Philip Reed(PhilReed)United States
At the Steve Jackson Games office, we're closing in on the launch date for the latest edition of Car Wars, with the Kickstarter campaign scheduled to open on Black Friday: November 29, 2019. (Click here to receive email notification when the project launches.) The game has been a lot of work -- and we know we have more to complete before everything is ready for the factory -- so let's take a little time to peek behind the curtain.
NOTE: All images are prototypes created in-house by our team. These are not final.
We're producing 36" x 36" neoprene playmats for players to use as arenas and battlegrounds when playing the new Car Wars game, but we know that some of you will want to adapt and construct your own playscales . . . and that's where these road tiles enter the picture! Each is 11" x 11" in size, and the planned road tiles expansion includes a dozen single-sided tiles. Stretch goals, if unlocked, will make these double-sided tiles.
To verify the fit function of the new tiles, the team created these small laser cut samples. Everything worked, so then the project moved to graphics.
The road tiles use the same graphics as some of the planned playmats, and the roads themselves are the same width and design as the playmat roads. While the two surfaces are not 100% compatible, we wanted to make it easier for those of you who wish to combine tiles and playmats. It's workable, but not suggested.
The cuts allow tiles to be rotated and matched. The following pic shows some of the first stage tile tests.
Once the artwork was tweaked and adjusted as necessary, the tiles aligned and came together wonderfully . . . as you can see in this pic showing all twelve tiles in one possible combination.
These new road tiles will make it much easier for players to devise their own races and roadway scenarios, and we're looking forward to seeing what wacky layouts will be created by those who buy two, three, or more packs and combine them.
We are now one week from opening Car Wars Sixth Edition on Kickstarter (click here to receive email notification when the project launches) and we have a lot of work left to do before the game is ready for print, but we hope that you're enjoying this look at one part of the project.
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After years of work, we're now closing in on the launch date for the newest edition of Car Wars. In the new edition, we've stripped the game down and brought forward only two key elements of the original: Cars and Guns.
The new game includes 1/64 scale plastic miniatures, some of which you can see in these photos. We do not yet have the 100% final plastic bases that are used during gameplay, so these pics are not exact when it comes to representing the game's look on the tabletop. Additionally, the playmats shown are still in editing, so the surface may change between now and final release of the game.
The new edition of Car Wars includes vehicle design, and most players can sit down and create a new car in about five minutes. To build a new car, everyone sets a Build Point limit for the game and then spends their points -- 6, 12, 18, or more -- to select weapons and accessories. Each player also has a set number of Crew Points; these are used to select and outfit your driver and gunner.
Here at the Steve Jackson Games office, we've been devoting the last few months to finalizing the look of the game. From the miniatures to the card design to the rulebook and packaging artwork, we've invested a lot of our energy into making everything look as amazing as possible.
The miniatures shown in these photos are just some of what we have in the works for Car Wars Sixth Edition. CAD work continues on more miniatures; our goal is to offer a wide range of styles so that there are minis that are sleek and streamlined as well as brutish and bulky. Something for everyone!
To receive notification when the Kickstarter campaign goes live on Black Friday, please follow both our Steve Jackson Games and Warehouse 23 accounts on Kickstarter. And keep your eyes open on Black Friday, because we have something special planned for those backers who join in the project on the first day.
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19 May 2019
As we continue building The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition, our team works at expanding not only the adventures, creatures, characters, and treasures for use in the game, but also the game accessories and tools that players and GMs can use when playing the game. One such expansion to the game, started earlier this year during a visit to the factory in China, is a new 25mm metal six-sided die that was inspired by an earlier project.
While working on the Illuminati Coins project, we realized that the same process used for the design of the coins could work for a different style of dice that feature more detail than our usual engraved dice. If we were to recess the image area of the die, sinking it in below the edges, we could create a Bas-relief-style face that carried depth and detail unlike any of our other dice.
It took multiple rounds of discussion and revision with the factory to translate the design from concept to prototype. For months, we worked closely with the GPI team to take the provided image from an idea to a final, functioning prototype that, as you can see, looks incredible.
