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Card Game Design #5 – Beastiary Battlin’

It’s all about play-testing.  Playing and playing. Finding people (victims) to spend their limited time after work to do this with you is the real test, and luckily I have some rad people near me who don’t mind, but of course I don’t want to push my luck.

So after a few plays, we are still trying to figure out the second half of the game.

The first half seems to be quick and fun for everyone.

Each of us are Gods, we have a God card that a player takes, which may or may not have additional abilities associated with it.

There are 10 types of animals and 14 types of Mythological beasts that they can make.  Yeah it’s alot but I wanted to try it, I’ll probably get down to 10-8 types of Beasts.

We are doing 1 round of a draft of 10 cards… which usually makes 3 beasts with some animals left over.



The leftover animals need a purpose and use in the game, I don’t want them to be waste, so I put some values on them and they can be used for re-enforcing our troops, once we get to Phase 2.

Combat!  Phase two.  Now we have our 6-7 cards of Beasts and animals in our hands and we are ready to go down to Earth and show these villagers who is boss!


I wanted to have location/land cards, each one has some modifier and the players then simultaneously select a location and if two players pick the same then there is some combat.  This is where we need some work.  Simply comparing power levels of the Beasts is not that fun, so we added some abilities; Fear, Flight,Intelligence and Seduce.  That helps but still it’s missing something.

Adding some goats, snakes or women to the battle, is a little better, but it turns into who has the most cards will win.  The strategy is very simple, so we need to fix that.

Things I’m thinking of are instead of obtaining the location, once you meet the requirements or defeat you enemies, your forces STAY there, and have loyalty to that land and your opponents must take it away in some subsequent round.

The game must have fun, fast and strategic conflict in Phase 2.  This is where all the magic needs to happen.

Some players those will simply select an area where no opponent goes… where’s the fun in that? Maybe we try un-opposed lands, where there is no opponent player, have some other condition on the card that the player must meet, and maybe that is hidden so you don’t know what you will need to do to get the VP.

A lot to work out in this combat.  Many ways to go.  It’s starting to become an area-control board game and I need to make sure I reign this in to keep it a card game.

Next Time:  More visuals and play-testing.

Playtesting TIME Stories Pariah Missouri

timestores pariah

So you wanna play-test Pariah, Missouri?


A couple of things first.

  1.  This is to play-test Pariah Missouri scenario for TIME Stories.  You need TIME stories to play this.  It’s a deck of ~195 tarot-sized cards that you will need to print out, put them in a stack and run through the game.  It took me about 80 hours to do this, NOT including all the art, which came from my comic book series, which I don’t even want to speculate on how long that took us.  So, a lot of time, blood, sweat and tears went into making this.  If you feel inclined and enjoyed the game, I will accept donations!
  2. Based on your feedback, I will be making some modifications to the game.
  3. Survey  – note: Do not read the survey until after you play Pariah Missouri.  The survey contains spoilers!   At the end of the .pdf file there is a 1-page form that will have some questions that I would like filled out.  Your gaming group does not have to agree to the answers, each player can circle their own response.  You have a couple of options, you can print out the survey and scan it back to me, or you can download the survey form and send it back as a word document through email.  I need these back no later than May 25th.  Thank you!
  4.   Feel free to also use the Comments section below to chat and ask questions, I’ll be responding every day..
  5. NOTE:  One correction made!  LOCATIONS MIXED UP:  Livery E and The Veil A are mixed up.  A new corrected version is now linked on this site.  (check at the file is .Rough-4)


Did you enjoy the game?  If so feel free to put a little in the TIP JAR.  All donations will go to the production and art costs for Pariah vol. 3.  All donations will also receive a digital copy of Pariah Missouri graphic novel!  If you really get into it, you can purchase all the books digitally or physical at





If you are experiencing questions about Rules, Locations or things like that, go here to the FAQ Message board!

Pariah, Missouri Rules and FAQ





A new card game

My mind is always going.  It’s a curse.  I’m at a temp day job and at 11:13 Am I was thinking about the T.I.M.E. Stories scenario I was working on based on my graphic novels series, Pariah, Missouri, when I was thinking of adding crafting to the scenario. One of the characters in the books/game is a voodoo man who makes potions.  Then it hit me, why not make a fun, quick card game where you make potions.


I started a new google doc and wrote down things that I wanted.  A FUN game.  Drafting mechanic, something fast and quick.  Something that plays up to 7 players (I have way too many games that just go to 4 or 5 players).  So I like 7 Wonders, but it’s too complicated and I’ve heard Sushi Go is good, but maybe too simple.  So something in the middle??

