July update - Files sent to printer!

Dear backers, dear friends,

Hooray!

A long journey of designing Fog of Love has finally come to an end. We’ve sent our files to the printer a few hours ago.

We’ve sent in 58 different print files with a total of more than 600 unique prints (card fronts, card backs, box, etc.…). The only file missing is for the rules, which will be sent in next week.

A giant stretch goal

We’ve earlier written about how the game has grown since we initiated the Kickstarter. Today we have more news to share with you.

We’ve added even more to the game. We’ve been lucky and have landed a big exclusive retail contract. We didn’t announce this before, as it has been uncertain for a while. But now we know for sure (we can’t yet tell you who it is… but it’s a huge retailer). 

This contract allows us to make a larger initial print run, which translates to lower production cost per item. Instead of going for increased margins (and earn more), we've chosen to keep margins constant. 

We are therefore adding to the quality of components for the benefit of all, including you. Basically, we treat the contract as a giant stretch goal for all.

The material quality of the components has therefore increased dramatically since we initially thought about publishing the game:

  • The game board will be thicker than originally anticipated (going from 1.8 mm to 2.0 mm).
  • The box will be of amazing quality. We only know of one other box on the market made of similar high quality material. It will be a luxurious drawer box made of 3.0 mm thick cardboard (was 1.8 mm). The drawer box will help secure the game when you transport it. The lid won’t suddenly go off, making a mess of all cards. It will also look pretty on the shelf.
Drawer box mockup

Drawer box mockup

  • The insert in the box will be extra solid and will contain printed card dividers to help you organise everything. This will decrease setup time and increase usability a lot.
  • We’ll have 2 elegant plastic boxes for each player’s coloured tokens. Here is a mock-up. They will be transparent.
2 plastic boxes for player tokens (will be transparent)

2 plastic boxes for player tokens (will be transparent)

  • Everything will be printed in 5 colours, which is unheard of for games. We chose to add an extra printing colour to make sure that our text will stand out in full quality and contrast, without having to be pure black (which is often rough to look at). The extra printing colour also allows us to add extra quality to the look and feel of all surfaces that are printed.
  • One of the expansions you get (Paranormal Romance) contains a legacy mechanic. To support this, we have chosen to add stickers to the game, so you can keep track the legacy element without damaging permanent components.

Production has begun

We have not talked about our manufacturer before. It's Whatz Games. They are a large board game manufacturer in Shanghai and make a lot of high quality games. They make most of Iello's games, including titles like King of Tokyo and King of New York. Our components will be of even higher standard than what's found in these games.

We have been speaking with all the major manufacturers in the world, but Whatz games have beaten all the others when it comes to service, offered quality and final price for the total package. The last is important, since this has allowed us to add more stuff and more quality for you. 

Production of non-print components has now begun. We’ve received the first non-mass-production samples last Friday. We are very happy with the quality they represent and are ready to go to mass production with most. The colours are just as we want them to be (the colours on the picture are a bit off how they look for real... we just couldn't capture them perfectly... but it's close).

Samples of tokens and choice tokens

Samples of tokens and choice tokens

New timeline

Besides quality of the game the question on everybody’s mind is of course about delivery. Even though we worked as hard as we possibly could, we have again underestimated the effort needed make everything ready for print. So, our schedule has slipped once again.

All game production will be finalised and shipped from China in late August. This is 5-6 weeks later than we had anticipated in our last timeline in March. The shipment will be on boat for a month, before reaching the US and Europe. This means that estimated delivery time now is around mid-October.

We are immensely sorry for this added delay and will – as we have said before – offer you a full refund if you are unhappy. The window for full refunds will close end of July, as we then are moving towards organising the last things towards shipping the products. 

We are tired but happy

We have been working very hard to make it to here.

Just to give you an idea of how hard: The last 4 months Jacob J. has slept at the office around 3-4 nights a week to press even more time out of his already tight schedule. He has a (good) full-time day job that helps him sustain his family, pay the rent of his office, fund the development costs of the game and pay for the salary of Jacob E. It’s a good job that pays enough to make all this possible - but it also takes time. On top of this he worked on the game. In total, he has worked 110+ hours a week for more than two months – after having “enjoyed” 80+ work hour weeks for more than a year since the Kickstarter. The last 15 days he has slept less than 4 hours per night on average (seriously!).

Jacob E. is full time employed focusing on Fog of Love. This “full time job” has similarly resulted in excessive extra hours, where he has worked most evenings and many weekends to help develop the content.

Proofing and tightening everything up has been extremely demanding.

We are both newcomers to developing board games and have continuously been underestimating the effort needed to make everything work smoothly (and not just work ok). There is a usability improvement and design decision to be found everywhere when developing a board game, even in the last phase before print.

To be frank and honest, this amount of work has been far too much for us and our families. We however wanted to make the great game that we had set out to do - and we kept working on it until it felt right.

Here and now we are therefore very, very tired - but we are also very, very happy. We feel that we have succeeded in doing what we aimed for!

We look so much forward to sharing it with you.

Coming days

The next days we will finalise the rules and take care of some other urgent matters. Then we’ll take a few weeks’ vacation. After this we’ll take care of Kickstarter fulfilment logistics, preparing for Gen Con, Essen and the retail launch. We will also do more to see our loved ones. They deserve it.

