2015 Support Drive – Ending in:
1796 supporters - GeekGold Bonus for All 2015 Supporters: 17.96 + 2.91 = 20.87
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 Next » 
I am obsessed with replayability in my designs. You probably know it pretty well from Robinson Crusoe - 300 different cards with events and adventures, 6 different scenarios in the box, 3 more scenarios as a free expansions downloadable from our website... You buy Robinson and I promise that you'll have like 100 hours of fun. This is me designing games. The same is true for Stronghold, Imperial Settlers, for all the games I make. Replayability is the king.
Even though my design philosophy is all about putting in the box so much content that you will never get bored, I actually agree with Tom Vasel who once said in his podcast that if he play a game and have a great gaming night with his friends, the game would already be worth buying and it might have the replayability value of 0 (zero!) and he would still be happy.
Probably most of you now think that this is dumbest thing you've ever read on this blog.
Believe it or not, but I am with Tom on this one.
Let me explain.
Grab your 3 friends and go to the cinema to see Spectre. 4 x 20 = 80 usd
Grab your wife and 2 kids and go to the ZOO. 4 x 20 = 80 usd
Grab your girlfriend and take her to a concert. 2 x 50 = 100 usd
Grab your friends and buy and play Robinson Crusoe. 1 x 70 usd
OMG, I would never buy Robinson if I could play it only once!!! Well, really? How about giving it a second thought, huh?
I am writing about this because Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock did something extraordinary. They convinced you to buy a game that has a limited replaybility. You'll play about 12 games of Pandemic Legacy and that's it. You are done with it.
(yeah, I know, the first step was made with Rob's Risk Legacy)
And yet the players are not complaining.
The players are happy like a kid who just got his Sphero BB-8 Droid.
The players praise it to be a great game.
The players value the experience they had, just as they would do with watching an amazing movie or reading an amazing book.
The players are witnessing a revolution, even though they might not be recognizing that yet.
Back to Tom Vasel statement - the question we might ask today is if we are ready to pay 60 or 80 usd for an amazing one-time experience, just like we pay for a cinema ticket, a Rolling Stones concert or a visit to the ZOO.
I think we are not there yet. But the wall has been breached. Pandemic Legacy has showed us that there is a new world out there.
I am very curious what's next. Are you?
Some time ago Rob gave me this topic for a blog post: “Bits, it’s all about the bits in the box. Do you get component-envious and how do you decide how much to spend on in-game components? When do cardboard tokens become wooden pieces?”
It’s a good one. Most gamers really love good pieces and value quality components. Just today I had a discussion with a friend of mine who brought The Gallerist to show me the quality of production. ‘Look how thick these are!’ he said showing me the game’s tokens. Oh, yeah, thick they were!
Thick tokens, custom wooden pieces, miniatures, metal coins. It’s an amazing time for gamers.
I would risk a thesis that the biggest influence Kickstarter had on board game industry was not a flow of new revolutionary ideas, not indie designers and publishers, not promoting our hobby outside our circles, but the huge change in production value standards.
Because of stretch goals, because of competition, because of user demand, games published on Kickstarter raised a bar for production value to an incredible level. Soon after it turned out that gamers are looking for the same quality and production value in a regular games, games published without upfront funding, without stretch goals, without KS support.
Take any game published in 2010 from your shelf and compare its components with those of games published these days. You’ll clearly see the difference.
Try to find custom wooden pieces in games published in 2010. What about those released in 2015?
Try to find miniatures in games from 2010. Compare with these released in 2015.
Look for custom dice in games from 2010. Compare with 2015.
And my favorite – money. Do you remember how we dissed paper money in 2010 and we praised games that had cardboard tokens instead?
In 2015, money in the form of metal coins is not a standard yet, but we are so damn close to this point, huh?
With higher production value comes higher production cost and higher MSRP. Even though our market grows, and trust me, it grows fast and it grows worldwide, game prices stay the same or – as we could see lately – go up. You would expect publishers to offer better MSRPs for their games because they print more and more games and the market is growing but it’s not happening. Quite the opposite. Prices go up.