Now that we have established a language with the factory, and worked through the challenges of translating our concept into a prototype, it is time that we find a home for the die. Since it is based on artwork from the Wizard game (2019 edition), it is only fitting that this die become a part of The Fantasy Trip product line. At the moment, our focus for that line is on the Decks of Destiny campaign now on Kickstarter so we first shared the die design there (posted here). Will the die officially become a part of that project? Let's just say that we haven't revealed all of the stretch goals . . .
Will we use this process for the creation of other dice? Absolutely! An Ogre die, for example, would be a fantastic fit for this design style. We just have to determine what would work best and, more importantly, what you would like to see. Any requests for metal dice constructed in this style? Please let us know!
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14 May 2019
As part of preparing to run demos of The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition at conventions over the summer, my wife and I used Hirst Arts molds, dental stone, and a lot of time to construct a 30-inch round, bar-height demo table for the game. I wrote about the construction of the table at the Steve Jackson Games website, but that post only shared a handful of photos of the table.
This BGG blog post serves one purpose: To share several photos of the 30-inch round table at various stages of the process. As I wrote in the website post, my wife deserves 99% of the credit for this table. She handled the casting and the majority of the assembly. Without her efforts, this table would not have turned out so very great.
It took several weekends of work to build the table and, ultimately, it turned out to do its job perfectly at our recent FnordCon event in Austin. What job was that? To attract players to the table and keep them there to enjoy the game.
Click on each pic for a larger look and, if you wish, feel free to ask questions in the comments. While I may not have all of the answers, I'll share what I know. And if you decide to construct your own table, please post pics and show all of us! It is always fun to see new creations.
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"The Fantasy Trip started as an attempt to design a more playable FRP game system. We wanted well-organized rules, streamlined action, and all the bugs out. The Fantasy Trip has evolved into much more."
- Steve Jackson, "Designer's Notebook," The Space Gamer No. 12, July-August 1977
When Steve wrote those words over four decades ago, I am certain that no one could have foreseen just how much the game would evolve from its initial Melee and Wizard microgames. Back in the seventies and eighties, under the original publisher, the game grew to include multiple microgames, solitaire adventures, full-sized rulebooks, and a loyal following that kept the game alive at the tabletop for the 30+ years between the shuttering of the original publisher's doors and the announcement that The Fantasy Trip was back in the hands of Steve Jackson.
The response to Steve's announcement that the game was again his (posted December 26, 2017) was overwhelmingly positive. On our own forums, as well as at roleplaying game blogs and forums across the web, many old guard TFT players stepped out of the shadows and raised their voices in excitement and encouragement. And that excitement, infectious as it was, touched gamers unfamiliar with The Fantasy Trip and helped drive the success of The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition crowdfunding campaign that ran in July and August of 2018.
We knew that we wanted to support The Fantasy Trip with new adventures and expansions; the 3,000+ backers of the Legacy Edition campaign told us that we needed to move quickly to prepare that support. Our hope was to have adventures ready by the time that the physical rewards mailed out to the Kickstarter backers.
Steve, along with Guy McLimore, and following a template that the three of us agreed to, started the difficult task of assigning authors to create the first five adventures to be published for The Fantasy Trip under the Steve Jackson Games banner. We released the first two of those five adventures in PDF in November and December of 2018 . . . to a small number of purchasers. After the success of the Kickstarter campaign, the number of PDFs sold was, honestly, disappointing. We had expected a stronger response to the adventures and we were not going to let the weak sales numbers of the first two PDFs slow us down.
We adapted quickly. One message that we saw, again and again, led us back to Kickstarter: The majority of the original campaign backers wanted printed books and counters, not PDFs, so we stopped the release of the third adventure and took all five of the adventures to Kickstarter as a collected book with die-cut megahex tiles and game counters. The resulting campaign was phenomenal, with over 1,000 backers. It created a 64-page hardcover book complete with die-cut components. The book is now at the factory and expected to ship to backers starting in August.
