We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 4)
Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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We are taking the plunge!

After more than three years of planning, research, design work, playtests, discussions, etc., we are ready to introduce our first board game, Three Kingdoms Redux, to you. I am also setting up a company, Starting Player, to publish the game. Artwork for the game is progressing as I type this and should be completed by the end of this year. Manufacturing will follow shortly after.

As you can tell, we are thrilled and excited to be sharing this piece of news with fellow board gamers! Here is the story of our journey...

Links to other parts of our story:
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 1)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 2)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 3)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 5)


Subscribe to this geeklist to be informed when we update our story.

Links:
Three Kingdoms Redux
Starting Player
Three Kingdoms Redux Game Rules
Three Kingdoms Redux Compendium
Geeklist discussing historical perspective of Three Kingdoms Redux
Geeklist discussing artwork of generals of Three Kingdoms Redux
Geeklist discussing artwork of state enhancements of Three Kingdoms Redux
• The all important Significant Other:
Keng Leong Yeo
Singapore
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小富靠勤,中富靠智,大富靠德。
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1. Board Game: Auspicious Beginning [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Artwork Begins (April 2013)

The artwork began in earnest on 1st April, and it wasn't an April Fool's Day joke. Ray started off at a brisk pace and we were seeing drafts right from the first day. We were impressed by both his speed and the quality of his work.

Ray had given us an estimate of 8 months for the artwork. We wanted quality work, and judging by what we were seeing in the initial few days, the 8 months will be worth the wait.

Here is a picture of one of his initial drafts. It depicts Yue Jin, one of Wei's generals:
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2. Board Game: Word on the Street [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:1637]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Chinese Calligraphy (April 2013)

Shortly after artwork began, the issue of the card back designs surfaced. We had already picked a Chinese font for all Chinese words that appear in our game. These were added to enhance the theme of the game. The original plan for the card back was to use that same font for the three states' names of 魏,吳 and 蜀 on the card backs, against backgrounds showing the terrain of each state.

Ray did that for us and we showed it to a few playtesters. Whilst the Chinese font looks nice and dandy in our game rules, when enlarged, it looks a little too modern. This was pointed to us by a few playtesters and some suggested getting Chinese calligraphy done for those three words instead.

We started a preliminary search for that, wondering how much such services would cost as we did so. robot Shortly after we commenced on the search, whilst I was out buying lunch near home, I happened to walk past a series of tentages. Closer inspection revealed that it was a Chinese-related fair/exhibition, with Chinese handicraft and such exhibited. There were also some ongoing demonstrations of some of these craftwork.

As I strolled along the tentages, I saw a Chinese calligraphy demonstration going on, with a queue forming in front of that stall. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the calligrapher was offering free calligraphy to any one who was interested. surprise I could hardly hide my glee as I joined the queue, and phoned my Significant Other to inform him of the good news.

Most people requested words such as 福 (prosperity) or 壽 (longevity), so you can imagine the calligrapher's surprise when I made my request,

"Eh... Uncle, can write 魏吳蜀 (wei, wu, shu) for me?"
(Note to non-Singaporeans: In Singapore, we usually call all males older than ourselves "uncle" as a form of respect. And yes, it is "auntie" for females. That's part of the reason for our uberbadges. )

The calligrapher, Mr. Ong, naturally asked why, and I explained it was for our board game.

Here's the picture of Mr. Ong about to write 魏吳蜀 for us:


And here is one of the card backs (right of picture):
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3. Board Game: Belly-Ache [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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My Illness (April to June 2013)

Right around the time artwork commenced, I started experiencing frequent short periods of breathlessness coupled with occasional tummy discomfort.

A few visits to our family Chinese doctor improved my condition. The cause was gastritis and I have had it since my teens. The breathlessness, however, was something new to me. And unfortunately, it returned once the medication ended. Another few visits to a general practitioner, one I had consulted for gastritis since my teens, also only improved my condition temporarily.