So we have an idea.  players craft potions, draft reagents and put them down, once you get a potion, you make it and if gives you victory points.  OR you use it and it has some effect in the game.

Done.  40 minutes.

Well, maybe not.  So I started writing down reagent names, and the recipe mix.  Do I want it kid-friendly?  cutsey stuff?  I don’t want it dark and evil, we have enough of those games and if I want to reach the most people, you need to make it broad appeal.  What about a name?

How about Voodoo Mama?  ok, Let’s run with that for now.

I came home that night.  Powered up InDesign and rushed some cards together.  Had some people over that night and we played a game.  4 players.

What we learned:

  • The powers to the potions needs work, some are weak and not enticing.
  • Using a potion half’s the Victory points, too steep a cost, the player who didn’t use any potions won easily.

The big question for me is:  with 8 reagents, 8 potions and drafts of 7 cards for 3 rounds, what is the correct number of drafts, cards and combos?


Next up, Version 1.2!

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Terra Mystica review


Those who know me know that my favorite boardgames are Puerto Rico and Agricola, called Eurogames, not only because of the development teams, but the style of play and lack of dice and luck.  These games are all about PLANNING, and for some reason they hit home.  So when I heard about Terra Mystica recently (yes I know it’s a 3-year old game) I thought I would get it.

I watched a couple of videos on how to play it and then with 3 others played our first game last night.  It’s important to note that 3 days ago, I actually played a game of Puerto Rico and Agricola, so they were fresh in my mind.

This game is DENSE. There is a lot going on.  We each picked our faction, not knowing much and figured that this would just be a learning game.  Who cares who wins, we are simply trying to figure out these magic bowls!  (Magic bowls are a mechanism that the game uses for using and recycling power/energy)  After 3.5 hours, we called it a night, I think everyone except one us was interested in playing again.  Here’s what I think, after just one play through, so it’s not a fair judgement until I play it a few more times and really learn the subtleties of the game.

  • Terra Mystica is a BIG game.  The iconography and symbols are a kin to Seven Wonders, the first time you have no idea what’s going on.  there are no words, which is good if you are printing in many languages, but for a first timer, it takes a while to just understand what’s going on.
  • Learning curve is STEEP.  Playing with new players for the next 5 times as I introduce this to friends might be a slight form of torture.  There’s just so many things and options to explain, plus those tricky magic bowls!
  • Terra Mystica doesn’t have the interaction like Agricola and Puerto Rico.  You do things and you are paying attention to your fellow players, but it’s not at the level as the other two games.  In Puerto Rico and Agricola your move will screw-over your neighbor and Terra Mystica you are more autonomous.  So you can be in your own little world, to a minor degree.
  • I love, love the faction board.  It is super fun to see how things on your board change and how is illustrates your income and potential.  Brilliant.
  • Theme is cool, but not super-rad.  I love fantasy, but it’s not really needed in this game.  It could have been anything.  When I did something it was cool, but it didn’t knock my socks off, like getting some sheep babies or shipping some Indigo.  Maybe I needed some combat, or someway to take over players dwellings, something to make me say “Oh SNAP!”
  • Victory Points.  VP is a Eurogame thing and I’m cool with it, I don’t know if I like that you receive the Victory Points right then and there.  We all knew who was in lead and sometimes you couldn’t change it.  If the game made all victory points secret until the end, that might have made for a more suspenseful game.

I enjoyed the game, I didn’t feel like it was going to knock off my favorite games right away, but I definitely will need to play it more to really understand it and appreciate it.  There was something about P.R. and Agricola that once i played it the first time I was in love with it and I had to buy it.  Terra Mystica was not that way with me, I liked it, but I’m not head over heels.

Let me play it a few more times and then I’ll give my final word.

Pariah Missouri book three, the end of the road


Pariah, Missouri, the graphic novel series will be concluding with book 3, set to launch on Kickstarter the spring of 2016.

“I wanted to do something special with the conclusion of the series,” says writer and creator Andres Salazar.  When asked about why it’s taken longer than originally planned he responded, “Jose is a brilliant artist and he has been very busy.  He’s the type of artist that doesn’t just do comics, he’s a bon vivant, travels to Europe, wine and dines and is talented in just about every medium.  I didn’t want to use a different artist for the final book, so I wanted to wait until he was ready to come back to my world of Pariah.”

