Wind Catcher Games

Games by Josh Raab

Archive for the category “Nika”

Nika Funded, Almost to First Stretch Goal!

Great news: Nika reached its Kickstarter goal within about 27 hours! With 23 days to go as of right now, we’re pressing on to our stretch goals.

At $10k, we’ll add a strategy guide I’ve written.

At $15k, we’ll include a stylish wooden turn marker from Chris.

Best of all, at $20k, we’ll include an expansion pack with optional rules and new variants, including new art on stickers to be put on the backs of the pieces. They’re all pretty cool and I want you to have them, so please, help spread the word!


Friends! The day is at hand! You can finally purchase Nika for the mere pittance of $25 (including shipping) on Kickstarter!

Here’s the link:

Thank you very much for your support!


…Or So

Today is of course Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means the folks at Kickstarter are probably not in the office to give final admin approval to the Nika page. Should be up tomorrow though!

Nika KS Jan 20th

Hey all – there’s been a short delay with the Nika Kickstarter, but it should be up and running on the 20th. Sorry to keep you waiting!

Nika Coming Jan 15! Also, MAGFest!

My first semester of game design grad school is over, and I’ve given myself a bit of time to recover – but now it’s time to press on!

To start, I have a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: Nika‘s Kickstarter campaign is slated for January 15th! Chris, myself, and the fine gents at Eagle Games have been working hard to get everything ready. The instructions and art are almost prepared, the rules have been finalized, and I’m beginning work on a little strategy guide we’ll probably include as a stretch goal. I’ll be sure to update here when the campaign is officially launched, so keep an eye out – we’d love your support!

Second, we’re going to be showing Crystal Brawl at MAGFest from January 1-5. It’s in National Harbor, MD. If you’re near the DC metro area, come say hi! It’s a solid 4-5 days of Music And Gaming (the “MAG” in “MAGFest”), should be tons of fun.

I’ll end by completing the list of games I’ve helped create this semester. (Again, video games have *asterisks.)

7.  Assassin’s Feed – A live-action game played in a grocery store where you compete to assemble a meal that best fits the judge’s criteria. The catch? You can only take food items you see non-players touch first! Created with Misha Favorov, James Marion, Will Pang, and Alec Thomson.

8. Grecian Goldsmiths – As a machinist in an alternate-history Byzantium, maneuver your golden automata across the empire to harvest resources and do battle. Conceived as a hybrid of European- and American-style board games. Created with Misha Favorov, Brad Lee, Chang Liu, and Will Pang.

9. 100K Years War: Agincourt – Command a spaceship fleet in a 3D grid-based combat scenario. The idea was to make a game like Advance Wars but with 3D cubes instead of 2D squares. Created with C.J. Chen and Chang Liu.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Nika Is Coming (Along)

Hello! It’s been quite a while, hasn’t it? Have a seat.

To start: Nika is getting close to entering production! Artist Chris has been hard at work laying out the instructions and revising the board art, while I’ve been moving the rules toward a final edit. I also sent several prototypes off to Ralph Anderson, VP of marketing and PR at Eagle Games, who’s been analyzing the game and running playtests.

As part of this process, I attended Metatopia yesterday and today. I ran the first blind rules tests of the new layout instructions and got a ton of great feedback. The game inspired its usual focused intensity, as seen here:


Intense playtesting at Metatopia!

The Nika app is coming along too – we’ve polished the controls and added a new tutorial, We’re also looking into online play and AI. We’ve successfully deployed the game on a number of different platforms, so it may have a fairly wide-ranging release, though I don’t want to make any explicit promises.

We’ve managed to find some time to work on Crystal Brawl, which gets better and better after every session of work. UI, feedback, and game balance are all improving, and everyone who plays it agrees the game’s just fun as hell. No release date is in sight, as we still may need to port it to Unity in order to support more platforms, but we’ll get it out there someday.

