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Scott Nelson
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Idaho Falls
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My Vision
The journey of Ibyron started in 2008 with an initial concept of designing a meaty game. I loved playing Antiquity, and my wife, Anna, loved Roads and Boats. So, with that in mind, our work was cut out for us. The first rendition was a pretty neat idea on paper, but the real implementation of it was less than stellar. Though it was a start, it was not going to work for what I wanted to design. I did have some meat in there, but for the most-part it was pretty easy choices. I couldn't have that.

I wanted a less linear path. This is where Antiquity came into play. In Antiquity, the path you take is whatever you want to do, no particular trees to advance upwards. Ibyron, known as Tribute and Taxes at this time, had a small tech tree, but everything else was a progression along a path: A->B->C. I had created three paths and those paths headed you to the next building needed along the same path. I didn't want that; nope, not this time.

Further testing was put on hold until I could get grips on the vision I was after. This time I wanted to make a deeper game, and I felt I had a good start, but it needed a re-start. Anna saw what I was after but couldn't figure out what was missing...at this time, at least.
I put the "vision" on the side and worked on a way to wrap the theme around the mechanisms. So far, the theme revolved around an Advanced Catan; or a lesser Roads and Boats with no logistics.

"Logistics" you say? That was what my wife threw at me one day. She had taken my base ideas of resource collection and buildings and added "land" to move around. Up till then, Ibyron had been a virtual theme - no board - just a player mat to indicate what was built. Anna added a pawn to move around to do the certain actions. It was now a tad longer, but a lot more thought went in to each action, including a new action of moving. The map was static, but I didn't think anything at the time, I was just happy it was working into a fun game.




Early prototype boards for Tribute and Taxes


Utah: Saltcon and BGDG
Shortly thereafter, as a member of the Board Game Design Guild of Utah (BGDG), I took it to a meeting for playtesting purposes. It was "eh" for all players, including Alf Seegert, Ryan Laucat and Steve Poelzig. It was a bit of a let down to have it trashed by such great guys, but that is what the guild is for; people willing to tell you, "Your baby is ugly." With a few very helpful comments, and some "praise" on the good ideas, I was headed back to the drawing board. Later that night, Steve also told me to change the name since it was nearing tax season, and not many players will want to play a game about doing taxes. I stuck with the T&T name for quite a bit longer, but eventually gave in.



The Ion challenge is a game competition for unpublished designs held during Saltcon, a Utah board game convention instigated on the heals of AGOS (A Gathering of Strangers). The Ion challenge deadline was fast approaching, so after a major rules rewriting, I entered T&T into the competition. It didn't even get the first cut. Components, time-length, and depth was as stumbling block. The members of the BGDG are also involved in the Ion challenge, and in doing so, besides the regular feedback of the judges for the first cut, I received a couple of other tidbits of why or why not it probably didn't make the cut.
the game entered in the ion challenge the first time





old rule book cover


Ion Challenge Year 1.


With the competition over before it ever began, I decided to change the name, and the Island of Ibyron was born. I took Ibyron to the Saltcon and showed it to a couple of publishers, to no avail. As judges of the Ion challenge, these publishers have also read a lot of rules to this point, so I did not get more than a walk by, as I had my game set up on a table, and a beg of "take my rules please" or that's probably how it felt to the publisher. I do not suggest this method to get your foot in the door. Nothing came about it...or so I thought..until the next year.


After a quick trip to my game closet and a little bit of marker usage on Carolus Magnus tiles, I created a random island each play.


Around this time, Wayne Dorrington offered his services for illustrating a few games in his spare time - Ibyron was added to his list. This is when Ibyron began to take shape. With Wayne's great art, Ibyron: Island of Discovery came to life. The theme came through in the art. The components were just a bunch wooden bits, so not much of a theme could be had from them, alone.


Wayne's great box cover artwork gave life to Ibyron



The playermats went through a few renditions, but came out great as well


initially I went with hexes for the village, but caved for squares later on



With Wayne working on the art, I added it to the bgg database for print and play. Most decided to wait for the art to be finished, and rightfully so, it played much better with his artwork. Around this time I was still shopping it around to various publishers, most in Germany. After one copy coming back to me totally trashed by the mail, I decided against the publisher angle.


the island as hexes with components cannibalized from various games

The Game Crafter part 1
I found thegamecrafter.com to be helpful in getting Ibyron published, but they had a few problems that nothing could fix. So, a lesser game was released through the Game Crafter wherein I purchased all the copies sold except 2. With Wayne's art on the box, land tiles, village mat, and player mats, it was a finished product. But, it didn't play right with the land tiles I kept thinking.


a quick playthrough on some very rough squares indicated it could be played on the tiles.



square tiles didn't cut the mustard for me, but it was playable


Ion Challenge year 2.
Ibyron, full of beautiful art in the game and rule book, was well received, and even made it to the top 4, which was a new way to cut the number of entries down, unlike the top 10 of years before. The same publisher a year before who glanced at it and took my rules, remembered it, and with the facelift was more interested than ever. After testing, it was found too long of a game for them. I took notice of that too, and with one change shortened the game by half. Still not enough for the publisher's continued interest, but I really liked it more, and playtesters did as well.


the first published product from The Game Crafter and print and play on my part which ended up in Germany for another year in transit and testing.