Have a great summer,

Jacob and Jacob

PS: Many of you are probably eager to see what all the fuss is about. How is the new design? How is the tutorial? This update is already far too long to talk about this, but next week we'll share a video showing you the changes. A backer and his wife came visiting us from the US and tried the latest prototype a few weeks ago. They filmed everything and are right now putting some preview videos together to share their impressions with you. We look very much forward to sharing these with you.

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April/May update

Hi all! 

A month (and a little more) has passed since the last update.

I’m still trying to hit the monthly updates, but the death of a friend took quite a toll on me and my work focus for the last month. Jacob J. was completely under the weather with the flu for more than a week and then almost a week more being hit by a Norovirus infection. That also set things back a little.

Well enough with the excuses, let's see what we have in store for you today:

  • Status 
  • Graphical design choices 
  • Backer cards 
  • The creation of a card process.
  • Want to be on the box? 

Status

Content is finally almost complete. There are a few cards that need to be created and some final touches. But we are very close to being done. This means that the proofing is ahead of us and I have reached out to the awesome people who have volunteered to be a part of that (if you volunteered and didn’t hear from me please reach out as I might have lost your mail or something). 

This is when all the work we did to move the cards to a Google sheet will hopefully really pay of as it will take out at least one editing step from the proofing process. So while we are a couple of weeks behind on the content creation this won’t change anything in the following deadlines (we did put some buffer in, just to be sure). 

Conclusion: we are still on track to hit our production and delivery deadlines as communicated in the last update.

Graphical design choices

Another deadline is the graphical design. We are also slightly behind on that as the first draft from the new designer requires some significant adjustments. 

There are many factors to take into account when doing the graphical design. It is a big task but also an exciting one. 

First of all we strive to make sure that the design is evocative of the mood we want the players to be in when they play the game. This is what needs to be redone with the draft the designer presented us with. It was a bit too mystic and "heavy" and didn’t have the humour and lightness that we feel that the game has. 

Some other requirements to the design: 

  • The game needs to be accommodating to colour blind players. 
  • It needs to help the players understand what is important in the game and where to put everything. 
  • The symbology should work both on the cards (very small) and on the board (quite large). 
  • The board should be unique in it’s style and easily recognizable even looking from far away. 
  • The board should help sell people on the game. 
  • It should include some of the feel and ideas that our prototype look had. 
  • ...And the list goes on much longer than that.

I’m unsure if you understood this from the previous updates: We are creating a new look for the game from the ground up. New box art, new colour scheme, new symbology, new fonts. Everything. 

Why was this needed? 

In short: we have to have to make sure that the game sells once it is in stores. 
The look we had on the game on the Kickstarter and on our prototypes was placeholder. We originally anticipated that we could use that style and update and polish it. With our first graphical designer, this was what we attempted. Eventually through our work and  tests, we came to the conclusion that we needed some new eyes and ideas for the board. The board didn’t work with the old style in the bigger size. The readability of the cards wasn’t good enough and the layout wasn't conducive to playing the game. We have spend a lot of time clearing up the language format for the game effects to make it clearer who should do what. And we think the layout should make the cards easier to parse as well. 

To make sure that everything looked like a complete package with a new design for cards and game board, we also needed to rethink the packaging - including packaging (and thus also distribution) for expansions. 

The new designer is incredibly talented and we are very excited with what he has done so far. We are looking very much forward to what you showing it to you in the next update. For now, here is a teaser. 

The first look of the new box art

There are still quite a few things we want to change, but we feel confident enough about the direction that we want to show you how it looks right now. Some of the things we want to change on the box are the silhouettes. We want to incorporate a body-positive and non-heteronormative perspective on the box. This means that we will incorporate more silhouette of couples of various body sizes and gender compositions in the final artwork. The main couple’s silhouette will also be of a different couple. 

Want to be on the box? 

To achieve this goal we will have a photo shoot in Copenhagen next Friday on May 12 (from 9 am to 4 pm). If you happen to be near Copenhagen then and want your silhouette to maybe be on the box, write me an email at jacob.engelbrecht@hushhushprojects.com. 

Backer cards in near final version

You voted for card themes. We brainstormed and worked hard to balance these cards. And now you will get to see them. The backer selected cards (presented here using a previous design template): 

I hope you will enjoy playing them as much as we had fun creating them! 

The creation of a card process. 

Speaking of creating cards. I will talk a bit about the process of creating a card for Fog of Love. In many ways each card is a little game in itself (certainly with some of the more advanced cards it is - you will see ;) ). But where we start is always with a thematic idea. To exemplify let’s take a look at the "I’m a spy" card. 

With the spy card you gave us a thematic frame. But how to fill that? What is really at stake when you are living undercover with your wife to protect her? 
How would she react if she found out? And most importantly, how can we reflect all of these things mechanically on the card - and make sure that the card is fun to play. 

With this card it was obvious that you are living with a secret. So we quickly decided that the card should be a secret card type. But from there it was more difficult. In some iterations of the card we focused on the person playing it, impacting them in various ways. But it felt a bit flat. So we changed most of the focus to the other person giving them a choice. How do they react to the revelation (if it is revealed) that you have been lied to throughout your relationship - but a lie to protect you? 

That established the narrative of the card. How the actual effects played out took quite a bit more thought and work however. 

What we found particularly fun with the spy idea was that the spy had to change how they looked and what they worked with because their cover was blown. So we implemented these changes in the card, letting the choice of the partner of the spy determine some of the changes, even letting them change themselves if they feel particularly helpful. 

