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Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef» Forums » General

Subject: Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef - Artist Diary #1 rss

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David Forest
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Hi! My name is David Forest and, together with my wife Lina Cossette, we work as a creative duo under the name Mr. Cuddington. We’ve illustrated on a variety of games over the last four years, among which Santorini, Charterstone, The Grimm Forest, Unfair and the upcoming new Brass edition. If we had to name one thing that drives us most creatively, it would definitely be this one word: immersion. We love a game that has a story to tell, one that lets you dive into a different world and offers a unique experience.

With this in mind, our next game Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef has everything to get us excited. Why? Tidal Blades marks our first stride into worldbuilding specifically for a board game. More often than not, publishers will have a theme and art direction figured out in their head when artists get on board. For the first time, we have had complete freedom to create an immersive world of our own, collaborating closely with the game designers to shape a game experience from the ground up. It has been a unique and formative opportunity, and we’d like to give a big thanks to James Hudson from Druid City Games for attempting this with us!

When we started working on this project a year ago, we spent many months just thinking about the backstory and the characters we wanted to bring to life. We longed for a world that would be visually striking, colorful and inviting to explore. As with many of our projects, we also wished to challenge ourselves and try a different visual style. We ended up settling on a look reminiscent of a Miyazaki movie. From there, we built a huge reference database, drawing inspiration from many sources ranging from video games like Rayman and Zelda to Akira Toriyama’s work on Dragon Ball.



What came out of this process is a vast water-based fantasy world, full of wonders and strange technology. In this universe, crocs, salamanders and a huge array of novel aquatic races cohabit with humans in a big, bustling city floating on shallow tropical waters. Here, fantastical sea monsters abound, people travel on jet-propelled watercrafts, and traditional fantasy magic is replaced with tech-augmented weapons and advanced shell devices that give control over time and space.



The term Tidal Blades refers to a small, elite group of heroes protecting the islands. Were it not for them, no city could have thrived because of all the dangerous beasts swarming out of the ocean depths. Carefully selected by the turtle masters for their outstanding skills, countless generations of Tidal Blades have had the crucial mission to patrol the outer reef and fight back every danger from the sea. This strategy largely succeeded, leading to an age of peace and scientific prosperity - that is, until a monstruous storm swept the reefs. In its wake came waves upon waves of beastly terrors that even the mighty Tidal Blades could not push back. Faced with this incoming doom, the scientists of the city had no choice but to use one desperate measure: they activated a new powerful but still unstable technology called the Hyperloom. With this machine, they folded the whole reef area in space and time, effectively trapping the sea monsters between dimensions. Unfortunately, many brave Tidal Blades were caught in the Hyperloom as well and they are remembered as heroes to this day. As years passed, people began referring to the weirdly twisting landscape as the Fold. The anomaly now blocks the horizon where the reef and ocean once stood, ominous and glitching like a huge, alien glacier.

One of the unique aspects of Tidal Blades is how it was designed to be an overarching adventure, following the same cast of characters over multiple games.

Tidal Blades: Heroes of the Reef (Part 1), designed by Tim and Ben Eisner (March of the Ants, The Grimm Forest), is a worker placement game where players roam the Floating Islands on watercrafts, training their character and visiting arenas to undertake various trials and challenges. Fifteen years have passed since the storm nearly destroyed the city and a huge tournament is now being held each year in remembrance of the Tidal Blades, attracting tourists and drifters from far and wide. But now strange rifts have started to open in the Fold, letting monsters pass through and attack the helpless citizen once more. Rumor has it the turtle masters will be watching the tournament closely this year, studying the best contestants to form a new generation of Tidal Blades.

Tidal Blades: Rise of the Unfolders (Part 2), designed by Jonathan Gilmour (Dead of Winter, Dinosaur Island) and Ian Moss (Duelosaur Island, News@11), is a cooperative dungeon-crawler. Now officially Tidal Blades, the same cast of characters from the previous game will get the opportunity to step inside the mysterious Fold for an important mission.

We hope you’ve have enjoyed this first sneak peek into the world we’ve created. I believe Tim and Ben are looking into doing an entry more specifically on the game mechanics. As for us, our next diaries will each focus on one of the main characters and discuss some key locations of the Floating Islands.

Until next time, goodbye!

David and Lina
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BG.EXE
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I favor Euros, but I like pretty much all games.
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Frotze wrote:
What came out of this process is a vast water-based fantasy world, full of wonders and strange technology. In this universe, crocs, salamanders and a huge array of novel aquatic races cohabit with humans in a big, bustling city floating on shallow tropical waters. Here, fantastical sea monsters abound, people travel on jet-propelled watercrafts, and traditional fantasy magic is replaced with tech-augmented weapons and advanced shell devices that give control over time and space.
I put my wallet into my computer screen, when does the game arrive?
Jokes aside, this type of world is something I've always been into (Ni No Kuni has it in segments, as does Tales of Symphonia, and several other JRPGs) and I'm really looking forward to hearing more about the game. On worldbuilding alone, this is a hit for me. Worker placement is my favorite mechanic, so odds are high I'm at least getting Part I!
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Wow!!!

This really sounds awesome and fun.

It reminds me of how Scythe was designed around the artwork. I think it allows for a much more immersive world with lots of directions to run off in, in my opinion.

I love worker placement games AND dungeon crawlers AND mostly your artwork!

You guys are so cool! Can't wait to see more of these games!

Thank you for the post!
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Marco Boschetto
Netherlands
Amsterdam
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Great job David!
I love your works and I will back this projects only for your art! I really hope the game mechanics will be good.
Thank you and Lina for your great job!

P.s. Do you have any idea when the video you are preparing will be released?
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David Forest
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boardgamesdotEXE wrote:
I put my wallet into my computer screen, when does the game arrive?

Hehe, thank you! We're hoping to kickstart in September.

Jawby wrote:
You guys are so cool! Can't wait to see more of these games! It reminds me of how Scythe was designed around the artwork. I think it allows for a much more immersive world with lots of directions to run off in, in my opinion.

Thanks so much Jawby!

Yes, Scythe really lit a light bulb for us. It's been a huge inspiration to see what Jakub and Jamey did with this game together!

jed1knight wrote:
Thank you and Lina for your great job!

P.s. Do you have any idea when the video you are preparing will be released?

The plan was to release the video at the same time but there's been a little delay because of Dice Tower Con. It should be posted this afternoon! It's mostly a little teaser to lead to this diary. We do get to see glimpses of a few new art pieces though. Cheers!

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Andrei Lefter
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Wow! What an amazing art!!! Would you be interested in illustrating our little bee themed game Super-Bee!?
Wow...
Amazing.
Mouth watering... Drooling...


I wish you all the best with your projects!
Cheers,
Andy
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Marco Boschetto
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I just saw the video on fb, lovely!
Looking forward for more previews!
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Sylvain Lacroix
Canada
Quebec City
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Just AMAZING

Can't wait to see more!
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Kwanchai Moriya
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Congrats David and Lina! The atmosphere and world building is first class.
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Ian O'Toole
Australia
Queens Park
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I want to swim in that water so bad This looks fantastic.
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David Hamilton
Australia
Bunbury
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Ianotoole wrote:
I want to swim in that water so bad This looks fantastic.

You have an oasis on your door step, the Swan River. Not keen?

 
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Filipa Tato
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I love designer and artist diaries, thank you so much for sharing this with us
Can't wait for all that will be coming next, not only in part 1 but part 2 too!
 
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