Vincent Dutrait(vdutrait)South Korea
Among these elements, illustration plays a key role. It is the player's first contact with the game and often depicts its universe, atmosphere and tone. More than just decoration, or even "nice drawings" as we sometimes hear, the illustrations shape the perception of the game, stimulate the imagination, and heighten the gaming experience.
In this article, Catch Up Games and Lumberjacks Studio ask Vincent Dutrait about these notions, so that you can immerse yourself in the worlds of After Us and The A.R.T. Project.•••
Q: Hi, Vincent! I don't think you need an introduction, but before we start talking about specific games, could you tell us which projects have stayed with you throughout your long career as an illustrator, whether board game related or not?
A: I've worked on illustrations for over a hundred games. Choosing some titles over others is always a delicate affair...but the first games that spring to mind are Lewis & Clark and Discoveries, which allowed me to transfer an important part of American history into images by fully exploring the theme, graphics and visuals.
Detective: City of Angels was an enormous playground for me, allowing me to experiment with new approaches. The game featured a strong relationship between the text and the images, the narration, and the development of mixed techniques that allowed us to obtain a retro-vintage rendering.
Most recently, The Quest for El Dorado and its expansions gave me the chance to develop an entire universe, its locations, and its characters from scratch. I was given complete freedom because the publishing work was done only after the illustrations were finished, not before or during that process as is usually the case. I delivered "turnkey" packs to publishers and distributors of the game around the world.
Q: We're curious to find out what goes on inside an illustrator's notebook. Could you tell us what your main steps are for a project?
A: To start with, I like to have a deep understanding of the game. That includes its rules, but also the point of view of the publisher and the designers. Any 3D views, or pictures of game sessions or the game's set-up, will help me tremendously to immerse myself in the game and understand its spatialization — even with prototypes that have preliminary artwork or none at all. This allows me to better define the impact and function the illustrations will have in the game.Character development for The A.R.T. Project
Once the final list of illustrations has been defined, to support my creative process I spend a lot of time researching and collecting documentation and references about the theme. I do that online, but I also read books and watch movies. To create a credible environment, I always work in a documented way that's not too dissimilar from documentary fiction. This is followed by a phase of sketching and montage, which further develops the idea I have in mind and the direction I would like to go in.In-progress cover for The A.R.T. Project
Once this step has been approved, I start coloring. I've always worked in a traditional manner, with pencils, brushes, and paintings on paper. Having to make modifications afterwards can be very delicate and dangerous, so I always take my precautions to avoid complications on finalized images.
As a last step, after scanning and scaling them according to the manufacturer's guidelines, I hand over the final illustrations to the publisher. At this point, the illustrations are ready for the desktop publishing process, and finally for printing.Cover drafts for After Us
Q: The universe of After Us, like that of The A.R.T. Project, seems original and grounded in a certain realism while referencing popular imagined worlds. How do you manage to strike a balance between realism and fiction? What unique contribution can you bring to these already strong paper-based universes?
A: It's never easy to find the right balance. I like to say that my illustrations are more "believable" than "realistic". It's all about the approach. I always work in a well-documented manner as if I were working on a docudrama. This allows me to establish the reality that needs to be depicted in the images and make it tangible. Viewers will thus recognize things and conventions that surround them, supporting their immersion — and that's where it becomes interesting because I will subtly deviate from this reality by adding to the image what should not or could not be possible.Final cover
It seems to me that this is the question illustrators should ask themselves: What do I want to convey and share? And how can I achieve that? It's a fine line, a fragile frontier, and it can be easy to tip towards representations that are difficult for the majority to access, sometimes too intricate or sophisticated, cryptic, or overly referential. The precise and detailed grounding in reality allows me to reassure the viewers, then take them by the hand, guide them, and introduce them to these unique and original worlds to explore.
Q: About The A.R.T. Project, is a game with art as its main theme exciting for an illustrator to work on?
Museum, I had worked on a board game with an artistic theme before. I knew it could be exciting, but that it could also turn out to be complex. You can't just do whatever you like with it, you have to be respectful towards history, cultures, civilizations, and their works of art.
We therefore decided to take a mixed approach, with representations of existing artworks and others that were done "in the same style". This gave us the leeway we needed to create the original universe that is The A.R.T. Project. We wanted to maintain some fantasy elements, and make sure the illustrations weren't so heavy that they distracted players from the game's experience.
Q: What would you say was your biggest challenge when creating The A.R.T. Project? Looking at the amount of detail and references on each board, it's a stunning achievement!
A: The main challenge was in the game's components. There are no cards or tokens, which makes it difficult to show locations, environments, artworks, etc. The boards were all I had to work with, and that was tough because they first and foremost serve as play areas on which the players move their meeples.
I had to pull some rabbits out of my hat in terms of composition, structure, and staging. I tried centralizing as much information as possible to create an immersive experience for the players. I used pictures and postcards, images inside of images, objects placed on the country maps of the boards... They're practically on a 1:1 scale, which helps to create a sensation of "reality" around the boards: a bit like a trompe l’œil or a mise en abyme.Japan game board in The A.R.T. Project
The goal was to breathe life into the game in a patchwork sort of way, a bit like a Russian doll. I wanted to give each board its own identity and unique traits, while at the same time supporting the idea of discovery, exploration, travel, and adventure!
Q: The monkeys and apes in After Us are admirable for their realistic traits and expressions. Did you have any prior experience illustrating these animals, or did you have to do extensive research for each of the five species in the game?
A: I'm a big fan of Planet of the Apes, the novel by Pierre Boulle, as well as the first series of films from the 1960s and 1970s. I had created a tribute to the movie for an exhibition, but I had never had the opportunity to develop a complete series of illustrations on monkeys until After Us came along!Dutrait's original homage to Planet of the Apes
There aren't fifty species of monkeys in the game, and on the cards, for example, we finally have only a few variations and views to represent them. It was quite a challenge and an interesting exercise to try to capture the essence of these animals. I'm not sure if we can call it "artistic semantics", but fundamentally, I aimed to represent chimpanzees as a species, rather than A chimpanzee, and the same goes for the gorillas and the mandrills — especially since in this game, each species is linked to an action, an effect. Therefore, I needed to find the right gesture, the right pose to support the gameplay mechanisms and highlight the apes in their most symbolic and iconic forms.
The player boards allowed me to contextualize the monkeys, have them interact with their environment and with each other, and create a narrative — small stories about their daily lives and their new way of living in this post-event world.