Pariah, Missouri was originally conceived as being a series of five books, but now has been pushed back to three, Andres explains, “Yeah I thought that 5 was a good number and I have plenty of stories to go all the way out that far, but I started to realize last year that five books is a lot to commit to one genre, and while I love the American frontier and westerns, I want to be able to work on other projects in different mediums and types of storytelling.  Once I get the pencils from Jose, I do everything else from coloring, lettering, and book design.  As well as the tradepaperbacks the collectors hardcovers each have full commentary, so all this takes a lot of time and I have so many interests I want to tell other stories and time is the one commodity I have the least of.  I might go back to Pariah stories in a few years, but I am excited to end this with a bang.  It won’t be a happy go-lucky story, but I believe it’s the best one yet.”

Talking a little bit more about book three titled Stone-Aged Pagans, “Stone-Aged Pagan refers to the Indian nations near Missouri.  I call them Indians and not Native Americans because that’s what they refer themselves as.  I recently went to a sweat lodge and met some member of the Lakota tribe and they called themselves Indians, I was surprised by that, so I’m using it, sorry for the digression.  So book three, like book one and two is taking a subgenre of the horror tropes.  Book one was a vampire-like story.  Book 2 is a cult story and book 3 is a monster-in-the-woods story.  I won’t talk about the monsters more than that and spoil it, but we are going to be focusing on Toro and his journey in this one.  The pacing is different too, this is the action-movie.”

When asked what else is in the plans for Pariah and Andres he said, “Well, after this final kickstarter for the book, I might be throwing in the Pariah card game, Seerstone and I’m also addicted to this game called TIME Stories published by Space Cowboys.  I am working on a scenario for that gaming system with the Pariah world.  We found the Pariah RPG to be a big hit, so I wanted to use that role-playing type of elements to this boardgame, it’s going to be awesome, and free!”

Stay tuned to and look out for the Pariah, Missouri book 3 Kickstarter this spring.


Strategicon 2015 Gateway wrap-up

Once again I went to Gateway board game convention in Los Angeles. It’s one of the highlights of the year for me. Unlike other conventions where I am working and selling my books, this is a time to relax, play tons of new boardgames, and RPGs and meet new people and friends.

One the way you gotta stop at Melodies.


Once there I got my GM badge, I have been running a Battletech miniature and RPG hybrid for the last 5 years and have been loving it. It’s called the Samba Saints and since I volunteer to run the game (8 hours!) I get a badge.


The other reason to come is to play Werewolf and share my current kickstarter project of Werewolf Tokens with the masses of players.


That Friday night, the highlight of the convention was possibly the discovery of a new RPG called Dread. It’s a free form story-telling RPG that used JENGA as the mechanic for actions. So you want to do something, fine, pull a few blocks. If the tower falls… your character dies. I loved it! Yes I will be running this game often!


Going to bed at 2am and then starting a 9 hour Battletech game on Saturday is par for the course.


My trusted players of years now, we love blowing up some Clan mechs!

It’s also a good time to discover new games, so I got to play Robotech RPG tactics and this really cool Star Wars X-Wing attack.


At 10 pm we played some Werewolf Tokens, a 17 player game. The werewolves won, pretty handedly. Then at Midnight another game started… The 2 villager game of Werewolf. I’ve thought about doing this for a few years and looks like I wasn’t the only person with the idea and now I got to actually play! two rooms, with 25 players each started the game. Then at random times players were switching rooms, and in that process obtained new powers. I was a WEREWOLF. I was trusted in my village and killed a fellow werewolf. Then I was selected to travel to the other village and I obtained the Hunter power. In the new village I did my best to get their trust and I was down to the last 4 people. 2 were cleared by the seer and I ALMOST made it out. They killed me. 5:30am and the game was over, I was emotionally spent and exhausted, but it was fun!

Sunday played some more miniature game of Star Trek Attack Wing (VERY similar to the X-wing game) I joined up on a tourney and won a battle, got 4th place and took home some new miniatures. Very fun and quick game.



So that was my quick re-cap. Wish I could have played more, but driving home at 10:30pm on Sunday and I felt I had a great convention!


SDCC Wrap Up – A Small Press Perspective


As most of you know, I’m a comic book creator.  It’s been my full-time occupation for the last two years of self-publishing and selling books.  Comic conventions make up a large portion of my income, along with online, brick & mortar sales and crowdfunding, so it’s important for my business to select the right convention that fits my needs.  I average about 13 conventions a year, throughout the west coast.  That’s what we are here to talk about today… San Diego Comic Con and if it still works for self publishers.

I LOVE “Comic Con”.  I went for the first time about fourteen years ago and have a blast every time I go.  It’s big bad momma of conventions, it’s ridiculous, massive and a pain to get tickets to and we all love it.  So when I finished the first issue of Pariah Missouri I immediately wanted to get a booth there and flood my four-color genius to the ends of the world.  Two years ago was my first time attending as an exhibitor and we had a very exciting and different experience; you get to go in an hour early, feel like a rock star and make some new connections.

