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Subject: [WIP] The City of Kings rss

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Frank West
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The City of Kings

A cooperative tabletop adventure for 1 - 4 players



Hi there and thanks for taking the time to check out The city of Kings! We are still in development but would love to hear your feedback and have you with us on our adventure.


On Kickstarter: March 28th

The City of Kings will be launching on Kickstarter on March 28th and we hope you will join us in build up to this day.

We will be having a virtual launch party which we would love for you to join.




The game

This world used to be a garden full of life; from the flying Vadora to the deep-dwelling Dwarves – but that was before Vesh came. The world has been lost and only one city remains; the oldest city in the world – and the last refuge for all of us. Now... we fight back.

The City of Kings is a cooperative tactical roleplaying board game for 1 - 4 players, where your character is tasked with exploring the hazardous world, trading for vital resources, and battling your enemies whilst uncovering a story of a world imperilled.

You will start by choosing 1 of 7 stories and then select your hero, each of the 6 heroes features 12 unique skills and 9 customisable stats allowing you to specialise in attacking, healing, tanking, worker management or whatever you desire. As well as your hero, you will need to manage your workers who must gather resources in order to trade for new items and to build structures to gain powerful bonuses.

You will explore across the Ageless Realms by turning over tiles, discovering resources, side quests, hazards, building sites, traders and creatures as you continue to power up whilst preparing to enter Azure Rise.

At its heart, The City of Kings is a complex puzzle featuring endless strategic battles. Each creature is generated from a pool of spells, characteristics and stats offering over 10,000,000 unique battle situations. There are no dice, damage is persistent, it’s up to you to customise your characters and work together to come up with a strategy to defeat whoever stands in your way.








Current rules

Please note, our Rulebook is in constant development and this is not the final version.

Pre-release rules v0.14 (pdf)

We welcome all feedback and comments!



Meet the team

Artwork: Miguel Da Silva
Game and world design: Frank West
Graphic design: Alec Jackson, Frank West
Production assistant: Sara Jorge
Writing: Ian O'Reilly, Frank West



Website and social media

Website: The City of Kings
Facebook: /tcokgame
Google+: +TCoKgame
Instagram: tcokgame
Twitter: @tcokgame
Twitch: tcokgame
YouTube: tcokgame
BoardGameGeek: The City of Kings



Original first post:


The journey so far…


June 2015

After months of throwing around ideas June was the month everything started, I started writing concepts for the basic mechanics of the game and ordered some tools for building a prototype.






July 2015

As we moved into July the prototype was coming together and after countless play tests things were taking shape. I spent a lot of time re-playing individual mechanics trying to get them right before testing the game as a whole.






August 2015

August saw many iterations of the hand drawn prototypes before we finally moved to a digital version. Still focusing on mechanics we’re yet to explore the UI and design aspects but at least now things are simple to read and easier to visualise.





This week (August 26th) we held our first play testing session with members of the public who had not seen the game before. It went extremely well with them playing for 4.5 hours, feedback was positive and they enjoyed the experience.






Today

So now we've caught up with everything that's happened so far I'm excited to see what the future brings. The past few months have been really exciting and the game is taking form. It won't be long until we start working on designs and padding out the lore but for now we will continue to work on the game play and bring another update soon.

There are still hundreds of play tests to be done and we’ll be here with you as our adventure continues.
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Frank West
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The journey continues…

It has been a while since I first introduced The City of Kings and a lot has happened since.


September 2015

In September we had our first full play test with a group of players who knew nothing about the game. The 3 people covered each of our target audiences:

- People who enjoy long board games.
- People who play quick party card/board games.
- People who play video games.

I was incredibly nervous as after months of refinement and internal testing there was little way to know what would happen. I was expecting 30 minutes of play and then for things to start going wrong but it ended up going much better than that.

The game went on for hours, it never fell over and after 4 hours of non stop play the gamers wished to continue. It was an amazing feeling and indicated that The City of Kings is a game that can work. You can read a very long post about the first public play test here: http://tcokgame.com/articles/first-play-test.html.

