Post Scriptum Games

This is a BGG copy of the official blog of Post Scriptum Games. Twitter: @Mario_Sacchi_PS and @PScriptum_games

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Mass production samples!

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Dear readers, again we are sharing on this blog an update on our game Shogun no Katana, successfully funded on Kickstarter, because we think you all can be interested in these gorgeous images and news!
Enjoy the reading!

Konnichiwa!

Dear backers, we are almost there!

As anticipated in the latest update, the production of the game was restarted. The first thing for us was to approve the mass production samples: we did it and of course we are sharing the samples with you. We are really proud, it’s a feast for the eyes!

We already showed you many images of the game in the past, so now we want to share the latest adjustments we made to make it perfect (please note: all these images refer to the Deluxe version).

The Wandering Characters tray is a bit higher than the others to hold the Forge boards firmly.
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The Washitsu boards perfectly fit in the space between the Wandering Characters and the Resource trays.
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The Wandering Characters tray is designed to contain all the special equipment of the Characters.
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The Palace tiles perfectly fit in this space, and there’s room for other elements below.
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The Resource Trays have a v-shaped bottom to help you take the cubes easily.
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The card holder is designed to keep them separated, with or without sleeves.

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You can see all these aspects in this video!

And, most importantly, our special tester approved the box!
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Again, thank you so much for supporting Shogun no Katana and Post Scriptum.

Talk soon!
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Fri Jun 24, 2022 6:30 pm
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Mass production samples!

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Dear readers, again we are sharing on this blog an update on our game Shogun no Katana, successfully funded on Kickstarter, because we think you all can be interested in these gorgeous images and news!
Enjoy the reading!

Konnichiwa!

Dear backers, we are almost there!

As anticipated in the latest update, the production of the game was restarted. The first thing for us was to approve the mass production samples: we did it and of course we are sharing the samples with you. We are really proud, it’s a feast for the eyes!

We already showed you many images of the game in the past, so now we want to share the latest adjustments we made to make it perfect (please note: all these images refer to the Deluxe version).

The Wandering Characters tray is a bit higher than the others to hold the Forge boards firmly.
External image

External image

The Washitsu boards perfectly fit in the space between the Wandering Characters and the Resource trays.
External image

External image

The Wandering Characters tray is designed to contain all the special equipment of the Characters.
External image

External image

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The Palace tiles perfectly fit in this space, and there’s room for other elements below.
External image

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The Resource Trays have a v-shaped bottom to help you take the cubes easily.
External image

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The card holder is designed to keep them separated, with or without sleeves.

External image

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You can see all these aspects in this video!

And, most importantly, our special tester approved the box!
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Again, thank you so much for supporting Shogun no Katana and Post Scriptum.

Talk soon!
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Fri Jun 24, 2022 5:33 pm
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UPDATE #37 The light at the end of the tunnel!

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Dear readers,
as already done in the past, we are sharing on this blog an update on our game Shogun no Katana, successfully funded on Kickstarter. The game is going through several productive vicissitudes, as we wrote in various previous articles. We won’t share all the updates here, but only the most relevant ones, like this one.

Enjoy the reading!


Dear backers,
this is the update you (and we) have been waiting for! We have been informed that the factory reopened and they should be able to resume production of Shogun no Katana in a week or two and complete it about a month after that. Yay!

This is really good news, even if our work isn’t done: as soon as we’ll have a precise date, the next crucial step will be reserving slots on cargo shipments to reach all the world. This needs some attention, since the logistic situation is tangled as well, there are looong waiting lines on cargo shipments (what isn’t tangled, these days?!). Obviously we are already working on the shipment reservation since we want this game to hit the market in the shortest time possible (as we already explained here). Anyway, that point solved, the games will be on their way towards you, dear backers, all around the world.

So, in a nutshell, we start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
As of today, let’s enjoy the good news, awaiting further updates!

Again, thank you so much for supporting Shogun no Katana and Post Scriptum.
Thanks for your patience.


Talk soon!
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Fri Jun 10, 2022 4:14 pm
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We love family (games)

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What an incredible success!

At Modena Play, the most important board games fair in Italy, our new game, 21 Giochi Minuti, sold out in only two days, selling hundreds of copies.

