Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

Moods of the Mad King: Revised Design Diary

by Designer Jessey Wright

When I was asked to develop an updated version of Moods of the Mad King, Alan gave me a lot of creative freedom. So much so, that what was originally planned to be a little bit of polishing turned into a near ground up redesign. The spirit of the game has remained the same from the original to the new version. The core mechanics of playing cards for effects and collecting a trio of play cards to form the three acts of your play remained the same. Almost everything else was tweaked or adjusted in order to create a more thematic experience.

The biggest change to the game, which helped make it feel more thematically consistent and brought something novel to the tabletop, was the change to the win conditions. In the original version of the game, there was one winner. In the new version, any number of players can win (and that means it’s possible for everyone to lose! The King is just that mad!). Having to balance your Patron’s desires with the (unknown) desires of the Mad King is exactly what the theme of the game calls for! This also creates a unique style of game play. The open-ended victory conditions mean that your own mood will set the tone of each game! Any given game you play could be a cutthroat race to please the Mad King, a co-operative effort to keep everyone alive and well funded, or something in between.

The next major change I made was to the basic action flow. Each player has some information about the king’s play preference, and I wanted to make sure that the behavior of the other players could provide clues about what they know (or don’t know). This lead to the main action system: on your turn you get a play card and either keep it or give it away. If you give it away you are able to play one of the unique action cards from your hand. If you keep the play card, well, it gets added to your play (hopefully it’s a type you needed!).

I’m really proud of what we achieved with this little game!

Learn more here.