With that said there was a lot to learn, we continue to iterate over the game and are doing much more testing.

Game length

At this point you might be wondering how long a game of TCoK is expected to take and I feel it a good time to answer.

There will be several modes you can play:

- Short scenarios that I hope to take 20-40 minutes.
- Short, medium and long campaigns taking 1 hour, 1 - 2 hours and 2 hours+
- Full story, 4 hours+

Scenarios will be a great way to introduce people to the game before suggesting a longer session. It is hoped they will also fill the gap whilst waiting for a late friend and other similar situations.

Campaigns will allow people to set their own pace and experience different challenges.

The full story will continue to grow over time and attract players who would like a longer, more immersive session. This will be extremely challenging and take many plays to master.


October 2015

With the game taking shape and things looking good it is time to start working on the lore behind the game. As mentioned previously I hope to build a universe around the game to give depth to everything aspect.

Whilst the overall story is set we have been working on filling in the detail and creating our main characters. We have also started on the artwork and will be releasing concept art in the coming weeks.

For now with our journey to create The City of Kings board game progressing, it seems a good time to show this artwork.

A traveller approaching The City of Kings.


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Frank West
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Characters

The City of Kings will contain a selection of characters to choose from when you start to play. My current line of thinking is each character will play the same and share a wide selection of customisations. I've thought long and hard about giving each unique abilities and stats but have moved away from the idea.

Personally I find nothing more frustrating than realising a wrong decision I made right at the start of a game will decrease the enjoyment of the entire play through. I'd rather start evenly and make the choices later in the game as I learn what the decisions mean.

Saying this, the characters themselves each come with a back story explaining who they are and how they came to be at The City of Kings.


Introducing Vyliria Ellion

Vyliria is queen of the Elves and one of the characters we are designing, she's having a pretty rough time.

Our Elves share a connection with nature, they draw from it their powers and grow their homes from the plants around them. The problem is in our world nature is having a rough time and our bad guys have destroyed pretty much everything.

The forests have nearly all been destroyed and our Elves have started to decay, their bodies withering away. Many have died but Vyliria still stands proud, ready to fight back the enemies approaching.

We started by sketching out ideas of how she may look, we're trying to create our own take on Elves so they don't just look "standard".



With the sketching on the way we found ourselves travelling a fine line between her body dying and her looking weak. She still needed to be a character you would want to play!



With our favourite picked we continued to add detail, thinking about how her clothes and body may eventually look. For instance we decided her crown is going to be grown from the nature that surrounds her, but also dying in the same way she is.



Each of our characters is being worked on in similar way and once we're comfortable we'll start working on colours.
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Frank West
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6 months in

It is crazy to think that nearly 6 months have passed since I first put pen to paper and began turning The City of Kings into more than just an idea.

A lot has happened and the game has really started to take shape, we started on artwork and the lore that sits behind our game and are exploring how we pull all this together.


The size of task

One critical point a few months ago was when I decided to go all out and create the game I wanted to build and not just a cut down smaller version. I have decided to invest much more time and money and stopped trying to rush to release something. When the game launches it will be both fun and the game I wanted to build, I just hope it will stand out from the crowd.


Fighting for a space in the box

Research was one of my favourite parts of the game, a deck of cards, each containing abilities that changed how you play the game each time around. Some effected movement, others were new spells and some just made things a little bit more fun - Like allowing you to re-arrange the location of places on the map.

So why have I decided to remove it?

Every time we try a new idea which will require physical space we compare it to every other part of the game and only keep it if we consider it more valuable.

Whilst research was a great concept it required 30+ cards, 4 card slots on each character sheet, 3 storage areas around the map (board) and some tokens. This is a lot of physical space for a single concept. So bluntly put research had a huge cost and we decided that a combination of other ideas had more value than research alone.

This is a hard fight to assess as we're not just talking about physical size but how much value a mechanic brings to the game and what that's worth to the final experience.

I aim to produce an extremely refined game which has a lot of replayability without being over filled with half thought out ideas and conflicting concepts.

Let's see how it goes....


New artwork

And to finish, a few new drawings we have recently released.

