Skip to Content

Crystal Heroes: Fine-tuning and Development of the game

While I waste more time waiting for the DESIGN to "crystalize" (pun intended!) I find that I am developing the game further such that some aspects of the game are no longer "remote" or "esoteric" areas of the design.

One of those "areas" was the Ex-P Crystals. There had been an issue about these specific Crystals because they can be used with Actions to make some POWERFUL decisions impacting your turn a bit.

So if you could ONLY take three (3) of some of the more COMMON Actions, that would leave two (2) Action Points (APs) that could serve some better use. Well previously that would NOT be possible, because players would start with NO (0) Ex-P Crystals. And why this was a Bad Design decision has become pretty obvious.

Specifically there were supposed to be nine (9) of these Ex-P Crystal and players would gather them when they were drawn from a Conquest. This meant that at the VERY START of the game, none of the players (2-Players or 4-Players) had any of these REQUIRED Crystals...

Therefore I decided to GIVE each player three (3) of these Crystals and put the others in the bag. In a 4-Player game that meant that the TOTAL had to be HIGHER than nine (9) and therefore twelve (12) in total.

But upon further design, I realized that this STILL was NOT enough. I wanted more flexibility and people to USE those Crystals as they needed them. So I have now settled on twenty (20) Ex-P Crystals and each player starts and has a maximum of five (5) per player. In a 2-Player duel, that means ten (10) and in a 4-Player versus, that means five (5) each for a total of twenty (20)...

How this changes the design a bit is something like this:

questccg wrote:
Each time a player USES an Ex-P Crystal, that Crystal is removed from your pool of Ex-P Crystals and may be earned by defeating an opponent by +2 or more Attack vs. Defense.

This is the LASTEST and greatest version with the NEW counts which I believe will make PLAYABILITY IMPROVED such that you need to use the Crystals WISELY ... but they are available to the players from the very start of the game.

Please feel free to share your comments/questions/concerns regarding this topic in the event that you have something you'd like to add to this thread. Thanks and as always cheers!


Still working on the Index for the Gamebook

I'm about 75% done with the Rulebook Index (or Gamebook as I now call it). There are still a few entries that need to be revised and someone generally needs to PROOF the entire document for accuracy and proper grammar (and no typos...)

I'm hoping I can get this done by TONIGHT and then PRINT a PROOF tomorrow and go from there...

It is really exciting since I made some minor ESTHETIC corrections which lead to more understandable gameplay (like color-coordinating the fervor track)... So Blue = Battle, Red = Food and Yellow = Treasure.

That was a BIG change (even if it seems minor) and it has a very VISUAL impact too... In any case, I'm going to TRY to wrap things up TONIGHT for tomorrow. I've got some errands to run and an appointment with my mechanic to change the tires.

In any case, I should be able to finish the Index this AFTERNOON! We'll see if I can STICK to that DEADLINE! Hahaha...

90% done and asking for a proof-reading...

I've printed a physical copy at 125% with two (2) pages per paper (8.5" x 11") and will wait for my Family members to review the rulebook and comment as to the grammar and typos found in the document. In addition, if there are any sentences that don't make sense (and not the gameplay) in English for whatever the reasons I will get to editing and correcting those errors.

I will proof read it myself on Sunday and see if I can spot errors too... And just check the overall CLARITY of the rulebook: meaning is the game well made and understandable... Or do I have areas which need further editing.

Right now, no surprises that I hope to enter it in the "Cardboard Edison" Award Contest ... But I've got to move my butt along because there isn't too much time left for the rulebook and getting that finalized and shipped (that's the major part of the problem, it takes like 2 to 3 weeks for items to arrive in Canada) and I will need this prior to speaking with the people who need to make the Video for me... Yeah I'm having it professionally done ... Because I don't have the equipment to do it myself and I don't want to use a SmartPhone or such device to film then entire video (which needs to be under 3 minutes).

So all that has to happen SOON... Probably finished in December (some time) and then I'll be ready to mail my physical copy of the game in time for the end of the submissions period (January 31, 2023).

Lots to do and finish up... And we'll see IF I can get it all done. I should be able ... There is still like 2 to 3 months left. It just means that for the time being I need to FOCUS on CH as being the most important design and put other designs on-hold.


