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Subject: [WIP] Lucidity (press your luck dice game) rss

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Shannon Kelly
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Alright, this is one I have been working on for a while, and I am coming a bit late to the WIP thread on it. As a result, a lot of what you see below is stuff that has already been worked through and puzzled out! But I am commissioning art for this at the moment and will be trying to Kickstart this as my first ever game. So please take this as much a Designer's Diary as it is a First Time Publisher's Diary.

Elevator Pitch
Lucidity is a press-your-luck dice-rolling and dice-collection game. You are an daydreamer experiencing vivid waking nightmares, trying to escape the dark dreams that haunt and hunt you. The longer you stay awake, the less control you have over your dreams and the more your luck influences the outcome. If you do fall to the darkness though, all is not lost. Instead of being eliminated, you become a Nightmare, consuming the dreams of the other daydreamers to reach for victory by being the biggest and baddest Nightmare around.

It is a game for 2-4 players and takes 20-30 minutes per game.
It is a light game with a dark theme.

Components

72x 12mm dice (in 4 different colours) with unique faces
1x bag to put them all in.
4x Nightmare cards (with special powers)
4x Dreamer cards (to hold the collected dice)
4x Sleep markers (to track the "press your luck" aspect)



Dice sides are:
Red: Shadow, Shadow, Hunt, Exhaust, 1 point, 2 point
Blue: Shadow, Shadow, Shadow, Exhaust, 1 point, 1 point
Yellow: Shadow, Shadow, Exhaust, Exhaust, 1 point, 1 point
Green: Shadow, Shadow, Exhaust, 1 point, 1 point, 1 point

The Dreamer cards have 4 Hunt spaces, 3 Exhaust spaces, 15 Points spaces, and 3 Shadow spaces of each colour. They also have a Sleep track that is numbered 3, 5, 7, 9.

Setup

Each player takes a Dreamer card and puts a Sleep marker on the "3". Put the bag in the centre of the table.

Playing the game

Then players take turns as follows:

1. Draw dice from the bag. You always draw however many your Sleep marker says (so always 3 at the beginning).
2. Put 2 dice back.
3. Roll the remaining dice and apply their effects:
-- Points faces go in your points row, and if you get 15 points then the game ends at the start of player 1's next turn.
-- Hunt faces go in the Hunt spaces.
-- Exhaust faces go in the Exhaust spaces.
-- Shadow faces go in their colour's Shadow space and then activate an ability.
---- Blue shadows make you draw and roll 1 dice.
---- Green shadows allow the next player along to reroll 1 of your collected dice.
---- Yellow shadows make you turn an Exhaust face in your Exhaust spaces to a Shadow (leaving it there, but making it harder to get rid of at the end of the turn).
---- Red shadows allow you to move any Shadow on your card up to your Hunt space (allowing you to stave off becoming a Nightmare, but risking death).
4. After applying the effects, if all Hunt spaces are full, you are eliminated. If you all Exhaust spaces are full, you draw a random dice from the bag and lose all points matching that colour. If all Shadow spaces are full, you become a Nightmare matching that colour.
5. If none of these happen, you can either press your luck or rest.
--- If you press your luck, you move your Sleep marker to the next number (3>5>7>9) and take another turn.
--- If you rest, you return your Sleep marker to 3 and then remove either 1 Shadow from your card (but not from your Hunt spaces) or remove all Exhaust from your card.


The playtest Dreamer Card.

Playing as a Nightmare

If you became a Nightmare by collecting too many Shadows, you put all of your dice except your points back in the bag.

On your turn, you can do the following:
--- Hunt dreamers: Draw 2 dice from the bag. Give 1 to a dreamer to roll and apply.
--- Hunt Nightmares: Choose a dice on another Nightmare player's card. Draw 2 dice from the bag and, if 1 of those dice match the colour you picked, you take the Nightmare's dice.

