Origins and New PNP Kit
10 months ago
– Tue, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:04:49 AM
It's about time for a new update so here it is!
This week, we'll be in Columbus, OH at Origins Game Fair at Booth #245. We'll be running demos for Vast: The Mysterious Manor and for Root all throughout the show at the booth with multiple tables. We'll also have a small quantity of Root, Root: the Riverfolk, Vast: The Crystal Caverns, shirts, Vagabond plushies, and pins (including a new Origins Pin Bazaar pin) for sale at the booth. We hope you can stop by if you're attending!
New PNP Kit!
Over the past few weeks Nick, Josh, and I have been prepping the files for Root for production. We are very close. Most documents right now are either complete or in the final stages of proofing, and the new bots have just one more short development wave and a round of proper proofing before they are ready to go as well.
This means it's about time for the next print-and-play kit!
If you'd like to update your games to use the most current version of the moles, crows, or deck with final art, you can find everything you need here
That link also contains links to the underworld learn to play, the updated law (including sections for all of the new content), and the files you need for the bots."
If there are any rules questions regarding this PNP kit, please direct those questions to Josh, our editor at email@example.com
New Offices, New Playtesters, New Jobs
10 months ago
– Sat, Jun 01, 2019 at 02:28:41 AM
I'm happy to report that our office move was successful! Though our new place is just a few blocks away from the old one, it's a huge upgrade. We now have got more space for testing, the ability to run public events, and significantly better lunchtime choices. Once we get fully settled in we will be sure to give you all a tour.
A big move like that is always a little chaotic. The week was made even busier by the fact that we were working on Root and going through Vast: TMM's proof (by the way, you can still get an insanely good deal on TMM for a few more weeks).
That didn't stop us from making the most of our new space. Last Monday, as the staff scrambled to build tables, new playtesters streamed into the office for the first day of testing. Each day that week the same ten or so stalwart players came to the office and played the heck out of Root.
We had a few goals for testing. Our daytime testers helped vet a new way to decide factions configurations and allowed us to test out the balance of the new factions in some of the stranger contexts. In the evening we ran usability trials with first time players and veterans to make sure our updated walk-through (for the core set) and the new learn to play (for Underworld) were both doing their jobs. By the end of the week nearly 50 unique games had been played over the week. Whew!
A big stack of playtesting forms.
Though it's not a cheap thing to hire full-time testers for a week, it quickly paid off. We were able to reproduce and adjust a couple goofy strategies that were both a little too strong and a little too boring. By the end of the week not only had we found good design solutions, we had also been able to vet them with more rounds of testing. I'll detail the changes once we release the final print-and-play kit (likely next week), but, in short, there were a couple of small alterations to the crows around exposure and combat and the moles had an adjustment to one of their ministers and a larger change to the way they reveal sets of cards that makes them a little more interactive in the early and mid game. With that testing behind us, we're doing one more round of play-testing to get through all of the recommended faction parings once more as we ready the final files for print.
On the production side everything is going beautifully. We're hoping to have proofs by the end of July and the project is on schedule for delivery to you all by December. Right now we are working on the final design for the clearing markers, which is the last non-printed component we need to vet. We'll have some exciting pictures to share on that front soon.
Finally, we wanted to let everyone here know that we're expanding our team in Saint Paul! If you're looking to work in the game industry and either live in the Twin Cities or would be interested in relocating, give our openings a look!
(As always if you have specific questions about your pledge, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Big Move (and a small update)
11 months ago
– Fri, May 17, 2019 at 02:57:36 AM
As I type this out, our office is in boxes. Over the course of the past few weeks, we've been gradually packing away everything in preparation for our move down the street. Everyone here is pretty excited about the space. It's got better access to public transit and food, lots of nice offices (with windows!) and plenty of extra room for us to grow.
We'll be sure to give everyone a tour of the new space as soon as we settle in. For now, we wanted to let you all know that we'll be without internet in the office for a few days, which means we may be a little less active here on Kickstarter and on Board Game Geek.
Despite the disruption of the move, I wanted to reassure everyone that the game is fully on-schedule. We've started the process of submitting files to our manufacturer and are continuing to tweak the balance of the game to make sure that all of the factions are behaving well with each other. To that end, we've made a couple small updates to both the Moles and the Crows. The Moles had the Queen of Mud weakened. The Corvids had a couple of small adjustments (weakened Trick, changed their extra action structure, allowed them to play a little more riskier with their plots). The change to Trick was espeically important in match-ups against the Eyrie--that snare was just a bit to devastating!