SDCC, Comic Con International is a “non-profit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.”  Their staff is great and respectful.  The first three years of me attending the convention (2001-2004) I went as a volunteer and had wonderful experiences with the crew.


My first time as an exhibitor (2013) I got accepted into the Small Press area, a place for self publishers and indie creators that make comics.  Any Tom, Dick or Harry can’t get in, you must submit your comics that you created this calendar year to an independent committee who will judge who is worthy to be in that small press area.  This year the fee was $500.  The price of the 6-foot table/booth goes up every year, I think the first time I was there it was $400.  Might seem steep to some, but they offset the costs by including 2 4-day badges, which if you purchased those alone, would run you close to the same.  First thing you might notice in Small Press is that these are not the massive Marvel and DC booths.  There’s no cosplay hanging out here getting pictures of life-sized statues.  It is a row of 5-6 aisles that are packed with creators.

In 2013 I was disappointed to observe that not all my neighbors in this indie comic island of greatness were making comics.  Some, like me had a comic or graphic novel out, but there were a healthy handful that didnt.  Today in Small Press you might see someone selling just prints, or a game, or plushies, but not comics.  My idea was that this was the last bastion of comic con, the way it was meant to be, before Hollywood, TV and video games dominated the exhibitor hall, panels and attendees.  This shift in focus of SDCC is not unique, it’s at all the conventions,  to bring more people in the events you make it more mainstream and as pop culture overlaps geek culture more and more in film & TV you have more of their presence.  That’s just the way it is, I can’t see how that will change.  There’s still those conventions out there that are “comic book shows” like Big Wow and comic con international’s own APE (Alternative Press Expo) but they are few in number.  (Note: APE has now been dropped from Comic Con Intnl. and Big Wow was bought by Silicon Valley Comic Convention)

IMG_20150710_114657 (1)

My awesome nephew Austin, he managed to survive a 6-foot booth for 4 days.

My first year in Small Press was a smashing success, I sold more books than any other convention.  Pariah book 1 was new and it went like hot cakes.  Books were 90% of my sales, and it should be noted that I had only one graphic novel, some art prints and shirts for sale.  We offered only a few items and sold them like gangbusters.  I knew that once book 2 came out I would be able to replicate that magic.

This year, Small Press had not changed, many of the same vendors kept the same locations on the aisle, we even were put in the same spot with the same neighbors.  What changed?  Was it the products?  The Show?  Or the attendees wants?


SDCC 2015 we sold mostly prints and very little books.  45% of our sales were prints and original art, a huge change from previous years and other comic conventions this year.  We sold less 70% LESS BOOKS than 2013 and that’s with 3 books out and a RPG book.  Our product line increased from previous years and displaying all of that on the 6-foot table was a challenge.  That all said, our gross sales increased by 40%.  So we made more money than last year, by selling a fraction of the books and mostly art prints.  What does that say?


As a comic creator and writer my main focus and goal is to sell stories.  Get people invested in my books, my voice and create a long-term audience.  I do not believe selling prints will get me there.  I’m dumbfounded that at the biggest show of the year (4 days long) that I sold less books than I have at a 1-day comic book store signing.

I spoke to other creators and there was a general feeling that crowds were not buying books this year.  I asked around in other sections of the convention and it seems that others may have experienced similar.  Is this a trend for next year?

Was it my location in Small Press?  Not sure that is the cause either.  Small Press had better foot traffic than other parts of the convention, even parts of the Independent press pavilion.  So for the $500, it’s not a bad spot, and upgrading to a $2500 booth might not be the answer.

The jury is still out on how to make SDCC a better convention.  That definition will vary among people, but if we go back to the mission statement, to promote comics, then I think Small Press needs to be highlighted.  Some of those vendors should be in Artist Alley, so that it’s a place for storytellers.

I love comic con, San Diego was my first and I will always want to go, but the question becomes should I focus my exhibiting to other shows where books sell more or find a way to make it better and attract more readers.


What was your experience?


At the end of a show you gotta celebrate with some Popeyes!




San Diego Comic Con exclusive print!

SDCC 2015 is around the corner!  In 5 days I’ll be headed down south to glorious San Diego for the big geek event of the year.

Our booth is in Artist Alley AA-05 and we have this limited exclusive print for $15. They are 11×17, each one is signed and numbered.  We only made a print run of 50.

tardis paitning for web


We also will have a few left overs of WonderCon’s prints.

batman scream for web

Los Angeles Temple painting


New Watercolor painting on canvas. I’m very happy with the results and have made this original available in Canvas prints.