I watch it happening and I analyze this every single day. I see what other publishers put on the market and I watch out for your – gamers’ – feedback. I look carefully at every piece in The Gallerist, I look at the MSRP and I hear what you say. I see announcements coming from FFG about another 100 USD game and I eagerly listen to what you say. I publish Rattle, Battle having pushed the production value to my dream level and I wait for feedback…
If Rob asks me about components I can say only one thing – our market has changed a lot in the past few years. It’s fascinating to watch this, to be a part of this and to wonder what’s next.
What do you think? Can publishers add [pack] even more good stuff to their boxes?
Once a year at BGG site there is an auction. Important one. Auction where gamers from all over the world bid for unique items and what’s most important, bid for a good cause. In January 2011, Cate Pfeifer (Cate108) posted an auction for Tom Vasel and his family to help with the financial hardship related to the unfortunate loss of his son, Jack. The generosity of the BGG community was amazing. Tom was touched and wanted to pay the kindness forward so he created the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund. He used some of the money that BGGers donated and spent to build this fund. The fund is a not-for-profit with a simple goal: raising and distributing funds to help gamers in their hour of need.
It’s fifth year of fund. Once again I am happy and proud to be part of this action and to offer you super unique item. I called it Treasure Box. In this box you will find pretty unique things. Like original pieces from amazing designers…
London Masterminds from Antoine Bauza
7 Wonders Duel from Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathalha
Among the Stars from Vangelis
Lewis and Clark from Cedric
Tong from Bruno Cathalha
Red November from Bruno Faidutti
Rampage from Ludovic Maublanc
Guilds of London from Tony Boydell
And last but not least
Imperial Settlers cards from me
But for no reason at all I don't have a fancy photo of these
I'd like once again thank designers to join me and contribute to the auction. This is unique item build from the good will of many great people.
It is for a good cause guys!
Here is a link. Bid with generosity.
We were working pretty hard. It began on Tuesday with 9 hour drive to Germany, then on Wednesday we set up booth and unloaded 14 palettes of games. Each palette has more than 250 kilograms of games, so we had fun with some about 4 tons of games for start.
The actual Essen madness began of course on Thursday. You wake up 6 am, you take shower, you have breakfast and you go to the fair to work without break till 7 PM, then clean the booth, go to the dinner, hit hotel about 9 PM, discuss with the team day, plan next day, take shower, go to bed about midnight. Wake up 6 am...
This is madness. This is Sparta. No single break. No single moment of rest. Ongoing crowds of gamers, constant flow of new faces and new gamers asking about our games. In Essen you are allowed to one short break to go to toilet and one short break to eat sandwich. That's all you can get. This is most exhausting show of the year. This is ride that grabs from you all energy and leaves you with no power left. Essen is crazy hard.
We came to Poland on Monday late night. I arrived home after 8 PM. I was dead tired. I mean -dead- tired. So was my whole team.
Today it is Wednesday. 24 hours later. Believe it or not - I have whole Portal team in the office. They are back. On Monday evening I told them to take some free time and recover after Essen. Every one of them showed up today. Every few minutes doors to the office opened and another Portal employee entered the room. They have huge smile on their face, each of them. They are sitting in the room and work like they missed office for weeks. Positive energy is just all around. You remember this funny dude from 'Over the hedge'? This is my team - pumped up again, ready to conquer the gaming world and bring new great games to you.
It's all because of you. It was you who approached our booth and told us you like our games. It was you who came and gave us cookies. It was you who came and said you just wanted to shake hands and thanks for the games we do. It was you who pat us on the back and told that we do great job at Portal. It was you who told us that you like our vlog, that you like our podcast, that you like Ignacy's blog, that you can't wait for Robinson expansion...
It was you who made my team flying today. It was you who gave them amazing positive energy. It was you who made them ignore free time I offered them.
They showed up today because of you.
Gamers, you are amazing. Thank you for positive energy you gave us. Whole office is filled with it. You are the best!
Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:34 am
It was 2007, eight years ago but I remember it as it was yesterday. We were going to Essen with Neuroshima Hex and we were very late with the production of the games. It was horror. They were literally ready the day we needed to pack them on trailer and go to Germany. We took them from printer and went straight to Essen.
I think 2008 was a little bit better, but 2009 (Stronghold release) was epic by all means. I remember me being already in Essen and receiving surprising phone call from printer in Poland that board is so heavy that it crushes insert and they needed to abort complementing the games and they have to figure out something to solve the problem. That kind of call.
In 2009 we had problems with tokens in 51st State and in 2010 we received Pret-a-Porter boxes 8AM Thursday, 2 hours before start of the fair...
We had a long history of adventures with Essen releases.
Portal grew up. We were able to hire more people. We were able to work more efficient and we were able to use all our experience. And boy, we had like The Experience in terms of releasing games for Essen.
Release of Legacy and Theseus in 2013 went smooth and easy. I wouldn't call it boring Essen, but well... No single adventure.
Release of Imperial Settlers was definitely a very boring operation. We had all games printed weeks before the fair, waiting in our warehouse. I was damn proud of the place where we were. it looked like we were grown, professional publishing company, like all those big fishes in the industry. No adventures. No panic. Everything ready for event weeks before.
So this year I decided to spice up our Essen experience a little bit.
Instead of releasing 1 game and 1 expansion, we are going to Essen with 4 new games and 4 new expansions. My team at Portal Games loves me.
Rattle, Battle Grab the Loot had pre-release at Gen con. Amazing production with cardboard ships, custom dice and incredible artwork. It is dice chuckling game, where you toss 20 dice into the box and depending how they land you sink merchants, grab loot and gain victory points. This is game for gamers who want to play with their families - random, light and extremely fun.
Tides of Time also had pre-release at Gen con. Amazing two player drafting game that consist only 18 cards. Reviews the game receives are mind blowing. Call me cocky, but I know it - this game will be huge this year. It is masterpiece. I am so proud I was able to sign contract with designer, develop and publish this game under Portal Games logo. I am also very happy to have designer of the game, Kristian Curla be our special guest in Essen. He will sign boxes and present the game to you.
Third pre-released at Gen con product is expansion for Imperial Settlers. It is fifth faction for the game, Atlanteans with very fun twist - they got sink at the end of the game and they don't score points at the end of the game for their faction locations. In the box you will also find new common cards, new cards for each base factions and new solo cards. All together 110 new cards, tokens and player board.
Our big premiere of Essen fair is Stronghold 2nd edition. This is new edition of my first big design, initially released in 2009. Back then it got a lot of attention, got nominated to many awards, was published in Poland, USA, Germany and France. Now this new edition has smoother game play, so much better rulebook, amazing components including wooden custom pieces for castle walls, cauldron, archers, soldiers... I can not wait to present you the game. As I said, this is my first big game. It has a very special place in my heart.
Our smaller premiere is new edition of Convoy. This is very smart small card game for two players. One commands evil machines of Moloch and wants to destroy New York, the other commands brave soldiers of The Outpost and tries to stop march of machines. It's asymmetrical game, my fav genre of games, and even though I played the game so many times, I still enjoy it. Small box, but pretty big game.
We also have couple of expansions. We have new faction for our 2013 release Theseus. Last year we published Bots, this year we publish Hunters, sneaky and very smart faction that lands on the Theseus and try to outwit big factions struggling for control over the faction. All Neuroshima Hex know that Michal Oracz has an amazing skill of putting new factions for his games. This is his watermark, his unique skill of adding replaybility to the games over and over again.
We will also support our second 2013 release - Legacy. We have big expansion for the game. It is called Five Families, it consist of 106 new cards, new action board and plenty of tokens. It adds a ton of interaction to the game - players now command one of the five families and start the game with 12 cards of their family. These cards they will be able to trade for favors with other players. This is so much fun, laughs and bantering. The expansion adds also birth events (that will replace complications), new patrons and new solo variant. This is really big box of new energy for the base game.