T'Lorra

We have been trying to understand our race of bird people and how their bodies should look.



... and their weapons.



Finally we have been progressing different views of the city and the walk way you'll have to cross to leave the city walls.


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Frank West
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Has it really been 5 months? We have been so busy creating The City of Kings universe I didn't realise so much time had gone by!


Calamis Earthshaker

So let me introduce you to Earthshaker, leader of the Risen and one of the playable characters in the game. His abilities include Earthquake allowing you to re-arrange locations on the board and Stonewall, a powerful defensive ability to protect your allies.



Miguel has done a great job bringing life to some of the characters and we will be releasing more character artwork soon.


Enemy camp

The City of Kings is a tile based game and as you explore the world you will come across a variety of locations including this enemy camp.



We have been working hard on combat and in the last few months really improved our creature generation system.


The new prototype

In March we focussed on creating a new prototype bringing the story and concept art into the game mechanics so we can start to test the full experience.

April will be a month of play testing as we get some locals to test out the game, all going well we’ll start travelling around the UK in the coming months looking for groups ready to experience our adventure.


Equipment

The current prototype includes 65 pieces of equipment which you can discover on your journey.



Each item will come with a story, so not only will you have some beautiful art to look at and a mighty sword to swing, but you will be able to learn something about the history of the item and build up a picture of life in this world.


Until next time

I will try to post updates a little more regularly this year as we continue building the game. We are also hoping to record a few podcasts/videos (to be decided) where we talk about the game in detail and what we are creating.

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Charles Ward
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Looks fantastic!!
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Frank West
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Thank you! It means a lot.
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Charles Ward
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TheCityofKings wrote:
Thank you! It means a lot.

Please add the designer's name and the artist's name in to top post. I guess you are paying them, right? Good to see you branding the images you wave with the title watermark. Why not ale add the artist name there. Seriously, imagine a movie without music. Imagine a board game without art. Its is really nice work.
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Hi Charles,

Thanks for the suggestion.

When we first started posting here the team was still being put together so listing names was never considered, since then we have grown and it makes total sense to add a team section to the first post (which has now been done).

The artwork is without a doubt one of the most important parts of the game and Miguel (and the team) deserve all the credit they can get.
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It has been a year since the first sketches were drawn and a lot has happened, things have changed but the original idea still remains the same.


1) To design a roleplaying adventure that focusses on strategy with complex tactical combat. To allow you to customise a character and feel stronger without the randomness of a dice roll.

It has proven tough, creating a world where you are free to explore and do as you want whilst keeping it balanced has been tricky. What if you customise your character and get too strong to quickly and can easily defeat any challenger? What if you don’t become strong enough and can’t kill anything?

We’ve been experimenting with a variety of solutions and our latest is working well, creatures continue to get harder (no 2 creatures are the same) as you progress but various events and triggers create drastically stronger/weaker creatures to better match your current goals.


2) For players to feel as if they were part of the story, immersed in a new world they’d never want to leave.

The project has really been world first, we’ve had a small team of people creating our world for the past year. Writing stories and content, designing characters and locations and generally building a fantasy universe we hope to live within for the coming years.

The game itself is played in stories, each story introducing you to a character and setting the scene before moving on to the big adventures.


3) To create the experience of a video game fantasy adventure in a board game.

There are several reasons for this goal, perhaps the biggest comes from my personal background of playing video games for many years. I have countless friends who live in the lands of MMOs and would never touch a board game, yet I believe a board game can create a similar experience and be just as enjoyable.

So I wanted to create a board game that would bridge the gap and attract anyone who’s played an online MMO and never touched a board game before.

As a side note, this is why our website might be better compared to a video game website than the standard board game website you might expect to find.


4) To make a truly cooperative game.

Perhaps the goal most people would find hardest to understand but to us this one is incredibly important. When you sit and play The City of Kings we want you to feel like a group of adventurers who are dependent on each other to survive.

You all have your own tasks, roles and freedom to do what you want but to lose one person would be disastrous. We want discussion to be continuous, for there to be effectively no down time as you continue to watch and aid your friends.