As these are some big changes and an important event we dialed bag the satisfaction points influence of the card. This both helps keep the focus of the card when reading it and with keeping the balance of the card so it isn’t too swingy compared with the other cards. 

Another thing we strive to make sure is that all the choices offer some effect that make you consider making that choice. The thematic choice is obviously the main thing for many, but we strive to have that choice reflected in the effects. And this is incredibly hard sometimes. 

We don’t want any cards that have obvious choices or even worse feel like "take that" cards (just being mean to the other). Setting up ‘prisoner's dilemma’ decision charts helps with this but balancing the individual choices with the other cards in the game is challenging. 

So that is how we ended up with the spy card as it is now.

And that is that for now.
Until next time,

Jacob and Jacob

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    March update - Further delayed, more content

    Hi everyone. 

    A long overdue update from us.

    In this update: 

    • Production 
    • Much added Content
    • Final box contents
    • Graphic designer 
    • Timeline

    Production 

    As you can maybe tell from our lack of updates, we have been quite busy with getting everything ready. We have hit several problems along the way unfortunately. This doesn’t mean that the game is in any danger of not getting released. It does however mean that we have to delay the game further. This is incredibly frustrating to us and to you. To be honest, maybe we should have seen this coming. 

    Jacob J has started working close to full time on his real job again to sustain his family and pay the running expenses of the company (remember; all the funding from the Kickstarter goes directly to the game. Nothing is taken out for other purposes). He works almost every evening and weekend on the game and is thus barely seeing his family in order to finalise the game. 

    I know for a fact that when Jacob J chose to Kickstart the game he did believe that everything would be complete much sooner. But his ambitions, the complexity of the project as well as personal circumstances means that creating all the content has taken much longer than that. 

    Much added content

    We have now gotten to a point in the process where we are looking ahead of the release of the game and into the game’s expansions. This is important, as we want to ensure that the modularity of the base system works and can sustain the stories we want to expand with. Some parts of the original game have changed as a result of this. In some ways you are getting version 1.5 of the game.

    All the content you have unlocked in stretch goals will eventually be part of expansions (as we have announced during the kickstarter). Originally we envisioned that each Love Story would be a small package of 4 chapters and 10 supporting Scenes. Along the way we learned that this probably wasn’t enough. We have tested and retested the scenarios and have just recently concluded that we needed more content to support each story’s unique narrative. In addition to that we decided to add extra cards beside that to create variety. These are some costly business decisions, that we felt were difficult to discuss in the open. 

    We have now decided to go with packages that contain 30 Scenes. The format of those expansions will be a scenario (what we call a Love Story) consisting of 4 or 5 chapters, 20 scenario specific cards (with mechanisms that work only with that expansion) and 10 additional cards that will be thematically appropriate to the expansion, but can be playable in any scenario. This is much more than we anticipated in the Kickstarter. The decisions were costly because we didn’t want you guys to be left out of any extra content. We felt it would be wrong to give you three half expansions. 

    One backer was so kind to sponsor additional 10 cards for all of you as part of his generous pledge (we will return to this at a later stage). The rest we have chosen to donate ourselves. This is a significant amount of extra cards that you will get that weren’t part of the Kickstarter campaign in any way. 

    We know that some of you would rather have the game sooner. But we hope that this can be a consolation for the delay.  

    As we said before: We do not want to compromise on the quality. This also means that we don’t want to give you incomplete expansions.

    Final box content

    During the Kickstarter we promised (and you unlocked) a lot of content. But since then we have chosen to upgrade and change some things:

    During Kickstarter: 162 Story Cards (now called Scenes). In the final version: 200 Scenes. 

    We will add in an extra set of card holders to go with the in-laws Love Story.

    We have also added in 7 cards that will be explaining everything you need to know about each Love Story. One of these cards will be placed on the board during gameplay for easy reference. These cards will also act as a sort of divider for each scenario. We have moved away from using envelopes to store the Love Story cards in as they took up a lot of space and made it more difficult to find the right one. We will have a good solution for storage of the Love Stories in the the box insert.

    We have chosen to upgrade the choice tokens from wooden components to some good weighty poker chips. This gives the action of making a choice a good physical heft making it feel more significant.

    Another change (one that we are  still considering) is the finish of the board and the cards. There was a stretch goal that promised linen finish, but after trying out different finishes we are leaning towards using a matte clean finish. We feel that this aesthetically fits better with the rest of the game. If we choose to go with this we will improve the components in other ways. We are considering if we can use UV finish to accentuate some things on the board and the box (UV finish can't be used on linen finish).

    Another change from the KS is that we have decided not to add 24 extra traits. Adding extra Traits would ruin a precious balance in the game, making it more likely for both players to get similar traits. This would ruin some of the gameplay dilemmas that are important. We thought it could be relevant to add other mechanics to the trait cards, but this just added unnecessary complexity without adding more fun. Instead most of the 24 traits you unlocked will be occupations instead. We feel that more variety in occupations add well to the thematic experience of the game.

    We have also changed the size of the character cards and the Story Ending cards (now Destinies). These cards will be the same size as the Scenes. This means that all cards can easily be stored in the insert as there are 2 sizes instead of 4. We also think that it is fitting that the cards that decide how you end the game shouldn't be smaller than the cards you tell the story with. 

    Speaking of the character cards. We promised 4 extra of these for the Love Stories you unlocked. We thought this was relevant for the new mechanisms in the Love Stories. While we have been developing these Love Stories we haven't found a use for these extra character cards.

