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 :)
Our WIP this week is our Kickstarter campaign. We spent many hours in the last couple of weeks solidifying numbers, creating graphics, writing about all the details of our game and campaign, and then ruthlessly cutting half of it away. We really hope you like the results!
I am very happy to announce that our game is now playable on Tabletop Simulator! I got all the models imported, updated the character cards and tokens, and added CyMS to the scenario board configurations.
We have done a lot of thinking over the last few months about what kind of game Omicron Protocol is. We started our journey by standing on the shoulders of giants. We knew we wanted to make a game to rival our favorite games in the genre that brought us together as friends, games like Guild Ball, X-Wing, and Malifaux. We wanted unique characters, small scale skirmish, competitive balance, and most of all a minimum of negative play experiences.
Our schedules are getting hectic as we get closer to summer and our Kickstarter campaign. I say that not just excuse myself for being a day late but also to excuse myself for not have anything very cohesive to write about. There are some projects I have been working on that fit into the WIP Wednesday theme: I have been porting our game to Tabletop Simulator, and I finally started painting our updated Pai sculpt.
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!