Q: For some foreign editions, you adapted the cover of After Us by replacing our beloved Eiffel Tower with another iconic building from their respective country. Can you tell us more about the process and the challenges it may have posed?
A: We were fortunate to have a cover structure and layout that allowed for these adaptations. The idea was that if our partners wished, they could have a very localized version of the game! This can certainly help players in these markets better identify and immerse themselves in the world of After Us. On the contrary, keeping the Eiffel Tower can also be exotic and unfamiliar for others, emphasizing the dystopian aspect of our story.
Technically, it wasn't always straightforward, and it could pose some challenges at times. To maintain the original composition of the cover and not disrupt its balance, we needed a building that would fit in height, in the space to the left of the title, and whose scale could integrate into the scene — but that's not the kind of thing that can deter me, and on the contrary, while exploring the world, it spiced up this unexpected extension of the work on After Us, and I'm very proud of this unique series of covers!
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Just ahead of SPIEL '23, UK publisher Osprey Games has announced a new title in the Undaunted game line from David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin. Here's an overview of the 2024 release Undaunted 2200: CallistoQuote:Jovian Moon Base - Callisto, 22nd Century AD: Tensions have arisen between the conglomerate of Earth's leading corporations that funded the base and the mining collective tasked with operating it. Protests have erupted, strikes been called, and contracts broken. Private security forces have been hired, industrial mining vehicles repurposed for combat, and long-disused military mechs reawoken. The battle for Callisto is about to begin: It's time to choose your side.A press release about the game quotes Trevor Benjamin as follows: "David and I are so excited to finally share this with you all! Callisto brings Undaunted to an entirely new setting, with lots of component and UI improvements such as [REDACTED//REDACTED//REDACTED by Jovian Base Mining Corp], as well as exciting new gameplay elements [REDACTED//REDACTED//REDACTED by Jovian Base Mining Corp]. We have had a blast designing the game and can't wait to hear what you all think!"
Undaunted 2200: Callisto is a standalone big-box game in the Undaunted series that adapts the core gameplay of previous games to a new science-fiction setting. Play across an illustrated map in two-player, four-player, and solo game modes. Navigate the barren lunar landscape, maneuver to seize dominant high-ground positions, and utilize your formidable mechs to gain control of Callisto and its precious resources.
Should you be at SPIEL '23, you can meet the designers at the Osprey Games booth (1-A110) on Friday, October 6 from 14:00 to 14:30.
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SpellBook, begins almost twenty years ago when I first got into the hobby of modern board games. As I was discovering all the amazing titles that had been coming out of Europe, I also found my first favorite mechanism: set collection.
I marveled at how different designers could take this core concept I knew from Rummy, and reimagine it in exciting new contexts. Games like Lost Cities and Bohnanza are built on the feeling of looking for and collecting a particular set of cards, and I still remember having a visceral first reaction to how fun this simple idea was in those games. I wonder whether part of this feeling came from a nostalgia for collecting football cards as a kid. What new cards am I going to find in this pack? Can I collect every player in my favorite team?The 1989 Sydney Swans full team set
Mike Fitzgerald's Mystery Rummy series was another huge favorite in those days. Mike was openly referencing classic Rummy, but in each title he showed how modern design ideas could elevate set collection in fascinating ways. For example, the gavel cards bring exciting new actions into the mix, creating new layers of strategy and tension.Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper in play (Image: EndersGame)
My first published game, Archaeology: The Card Game, was my own little exploration of this mechanism. Here I tried to give each set of cards its own personality with different set sizes, rarities, and scoring options — but designing Archaeology (and even making a new edition of it in 2016) still didn't get set collection out of my system!Some of the cards from the Z-Man edition of Archaeology: The Card Game (Image: futza)
In fact, I'd say that almost the whole time I've been designing games, I've been toying around with some Rummy-style game idea. One that stuck around for a long time was a concept I just came to call "Rummy Powers". Quite simply, I thought it would be cool to have a set-collection game in which every time you make a meld, you get a special power for the rest of the game. Going through my old design notebooks recently, I found versions of this idea dating back at least ten years.A couple of the many pages about "Rummy Powers" in my old game design notebooks
In 2019 I sat down to finally try to finish this design. I had recently completed Gizmos, so I was thinking a lot about engine building and permanent powers.
But I wanted this game to feel like a classic card game, so I gave myself a design brief: The game had to be simple and streamlined, use only cards as components, and most of all, the whole thing had to fully focus on the fun of building sets. If memory serves, the first thing I did was grab a Rage deck, assign some basic special ability to each suit, and start solo-testing and tinkering.
From the beginning, I thought it would be cool if the bigger the set you make, the better your new power would be. This introduced some nice "push your luck" tension into the game. Should I play this meld now because I want to have the power it gives, or should I try to get another card or two to make that power even stronger? A few ideas for powers presented themselves early on: You could draw a bunch of cards from the deck and keep one, take cards from a face-up row, or increase your maximum hand size.
However, I realized pretty quickly that there wasn't a lot of design space here. If all we are doing is drawing cards and playing sets, then how many cool powers can there actually be? I needed to add one more element, something that the special powers would be able to play off of, but coming up with that something proved difficult as I wanted to keep everything as streamlined as possible.
This is actually where a lot of my designs get stuck; I can definitely be too much of a stickler for keeping things "elegant"! Eventually, and begrudgingly, I convinced myself to try adding a secondary icon to each card. Now a card had its suit (its color) but also one of three different shapes. I made a super quick prototype with new powers that would interact with these shapes in some way, e.g., use one circle card as a wild color, or draw one card every time you pick up a pentagon from the card row.The first super simple prototype I made on the computer; the theme at this stage was generic fantasy characters
To my surprise, the shape icons felt like the solution almost immediately. In fact, quite a few of the powers I came up with for this initial prototype managed to make it all the way to the final version of the game in some form. This moment in the design is one of the key examples I think of for when a new idea comes along and fits perfectly. It rarely happens to me, but I'm thankful it happened here!
The game was starting to get interesting, so I thought it was time to choose a proper theme and make a nicer prototype. Even though magic spells have to be one of the most overused themes in board games, I couldn't get away from how well it fit the gameplay. Each player was a wizard learning spells, and the longer you took to learn a spell, the better you would be at it. The three shapes could be three "runes". I also thought that designing each card to look like the page of a spell book would be a cool look, so from this point on, the theme (and even the title of the game) was locked in. I also started digging around the British Library's photo stream for old engraved images that I could use to evoke the feeling of an old book of spells.The look I came up with for the final versions of the prototype
I can't remember deciding to make the game modular, so I suppose it always felt like the natural choice. Seven different suits was the right number for the deck, but how much cooler would it be if in each game you could choose which seven spells to use from a large selection?