If you want to see those updated boards, you can find them here (Kit 7).
As I said in the last update, I'm really happy with where the game's balance is, espeically in terms of the huge range of faction match-ups that are proving viable. At this stage of testing, we are doing our best to brute-force test through dozens of combinations. To that end, next week we are having tons of folks join us at our new offices for an intensive week of testing. I'm sure Patrick and I will be taking lots of pictures so keep an eye on our twitter if you want to follow along.
Alright, that's it for now. We'll talk to you all after the move!
New Print-and-Play Kit!
11 months ago
– Sat, May 04, 2019 at 12:32:52 AM
Today we are releasing an updated print-and-play kit for Root: the Underworld Expansion. This kit contains an updated deck and updated versions of both of the new factions. The file is called PNP Kit 6 (Updated Moles, Crows, and Exiles).
The release of this kit marks the start of our final testing cycle for all Root: Underworld assets. Though we handle most of our testing in house and among our remote groups, we welcome the participation of anyone. If you'd like to join in, all you need to do is fill out this quick survey after you complete a game including any expansion elements. You can find that survey here.
In terms of changes, the new cards feature some adjusted costs, abilities, and a lot of art. The moles have a few quality-of-life improvements and a few balance adjustments. Note that none of the art on mole cards is final. We've got a nice surprise on that front that we're excited to share a little later.
The kit also includes revamped Corvid Conspiracy. Here the changes were much more significant. Basically, we moved to a system that really ramps up the bluffing elements and presents some tricky new challenges for the Corvid player and their opponents. In some respects, this version is truer to the intent of Patrick's original design. It's got lots of espionage and creates some lovely tension in the game. At the same time, we had to abandon some design concepts that we really liked to make them work. If you'd like to learn more about their development, I wrote about them at length on Board Game Geek.
To celebrate the release of the print-and-play kit, we'll be doing a livestream at the office 2pm (central US time). You can find that stream here.
Well, that's it for now. Everything is moving along quite well at the moment. Next week, we're hoping to spotlight the automated factions add-on, and give you all a window into that development process. We'll have a lot more art to share and, perhaps, a PNP for the new lake map.
A Little Development Update
11 months ago
– Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 02:37:29 AM
Today we wanted to give you all a little update about the development of the expansion. A large part of the remaining work on the Underworld Expansion is logistical in nature. Over the past few weeks we've been busy scheduling playtests, arranging art lists for Kyle, and building the actual print files that we'll use to produce the game. Of course, we're doing a lot of playing and developing as well.
Because running a Kickstarter is so all-encompassing, we usually pause development on the game while the campaign is underway. That doesn't mean we really stop thinking about design. It just means that we give the marketing priority for a few weeks. During this time, we build up a backlog of thoughts about how the various elements of the game are working and try to take careful notes about how people are responding to them. Then, after the campaign is over, we gain the space we need to go through those notes. One of the first things we did when we got back to the office after our break was to do an exhaustive audit of all of the new Root material. We flagged anything that wasn't feeling quite right and where we might want to direct our attention going forward.
(Note Saboteurs doesn't yet have its icon in the top right, I'll get to that soon.)
In general, we were all quite happy with where the design was. However, the dozens of games played in March had revealed a few problems with the Corvids that needed addressing, and I also had some notes on some cards I wanted to tweak for the deck. With some objectives in mind, we rejiggered our testing schedule so that we could take the Corvids through another full development cycle. Now, after a lot of spirited discussion and a couple dozen plays, I can pretty confidently say that all primary development work on the expansion is done. From here on out, we'll be shifting gears to making sure all of the new content is exhaustively tested and ready for production. As with the Root campaign, we'll be doing our best to document this process and will be releasing a new set of print-and-play kits so you can all see what we've been up to.
The first of those new kits, containing at least the updated Corvids, should be posted next Friday. Before then I'm hoping to write a longer piece about the design and development of the faction. Though the Corvids are very much Patrick's faction (and were expertly developed by Nick), I got to observe the process first hand and thought the story of their creation might offer an interesting window into our process.
Alright, that's it for now. We'll have more to share about the development of the game in the coming weeks, as well as some exciting pictures!