Hey internet friend / fan / associate / stranger,
First of all, how are you? Good. That’s great to hear. Now, we’ve got the imaginary conversation out of the way, we can straight to the good stuff.
It’s been a week since CanCon, which was a really great experience for me and End Game Games. We got an overwhelming positive response for both games and some insightful feedback. I’m feeling pretty encouraged but neither game is finished yet. Over the next few months, development for Hedron and Ragnarol is going to go into overdrive as I (and my dedicated team of playtesters) continually try to break and unbreak the game.
I’ve been able to get some a good, solid night of playtesting in this week to build on the impressions from CanCon for both games, and have made some changes to each. I’m hoping to have a new iteration at least once every 2 weeks and I’ll let you know on each game’s page how stable I consider it. If you’re interested in playtesting, please give the current versions a go and let me know what you think. If you’re only interested in playing a stable and finished game, I’ll let you know once we get to that stage.
Ragnarol and Hedron are very different games. Ragnarol is a game that’s more about the interaction between players and the narrative that develops. It’s designed to be a fun game that gives you permission to ruthlessly pillage your friends. As opposed to Hedron, it’s not a game where winning means everything. The narrative aspect of the game helps to make the games enjoyable, win or lose, and it is very much game that mixes skill with luck, meaning it’s not 100% your fault if you lose. But one thing that’s come up a few times in testing is that occasionally a players will have a bad battle early on and lose a bunch of stores or a few men, and it’s hard to catch an early lead. With Ragnarol, I want players always to feel that their choices matter and that they can fight their way to victory from behind. So the latest iteration of Ragnarol includes a few more options for your warriors apart from raiding (which some of you may have already seen) and a new path to success that leads through the dark halls death and out into the glorious light. For more details, check out my Ragnarol Designer Diary.
I managed to get in some intense, head-to-head playtesting with Hedron and a friend, who kindly broke the game for me. We discovered that powering up a d20 was too powerful and dominant a strategy. I’ve made a few rule revisions to try and get Hedron back to what I wanted it to be, and to do that, I had to think about what I wanted Hedron to be. For more details, check out the Hedron Designer Diary.
I probably talked to you a little at CanCon about what I see in the future for my games, and part of that future is the Australian games industry. Right now, we’re not just seeing a golden age of board games, we’re seeing the board game industry change with a more diverse range of games coming from a more diverse range of publishers and designers, coming not just from Germany and the US but from all over the world including Poland, the Czech republic, Japan and Korea.
I very much want Australia to be part of the board game industry, rather than just a small customer base that’s an afterthought in distribution. We’re able to produce video games that are globally competitive, we’re able to make film, literature, art and music that can be enjoyed by a global audience, so there’s no reason we can’t design and develop board games too. We saw a few Kickstarters for Australian designed and developed board games earlier this year, and I wasn’t the only designer running demos at CanCons, so I think we’re going to see a games industry emerge slowly but surely over the next few years (or maybe not so slowly!).
My plan for End Game Games is not just to make a game or two, but help build the board game industry in Australia. Part of this is making sure Ragnarol reaches as many people as possible so it can have a real chance of being a living and breathing product that you can find on game store shelves globally, and a key part of this part will be PAX Australia. PAX is a great opportunity to engage both serious and casual tabletop gamers, and End Game Games will be there. This gives us a deadline for getting Ragnarol produced if we need to have copies ready for PAX, but I won’t be rushing development if it’s not ready. PAX will either be a date we make with production copies or a date that we work our Kickstarter around. We should know which by this time next month, so expect an exciting (or slightly disappointing) announcement in the second newsletter.
PS if I haven’t already mentioned to you that I plan to do a Kickstarter, that’s what I plan to do. It’s really the best way to reach a global audience from Australia, and to build a solid customer base for future games. I’m in this for the long run!
As I said, it’s not just about me, so let’s talk less about me and what I’m doing.
- Adaptation was also being demo’d at CanCon. It’s designed by some local Canberra boys and is pretty. They’ve got a Facebook. Maybe you should check out and see if you like it.
- Kim Breabach was showing off a couple of card games. He’s on BGG if you want to follow his progress.
- Conjure is a trading card game coming straight out of Melbourne, that’s just launched on Kickstarter. Check it out and see if it’s worthy of your support.
A game isn’t made by a designer, it’s made by players and over the next few months, I’d like to get as many people playing my games before release as possible. Everyone’s feedback is valuable but what I really want is jerks, big game-breaking jerks. If you’re the type of person that likes to win, no matter how much everyone else is crying, then I want you, and I want to reward you for your efforts in improving the game. Right now, I’m focusing on Ragnarol, so if you’re interested check out the Ragnarol Playtest Program. Hedron’s also available for playtesting, but I’m currently offering internet back-patting as the only reward (and GeekGold, of course, if you want to check out the BGG forums).
It’s over! But if you can’t get enough / are wasting time at your day job how about some more stuff
- My review of the Resistance killers, Coup and Two Rooms and a Boom
- How I ruined / saved Christmas with game design
- And the below video that is starting to resemble my new brain state*
* I’m currently putting 127% of my effort into making these games a reality and a successful reality, and this means less sleep and a small sacrifice in sanity points, which is a sacrifice I’m willing to make for ultimate power / getting a game released.