We will also have new armies for Neuroshima Hex, we will have couple of promos for our games and amazing Imperial Settlers t-shirt.
The question that remains is - how many adventures I asked for deciding to publish eight new products for Essen. I'd say, plenty.
Huge delay in China with production of wooden pieces for Stronghold totally ( I mean TOTALLY) demolished production calendar we had agreed with our printer. We had to reschedule everything.
Accident of our illustrator who was doing artwork for Five Families but ended up in the hospital for long three weeks was also nice addition to the Essen operation.
And I tell you this - when I came up with this awesome Easter egg idea for Convoy, manager in printing company we talk with just hang up. I called him again and told him that this is Portal and we need this.
Next Tuesday we go to Germany. Hopefully our games will go too. And hopefully I meet you there. Hall 3. Booth N113. Meet me there. I tell you about all the adventures that will happen in the next few days...
INFORMATION: You can learn about our releases at Portal Games website. We posted rulebooks, galleries of components, GDJournals about designing these games and all sort of other great updates. Here is a link.
INFORMATION: You can pre-order any of above products for Essen pick up directly from our website. Here is a link.
Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:12 am
I didn't need to do this. I mean, rights for the game came back to Portal Games. The base game was out of stock for some time. It was obvious we will do a reprint. Stronghold was always one of the designs I was most proud of. I wanted it to be back in stock.
But man, did I really need to do the whole new edition?
In 2014 I looked at the game to see what we need to change in a reprint. Yes, of course, rulebook could use some rewriting. Yes, square boxes are better than rectangular so we will change it in new print. Yes, artwork on cards looked like artwork from 2009. There was plenty of things we could improve.
Clearly at some point there was this moment where I could stop. When I listed all production problems with the previous edition, asked my team to fix them and we would be done. I could have new edition in couple of weeks ready.
If only I was not Ignacy Trzewiczek. I don't go for easy solutions.
Glory board is super thematic, but it confuses players, makes winning conditions more complicated and leads some times to very unthematic moves that help defender win the game. I decided to trash it.
Battery ram was too weak in Portal printing and too strong in Valley printing and actually I never liked it anyway. I decided to trash it.
Variant for 3 and 4 players worked well, but no one on this whole planet ever tried it. Trash.
Over and over, trashing and trashing...
Being serious. I read a lot of opinions about the game on BGG. I read and listened to many reviews of the game. I read comments on webstores about the game. And what is most important, I began to play the game again. And even though I was very proud of this design, I found some things that I could do better now.
So I did.
No Glory board
The Invader will win the game if he manages to break into the castle in 7 rounds. Defender wins the game if he manages to defend castle for 7 rounds.
As simple as that.
What I like about this solution is a great approach of play-testers who played as an Invader. They were planning in which round they will hit hard, in which round they will make a false attack, when they will do two dispatches... They sit to the game and they knew that there is 7 rounds. And they planned. They built precise plan and then they began the attack. It is both thematic and strategic, it works on both levels, on the level of story and on the level of mechanism and strategic challenge.
And man, this is simplest winning condition ever.
I wanted the game to be engaging from the very beginning, I wanted it to let players engage in combat as soon as possible. That is why in 2nd edition Invader begins the game with his forces already on the board, already marching towards the castle. It is the first round of the game when cannons will shoot, it is the first round when dead bodies of orcs and goblins will cover the ramparts.
I made the game shorter. It is only 7 rounds, you start with forces on board, you are put into the action from the very beginning. No time to waste. No time for fooling around. You have your invading forces on the foregrounds. Run towards the wall! Run!
Objective cards and Defense plans
I added Objectives for Invader and I added hidden Defense Plans for defender. There is 10 cards in each of the deck. Each of these cards changes the game, each Objective will encourage Invader to consider particular move, each Defense plan will show Defender different options to surprise opponent.