I suppose this is a pretty standard question designers of card games ask themselves these days, certainly if they are fans of Dominion. I remember years ago reading an interview with Donald X. Vaccarino about his design process in which he spoke about a game having its mechanisms, but also its "data". That is, Dominion has a really simple core ruleset, but its "data" is all the different kingdom cards that plug into that ruleset. Obviously, Dominion's biggest contribution to the hobby is the whole idea of building a deck during play, but I often wonder whether Donald's approach to modular game content has been just as influential.The "data" of Dominion (Image: tiggers)
I was happy with how SpellBook was progressing, but after not too long I hit the edge of its design space once more. At this point, the endgame came when a player had learned all seven spells. This worked okay, but created the endgame issue of players knowing exactly how far behind they were, and what kind of final set they'd need in order to have a hope of winning — so I set about trying to find another source of points in the game that could make your final score feel more dynamic.
The obvious idea was to introduce point tokens and have card powers let you gain them, but again the single-minded streamliner in me did not want any extra components in this game. This is a card game, and gosh darn it I was going to find a way to do this with cards!
In the end, my completely self-imposed restriction supplied its own obvious answer. Players could "shelve" cards from their hand to a face-down pile that would be worth 1 point each at the end of the game. Then there could be a bunch of spell powers that allow you to shelve cards in different ways and even focus on shelving as your main strategy.Some prototype spells that have powers to do with "shelving" cards
SPIEL '19 was coming up, so I worked hard to finish the game to show it to publishers there. There was, of course, a huge amount of playtesting as I tried out many different powers and settled on the best eighteen.
Needing eighteen copies of each spell card meant the game ended up being a whopping 324 cards! I wasn't sure who would be interested in this sort of title, so I pitched it quite widely that year. I was super excited that Adrien Martinot from Days of Wonder took a shine to the game. Sometimes during a pitch you realize that a game concept has just "clicked" with the person you are showing it to, and this was one of those occasions. Of course, working with Days of Wonder was (and still is) on my designer bucket list, so I was pretty excited!
Adrien took the game back to France and started testing it. Then Covid hit and like all of my other projects with publishers at that point, development naturally slowed down. Around this time, I believe Asmodee was also doing restructuring regarding the focus of some of its different studios. All this meant that the game was eventually passed along to Space Cowboys to continue development. It was a bit of a shame not to be working with Days of Wonder, but Space Cowboys has also always been right up there on my publisher bucket list, so I can't say I felt too disappointed!
Over the years, Space Cowboys has consistently put out such amazingly produced games that I was fascinated to see how their team would work — and work they did! They jumped into development on the game with so much enthusiasm, testing a Tabletop Simulator version of the game like mad! Spells were tweaked, new spells came along, and a huge amount of effort went into balancing the point rewards for each spell level.
But the biggest change was actually a physical one. The hundreds of cards in the game were replaced with acrylic tokens. These tokens come in seven colors, with each token also showing one of three runes. They stand in for whichever seven spells you are using in your game, with the spells now being represented by reference cards in front of you. These reference cards are oversized and beautifully illustrated, keeping the theme of the game front and center.The tokens (now called "Materia") in their container
Having been such a stickler for the game being composed solely of cards, I was surprised at how much sense this decision made. First, it hugely cut set-up time. Instead of deconstructing the previous game's deck, choosing seven spells to use, then shuffling them all together, you just pick seven spells and go.
Second, the tokens could be used to mark your reference cards to show at which level you had learned each spell. Previously, you just had to see how many cards were in your meld, and read the power on the top card at that level. Quite a few playtesters had found this at least a little annoying.
Third, it is much easier to create new content for the game, which now comes with 21 different spells!
Fourth, using tokens made the game cheaper to produce and allowed it to come in at a nicer price point for the type of game it was.
The other big physical change is, of course, Cyrille Bertin's stunning artwork. Cyrille's use of color was the main thing that jumped out at me when I first saw the cards. There is so much vibrancy across the seven main colors in these illustrations! The art features fire, ice, plant life, wizards, and familiars — but I love how each card also has something quirky or unexpected in it. Cyrille's personality really shines through.Some of my favorite illustrations from the game
In July 2023, I took my first ever trip to Gen Con. (Wow, is it busy!) One of the highlights was getting to see SpellBook being demoed for the first time. The tables were in almost constant use which was super exciting. The game has its official release at SPIEL '23 this October, and although I can't make it, I can't wait!Hooray!
I'd like to thank everyone who tested the game over the years and especially Adrien for seeing the potential in my prototype. Of course, SpellBook wouldn't be here without the dedicated work of Cyril Demaegd, Thomas Cauet, Julien Andre and the whole team at Space Cowboys. Thank you all!
I hope folks enjoy SpellBook! And if like me you have always had a soft spot for set collection, I hope you find it a fitting celebration of that simple but magical little mechanism.
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Some time ago, a friend of mine who works as an illustrator, Vicente Cifuentes, with whom I had already worked with for Hell Lords, made a comic called Whodunnit? Besides having a great story, it's beautifully illustrated, and that's what started the idea rolling. Eventually, I came up with a deduction game that evolved into the Sherlock in Time base game.
The trouble is, there are a lot of games about Sherlock, and almost all of them are set in Victorian times. That's when TCG Factory came into play and suggested sending Sherlock to feudal Japan. This small idea kicked off the entire "In Time" line of games in which different famous characters will be plucked out of their age, resulting in very fun plot twists.
Another great idea that came from TCG Factory was to change the crime from an assassination to a robbery, which made it accessible for players under 12 years old.
Step-by-Step: Creating the Mechanisms
But let's talk about the process of creating Sherlock in Time. Even though this is a relatively simple game, and I've already designed numerous games, such as Lady Up, Maestras de la Pintura, and Food Trucks, creating a game is always a long and arduous path.
My first idea was closer to a memory-style game in which players had to remember the correct clues. However, I don't really like games with that mechanism, and it worked horribly in games with players of different age groups.