We decided to get to the bottom of things and consulted a gastroenterologist. His preliminary diagnosis after lots of questions and a physical check was stress. When asked about our occupations, he was tickled to hear that I am a full-time board game designer. We were also a little dumbfounded about how that could lead to stress, since my working hours are flexible and involves no commute. My Significant Other wondered if I have been worrying too much about the playtests, artwork, manufacturing, distribution... etc.

Nonetheless, the specialist recommended a scope and scan to be sure. As he suspected, everything turned out ok, and nothing untoward was found. We were relieved to hear that. I was advised to take it easy and was prescribed medication to be taken only when needed. My condition did improve, but very slowly.
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4. Board Game: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [Average Rating:3.72 Overall Rank:17647] [Average Rating:3.72 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Return of Emeritus Chief Playtester (May to August 2013)

May 2013 saw the return of Ah Ghee to playtesting. The game has changed substantially since his last play in November 2011, though the core mechanics have largely been untouched. We are always keen to hear Ah Ghee's feedback.

Our work schedules allowed for a period of concentrated playtesting between May and August, and we did just that. During this period, we usually managed 1-2 playtests with him in a week, occasionally 3-4 playtests. This is on top of other playtests with Brandon and other friends.

It took a few games for Ah Ghee to get back into the groove. Our playtests with him tend to be more intense as he is such a deep thinker. We are happy to report that the game has stabilised to the extent that only very minor changes were made after going through these playtests.

As before, we are grateful to him for his time with these playtests.

Here's a picture of Ah Ghee during one of those playtests. As you can tell, he considers his options very seriously:
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5. Board Game: Brothers By My Side [Average Rating:6.70 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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My Brother Gets Involved (May to August 2013)

My younger brother graduated from a local university in May. Once his final examinations were over, I sounded him out on the possibility of playtesting. He agreed readily and weekly playtests began with him. They were usually on the days we go back to visit my parents.

The playtests also gave us an opportunity to show the prototype of our game to my parents. My dad sat through one playtest with us and found it a little too deep for him. Nonetheless, it did help my parents appreciate how much effort and time we have been putting into this project.

My brother was probably not as strong a player as Ah Ghee initially, but after he got into the groove, he was also giving us a run for our money. More importantly, it gave us insights into another playing style and how it affected the game.

With weekly playtests with Ah Ghee and my brother, as well as the playtests with Brandon, we were managing an average of 3-4 playtests a week. I recall a week that we even managed 6 playtests! I could hardly keep up with my playtest reports, and an occasional backlog built up during this period. Not that I am complaining!

I have recorded playtests 101 and after on BGG. Starting from that playtest, only minor changes have been made to the game. The vast majority of the changes pertain to tweaks in generals' skill or state enhancements' benefits. Here is the link to the record of our playtests.

And here is a picture of my brother during one of those playtests. He also takes his options very seriously :
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6. Board Game: Blind Date [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Blind Playtesting (July 2013)

We have had many playtesters try Three Kingdoms Redux, but all of the playtests thus far have involved at least one of us. We were therefore expectant when we found three friends at the board gaming club that were willing to help us with playtesting, namely Ashleigh, Favian and Jeffrey.

They were our first "blind playtesters" of sorts. We explained the game to them, but gave nothing away in terms of strategy. Then we sat back and watched the game unfold. I was a little tempted to drop hints during the playtest, but was stopped by my Significant Other from doing so.

As a result, the first playtest saw all players took sub-optimal decisions. Our past playtest reports show that the player who took the most number of actions did not necessarily win. Rather, it was usually the player who adapted his/her strategy around his/her recruited generals' attributes and therefore took the more efficient actions that won.

This trend continued in these series of playtests. Favian, who spotted synergies and took advantage of them quickly, won. The subsequent playtests saw the three of them learning from their past mistakes. Nonetheless, Favian was still the most efficient and won again. It was interesting to note that Favian had won the game with all three different states.