After a series of gloomy news (have you read our latest post on our blog?) this blast of enthusiasm has made us proud and is pushing us to keep going towards new horizons. For whoever follows us from abroad, 21 Giochi Minuti (the temporary English title is 21 Games from Microgamesia) is the latest of a series of lighter games that we have published in our Country, and we hope to export to the rest of the world soon.
21 Giochi Minuti, by Matteo Boca and P.S. Martensen, is the peak of our growth path in family games: it is a collection of high-quality micro games, of any kind and for any type of gamer, that range from party games to miniature worker placement. It is a game that couldn’t exist without our experience in game development, both in complex games such as Florenza and Wendake and light games such as Fun Farm and Brick Party.

To be honest, our publishing career started with a children game: BauSquitMiao. It was an unnecessarily complicated game, so much so, that we used to tune the rules a bit during its promotion events.
After years of work, we think we have acquired a certain degree of experience in these light-hearted games, and a proof of it is the success of Fun Farm and Brick Party, that have become best sellers all over the world.
What is the difference between developing a complex game and a light, family or a children game?
There is a small but substantial difference between the two types, i.e. the materials.
When we develop a game for the most demanding gamers, especially if launched on kickstarter, we can get creative with the components. Of course we always try to avoid adding unnecessary elements, but if we believe that rules would work better if we added some cards, or tiles, or tokens, we don’t think twice: rules and setting come first, and we’re not afraid of a (small) increase of material.
The market placement of light games has some specific prices, which are lower than hardcore games, and this implies that, from the beginning, we have to study what can fit in the box.
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For instance, for Brick Party, we asked the author, Luca Bellini, to design the shape cards with a maximum of 9 bricks per colour, and we chose the rule cards thinking about their ergonomics, discarding some that looked fun but were too uncomfortable to play.
For 21 Giochi Minuti we made a further leap, setting strict boundaries in regards to materials. For some of them we had to design some very clever ideas to avoid adding more components that were needed only for one of the 21 games.
Dear aspiring family games authors, keep in mind this information: when you are developing a game think about what materials you’ll need to express your idea as well as you can, and try to limit yourself to them. It doesn’t matter how many materials you add (there are some family games with some nice, hefty boxes) but try to eliminate all the useless or redundant elements which are not fundamental for the rules or the ergonomics of the game. It is good for the sake of the game, not only to cut costs.
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For everything else, the development of a simple game is not too different from the development of a complex, rules-riddled Eurogame, except that, for the latter, we need to make more parts of the same game work seamlessly together and make them communicate properly.
For family games, obviously, we put a lot of effort into eliminating elements that can interrupt the game flow, and we focus on what is the real core of the game.
Due to the pandemics and all the issues arisen in the last couple of years, our most recent family games have been published only in Italy, but we are sure you will see them soon on boardgames shops shelves all over the world.

About that… we have a big announcement: soon you’ll get the chance to try our latest game of this kind, which will be ready for Essen 2022.

We proudly present Legend Raiders!

Legend Raiders is a family game created by Dario Massarenti and Francesco Testini, exquisitely illustrated by Mateusz Mizak. We loved developing it, and we’re sure it will be a good surprised even for the most skilled gamers, thanks to the many strategies that can be applied in a simple and fluid game system.


Moreover, it includes a dieless version for who is looking for a more strategic experience!
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Are you curious to find out more details about Legend Raiders? Follow us on our social media and keep up to date with the blog articles subscribing to our Telegram channel!
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Fri May 27, 2022 4:39 pm
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Lockdown in China: the consequences

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First we have to say thar this article is gloomier than usual, it talks about the worst accident that has ever happened to Post Scriptum in 17 years of career, which is only the latest of a long series of accidents that have hit all the supply chains in the world. Nevertheless, in the end you’ll find a sparkle of hope which confirms that we are determined not to give up or get discouraged, we will continue to do our work, which we love very much.

Here we go again.
The finish line was in sight: Shogun no Katana’s launch seemed near, it could even be possible for Modena Play fair, that takes place at the end of May. Everything was planned for the delivery of the boxes, and we were looking forward to touching our years’ worth of work, admiring the miniatures, get a whiff of the freshly printed cards smell…
When this happened –> https://edition.cnn.com/2022/04/19/china/shanghai-covid-lock...
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As you can imagine we had entrusted the production of most of Katana’s materials to a Chinese company, with their offices in Shanghai, the region that is now in complete lockdown.
Obviously, we are first and foremost devastated for the drama that our Chinese colleagues are living, who are being forced to live in fenced houses to prevent them from going out, but even though we can’t compare our situation with theirs, we are also experiencing serious problems.