Wrapped up the Rulebook for CH!

100% done. I have already uploaded the files tonight and am going to BUY my copy of the Game Tile Lord Edits and the Gamebook (or Rulebook) and get that expressed to me ASAP because it is going to AT LEAST take 2 weeks to ship.

No point in wasting time ... I'm working on getting the REVISED Gamebook ready to be proofed by my Video Team (outsourced) to produce an instructional video for the game.

Cheers all!


Congratulations to you sir for getting your game CH rule book complete.


Keep going the distance.

Thanks @Jesse...

Was a hard and long process... I had so much EDITING to do it wasn't funny. Plus I had to re-format the "presentation background" since the previous version was just too PLAIN and VANILLA. I worked with Photoshop and managed to alter a parchment paper to something LESS intrusive and made my own version which was more of a fit for MY Rulebook. It looks pretty decent TBH.

I ordered my Rulebook and some Card Edits for CH and expressed them (~$20 USD only) ... So it is still affordable. I try to make for affordable purchases when designing games (especially with Prototypes).

Thank you for your kind words ... I'm always "trying" to go the distance.

Enjoy the video and cheers!

Under some 3rd Party scrutiny and more Development...

So I've got @The Professor who was kind enough to take a look at CH since I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere "pitching" the game... And I thought maybe @Joe could have some insight into the game and boy am I glad that I sent him the game to do some analysis of the rulebook and play a few games to get a better feel for what IS "Crystal Heroes" (CH)!

@Joe analysis was very good and he offered the suggestion to "rid the game of the Dry-Erase Marker" because it's a device that could FAIL or not operate at peak performance which could IMPACT the game and sour a group's playthrough.

And I agreed fully with him on that fact... We just needed to figure out HOW(?) we can rid ourselves of the "Dry-Erase Marker"!

The thinking goes like this:

If we can use the Crystals collected and place them on the Lord/Lady Tile for each player, there is little impact in the 2-Player game and well I decided on adding +3 Green Crystals (Select-A-Crystal) making them 12 Crystals and a total of 48 Crystals + the Chaos Crystal required by the number of players...

This is a GREAT relief that this will WORK and solves 75% of the Dry-Erase Markers. The last 25% was the Game Tiles (STAT Path).

Basically we agreed that BONUS stats which REQUIRE an Ex-P Crystal can be placed on Game Tiles and the conquering player automatically collects any and all Ex-P crystals on a Game Tile he/she has conquered.

This leaves about 5% of the problem with the Dry-Erase Markers: the VARIABLE STAT path. And @Joe suggested using a piece to block off the un-selected STAT path when there are options to choose one path versus another. I have an idea about this I just need to see if I can get some "prototype" versions of this made.

Also players may decide to use Ex-P Crystals (Orange) on Scrying, Banishing the opponent and of course Upgrading their stats as a well. Ad-Hoc use for Scrying and Banishing will result in a permanent LOSS of an Ex-P Crystal and some may be recouped from conquering Game Tiles (if possible)...

There were also some precisions required (EDITs) in the rulebook to better explain various points that @Joe made with regards to the CLARITY of the rulebook and what might be missing. Clearly I have not yet had the chance to make the edits and will work on those over the weekend.

Saturday is a National Holiday (Saint-Jean-Baptist or John The Baptist day) and all commercial businesses are closed on Saturday (Grocery Stores, Restaurants and other businesses normally open on Saturday). Offices either get the Friday or Monday off depending on each business (since their employees do not work on the weekend).

So I'll have something to keep me busy ... And I'll see IF I can get ALL of the EDITs done for CH.


The idea(s) behind the NEW Ex-P Crystal behavior are...

I wanted to avoid any "mechanic" that could be exploited in the "Meta Game"... So my (almost) final decision is that each player gets five (5) Ex-P Crystals and may unlock a 6th Ex-P Crystal when they use their Lord/Lady Ability. This is NOT a game about Ex-P Crystals; so I did not want to make it like they are a dominant focus of the game. Yes they do allow for some "Extra" Actions on a Player's Turn but these are all "optional" but recommended for playing the game.

So when you spend Ex-P Crystals on:

1> Scrying your Deck to reveal the Top-Most Tile, that's a permanent action and your Ex-P Crystal is lost forever.