Zine Quest. In January, when Kickstarter announced their Zine Quest event -- in which they encouraged creators to produce old-school gaming zines -- we immediately saw the fun in the idea and reached out to Kickstarter. On February 1, we joined the first wave of Zine Quest campaigns with Hexagram #1, a old-school zine for The Fantasy Trip that grew to 36 pages and looks incredible! It was a small project, yes, but we were taken by surprise when the BackerKit preorders and surveys generated more revenue than the Kickstarter campaign. The lesson? We are not alone in being fans of gaming zines.
By the time we started shipping the Kickstarter rewards for the 2018 Legacy Edition campaign to backers (in March of 2019), Steve and the team had spent months working on a new type of supplement for The Fantasy Trip. Decks of Destiny, taking advantage of the manufacturing experience that we’ve developed over the years, brings cards -- lots of cards -- into the game in a variety of different ways. With over 250 cards in the new set -- which is now crowdfunding on Kickstarter -- Decks of Destiny offers tools for both players gamemasters.
* Card decks including option cards (players use these when declaring actions in combat), various adversary cards (orcs, wizards, and creatures), rumors for roleplaying sessions, treasures for when you defeat foes, and labyrinth cards you can use to randomly create dungeons and caverns.
* Megahex tiles, which expand on the tabletop terrain tiles that are in the Legacy Edition box, giving you more options when it comes time to build a map and run combat encounters.
* Journals, that can be used as expanded character sheets, rumor tracking tools, labyrinth design workbooks, and more.
The box was heavy to start, and unlocked stretch goals keep adding to the Decks of Destiny package. And that doesn't even touch on the I Want All The Newness reward level that also comes with dice, a new playmat, and even more as stretch goals are met.
Decks of Destiny is now on Kickstarter and open until June 3. To participate, please join the campaign today and drive us forward so we can unlock even more stretch goals and keep adding to the box.
What comes next?
Even though our attention is on Decks of Destiny, as well as completing the Adventures and Hexagram campaigns, we're still looking to the future of The Fantasy Trip and preparing for even more support. Coming up we have:
* More adventures. And do you want to write for The Fantasy Trip? Check out the new guidelines!
* Monsters. Steve has written one book of creatures, and we know that we always need even more monsters for the game.
* More cards. Steve is keeping notes for a companion to Decks of Destiny (keep the requests coming!) and, once there's enough material, we'll start solidifying plans for the sequel.
* More everything. Counters. Terrain tiles. Playmats. Dice. MORE STUFF! We have heard you and we're doing all that we can to incorporate player and GM tools into the upcoming projects.
We do not yet have a schedule for when these support titles will be published, but we do know that you need to follow both the Steve Jackson Games and Warehouse 23 accounts on Kickstarter for notification when projects launch. As you can tell, we're planning on supporting The Fantasy Trip for as long as the demand remains strong, and the best way for this to happen is for you to vote with your voice -- by joining the discussions at our official forums -- and with your dollars both during crowdfunding campaigns and after titles are released into the wild.
Thank you, everyone, for making the launch of The Fantasy Trip under Steve Jackson Games so powerful. We're going to do all that we can to keep producing enjoyable and valuable supplements for the game, and we'll keep working to satisfy your demands as well as our own dreams for the game. Together, we can keep The Fantasy Trip going for many, many years to come.
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As our Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter continues, our team pulls more and more marketing materials from those older games and expansions so that we can prepare to reproduce the catalogs and ad inserts. Part of the project, you see, will include reprinting various catalogs and flyers and then packing them inside the games. While we cannot fulfill any of the listed products at the stated prices (inflation, and many are just no longer available), we can include the catalogs for those of you who enjoy flipping through old marketing materials.
Earlier this month, we shared a few pages from the summer 1983 catalog. Today, to give you an idea of what Steve Jackson Games was publishing over three decades ago, we've selected a few pages from a 1987 catalog for you to enjoy.
First up, we have Car Wars games, expansions, and accessories that were an important part of every fan's collection back in the eighties. This isn't all of the Car Wars games and expansions listed in the catalog, but these particular pages are relevant to the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter because many of the items are being reproduced thanks to the success of the campaign.
Looking at this collection of pages makes me want to find the artwork for that GURPS Autoduel cover; it would make a fantastic folder for the project.