Objective cards have some small task to achieve like 'Have Orcs on two adjacent wall sections" or "Destroy two wall sections" and if the Invader manages to achieve this task, he is awarded with small bonus like "Gain 2 additional orcs on each foreground" or "Destroy one cannon".
Defense plans are opposite. They give a bonus to the defender, but there are bad consequences. Use each of your cannons twice this round, but then remove them from the game. Get additional action points, but then loose two units. Your soldiers are doing their best, but there is a price for that.
With 10 Objectives and 10 defense plans I was able to add new layer of replaybility into the game.
I changed many things in the game. Instead of few weeks of easy peasy work on a new print run, I spent with my testers long months of playtesting new edition. It was huge task, it was revisiting the castle for hundred of hours and balancing this game over and over again but the final result is amazing. When we finished testing with my team, they were tired, they were sick of the game, they were so happy that we are finally done and that finally I will stop calling them and ask for another test game.
But what is most important, we were proud. We did so much more than just reprint. I have no doubts you'll send us few Thumbs up, when you'll play new edition. I know we earned them. Can't wait for your feedback.
Let me just use my blog here to tell you that pre-orders for my games for Essen are open and you are all invited to visit my website and see if you find something interesting for you. Here is a link.
"A note of caution: there is a bit of strong language in this article."
It's all super simple. One player commands Moloch robots and has to win couple of battles and in the end to destroy New York. The other player gets deck of The Outpost and has to stop them, has to slow and sabotages them. He needs to do whatever he can to not let Moloch reach New York.
On one hand I had these powerful machines marching towards New York. O, man, I was having fun designing them. I wanted them to be big and deadly. I gave Strength of 3 to most of the cards, I gave Strength of 4 to some of them and I even gave Strength of 5 here and there. Why not, huh? Huge robots that will destroy New York in a heartbeat. The moment Moloch player gets his cards, he will smile, and this smile will mean one thing: “Knock, knock, NY, is anybody here?”
Then I sat with The Outpost deck. O, man, that was fun! I wanted them to be fast, to be sneaky, and to be smart. I gave Strength of 1 to most of the cards. I gave Strength of 2 here and there. I looked at them and said: “You guys are in trouble. Good luck. Try to get out of the shit I just put you in.”
Asymetrical games. That is what I love. That is what I've built in Zombiaki in 2003. That is what I've built in Stronghold in 2009. That is what I am good at. Watch me. This is me at my best.
I was going to cross over the line with Moloch. I wanted them to be ridiculously strong. I gave them high numbers and then I gave them super abilities. Kill soldier. Protect other robot. Turn off The Outpost abilities. All that crazy stuff. Every single card was overpowered. That is lesson I learned from Michał Oracz – do abilities that rocks, do abilities that are so freaking awesome that players will get crazy. Then think about balance.
I was not thinking on balance yet. I was designing experience. I was building emotions. Moloch has to feel like a train – slow, but unfuckingstopabble.
So I kept crossing the line. I added Modules. Yes, additional parts that you can attach to the Robot to make him even stronger. Just in case you would like to show off. Stuff like +3 Strength . You know.
I looked at the deck and every single card was clearly OP. I loved it.
To The Outpost now. Hey guys, how are you? Not good? Look at you. You have Strength 1 on most of the cards. And you want to stop Moloch, huh? Do you have a plan? No?
Don't worry. You got me. I'll help.
You are guerrillas. You will jink battles. You will cheat. You will get Robots back in hand of Moloch player. You will move them to the other city. You will appear from nowhere, blow them and escape. You will block their movement. You will be fuckin' cheating, because this is your only chance to win. You will loose three battles in a row and then you will hit him in his steel balls and trust me, you will hit him hard.
Yes, your average Strength is 1. I know that, I designed these cards. Yes, you have no chance in direct confrontation. I know that, I designed these cards. But please, stop whining, get a grip and think. Think! I gave you tools to outsmart Moloch. Use them wisely.
I had two amazing decks in Convoy. They played so different. I loved them both. And then it took me 'only' 6 months of day by day testing over and over to balance this shit.