We want decisions to be hard but fair and for everyone to be treated equally throughout the game.

Some examples of this are:

Experience points

When XP is gained all players gain that XP on a single shared XP tracker, allowing all players to level up at the same time. This allows you to grow together but to master different strengths through character customisation.

Resource management

Resources are shared, with our worker management system you’ll be out gathering wood, fish, ore and linen for the team. Perhaps you’ll use it to complete a quest or trade for an item? Either way the resources you collect go into a shared pool and the team must decide how it is spent.

Shared lives - No player elimination

When you suffer critical damage (health reduced to 0) you are rushed back to the City to be healed. However the city loses hope and when your hope tracker hits 0, the game is over.


Playtests



This last month has been playtest heavy, whilst we’ve been running many small tests on and off we’ve now started larger scale testing. In the last month of playtesting we recorded 75 hours of testing from different groups of players. Some friends, some strangers and from a mixture of backgrounds.

We’ve had experienced board gamers, D&D groups, video game players and everything in between and so far the response has been very positive.

We’re still making lots of tweaks as we go and rethinking various interactions but I feel the core game is working well.

Every group has asked to come back and play again, several of them already have. One group wanted to play again straight away and ended up playing multiple times over a 14 hour period. The most surprising part of this was most of these players hadn’t played a board game longer than 60 minutes before this day.

We’ll write up some of the changes and thought processes we’ve been going through in the coming weeks.



Website launch

Last week saw the launch of our website thecityofkings.com which gives an overview of the game, world, artwork and is home to our blog.

With this we have started to introduce the stories of the world and released some artwork, so here's a preview of a few items:


The Mane of Leoris


The Automatic Legs


Moon Tears


Each item comes with a story, a purpose. We'll be expanding on this soon but what this means right now is each item will be individually painted with a unique scene.
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Patrick van Gompel
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I subscribed to this thread because the idea behind The City of Kings seemed interesting and I liked the art. Glad to see it is getting better and better.
Hadn't seen the The City of Kings website, but I just went through all the news pages there. Interesting to read how the game is growing into shape. A nice looking website too!

I am not sure whether you know the upcomming game Gloomhaven, but that one got me interested because of it's campaign and legacy format.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your ideas for linked scenarios / campaign system in The City of Kings?
What do you think about a legacy style game for TCoK? I am just curious about your thoughts why you think that will or will not work.
Thanks!
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Frank West
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Hi Patrick,

Firstly may I thank you for subscribing, it means a lot to know people are interested in The City of Kings. It is also great to hear you liked the website and read everything! We’re putting a lot of effort into making it interesting and enjoyable for people!

Gloomhaven is a game I am familiar with, I’m eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive from Kickstarter so I can start playing! It’s campaign system, and the idea of creating a legacy game is something we have discussed a lot, and it has caused much debate.


The first question we asked was:

Is The City of Kings a legacy game?

I’ll keep this somewhat vague to not spoil anything

The story mode which sits at the core of our game consists of 7 stories, the stories continue on from each other and tell of the world. They introduce you to the characters and what is happening. The final story takes place once you have learned of various things and you must go on a final adventure.

The game is made up of a modular board and the combinations of tiles you use changes from story to story. You are gradually introduced to more parts of the game, more options, challenges and so on. With that said each story can be setup at any time, your earnings aren’t persistent and nothing is destroyed or unlocked (opened from a sealed box).

So no, it’s not a legacy game in the strictest sense, but each time you play (until you complete the game) you’ll be able to progress the story and feel as if things are changing and moving on around you. So there are similarities for sure.

Why?

There is nothing greater than going on an adventure with your friends, exploring and discovering new things. We want you to be able to play The City of Kings as many times as you like, sure you might have a singular group you play through the story mode with but you will always be able to replay each part with different people.

The game has so many possibilities you’ll never experience the same adventure twice, so why not experience new adventures with new friends whenever there is a chance.