    We are also adding a reference card for each player.

    Finally we will also add in a tutorial Love Story increasing the number of Love Stories you get from 6 to 7 with the tutorial Love Story being replayable as a shorter Love Story (something that many have requested). This will also include around 22 tutorial cards that will teach you the game while playing it.

    In case you are interested the added components means that the MSRP of everything you get will be $100.

    Approximate final box content of Kickstarter version:


    Base game to be sold at retail:
    Quad fold board.
    Box size rulebook.
    2 card holders in player colours.
    2 character cards in player colours.
    2 sets of 4 poker chip choice tokens labeled a, b, c, d. One set in each player colour.
    2 sets of 40 choice point tokens in each player colour. 35 small tokens with no print, and 5 tokens with 5 printed on them.
    2 reference cards.110 scenes.60 features.48 Occupations.44 Traits.
    4 Love stories.
    22 tutorial cards.
    All cards in the game will come pre-stacked from the factory making the tutorial possible.


    Content that will eventually be released as expansions :
    3 Love stories.
    2 tokens for keeping track of in-law influence.
    2 card holders for in-law traits.
    60 Love story specific Scenes.
    30 Scenes usable in any Love Story.

    Graphic designer 

    Another reason for some of the delay is that we found it difficult to find the right graphical style for the game. We had a great look on the prototype. But with a bigger board and a bigger box as well as the need for improved readability on the cards we needed to change some things. This has led to us bringing a new designer on board to help us with the aesthetic design. He will help us with updating all illustrations and graphical elements, so they are in perfect harmony and look beautiful. This might seem marginal for some. We already had a design that in many ways worked well. We do however want to make it really awesome. 

    Timeline 

    I mentioned that the game will be delayed and I will outline a new schedule here to give you an idea. 
    - Mid April: Content completion.
    - Mid May: Proofing done. Graphical design done.  
    - End of May: Print files done and send to the printer. 
    - Mid July: Printing done.  
    - Mid August: Shipping to backers.

    We anticipate that the game will go on general sale just after you have gotten the game (only the base game). Further down the line we will release the expansions that you already have. 

    Even further down the line, we want to release more expansions so those with a KS version also get more content. We have some great ideas already and anticipate to crowdsource ideas from the community as well. 

    That is it for now. 

    Thanks, 

    Jacob and Jacob

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    February update 1 - Backer selected cards and the design update.

    Backer selected cards

    The votes are in! The cards have been dealt! The 7 backer selected cards that we will create for the game are:

    • Your partner is starting an addictive habit (how do you both react? Perhaps an intervention?)
    • Partner's job is a problem (forcing a change in occupation)
    • You have a sexual kink (how does your partner react? Are you aligned?)
    • I’m a spy and I’m deep undercover to protect you (a secret card. If this is revealed the cover will be blown and the player will be forced to change a feature and their occupation) 
    • Geeky hobby (I have a geeky hobby. Would you like to take part in it?)
    • Open relationship (are you open to being open? Partner chooses how to react)
    • I won’t be able to have children (both need to react to this. Are they in line? Maybe you don’t want kids? Maybe this is breaking your world. This will be a card with big possible effects on Story Endings (that we have now changed the name of, but more on that later))

    We are very happy with your choices and think they bring some great opportunities to tell some fun (and dramatic) stories. Thank you!

    We will try to have a draft of the cards finished for the next update so you can see how everything turned out.

    Language

    As a part of tightening everything up and getting it ready we have revisited most terms and expressions in the game. These efforts are about reducing ambiguity and making the game more intuitive to play.  

    As an example, we have renamed Story Ending Cards to Destinies. Destinies hopefully make more sense. As a player you decide what destiny your character should aim for. Your goal is to select the right destiny and ensure that the character fulfils it. It’s more intuitive than saying that you are trying to fulfil a story ending. What is a story ending? We also think that it feels more powerful to sit with someone’s destiny in your hand than their story ending.

    We have also changed the name of Story Cards. While that name was good, we felt that it didn’t fully encompass what the cards were doing in the game. These cards are now called Scenes, because that is really what they are. In the game you play a series of scenes from a relationship, so Scenes really felt like a natural choice. This also fits in nicely with the Chapter structure we use in the game.

    We really feel that from a usability perspective the text on the cards has been much improved by these changes (and many other) and that the game is better for it.

    The updated design

    Old and new design. The new design still needs a few tweaks to create a bit more space between elements.

    Old and new design. The new design still needs a few tweaks to create a bit more space between elements.

    As you can see above the new design has choice point arrows pointing up/down rather than left/right. Up/down is much more intuitive and is processed faster cognitively. This update is also used for the board and everywhere else where choice points are represented. 

    All cards also have the title repeated in the bottom. This might feel like waste, but helps when laying out the cards on the board. Each card will be placed on top of the previous one, with the bottom of the previous card visible. Players will therefore be able to see the narrative represented by the visible bottom card titles as the cards are played on top of each other, slightly spread out.

    Print and play

    We know that many of you are eagerly waiting for the updated PnP. 

    We are almost (!) ready and will - if all goes well - share it on Monday. The technical update to ensure text merger has been much more intricate than we anticipated, but works fully now. 

    A tiny part of the large spreadsheet

    A tiny part of the large spreadsheet

     

    All game options have been systematically organised in a spreadsheet. The text is exported through special scripts and merged into a complex InDesign file. As many cards have different layouts we then need to prune the InDesign file by running no less than 3 additional complex scripts. This is by far the most demanding merge job we have ever seen.