It took a bit of time before I discovered the flipped card idea. Here's how it works:Quote:In Sherlock in Time, each player is investigating a crime on their own. You start with a hand of clue cards that show one of four suspects, one of three locations, and one of three stolen objects. One of the clue cards in your hand faces the other players, not you, and you must identify the three symbols on this secret card in order to solve your crime.Originally, another player held your secret card, but it soon became clear that throwing questions to the same person all the time wasn't the best approach. Besides, it was annoying to the player, who had to be constantly checking the card.The suspects
On a turn, place a card from your hand face up. The other players will tell you how many symbols on the revealed card — 0, 1, or 2 — match the symbols on your secret card, but not which ones. Place the revealed card on a reminder card so that you can remember how many clues matched, then either end your turn or attempt to identify the three symbols on your secret card. (Remember that you can see the secret card held by each other player, in addition to their revealed cards.) If you're correct, you score points based on how many others have already guessed their secret card; if you're incorrect, you're out of the round.
The game lasts three complete rounds, then the player with the most points wins.
Once you're comfortable with the game, you can add additional clue cards that introduce a fourth stolen object, which makes the game more challenging.
Assistants and Shortcuts: Designing Variants and Expansions
After having the base game ready, there was the possibility of creating variants and expansions. One thing that started as a mini-variant and ended up in the base game is the "dishonorable" shortcut. With this special ability, a player can spend their honor card to learn whether one specific symbol is on their secret card. An unused honor card serves as a tiebreaker, so don't spend it unless you have to.
This works similarly to classic games like Who is Who?, and I felt it was an interesting way to give the game a variant.
The last thing that came into play was the "Watson in Time" expansion, which is included for free in the first edition. After multiple tests and several back-to-back games, some players noted that the game needed some more interactive options. Basically, they wanted to mess with the other players' games to make things more interesting.
With this expansion, each player gets an extra card with an assistant, and these characters have special skills that can either be a nuisance to the other players or protect you from their attacks.
A Gorgeous Final Product
After everything regarding gameplay was sorted out, the only thing left to talk about is the art. Sherlock in Time is a game with beautiful illustrations, and I couldn't be happier about them. The illustrator, Joaquín Rodríguez, had already worked with TCG Factory on Abu Simbel, and he did such a great job with it that another collaboration was a given. All the sketches, illustrations, and detailed layout (by Daniel Pineda's studio) make a gorgeous final product.
After all our hard work, having Sherlock in Time in my hands was an incredible sensation. It marked the end of a well-done job involving a lot of people, even the factory! Seeing how the illustrations looked on the cards, how you could play them in your hands, and how good the box looked with the other TCG Factory games was also super gratifying.
I hope you like this game, and I'll see you on the next adventure!
Jose D. Flores
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Paco Yanez, the designer of Satori. I am also a Japan lover who almost always gets inspiration from Japanese culture when starting work on a game, at least to feel more comfortable testing whether the preliminary ideas work. At the same time, I'm aware that most of the time the theme may change when the game is published, depending on the publisher's preferences. However, in the case of Satori, it evolved while maintaining the essence it had from the beginning, including the name.
In December 2021, I came up with the idea of creating a game centered around Buddhist monks' meditation while using time as part of the mechanisms. The monks would venture to the mountains to meditate and attain certain "things", which would enable them to reach other things and so on. In other words, they will experience "satori", a Japanese term describing the moment of enlightenment in Buddhism.
From the beginning, I consider the feelings I would like to convey with the game as this prevents me from easily losing my way. I wanted each game to be different and to have a lot of interaction between players — the more interaction, the better. I wanted to have many moments of satisfaction throughout the game...even on each turn, if possible.
On the other hand, I enjoy incorporating common elements that create synergies and offer variable benefits to players depending on the moment. Furthermore, I try to make the theme relevant in the game since it simplifies the mechanisms and ultimately enhances the gameplay experience.First prototype
In January 2022, I began working on the initial ideas for the game. I started by designing several altars and the three mountains where the monks would go to meditate. The altars each represent the available actions in the game, and players can build new altars that will alter the initial actions since new altars would be customized when built, giving the game dynamism and variability.
At first, monks in the mountains "connect" with the devotees at the altars to receive "bonuses", and these bonuses were delimited by the available actions of the altars. However, once satori tiles were introduced, the game saw a rise in variability, which intensified the decision-making and increased the potential for chain reactions.
I like to impose restrictions or limitations on components as it helps me get the ideas flowing, especially at the beginning. Therefore, I changed the devotee's meeples to cards, which facilitated the introduction of a draft mechanism to trigger interaction from the start of each round.Devotees as cards
Besides the altars and mountains, there was an area with two reward tracks. You had to choose on which track to progress when you executed this action, weighing the benefits of immediate rewards versus end-of-game points, which also depended on other elements you had developed during the game.The two pagoda tracks
The next step was introducing the pagoda in the game. It became another way to score points and ended up replacing the two previous tracks.
The pagoda brought more options to connect with other game elements like the satori tiles, which also function as a ceiling, turning it into another resource for the game and suddenly, connecting all the elements of the game becomes essential.First test of the pagoda
As testing progressed, I tried to manage the weight that each element and mechanism had in the game to ensure that they were balanced without any isolated element. I used to do checkpoints at regular intervals to check each layer of the game, and one of these checks brought one of the first changes, which was to turn devotee cards into meeples again and get rid of the constant draft mechanism, which in practice was an additional layer that contributed nothing, while meeples allowed turns to be resolved faster.
Thanks to this, the area where the devotee cards were played within the altars made way for the idea of incense burners (jokoros), which at first were built only on the altars, boosting your final score based on how many different altars on which you had built, but later the jokoros extended to the pagoda, where the scoring depends on the pagoda's level of development at the end of the game.Devotees become meeples again
I continued playtesting the game for an extended period until I discovered the most significant change that transformed it from an idea into a more serious prototype. This change introduced the prayer wheel, then incense as a new resource. These additions completely transformed the gameplay experience, intensifying chain reactions and enhancing game variability.Incense burners as cubes on the pagoda's floors and the prayer wheel
Conversations with different publishers were held until November 2022. I eventually signed a contract with Perro Loko Games, a small Spanish publisher known for the care and commitment put into each of its games, and this is what I was looking for. Then, as an incentive, they told me that the game would be illustrated by Edu Valls, who you might recognize for his work in Bitoku or the recent 3 Ring Circus. I couldn't have been more excited...