But, on other dreamers' turns is where Nightmares have their fun. If a dreamer ever rolls certain symbols on a dice matching your colour as a Nightmare, you get to take that dice for yourself as a point and then activate your ability:
--- Blue (Shadow): Draw 2 dice from the bag. Give 1 to that dreamer to roll and apply.
--- Red (Hunt, Shadow): Move a Shadow on that dreamer's card to their Hunt row (this might kill them).
--- Green (Shadow, Exhaust): Let that dreamer choose and reroll 2 dice on their card, but you keep any rolled points for yourself; or choose and reroll any dice on their card (but do not keep rolled points).
--- Yellow (Shadow, Exhaust): Spin any Exhaust on their card to a Shadow face (as with rolling a Shadow), or move a Shadow from anywhere on their card to an Exhaust space as an Exhaust face.


An example of a Nightmare card (With placeholder art and fonts.)

The game keeps going until a player gets 15 points, all players are eliminated or Nightmares, or the bag runs out of dice.

What has been done so far?
And what now?

I am testing a new rule, which minorly affects gameplay at the moment.

Players wanted a way to be riskier or not on their turn. So I am testing "Control". A player begins their turn by selecting how much they want to control their dreams (0, 1 or 2). For the rest of their turn, instead of putting 2 dice back, they put back their Control. I have also reduced the Sleep Marker from 3,5,7,9 to just 3,5,7. Now if you want to roll the bigger numbers, you have to risk a bit more.

What about on the production side of things?

The theme is very settled. I need 5 pieces of art, which I am waiting on the artist for. The logo is designed but waiting on minor details (font of subtitle, lichen). The graphic design has not started yet.

I have submitted a BoardGameGeek page for Lucidity, which should hopefully be approved soon.

I plan on launching on Kickstarter in June for a cheaper price (I am working with manufacturers to try and bring it to around $20 plus shipping). As such, I am hoping to distribute review copies out in around the first week of April (once art is done).

I am informed that my review run of dice are being manufactured and will be done mid-March! So that's exciting!

Other thoughts

Two things I haven't mentioned yet are plans for "stretch goal" like things, which I need to finish.

1) There are 2 expansions planned. They are mini expansions in a way, but called "expansions" so players won't feel they need to include them when they play. The first uses 20mm dice in the bag, with high risk, high reward dice that players can "feel" the difference of. The second includes equipment that players can invest in to increase their odds of long-term success (like King of Tokyo does).

2) I plan on bringing out two versions of the game, whether in the same campaign or through a later campaign. The original Lucidity: Six-sided Nightmares, and a different version, Lucidity: Six-sided Spellbooks. I am testing new rules to make this more of a thinking game and less of a luck-based game.

Anyway, that's all of it for now! I'll be updating this thread as I work on new things for the game.
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Shannon Kelly
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Art update today!

I had commissioned James Colmer (Above Top Secret) to do the logo for Lucidity. Well, he's come back after only a short time back and forth between the two of us with this:


That's not the final image, but it shows the letter placement and the rough texture to go with the logo.

Next up, I'll be sending him a brief with a couple of extra details to add to the logo. Just little things to make it more than just lettering. Skulls hanging from the branches, or eyes staring from boroughs in the trees. Perhaps turn those splotched parts (and the bit hanging from the Y) into blood droplets.
 
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Shannon Kelly
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Of course, the minute I commission a logo, I discover a game with the same theme and similar name! (This one wasn't on BoardGameGeek at the time I searched for it, and indeed is still not on here.)

Such is life though! I've taken the weekend to think about what to do now. My emotions flashed from despair to outrage to acceptance, to wanting to support this lovely project. I'm not sure whether anyone reads this, but if you like the dream theme, you could check it out by following the link below!

At least Lucidity is distinct enough from Lucid: Morpheus Edition to be its own game. And thankfully it has its own distinct mechanisms too!
 
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Shannon Kelly
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Alright, Lucidity has now gone through about 20 tests using the new "control" mechanic. I have put a submission through for it in BoardGameGeek pages, so it should hopefully be up there soon.

Meanwhile, I have started reaching out to reviewers who might be interested in taking a look. Dice should be in this week or next, and the logo is mostly designed (just needs to be remade with better graphics instead of placeholder things).

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Shannon Kelly
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Dice come in this week!