    The good part about this is that we can now easily update the design of the cards and have it implemented with a few clicks. We will still tweak the design the upcoming weeks.

    Making new language versions will also be easier, as translators just need to work on the text in the spreadsheet. When the text is ready it will be imported into the InDesign file (which might be slightly adjusted to accommodate for languages that use more text-space to express something) and the layout will be ready within a few minutes.

    For the PnP we now just need a few more adjustments to ensure consistency in terminology and text-markup plus preparation of the technical file for the PnP (much simpler than the above operation).

    An article about games for Valentine's (and Fog of Love)

    Fog of Love is featured in Game Informer, the world's largest game magazine (we are only featured online however).

    The article is just out.

    It's a great write-up that we are proud of. We are in very good company and are the only unpublished game covered.

     

    That is it for now,
    Thanks!

    January Update 2 - Getting Closer

    Dear friends,

    A lot is happening these days.

    Here is an update on the status, a few more words about the In-Laws story, a plea for your votes for the most anticipated game of 2017 and some thoughts regarding the future after the Kickstarter is fulfilled.  

    Status

    We are done migrating the cards to a spreadsheet based system that lets us make changes to the graphical design much more efficiently. It took almost a week of my time, but it will save us a lot of time in the next couple of weeks when we are proofing everything and polishing the graphical design (and when we eventually need to localise the game). 

    Here are some of the changes we have done (or are doing):

    - We will go from left-right arrows to up-down. This will increase usability dramatically (evident from all our playtests).

    - Clean up of the language. It should be more clear who is the subject of a card and who is affected by the different game effects. 

    - Clean up of the formatting for effects. Everything is becoming more readable.

    - Updated symbols for the three decks.

    - Updated reference numbers for all cards.

    - Higher contrast on all cards to increase readability.

    - Added line in the bottom of each card as reminder for effects that influence future rounds.

    - More tight and consistent layout of the cards (because all will be based on the same Master with text merged in from the large spreadsheet).

    We have also changed the board layout and are happy about how things are lining up. The graphic designer will finalise the board design on Monday.

     

    Work-in-progress mock-up of the new board layout. Not final art! You can now play the Story Cards directly on the board (in the middle grey part).

    Work-in-progress mock-up of the new board layout. Not final art! You can now play the Story Cards directly on the board (in the middle grey part).

    Work-in-progress mock-up of the new board layout. Not final art! You can now play the Story Cards directly on the board (in the middle grey part).

    Speaking of Monday; I wanted for some time to make the print and play files ready for the play test group on Facebook, but didn’t make it during the week as I had hoped. The redesign process took all our time and was more pervasive than we anticipated. We didn't want you to spend time on printing and cutting everything and then redo it all again shortly after. Given that the redesign process is soon finished, we can safely distribute a new version of the print and play files. They will be up on Monday. 

    We are still polishing up the last scenarios, LGBT cards and so forth and I expect we will fine tune everything until we send the files. No reason not to spend the time we have :) But we are getting there and I feel good about making our deadlines. 

    We have a good dialogue with the manufacturer and they are ready to begin production just after Chinese New Year. The production will take about 30 days and so will shipping. This means that we are still looking at a May shipping date. We will of course update you if we slip out of that window, but right now things are looking good.

    The In-laws Love Story

    The In-laws Love Story (scenario) that we have been spending a lot of time on is SO cool. So, I have to spend some time telling you some more about it. It is very complex and definitely not for the beginners, but once you have played everything else a lot and want to take it to the next level, this is it. 

    In this story you must balance another set of traits representing your parents. You must also manage a power struggle between the two families, with your own family in the middle. The more influence you giver either pair of in-laws the more you risk if you don't fulfil their trait goals. Avoiding giving them influence (especially when you also need to fulfil your own needs) is however going to be a challenge.

    You must navigate these new mechanics while at the same time trying to complete a completely different set of Story Ending cards. You will also have a whole new stack of cards to draw from for this scenario, with cards that really makes things quite difficult. I know we have talked a lot about it, but I feel that it is has come together in the best way and that it was very much worth the time it took to develop. 

    I’m excited for this, I hope you are excited! And speaking of excitement…

    What happens after the game is sent to you?

    Once we have the game out to all you guys, we will send a large number of games into distribution (of the base game sans most Kickstarter stretch goals). We are meeting very good upfront demand from retail. All this thanks to your help!

    We will also be selling the Kickstarter Love Stories as single Story Expansions. 

    We have much more in the pipeline. Many more stories can be told within the game and we hope to get the opportunity to develop and make more new stories for you to play. I have an idea to make a site where you can share your best stories (or maybe just on a BoardGameGeek guild?) and build a community.

    Further down the line we hope to make this game the first game in a trilogy of games about love and life. 

    For all this to happen we need to have a good beginning with this game. You can help us in many ways - and you have already done so. You can talk about the game on BGG. You can Like us on Facebook.

    Thank you so much for backing us and thank you for reading this.

    I will send an update against Monday with votes for backer created Story Cards. They deserve an update for themselves (and there is already a wall of text here). Then a new one again next week showcasing more of the updated design (including the insert that has changed... again) and with impressions from all our playtests (we are testing almost daily with both new and experienced players of the game).

    A lot is coming together these days!.

    Thank you, 

    Jacob E.