I took statistical notes by rounds, tracking the source of points of every single game during this period so that I could compare the impact of every change we made.I was not the best player
Although the temples were adjusted throughout the development of the game and provided variability of the available actions, we felt that they were a little out of the player's interaction — until I introduced the offerings' track, which now allows all the elements to be connected.Offering track on TTS
Soon Edu's first illustrations began to arrive, and it was brutal to see how the game was coming to life.Incense burner (above) and an altar (below)
The solo mode and the pagoda's sōrin (the vertical shaft on top of the pagoda) were the last elements to arrive. The sōrin came in to boost a variable scoring source in the last round of the game.
For the solo mode, I wanted you not to have to learn to play a different game, so in Satori, the AI reacts in one way or another to your actions through simple rules. You must try to optimize each of your turns as in the regular game, while also preventing the AI from taking too much advantage from its reaction to your turn; at the same time, you want to shape the actions of the AI for your own benefit.
Satori has been a lot of time and work, but it was satisfying in the end, so I would like to give thanks to all testers. Every single play was valuable to me and helped me to make the game better.
Paco YanezImages of the production components
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Findorff, I decided to write short explanations of my games before the Essen game fair starts.
With Findorff, people complained about all of the cards having a fixed amount of 50 VPs. Some even called that decision a result of "laziness".
However, initially the game design was only about building these cards, and in the first prototype you got five cards, and whoever built them first won. That turned out not to be suitable for this design, but I prefer race-style games to VP-optimizing games and wanted to focus the game strategy on building these cards. I hate that in almost all modern VP games that my focus while gaming is directed to micro-optimizing points. I think the idea that all games have to be balanced to death is a trap for modern game design, and a result of this goal is that often no matter what you do, you will still be fighting for victory in the end.
This might sound satisfying as a design goal for a game, but on the other hand, what are the consequences of this? No big (emotional) events in a game are possible because no one can make a giant leap; you get points for everything — even breathing, it seems — and in the end the person who does micro-VP calculations best wins because everything else is so balanced that it is unimportant.
I took a different approach in Findorff. If you manage to build more cards than the others, you win.
I want to design games I like to play, and in Findorff I can focus only on big points to win — and if somebody plays as well as I do, then we have to fight for small points because we've equaled out our big points.•••
But let me stop lamenting about last year. Another year has passed, so let's look at other choices I've made in designing my games.
Fancy Feathers — It is getting colorful!
Fancy Feathers doesn't have the highest BGG rating — not a surprise for a filler game — but it sold well and was easy to expand because the concept already has you using only some of the sets of cards included in the game. Now you have more sets from which to choose.
Also, Fancy Feathers won the 2023 Austrian "Spiel der Spiele" award for card games, and a successful game needs an expansion!•••
Faiyum is my second-best game, based on the average rating at BGG, and I already said in the rules that I planned to do an expansion — but even successful games receive complaints, and when complaining about Faiyum, gamers think the game is too long, that it has too many cards, especially for two players. A lot of people just cut out a number of random cards from the beginning and seem to be happy with this. We had this discussion in the prototype times, and I agreed with one of my testers that the game needs this length to build up the strategy, but tastes differ.
I wanted to make this expansion, but had in mind that the game already has more than enough cards in it, so it took me some time to think about how to add more cards without making the game longer. It was a paradox, but while thinking about the situation, I had the idea of introducing privileges: cards that do not enter a player's hand.
If these cards are added to the game, the pile of cards will be bigger, yes, and the number of turns in which you buy cards will be higher, yes, so the number of turns in the game will rise, yes! — but the turns in which you buy cards are the fastest in the game, and if you buy an instant card and use it right away, it's done and gone, so that's not much longer.Permanent privileges
On top of that, if you buy a card that stays on the table and gives you discounts or more resources, you can have better turns, and more importantly you can get rid of the least powerful cards in your hand earlier in the game, so the cards from the starting deck will not played as many times as before, so you'll end up taking fewer turns overall, which sounds weird but is true.
In the end, the game is nearly as long as it was without the expansion, but now you have more different options, so what's not to like...•••
Freaky Frogs From Outaspace is a solo game, one of several I've made.
Some people tell me that Friday is the best pure solo game ever. We've sold over 100,000 copies, so it is a huge success. Finished! is not such a big success, but I play it every single day, and (if I look in the daily high scores on the app) about a hundred other people play it that often. Finished! is a game that you dislike or become addicted to. I often meet these addicted gamers, and they tell me that they play it very often. I only play the app now because I've worn out fifteen physical copies of the game. (I try to have single-player modes for my other games, but I do not like to play against bots, so I try to make version without bots.)
Freaky Frogs From Outaspace is a pinball machine game for one player. I had really looked forward to playing Super-Skill Pinball: 4-Cade, but when I played it the first time, I was disappointed because it does not simulate a pinball machine. It is just a very well done roll-and-write VP-optimizing game with a well-matching theme, but not pinball as a game. Pinball has to be a game in which you can theoretically play endlessly. (It's not very probable, of course, but it is possible.)
So I started to design a pinball-machine card game. In Freaky Frogs From Outaspace, you will start to be happy to go over 10K points, but the more you play, the better you get, and my actual high score is over 350K. (It took me over an hour real time playing it that was long and exhausting, but great.)Prototype
Dale Yu from The Opinionated Gamers helped us on the English rules, got the game for playing, and had a similar experience. I met him earlier this year, and he came to me asking, "If I get the Multiball early in the game, I could play forever?!" I agreed and said that this was the purpose of the design. To be honest, it is like a game in which you roll a die and as long as you do not roll a "1", you stay in the game. This is theoretically endless, yet in practice not — but I wanted to have that feeling.
In Freaky Frogs From Outaspace you have, of course, more decisions than only rolling a die, and there is a learning curve to get to know your card deck and the pinball machine better. Maura is a real pinball enthusiast, so the artwork is amazing.Final pinball table
That said, I am a bit stressed because I know many people will not like it because this game can be absolutely unfair (like a real pinball machine). When my first physical copy arrived, I played my first game and got over 100K points, but the next four(!) games, I didn't even score my final ball because they were all around 1K or 2K points. My sixth game, though, was over 170K, and this is the reason I love the design: If I lose, I do it quickly, but if it really goes well, I play longer and get into the flow and this is so satisfying.•••
FTW?! is one of these filler card games to play just for fun — sitting around a table, shuffling, dealing, playing a card, and looking at how the next player reacts.
