The Animal Farm

March 14th, 2010


It’s been a busy night:

What you’re looking at there is the pre-Prototype 1 for a board game internally code named Steam Powered. It’s basically the product of Laura and I going nuts on some poster board for a little while.

(Side note: Would it have been cleaner and more efficient to do everything on a computer and transfer it over? Yes, but we got excited.)

What you’re seeing is, as has been hinted, not the finished prototype. There are various mechanics that need cut-outs & cards. Plus the tiles need things on them!

So what is the game? Basically it’s a steampunk cross between two games I love and one I’ve never played: Descent, Last Night on Earth, and Tannhauser. At the beginning of the game, players pick a ‘quest’ to complete - depending on the quest, some number of players take on the role of ‘heroes’ trying to do what the quest says while others take on the role of ‘adversaries,’ trying to stop the heroes. Usually by killing them.

From that point it’s mostly a tactical strategy game, with players moving their selected character on a board and killing things. Adversaries control a character as well and other minions that they can throw at the heroes.

In the middle off all this is a weapon upgrade system - players can find materials on the board which can then be combined to create an upgrade, making their weapon more powerful.

The goals we set out when making the game:
* Make something we’d enjoy playing (obviously).
* Make something where the rules are very short and easy to learn and lacking edge cases but still provide depth.
* Make something that can be played in an hour with 4 people (but potentially longer depending on the quest).

Without reciting all the rules for you, I think we’re close. There’s a lot of balancing we’ll need to do (notice how the stat boxes are empty), and I’m hoping to recruit friends & gamers to help playtest.

Why am I doing all this? *shrug* Fun? Something else to fill the fledgling bits of free time I have left? If it comes together well, I’ll submit it to some of the companies that do board game publishing, but that’s a ways off and not something I realistically expect.

That was a very poorly organized post.

March 14th, 2010

Word Duelist Sales Update

The short version: I won’t be quitting my job any time soon to make XBLIG games full time.

The game is selling nearly identically to See the Light (read: low). It has a decent conversion ratio (7%) but an abysmally low number of trials (around 800 so far). And this is while it’s on the New Arrivals section - once it leaves that, I expect trials will drop sharply.

I have no clue how to drive people over to the game. I did a marketing blitz, but that had to wait until after the game was released since I wasn’t sure when it would come out, and so none of the reviews are up yet. There are trailers and promo videos, but their views are limited by the number of people viewing the sites they’re on.

I think one mechanism to employ is to start blogging about a game early and often, getting the blog as much exposure as possible so that people know something is out there and have incentive to keep up with it. It’s a strategy I’m going to try employing with my next projects.

As an aside, this site gets nearly 200 hits per week. Which isn’t big by any standard but is a fair bit larger than what it was a year ago. Which makes me curious who’s seeing this site and where they’re coming from.

I can keep rhythm with no metronome.