I have high-quality  36″ x 24″ canvas prints for $150  and 24″ x 18″ for $100.

Please contact me if you are interested.  I am also available for other commissioned work.

la temple flat file painting  la temple 1

la temple 2

la temple outside closer lds temple outside

Avengers 2 Review and Thoughts from a Geek


Just got back from the flick. I have not watched any of the trailers or the promotional stuff, so I went in without knowing much of the plot.  In one word, I liked it.  I think it’s the exact type of thing that is expected in this type of big blockbuster film.  It’s very much like the first one, and I think it’s just as good if not better.  The Director excels at the character moments, and honestly I’d rather just watch 2 hours of them talking and “visitin” than battling.  If you like action/adventure films, go see this, it’s one of the better ones.  So thumbs up, 4 stars, all that stuff.

Now on to the part where the 40 year old guy who has read comics for 30 years chimes in.  If you are a normal, mainstream person who likes Game of Thrones and doesn’t like to read books, then this part isn’t for you.  If so, carry on.

1. I did NOT like the Ultron characterization.  About 20 minutes in I figured out that it was voiced by Bryan Cranston, that was a distraction, but really it was the script.  Not a fan of the psychotic robot deal.  Him adding these human errors and quips was not the maniacal robot Ultron that I really liked.  So, the whole Ultron thing kind of fell flat.  And can we stop with the massive hordes of robots?  I feel like that is always what these films do, fight a horde of robots, mechanical aliens, orcs, whatever and I get that it’s a way to show lots of violence with no consequences, but it’s annoying already.  I’d much rather see them fight the Wrecking crew or something lame than massive numbers of expendable troops.

2. Hawkeye needs a mask.  Seriously.  A black jacket is not a superhero costume.  Same thing for you Scarlet Witch.

3.  Vision.  Looked great.  but…Wait!  He can lift Thor’s hammer??  WHAT?  Someone give me reference on this.  I do not remember this and it kinda doesn’t make any sense.

4.  Set up for Civil War or Infinity Gauntlet?  Whichever I’m fine with.  I thought that was all good.

5. Plot.  I have no idea really what was going on.  I mean I get it, but some of the ending was fuzzy, so the higher the city got, and blew up, the more damage to the earth?   Wasn’t sure about that.

6.  I liked the Black Widow and Hulk stuff.  Again all the characters were great, just wish there was a better villain or use of the plot.

Really not much to complain about, it was darn good.  I don’t go in there with a lot of expectations and again I think that since I didn’t see the promotional materials that helps.

Now if you are still reading and want to read some amazing comics, I will recommend Maus and From Hell, two of my favorites of all time.  Completely different than superheroes, but they show what can be done in the medium.


Andres is the writer and creator of Pariah Missouri graphic novel series

Turtle Friend – logo design

turtle friend Final RBG for WebWe just finished a fun logo for a new Kickstarter, called Turtle Friend, it’s an app designed by two 8-year-olds, it’s uber cool and allows people to watch and track sea turtles.  Go check out the kickstarter and spread the word.

I dig the logo we made.  If you are interested in any logo or graphic work, please contact us.


Fan art and pop culture homages for sale!

Hey Folks, I did a bunch of new pieces in prep for WonderCon coming up this weekend (Booth SP-024 in Small Press).  They are homages, parodies and other recreations of some of my favorite artists and characters.  If there is anything you want, I can set it aside for you and ship it to you next week!  Please take a look.


Zorro Ink on paper 10×14 $30spiderman

Little Spiderman acrylic on board 8×11 $30saga 1

Saga cover – watercolor on paper 11×14 $75

planet hulk

Planet Hulk homage – watercolor on paper 11×14 $70joker

Joker animated – watercolor on paper 11×14 $50

iron man

Iron Man – ink on paper 11×14 $30hell boy watercolor

Hellboy – watercolor on paper 8×11 $25

dr who van gogh

Starry Night with Dr Who Tardis – acrylic on board 8×11 $40

dr doom

Dr Doom – ink on paper 11×14 $30


Little Deadpool – acrylic on board 8×11 $30captain america

Captain America – watercolor on paper 11×14 $30boba fett

Boba Fett – acrylic on board 11×17 $70batman miller

Batman – ink on paper 11×14 $30

batman animated

Batman animated – acrylic on board $25

batman airbrush

Batman silhouette – airbrush on paper 11×14 $20 adventure time

Adventure Time – acrylic on board 8×11 $30

Contact me through email or phone to order one of these!