I had very good games at the Gathering of Friends in Niagara Falls with a lot of different people, but a while later there were BGG ratings — not-so-good ratings, that is — from people I did not play with. Looking into what happened, I discovered that one player had put it on PlayingCards.io and the game could be played there. (I don't recall anybody asking if it would be okay to put it on this platform.)
Personally I think a game is everything together: the physical copy, the players with me at the table, and the artwork. I think I would not like this game as much as I like it now if I had played it only as an abstract challenge online without the direct reactions of my fellow players. I hope this will not lower the game's chances on the market.
The game is surprisingly good, and you have to play it at least two times. The rules are easy, and you can play it as a kind of climbing-number game. When you cannot or do not want to play a higher card, you still have to play a card, but you also take a card from the discard pile. The most interesting idea about this game is that it ends when one player has only one card left — you don't have to get rid of all your cards — and you try to have one very high card left because you score positive points for your highest card and negative points for all other cards in hand. The first time you play FTW?!, you cannot imagine what will happen in this endgame. The second time you play it, you will change your strategy and see something new.
In the end, I think this game is for people who are sitting at a table (maybe with some drinks) and playing it. Playing it online is only a theoretically analytical challenge — not so much fun!•••
Black Friday is the new version of Schwarzer Freitag, but really it's a new edition with major changes.
Schwarzer Freitag had one of the worst rulebooks ever made, and only pure fans managed to play it right and enjoy it. The game still has these fans, and some tried to influence Rio Grande Games into making it again. Additionally, in Asia stock-trading games are very popular, so our Asian partners were really happy that we wanted to republish it.
I still think it is one of the best stock-trading games and was happy to rework it. First, I did normal things like changing the values of the shares so that the higher numbers end mostly with a "0", which means players can more easily calculate the money to pay or to get.
Second, the most important change was cutting out the loans. In the old version, you took loans only when you needed money, but with this theme you should be able to take as many loans as you are permitted to. However, some players don't like having loans and always think they are bad. (In real life this might help your finances, but if you play a game with a finance shark, you should think differently.) These players lose the game only because they try to avoid loans, and this was not the intention of the designer.Game board
To have a better game experience, every player now gets initial money and this works so much better. Putting the shares in the drawing bag and drawing them to change the stock prices and the built-in crisis is still the core mechanism of the game, but the passing action now has more strategic use, which is good for players who sold all their shares (in the endgame) to have some more decisions to make when passing.•••
I do my designs the way I like them and hope you all like them as well, but sometimes I feel so misunderstood. Every single design has this problem. I have to like the design and must get a feeling for it in order to put so much work and time into it, but in the end I also want to make games that the gamers like.
Even so, I'm still not convinced to work only for the market, and I like my design philosophy: "If I like the game, then there will be enough people out there who will like it as well!" Sometimes it works better like with Power Grid, sometimes not.
Another year, and I think: We made great games...again!
- [+] Dice rolls
29 Sep 2023
Another week, another round-up of new editions of old games being announced by publishers far and wide.
I know some folks view this as a bad thing, presumably because they would prefer effort be spent on original designs, but (A) that's not how a market works and (B) reprints put a title in front of a mostly new audience that might have heard of the game, but never got their hands on it. I mean, sheesh, how many editions of Frankenstein exist? (At least these forty.) Ideally games end up in the right players' hands, and everyone has a great time.
• Renegade Game Studios has already released a number of Hasbro titles in new editions — Acquire, Diplomacy, Robo Rally, Axis & Allies: 1941 — and now Renegade has announced four new Hasbro titles that will be "refreshed" and released in 2024: Nexus Ops, Vegas Showdown, Risk 2210 A.D., and Risk: Godstorm, all of which debuted between 2001 and 2005.
As with its other Hasbro releases, Renegade notes that it's not altering the gameplay of any of these designs: "Renegade plans to implement minor quality-of-life upgrades to provide a modern, high-quality gaming experience for fans, plus a complete visual refresh for Avalon Hill titles Nexus Ops and Vegas Showdown."
• Spanish publisher Samaruc Games plans to debut with two new editions of older designs.
First, Matthias Cramer's Kraftwagen — which debuted in 2015, then was updated to the Kraftwagen: V6 Edition in 2016 — will be re-issued as Kraftwagen: Age of Engineering "with improvements and simplifications that lessen the luck factor".
Second, Samaruc Games will publish a new edition of Dragon's Gold, a Bruno Faidutti design from 2001.
A warning for sensitive eyes: This new edition will feature anthropomorphic animals, as seen in this image of the green knight:
• UK publisher Bright Eye Games plans to bring Jesse Li's Ponzi Scheme back to the market in 2024, with new art, new graphic design, some component changes, and no changes to the rules other than "the exception of Luxury Goods becoming part of the main game rules".
• Muneyuki Yokouchi, who has designed the trick-taking games Cat in the Box and 7 Symbols, and 7 Nations, plans to release a new edition of 2008's Mine Out at the Tokyo Game Market taking place at the end of 2023.
The original edition of this release from Ayatsurare Ningyoukan was available in SPIEL through Japon Brand. Will this version be available outside of Japan? Wait and see...
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The idea for Fit to Print came together quickly after a conversation in early 2019 with my wife, Indiana. At the time, she was a reporter for a local paper, where she's since been promoted to editor. This got me thinking about how a game about running a newspaper might work. My brain got working on ideas, and after making notes and sketches, I started on the first prototype.
The theme came first, but the mechanisms followed moments later. To capture the chaos of a newsroom, real-time tile-laying was the obvious choice. The tiles are the articles, photos, and ads of the paper — and the board is the front page itself.
Influences and Gameplay Concept
Vlaada Chvátil's Galaxy Trucker, and it is the second inspiration for this design after Indiana. Chvátil does a lot of things right that I found necessary to include in this design, namely flipping tiles (one-handed!) in the center of the table and taking them or leaving them face-up for other players, as well as three boards that increase in size each round (though this came later in the design process for me).
A newspaper isn't necessarily laid out as pieces are written. Generally speaking, the content comes first — and then it's laid out and sent to the presses.
Thus, unlike Galaxy Trucker, players explicitly cannot place tiles on their boards as they take them. Instead, you must place tiles you have chosen to keep on your desk, a 3D cardboard structure. When you think you have the right amount and mix of tiles, you say "layout" and switch to placing tiles on your paper, all within the time limit of the round. Each player enters the layout phase at their own discretion, so you decide how much time to spend collecting tiles versus arranging them on your paper — but once you've switched phases, there's no going back.