    January update - A great review - Vote for us - Design is progressing very well

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Hi everyone. We hope that you’ve all had a great Holiday season. We certainly enjoyed ours and have some news to share.

    A review from BGG Con

    The nice people at Dog and Thimble played Fog of Love at BBG Con and thought it was great. We are very pleased with their top 5 list of games, where they put Fog of Love on a shared top spot: "...Fog of Love is my number one game by such a wide margin that it's frankly a little ridiculous..."

    http://dogandthimble.libsyn.com/best-games-of-bggcon [from 40:10] 

    Vote on BGG – Deadline Saturday 7 January

    You can vote for Fog of Love on the BGG on the most anticipated game of 2017 list. Any and all votes can make a big difference for us. So please take the time to vote for us there. Deadline is tomorrow evening.

    https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/217265/item/5034197#item5034197

    Your feedback

    We have listened to all your feedback from the last update. After some tests we too feel that the board with the box would make the footprint of the game too large. We are still testing layouts, but the box on the table solution is off the table :)

    We have also found a way to include the card stands in a quite elegant manner that will help keep everything in place.

    Design progress

    We have finally nailed the In-laws story. We designed and tested a lot of different approaches that would allow the in-laws to have a strong presence and impact on the game, while still maintaining the mechanics and flow of the basic game.

    The solution we ended with is to give each pair of in-laws a set of traits. Additionally we added a new set of Story Ending cards that replace the original ones. Finally we have included a new track for balance between the two families. Who influences the couple the most? This creates new dynamics between the players as they have to include their parents in their considerations when selecting Story Ending cards.

    The story is complex and gives a lot of meat to advanced players, while still playable for relative beginners as well. We are finally happy with it. 

    It also means that we will include more Story Ending cards in the game than originally planned and also an extra cardholder for the in-laws’ traits (to ensure usability). As we promised we don’t want to comprise on quality and see these additions as necessary to ensure smooth gameplay and a good integration between thematic experience and game mechanics. So you'll get a bit more than we originally planned :-)

    We'll share playtest files on Monday in our playtest group on Facebook.

    The development of our play-right-out-of-the-box tutorial (where you don’t need to read any rules before you can start playing) is also going very well. We had a first test two days ago and it worked as we hoped. YAY! It’s being polished now and will lower the entry barrier for all new players.

    Polishing

    This week we have started with the final graphical polishing of everything. We have hired Jeppe Norsker to go through ALL files to ensure that everything is crisp and ready for print. 

    We anticipate that we will start printing in mid February. The factory is ready for us and we are working more than full time to ensure that we can be ready for them.

    Within two weeks we’ll begin to share files for proofing and language optimisation. Those of you who have said you want to help, please be ready.

    We’ll share more news within two weeks and will invite you for voting on the last cards.

    That is all for now.

    Once again Happy New Year,

    Jacob E. and Jacob J.

    December update

    Dear friends, dear backers,

    Things are going well at our end. I hope things are well for all of you as well.  

    In this update: 

    1) Address changes

    2) I’m part of the team

    3) Update on development

    4) Volunteers: Be ready in January

    5) Box insert and ‘first game’ design

    6) Card holders - We ask for your feedback on a game design question

    7) We ask for input on the LGBT cards stretch goals  

    Make sure you read it all or at least the parts that you might be interested in :) 

    1) Address changes

    You still don’t need to write us with address changes. We will send out a survey where you can enter your current or expected address at the shipping time, once we get quite a bit closer to shipping. We don’t want to risk a lot of address mistakes, so we will send out the survey as late as possible to minimize this.     

    2) My status  

    I have been taken on as an employee for the project – to begin with until the end of January. This means that I can work full time with Jacob Jaskov. 

    My focus areas are: Communicating with you guys! Communicating with retailers and other parties outside Kickstarter, this is important right now because… I’m also looking at getting shipping ready so that once shipping takes place it hopefully won’t contribute to any delays. I have also increasingly been involved in the design process.  

    This is exciting for me personally, to see the Facebook message I send Jacob Jaskov a long time ago, asking if I could help with anything as I had too much spare time as unemployed, being turned into an actual job!  

    3) Update on development  

    We have reached the point where we are closing on the last couple of issues and will be playtesting the last stories the coming weeks. The final Love Stories are getting so close to finishing. We have been trying to finish one particularly difficult story. And this is the one I want to reveal a bit about now. 

    I want to outline some of the things in what will surely be the most ambitious of all the Love Stories: 

    Trouble with the in-laws  

    In this Love Story we have looked a lot into what research says about relationships with in-laws and the conflicts that arise. A couple of things were worth taking note of and get inspiration from:  

    • It is evident that lack of communications and power struggles are at the centre of a lot of conflicts.  
    • In-laws interfering or meddling with the affairs of the couple, particularly in relation to their grandchildren, are some of the most cited sources of in-law problems.   

    To reflect this, we have developed a system where the characters’ parents become part of the game. The choices your character takes don’t just influence their own satisfaction in the relationship but many also contribute to how your character’s parents and your character's in-laws feel about the relationship.   

    The dynamic of the story ending cards is expanded to reflect the influence of in-laws. This requires some things we didn’t plan for, including an entirely new (extra) set of story ending cards for this Love Story. We feel this is necessary to really bring in the element of the in-laws and the conflicts one may face in such a complicated and many faceted relationship. 

    We have spent a lot of time on this Love Story and it is significantly different than any of the other Love Stories. The last two stories that we haven’t talked very much about yet, are also very close to done.  

