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