Plaid Hat Tech and Games

Updates and musings about what I'm working on at Plaid Hat Games.
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I'm Back! What's New in Plaid Hat Tech and Games

Joseph Arthur Ellis
United States
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Microbadge: Summoner Wars fanMicrobadge: Defcon StatusMicrobadge: RaxxonMicrobadge: Ra fanMicrobadge: Star Wars: Rebellion fan
Hi all! Thanks for your patience while I neglected this blog the past month. At the beginning of this month, I took a week-long vacation with my family. Before I left, it took a lot of work to set things up (especially playtesting) to be productive while I was gone. Once I got back, it took me a couple weeks of sprinting to catch back up and get my bearings.

But things are back under control, and weekly-ish blogs will resume as before.

Summoner Wars Playtesting

After we had success finishing up playtesting Phoenix Elves and Tundra Orcs on the beta app, I worked hard before leaving for vacation to get our next deck in an enforced rules state for just our playtesters. That way they can play asynchronously and without having to manage all the rules themselves. The result is pretty amazing, as our playtesters now average 20+ total games per day. The data we get is incredible, and we'll attempt to playtest in an asynchronous way going forward, with early playtests being here at the office where needed.

The flipside is, our Master Set decks are getting heavy play in the beta app, and a couple decks are coming out strong, around 60% for Savanna Elves and Polar Dwarves - and even better in their best matchups. This is really fine for casual play - skill will matter the most there, but less than ideal for competitive play. This is outside of what I'd like to see, and I've had discussions with our developer Nick about whether we'll ever do anything about it. Some playtesters have advocated starting setup updates to Nick, and it would be cool if those could get the job done in helping. That way we could just release "competitive" standard starting setups but not have to errata cards. BUT right now it's not our highest concern - more like something to keep in mind for the long term.

Summoner Wars Beta

I just released Summoner Wars Online Beta 1.6.7-beta. The changes include:
* Fixed a bug where Ice Golems would be at 0 life but still live due to Ollag, then get Mind Controlled but not immediately die.
* Added sound cues for Polar Dwarves, Phoenix Elves, Fallen Kingdom, Vanguards, and Savanna Elves. (Tundra Orcs still to go.)
* Made it so the page doesn't have to literally reload when you exit a game.

Adding in all the sound is a lot of work. Donald put them together a while ago (which is itself a daunting task) but I kept putting off adding them because I knew it would be a slog to add all the cues.

Next on my plate this week is some quality of life things, such as a dedicated options page, menu navigation sounds, not reloading the page when going to the "next game" in multiplayer, and lifting the music up so that it doesn't necessarily restart every time you change games. Then, the deckbuilder. (We need it for playtesting especially!) If all goes well, this will be interrupted at the end of the week while I help pack the physical Master Set. But with the chaols of good shipping right now, that's no guarantee.

Gaming Lately

Real life gaming is back here in Ohio, USA! We've had some company game nights, which have included Parks, Masquerade, Dune: Imperium, Red Rising, Secret Hitler, and Deep Blue. Also, while I was on vacation, I got to play all of the following, mostly with kids: Memory Palace, Race to the Treasure, Crossing, Barenpark, Eggs and Empires (will defend this as better than Libertalia, it is a hill I will die on), and Castle Panic. Also played the first couple games of Oath with the final product.

It's absolute bliss playing all these games in person. Even fiddly games with lots of shuffling and tokens and setup and teardown are so much more worth it in person than online, for me. Nothing energizes me like participating in our hobby!

Furthermore, Plaid Hat Games is tentatively going to Origins and Gen Con this September. I can't wait, and if you read this blog, I'd love to play a game with you this fall at a con!

Will see you next week, with some more involved design discussion, but so far this month, have spent more time playing games than developing them.
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