Other modes

I think another important aspect for us is the “other modes”, we don’t talk about these much as we’re still unsure on which will make it into the final release. It’s a production cost and time issue rather than what we would like, as we’d like everything. But to summarise:

Scenarios

We hope to create smaller scenarios which you can setup and play in a shorter amount of time. For example:

Our heroes have gotten surrounded at Cogs Head, can you fight your way out and get back to the city?

Challenges

Combat happens in real time, creatures maintain damage (unless they can heal!) and battles can last a long time as you continue to do other tasks. Boss fights are especially challenging and we’re looking at the idea of making self-standing boss fights where you can simply spend 30 minutes trying to kill a boss.

These two modes will sit outside of the story mode and effectively give you self-standing games which you can play with anyone at any time. We have other ideas too but we want you to be able to play The City of Kings at any time in many different ways with anyone and we felt the pure legacy concept, having things permanently change and adapt wouldn’t fit in with the wealth of game play options we hope to build. So instead we hope to find a middle ground that gives the best from both worlds.

I hope that answers your question!
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Patrick van Gompel
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Hey Frank. Thank you very much for taking the time to give us some more info! I enjoyed reading about your decisions and how you came to it.

I really like what I just read. I hope it's ok if I go into it a bit more.
You talk about 7 stories. Is one story one game session that takes a few hours or are you talking about 7 stories each consisting of multiple games?

The modular board I have seen on your website does make me exited. From what I understand is that you explore the lands by flipping the tiles. That's one thing I really do enjoy much better than a fixed landscape at the start of the game (one thing that I didn't like about Gloomhaven). Especially if the 'to-be-explored' is different for each story.

So, am I correct when I say that The City of Kings consist of multiple stories, but each story is a game in itself and your character (if even the same) will start fresh again?

Yeah, the legacy thing does limit a game, but on the other hand it might give a stronger submersion into the game. Interesting to see how you take a different approach. Curious to see how both Gloomhaven and City of Kings will turn out.

I think your different modes will certainly add to the funfactor and replayability of the game. Please keep us update about the modes. Did you consider a 'versus' or 'traitor' mode or any other form of competition between the players?

Good luck with your game and enjoy the process of designing it. I will watch it closely
 
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It’s more than OK, feel free to ask as much as you would like!

The first 6 stories are 1 session per story, they will take a few hours and each should be harder than the last.

The 7th story is still a point of discussion and we are currently experimenting with 2 versions:

One version is similar to the first 6 stories in that it takes a few hours and will be slightly harder than the 6th story.

The other version is an epic “all day” adventure that takes around 6 hours. Everyone in playtesting has loved this mode (some played it twice in a day) but we’re concerned some players may never get to finish the story.

As such we’re trying to decide whether we introduce the epic adventure as another game mode outside of the stories, or whether it is best left as the 7th story (which is thematically more fitting).

You can probably see our dilemma!

Overall we expect you to fail a few times and have to replay some levels so a full play through should average about 10 sessions. Not including the other modes and possibly the epic adventure!


---


You are correct in that the board is made of tiles and you flip them through an exploration action, the random placement helps make each playthrough unique but has been incredibly hard to balance. I certainly understand why people opt for the static board in most cases.

There are 2 zones, the Ageless Realms and Azure Rise, Azure Rise is much more dangerous and comes in during the later stories.


---


Characters do reset after each session, but this really helps with the replayability factor. Our character customisation system is very flexible and you really can take the role you want for each session. Creating combinations of different spells and stats each game is one of the fun parts and we want you to keep trying new things.

If you want to play a more worker management style you can or you can avoid it.

The game is very deterministic allowing for a lot of strategy but if you love rolling dice we have customisation options so you can have as much luck as you like.

It’s been really fun watching all the different variations people have come up with and the roleplaying factor helps make this incredibly fun.


---


We wont be having a traitor mechanic, it’s something we decided pretty early on as it just doesn’t fit with the theme of the game. We’re pushing cooperative further than any other game (I like to think) and it really wouldn’t work.

Player vs Player though is another mode we have on our list, we have several ideas but it will be a very last minute decision. We know how it would work but it will come down to whether it’s balanced enough once all the core stuff is in place. We don’t want to have to reduce the fun of the core game to add other modes and PvP is often a complex beast when it comes to balance.