Next, we see the catalog's Ogre offerings. Out of every Ogre product shown here, only The Ogre Book is not included in the ongoing campaign on Kickstarter. And better still, the Pocket Box games will include die-cut counters and we've revealed the stretch goal to include die-cut counters in the two expansions.
For those of you who enjoyed the 2014 release of "Pocket" Ogre, these small pack games and accessories grant you access to the games as they appeared in the eighties. Compact and ready-to-go everywhere!
And now, toward the end of the 1987 catalog, we find even more Steve Jackson Games small titles that are a part of the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter. Undead, Necromancer, One-Page Bulge, and Raid on Iran are all Pocket Box games included in the campaign, which brings back these four titles for the first time in decades. Many have never played these, only heard of them, and this is the perfect opportunity to get factory-fresh reproductions and get a look at these classics.
The Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter still has over two weeks before it closes and has already opened up over twenty different games and expansions. If you're a fan of these retro games, now is the time to join in and help unlock even more games and expansions, and to pack die-cut counters inside some of the expansion packs.
Seeing these games return is a treat for all of us at the office, and we wouldn't be here without the support of 1,000+ backers. We hope that you'll join us in this fantastic campaign.
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As part of our ongoing Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, we've been slowly unlocking classic Car Wars expansions as add-on options for those backers who want to replace their originals with near-exact replicas. After all, your factory-fresh copy of Crash City absolutely needs a minty copy of Car Wars Expansion Set #3, East Midville, right? Thanks to the support of project backers, we've already unlocked several ziplock bag expansions from the eighties . . . and we still have three weeks to go before the campaign closes!
So far, for those of you who haven't been following along, the Car Wars expansions that are offered as a part of the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter include:
* Convoy: A Programmed Car Wars Adventure - A perfect companion to the Car Wars and Truck Stop Pocket Box titles, this is a programmed adventure that can be played solo.
* Uncle Albert's Auto Stop & Gunnery Shop 2035 Catalog - When my friends and I would sit down to play Car Wars back in the late eighties, the Uncle Al's series of catalogs were always a must. So many fantastic memories!
* The AADA Vehicle Guide - Page after page after page of ready-to-go vehicle designs, we often used the cars and cycles from this book as target practice in our games. I cannot think of a single session where we used the cars for our own, but we did enjoy blasting them.
* Car Wars Expansion Set #1 - Possibly one of the most-useful expansons from the earlier years of Car Wars, if only because the road sections allowed us to construct larger maps.
* Car Wars Expansion Set #2 - Duplicate counters are always handy!
* Car Wars Expansion Set #3, East Midville - The first really big Car Wars ziplock bag expansion and the heart of many insane battles, this pack expands the city battlefield that's included in Crash City.
* Car Wars Expansion Set #4, Armadillo Autoduel Arena - Looking at this expansion now has me asking myself: What was our first arena event? If my memory is correct, it had to have been the Truck Stop map . . . though we did eventually work our way to playing in the Armadillo Autoduel Arena.
* Car Wars Expansion Set #6, The AADA Vehicle Guide Counters - This one was more of an oddity in our group than a vital part of the game, but I've since learned that many Car Wars fans found these color-em-yourself counters entertaining. I guess these were the gamer version of the adult coloring book movement?
Those eight expansions, alongside the three Car Wars Pocket Box titles, equals eleven Car Wars reprints that are being created because of the success of the still-active Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter. It is the support of project backers that makes all of this possible, and we're looking forward to unlocking even more Car Wars stretch goals before the project comes to a close in three weeks.
So far, almost 1,000 fans of these classics -- or those who want to experience games from the eighties -- have joined us in the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, and we're once again startled at how many of you remember and enjoy these older titles. If you're one of the (as of this writing) 990 project supporters, thank you!
And if you've not yet added your support to the project, please be sure to check it out. Your support helps us bring back even more classic Car Wars expansions . . . and we know there are favorite expansions that have not yet been unlocked.