An unexpected observation of this series of playtests was the amount of player interaction. There was plenty of banter between the three of them throughout the games, significantly more than the playtests involving at least one of us.

We were happy with the results of our first "blind playtests" as player interaction is high on our priority list. We hope other board gamers will enjoy the amount of player interaction in our game when they eventually get to try it.

Ashleigh also made the suggestion to include some flavour text on the general cards to enhance the theme. This was implemented on the three leaders' cards.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the three of them for their time and suggestions.

P.S. Jeffrey is a pretty nifty board gamer, frequently beating us at all sorts of games. He is also trying his hand at game design. We have playtested his prototype and offered some suggestions. With more local board gamers trying out game designing, it seems like the local board gaming circle is getting more vibrant.
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Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Two-Player Variant? (January to July 2013)

Having played a number of board games with decent two-player variants, we started considering the possibility of a two-player variant once the three-player variant stablised. Brainstorming and more formal discussion began in early 2013. Since then, we have had a long debate, lasting up to six months, on whether to include it.

My stance was based on widening the target market. I understand many board gamers are like us, i.e. spouses/partners playing board games with each other. My Significant Other values theme, amongst other things, highly in a board game. He agreed with me that it would be great to have a two-player variant, but only if it was as thematical and as fun as the base game.

We decided to give it a try, and worked on it for a good four to five months. We eventually settled on a set of rudimentary rule tweaks required to "convert" the game into a two-player variant. It involves a dummy player, with both players taking turns to place a bid for it. The first serious playtest for the two-player variant took place on 12th May 2013 and we had a couple more between the two of us up till July.

My Significant Other felt that the two-player variant has lost a huge chunk of its theme, as the natural balance between the three states is no longer there. I was reluctant to give it up, but do understand that no matter how "smart" we make the dummy player, we will never be able to replicate that delicate balance between the three states.

At the moment, it looks like we will not be including a two-player variant into Three Kingdoms Redux. We may revisit this issue at a later date, but for now, we plan on spending the time pursuing other board game ideas instead.
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8. Board Game: The BoardGameGeek Game [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:4860]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Submission to BGG (16th to 18th July 2013)

We submitted the Starting Player (publisher), both of us (designers, Christina Ng and Yeo Keng Leong) and Three Kingdoms Redux (board game) for inclusion into the BGG database on 16th July 2013.

I was really excited about the prospect and kept checking my geek mailbox for the approval notification gulpsnore. During those couple of days, my Significant Other kept shaking his head at me shake and asking me not to stress over it. It will come eventually, he said. blush

Approval for them eventually came through on 18th July 2013. It was a proud day for both of us! meeple
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Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Game Rules (6th August 2013)

Shortly after the approval of the game submission, we started pondering about posting the Three Kingdoms Redux game rules.

My Significant Other is probably the more optimistic between the two of us, and often the risk-taker. As an example, in all of our Tichu games thus far, I can count the number of times I called Tichu with one hand, and that was after much encouragement from him. In contrast, he is becoming quite adept at calling Tihcu, once calling 10 Tichus in two games we had in a single evening, succeeding in all but one of them.

He held the view that the board game remains an empty shell to the reader until it is backed up by a set of game rules. My concerns were obviously over the possibility of piracy and copyright issues, though I have read a lot of threads that mentioned this is not a concern at all. We have after all worked on this for a few years! robot Now you can see where all the stress comes from. It's all self-inflicted.

We have been updating the rules since the beginning of the game's development. Most of it was undertaken by myself, after he passed the board gaming work to me in April 2011. By August 2013, the draft rules has reached version 71, but nobody except ourselves have laid eyes on them. We recognise that we needed other pairs of eyes, particularly other board gamers, to review them.