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Again, excellent design decisions!
My thoughts on the epic 6 hour adventure: after 6 interesting stories I definately would like to play a longer (epic) adventure. Although I really don't mind a 6 hour game, our game evenings don't last that long (usually 2-3 hour games).
Maybe you can think of something inbetween. Like a 2x3 hour game. Maybe being able to 'save' the game half way, or making two sub-stories. Just my 2 cents.

10 sessions are great! Hope to see much variation in scenario design.

Quote:
Our character customisation system is very flexible and you really can take the role you want for each session.
I would love to see that in action. Haven't seen that in other games and would like to try something similar to DnD character building, but then in a boardgame.
Yes, PvP is a hard thing to 'just' implement I guess. I was just wondering.

One more question: how closely is the theme of the game (or stories) related to LotR? Or does the name and characters/races have nothing to do with it?
Thanks.
 
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That's an interesting idea, something we have touched on once or twice but we need to get closer to our final components to really understand how "savable" a game state will be. If it becomes an option it would certainly be a good solution.

---

In regards to the character customisation, we hope to release a bunch of info about this in the not too distant future. We're still making changes to some aspects and want to get this refined before we started writing too much about it.

It's interesting to experience the effect of small changes, starting with 1 or 2 vs having a cap of 10 or 15. These types of changes radically change the speed of the game and the levels of strategy we can demand from players but we're really close now.

---

In regards to the theme, there is no relation between The City of Kings and any other IP, including LotR. We are trying hard to create our own IP and a new world the game will live within.

We have a small team dedicated to building the world outside of the game development process and this is working really well.

We do have some common features such as the human/elf/dwarf races but we also have many new creations you wont find in existing games. I would confidently say there is more new stuff than common when it comes to the characters.

It's also important to note that some of the more familiar things are not exactly what you'd expect. For instance, our dwarves are somewhat different to the standard dwarf you might expect to find. We want to give a fresh feel to fantasy!
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Hej, you wanted the game to be like a computer game so you'd better have a save option. (just kidding of course)
From what you describe good stuff is comming. This game is getting on top of my list. I am surprised there is not much 'hype' about this game.

Glad to read that you are taking your own direction as far as the thematic world goes. A lot of work though I guess.
I like it fresh!
Thanks again for giving a better feel about the game.
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Frank West
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Thanks Patrick, we're certainly hoping to build up some hype in the coming months. We've been fairly quiet until now with very little public activity so hopefully more regular posts will attract a few more people!
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Frank West
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Hi all, we are currently testing our new icon set and would love to get your feedback!

What do you think each icon represents?

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17z1McYVxflKwfFO9Bds_SaTHrLB...

Thank you to everyone who participates!
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Frank West
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It has been a long year but things are really starting to take shape and the game is looking better and better every day.

Today we are super excited to be releasing a preview of our item cards!



Over the past few weeks we have been refining a few interactions in the game and are trying to reduce the amount of time it takes to action creatures. This has resulted in a lot of testing of movement mechanics and we are really happy with where we are at.

The game is playing much faster whilst offering exactly the same experience and feedback has been great.

We are starting to refine the different stories as the core gameplay is testing well.


We have also started our YouTube channel where we talk about various decisions we make and the game mechanics such as this one on worker management.




We just released a video talking about our item cards and what we hoped to achieve with them, we would really love some feedback on both the video and the cards.

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Over the weekend I revisited our quests adding updated text and tweaking a few mechanics, these have evolved a lot over the last year and I thought it would be good to share a few of our learnings.

How to get quests

When you explore the world you will encounter characters who need assistance, they will offer you side quests (draw a card) which you can complete for extra rewards or choose to ignore.

You will also be able to initiate quests whenever you want by entering a quest zone and using the interaction action, at this point you will draw a quest card.


Version 1

The first version of quests worked OK, you would draw a card and it would tell you what you needed to do. Most of these quests would involve:

- Collecting items
- Finding locations
- Killing creatures
- Protecting a character

These quests worked OK but, they didn't add as much to the game as I had hoped. You'd get a periodic "you can now do this" and it often became black and white. There was no need for discussion as players were either in a situation where they could do it, or it seemed too hard and would be discarded.