In other news, I ran my first tests for Six-sided Spellbooks yesterday and got excellent feedback which will be used to improve the game. This game will build on Lucidity and add a puzzle element to it.



Right now, dice are rolled and placed on a 4x4 grid. Each player is trying to complete a magical rune by putting their dice in the right order.

Lots of testing on this one is needed!

Meanwhile, testing of "Control" for Six-sided Nightmares has gone well. The two design goals for control were: give players meaningful choice at the beginning of their turn; and speed up the beginning of the game.

The second goal was met: play sped up at the beginning of the game as most players went for no control at the start to collect more dice. Problem was, it took away all of the players' choice for that turn! And so by the second turn, players didn't even bother with control and just stayed at control 2.

Solutions for this, I can see:

1) Take away the 9 dice roll option. At 0 control, chances of players getting to this option were almost nothing, which meant it was pointless to take 0 control. The choice wasn't meaningful. But take away this option and suddenly players need to pick between volume and control.

2) Make control into "more dice" not "less dice". So Control 2 becomes "draw 2 extra dice each draw" instead of "put 2 dice back each draw". Again, I think maybe on the first turn this won't do much.

3) Create some other mechanism for speeding up the beginning of the game. I'll have to think about this one while I test the other two.
 
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Shannon Kelly
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I just got the images from our manufacturer of our dice!


Long story short:
* Dice look great.
* Factory mistakenly assumed because the run was so short, that I wanted them engraved (not cast in resin as I requested).
* As a result, the icons aren't centred on some dice.
* Dice were small and parts of the points crescents were too small: so paint didn't get all the way in all of them.

Lessons learned:
* Make super clear on the next run-through that I want molds done, not engraved (that said, next run through will be in the tens of thousands, so shouldn't have this issue).
* Blunt the pointy ends of the crescent symbols.
* It is suggested the dice be 14mm instead of 12mm. I will investigate that, as it adds 100g to the game weight but it completely solves the centreing issue, and might be nicer to hold.

I have put my thoughts in more detail on the website: http://foxtalegames.com/archives/515
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Corry Damey
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I read the design diary on your site. That was a cool little glimpse into the design process of the dice. I'll be interested to see Lucidity when it hits Tabletopia and seeing what reviewers think! Subscribed and thanks for sharing!
 
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Shannon Kelly
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Thanks Corry! Here's the playtest link to Tabletopia if you wanted to play it with some friends. Let me know if you have any questions, or want to work out a time for me to demo it for you. https://tabletopia.com/playground/darkly-dreaming-playtest-8...

(The name is apparently impossible to change on Tabletopia, so Darkly Dreaming was the game's previous title.)
 
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Shannon Kelly
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Dice arrived!
Alright! The dice are here, and they look fantastic. A couple of them are off-centre due to a small error in how they were produced (the factory laser etched them instead of casting them like I'd asked) but they look good enough for sending out to reviewers and that error shouldn't happen in a larger volume of dice.



I have also received some in-progress images from our artist, William Webb, who is on holidays but working all the same! They're really cool, and I've requested some alterations before the final pieces come in.



What's on the agenda for this week?

This week I will be finalising the list of reviewers to send copies of Lucidity to, and finalising the files for printing of the cards and player boards, in order to send those out along with the dice.

Next week, they should be on their ways to reviewers' mailboxes!

Meanwhile, I am organising public liability insurance for two conventions I am attending: one in April (GX Con Sydney) and another in June (three days into the planned launch date - at Supanova Sydney). I need insurance to get a table, and I sorta want to run this through a Pty Ltd company just in case the worst happens and I lose everything over it. So it will be a very business-filled week.
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Shannon Kelly
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Lots of progress this week, but in places I didn't expect. And not much progress in the places I did expect.

BoardGameGeek Page
First up, the big one: Lucidity: Six-Sided Nightmares now has its own BoardGameGeek page! Very exciting, as it feels like the first "official" step to having this published.

So if you're keen to follow progress, you can also heart over there, though I'll keep updating this WiP too.