First Prototypes and Gameplay Developments
I wanted to give players just a few too many things to think about in a three- to five-minute round: tile types that cannot touch, photos that score off of adjacent tiles, ad revenue that makes or breaks your paper, and a balance of good and bad news.
Players are likely to forget at least one of these elements, and that's okay. Unlike many polyomino games, Fit to Print is a game about imperfection, about getting the front page of the paper as good as it can be, but almost never "perfect". You'll have gaps of white space, or you'll take too many or too few tiles. Whatever the case is, the paper will hit the presses one way or another.
My first prototype looks remarkably similar to the final product. If you've already played the game, you'll recognize many of the tile sizes, as well as the dimensions of the paper.
The three tile types were present from the start, but the role of ads changed a couple of times before settling on its final effect: Your total ad revenue has no bearing on your final score, but if you have the lowest total after three rounds, you are exempt from winning. This was popular among playtesters from the start, and it became a core part of my design.
Next came unique centerpiece tiles that give players abilities and are drafted based on the order in which players finished. The last major change before development was increasing board sizes across the three rounds, which increased the potential for points as the game progressed, along with the hilarious side effect of making the tile-estimation puzzle even more challenging.
During the whole process, I had the advantage of playtesting with Indiana and getting her input on what feels right and which elements accurately evoke the feeling of the newsroom.
Working with Flatout
I first met the whole Flatout Games team —Shawn, Molly, and Robb — at Gen Con 2019. Both Tiny Towns and Point Salad were debuting at that show, and during a pre-con event by publisher AEG, we got chatting, and I showed them my prototype. They enjoyed it enough that we ended up playing at least one more time during the con.
Though, of course, I was aware they are a publishing team, I'm so glad I got to know them as friends first. Some time after the convention, they expressed interest in developing and crowdfunding Fit to Print.
During the Flatout Games CoLab development, several additions were made to the core gameplay, such as player powers and "Breaking News" modules. We also replaced the flat desk "boards" with 3D desks, which add another dexterity element. To make the game less punishing, tiles with placement errors are flipped facedown rather than coming off of players' boards, which fills more white space.
Additionally, they added several modes: the family mode, turn-based mode, puzzle mode, and a refined version of my solo mode. At the tail end of development, we decided to include my ridiculous team-based "Newsroom mode", which has up to twelve players (with one box) working in teams: a reporter who collects newspaper tiles in one room and an editor who lays out those tiles. This was my initial gameplay concept, and I'm so happy we worked it in.
Once we landed on the bustling woodland town theme, we had a lot of fun coming up with a variety of headlines and the names of the papers themselves. There's even a couple of stories to be found among the articles and photos if you look closely.
There was a lot of discussion about the ad revenue instant elimination rule. We knew it wouldn't be a hit for everyone, but with a game that takes around twenty minutes to play, we could get away with including such a harsh rule.
Ads contribute nothing to a paper's news content, but without them, the lights don't stay on. We wanted players to balance two things that are difficult to quantify: the number of point-earning tiles they include, and the number of "don't get eliminated" tiles they include. Ultimately, being knocked out due to ad revenue is relevant only if you had the highest score, but since the player with the highest score likely dedicated the most space to things that aren't ads, this happens more often than you might think.
Working with Ian O'Toole
I was overjoyed when Flatout Games brought Ian O’Toole on board as the illustrator and one of the graphic designers, alongside Dylan Mangini. While I knew his work would be fitting and gorgeous, I didn't realize how much he would contribute to the world and lore of the game.
My early prototypes had a vague American 1920s–30s theme, and all of the ads and photos (and many of the headlines) were from that era. I wanted to include real historical events, which meant I had to either thoughtfully include sensitive topics or pretend the time period was simple and cheerful.
Flatout Games worked with Ian to find a style that might make the game more fanciful. After brainstorming themes to match the game's lightheartedness, Molly had the idea to set the game in a The-Wind-in-the-Willows-style universe, which let us explore more cheerful headlines and photos that are appropriate for a wacky twenty-minute puzzle game. While we gave Ian detailed descriptions of the illustrations we'd like, he often came up with his own concepts and frequently tweaked our suggestions to do something much more charming. My favorite example is this illustration; we'd asked him for an image of a dam breaking, and instead we got this sad beaver engineer:
He expanded upon the team's prompts for the ad tiles, and he often added his own jokes and puns — and with him being responsible for the in-game graphic design as well, the result is a collection of tiles and newspaper boards that feel cohesive and grounded in the world of Thistleville.
A Team Effort
Oftentimes when I work with developers, artists, and graphic designers on a game for months, it starts to feel like a separate thing that I couldn't have possibly come up with on my own. That's especially true with Fit to Print because I didn't. Indiana was always up for a playtest and gave me guidance and encouragement for years. Shawn, Molly, and Robb contributed so many ideas (and entire game modes), and our vision for it was shared from the start. Ian O'Toole threw himself into the project and helped to craft its world and characters. Dylan Mangini designed a rulebook that taught the core game concisely and highlighted the various modes and achievements. Then there's the 8,059 backers on Kickstarter, along with John Zinser and AEG, who brought this game to retail.
So many people made this game possible, and I am extremely excited to share it with you all.
- [+] Dice rolls
28 Sep 2023
previewed NMBR 9, a delightfully simple game by Peter Wichmann and ABACUSSPIELE, that challenges you to stack number tiles in a meaningful way. You're playing against other people (usually), but the challenge is mostly internal as you're all just doing your thing side by side, trying to score as much as possible and looking at what others did only at game's end.
SPIEL '23 will see the debut of NMBR 9 ++, which includes four sets of numbers 0-9, as well as twenty number cards (0-9 twice), so with this box you can play NMBR 9 with only two players. Alternatively, if you already have NMBR 9, you can now play the game with up to six players at once.
NMBR 9 ++ also includes expansion components that you can use with this box or with the original NMBR 9 game or with both combined. You have six different starting tiles, for example, with each player taking one at random before the game begins, which makes it impossible for players to build in the same patterns as one another.
You can give each player two "gap filler" tiles — one that is a single square and a second that is two squares long. You can use one or both at any point in the game when you're placing a number tile.