Effect? I can't wait for you to try it. I couldn't be more proud.
I wear two hats. Publisher and designer in one person. This situation has – of course – some advantages and some disadvantages.
Today I will write about advantages of this situation. Our story begins in late 2010.
It was at convention. For the first time I played final production copy of 51st State and I was – let’s face it - devastated. These stupid tokens were too small. I'd need freaking tweezers to pick them from table. Playing that game with these chits was a torture.
When I was play testing the game I was using pieces from other games, I had wooden cubes for resources, I had wooden discs for contact tokens. It was so much better from what actual copy of the game was offering.
I was disappointed and sad. The game was less fun than when I was playing it as a prototype. I blamed small tokens.
With 51st State I learned that you never ever should play test game using components that will differ from the final game's components. Portal Games never made this mistake again.
I learned something more. Much more.
My super bad experience with 51st State was all about experience with components. Too small tokens ruined fun for me. It had nothing to do with rules, engine, game play. It was all about this freaking chits.
I began to analyze this problem and started to learn more about this problem. Soon after it was pretty clear – components of the game are as much important as actual rules of the game. Bad rules can ruin the game. Bad components can ruin the game too.
And one more thing - great components add to the experience. They make experience better. They change medium game into good. Good into very good. Very good into awesome.
Would Euphoria have that much success if not these amazing wooden pieces? Would Imperial Settlers have that much success if not these funky pinky meeples and red apples? Would Qwirkle be super successful worldwide if not these big wooden pieces?
As far as I can tell - nope.
Playing games is not only interacting with rules and engine of the game. It is also interacting with pieces, with physical objects that might add or deduct value to the player’s experience.
Back to my two hats. Advantage of my situation is clear. Designing game I know what user experience I want to create and I can easily convince publisher of the game – that is me again – to provide me components to achieve that.
You’d be really surprised how many different types of dice I was tossing into box of prototype of Rattle Battle to see which will work best. Which are heavy enough to scatter in a right way, which are small enough to fit into box even if we toss many of these. I was using dice from so many different games and I was tossing and tossing and finally I choose the best dice to throw into box. And we produce that particular dice. Crazy? Maybe. You'll tell more when you throw these dice.
You’d be also really surprised how much serious thought might be behind choosing metal coins. I don’t need big coins, but I need coins that stack. So many of you loves to stack coins, huh? I need coins that are heavy because so many of you loves to throw them on the table just to hear this cool clicking sound. Yes, believe me or not but I think that in Rattle, Battle we have best metal coins on the market.
You’d be really surprised hearing me argue with my production team when I wanted bigger and bigger cardboard pieces. ‘We won’t fit two ships on one sheet of cardboard, Ignacy! That makes it so much more expensive!’ I heard over and over. ‘I don’t give a shit. They need to be big. Players will build them and this is crucial for the game. Find savings in other place!’ I replied.
Do buildings in the port have actual shape of building? Yes.
Do loot tokens have different artwork on different tokens? Yes.
Do tokens that players can flip in the game have different artwork on both sides? Yes, yes, yes.
I put tremendous effort designing the game. And I put tremendous effort designing each single component of the game. Because I know. It matters.
My message for you today is simple. Player’s experience is a sum of many elements. Rules are only one of many. When designing game, when publishing game keep that in mind my friends.
Great rules is important… first step.
Spring 2013, Lviv in Ukraine. I am at board games convention (surprise!). I've just played prototype of Mysterium and I am totally blown away. OMG, what a game! I played twice in a row and I have no doubt - I just found a treasure here. Right after game ends I talk with designers and try to convince them to sign a contract with Portal Games. I love the game. I need to publish it. I am not leaving Ukraine without Mysterium. No way. I am not leaving. Do you hear me? I am not leaving without without contract!
'We also have a pirate game.' Oleksandr says. 'Do you want to see it?'
'Are you kidding? Of course I want!'
There are different port cards, there are different prices of goods in each port, we gather goods, then we sell them in port, we can change ports, we can look for treasure map, we have these pirates cards for role selection mechanism... These are your cards, these are your dice that represent your ships...