Insurance
Second area where things happened: booking convention booths. In order to promote Lucidity's release, I am attending two conventions here in Sydney, Australia. The first is GX Con in April, where I'll be bringing a copy or two of the game and a nice big banner to demo to people and build up my mailing list a bit more before launching. The second is Supanova Sydney, which is the weekend after I launch. So it'll be busy busy busy that weekend demoing the game, answering questions on the page, and possibly even doing some live streaming during the convention.

To go to those conventions, I had to pay for Public Liability Insurance (around AU$200). Big cost but, on the plus side, I'm now insured for the next year! So that's at least a one-time cost that I don't need to worry about for another 12 months.

New Art Progress!
And third, I've received some further art from my artist, William Webb.



Whatever I was hoping for, it went beyond that. I am just blown away by it. I hope you all like it too, because I am super happy with how it looks. I will be adding a watercolour to it, to give it a change of hue, but it's basically perfect right now. Exactly what I wanted!

Agenda items from last week

Carrying over for the agenda from last week, I need to get the card designs more or less finalised so that I can add the artwork before getting them shipped out.

I just ordered 20 black velvet bags to carry the dice in, and 80 glass beads to use as sleep markers. That leaves me to order 8x20 tarot-sized cards and the game will be ready to ship. Oh, and shipping boxes...

Turns out that the small US postal boxes are smaller than the AU ones. Which means any box I send it overseas in will be hit with the higher price when those reviewers onship it.


And here's the current design for the cards, using some of our WiP art.
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Shannon Kelly
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Not a lot to report this week, as most of what I've been doing has been on the business side of things. I've put together my thoughts on ordering custom dice here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/article/25405623

I have gotten back to the manufacturer with a list of corrections for the next batch, and I have asked about testing out some different colours and effects in the dice. I want to see what it would look like to have a "smoke" effect inside transparent dice. I can imagine it looking really thematic (as each dice represents a bad dream - having smoke caught in them might look like dreams caught in amber), but I need to see it in person to get a better sense of it! I know campaigns like PolyHero Dice have worked specifically with their manufacturers to come to a final material - doing some experiments along the way.

In the meantime, I have commissioned a graphic designer to work on the card layout for Lucidity. My own skills in that area are not... well... good. I can easily make prototypes look better than text on white paper, but they are by no means professional. Again, the cost was expensive, but if it makes Lucidity look more professional, it will certainly be worth it!



Art continues to come in for Lucidity. This one is a snippet of the Nightmare of Imprisonment - trapped in its own body, unable to move, stuck in quicksand, chained to a ceiling.
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Shannon Kelly
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Phew, it has been a while since I've updated this and a lot has happened!

Summary of Events
1. Reviewers have been contacted. In total, 12 people are receiving a copy of Lucidity for review. I was really lucky and managed to attract the attention from the guys at Secret Cabal too! While they don't necessarily "review" games in a traditional sense, I'm hoping they will like it enough to mention it on air. And maybe one or two others of big note - but I'm working out the details.
2. Dice are being worked on. There were a bunch of issues with the last run of the dice. That said, most of those issues come down to "it was a small run, they were engraved instead of molded". I am working with the manufacturer to further reduce errors.
3. Dice materials may change. Instead of a solid colour, I am testing an ink swirl pattern for the dice. Similar to the Fablestone dice, and I've been talking to Gary about how he did his. The dice I have now will be used for the Kickstarter, but I will be looking into getting the other materials for print!
4. Graphic Designer hired. I wasn't too sure about this one, but I ended up hiring a graphic designer to properly work on the cards. I'm glad that I did. The art looks phenomenal, and with the designer adding her own touch of magic, it looks unbelievable.


A comparison of old (left) with new (right).

5. Cards ordered. I've made my first order with MakePlayingCards, and sent the finalised card designs through to them. I can only really cross my fingers and pray that they look good.
6. Box design. The design of the game box is being done right now. The original design I got from my artist wasn't sized correctly to the box, so that is being modified to fit.
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Corry Damey
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Wow! So glad to hear about your progress and that it's gaining the attention of Secret Cabal! I'm very glad to hear you say that getting a graphic designer was a positive thing. I think most people have it in their minds that the artist is the only creative value to the production of board games. So much so that graphic designers are not mentioned anywhere in the credits on BGG game listings. Every successful game has a graphic designer that made it playable, comprehensive, and even more thematic.

