No, not glam rock ;)
As I mentioned in my last post I am working on learning a few new techniques to produce some photogenic models. As I learn and practice I will be posting with progress shots and begging for advice on improving :)
This week saw a lot of progress, it was very exciting to see our board really start to come together. The end cap was a fun distraction, but we need a playing surface by Adepticon so I focused on that for the most part.
Last week we sculpted our foam base and I got a bunch of hexes glued down on the 4 quadrants. This week I worked on our decorative end-cap. We wanted to make the diorama break down into parts for travel, the priority being the actual play surface. We painted some apartment buildings long ago and they always attract people to our table at conventions, this will be the deluxe version. With that in mind, we wanted to make an add-on with buildings and scenery that was optional.
With the 12 initial models painted and photos and video in the works, I finally get to dig in to a project I hoped to have done way back in December - the deluxe demo board. We have had some fun misadventures with this project already, like shopping for materials with a broken foot, finalizing the design on the fly in Lowes 15 minutes before they closed, and Bernie amazingly sawing our huge styrofoam sheet down to size in the parking lot with a pencil.
At long last we have all 12 of our first 2 faction models painted as well as I am able. I finished Lance and fixed a few odds & ends (Pai’s Buddha pendant, finally) with just enough time to spritz the models with a little Dull Coat and have it barely set for the photo shoot on Sunday. All that work paid off when we got to see how awesome our models look through the lens of Nik Pledger’s camera.
Finally a week of calm after 3 big demo events within a 10 day period. As many of you know, expecially those who follow us in our social media groups (@omicronprotocol on FB, Twitter, and Instagram), Brendan and I have been busy running between cons and demo events over the past 2 weekends. It has been tiring spending that much time in the airport (especially when a flight gets delayed for 3.5 hours!) and doing non-stop demos, but like always, it has been very rewarding.
How should I say this? Well, we were caught, and we are guilty…
Let me rewind to the beginning. One of the goals of designing Omicron Protocol, for Brendan and I, is to make sure the game is as representative as possible of the diverse group of people we have living in a modern (even futuristic!) multicultural big city. We have spent a lot of time thinking, planning, and doing a lot of research into cultures, genders, races, orientations, etc… that we originally knew nothing about, just to make sure that the characters we add to the game are not caricatures or stereotypes of a certain group of people.
My current painting project is like no other in my experience. I am painting our first metal miniatures to use in photos and videos on our Kickstarter page. I’ve submitted models in competitions before but this is a unique sort of pressure, this is for all the marbles! I really want to push myself to do the best that I can. With that in mind I need to take an honest look at my strengths and - more importantly - my weaknesses.
One of the biggest decisions Brendan and I had to make with Omicron Protocol was whether we should have a hex-based board or not. “Traditional/hard-core” minis games usually is just on a mat/board/table where the boundaries are defined and that’s it. You throw whatever terrain you can find or buy, and use all sorts of cool rulers to measure and move your armies/teams across the board. Going hex-based was a tough decision, but brought lots of rewards, including but not limited to:
It looks cool.
But honestly we’ve gotten feedback from players over the months suggesting that it’s hard to differentiate our named characters from the AI mobs that congregate on the board. They blend in too much with the crowd. This can have some bad repercussions in game, especially for new players.
In the last 2 “Game Design Thoughts” series, I talked about how small changes affect a lot of things, and then how our changes to the CYMS took almost 2 weeks of intense internal playtesting to get right. Well, as the title of this post suggests, some of our seemingly non-impactful changes greatly affected the balance of the factions again.
This will be a short one, since we’ve been writing this rulebook for way too long!
As we prepare for the next important step of the game development, getting the first draft of the rulebook written is crucial for beginning blind playtests and rules illustrations. Without blind playtests, we would never know if Omicron Protocol can be learned by new players without any help from the designers.
We started with this very helpful article which does a great job of breaking down the pros and cons including estimated costs of pewter, resin, and ‘board game plastic’. There are a few considerations when choosing material - the most important for us being cost because we are self-funded -but there is also ease of assembly, level of detail, and physical integrity. Our initial thought was pewter but we decided to weigh our options.
Well, Brendan and I just got back from one of the funnest and most rewarding demos we’ve given in recent history, the demo to a bunch of our new friends at BackerKit! A bit shout out to Meah, George, Joe, John, and Antonio for hosting us, learning the game, keeping it fun, and giving extremely useful feedback to help us improve the game!