That last consideration pushed us across the line. The draft game rules was submitted and approved on the 6th August 2013. Here is the link to it. For readers who do download and read them, please inform us of any typos and other errors. Many thanks from us in advance!
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10. Board Game: Initial Reaction [Average Rating:5.40 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Demo Website and Training (June to August 2013)

By late May 2013, Ray had completed quite a number of sketches. We sent the ones we wanted on our website over to the MDAS Bizpower team. In June, the MDAS Bizpower team came back with a draft frontpage.

A week or two later, they came back with the broad structure of the website. There was to be a few more reviews by ourselves and minor changes by them but everything was more or less in place. We were pleased with the progress on the website development.

In late August 2013, it was ready! The MDAS Bizpower team invited us down to their office for a training session to start the handing taking over process.

Upon reaching their office, we were pleasantly surprised when presented with a user manual. They have taken the time to prepare one specially for us! thumbsup During the training session, they were very patient in answering our questions and showing us the ways to make future adjustments ourselves. We are grateful for their time and effort on this project. Here is a photograph we took with them at the end of the training session:

The team who worked on Starting Player's website design are:

• Wen Li Quan (guy in checkered shirt at far right)
He was also the person I liaised with throughout the whole project.

• Lim Shin Ming (guy covered in a blanket in the centre)

• Mok Jia Yong (guy in white T-shirt on the right)

• Law Yean Cheng (lady in white top also on the right)

• Judy Wee (smiling lady in blue top on the left)
She was also the initial contact I liaised with when I enquired about Bizpower's website design service.

The other unnamed members of the picture are also part of the team of dedicated website designers. All of them work on different web design projects at the same time. On hindsight, we are certainly glad we picked Bizpower and would go back to them if the Starting Player website needs a polish and shine in the future.

After making some final adjustments, the Starting Player website is now "live"!
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11. Board Game: Shocks & Scares [Average Rating:5.96 Unranked]
Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Another Health Scare (August 2013)

The new academic semester began in mid-August, and playtesting slowed. Having undertaken many playtests in the past 3 months, we are certainly feeling much more confident and comfortable about the game's balance now.

I woke up one August morning to find my Significant Other already in the study, at his computer. My first destination after waking up is usually the bathroom. After I was done washing up, he motioned to me and spoke calmly,"I need to tell you something. Please don't get overly excited and stay calm." (He knows I get anxious easily )

"I think I should visit a doctor. I've been feeling this discomfort or strain here (points to the left side of his chest) for about a week. I have been observing it but it has not gone away. Coupling this with my latest health check report, I thought I should go, just in case."

Some background information: He had a health checkup a number of years ago, and everything was ok except for his high LDL cholesterol level. He has since exercised more and reduced his egg intake. His most recent health checkup, two months back, shows a lowering of the LDL cholesterol level, but it is still deemed to be too high.

I tried my level best to stay and look calm, and we visited a GP that same morning. After listening intently to my Significant Other's descriptions, the GP allayed our fears by pointing out that pains due to heart problems afflict a different area (points to upper left chest and up to his left shoulder). The area my Significant Other has been pointing to are his ribs and suggests he had somehow strained his ribs last week.

The GP then took a long look at his latest health report and chuckled. First of all, my Significant Other's HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol) ratio is pretty high (which is a good thing). Secondly, he only has 0.5 of the four risk factors, i.e. he is underweight, doesn't smoke, is not diabetic and has high LDL, but this is mitigated by the good HDL to LDL ratio. His conclusion: Nothing to worry about.

So it turned out to be just another health scare. Are we too paranoid?

P.S. The discomfort went away gradually, after another week or so.
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Christina Ng
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Mystery of the CE Marking (August to September 2013)

We realised shortly after approval of our game submission that we needed a placeholder for the game box. The consensus short term solution was to use the artwork for Cao Cao 曹操.

