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Subject: Designer notes - Production process rss

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Tom Bleys
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Hello BGG-community,

My name is Tom, one of the three co-creators of The Daedalus Sentence.

In light of our upcoming Kickstarter, we're going to be sharing some small production notes on how this game came to existence. We won't go into every detail of the development, but the most noteworthy elements of this roller coaster ride will be discussed. We hope you enjoy it :-)!

The end of 2011 was approaching when Ian and myself were invited to a weekly gaming event organised by Bart, the third member of Cripplefish Games. After playing various games, we were inspired to try and create a board game ourselves...

Our goal was to create a thrilling game that was immersive, had several elements of randomness, and contained very original mechanics. We quickly started designing the board mechanics, having only a vague idea about possible rules and themes. The only other thing we were certain of, was that it would take place in a prison. We cut the rings out of cardboard, for pawns we used cut-out-bodybuilder-faces from a supplement advertisement booklet I had laying around. It wasn't until a couple of months later that we started molding the rules during a ski trip. Those rules formed the basis of the game.


Paper prototype 2012: Sneezing or laughing too hard was not allowed, as it made all the tiles fly away.


Next step was to have a presentable prototype for Spiel 2012. So we wasted no time: we had a big board CNC'ed out of wood and had some prototype art done by Lio Desart, a close friend of ours.


Our first decent prototype, ready to be presented at Spiel 2012


Well ahead of schedule, we began with the tedious process of play testing and rule balancing, as well as processing all the feedback given by various gamers and friends. We confidently headed off to Spiel 2012 to present our game "The Daedalus Sentence", initially set in a steampunk type of world in which 5 soldiers were sentenced to an eastern-based prison.

Bart Waeterschoot from Cripplefish holding the board at Spiel 2012


That's it for today folks, stay tuned for some more designer notes soon!
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Colton Dillion

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Well this sounds fun. I haven't heard the development story of The Daedalus Sentence yet, and it's fascinating that it was originally steampunk themed. After working on the soon to launch video for a bit, it's honestly hard to imagine this game taking place in anything other than a space prison! Can't wait to read the rest.
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Tom Bleys
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Another idea we had was to have a big corridor-rotating shopping mall with husbands and boyfriends in it trying to escape. Pretty sure it's a good thing we let that one slide.
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Aaron Wilson
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Just saw your banner ad. This looks really cool. Def in my wheel house. When/where can we see video of gameplay?
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Tom Bleys
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adubs wrote:
Just saw your banner ad. This looks really cool. Def in my wheel house. When/where can we see video of gameplay?


Presumably around March 19. Same day as our kickstarter launch :-) No promises, but I'll try and get something up earlier tho. We don't have any prototypes ourselves anymore.
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Bart Waeterschoot
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Hey all,

This is Bart, also one of the Daedalus guys from the Cripplefish crew.

In this post I’ll focus on 2 things: the gameplay concept & our first pitch with publishers at Spiel.

Tom already mentioned that the first set of rules were created during a ski trip. Tom & Ian came up with the rotating prison concept and I was intrigued from the get-go. I’m one of the few people that don’t like skiing so I had some time on my hands during that trip. :) I made my way through the snow to a local supermarket to grab some paper, scissors & pens to create the paper prototype. Then we starting thinking about the core mechanics.

From the beginning we saw the game as a cooperative escape effort. Coop games were pretty popular at that time with titles like The Forbidden Island, Space Alert & Pandemic. We knew we already had a unique mechanic with the standalone rotating rings and we borrowed concepts from other games to create a complete game: Random layout, tile discovery, action points, … Another thing we wanted was to reduce the number of cards necessary to play the game. We aimed to have a maximum of 52 cards (standard deck) and to reuse them for several things: actions, gate codes, prison & guard rotations. And finally we wanted a fluent gameplay experience with little downtime or waiting for other players. In just 2 days we had a playable prototype.



We then worked for 9 month or so to create a fully functional (and still nice looking) prototype for Spiel 2012. We quickly learned a valuable lesson: Prepare for Spiel and make appointments with as much publishers as possible because their agenda is packed! :) We did manage to see some publishers but most of them had no time for us. We will always remember our first encounter with the friendly folks from Czech Games. They squeezed us in after seeing our prototype and suddenly we were face-to-face with Vlaada Chvatil. It’s amazing how fast he’s able to grasp a game concept and check for possible loopholes & gameplay issues. They gave us some tips and we agreed to see each other again next year.


To finish off I’ve included our product sheet from 2012 which we handed over to publishers.