Version 2

With version 2 we updated the quests to give the players 2 options, rather than "yes or no" it became "which of these 2 things is better for us". Some of the choices were easy and some were very hard.

Imagine a situation where you needed to kill a creature to complete your objective but you weren't strong enough, you need to level up in order to kill it.

Now you draw a quest card

Option 1: Spawn 1 creature at location X, when you kill the creature you gain 1xp.
Option 2: Spawn 2 creatures at location X, you instantly gain 3xp.

Now you're faced with a tough decision, do we take option 2 which would level us up and allow us to kill our current creature whilst placing a new threat elsewhere on the board. Or do we play it safe and take the easy choice?

These split decisions made quests much more exciting, now drawing quests always results in discussions and players working together to work out which path is best. They also impact the game play in different ways meaning you need to keep re-calculating your plans.


Version 3

Version 2 was great, it fixed all the problems we had seen but I started to notice a new trend. "Quests spawn creatures", even though the split of kill/find/protect/collect was equal, players in difficult situations started to be afraid of quests. They always offered a challenge and sometimes a threat. When things got tough and you needed some extra XP to overcome the problem, taking a quest was often seen as too risky.

This is the opposite of what I wanted, part of the goal of quests is to be an option to help you when you're struggling.

So, I sat down and revisited our types of quests and started to introduce new ideas, in fact we went from 4 basic types of quests to nearly 30 variations. This drastically changed the experience of drawing a quest card.

Instantly spawn a creature and kill it became:

- Instant creature spawn at your location
- Instant creature spawn at another location
- When you arrive at a specific location a creature will spawn
- You must get a certain item and then the creature will spawn
- The creature will spawn at a certain time of day

Whilst the number of creature spawn quests remained the same, the number of instant creature spawns reduced by 60% making the experience of drawing a card feel safer.

As well as variations on the existing 4 types we added new types including:

- Instant reward quests: Get the xp/item straight away
- Board control: For example, clear all the fire from a zone
- Gambling quests: Roll dice / Pick a card
- Scavenging: Scavenge in an area until you find something
- Event quests: Something changes, for example all creatures move

We now have 112 quests in total.

The testing of these so far has been great, there's much more excitement with quests, we're getting laughter, panic, quick reactions and long discussions and it's all helping build the immersion of being in the world.


Conclusion

Through these 3 versions I have learned giving players options is much more exciting than just a set task. In addition, by making the options different enough that the choice isn't easy, we provide a much higher level of discussion which in itself helps provide immersion and cooperation.

Adding more varieties of quests has helped remove predictability and multi-play meta gaming as it becomes harder to think about what will happen.

I'm really happy with were we are at and don't see the quests changing before release.

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Greg
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This is looking great! I just signed up for email updates on the website. It's cool too see all the background to the development of a game such as this. I am designing an adventure game that has a similar aim but does it in a much different way. It's just so cool to see another take on it. Will you be doing a KS?
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Hey Greg, thanks for signing up for the newsletter! We try to only send them once in a while with interesting updates.

One of the things I love about adventure games is you really can do anything, there's so many possibilities and always room for something new.

We will be launching a Kickstarter but haven't confirmed a date yet.


Playtests

The focus right now is to get as much playtesting done as possible, with a game this big we have to test it as many times as we can.

I have a very firm rule that we wont release until I believe the game to be good enough. With each test the amount of changes and tweaks is reducing but it's a big challenge.

For anyone interested, I recruit groups of players and then ask them to tell me which days/times they are free. I then match them up and organise testing events.

Here's a screenshot of my latest playtest responses, each row is a different person.

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Luke
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Please count me in for blind playtesting should you consider to send the printable files. I have a friday night gaming group that loves rpg and all sorts of boardgames, I'd love to ask the group to test the game.
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Hey Luke,

That's great thank you! We're still looking into whether it's feasible to do a printable version as there are a fair few components and custom dice. But with that said, if we can find a way we will be in touch!
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