First of all, we have no clue about when this situation is going to be over. Then, even if they reopened shortly, we can’t predict neither when the production is going to be back at normal pace, nor when our games will be produced or when they will actually be shipped (you won’t be surprised to hear that Katana is not the only game that is in queue to be printed).
It is not sure if we will manage to publish it by Essen 2022, and this is some horrible news for us, as we had already planned a great stand and we now must completely change our plans.

We are sorry about this situation and we completely understand how frustrating it is for our backers and for those who are looking forward to buying it in their favourite shop. We, as boardgames enthusiastic and as Katana’s “parents” couldn’t wait to play with a game for which we have worked so hard and so passionately, from game development to the obsessively thorough care for the materials.

For us as entrepreneurs, this unforeseeable delay gave a serious blow to our business, which relies a lot on this game. We can keep going thanks to a diversified strategy and many collaborations, but we must admit that we are living a time of discouragement and worry for our business.
As we already mentioned in this article, games that are launched on Kickstarter are almost exclusively produced by Chinese companies, for almost all boardgame publishers in the world, and not only because it is more affordable: the companies that we work with have a highly structured business, specifically thought for board games production, with high-tech solutions, especially for the creation of miniatures.
The downside is, as you probably already understood, is that we rely completely on one or two suppliers (for Katana we have one for the miniatures and one for the rest) and when something like this happens there’s nothing you can do.
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But here’s the sparkle of hope: as you know, Post Scriptum is the dream of a lifetime, and we won’t let a production delay, no matter how serious, bring us down. We know that the delivery is guaranteed: the advance payments have been paid and the funds for the balance are secured. We only need to be more patient.
It is time for us to find more sustainable alternative solutions, such as new European (or why not American) suppliers, even for more complex materials in our games.
It is not an easy choice, because the costs are higher, the technology is less advanced, and because our Chinese colleagues have proven to be extremely professional, and we have built a relationship of mutual respect and trust.
This is also part of managing a business: predicting how the wind is going to change, unfurl the sails in the right direction to expeditiously sail towards future projects.
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We would like to ask you a question: in order to produce somewhere else, we have to use fewer plastic miniatures and more cardboard and wood. What do you expect from our games in this sense? What entices you in a game that doesn’t have miniatures? Printed meeples, paper goods, many boards on the table? We would like to hear your opinion in order to create your ideal game, with the highest quality in reasonable times.
Hit us up on our social media, we can’t wait to hear from you.
And subscribe to our Telegram channel not to miss any of Post Scriptum’s articles!
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Fri May 6, 2022 2:47 pm
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Worker placement: our vision

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Worker Placement: “Gaming mechanism that involves individual players’ actions chosen from a set of actions available to all players. In each round one player at a time, in turn order, chooses until everybody has had the chance to make a choice. There is usually a limit on the number of times a single action may be taken. Once that limit for an action is reached, the action can’t be taken for the remainder of the round or until the action is refreshed. As such, not all actions can be taken by all players in a given round, and “action blocking” occurs.
Typically, actions are selected by placing meeples on them. Each player has a limited amount of actions and, in theory, these pieces usually – but not always – represent their workers.
To sum up, gamers place workers to select one of the available actions.”


(from “Meccaniche e affini: piazzamento lavoratori”, article in Italian by Agzaroth from the website “la Tana Dei Goblin”)

Since the beginning of our partnership with Placentia Games as consultants and then when we acquired the brand, we have had the opportunity to put our hands on substantial games that incorporated in their structure this mechanism that euro gamers love so much.
Often, in our Placentia games we find engaging and peculiar solutions for the selection of the actions, but workers’ placement is still an excellent way to provide gamers with interesting choices and a good level of interaction.
And let’s admit it, seeing your own empire rise thanks to your meeples’ hard work is quite satisfying, it takes you back in time to when you were playing real time strategy videogames (above all Starcraft).
Like other mechanisms well known by passionate gamers, such as draft and area majority, worker placement is a recognizable genre (hence quicker to explain), but by nature It includes many variables and customizations, depending on the type of experience that you want to trigger.
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Talking about our two main worker placement games: Florenza and Shogun no Katana, the use of this mechanism is almost the opposite, while in the first one the worker placement is at the heart of the game, and the gamers’ mental effort mainly revolves around it, in Katana the main focus is about building katanas which happens in the forge, and workers have a side role: there is some level of interaction between players on the main board, but to a much lower extent in comparison to Florenza (it becomes more central playing the Wandering Characters expansion, which adds engaging players dynamics!).