2> Banishing your opponent to the Nexus Tile, that's also a permanent action and it will cost you one Ex-P Crystal which is lost forever.

3> Upgrading a Game Tile by either +1 or +2 STATs depending on the nature of the Game Tile. These can sometimes return to the player who played them on an opponent's Game Tile (and then the attacking player conquers the Tile and recovers those Crystals).

Only Action #3 can it MAYBE be possible to "recover" one or two Ex-P Crystals. I say MAYBE because it depends if you play them on your OWN Game Tiles or the OPPONENT's Game Tile(s). In the second option, when you conquer that Tile, you will EARN all the Ex-P Crystals on the opponent's Game Tile.

So this is pretty much IN CEMENT. Following the discussion and more thoughts on the matter, it's clear this is the most optimal direction for the Ex-P Crystals...

Cheers all.

I've been working on the Rulebook tonight...

And while most EDITs look to easy and pretty straight-forward, the Section about the STAT Paths is left because it's a bit tricky. There are external images in relation to the game that need to be looked at and revised if we are no longer planning to use any "Dry-Erase Markers".

I've update the Lord Card Reference ... But again, there needs to be ANOTHER correction too: I want the checkbox to be "Red" to more clearly identify that the Special Ability has been used. When the "Ex-P" Crystal (Orange) is removed and placed into the "Ex-P" Crystal Pool, then it will be revealed.

That's about it. I've made a bunch of edits in the rulebook as per @Joe's suggestions and I'm nearly done with the revised rulebook. Just the two (2) things mentioned above that need "fixing"/correction.

I'm super pleased with @Joe's feedback because it has help to SOLIDIFY the game. It always is GREAT to have someone with 30+ years who has worked on a lot of different games to be able to offer another opinion and comment on the game and its mechanics. I agree it's GREAT to rid one-self of the Dry-Erase Marker. Even with plastic sleeves it can be "fidgety".

Thanks to @The Professor ... For his insight, wisdom and time.


Did the EDITS and revised the "STAT Path" Section

Everything looks good EXCEPT the embedded images (3 STAT Path Images and 2 Sample Cards). The Crystals that I "imported" look good atop the Lord Card (Sample) and with all the editing done... The rulebook is 95% done!

What remains is the IMAGES and the INDEX at the back.

I noticed that some terms were NOT in the index and I figured with all the edits, it may be wise to REVIEW the index.

That's enough for today... We're on an official Holiday!

So I will excuse myself from working on the rulebook any further... Since it's a Holiday...


Fixed some of the Sample Cards

Both the Lord Cardback and Sample Wizard Game Tiles were edited this evening. I also managed to fix ONE (1) out of three (3) STAT Path Images. I also realized that I have to change the embedded "Game Pad" as I changed the nomenclature to "Warp Disk" (instead of Wink) as @Joe said he's never heard the term "Wink".

It's a disk and can be easily reference through-out the rulebook as such.

The INDEX, "Game Pad" and 2 remaining STAT Path Images are what is left to FIX some time tomorrow (when I find some time to do so...)

All in all, it's been not too bad and I've managed to make MUCH clarifications thanks to @The Professor's suggestions.

I'll confirm to you all when the remaining changes are final.


Almost done (95%) only the INDEX remains

As stated, I've completed all of the STAT Path Images (there were 3 of them) and I also managed to fix the Game Pad too (in the rulebook). I also revised the Nexus Tile and the "ability" was made a bit clearer:

If any Hero conquers and Outlaw or a Villain, that Player earns +1 "Ex-p" Crystal.

Currently this can occur maybe twice per game since there is ONLY ONE (1) "Outlaw" per Deck. Which is okay, you can never surpass the five (5) "Ex-P" Crystal Limit UNLESS you have all your Crystal and unlock the Bonus One...

Last thing I need to work on is the INDEX. It's OLD and STALE now that I made a bunch of EDITs and changed the logic behind the "Ex-P" Crystals. And also that the Dry-Erase Marker was removed as a component and replaced with the Black STAT Path Blockers (24 or 48 depending on the number of players) which doesn't EXIST in reality (ATM). I have located a company that creates acrylic parts and I'll see how much they charged to 4 Plastic Resealable Bags with 24 each (I have 2 prototypes so 2 x 48 = 96 pieces in total).