Next up - Our second round of pitching at Spiel 2013!
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Tim Kings
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Ah man... now I wish you guys had kept the steampunk theme...
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Tom Bleys
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TimofKings wrote:
Ah man... now I wish you guys had kept the steampunk theme...


More on why we changed the theme in the next designer note ;-)
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Mike McCarthy
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Hey guys. Your game looks very interesting. Do you share my concerns about production considering Eagle Gryphon's actions in regards to Tumblin Dice?

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1533269/eagle-gryphon-wipes...

I will look for your game in retail. The design looks great. Unfortunately, I can't back an Eagle Gryphon kickstarter.
 
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Michael B
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Mike,
While I recognize there are issues with Tumblin' Dice, I don't think the company "wiped their hands" of anything. They were trying to streamline the solution. Also, I feel like all of my interactions with them have been handled efficiently and to my satisfaction. I can understand if you don't want to back the Kickstarter, but if you are planning on picking it up at retail why not help make the game even better?
 
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Mike McCarthy
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I have backed several Kickstarter projects over the past few months. Several by companies who have never launched a project. I assume the best and want to help bring these projects to market. However, how a publisher treats its backers is indicative of how future backers will be treated. I did not back Tumblin Dice. However, the people who did are not happy with the component quality nor do they feel the replacement process was streamlined.

Just wanted to express that the game looks very good and will buy it retail if EGG can delivered decent components. I own Defenders of the Realm and would gladly buy another EGG game when it reaches retail.

If EGG did right by its Tumblin Dice Kickstarter backers, please enlighten me. Everything I have heard is second hand. Would appreciate hearing the other side of the story.

Bohner68 wrote:
Mike,
While I recognize there are issues with Tumblin' Dice, I don't think the company "wiped their hands" of anything. They were trying to streamline the solution. Also, I feel like all of my interactions with them have been handled efficiently and to my satisfaction. I can understand if you don't want to back the Kickstarter, but if you are planning on picking it up at retail why not help make the game even better?
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Tom Bleys
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edparkmike1 wrote:
Hey guys. Your game looks very interesting. Do you share my concerns about production considering Eagle Gryphon's actions in regards to Tumblin Dice?

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1533269/eagle-gryphon-wipes...

I will look for your game in retail. The design looks great. Unfortunately, I can't back an Eagle Gryphon kickstarter.


Hi Mike,

it's the first thing I read about this. Just now I went through that thread diagonally so my apologies if I'm missing something here.

I can't say that I'm concerned this time though. Through the years, I have learned that it's best for one's (my ;-)) mental health to be concerned only if there's something solid to be concerned about. If our batch of games arrives and there are elements wrong in terms of production, then I'll definitely be concerned and defend the clients (and our) satisfaction tooth and nail. This game is our baby and we want the best for it.

Throughout the production process, I have only spoken to a handful of people at EGG. Rick Soued, CEO of EGG, has a responsibility to provide a decent price-to-quality ratio towards his clients. He also has the heavy weight on his shoulders to keep his business going for himself, his employees and the families of those employees. I'm convinced he wants to deliver the best product to his clients. All morals aside, satisfied customers provide a better cashflow, thus benefitting his business more.

I can only get a genuine sense of passion for (his) games and his business. I'm not saying this because EGG is publishing our game, it's just the vibe that I get from him during our mail conversations and the time we spoke to him in person.

In short: they're willing to give our game a chance and we're certainly more than willing to give EGG a chance, regardless of how other projects went.

I have my own business, which is writing music for infomercials, commercials etc. I once had an assignment that wasn't that well received by the client in terms of music. They were very underwhelmed. Yet the company that hired me kept believing in me and hired me again for other assignments which were very well received. That's the closest resemblance I can make from my personal life :-)

Sorry for the long text Mike. Once I get typing, it's hard to stop ;-) I appreciate the fact that you're still willing to check out the game in retail after the Kickstarter. That is ofcourse a good opportunity to await the reviews before you consider purchasing the game. If you do purchase it, I'd love to hear what you think of it, especially after your less-than-pleasant experience.

Cheers,
Tom

P.S. New Designer Note soon! Probably tomorrow! :-)




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Tom Bleys
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Bohner68 wrote:
Mike,
While I recognize there are issues with Tumblin' Dice, I don't think the company "wiped their hands" of anything. They were trying to streamline the solution. Also, I feel like all of my interactions with them have been handled efficiently and to my satisfaction. I can understand if you don't want to back the Kickstarter, but if you are planning on picking it up at retail why not help make the game even better?