In Florenza almost all the slots where you can place your workers (actually, your family members!) are unique and exclusive. Moreover, the actions are taken after all the meeples have been placed. This implies calculating timing thoroughly and cautiously and paying close attention to the opponents’ actions. Moreover, one of the main aspects of the game is the option to place your kinsmen on other players’ buildings, so that there is more interaction (a possible strategy is to build buildings that might attract others in your own district, so that they place their kinsmen there and give you victory points in exchange).
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In Shogun no Katana on the other hand, each action has more than one allotted space, putting less pressure on players’ choices, even though in more advanced stages there can be a lack of spaces availability, then you also have to pay attention to this aspect. Moreover, actions are taken immediately, so that they don’t become too complex, moving the focus away from the core of the game i.e. the player’s forge. In this case, worker placement is a mechanism aimed at creating an interesting game interaction, this aspect wasn’t needed neither in Kepler-3042, due to its setting and its pacifist spirit, nor in Wendake, where the interaction is created directly by conquering territories.

What we like most about worker placement is that it is a really versatile system, that can be immediately understood by everybody, it easily balances itself, and it allows a certain flexibility in the game development: as we explained in this article we soon understood that too strict balancing makes games sterile and doesn’t allow gamers to visualise a goal or a game direction. Worker placement is ideal for this type of process: you start adding actions that work in the same way, balancing them so that they have the same strength, afterwards you can add spaces that work differently, finding the widest variety of solutions to provide the game with diversity.
Sometimes we do it to make the game less punitive, for instance, in Florenza managing the family activity is accessible to everybody without restrictions, while the Market is accessible to everybody but with the limit of one kinsman each. They are both weaker slots than the rest, but they make it possible to easily adjust your strategy, achieving small results that can be extremely precious to make ends meet in a game in which super precise planning is fundamental.
In Katana we opted for adding the Monks, i.e. more powerful workers, who trigger additional effects which can be used only paying a certain amount of money. Thanks to this you can make tactical moves or elaborate additional strategic variations to the usual ones with the basic workers, without adding “weird” action slots.
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At the end of the day, for us, worker placement is an excellent tool, and we will keep using it. However, we always put some boundaries: the first, obviously, is that there cannot be dominant strategy or obligated moves, the second is that all the game’s effects, even the most bizarre and different from the usual, must always have an explanation that is coherent with the setting, they must never look artificial, only added to make ends meet. That’s not how we like to work.

Dear Post Scriptum blog readers, are you curious about the development of a game, or you would like to know what we think about a game mechanism or a game type? Feel free to ask us any question and we’ll reveal our most mysterious secrets!

Are you curious to learn more about worker placement and much more from the Post Scriptum world? Follow us on our Telegram Channel!
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Sat Apr 23, 2022 4:02 pm
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Against hasty judgments

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After some weeks we’re back with our blog’s opinion column, with an article that criticizes gamers. What can I say, we are people pleasers!
Actually, of course, we talk about a small group, i.e. those who can’t wait to tear a game to pieces as soon as they play it for the first time, sometimes not even finishing a game.

Of course, sometimes it happens that bad “broken” games are released. It has always happened, because since the beginning of this profession there has always been a race against time, however, recently the problem has been getting increasingly worse. Sometimes, short turnaround times force publishers to rush and go to press (*) compromising the design, the ergonomics, the quality of the materials or the game design.
Or it can happen because not all publishers are that good, and they can make mistakes. It can happen repeatedly, as you have probably seen on a few occasions.
As I have already written several times, publishing is a complex job, made of thousands of stages. Without even considering administration or sales, which also take a considerable amount of time and huge efforts (but are common to all the businesses), we must say that the creation of a game requires so many different skills, that have to perfectly combine together. Usually, it puts together the work of many different people, who sometimes speak different languages, who need to be coordinated well, because even one single mistake could become a problem for the final product.
Of course, it is not an excuse: if the product is really broken, it has an unintelligible design, or it is made of awful materials, no doubt that the work of the publisher was poor. I can think of many of these instances.
But every so often this is not the case…