Crystal Brawl

Finally, for those of you wondering what I’ve been doing at school, I’ll just demonstrate by listing the games I’ve created this semester with a short description… (games with *asterisks are video games)

1. Warslayers 2: The Battle of Warslayer Hill – a mod of the card game War – with Char George and Elyse Lemoine

2. Shifty Critters – a tile-shifting game where 4 farm animals use their special powers to make their way toward victory squares – with Char George, Sig Gunnarsson, and Chang Liu

*3. In the Dungeons of Gnomes – an action video game where little square gnomes compete to destroy each other’s bases while upgrading their powers with hidden gems

4. The Emperor’s True Love – a hidden role game where the ladies of the Emperor’s court vie to win his favor without accidentally poisoning him to death – with Sig Gunnarsson, Brad Lee, and Will Pang

*5. Mace Magus Malebolge – a first-person hack-and-slash video game where you use your magical mace to ward off never-ending waves of demons – with Vanessa Briceño

6. The Great Porridge Purge – a hex-based cooperative game where players eat their way through a village flooded with porridge, battling time and the urge to vomit – with Elyse Lemoine and Geoff Suthers

Not bad for two months’ work! Next semester will be even more intensive, as I’m taking Bennett Foddy’s Rapid Prototyping course, where you make a video game every goddamn week! This is in addition to two other production courses. I’ll either go insane or, um… make a lot of games. Let’s hope it’s the latter!

–Josh, 11/3


The Boston Festival of Indie Games was amazing. I manned the table for Nika, which saw constant play and received a very positive reaction overall. I didn’t get to see much of our Crystal Brawl demo, but it was apparently drawing crowds all day. For both games, people were asking “How do I buy?”

If you’re one of those people, you can send me an e-mail to get on my unofficial Nika mailing list. We may start a more formal one if there’s enough demand. Otherwise, follow the Studio Mercato Twitter and Facebook pagefor updates.

Also, I had 2 whole interviews! One was live on NPR’s Beyond the Horizon (WBUR), another was for the Guys Games & Beer podcast. The podcast should be up soon, and the NPR interview will be replaying over the next week and may be available later online. Got to plug Nika and Studio Mercato on the airwaves for the first time – fun stuff!

Back to work now, though – my schoolwork awaits.

Gen Con and On

So, Gen Con was a suitably bizarre experience. Probably my favorite moment was seeing a dejected, lonely LEGO Superman moping around the lobby of the Marriott. Also got lots of people playing Nika, as seen here:


Their joy is evident.

I finished up at Grasshopper this week, but I will most likely continue to run playtests through the semester. I’ll update the site with details when I have them.

Coming up soon: I’ll be at Ret Con this weekend, then starting at the NYU Game Center masters program in game design in September. Crystal Brawl AND Nika both got into the Boston FIG, which is super exciting! I’ll be demoing Nika all day at the Tabletop Games Showcase, and you can join the Studio Mercato gang at the Digital Games Showcase for Crystal Brawl. That’ll be Saturday, September 14th at MIT.

Think that’s about the update for me – but before you go, here are some sheep.



Nika at the B-FIG

Quick update – Nika has been accepted to the Tabletop Games Showcase at the Boston Festival of Indie Games! That takes place at MIT on September 14th. Especially if you’re in the Boston area, come say hi and check out some cool indie games!

Crystal Brawl is Coming


Fancy new screenshot! (It did not look like this in June.)

Announcing Crystal Brawl, a local multiplayer 2v2 battle-sport game. It’s a little like Hokra meets Gauntlet, if that means anything to you. If not, think of wizards and knights throwing a ball around in the woods. That works too.

The game’s a collaboration between myself, Jon Stokes, Ben Serviss, Chris Hernandez, and Rahil Patel, with sound by Nate Chambers. We’re developing it in Construct 2, probably for the Ouya. We’ve submitted it to IndieCade and the Boston Festival of Indie Games (the B-FIG) – I’ll post updates on those as we get them!

I’ve also submitted Nika to the B-FIG. A Nika iPad app by the Studio Mercato team may be on the horizon as well, once we finish our current project for the Grasshopper table.

Speaking of which, if you’d like to come in for a playtest at Grasshopper, let me know! They’ve been quite enjoyable and popular so far. We’ll also have the Grasshopper table at Come Out & Play After Dark on July 12th, so you can check it out then too. One way or another, hope to get you playing one of my games soon!

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