    As I mentioned we will playtest everything this and next week and then I will make the files available to the play test group and hopefully get some feedback quickly. Either way, we are getting ready to start proofing and polishing everything soon. 
    I will post another update with an overview and description of all the Love Stories before New Year.  

    Play tests

    We can still use more play testers (and you get a behind the scenes look at our work). So if you would be interested in printing and testing the game, don’t hesitate and join the play test group on Facebook

    4) Volunteers: Be ready in January

    If you have been so kind and volunteered to help us with correcting/improving the language (and strengthening the narrative elements) of the game, please be prepared to step in in January. Your assistance will be urgently needed then. 

    5) Box insert and ‘first game’ design  

    Apart from the things I mentioned above I’m continuing the work on the game insert and preparing a set up for the first game.   

    This is a game we want to reach as many people as possible, even the not so hardcore of gamers. The game does have many elements and that can be a bit overwhelming for non-gamers. Therefore, we will design the first scenario in a way that introduces these elements gradually, we hope that it will create a pleasant first experience with the game. 

    I’m working on how to make the first Love Story playable out of the box. I’m developing a way that this can work. It means that the game will come with stacked card decks that will allow for an interesting first game as well as some custom components to ease new players into the game.  

    When we upgraded to a ‘Ticket to Ride’ size box, that gave us the opportunity to create a bigger game board. This provided us with many options to increase usability and we have tried a few different ways to utilize this extra space.   

    We plan to to have the box stand on the table as part of the game setup. The sides of the box will include reference text and guides for the game. The box will also serve as a player screen (cards can be hidden from view from the partner). It will have spots for all the different cards so setup is almost as easy as just opening the box up.

    This easy-to-setup-approach also puts some demands on the box insert.  I have created a prototype of the insert for this, as well as various 3D models. There is room for everything for out of the box play. But it is a tight fit. We’ll share pictures with you once the insert and the play-out-of-box experience has been tested.  

    6) Card holders

    This means that we are very seriously considering omitting the card holders from the game. We don’t feel they are necessary in the way the game is set up now and the way we use the box. But it is something that we promised would be included in the Kickstarter campaign.  If we include card holders it will be impossible to create an insert where you can play the game out of the box, and make room for sleeved cards. This game contains many cards and with sleeves they take up a lot of room. So, I would certainly like to hear your thoughts on this in the comments! This is ultimately Jacob Jaskov’s decision but we would love to hear how you feel about it!   

    7) LGBT cards

    One of the stretch goals of the campaign was 10 LGBT themed cards. We have some ideas, but we are not a part of the LGBT community ourselves. If you are a part of the LGBT community and have ideas for story cards or issues we should take note of, send them to: Jacob.engelbrecht@hushhushprojects.com. 
    We will then, together with some people we know who are in the LGBT community, select the cards that we feel brings the most to the table in form of fun and inclusive game play. I hope to see many great ideas in my inbox soon :)   

    That is it for this update. 

    We hope you will have a great time with your families and wish you all Happy Holidays! 

    Jacob Engelbrecht

    October update

    Hi guys! 

    What an amazing and busy time we’ve had since the last update. First and foremost, I’m sorry for not keeping up with my promise to do monthly updates. I chose to push this one to after Essen Spiel with the hope that I had some awesome news to share. We have good news and great pictures to share so please read on :)

    Playtesting and production

    Playtesting is going well. We haven’t gotten as much feedback on the first of the stretch goals Love Story as we maybe had wished for, but what we have gotten confirms that it is well functioning and only require some small adjustments that are mostly about how we explain some things. As for the last two, we have the first one close to being ready and the next one is well on its way as well.

    Playtesters preparing for Part II of "You and me forever"

    Playtesters preparing for Part II of "You and me forever"

    What is interesting about these Love Stories is that each one introduces significant new mechanisms that reflect the theme. There will be one about in-laws where the in-laws will be a non-player character that influences the choice point balance. These are the kinds of things that is taking a while to get just right. Jacob Jaskov didn’t want to just add three Love Stories to the game that are more of the same as in the base game. He wants each one to be special and have a unique spin on the game system. Some have expressed that he should take the easier (and faster) route and make more of the same-ish Love Stories and get the game done faster. To that I will quote one of my game design heroes Shigeru Miyamoto (he created Mario and has had a hand in almost anything Nintendo for 30 years) “A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad.” This is what I personally believe to be the way to go at game design and I think that Jacob Jaskov feels the same way. 

    Others have expressed that these chapters should have been done when we ran the Kickstarter. And I actually agree on that. Or at least they should have been further in development. The thing is though, that I doubt Jacob Jaskov ever anticipated the game to fund so strongly as it did. And as this is a project that is close to his heart, he wanted to give it everything he could, making it the best game he could imagine with the stretch goals. That is why that except for the money going to Kickstarter, every dollar you pledged will go in to the production of the game. And that is also why your game is being late – we’re giving you the best game he and we can come up with not only from a production standpoint, but also from a content perspective. 

    The good news is that while we still don’t have the final component count for the game (the Love Stories might still affect this a bit), we have a pretty good idea. So we can begin the actual pre-production process soon. At Essen Spiel we met with the top manufacturers who have made a bid on producing the game. They had some cool ideas for what parts we can use for the various components and I’m personally very excited to work with either of them to make the game the best it can be. Final agreement (followed by pre-production) will be done during the next month.