Well, sometimes the problem is not with the game but with the user. Often players are anxious to review a game because they are going to get another one soon, so they hasten to tell their opinion, after one game, at times not even finishing that one. It is true that this kind of gamers usually have a lot of experience with many played games, because they are eager to play one game after the other, but it is possible that this kind of experience translates into a need to criticize rather than actual competence to do it, especially when we talk about games that are critically acclaimed, especially if they judge on the basis of first or even unfinished games.
It might happen to the most passionate gamers who end up in the vicious cycle of “board games are my passion -> I want to try every single one of them -> I want them to be more and more perfect and cool -> I like one out of ten -> I’ll play the one that I like over and over again, for the rest of the games I’m going to complain on social media, because I’m a gamer and talking about it is my absolute favourite topic.” I know that these dynamics are also common in other fields, but I believe they are never particularly positive. To be clear: gamer’s feedback is extremely valuable, and I’ve often taken it into account when developing a product. Sometimes, though, it looks like criticisms emerge out of a desire to show off one’s (supposed) knowledge.
I’m going to make a couple of examples with some of our games to explain better what I am referring to:
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“You got Wendake right, it was spot on, but Kepler absolutely not: random progress cards completely spoiled it. I couldn’t even finish the first game.”
By all means, all opinions are valid, and if someone can’t finish a game because they really can’t stand a rule who am I to judge their tastes. But coming to me at a game event with such a sense of entitlement, adding that we got Wendake right (wow! We were so lucky! Not as if we did 2 years of thorough playtesting.) really got under my skin. That specific rule has been extensively tested with a myriad of people, for a whole year, for countless games, and we included it in the game in the way we thought worked best. By all means, we are not perfect, but I can’t stand how arrogant that gamer was, complaining with the publisher about a game that received almost exclusively good reviews. More than the opinion, my problem was that the opinion was given as an undeniable hard truth, established after an unfinished game.
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“Well, Wendake is nice, but I can notice that the Masks Score Track was added afterwards to make ends meet. It’s a shame, you could do better, but I see that you were in a hurry.”
No, the Masks Score Track has always existed as stated in this post, it is actually one of the few mechanics that made it to the end product without any change, because Danilo started from the setting and this is a fundamental aspect (basically, it is what distinguishes the Iroquois from other tribes).
This second example didn’t annoy me as much as the first one, maybe because it was said with a smile, but analysing it, it is not much different. By all means, we can accept the criticism about the fact that the Masks Track is disconnected to the rest. We know that and we decided to keep it like that because we liked to have a way of scoring points independent from what happens on the game board.
The annoying bit is the mention to the assumption that the mechanic was added at the end in a rush. I am sorry about that, because after years spent testing games infinite times, and creating products that are consistently acclaimed by critics, it hurts to think that people can believe something like that.
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t express their opinion on games. They are important and often interesting. I’m just saying that, most of the times, editorial choices (including those related to game design) are driven by specific reasons, and brushing them off condescendingly, without an in-depth analysis, is wrong. Rushing online to badmouth a game before anybody else doesn’t sort any good effect neither on the sector, nor on the commenter’s reputation. We end up generating harmful flames, which can easily tire people and might give off the idea of a snobbish community. It is obvious that some criticisms are deserved and those are useful, but if they are buried under loads of unwarranted criticisms, they get lost in the sea of annoyance.
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In conclusion: I believe that we (the publishers) should of course be careful to publish products that can satisfy our passionate audience, but the passionate audience should also be careful not to rush into hasty reviews.
This topic is connected to what we wrote in this post about demos at exhibitions, especially to who believes that “playing for half an hour they can evaluate any game”.
No! I mention my games because I know them, but I can assure you that neither Kepler nor Wendake (or any other Placentia game) can be evaluated after playing them for half an hour.
Play them properly, give them the chance to win you over. I can guarantee that they’re worth it!