*gets off soapbox*

Bravo! Great work! The card looks incredible and I'm excited to hear more about the reviews.
 
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corneliusdamey wrote:
So much so that graphic designers are not mentioned anywhere in the credits on BGG game listings. Every successful game has a graphic designer that made it playable, comprehensive, and even more thematic.
Yeah, I do find that really odd. I think I will just add her to the page under an "Artist" credit. That's what Aeon's End: War Eternal did. Designer is Stephanie Gustafsson.

Thank you for your comment.

MPC has come back in record time - I should have cards in hand by next Tuesday!
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Wow! I ordered these cards from makeplayingcards.com on Friday at 4.30pm, and they were courier delivered to me on Monday at 11.00am (40 minutes after MPC emailed me to say they had finished production).

I am very impressed with their quality, and with their speed. I will definitely be using MPC again for prototyping.

Here they are!

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So! What has been happening with Lucidity in recent weeks?

Well, copies of the game have begun to arrive with reviewers. Those will hopefully all be arriving within the next week, giving a bit of time for the reviews and for plenty of playthroughs before launch.

The launch is currently slated for 13 June.

I am just lying on the couch recuperating from a 2 day convention, GX Australia, where I demoed Lucidity to about 40 amazing people. So much laughter and groaning, so many smiles! I also got the opportunity to meet the Director of LongPack Games, who I've been corresponding with by email. Nice to put a face to a name.


Me (left) with Joe Sweeney (designer of Slaughter roleplaying game) and Peter Cricchiola (designer of Head Chef). Awesome sharing a booth with them.


Lucidity set up on its podium (lots of IKEA parts bolted together).

What am I doing now?

I have quotes in from a couple of places, so now I need to work out manufacturing costs, and thus RRP (and the Kickstarter price). I also need to work out shipping solutions, for getting Lucidity into Europe without VAT being charged to backers. This is the logistics side of things that I am not great at, but am learning quickly.

The Kickstarter page is in early draft form too.
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Update time!

Kickstarter is nearly here! 4 weeks to go until it launches! It feels like I'm on track, but who can really know?

Reviews are coming in. Here's one posted online already!
https://boardgamegeek.com/video/136383/lucidity-six-sided-ni...

Art for the cards, boards and dice is pretty much finalised. We're working on the box art now too.

What am I working on now? Marketing, marketing and marketing. Creating banners for the BGG ads to come, and designing the banners on the Kickstarter page.

A last-minute change to the rules, as suggested by reviewer George Jaros, has added some more strategy: allowing players to reroll dice by spending accumulated Power. More choice = good.
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Mathew Hill
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Wish I'd known about GX .. I keep hearing about cons in other countries, I'd about given up on there being any here in Oz.

Lucidity looks cool. Looking forward to the KS launch.

I'm a little concerned about the change to the cards in that the text size looks to have shrunk. I like the colouration of the graphic but I'm sad to say my eyes aren't what they once were and small text is the devil.

Awesome to see a game designed here though. Seems like most games are designed in Europe or the U.S. sometimes.

Mat
 
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Mathew Hill
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I like the colouration, and the change to the 'Nightmare of X' title - both the colour and the position. Which kinda makes the text have to drop down in size. Although it looks like the text size could come up a bit and still fit quite handily. Have you experimented?

Mat
 
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Hey Mat!

I'll be at Supanova Sydney if you are there, as well as GAMA.CON, PAX Aus, and CanCon next year.

Thanks for your kind words. The card text size definitely did shrink, but I've experimented as you say, and increased it to be a bit larger. It does push the bounds of the cards a bit, and might require glasses when reading in dim light, but it's much easier to read now. Since there are only four Nightmares, after you play as that Nightmare once, you'll never read it again except maybe to refresh yourself on the rules!
 
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