Rahdo's Runthrough
As well, around this time Ibyron was noticed by Richard Ham, and he added it to his anticipation list. So, with his runthroughs very fun to watch, I thought I'd try to get one to him - That was a feat unto itself. Many emails helped here, but in the end, it was a friend or a friend who took a copy to Essen, to which Richard dropped by and picked it up from their booth. Wow. It worked. But, that was only half the job.


the contents page for The Game Crafter version. Wayne did a great job in the layout of the rules. I only wish I could write rules worthy of it.


Rahdo's anticipation list was a key to getting it a runthrough I thought. He has so many on his plate, there was no way he would have time to play it, let alone review it. After a campaign by me, the Heavy Cardboard guild and others, it went to number 1 in most thumbs, which meant Rahdo would do a runthrough for it. It helped a lot that Healthy Heart Hospital was released by Victory Point Games at this time, to give notice to Ibyron. So, for everyone who thumbed it, thank you tons.
While waiting for Ibyron to come up Richard's runthrough queue a print and play was crafted by someone who filmed their after-play remarks. I was quite excited to learn that they liked it and gave it mostly positive review. With that on my mind, I was excited to see what Richard thought of it. A month later I'd find out.

After a couple of rewrites of my rules by others (mine were bad I was told a few times, pretty, but bad), Richard ran it through its paces and filmed it. Though it fit in his wheelhouse on most fronts (no direct take that, not too light, etc), it was too wide open and sandboxy for him and Jen. But notwithstanding, it popped up onto the radars of a lot of gamers who where looking for that in their games. I had a few publishers pop up to say hi, but no one willing to take it on. Sigh. I wanted to get it to the players, that is why we make games, mostly...or at least why Anna and I do.


Rahdo's runthrough video

The Game Crafter Part 2
What a stroke of luck. The Game Crafter website was advancing their technology at this time, adding in laser-cut tiles, very much what I was familiar with in Victory Point Games. I was pretty excited because I thought with that new tech would come a way to do the land tiles justice and be affordable. It took a couple of months and my prayers were answered. The Game Crafter were now offering custom-cut tiles. "Woohoo!" I didn't really say that - it was more under-the-breath. But in any case, that was the ticket, to coin an old phrase. I went to work learning how to do the new custom tiles. With a few helpful webpages and videos, I worked on it with my limited knowledge.

Many attempts to figure out the custom cutting file were in failure. But, within a short about of time I came up with something. Then I had a bright idea and asked Wayne Dorrington to help me, since it was his art and his profession to do similar stuff that I was learning. He returned with a couple of files, not quite what I needed, but I was able to use them by optimizing them on my own.

Final version from TGC

And that is where the story comes to an end. The Game Crafter have something called a crowd sale, which the one for Ibyron will take place mid October. And thus, I can, finally, call Ibyron: Island of Discovery, published. https://www.thegamecrafter.com/crowdsale/ibyron:-island-of-d...

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Scott Nelson
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A quick follow-up on why I posted the DD here and not on the bggnews.
Eric Martin was focusing on Spiel games only at this time, and most-likely would not be able to post the DD for quite some time. Since the crowd sale is coming up, I thought I would add it now instead of waiting. Also, Eric Martin did not understand the idea of the crowd sale at the game crafter, and mentioned he only posted DD's for published games. For the record ,a crowd sale is not like kickstarter, and Ibyron is considered published before the crowd sale even starts.

Eric also mentioned to post it to the game's forums.
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Morten K
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A nice story of what seems a very long process. What are your plans for the future for Ibyron?
 
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Scott Nelson
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Tigrillo wrote:
A nice story of what seems a very long process. What are your plans for the future for Ibyron?


After the crowd sale, I'll just leave it at the game crafter. It will cost more, but will remain available for those who want it. Other than that, will have to be up to those other than I. Hans im gluck, eggertspiel, mayday, mayfair, rio grande, amigo, gamewright, spielworxx, fun forge, zman, gryphon/eagle, tasty minstrels, capstone, victory point games, lookout, artipia, quinned, gameworks, pegasus, queen, and even lock and load have looked at the rules and/or tested it, and have passed on it. So, I think it has been to europe enough times to get frequent flyer miles.
With everything out there, if it is going to get a new life, those interested in it can do their own legwork since it is published. Only problem is with shipping costs for those abroad, and for that I wish there was a cheaper route.
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Scott Nelson
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Well, coming down to the home stretch on this pony race. Almost 10 bucks off right now. If you want it, now is the cheapest it will be.
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/crowdsale/ibyron:-island-of-d...
 
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