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(*) sometimes, even we have given in to time, but only for some minor aspects of the games, something that we considered of little importance. We have always been completely satisfied with all the products that we have actually published. We have pushed back the publishing date of a game more than once because we thought that the game wasn’t ready.
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Sat Apr 9, 2022 4:59 pm
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The nice things you can do with crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding has definitely pushed boardgames towards an unexpected and interesting direction. We noticed an interesting fact that boardgames are amongst the most financed products on Kickstarter: in such a growing market, supported by relatively small publishing houses, this pre-financing thrust makes it possible for game developers to experiment and to offer backers – hence buyers – high quality products, with excellent materials and great attention to the aesthetics.
Post scriptum was one of the first few to try it in Italy: our products are particularly suitable
, thanks to a loyal fanbase who sees us as a good publisher of games for experts. Kickstarter and Gamefound are also excellent tools to give our games a promotional boost.
Crowdfunding is a smart way for small publishers to add value to their games, while paying attention to details and speaking directly to the target market with a tailored campaign.
But what happens when we decide to create a crowdfunding campaign for one of our games?

We need to think about it in a different way from a traditional publication, simply having good experience in the publishing field is not enough (we already explained how difficult a Kickstarter campaign is here).
Before starting the campaign, the game’s rules must be completed. At this stage we free our minds to find unique and fun solutions to expand the game:
–productive and aesthetically pleasing ideas
(such as Shogun no Katana’s miniatures, suggested by the author Federico Randazzo);
–gameplay ideas and expansions (such as the expansion included in Katana and the campaign mode).
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Then we develop a structured business plan, where we plan:
–costs of the material for the base game, any additions that we might foresee for stretch goals and the different prizes, and all the subsequent implications (for instance… do the add-ons fit in the box?);
–the set-up of the Kickstarter page;
–the promotion of the campaign on our channels.
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At this stage, we complete all these ideas for the campaign: obviously we need most of the illustrations to be ready to design promotional content and videos; for the most complex materials we create detailed mock-ups that can give an idea of what we want to offer our backers. Then we decide most of the additional rules and the expansions.
And, finally, we get to the best part: the campaign!

“You commit yourself… then you see”. (Napoleon)

The campaign is a very delicate moment, it is exciting, stressful, and everything can change according to backers’ reaction, their responses, and their ideas.
It can happen that just changing the order of the features shown on the page, contributions suddenly go up.
It can happen that a user comes up with a canny idea for a stretch goal and we implement it on the spot.
It can happen that we need to constantly adjust the promotions that we show every day and the goals that we want to achieve.
Just like in a sport competition, preparation is necessary, but it’s not enough, everything evolves in that moment.

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Now, after 3 increasingly more successful crowdfunding campaigns, we have a solid structure and we get ready for future campaigns by discussing with the authors about more and more engaging and a ambitious ideas that we could implement in our Placentiagames. More and more often, authors who suggest games to us already think about the crowdfunding campaign, suggesting interesting materials or game design ideas that increase the value of the final product.

One thing is for sure, without our backers’ support and advice, Placentia games wouldn’t look as nice and wouldn’t be as well-finished as we think they are. We wouldn’t be able to give the same value to the design choices if we were to sell them directly on the traditional market. In one word we wouldn’t be able to DARE, or if you prefer, we wouldn’t have as much FUN and create more and more ambitious games.

Without you, Placentia Games wouldn’t exist, and for this reason we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because you make it possible for us to create games in which we really believe, to have a structure where we can experiment and to raise the quality bar. THANK YOU!

Do you want to know what the next Placentia game is? Follow us on our Telegram channel!
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Fri Mar 18, 2022 5:26 pm
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UPDATE #34: Keeping on improving the game!

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As some of you requested, starting today we’ll be sharing on this blog the updates from the kickstarter campaign of Shogun no Katana. It’s our most ambitious and relevant project so far and we think this is a good way to keep all our fans informed of its developments.
Enjoy the reading!

Dear backers,
as written in our last update, production is going on, everything’s on track and we expect the games to be delivered in May 2022.

We examined the mockups we received and, wow, aren’t they gorgeous!
As you know by now, we are very picky, so when giving our feedback to the factory we made some tweaking: we had the printer fix a few parts of the plastic inlays (it’s funny that in creating a complex eurogame the tricky part is… packaging ?‍♂️) so they will be up to the level of the other components.
Also, we decided to increase the thickness of the tiles, now they’ll be 2mm instead of 1.5mm and we feel this way they are better suited to the luxurious look of the game while they can still be stored easily in the game box.
Don’t worry, these adjustments are not delaying the production, they’re part of the process: you have been waiting for our game for a long time and you have always been very supportive, so you deserve the game to be flawless!

