You all dig these Tenskans.

adamCool, Poll

So we had a little fun with our newsletter launch and added a poll to the art section of the update. Must say, there has been great reception already! Currently, here’s a snapshot of the poll numbers:

Scholar, 26.9%
Teacher, 15.4%
Warrior, 15.4%
Shaman, 11.5% (can’t the little lizard get more love? :D)
Sentinel, 30.8%

Polls won’t be “closing” for a while, so share your path today & Vote Now! !

/A


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GenCon Around the Corner, NYCC On the Calendar

adamAnnouncements, News

Just making it official, y’all.

There might be some other convention announcements down the road, but let’s focus on what is on-schedule.

We’ll be reprising our absolutely amazing experience in the city that doesn’t sleep – at booth #444 at New York Comic-Con in none other than New York City, NY, from October 8th to the 11th.

Before that, we’ll be at GenCon in beautiful Indianapolis, IN, starting July 30th all the way until closing on August 2nd. You’ll find us all con long at the Tabletop Co-Op booth enjoying GenCon with other great friends like Cardboard Fortress, Mind the Gap Studios, CounterClockwork Games, Imbalanced Games, and CriKeT Games!

The Games line-up will be:

Phoenix Covenant
Phoenix Covenant, the ultimate tactics battle card game. Are you the greatest commander? Will you stop the Cataclysm? Preorder!
RESISTOR_
RESISTOR_ hack your way to nuclear destruction. The only way to win this game is to play. :D Visit Cardboard Fortress!

Kobolds
Kobolds, a fast, intense and absolutely hectic game that puts those hours grinding in D&D to shame. Visit Cardboard Fortress!
ZtoZ
ZtoZ, a party game truly for the undead. Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse is not a laughing matter. Show no life, and live! Visit Mind the Gap Studios!

Wizard Dodgeball
Wizard Dodgeball is magical – and dodgeball. Need we say more? Get your game on and challenge friends! Visit Mind the Gap Studios!
The Shadow Over Westminster
The Shadow Over Westminster, horrific-ly excellent. Survive in a creepy London environment – can you stop the forces of evil? Visit CounterClockwork Games!

Grow
A Tabletop Deathmatch Finalist and a great game. Grow is all about just that – build together, grow a great tree with beautiful pieces. Visit CriKeT Games!
Titans Tactics
Titans Tactics is a great battle game where you pit champions and your cunning wit against one another. Who will reign supreme? Visit Imbalanced Games!


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Newsletter Relaunch, Game On!

adamGeneral Fun-ery

Making great progress getting to manufacturing; we’re still aiming for a go-to-print day sometime in July, that is, next month! Since we’ll be having a lot of news as the days roll by, we officially relaunched our Newsletter (which you can subscribe to here) and I’m (obviously) making sure the Blog is updated.

So, what else has been going on? Plenty.

A couple of nitty-gritty things – we’re acquiring our UPCs for the product, which is truly essential so we can make sure PCov can make it across borders, through Amazon, and even through the Amazon. We’re also working through how we’re going to make distribution really smooth. Can’t guarantee anything stunning yet, but it’s well on its way. Pallets have been estimated and box designs are about final!

Ah, box designs. We’re working through the insert – a true finery of the tabletop world – at the moment and trying some different designs. No matter what, rest assured that the cards will have room even when fully-sleeved. :D

That’s the quick update for now – talk soon!

/A


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PCov: You can now Digital.

adamCool

Yes. I am a pirate.

We were super excited to share this news (and partially-secret project) with playtests a decent number of weeks ago as this plot flew under the radar. We had a really tough challenge to meet and we tried our best to find a way to overcome it. The issue? How to link together dozens of playtesters and enthusiastic players when they are stretched across the USA, Canada, and heck, much of the world.

The answer?

Lackey.

We found Lackey as a platform for playing many of the great card games (and some other games too, like the old favorites Go and Chess!) and we had to get PCov in there. Crafting a plugin is straightforward and Trevor, Lackey’s creator and supreme maintenance guy, has done a heck of a job making it useable yet extremely flexible to almost any card game out there. There are also great video tutorials.

That said, there are some things that are unique to PCov that were interesting challenges, which I’ll outline in a later post. For now, be extremely happy in the fact that PCov is worldwide thanks to this great platform.

We’ve even made a Guide for you so installation can be easy, quick, and you can get up and running fast!

/A


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Hey!

adamOldies

Hey there!  We’re getting everything in order over here – and a lot more – so stay tuned for many, many updates!

In the meantime, check our Facebook & Twitter feeds!

After-Previous-Review Review: Map Changes & Tests

adamOldies

Hey all.

We’re back.

The topic for this post is how we’ve evolved the battlefield map. We’re making a tactics game, and in FF Tactics style, we need a good map for players to brawl on.

So to start, we thought about how tactics and tactical mechanics worked in games we liked. And we played many, many games. Tactics games like Tactics Arena Online, FF Tactics, Chess, Go, & PoxNora. Tactical mechanics as found in trading card games like Magic: The Gathering, Kings & Legends, & … PoxNora. There was much learning to be had. Some of the main take-aways centered on what aspects of tactical environments shine best in games and promote play and counter-play among players.

Thematically, we focused on position, maneuver, and space. Units in this game must be able to:

Meaningfully hold, take, and challenge positions on the board.
Change position, potentially rapidly, on the board and challenge units on the board.
Create areas on the map where an opponent feels that challenging the player in those areas may change the momentum or path of the game. (For more on path, choice, and luck in games, see this article. We will also have posts about these concepts and how they play out in our game.)
Manipulate the classic three centers of combat – the center of any unit or group of units controlled by an opponent, the center of any unit or group of units controlled by the player, and the center of a battle – which may, but is not guaranteed to be, the center of the board overall.

We started by defining the board’s shape.

A big choice was rectangular/square grid or hex grid. We chose a square grid because of its success in other tactics games, the simple nature of a square grid (where all spaces have clear left, right, forward and backward adjacent spaces), and our concept of square cards (more on that one in another post). Plus a square grid defines two opposing sides clearly; one on one end and another on the other.

We wanted to offer enough spaces on the board for there to be room to position groups of units (for shorthand, let’s say ‘squads’) as well as enough spaces between opposing sides. Then we wanted there to be a space that would be normally contested – a true center of the board.

And we started with 7 rows by 8 columns. The 7 rows divided the two opposing players and the battlefield was 8 spaces wide. After some rounds of playtesting (after we had change much about the units and other mechanics), we found that games were too long (90-95 minutes on average). And the action. was. too. slow. It was too far to cross and challenge an opponent for strategic spaces. The gameplay tended toward too much turtling. Seven rows had to go.

Ultimately, we found that using a standard deck (just creatures, commanders, and spells) or an expanded deck (including strategic structures) allowed for a reasonable game (35-55 minutes) on a board of 6 rows and 8 columns. Easily a couple dozen playtests were played to get to that conclusion. And we tried 5 rows for a while (that’s for another post), which generated a fast game, but no counter play.

So we feel that we’ve found a happy balance with 6 rows to allow enough space to react to an opponent’s push, but not too much space to enhance the defender’s advantage to an unreasonable level. 8 columns allow for nice flanking and maneuver areas. Combined with 6 rows, that width creates a good ‘middle field,’ where opponents can challenge each other – and even enough space to create counter pushes.

There’s always more to talk about, and soon we’ll have even more to discuss with you. Stay tuned.