We also asked Ray if he was willing to change the artwork schedule slightly, moving the gamebox up to just after his current work of colouring the generals. He sportingly agreed. I should add that throughout the artwork with Ray, he has been accommodating to our requests. Thanks, Ray! thumbsup

The implication of this switch was I had to make sure all the information going onto the box front and back has to be ready before he starts on the gamebox work. That brings the CE marking and barcode to mind.

We have long noticed the CE marking on game boxes of many board games we own. I had started some preliminary research on it at around the same time I was researching manufacturers. I picked up from where I left off. First stop was reading through the directive relating to toy safety and referring to the European Commission website.

Despite reading through the above, I was still confused about whether affixing the CE marking is necessary for us. My Significant Other suggested that I try posting my enquiries on BGG to seek advice. BGG-ers are not only helpful, but sometimes knowledgeable in somewhat obscure areas too. True enough, I received quite a number of responses and am grateful for the help.

We are currently slanting towards to affixing the CE marking on Three Kingdoms Redux but need further clarification regarding the safety requirements set out in Annex II of the directive. I have written an enquiry e-mail to the authority for more details and they have replied to me. At the time of writing, I am still reading through the information they had shared with me. They will hopefully clarify my doubts.

------------------------------------------------------

Update: Based on our final understanding of the regulations via various clarifications, we will not be applying the CE marking to the game box of Three Kingdoms Redux. The main reason is because the game is labelled as age 14+.
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13. Board Game: The Lawyers Game [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Purchase of Barcodes (August 2013)

Barcodes was another area I found perplexing. For one, there were two versions of barcodes available, namely the UPC and EAN.

My initial research led me to GS1 and the Singapore GS1 website. I was shocked to find out that applying a tiny barcode on our product can be such a costly affair. surprise On top of the initial costs, there is also an annual fee. Such high costs does not sit well with small set ups like ours. yuk The money is better spent on better quality game components!

I started looking for alternatives on the internet and came upon resellers of barcodes. There is no annual fee involved and their prices are much more reasonable. This seem like an ideal solution for us, though I had reservations about their legality. The large differences in prices also looked suspicious.

After some investigation and digging ninja, I found out about this litigation case. Since these resellers do not have to make yearly fees, the entire set up now makes sense.

I went on to find quite a number of barcode resellers on the internet, some of which may not be legal or may be fake. It is the responsibility of each purchaser to do a check to ensure that they are purchasing the barcodes from a legitimate company. Here is a useful link that I found during my reseach. I looked through the list of registered resellers before deciding on the one that I felt comfortable and confident with.

Barcodes purchased and another item struck off my to-do list!
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Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Let's Play! 2013 (7th and 8th September 2013)

We came to know of the Let's Play! 2013 event via this thread. It sounded like a good opportunity to present Three Kingdoms Redux to local board gamers and perhaps conduct some blind playtests. We have since received permission from the main organiser to do so.

As a heavy eurogame with longer average play time of 2.5 hours, it may be harder for us to attract local board gamers to playtests. Nonetheless, that does not stop us from trying!

For those attending Let's Play! 2013 and are interested to playtest Three Kingdoms Redux, here are some pertinent information about the game:

Three Kingdoms Redux is a heavy eurogame. It is a 3-player game and will take approximately 3 hours for new players, including game explanation. The playtesting will be conducted using our prototype, which does not contain artwork. Artwork is still in progress and you can take a look at some of the samples in our game page here.

The rules can be downloaded from here.

Feel free to geekmail me if you have any enquiries about the game or if you are interested to join us for a playtesting session.

We look forward to meeting you at the event!

------------------------------------------------------

Day 1 (7th September)

We reached the venue and had everything set up by 1:30p.m. During the next hour, we took turns to roam around the venue whilst we waited for the two playtesters who booked slots with us. There was a Hive competition going on, and if we were not tied up with playtesting, would have definitely signed up for.