From what I've read, EGG recognises the malfunctioning components and has agreed with the manufacturer, who also recognises that there were malfunctioning components, that backers can contact them directly to resolve matters. I can only see an advantage to this, as having another link in the chain (client -> EGG -> manufacturer) only makes room for lost information, miscommunication etc. Removing EGG from this flow of communication can only be beneficial to the client. I'm definitely not stating that EGG would certainly make mistakes in that chain, but no matter how skilled the employee, mistakes can always be made. That's what makes us human :-)
 
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Tom Bleys
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After having showcased our prototype at Spiel 2012, we agreed with several publishers to meet them again at Spiel 2013. This gave us exactly one year to process all the feedback we had received during our pitch. We didn’t feel the need to have this game released fast; having it released at any given time would’ve been an accomplishment by itself. We took our time, held several playtests, listened to the players and the publishers and headed back to Spiel 2013 with high hopes.


Our 2013 presentation sheet.


We met up with some new publishers, as well as the ones we met the year before. Despite the generally positive feedback on the games’ mechanics and gameplay, there were two main concerns raised by nearly all publishers: The Steampunk-theme and the large board.

Prototype artwork.


Of course the theme was something that could be easily changed. Our board design was not. We brainstormed with several publishers on alternative ways of having this board or something similar produced on a grand-scale, without costing the client an arm and a leg. Some publishers claimed it simply couldn’t be done.



Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Rick Soued however was excited about the game from the get-go. He and Topher Speth, former EGG employee, firmly believed that our game was something special and could be distributed to customers in an affordable way. Of all the conversations with the many publishers we had, our talk with Eagle-Gryphon Games definitely stood out in terms of enthusiasm and hands-on approach. We signed with Eagle-Gryphon Games and on went the years of development. The main reason of the lengthy process was, as you probably guessed, getting the board right. Our initial prototype board was a mammoth, totally unfit for mass production. This had to be rescaled, but finding the balance between playability, presentation and cost took a big effort. On top of that, two third of the Cripplefish Games crew became father for the first time, certainly not speeding up the process. Yet, we managed to finalize everything and are set for a Kickstarter launch on March 19, 2016! We hope to see you there, backing our first game “The Daedalus Sentence”!

P.S: Should you have any questions, you can post them here or create a new topic. I’m frequently checking BGG, so a reply should come pretty quick before, during, and after the Kickstarter.
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Jimmy Trinket
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Hi there,

I can't find this on kickstarter. Is it still running or did I miss it? Just reading some of these designer notes and it sounds really intriguing.

Thanks,
Jimmy.
 
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Sara Bear
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The art I've seen for this looks really horror style. I know the story is bleak, but I just wonder where the line is on how much yuck (yeah I know eyes are rolling).

There's a threshold. Zombie type games go past it. This isn't zombies, but if it's a similar level, that would be good to know for sure.

It seems from the look of the art I've seen, that I'm probably not the market for this game. But thought I would check, just in case.

Space is tight, here, that would just make it easy to move on to something else.
 
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Lee Fisher
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JimmyTrinket wrote:
Hi there,

I can't find this on kickstarter. Is it still running or did I miss it? Just reading some of these designer notes and it sounds really intriguing.

Thanks,
Jimmy.


Right above your post

Kickstarter launch on March 19, 2016!
 
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Tom Bleys
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sarebear62 wrote:
The art I've seen for this looks really horror style. I know the story is bleak, but I just wonder where the line is on how much yuck (yeah I know eyes are rolling).

There's a threshold. Zombie type games go past it. This isn't zombies, but if it's a similar level, that would be good to know for sure.

It seems from the look of the art I've seen, that I'm probably not the market for this game. But thought I would check, just in case.

Space is tight, here, that would just make it easy to move on to something else.


Hey Sara,

we did indeed want to achieve a more horror-kind-of-vibe. These 2 cards and their corresponding pawns are the most "gruesome" thing about the game. It's not gonna go any further. The pawns of course wont have that much detail :-)



lfisher wrote:
Right above your post

Kickstarter launch on March 19, 2016!


Correct! Thanks for clearing that up Lee!
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Alex Blackdakis
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Looks very interesting but I wish it had a semi-cooperative or competitive mode.
Why is that trend of cooperative games lately?!
 
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Tom Bleys
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Blackdakis82 wrote:
Looks very interesting but I wish it had a semi-cooperative or competitive mode.
Why is that trend of cooperative games lately?!


I feel you. Sometimes, no matter how much you love your friends and family, you feel the need to completely obliterate them in a competitive manner.

That's why there's a one vs all (all being 1-to-4 players) ruleset included in the game! :-)
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