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.
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).
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 :)
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.