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Hammering out the dents

Nearly three weeks ago I met with a friend from a game company that for the time being I will call X to show him a game to see if he thought it was something that X might be interested in. I wanted to show them the game at Gencon but the game, H.M.S. Victory was still in need of some work and I didn’t want to spend all my time getting it ready if it was a non-starter.

After a play through he pointed out many of the things I was working on fixing as well as some that I was not focused on and said if I get it in shape he will arrange a time to demo it for them.

H.M.S. Victory is a 3-7 player medium weight, Co-op, dice placement game so I was able to get some work done on my own, then some testing in at my local game group and finaly 4 tests at Protospiel this past weekend.

Each step of the way I made incremental changes to balance the difficulty level, and then finally added some new elements to increase player engagement. We also did a stress test at the upper player range to make sure that it actually worked as designed since I had never had enough testers before to do that. The game was well received but there were many suggestions to improve the game mainly in the area of player character abilities which I am addressing. Some were quite weak while others although good when applicable were only useful in rare instances.

My meeting is set with X. With Gencon just two weeks off and with some testing left to do the pressure is on but I am feeling good about how it’s shaping up.

Wish me luck!

Comments

Testing Update

Since Protospiel I have been able to run a few more tests with 3, 5, & 7 players and make a few more improvements.

The new player abilities are better balanced so you aren’t the guy that gets the crappy one. This was a thorn in the side for many people. They felt cheated when they got a weak one.

A have added more urgent events so they happen on average once or twice a game.

There are now 18 one shot rewards for completing events other than just scoring points. That’s ¼ of the cards which makes them come up often enough to be useful. There are 3 decks; Easy, Medium, and Hard with 6 in each deck. I am going to add 6 more 2 to the Medium and 4 to the Hard deck to further incentivize players in attempting them.

This is coming down to the wire but I think I’ll be ready in time,

good luck

good luck buddy :-)

Canceled

My meeting was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

The next chance to show the game is at PAX Prime at the end of the month. I'm unable to attend so I'll have to depend on my friend to do it for me.

Pax has passed

Pax is over and HMS Victory has not been shown.

I actually chose at the last minute not to show it at PAX knowing there would be an opportunity to show it coming up soon so I could run a few more quality control tests just to make sure the game is consistently behaving the way I planned.

Next opportunity is in mid-September. Having the extra couple of weeks is calming my nerves as I collect and track more data to chart the games performance.

And we are off

I have handed the game off to my friend that will be presenting if for me. It won’t be until the end of the week until I know more. It is going to be shown initially on Wednesday to the production planning group and then on Friday to the head of marketing. I’ll need thumbs up from both groups.

Update

I just received an IM from the art director “We liked your dice game.”

“We” is the important part since it will take the approval of several different people and of course it has to be quoted by printers to see if it is reasonable to publish.

He deferred releasing any further information on how it’s going to the friend that presented it for me. I am waiting im/patiently to hear back from him.

Victory

Apparently every one gave HMS Victory thumbs up. They only suggested one small change which should not be a problem. Based on my previous experience with publishers I expected them to request several changes some of which I would have to argue against. There is still a lot of work to do but it’s in the production queue with an expected release of early to mid 2016.

Moving Fast

Things are moving along faster than I thought. Instead of a 2016 release they are shooting for releasing it at this year’s GENCON. That means it has to be back from the printers by the end of July. That’s turning this around in less than a year, something that is unusual from my experience. There are 72 unique cards each needing its own layout and image, 7 player mats, ship damage mat, rules and cover art to do.

I started working with the artist to give feedback on the iconography as well as the overall look. I have a dinner meeting on Monday with their developer to discuss the project. I’m not sure what we will be going over but if it is changes in the rules it’s going to be a crunch to test them in time for production.

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blog | by Dr. Radut