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As part of preparing for the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, we pulled old catalogs from the archives and reviewed the contents. Diving into those Steve Jackson Games catalogs from the eighties was a real treat, and today I'd like to share several of the pages from the summer 1983 catalog. 1983? That feels like decades ago!
First up, of course, has to be the Car Wars series! Of the items listed in the above image, only Autoduel Quarterly failed to make the cut for admission into the project. Car Wars, Truck Stop, and Crash City (the name change from Sunday Drivers was a trademark thing back in the eighties) are all a part of the Pocket Box games campaign. Personally, my old Pocket Box games are pretty battered and beaten, so I'm looking forward to getting factory-fresh copies of these titles!
Next up, it should come as no surprise that we've made the original Illuminati Pocket Box a part of the project. The two expansions aren't included . . . yet! Keep an eye on the campaign stretch goals and maybe we'll surprise you.
Ogre has been getting ongoing support over the last few years, and after the release of the Pocket Ogre game in 2014, many fans have asked again and again if more of the line will be released in a classic format. While we can't keep the price as low as they were when they were new, we are happy to report that Ogre, G.E.V., and Battlesuit are all a part of the campaign. And if all goes well, we'll unlock stretch goals to add more Ogre material to the campaign.
Lastly, we have the catalog pages that show off possible additions to the ongoing Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter. We've already revealed Undead,
Necromancer, and Raid on Iran as stretch goals, and we'll keep revealing new stretch goals as older ones are unlocked, so . . . you know. More to come!
The Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter closes in less than four weeks, so please take a little time to review the campaign and consider joining us in bringing back these classic games. Your support will help us to unlock more stretch goals and bring these classics back to collections everywhere!
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30 Jan 2019
Today, after launching the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, the first die-cut counter test landed in my hands. While at the factory earlier this month, we took time to discuss what was/was not possible when it came to adapting the old counter artwork to die-cut requirements, and the factory assured us that they could make everything work.
And, with the test sheets in-hand, we can confirm that die-cut counters are a definite possibility! The factory had to make slight changes to the configuration -- mostly to add more space for the machines to do their work -- but the counter sizes and artwork all match the original games, meaning that we will absolutely include a stretch goal that, if unlocked, will add die-cut counters to all of the games!
If you've not yet checked out the Pocket Box games campaign on Kickstarter, please jump in and take a look at the available games and expansions. We've not yet reached our goal, but your support can take us to the goal . . . and start unlocking all of the project stretch goals!
We hope to see you there!
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Great news, everyone! We've now set a date for the upcoming Pocket Box games Kickstarter project: January 30! On that day, we'll launch the new campaign and, with your support, proceed on our journey to re-create classic Pocket Box games of the eighties.
At launch, the Kickstarter campaign will offer seven different Pocket Box games as rewards. The initial games are:
* Car Wars
* Truck Stop
* Crash City
Additionally, three Car Wars expansions will be offered as add-on items at the start of the project.
* Uncle Al's Catalog (2035)
* The AADA Vehicle Guide
Stretch goals will unlock more games and expansions, pack dice inside the games, and there's one big stretch goal that should fulfill the biggest request that we've seen to date: die-cut counters!
While at the factory a few weeks ago, I discussed the Pocket Box project and the counter dilemma. You see, those original game counter sheets were designed with hand-cutting in mind; the counters do not work well with the die-cutting process.
Fortunately, discussions with the factory -- and some tests that they've run since our meeting -- have revealed that they can reconstruct each counter sheet and rework the artwork to allow for die-cutting. The process, though, is time-consuming and expensive . . . which makes die-cut sheets a perfect stretch goal for the upcoming Kickstarter campaign!
And if the die-cut counters stretch goal is met, these counters will be in addition to the classic-style counter sheets. Backers would, if the stretch goal is unlocked, receive two sets of counters in each game (as appropriate). This way, everyone would get the complete retro-style package and die-cut counters; a win/win for us all!
The Pocket Box games campaign starts on January 30. For now, please visit the official pocketbox.games website and follow Steve Jackson Games on Kickstarter. With your support, we'll make this project a massive success and unlock several different games and expansions and bring back these classic Pocket Box games of the eightes!
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