    At this point we have a pretty good idea of when everything is done and being shipped. We are looking at a May shipping date right now. In the next update, I can hopefully unveil some of the choices we have made for components. But this far I will say that the cards will be of prime quality and that the box will be a ticket to ride size box with an insert that will let you play the game out of the box (that’s the idea at least).

     

    Quick mockup: Cards will be organised in the box, reducing the need for setup on the board

    Quick mockup: Cards will be organised in the box, reducing the need for setup on the board

    Essen Spiel

    Spiel was an overwhelming experience. We were once again swarmed with people who wanted to try the game. What impressed me personally was that we had quite a few people who came back to try the game several times. At a fair like Spiel where more than 1000 games are demoed and released, spending 60-90 minutes several times on the same game is a testament to the uniqueness of the game and I have no doubt that it will be a great success. What was also a success, was the contacts we made. While no deals were finalised, we had some very cool proposals that if some of them ends up going through, will lead to great things. Contacts both to some very (VERY) big retailers as well as publishers who wanted to localise the game. We are very excited and hopeful about what the future will bring in this regard. A note regarding localisation: We will not commence any work in this regard before the English edition is fully finished and production is well underway. Our focus is on making the English version as good as possible first.

    I want to give a shout out to our volunteers who worked long hours and showed great flexibility and helped us so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I now know that you should have an extra person on for Saturday, because that was insane. I was teaching two tables at the same time at one point :)

     

    Jacob E. preparing balloons

    Jacob E. preparing balloons

    Ryan (one of our great volunteer backers in the booth) guides new players

    Ryan (one of our great volunteer backers in the booth) guides new players

    People had a great time

    People had a great time

    Intense moments...

    Intense moments...

    Some of the people here did not only play the full game once or twice, but three times during the fair. Wow!

    Some of the people here did not only play the full game once or twice, but three times during the fair. Wow!

    Our booth at a distance (photo taken by our friend Bo Jørgensen)

    Our booth at a distance (photo taken by our friend Bo Jørgensen)

    As you can see the booth was filled with balloons that you could see from anywhere in the hall. It looked great (and took ages to set up). And the buzz at the booth was great. We managed to sneak in at a 4th place at the GeekBuzz the first day but ended as number 18 in the end. Not too bad for a game that still hasn’t been released and that also was previewing last year (last year we ended up at 10). Overall I would say that the trip to the fair was a success (while not one for my wallet). That is all for now. 

    Thanks

    Jacob E

    _____________

    September update

    Hi everyone!

    Hope you had a good summer and are looking forward to the fall season with all the board gaming it should entail :-)

    In this update I will talk about how play testing is going, and what other things we are doing.

    Essen planning

    We are in the middle of getting everything ready for Essen. We will have a stand similar to the one from last year, with the added bonus of having more content.

    Our booth number will be 6-D113. It will be in the new hall 6 (they expand each year!) next to the BoardGameGeek booth and close to the Dice Tower booth.

    Last year many people used the balloons on the stand to navigate the hall and find us and the game managed to get quite a lot of hype on the fair. Obviously we hope to repeat that this year. We will be doing demos of the game and trying to generate hype for the game.

    A lot of the reason for being there is to talk to retailers and distributors (for a non-Kickstarter version of the game). As it stands the Kickstarter funds and the production costs are about equal (as it is now we are not making any profit), so getting a distribution deal for larger print run with a better mark-up would give us the possibility of maybe doing more games in the Fog of Love universe (it is actually conceived as a trilogy of games).

    Play testing

    Play testing is running along nicely. We have gotten some feedback already and it was quite positive regarding the content and had some good feedback regarding some layout.

    If you are up to printing and playing the game, we would love more tests and feedbacks. If so don’t hesitate to head over to the Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/729041037213405/) where you will find download links in the pinned post at the top.

    If you are playtesting the game and have done a cool looking version of the game, I would love to share some pictures of your versions of the game or a session of the game, with the other backers. So don’t hesitate to send me those pictures (at jacob.engelbrecht@hushhushprojects.com) :-)

    Pre-pre-pre-production

    We are also working on getting everything ready for production collecting information on requirements from the factory and deciding how to package the game the best. The box will most likely be a Ticket To Ride size box. Organising content well is important for usability and fast setup. As you probably already know, we are planning a good plastic insert that can help us achieve this. We are still within the revised time frame and I think that that will hold.

    New video

    A Danish language reviewer recently did a very positive play through and review of the prototype of Fog of Love. So if you understand Danish take a look at these videos:

    Intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFIEWmeP9y8 

    Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CslMw-YOffo 

    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HP7ae-GEoY 

    Final thoughts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNTfsUtvCrM

    That is all for now, as always we welcome your comments and suggestions :-)

     

    Fully funded on Kickstarter

    Dear backer, dear friend!

    The Kickstarter is officially over and our remaining journey has begun. 

    We have unlocked all stretch goals and will be having an amazing package of goods when it's ready. 

    When I'm closing my eyes I imagine myself saying hello to you (and all other backers) and giving you the biggest and most thankful hug. THANK YOU.

    I won't write so much more today. I'm elated and high on happiness - and extremely tired. 

    I just want you to know that you are fantastic and that I'm looking so much forward to develop the stretch goals with your and the other backers' help.

    You'll get more news from me tomorrow.

    Now it's time to rest and time to enjoy what we have achieved today. It's grand!

    Big Hugs,

    Jacob