantom also incorporated the Politics track to capture the politically imposed limitations of the Vietnam Air War.

This brings us to Hornet Leader – Carrier Air Operations, our newest game in the Air Leader series.

The original plan for HL-CAO was simple: gather the components from HLII and its 3 expansions, replace all the art, and release it as a printed game with high quality components. Then I started looking at the games. They were good, but not perfect. As time passed, I revised a rule here, and added a new one there, until we’re at where we are now, with a highly updated game.

Here’s a list of the major changes to date. During the next few weeks, I’ll detail each of them (and probably add to the list):

Situational Awareness
Target Traits
Campaign Skill Levels
Bad Event XP
New Special Option point Scale
Stand-Off Range Band
F-35 Stealth
Reworked Ordnance Counters

Situational Awareness
This is a new pilot skill. The skill range is 0 to 3, with most pilots having a 0 most of the time. As with most skills, a pilot gets more of them as he progresses in experience. A pilot gets 1 Situational Awareness counter each mission for each point of skill he has.

A Fast pilot may discard a counter during a Slow step to attack. A Slow pilot may discard a counter during a Fast step to attack. This attack is in addition to the pilot’s normal attack that turn.

At the start of each mission, you get to select the most experienced pilot flying the mission to be your Flight Leader. The Flight Leader can use each of his counters as normal, or expend them for other pilots during the mission as you see fit.

The E-2C Hawkeye support aircraft have a built-in ability. They can always expend their counters for other pilots.

This new skill adds a great deal of flexibility and decision-making to pilot selection, arming, and Over Target tactics.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guns Blazing!

Holly and I have devoted the past month to several games, with the focus being on Guns Blazing. We are on schedule to send the files to the printer at the end of this month.

Guns Blazing is a stand-alone WWII dogfighting game and the second game in our Down In Flames series of card games. The great thing about the system is you can play an exciting dogfight in 15 minutes.

Thanks Wan for the great Guns Blazing box cover!

We’ve also been working on Field Commander Napoleon, Vendetta, and Hornet Leader.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Game Over Man! Game Over!

For those of you who don’t know how NFL overtime rules work, consider yourselves lucky. Briefly: If the game ends in a tie, they flip a coin, and the winner gets the ball. The first team to score wins.

This means that a team may never get possession of the ball in overtime before they lose. Kind of like a baseball game going to extra innings. If the visiting team scores a run, they win. The home team gets an at bat.

As a game designer and a Vikings fan, I have a suggestion for the NFL…

New Overtime Rule:

They play until Team “A” scores. Team “B” then receives a kick-off. During its possession, Team “B” will either:

A) Not score points, or score fewer points than Team “A” = Team “B” loses

B) Score points equal to Team “A” = Reset, do it again

C) Score more points than Team “A” = Team “B” wins

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vikings Fan

It’s a good year to be a Minnesota Vikings’ fan. Most years you figure on the team going 8 and 8, or maybe lucking into a play-off spot. Like I said, it’s been a good year.

I’ve been a fan since I was about 5 years old. My family lived in Bellflower, CA where my dad owned an Arco gas station. The company was called Richfield back then. One of his customer’s was the Yary family. Their son, Ron, played football at Bellflower High School. He later played as on offensive lineman at USC. He was the first draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1968.

Around 1974 we moved away from the area and lost touch with the Yarys, but I continued being a Vikings fan.

Tonight, in a burst of Viking’s support, I decided to shave two Viking horns into my hair. I copied the helmet art from online graphics, printed a few to get the sizing right for my head, then cut-out a template. Holly then traced the templates on my head with a magic marker, and then cranked-up the electric hair trimmer. An hour later, I was the proud owner of Viking horns!

Kevin and Kira also helped with the shaving. Just the other day, Kira was saying how we should have more family time. So it worked out well for everyone. Actually, both kids are mortified and have insisted only Holly pick them up from school until the hair grows back. Riiiight!

Here's hoping the Vikings defeat the Saints, then go on to win the final battle - Super Bowl XLIV - RAGNAROK!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hornet Leader Has Launched!

Hornet Leader is in the air! We just launched our new mega-boxed game Hornet Leader – Carrier Air Operations for pre-order.

This game is huge! It includes 330 cards, 2 counter sheets, an 11” x 17” mounted Tactical Display, Player Aid Sheets, Rulebook, and a die.

With this one game, you have all the material you need to replay US Navy strike missions throughout the service life of the Hornet, from 1983 to present day, and beyond.

This game is perfect for newbie pilots as well as you old hands who have been there and seen that.

Visit our web site to see artwork, details, and pre-order!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

3 New Games!

Since the new year, we’ve been busy bouncing between three games: Field Commander Napoleon, Hornet Leader – Carrier Air Operations, and Vendetta – New York Style.

We’ll have the games ready for pre-order in the upcoming weeks.

Napoleon is the third game in our solitaire Field Commander series. It’s looking to be 6 mounted maps and 2 or 3 counter sheets. A huge game of Imperial fun.

Hornet Leader is also looking to be a monster game with 330 cards, a mounted tactical map, campaigns maps, counters, etc. The game will include all the material you need to strike targets around the world with your naval fighter squadrons.

Vendetta is a “family” card game of mob warfare in New York. Each player plays a mob boss vying for the top spot. The players take control of business to gain cards and cash, and send their wise guys out to whack opposition. The first player to whack a boss or control three of the five Boroughs wins.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Dan's Top 7 Predictions for 2010

The DJIA will end the year between 12,000 and 12,500.

The housing market will bottom-out, and start a nice recovery.

National unemployment will top out at 10.5% then decline to 8.5% by year-end.

US troop levels in Iraq will remain the same. US troop levels in Afghanistan will significantly increase. By year-end, neither region will be any more stable than it is now.

Yemen will emerge as the new “bad guy” country.

North Korea and Iran will further their nuclear ambitions. There will be much condemnation and sanctions, but nothing significant.

Credit and bank loans will remain tight throughout the year.