Ladies and Gentlemen,

OBITNEO is better, so much better, and the surprising thing is that not much has changed. The terrain field is the same. The army units and their movements are the same. The resources are the same. The commodity cards have gained new value and there are simple more ways to win.

So if you have already made your Print and Play version of OBTINEO you don’t need to throw it out… you’ll be able to download a new set of rules as soon as they have been edited. If you have played OBTINEO in the past and even liked it the smallest bit, please give this update a try. Please tell your friends and neighbors about my game. Please “Like” and “Share,” I would like to get a healthy following on this blog and our Facebook page. Because I would like to crowd fund OBTINEO within the next 12 months.

After watching a YouTube video from The Game Crafter called 7 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Crowd Funding A Board Game. I’m even more aware that I have loads of work to do before OBTINEO is ready for the publishing.

My 1st problem is that the game has not been play tested enough. Yes I have put thousands of hours into play testing over the years, but I have to reset the counter to zero every time I adjust the rules.

My 2nd and possibly biggest problem is that game play is still taking too long for a broad consumer base. Sure there are people out there (like me) who love spending 3+ hours playing a game, but I would like it to appeal to a larger audience… and it would be nice not to have to have to clear out a whole swatch of time in advance to play. To date a game takes 30 to 40 minutes per player for seasoned (or aggressive) players and 60+ per virgin player. I’m not sure how much of the long play time is due to the fact that even the seasoned game testers have had to get used to “the new rules” over and over again, and many of the new recruits can feel overwhelmed. It can’t be too hard or complicated; because my 7 year-old boy loves to play it all of the time and sometimes whoops my trash.

I’m not sure how much of the game lag is player hesitation and how much is in the game mechanics. It is an abstract strategy game designed for 2 to 6 players and has a modular playing field, so there is a bit to consider. In fine-tuning the game I’d like to encourage faster play.

Dear reader I know I’m not paying you by the hour but if I could please have you download the free OBTINEO Print & Play, play it until you notice a problem and then post said problem here on this blog or on our facebook page that would help move this project closer to publication, and be super awesome.

It’s been nearly one year since I uploaded my first print and play version of OBTINEO…  I thought I was closer to done than I was. Well after some helpful questions from, tips from friends and family, my 7 year-old boy beating the pants off me several times, and few hundred more hours of test play, I’m ready for an updated Print & Play release.

Updated Rules
OBTINEO 5 Color 20141202

D.I.Y. Print & Instructions
OBTINEO Print&Play

Please Post any thoughts, ideas, questions, or comments, here or on our Facebook page. I’d also love you to post pictures of you playing your D.I.Y. OBTINEO set there.

And again I’d like to thank everyone who has helped or even shown interest in this project of mine, Especially Rob, Mindy, Asher, the Computer Science Department of WSU, and of corse my beautiful wife Shelly.

!!!The Print & Play is finally ready!!!

Attach are two pdf’s: 1) the OBTINEO game rules and, 2) the Print-N-Play instructions. Look over the game rules and the P-n-P Instructions. There are pictures of game play on out facebook page that will give you a better idea what the game is like if you need more visual references while reading the game rules.

Game play usually goes 30-50 mins for a 2 Player game, and you can count on adding another 20-30 mins for each additional player. My 6 year-old boy loves the game, so once you get the feel of it gameplay will start to speed up.

If I can find the time (and a video camera) I would like to post video(s) demonstrating the making the P-n-P, and some of the basic mechanics of the game.

And again a Big Thank you to everyone who has/is helping with this process. You’re awesome.

OBTINEO Print-n-Play


If you have any criticisms, ideas, suggestions for improving OBTINEO please feel free to comment here or on our facebook page

Why and How I chose to name my game OBTINEO (obteneō). As soon as the thoughts on my game started to become concrete I started thinking about marketing and branding it. I have always wanted it to have somewhat of an old classic feel to it. Like it could have been discovered in a tomb and then modernized. So I thought a good Latin name would do the trick. I wanted it to have something to do with the game like Conquer or Dominate but Domino has already been taken.  After many hours on Latin translation sites I narrowed it down to two very fitting words: Evinco (conquer, overwhelm) and OBTINEO (occupy, maintain, prevail).

I tried every font I own on both candidates in UPPER, lower, and Title Case. Then divided them by serif and san-serif then started staring at them, until OBTINEO in all caps won (I love how balanced it looks). Then it was the choice of Serif vs. San-Serif. The classic feel I wanted dictated serif, but its geometry demanded sans (all of those beautiful little rhomboids).  Quickly Drescher Grotesk Bt Demi made the final cut, with those sharp un-square cuts paying homage to the game. I saw how the hexagonal pieces could be incorporated into the O’s and I started Chadding it Up.


I like to over complicate things, take them too far, go overboard, wear an idea ragged. This probably wastes a lot of time and energy but I want to know my options, make sure I’m not missing something, make sure I’m wrong. Then when I see the right one I will recognize it.  Anyways I tried a lot of stupid ideas before I got to a good design solution. And that is why (and how) I named my game OBTINEO.