But I'm excited with all the changes ... Very happy that things are coming together and that the game is IMPROVED without the necessity for a component that could "fail".

Cheers all.

Update #1: I have so far reviewed 25% of the INDEX. I know I will need to ADD "STAT Path Blockers" (which are a rectangular black pieces) and removed any and all references to "Marker" (since we will no longer be using a Dry-Erase Marker). I will continue with the INDEX and see how many more edits are required. Shouldn't be too many remaining.

Update #2: I have completed 50% of the INDEX. Yahoo! I'm going to take a little break and see if I can relax a bit... I've been working on the revisions for a few days now... Plus in thinking with @The Professor on how things could/should be handled WITHOUT the "Dry-Erase Marker".

So there's been a flurry of activity with this "little" Game. And I'm trying to get everything done within a reasonable amount of time. I don't like getting behind on matters and there is so much to do TBH.

I'll leave the other 50% for tomorrow... I'm a bit tired with all the work and these friggen HTML Errors (which @Rich confirmed he did not have any ideas...) unfortunately... So I'll have to find and enable further logging for PHP and HTML in July and see what kind of errors the website reports ... Currently I have no error logging enabled and therefore nothing to trace or figure out in terms of PHP Versions, HTML errors, etc.

All I know for sure is that there are three (3) Levels of ERRORS:

1> Apache errors which can be logged

2> PHP errors which can be logged too.

3> Drupal errors which are currently NOT reporting anything.

So I've got to go up in the STACK and figure out if it's PHP or some type of Apache error... I think it's related to Drupal. But since there are no errors at that level which are being reported... I have nothing to trace or to help figure out WHY(?) there are errors.

I will look into these issues NEXT Month (July). As I don't have the time this week or next and am a bit going in all kinds of directions with all the projects that I am working on.

But don't worry... I will get to them SOON... I promise to all the members. I just need some FAITH and HOPE to resolve whatever is going wrong.


Update #3: I think I like the idea of a SELECTOR better...

So instead of "Blocking" a PATH, you could have a SELECTOR instead. And I am thinking about how I should use this Selector. If it's a piece of CLEAR "Acrylic", well I guess I should be able to get them for $0.25 USD a piece.

And that's what I need to check (RFQs).

So player's would play the SELECTOR on the "Path" they choose to use. I think this CLEAR "option" would be more user-friendly than a BLACK "Blocker". Even if it was a bit transparent and not 100% opaque.

But the CLEAR "option" would allow complete visibility of the information on the Game Tile without the NEED to move of check what the OTHER "STAT Path" looks like... There are some very clever reasons to go CLEAR over Black to be sure...

I found someone, I'm going to RFQ them during this week and get them a sample Illustrator file for the piece and see how much it will cost to make. Like I said the ceiling is about $0.25 USD per piece and shipping to Canada. Maybe another $10 USD. It's a small package and very light too... Could be even LESS than that TBH. We'll have to wait and see.

So I've explained my thoughts... If anyone feels like there are better reasons for the "Black" Opaque Acrylic let me know...!?

Cheers all.

75% of the INDEX is done...

While it may be early... Had a lousy night of sleep and woke up around 5:00 AM.

Figured I'd start working on the INDEX and managed to do another 25% in about 2-Hours. I also consolidating SYNTAX too (like "Ex-P" or Orange) to ensure that all of the references to the INDEX make sense and that on a Page that mentions "Ex-P" Crystals it should also say (Orange) to ensure that either of those keywords are found in the INDEX and relate to the proper pages.

I'm sure that by 9:00 AM I should be done with the INDEX... That's the PLAN. Get it all done BEFORE 9:00 AM!

Aggressive schedule and maybe afterwards I can take a NAP! Hehehe.


100% Done and before 9:30 AM!

Yay... Finally got the entire INDEX done, added a bunch more links/references and a bunch of new keywords too! I uploaded the document to my Google Drive and send @The Professor a Link/URL to the file so that he may be able to Download the revised version of the Rulebook (given his input and my corrections).

I also found time to "make" in Illustrator the "Stat Path Selector" which will be Acrylic pieces (48 per game) and we'll see how much this costs to produce. It should be no more than $0.25 USD per piece and I need 2x 48 (96 in total) and figure that it should cost around $75 USD... Something around there.

