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:
- Graphical design choices
- Backer cards
- The creation of a card process.
- Want to be on the box?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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