Our first playtester Alexis arrived first, and we had a brief chat with him. Mainly regarding the draft rules. He came with his son, and they also went off to look at other tables whilst we waited for our second playtester, Ashleigh. Yes, it is the same Ashleigh from the geeklist item above.

Ashleigh had some work commitments and arrived at 3p.m. After a brief clarification of the parts of the rules that were unclear to Alexis, we got underway. I played Wei, Alexis took Wu and Ashleigh tried Shu. The game was played at a leisurely pace, and Alexis stopped to give us his feedback whenever he thought of any. Alexis was very open with his opinions and needed no prompting from us.

Alexis is a wargamer, and his views were certainly different from what we have heard from other playtesters thus far. Certainly a good thing for us and the game. For example, our use of the word "deploy" in the rules confused him, as "deploy" meant sending troops to battle for wargamers, while we meant stationing of troops at the location just won after the battle.

He added that we need to include pictures of our prototype in the draft rules, though it is still a set of draft rules. He found the tiles and action spaces hard to visualise without pictures.

Whilst Alexis played with us for the next three hours, stopping occasionally to offer feedback, his 8-year old son sat patiently next to him. We are very grateful to both Alexis for his generous feedback and his son for his patience.


After our first playtest ended, there were a number of members from the gaming club we attend that wanted to try the game. However, the time was already 7:30p.m. and we had all not dinnered yet. We offered them an invitation to our home for a playtest at a later date instead, which was taken up.

When we reached home that night, we discovered that Alexis had taken the trouble to rate and comment Three Kingdoms Redux on BGG. We are touched by this gesture. cry

Day 2 (8th September)

As with the previous day, we had everything set up by 1:30p.m. Our first three playtesters for today were Ou Yang, Michael and Bohan. Adrian, who had booked a spot with us, was unable to attend as his boys were ill. One of the members of the gaming club who wanted to try the game the previous day, Michael, stepped in.

The playtest started at 2p.m., with Bohan taking Wei, Michael as Wu and Ou Yang playing Shu. Bohan and Ou Yang had read the draft rules beforehand and their feedback were similar to Alexis', i.e. it is quite difficult to read without pictures.

I will be including the pictures and uploading rules with pictures within the next week or so.

The game developed at a brisk pace as all three players caught on quickly. We also observed much interaction between the players during the playtest.

Year 6 of the game saw a flurry of battle activity:

At the end of the playtest, we bombarded them with many questions. One of the ideas that came out of the feedback session was a possible adjustment to how we implement the development of farm/marketplace and harvest/collect tax mechanic. We will be trying this out in the next few playtests with our regular playtesters.

The first playtest and feedback session ended at approximately 5:30p.m. and there was time for another. Question was, whether there were board gamers who were interested?

Turns out that there were, namely Ashleigh, Favian and Dave. All three of them are from the board gaming club with Ashleigh and Favian having had several other playtests before (see geeklist item above). Dave was involved in a The Package competition. The Package is a card game, also by a Singaporean designer. After a short wait, it seems like Dave is progressing into the next round of the competition, and he asked us to go ahead without him.

That left us one player short. Just as my Significant Other sat down to make up the numbers, our friend, Weiliang found a new player for us. The new player seemed shy and did not wish to be identified nor his picture taken for BGG. We respected his wishes. He played Wei in the game, and I will refer to him as such from hereon.

Ashleigh and Favian, having a number of games under their belts, were already negotiating some pacts whilst we explained the game to the Wei player.

Wei had a little difficulty understanding the bidding and action taking mechanics; He thought the action spaces were "property" to fight for and own. I found out later from Weiliang that he is a relatively new board gamer, having played mostly trading card games previously.

Once we played a year of the game, Wei got the idea and started formulating his own strategy. I was quite impressed by how fast he grasped the main ideas and went for what he thought was the best strategy. He was also very curious about the design, balancing, artwork, manufacturing, pricing, etc. of the game. The more we answered his questions, the more involved he got in the playtest and the more questions he had for us.