Anyways I'll know more about that in the future when I contact a Manufacturer to make the pieces. I will TRY this to target this week ... And we'll see how much they quote me.

Keeping you all informed... Cheers.

Just got the Tracking # and information for ...

The Acrylic Selector Tokens... The cost about $100 CAD! But there is enough for two (2) Working Prototypes. I'll see what @Joe thinks and then we can figure out how to handle these pieces.

On a side note, yesterday I watched "Planet of the Humans" by Michael Moore and it was a bit SAD to think the solution that was proposed was to basically cut down all the trees and burn them to make electrical power. Not at all what I had expected from "Green" energy.

Plus they add things like Rubber Tire chips to increase the heat level because Rubber burns much more difficultly and increases the temperature at which it is burnt... Crazy!

I will confirm when I get the tokens and see if they are COOL or not!

Oh yeah, Happy Canada Day (to our Canadian members ... I know there are a few in the Quebec and some in Ontario...) Cheers!

The Acrylic Tokens are on their way!

Just checked with FedEx today and the shipment was picked-up and processed at their local facility in China and should be on their way soon. As per the schedule it says that the package should be delivered by Thursday 6 July before 17h00 (or 5:00 PM).

I've seen the video and they look pretty decent. For the PRICE ($$$) the value for use by the prototypes is GOOD ... But for a production price, it is way too costly TBH.

Of course I don't want to worry about that... These are for the PROTOTYPES and if it costs me an EXTRA $100 CAD for Acrylic Tokens, it's just the cost to make a nice and good looking prototype with the CORRECT components.

When I get the package, I will ship a bag to @Joe and see what he thinks of them. My guess is that he will be like me: "Nice but pricey...!"

And then we'll see and mull it over and think some more... Ha ha!

Cheers all.

Got them!

I just received the Acrylic Tokens this afternoon around 3:45 PM EST. I took a look at what the tokens look like on a Tile ... And they look GREAT! The only bit of an issue that I have is that they come with "plastic" covering that needs to be removed if you want a NICE and CLEAR "transparency".

The good news is that they have arrived, the BAD NEWS is that I need to GROW my Finger Nails in order to PEEL OFF the "plastic" covering on BOTH SIDES of each of the Acrylic Tokens...

Ahh geez...! Always something that needs to be worked on! Cheers.

Big night tonight for "Crystal Heroes" (CH)!

I re-edited ALL the Game Tiles, the Rulebook, the Reference Pads (all custom components) and added a "Replacement" Product for the existing two (2) Prototypes that I currently OWN. I also uploaded all the files and such to "The Game Crafter" (TGC) for updating the game and also purchased the "Replacement" Product which cost around $50 USD ... It will be shipped at the END of this Month (July).

I invested a bunch of time on this tonight... After I could not proceed further with the Error Analysis (500 and 403 Errors). This gave me a decent night or evening to work on CH and get the product back up-to-par and ready to be reviewed again by Joe some time NEXT month (August).

So some good work done tonight ... This week I resume my Training Courses that I am attending, in order to be more in-line with the possibilities that I have as recourse for employment. It's been a GREAT 12-Years ... But it all can't keep going this way if projects are not profitable.

I'm not abandoning ship... Just a bit of a re-focus to be able to continue on my journey of designing more COOL board and card games!


Just got the package this past Friday!

Updated all my cards, reference pads, parts and such... I've prepared a Package for Joe too... I will hopefully send it out this week (either tomorrow or Friday depending on the timing of matters).

I already CONFIRMED with Joe his address and have the packaging all that remains is to print the LABELS.

Maybe I'll do that SOONER than later and get it OFF my plate (so-to-speak)!

Cheers all.

I'm waiting to send Joe an updated package he can TRY...

So just a minor delay here... Joe was forced out of his home after a ceiling water pipe broke from poor insulation and massively flooded his bedroom and all the way to the basement with water due it exploding... A few hours earlier or later and there could have been bodily harm to him and/or his wife (or BOTH of them... OMG!) Joe mentioned on Facebook that him and Ping are going to move back to the renovated and FIXED home and will confirm when they are settled so I can mail him the EDITs and he can do another pass with the game.

