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One of those days...

So I figured I'd add a Blog entry ... about how LOST I am with "Monster Keep" (MK). Well in truth, several BGDF members helped me create some very interesting "monsters" ... my problem lies in how to prototype this game.

I'm looking at some OLDER "prototypes" and they are COOL (I must admit that I did design some "nice" concepts ... but they all failed).

I have a GOOD direction for MK now.

This means that I know exactly how the game is to be "played". My problem? It's figuring out how to DESIGN the next prototype for MK. Not sure as to the "graphic design" nature of the cards.

I'm sure you all must be wandering WHY this is so challenging. Because I don't have the slightest idea how the prototype should look like.

Anyhow it's getting late on the East Coast (12:05 PM)... So I should get to bed and think about this some more before I fall asleep.

Keep you all posted as to my progress over the next few days.


Is it more of an aesthetics

Is it more of an aesthetics issue or is it related to information?
If it's the first, a moodboard is a good starting point. References of what you want or things you like in relation to the game.
Then creating a very low-fi prototypes is the best way to go, even if you have no idea of what you intend to do.
Prototyping, drawing and every act of creation is not only a way to "make the thing" but also is a tool for exploration and knowledge generation onto itself.

I agree with you 100%

tikey wrote:
Is it more of an aesthetics issue or is it related to information?

I believe it's both... But I stayed up until about 3:00 AM last night and got a "fresh perspective". I took into my hands three (3) cards:

1> a Blank Poker card (all white).

2> an older version of "Monster Keep" which had a bunch of goodies in terms of stats and abilities (Version 5.0).

3> Prototype #3 (which I created from TGC recently).

With those three (3) cards, I looked HOW I could design the NEW prototype. And I got some really GOOD ideas!

tikey wrote:
If it's the first, a moodboard is a good starting point. References of what you want or things you like in relation to the game.

This is sort of what I did with the three (3) cards. I would use the Blank card to HIDE elements from the older prototype and see how that would look... I didn't so much use Prototype #3 ... But I figured out that the "type" of attack (melee, ranged and flying) was necessary to conserve (for some variety in play).

tikey wrote:
Then creating a very low-fi prototypes is the best way to go, even if you have no idea of what you intend to do.

Yes indeed... It will be Black & White cards for this prototype... Very simple design BUT functional.

tikey wrote:
Prototyping, drawing and every act of creation is not only a way to "make the thing" but also is a tool for exploration and knowledge generation onto itself.

That's why I just took those three (3) cards and a blank page and stare at each one and see what I could come up with.

Today I will MAKE the template... From the older prototype, not Prototype #3... I will keep you all posted as to the results of this experiment!

I'm still not 100% about the "cards"

I'm going to re-work the spreadsheet tonight. Just so I can figure out what are the NEW stats (I renamed them and that means more editing) because the old ones were not very RELEVANT. Let me give you an example:

"Dragoon" can equip a "Thompson Machine Gun" ... This makes him more of a threat ... But +1 STRENGTH doesn't make any sense. So instead of STRENGTH, I am now using POWER. +1 POWER for using the Gun makes much more sense.

To recap here are the NEW stats:

Attack: Power + Accuracy + Moxie

Defense: Resistance + Intelligence + Charisma

So the logic goes a bit like this: Your attack is a combination of Raw Power, Target Accuracy (To-Hit) and Moxie (which is pure courage). Defense works a bit differently because it requires Resistance to being attacked, Intelligence (To foresee) and Charisma (some politicking).

To me these NEW stats are more representative of the BONUSES and PENALTIES that I would want to include. And I think the bottom line is that they make WAY MORE SENSE TOO!

Woohoo I finally ordered the 1st set of Covers

I did the deed finally: I ordered some sample Card Covers.

These cards will be used to measure weight and ensure that our costs are being driven down to the lowest possible shipping rate. Right now the estimates (without proper weight) are $5.00 USD for shipping an entire Starter Kit/Deck.

This is universal for Canada and USA. Of course the other countries will be variable ... But I need to figure out the weight before I go about to make corrections to all the shipping pricing.

Should come in about 2 weeks time (4 to 5 days lead-time/business days) + 2 days for shipping. So 6 to 7 business days.

Can't wait to get them to ensure that the weight restrictions will be correctly met ... And that shipping costs can stay LOW! Cheers.

Looks like the cards have been delivered.

I will be picking them up tomorrow... Can't wait to see the QUALITY and check how easy it is to "write" on them using Dry Ink markers/pens. This batch will be used for weighing purposes ... See how heavy a batch of cards is ... And then ensure less expensive pricing for shipping. Right now I have it at $5.00 USD for shipping in Canada and the USA. I haven't gotten around to all the International Locations (world-wide). Need the proper weight to get that pricing...

Keep you all posted about my progress... Cheers!

Mixed results...

Well it turns out that the Plastic cards are FREAKEN durable... I was unable to tear a sample card because I tried to use Dry Ink Markers on the back and to my dismay, it's not compatible... What I mean is that the markers leave a smudge mark on the cards.

So it's a bit unfortunate that the cards are PLASTIC but are NOT compatible with Dry Ink Markers (or pens). But the cards are ULTRA-THIN and VERY durable... So great for shuffling because of the thickness and resilient also when doing so.

Although this is for "Monster Keep" (MK) and I printed "card covers" which are used to HIDE cards (Deck, Discard and 3 Monsters) ... Because I figured: "Yeah I can test the durability, compatibility with the Dry Ink Markers and weight the cards for shipping purpose to know how VIABLE this project is..."