And of course, Wei also gave us his feedback when the game ended. He enjoyed the game, but his main concern for us was the strict three-player aspect of it. He noted that this wasn't a game to play at a party, which was ok by us, as we meant it to be a heavy eurogame, and that three players is usually trickier to arrange than two players, and that we may be limiting our market. We acknowledged those points.

By the end of the second playtest, it was 9p.m. We called it a day and that brought an end to our participation of Let's Play 2013. Three playtests with five completely new players and two repeat players. We couldn't be happier!
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Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Artwork for Generals Completed (April to October 2013)

The artwork for all 69 generals of Three Kingdoms Redux has just been completed, six and a half months after Ray started work. Ray was right on schedule too: He had provided us with a timetable at the start of work way back in April, and 18th October was the pencilled in as the date for the completion of generals' artwork. thumbsup

You can see a selected number of these generals' artwork on via this geeklist: Three Kingdoms Redux: Artwork for Generals Explained

Over the past few months, we have been seeking and receiving feedback on the icons and font on the general cards, and will be fine-tuning them over the next few weeks. Here is the first proposed version:

The most common feedback received was for more prominent font on the icons. We are currently testing with larger font sizes for the icons, as well as different colour combinations and hues for the skill wordings and its background.

Next up on Ray's schedule are the state enhancements' artwork. zombie

P.S. That's the artwork for Guan Yu 關羽, the deified sworn brother of Liu Bei 劉備 and Zhang Fei 張飛, on the left.
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Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Artwork for State Enhancements Completed (October to December 2013)

The artwork for all 42 state enhancements of Three Kingdoms Redux were completed in early December. thumbsup It was slightly behind schedule, mainly due to our requests to Ray for minor changes here and there.

You can see a selected number of these state enhancements' artwork on via this geeklist:
Three Kingdoms Redux: Artwork for State Enhancements Explained

We even managed to include an inside joke in the artwork.

In the meantime, we have fine-tuned the general card fronts. Here is the finalised version, with wordings and icons included:

We are really happy and excited over how these turned out. zombie The card backs are still being tested out.

Next up on Ray's schedule are the artwork for the various tokens and markers. He has drawn a few of them previously due to the general cards:

P.S. That's the artwork for Armistice with Border Tribe, the state enhancement containing the inside joke, on the left.
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17. Board Game: Love Letter [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:246]
Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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Serving the Nation IV (December 2013)

Boxing Day 2013 saw my Significant Other dragging his feet to his army camp for another ICT (in camp training). He tells me it gets that little bit harder as he ages. I comfort him with the reminder that his entire ICT cycle is coming to an end soon.

We had learnt and subsequently bought Love Letter in 2013. It has since become one of our favourite fillers. It is therefore not a surprise that he brought Love Letter with him for his ICT. The perennial favourite, Hive, was not forgotten.

Hive got a lot of plays, as it is easier to track down a single other player. Love Letter made but a single appearance. It was a four-player session, but consecutive games were played.

My Significant Other thought the interest level in Love Letter was not too high, and did not bring it out again. It was also more difficult to track down at least two other players. He was therefore pleasantly surprised to be told by one of the other three players, Shane, at the end of the ICT that he had gone out to purchase a copy.

My Significant Other also got to share our designing and publishing story with some of his army buddies. This year, he also has the company website, startingplayer.com, and our series of geeklists to show to them. Many professed amazement at our dedication, patience and effort. modest
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18. Board Game: Three Kingdoms Redux [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:867]
Christina Ng
Singapore
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说了又不听,听了又不懂,不懂又不问,问了又不做,做了又做错,错了又不认,认了又不改,改了又不服,不服又不说,那你要我怎麽办?
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To be updated when there is further progress on Three Kingdoms Redux...

P.S. That's the artwork for Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮, prime minister of Shu 蜀, on the left.



Part 5 of our story is up!
Follow this link:
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 5)
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