Friday, February 17, 2012

Prototype-1B Ready for OrcCon; New QuickRef and Terran List

What do you mean, nobody understands the Latin names?
Not everyone spent 8 hours researching the Roman army?
OrcCon 2012, here we come!  Prototype-1B is ready!

This Monday, Prototype-1 arrived in the mail!  There was much rejoicing.  Unfortunately, last Friday's Quae Victor? playtest highlighted an extremely dumb decision I'd made with regard to unit names -- and P-1 contained those awful unit names.

I didn't have enough time to order another prototype from The Game Crafter, so I just fixed the token art and printed it myself.  I dub this chimera: Prototype-1B.

It is so much easier to play
when pictures and words match!
The production quality isn't quite as nice, but it's better to have unit names that are comprehensible to people who don't read Latin.  I also completely remade the Quick Reference and Terran Army List.  Both were in bad need of an update -- the Quick Reference still contained numerous terms that had been eliminated or re-named:

Ars Victor Quick Reference
Ars Victor Terran Army List

We'll be tabling all this stuff at OrcCon tomorrow!  Read on to hear about the saga...

The Road to OrcCon

Tabling at OrcCon was a last-minute decision for us.  Our plan is to have a big release at Gamex in May; I checked out OrcCon just to see what was possible.

We weren't ready in time to get hooked up with Strategicon -- they have excellent support for indy designers, but they were full up by the time we even contemplated asking.  Fortuna came to our aid in the shape of Seth Bradley, the proprietor of Ventura's very own Seth's Games and Anime.  Our venerable Local Game Store, Seth's has got great staff, a good selection, and plenty of playing space.

And I'm not just saying that because he hooked us up with one of his tables, no sir!  But he did!

So, three of us -- Alyson Warner, Josh Scott, and yours truly -- will be standing around at a little six-foot table in the exhibitor hall, collecting e-mail addresses.  We'll have:

  • Prototype-1B laid out, with the three of us playing games when we're not talking to the punters.
  • A display running an OpenOffice Presentation in slide-show mode, showing off the game's features.
  • A laptop showing an email signup page, that people can directly use.
  • Live tigers. (the van broke down)

Sexy New Branding

If you haven't been furiously refreshing our home page, waiting for it to change... you should go check it out! It's sporting our brand new logo, designed by Alyson Warner.

It's now on our home page, our Facebook Page, our Twitter Account.  It's slathered all over the game's reference material.  It's on the hot new t-shirts and business cards that Aly designed.  I'm about to get it tattooed on my nether regions.

This actually looks like a real game, doesn't it?
New Things in Prototype-1B

A bunch of stuff got ironed out in P-1B that was broken in P-0:

Actual Double-Sided Map Tiles

The Map Tiles are used to build the board before every game.  You draw them, one at a time, from a stack, and choose which side to play and where to place it.  This does not work if they are not double-sided.

The anonymous idiot who prepared the P-0 artwork for print (hint: his name starts with an "S" and ends with an "tephen DeBaun") mirrored vertically instead of horizontally.  Since the map tile is on a piece of cardstock that needs to be cut, this did not work.

It is extremely difficult to knock these over.
New Base Banners

Fans will have noticed the multitude of stand-up banners adorning the game board in the various pictures.  Although this was a cunning use of flags befitting the British Empire, it felt more "fiddly" than it needed to be.  The bloody things kept falling over.  Every time you had to move a piece, you had to move two things -- the stack of step tokens and the banner.  Gods forbid you bump the table.

The new design involves a "base banner" -- a colored piece that is larger in one dimension than the step pieces.  Right now we're using little cardstock wings that stick out, but we eventually want to replace them with simply larger wooden pieces.

I've already played a couple of matches with them, and I gotta say I didn't notice.  I think that's a good thing, actually.

New Token Art

All of the unit tokens were completely redone.  The newest designs are trying to build a visual language that helps players remember the key features of the unit.  I decided against trying to encode a unit's values into the token -- there are too many of them, and we don't want the pieces tied to specific unit values.  The sanctioned army lists of Ars Victor are the purview of its players!

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