I'm still not sure about the project... The plan for the 9-Year production of a BRAND that could yield a lot of FUN, popularity and hope for "K2 Games" (my company) is a bit in limbo... I have "Monster Keep" (MK) which is a more TIGHTER game and easier to produce, distribute and sell... So that project will be first in terms of the roster. We'll see how things advance, but my guess is that the odds are that MK will be the simpler and more direct game than CH. TBD!

Joe has confirmed that he will be returning on the 29 September

So after a brief exchange with Joe (@The Professor)... He will be returning to his home in Delaware after all the repairs have been done to the home to ensure that such a piping problem doesn't re-occur in their home. The date of their return is the 29 September and so I will mail the package most probably on the October 1, 2023 or near that day (2nd or 3rd).

And then Joe can have a look at the corrections (components, rules and rulebook) such that we can see if everything is clear and understandable. The components should be of interest since I had them made and imported from China. Was very reasonable and I am happy with those acrylic components.

So I guess expect news somewhere in the middle of October as we wait for Joe to return to his home to send him the parcel for his review.


Going to RESUME this design over the weekend...

As mentioned above, I am waiting for Joe (@The Professor) to move back to his home in Delaware so I can mail him all the corrections that he brought forth with "Crystal Heroes" (CH). Joe helped solidify the game and we'll see what he thinks of the modifications I made following his advice to remove the single point of failure (The Dry-Erase Marker) and replace it with acrylic tokens...

I also made a bunch of rulebook "clarifications" to help better comprehend the rules in various aspects (Drop "Wink" and go with "Disc" for example, etc.)

And so I will touch-base with Joe over the weekend and confirm the address and the fact that he has moved back into his home in Delaware... And then I'll be able to SEND him the corrections (Tiles, Acrylics, and Rulebook) and see what he thinks of this "version" of the game.

Sorry has been a bit SLOW these days... I have not been posting as much either as I WAIT for people to be available for contact such that things may move forwards again...

Cheers all!

I spoke with Joe...

And he's still busy moving and making arrangements in his renovated home. Or more so the renovations that were required after the damages to the interior of several stories due to the excess in water.

So I told Joe that I'll wait a couple of weeks and touch-base with him again and see where they are at with the settling into the home and figure out once everything is setup so that Joe can playtest the game with the new components and the revised rulebook.

I'll let you all know how things move forwards but for now... It's going to be a bit quiet ... Since I'm waiting for this project to move along forwards!


Trying to firm up things and see if ...

I will mail the updates for "Crystal Heroes" (CH) some time NEXT WEEK. I am just waiting for an e-mail confirmation from Joe (@The Professor) to see if everything is good to go...

If Joe confirms over the weekend or early next week... I should be able to get the package mailed some time by this coming Friday. No worries... From what I understood it looks like there is plenty of time to wait and see ... Obviously Joe has to take some time to review the "new" rulebook with the modified components and counts (some extra crystals too...) and then have a look at the game in its present state.

I await Joe's confirmation ... And take it from there.


Been delayed... And Joe sent me some address info

Yeah, I've had so much to do with the "Splendor Expansion" ("Prospector") and doing all the files for "The Game Crafter" (TGC). It took like 2-Days to get the prototype "design" (the concept/idea) done and then took another 2-Days to create all the files that I needed to upload to TGC.

I also had to CANCEL my order TWICE (2x) because of some corrections to the MATCHING sequences. They were too obvious and needed some "tweaking".

I hope to ship Joe's updates some time NEXT week... I know it sounds familiar... Don't worry I will get Joe those updates soon. Maybe even for US Thanksgivings in November.

Well these are my plans ... If there are additional DELAYS I will keep you all informed. I had too many appointments and things to do this week. Especially with the time spend on "Prospector".

Cheers all.

Playtesting tonight went well...

I had a chance to play the latest version of "Crystal Heroes" and it went well. I had shelved this design while I await news from Joe. It's pretty good... Had to get used to all the changes and read some of the rules from the rulebook.

Where I want to take the design is somewhere different than where it is now.

I'd like to be able to firmly say that I would want to develop the nine (9) houses and have a more "rich" game.

Since ATM that is not possible... Well I need to wait to firm up the direction I will be going with this design.

We'll see... hopefully still time for that.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content

blog | by Dr. Radut