You can deal out two of the six "rule breaker" cards, then give each player two cubes in a different color. During the game, if you want to use a "rule breaker" card — e.g., move a tile previously placed, place the current tile upside down, or reserve the tile for placement later — place one of your cubes on the card, then use its power. You can use each card only once.Some of the components
Finally, NMBR 9 ++ includes variant rules that can be used with 1-4 players. In "2 out of 3", you create a deck of thirty cards (0-9 thrice) and put all of the number tiles on the table. Each round, you reveal three cards one by one. Each player can place the first number tile revealed or refuse it; if they refuse it, they must place the next two number tiles; if they place it, they must refuse one of the next two tiles. In the end, everyone will place twenty number tiles, as in the basic game.
In "Level to Level", shuffle all forty cards into a deck, place all number tiles on the table, and lay out new tokens numbered 0-4. For the first two turns, draw a card and placed it under 0; each player must place this number tile in front of them following the usual rules. For the third turn, flip a card into both the 0 slot and 1 slot; the tile showing under 0 can be placed only on the ground level and the tile under 1 can be placed only on the first level. You can refuse to place either or both tiles.
Once a player has two tiles on the first level, next turn flip a card under slots 0, 1, and 2, with the latter number tile being placed only on the second level. Continue play until the deck runs out or you can't flip enough cards to start a turn.
other releases at SPIEL '23, ABACUSSPIELE will have a new edition of Michael Schacht's 2007 Spiel des Jahres-winning Zooloretto featuring art by Michael Menzel.
In case you haven't played, here's a short description: On a turn, you either draw a face-down animal tile and place it in one of the available trucks (each of which can hold three tiles) or you take one of the trucks, exit the round, and add the tiles on it to your zoo. Once everyone has claimed a truck, you start a new round.
Each player has a zoo with a few enclosures, and once you place an animal in an enclosure, only more animals of the same type can be added. If you run out of enclosures, you're penalized for other animals you take. If you place a male and female animal in an enclosure, an infant will magically appear, which can be good since you want to fill enclosures to score. You can also place concession carts next to enclosures to score more points. Money actions allow you to move animals and gain a new enclosure.
Town 77, which Oink Games will debut at SPIEL '23.
Gameplay is identical to Town 66 from Christoph Cantzler and Anja Wrede, except that the game includes an additional color and shape, which results in more tiles and a game that now supports up to five players:Quote:The residents of Town 77 — located just down the road from Town 66, mind you — can't stand it when houses with the same shape or color are lined up with each other. Try to build as many houses as you can while keeping in mind which houses in your hand can be built at the end.
In Town 77, each player has a hand of tiles, with each tile showing one of seven house styles in one of seven colors/patterns. (The color/pattern of a tile also shows on its reverse side.) The game has 49 tiles in total, one of each possible combination. Each player starts with a hand of random tiles.
The first player places a tile in the upper-left corner of an imaginary 7x7 square, then on each subsequent turn a player adds a tile to a row or column in this square so long as this tile is adjacent to at least one other tile and the color/house style isn't already present in this row and column. After playing a tile, a player can choose to draw a new tile or not. Once you lower your hand size, you can't increase it again. If you can't play on a turn, you're out of the game, and once everyone is out, whoever has the fewest tiles in hand — or who played latest in the event of a tie — wins.
If you play your final tile, you win, but if you don't draw new tiles, you might find yourself unable to play!
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Ever since I bought my first iPad in the early 2010s, I have often found myself addicted to a whole bunch of digital/online games like SolForge, Kard Combat, Samurai Bloodshow, Kingdom Rush, Hearthstone, and the list goes on...
To avoid getting sucked into a game for too long, I ended up developing a "containment discipline": When I discover a new game like this, I play it fairly intensively but for a very limited time — then I never open it again.
The last game to get this "treatment" was Marvel Snap: I played for a week, had a great time, then erased it entirely, losing all the nice cards I had already gathered.
Over the years I couldn't help wondering: What made all these games so addictive? Yes, they were undoubtedly well designed and fun to play, but no more so than good "real-life" solo games.
Where did their addictiveness truly lie?
One day an answer dawned on me: These games are addictive because they are rewarding.
And I don't mean intellectually rewarding (although they also often are). I mean, plain and simple, literally rewarding:
• Opened the app for the first time today? Get some crystals.
• Won your first three games? Here's some gold.
• Played a specific class or type of card? Move a couple of steps up some ladder.
The gold, the crystals, the ladder will often open up more cards or abilities, giving you the impression of increasing power.
Two Paths, One Destination
It got me thinking: Could I transpose this rewarding feeling into a board game? And — more challengingly still — could I do this within the framework of an Oniverse game, which has a relatively short playing time and no legacy or campaign system?
Throughout all of the Oniverse games so far, there has never been a reward mechanism of this kind: the Doors in Onirim, the Ships in Aerion, the Ordeals in Castellion are all goals in and of themselves.
They don't bring you anything game-wise except, obviously, getting you closer to victory. (Some expansions mechanisms like the Mages in Nautilion or the Factory cards in Aerion could be considered minor exceptions.)
At about the same time, I was thinking about designing a "suits game on steroids" in which pretty much all the cards could have powers (like the keys from Onirim), while also being needed to complete game-winning goals.
The combination of these two ideas became Cyberion.
In Cyberion, you have to repair 25 Machines to win the game, and each Machine needs you to discard 2-5 specific Robot cards from your hands. (Yes, hands, plural. More on that later.)
But since each card also has a potential power, you're faced with the following dilemma: Is it best to use a given Robot for its ability or as part of a repair crew?
And the Reward?
A repaired Machine brings you closer to winning the game, but it's also currency to buy upgrades. Each Robot card does indeed have a power, but this ability is not active at the beginning of the game. Only by spending a certain amount of already repaired Machine cards will you switch on (and later upgrade) an ability — and since there are not enough Machines to buy all the upgrades, in each game you have to decide which powers you want to invest in (and whether you want a greater number of different abilities to be available but at lower levels, or fewer but stronger abilities instead).
These abilities open up extra options to stock up cards for later, have more cards available until the end of the turn (the hands of cards I mentioned above), manipulate cards from the deck, retrieve discarded Robots, or make a Machine easier to repair.
And since the Machines get harder to repair as the game unfolds, you really need these upgrades. Each repaired Machine is thus a promise of getting something better for the rest of the game — a much needed reward!
And this is how I created a rewarding game — at least in the plain and simple literal sense. Is it intellectually rewarding? That's for you to say!
Cyberion should be available soon in your FLGS and will debut in Essen at SPIEL '23 in October. (Visit us at booth 5-K121.)
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