Right now the shipping in Canada and the USA is $5.00 USD based on some of my "online" rate finding. But this varies a lot because of the weight. And I just made some "estimates" early on to get the quote that I currently have.

My webstore ONLY allows pricing in USD. Even though sales can be GLOBAL... the pricing is still all in American Dollars. So even if I sell to a fellow Canadian, he needs to PAY in USD and is charged shipping in USD too... Go figure!

Now that I have the sample cards, I can prepare a package and bring it to get a quote at the "Post Office" (or just get the correct weight) and then use "online" to get my pricing...

Keep you all posted on my progress in the MK venture! I'm still not at prototype #5 - YET. I've been distracted with other projects. Anyhow the real issue is figuring out HOW to prototype the game and then see IF I can realistically deliver as promised with these "Plastic" cards...

I plan to make a 2nd Order of "cards" but this time to do with colors and transparency. In the chat I had with the sales person, he said it has to do with "saturation" not "alpha channels". So RED (255, 0, 0) will appear SOLID but Pink (255, 128, 128) will appear semi-transparent. So I want to make a TEST with a complete palette of colors to see how they come out. This will of course affect the direction with my artist and have an impact on the design of these cards too.

Neither here nor there at the moment... Plan to work on this during this weekend. And just get some stable ideas because the colors are in CMYK not RGB ... So that's yet another hurdle to deal with.

I'll let you all know of my progress and figure out when to submit the NEXT palette sample and see what I can determine by it... Cheers!

Let nature take its course

So some interesting NEW development concerning Prototype #5: I finally have a "working" template. Woohoo! This was a bit of a roadblock for me ... because I was wondering how to bring the various elements together. I did a lot of simplification (removed 6 stats and are now left with 2) and I decided to use Plastic Clips to keep track DIRECTLY on the card. My previous hopes were to use a Dry Ink Marker/Pen but as I've already stated, that doesn't work because the cards smudge and do not CLEAN properly.

Again this only a template for Prototype #5. I had to go back to the design and restart with something "relatively" FRESH.

Some explanations:

  • On the LHS is the Monster's "Power" level. This is to be used as the might of the Monster in combat. Ties are ties and otherwise the Attack Type is controlled via a simple RPS-3:
    Melee -> Ranged -> Flying -> Melee.

  • On the RHS is the Monster's "Style" level. This determines how much "enhancements" may be used to upgrade the "core" Monster.

I'm happy that I got something going a couple nights ago ... When I sat in bed awake thinking: "What should I do NEXT???" What I like about this design/template is that it is relatively SIMPLE. Only two (2) Stats, one (1) RPS-3 and some abilities. I think this should be PERFECT for kids aged 9+ years of age! We'll see once I bang out a prototype and give the game a TRY.

Obviously I want the game to be playable by Millennials and Adults/Parents but I wanted something a bit SIMPLER for this project.

Let you all know how Prototype #5 comes along. Cheers!

BTW these are the FIRST three (3) Monsters you can pre-order

Just wanted to illustrate some COOL strategy with these three (3) Monsters.

So if you play Jell-Ooze against Skeletron, this results in no penalty because Skeletron has a minimum Power of 3. But if you play Jell-Ooze against the Dragoon, his Power is reduced to 3 (-1 Penalty). Because the first round is 100% Random, the face-offs are totally arbitrary an rely on pure Luck of where you placed which Monster.

Jell-Ooze against himself results in BOTH players being penalized by -1 Power... And therefore each starting with only 1 Power. So it remains a tie, but for how long ... That is the question!

Note #1: These are the PRE-ORDER Monsters which will come in a very reasonable "Starter Kit" that will cost $25 USD (plus $5 USD shipping). I'm not yet 100% certain about the shipping fees ... But I plan to resolve this probably next week.

My sales strategy is something like this...

I will be planning to have a "Pre-Order" month prior to the actual Go-Live of the "Monster Keep" (MK) webstore. There will be ONLY one (1) product available to purchase and it will be a "Starter Deck/Kit". This kit will have the following:

  • Three (3) Monster cards.
  • Five (5) "Series 1" Cover cards.
  • Three (3) Red Power clips.
  • Three (3) Blue Style clips.
  • Twenty (20) Enhancement cards.

All cards will be super-durable plastic cards. I will see IF I can get custom-made "Clips" in-bulk. Custom because I would want them to be "transparent" much like Acrylic Cubes. We'll see if I can get those made or not... That will be CUSTOM.

That kit will sell for $25 USD + $5 USD Shipping. I feel this is a reasonable price point because this game is FULLY "customizable". When we Go-Live with the webstore, players will be able to buy MORE cards for full Deck Construction ... And allow players to experience the variability of the other cards outside from the "Starter Deck/Kit".

So according to my schedule, the Pre-Order Month would be October 2020. And then the Go-Live would be November 1, 2020. Almost two (2) months of Christmas sales for you young-hearted card game fans...

That gives my artist three (3) months to do the art for the game (September/August/July).

I'm currently working on the 2nd batch of Monsters

I'm not too sure about the TIMING ... But I plan to release three (3) "NEW" Monsters (at some point in time). Since I think it will take like three (3) months to do that art ... Taking a break from after the Go-Live ... And sales (hopefully) in November and December 2020. This means that the "NEW" Monsters could be available to purchase somewhere around April 2021...

It takes some planning ... because things don't happen automatically!

It looks great!

It looks great!

It seems simple but conveys a lot of information.

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blog | by Dr. Radut