So, there’s nothing more to say… There’s just something to see!

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Again, thank you so much for supporting Shogun no Katana and Post Scriptum.

Talk soon!
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Fri Mar 4, 2022 4:20 pm
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GAME ALONE: how do you develop a boardgame’s solitaire mode?

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It was 2016 when, for the first time, we explored the Kickstarter world with Kepler-3042, by Simone Cerruti Sola.
Since the very beginning we had to think about new solutions to promote the game on the crowdfunding platform, such as the exclusives for the most affectionate backers and the most innovative and creative stretch goals. These included the solitaire mode, which has become fundamental to expand the range of options that we want to offer to our players, and by now, it is a must for all our games that are thought for expert players.
More and more often players need to live boardgames without having to be bond to other people. With the pandemic this has become even more important, and we noticed that for board games enthusiasts who want to play by themselves, solo play mode is the first choice, commonly preferred to videogames.
Often, players, especially for more complex games such as our Placentia Games, use this game mode to study rules and to get ready for when they play in groups.

Let’s get to the most technical part of the article: what is our procedure to create a solitaire mode? Since the beginning, we’ve always tried to understand what type of experience we want players to live, what are the pros and the cons and what solutions make the experience compelling even without a confrontation with other players.
So far, we’ve found 3 ways:
1) Assigning tasks for players to create pressure during the game: Kepler-3042’ solitaire (entirely designed and developed by the author, Simone Cerruti Sola) is structured this way. In a game that is intrinsically tight, with few rounds, he chose to give the gamer target points objectives that get increasingly more difficult, compensating the increasing amount of requests with the possibility of starting with additional resources according to the results of the previous games.
2) Evaluating the result according to the number of points obtained in the solitaire game. We believe that this is the most dangerous way, it risks to be not engaging enough and to leave the player unsatisfied or lacking the sense of victory. For this reason, we used it only in Florenza Dice Game, which is intrinsically suitable to this mode, but we made sure we would also add a good level of variety and unpredictability adding a ghost player who chooses the dice and advances on the Captain and Bishop’s paths, making it impossible to always play the same way. This mode’s basic mechanisms were initially designed by Mario and then tested and developed by everybody, in collaboration with the author Danilo Festa.
3) Developing a real AI that actively impacts the game, acting like a human player. Below, we are going to talk about this option.
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The most interesting and challenging choice for game developers like us is to develop an AI: you have to find clever solutions to make the bot as interactive and compelling as possible, similar to a real opponent. It has to be structured in such a way that it can interact with the game sets, being Florenza workshops or Wendake’s territories, all with practical and fluid solutions, that don’t force the players to manage a huge amount of components.

Wendake’s bot was designed by Tambu, who created 4 Ghost Player cards with different backs and fronts. 3 of them are drawn at the beginning of a game and placed in random order. This makes it possible to have a different opponent for each game. Coherency of the actions carried out by the bot in its turn, is guaranteed by the fact that each round a Mask card is drawn (already existing in the multiplayer mode for different aims) and this determines what action row should be considered. This mechanism made it possible to balance the bot’s moves in a fair, always different and realistic way.
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For Florenza X: Anniversary we made a further step forward, offering the possibility to face more than one bot (also with different levels of difficulty) at the same time. Mario was the one who had the initial idea for this mode, and put forward the idea of designing a Ghost Player card, placed on the back of the players’ board. The balancing of the actions was first based on Matteo’s calculations, which we discussed in this post, and then on the many tests that the three of us carried out individually and separately. We believe that the result is a gameplay that can come off as coherent to the main game, but also unique and fun.
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Another aspect that we implemented in Florenza: X Anniversary, which you will find in Shogun no Katana is the option of adding a bot to a multiplayer game, in order to offer an even wider range of possibilities. This option was especially appreciated by couples who often play at home, giving them the chance of playing with “3 players”.

Well, for Shogun no Katana there’s much more: a challenging and structured bot, with 5 difficulty levels, and a campaign mode which we find fun and engaging. It will be a 14 chapters journey, from the foundation of your school to your affirmation as smith masters, even going through wars.

But this will be the topic of another episode of Game Design Diaries!

Are you curious about Palacentia and Post Scriptum game development? This and much more on our Telegram channel!
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Fri Feb 18, 2022 4:30 pm
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