September 3rd, 2023

Countdown with us, Friend!

The countdown has begun! In just 23 days, Diatoms will go live on Kickstarter! Mark your calendars for Tuesday Sept. 26th, 11am. We would love your support on the first day!

We're putting the finishing touches on our campaign page. If you're curious to get a preview, you can sneak a peek here!

Something I'm particularly excited about is that every day during the Kickstarter we'll be releasing a solo mosaic puzzle to play. These puzzles are part of Diatoms' solo mode, Commissions. Backers will be invited to be official Commissions playtesters and help determine which of these puzzles will make it into the physical copy of the game. I really enjoy the commissions variant- I think it's a great compliment to the main game, and I hope you'll give a few commission puzzles a go when the kickstarter is live!
If you're local to the Pittsburgh area, we have another Save-The-Date for you! On Sunday Oct. 8th, 1-3pm I'll be doing a live, in-person Designer Q&A and Diatoms demo at Games Unlimited. If you stop by and show me your backer status, I'll have a tiny diatoms thank-you for you!
"Games to Play"
I'm delighted to recommend these two great games with you, both with their own unique charm, which we've recently enjoyed and think you might too:
Chicken! - A fast, tiny game packed with dice-rolling press-your-luck fun! In Chicken! you roll dice to try collect the most chickens, earning points to move you toward the victory line- but any dice that comes up egg adds another dice to your roll, and if 3 dice come up foxes, you've busted and won't score this round. You have to roll once, but will you risk a second roll, or "chicken out" and just bank your first?
The aesthetic charm of Chicken! is through the barn roof with an amazing folk-art style, on-theme wood and fabric pieces, and unique game canister. With up to 12 dice rolling each turn, there's a lot of fun physicality to the game as well as great moments of anticipation and surprise. This game is easy to play with young kids and adults alike, plays in 15 minutes and supports up to 8 players. We picked it up from our local game store, Games Unlimited.
Assemble with Care - I co-played this game on my phone with our 10-year-old; they handled the controls, and I consulted on the puzzles. This is a beautiful short story about a young "repair woman" backpacking around doing odd jobs. The game follows her visit to the small town Bellariva and the things (and people) she cares for. As the narrative unfolds the main character reflects on her own family relationships. The whole game is fully voiced. Interspersed between the 13 chapters of story are light 3D puzzles that have you assembling and repairing various items straight out of the late 20th century- a landline telephone, a tapedeck (& tape- yes with a pencil), a slide-projector, etc. This use of retro technology (familiar to present-day parents who grew up with many of these items) plus the reflections on family relationships woven into the story make this game an especially lovely experience for intergenerational co-play. Assemble with Care is available on the Apple arcade and Steam. We finished the game in about 3 hours over 3 sittings.

Seeking Pittsburgh Families to playtest iOS math game

Over the next several months, we'll be running playtests for an in-development game that is designed to encourage and support mathematical thinking and identity in young children. If your family has kids in the 3-6 age range, we invite you to sign up to playtest with us. Playtesting may involve trying the app out on your own at home and/or signing up to bring your kids to an in-person playtest so we can observe how they use the game. This playtest for families in the Pittsburgh, PA area only. Families that complete the entire playtest will receive a small monetary gift card and, if you like, a complimentary subscription to the game you playtested (for Apple store). Use the signup link to join the list for this special ongoing playtest. The next playtest round for this game will be sometime in September.

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