They explain me the rules and we start playing. There is a caravan of merchants we need to attack. We are pirates. They are merchants. We attack them. Sounds legit. I can do that, I can sink merchants.
Oleksandr takes all my dice, do the same with his, with Oleg's and with merchant's dice, then shakes them all and with no word of warning or any explanation at all he tosses them all into box.
'We battle' he says with his Russian accent.
OMG. OMG. OMG. He just took more than 20 dice, shaked them and threw into box! OMG. This is awesome.
What a cool idea. These guys are golden.
The idea of tossing dice into box is amazing. It's fresh. It's unique. It's thematic. And what's most important - it's fun. Gathering these 20+ dice and throwing them into box... It's pure fun. It's like the essence of gaming, it's like our wildest dreams come true. Take bunch of dice, throw them and see what happened. Brilliant.
I didn't like the rest of the game as much though. We were struggling with that for couple of months, I was asking Oleg and Oleksandr for changes, but they were pulling project in a different direction. I wanted upgrades, they wanted role selection. I wanted special powers, they wanted port with prices and set collection of goods.
At some point it was clear - we have two different games in heads. Two games connected with this one brilliant idea of tossing dice into box.
This year there will be two pirate games that uses 3d Dice Battle System released. Different games that were born on one common fundament invented by Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko. There is mine game called Rattle, Battle, Grab the Loot and there is Pirates of 7th Seas. Both use tossing dice into box. And both take this base idea in a very different direction and game play.
Try them if you have a chance. It's a pure and crazy fun packed into cardboard box.
It was Essen 2013. I was approached by a young guy with prototype in hand. He told me in a few words about his game and it sounded interesting enough that I agreed to take prototype with me and play it when I am back at office.
I came back to Poland and I played it. It was two player game set on a map of fantasy city. Each player commanded one faction, one had something like governor forces of the city and the other revolutionists. We fought for control of the city, taking districts from each other etc. Base mechanism was neat - it was drafting for two players. I liked this element a lot. Rest of the game was a problem - the game had so many control tokens and big map that it made it impossible to publish. There was also many bigger and smaller issues.
I sent designer detailed report. I told him we are not interested in the game and I gave him comprehensive feedback explaining problems I see in the prototype.
Story like many others, huh?
It was September 2014. We received email from this designer. He had a new prototype. It's for two players again. It's drafting again. But rest was different. We printed pnp files and we played.
After first game I am already in love. After first game I have no single doubt that I have a gem here on the table. After first game I can not wait to go home and show it to Merry.
I tell Lucas to contact designer and set up a meeting in Essen. 'Schedule it for Thursday morning. First day of Essen. I need to sign this game before other publishers have even a chance.'
We go to Essen. I meet with Kristian. I tell him how much I love the game, how much I believe in the game and how much energy and heart I will put into development and production to make it worldwide success.
He looks at me and says something like: 'I am Portal Games fan. I'd love to have my game published by you guys.' I smile. We shake hands. Two days after Essen we sign a contract.
I am excited about release of Tides of Time as it is my first game ever published. I have so strong believe in this design, I am so much passionate about this, I put so much heart into it. I still clearly remember this first game, this first moment of excitement, these shivers on the skin when I realized what I have in front of me.
I can't imagine how excited Kristian is now. It's his first game published.
And you know, I think we both deserve it this excitement and this adventure we have now. I think I deserve it because I acted fair and after playing his prototype I gave him honest and comprehensive report and opinion. I like to think that this made him respect Portal and made him come back to us with another prototype. He deserves it because he read my feedback carefully, drew conclusions and made new, so much better game. Game that will be released at Gen con, biggest convention in the world.
Wish us luck! And put Tides of Time on your check list. It's amazing design.
P.S. Private announcement
If by any chance you missed it, there is Kickstarter for Boardgames That Tell Stories volume 2 going on. We have amazing designers on board, so please, check it out. This will be a great reading!
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 Next »