OBTINEO is more done than ever before. The constant revisioning of the rules may finally be at an end. So I would like to give a shout out to some of the people who have helped with some of the bigger milestones along the way. My cousin Mindy Swain and my 6 year old son Asher for being OBTINEO’s biggest fans, and for having the most hours of game testing. Jennise Nash for helping translate my thoughts into understandable game rules. Tyler Seamons for making the elevation usable in a more practical way (he may not even realized he helped with it). Rob Erickson for his dedication, challenging questions, positive criticism, 3D modeling, D.I.Y. game sets, lots of encouragement, and his helpful suggestions, especially the 3 dots. Greg Schern for giving me ideas to help cut future production costs. And last but definitely not least my wife Shelly for helping end the game. Until now games have had a tendency to carry on for hours. I’m excited to say that OBTINEO now finishes and in a timeframe that makes it mass-marketable. Thank you.

I recently interacted with a group of friends and family who game tested OBTINEO for me last year. Then they were excited, enjoyed playing, and encouraged me to take it to Kick Starter.  Now (a year later) they seemed disappointed that it wasn’t perfected or published yet. I even got a, “The game with the rules that change as you play.”

Yes the rules have changed, and will continue to change until I’ve got it right. It takes a lot of work and time to perfect a game. I’ve put years of my life into this. No, it is not yet published nor is it ready for Kick Starter. I’m sure no one is more disappointed that it is not yet perfected and published than me. I still need to do some fine-tuning before I even publish a Print and Play version online.

Thank you for your interest. Thank you for play testing my game. Thank you for all of your input, time, and advice. I am doing this because I am passionate about it, and I believe that this will be an awesome game once it has been perfected. If you want to see it on the shelves of your favorite game store sooner than later, play more. Invite some friends over, my place or yours. I’m even likely to feed you.

I’ve loved board games since I was a child with Monopoly, Risk, and Chinese Checkers being some of my favorites. In my early teens or maybe before I started making up my own rules and combining games, like trading Risks Cards for Monopoly money and purchasing armies with earned cash. In my late teens and early 20’s I started to become frustrated with the chance element of dice. I would see my self in a good position and then lose ground. Not because of a bad strategy on my part but because of a bad roll of the dice. It was then that I really gave myself the assignment of making a better board game, one without chance.

I had no idea how to go about it because the only chance free games I knew of were Chess and Checkers. Chess with all of its fore thought was out of the range of my attention span and Checkers wasn’t the right fit either. Chinese Checkers was better because you could play with more then just two players and it wasn’t as square as regular Checkers, it didn’t feel so confined.

I didn’t recognize the clunkiness of the 8 x 8 Chess board until I got my hands on Abalone; I was in love. For those of you who have never played Abalone, it’s a little like Sumo Wrestling. You use your mass of marbles to separate and push off your opponent’s marbles weakening his or her total force. With all of this pushing I got an idea, 3D Risk. I could push players off the land masses and/or have greater strength on higher ground, making that ground more valuable, and that way I could really earn my new troops instead of using dice as a crutch mechanic (no offence dice lovers). With Abalone I really started loving hex based games, like Tantrix and Settlers of Cattan.

Settlers is so good that I nearly forgot about my assignment to make the better board game; can one really compete with Klaus Teuber. Settlers’: modular board, economic power, and multiple ways to earn points make it a benchmark of board game perfection. But my wife just keeps beating me because the dice favor a pretty lady; her genius and luck at board games can at times be frustrating. I think some people are hesitant to play games with us simply because they know they will be trounced. Now you may think that I’m just a sore looser but I have not (as of today) been bested at Abalone, and I sneak in a few wins at Settlers now and then.

Settlers gave me a bust of hope and excitement that I could really make a better game. Yes the bar had been raised but so much more groundwork had been done for me since the 1st days of Chess. I have a myriad of examples to learn and borrow from. I borrowed the island idea, and the commodities to purchase from Settlers.

My first Prototype was built out of wooden blocks with each their 6 sides painted a different color, each color representing a different resource. Each player would take a turn placing a wooden block whichever side up he or she wished. This placing of resources made some commodities more scares then others. Soon this little block island had little Risk men climbing all around it out of little boats that could be moved along its shores. These little Risk armies had more killing power fighting from high ground and I had a little formula worked out to help you know who would win when moving into an occupied square (this may still be a viable variant on my newer prototypes). The game was won as in Risk, total domination, but you didn’t have to leave men behind to cover all of your ground.

The block island was wobbly and awkward to see around at best, and some of the terrain could end up completely inaccessible. So I had to go back to the drawing board. Literally. I started sketching out an isometric perspective of my cube island on a 24” x 36” piece of graph paper, and not until I was nearly done did I recognize the diamond covered hexes before me. I had stumbled upon a flatter, more stable, game field. And my first prototype was garbage in far less time than it took to make.

With prototype 1 out of the way I started “Chadding Up” (making it more complex than it need to be) the game. This “Chadding Up” of the game was important. I wanted to see all of my options. It grew more and more complex. My friends and family started to grow overwhelmed by it. Once it hit its peak of absurdity I started cleaving off big chunks (chucks that may prove to have their own futures) simplifying the game. 

After hundreds of hours of test play, several revised prototypes, and multiple revisions of the rules, we are nearing to completion of OBTINEO. One of the main problems I am running into is that my test subjects have grown weary of the constant changes and have too many memories of fumbling through the earlier versions. Game testing can be awkward and tedious for everyone. 

So I have decided to BETA-release my game to the public. I’m going to allow anyone interested to download a copy of the rules and instructions on making a personal use game for themselves. This way I can get broader exposure and criticism to help me put the finishing touches on the game and get OBTINEO ready for publication.

Stay tuned for Rules and Instructions on making OBTINEO, (just nudging out better graphics and having my wife edit my spelling and grammar so you can read them).