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Subject: Evolution of the Threat Tower rss

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Ryan Dancey
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In Edge of Darkness, coming to Kickstarter on February 20th, the Threat Tower inspires fear and awe in the people of Aegis!

No part of Edge of Darkness generates as much buzz as the Threat Tower. From the earliest prototypes to the current working model the Threat Tower has been a lurking presence that draws the eye and raises the stress of every Guild Leader who encounters it.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

When John D. Clair first proposed Edge of Darkness to the AEG team the Threat Tower was already a major component of the design. John builds meticulous handmade prototypes and his original Tower design clearly showed the direction he intended for the game to take.



The original prototype was a slanted cardboard box inside of which were obstacles that the Threat Cubes would bounce off of and be randomized, which fed into “the Demon board” which held the three cards in the tower.

For a period of time during initial development everyone who had an Edge of Darkness prototype made their own Threat towers. In the absence of an actual tower bags of dice were used (1-2 results went on card 1, 3-4 results went on card 2, 5-6 results on card 3).

By GenCon 2017 we had progressed the design far enough to have actual components printed at our factory in China and we arranged to have a series of Threat Towers made using a 3D printer. This system is fondly known as the Frankentower.



The Frankentowers were never intended as actual production samples, but they were large enough to allow us to get a sense for scale and space used on the tabletop. Edge of Darkness is a physically large game especially when played with the extended boards to hold the Advancements and we asked for and got a lot of feedback from players about how they felt about the amount of space required to play.

Our 3D modelling team worked on concepts for the Tower in late 2017, and eventually arrived at a new design. This version of the tower looked more like an actual tower than the previous prototypes. It was designed to eject the Threat Cubes on three sides of a 4 sided Tower. This version of the Tower was also 3D printed for prototype evaluation.



We really liked this design and we commissioned a facade to be developed that would “wrap” the tower and make it look like an ancient ruin. However the more we tested it, the more worried we became that it was taking up a excessive amount of space on the table. The Tower was big. And the way it ejected Threat Cubes meant that it needed to sit on an even bigger base to hold the cards in the Tower.

We reluctantly decided that we’d overshot the workable size and we needed to reconsider our options.

One idea was to reduce the size of the Tower we had and see if we could make something more reasonably sized without changing the design. We experimented with various sized mockups and they all were “just not right”. The smaller the Tower got the less menacing and cool it seemed. Eventually it was clear that we needed a total redesign.

Now we come to our final prototype, “The Big T”.

The Big T Tower is a hybrid. It retains a large 4-sided structure that we can wrap with a cool graphic to simulate a ruin. And it has something like the Frankentower’s bottom level which ejects Threat Cubes from three portals into a tray. The size of the tower is more reasonable and keeping the three cards in the Tower parallel avoids the “sprawl” of the big 4-sided Tower.

We’re now refining this design, working on the interior components to ensure that the Threat Cubes are evenly and randomly distributed to the tray, and redesigning the “wrapping graphic” that will make it look awesome.



The Tower now has a ledge just above the portals where the Threat Cubes emerge that will hold the three cards at the Tower. They’ll be vertical and easier for all the players to see.

This visualization is nowhere close to final but it is a good indication of the direction that we’re taking. The actual final Tower will have an amazing ruined look. We still haven’t made final determinations about colors and textures but we are certain we can make it AWESOME.
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Derek
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The idea of the threat cards aligned vertically is brilliant. This allows for a more streamlined gameplay and is definitely more efficient for the players.
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Ryan Dancey
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Sometimes you have to go back to the start and rethink to get the best outcome. Everyone who has seen this version likes it much better than the previous alternatives. We think we have a winner!
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Shawn Kehoe
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That's really slick! Nice engineering.

I'm guessing the final tray colour will provide strong contrast to those black cubes. :-)
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Danielle A
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I like where "The Big T" is headed. Much better than the prototype tower I played with at Gen Con last year!
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John Clair
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EzzValdez wrote:
I like where "The Big T" is headed. Much better than the prototype tower I played with at Gen Con last year!


WAY better! The Gen Con one had big problems (like the ability to cheat and guide the cubes one way or the other).
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I'm not sure I'll have the money for this, but my faded-interest is being re-invigorated...
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Blayne Miley
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Definite improvement over the Gen Con prototype! I am curious what kind of testing is being done to study the distribution between the three trays.
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Clinton Rice
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MuckBubbler wrote:
Definite improvement over the Gen Con prototype! I am curious what kind of testing is being done to study the distribution between the three trays.


Probably dropping in a lot of cubes and counting, over and over.
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John Clair
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KoalaXav wrote:
MuckBubbler wrote:
Definite improvement over the Gen Con prototype! I am curious what kind of testing is being done to study the distribution between the three trays.


Probably dropping in a lot of cubes and counting, over and over.


Correct, including dropping in many at once, or one-at-a-time, dropping them in the left, right, or center etc.
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