I find myself staying busy, but because of cash flow, very focused on bringing in money (recent large orders of The Climbers from two distributors, UK and USA) and not spending much (just working on prototypes and sending out a couple of review copies).
Because of a new investment coming in, I’ve commissioned the artist who worked on Zombie Attack and Deer Hunter 2050 to do the art for Robot Hamsters in Space. The first sketch looks pretty good, but I won’t post the art online until it’s finished, so you’ll have to wait. We are hoping to launch a Kickstarter campaign for this game soon.
One review of The Climbers came out with a rule misinterpreted which I thought I had corrected. The review was positive, but I realized there are still copies of the first edition being sold and traded and I hadn’t posted the second edition rules online yet, so I did that. Another video review should be coming out soon, and I’m sure they have the most recent rule book.
And after four play tests of Monorails of Mars now, the rules are much further along than I expected. The final scores are coming closer together, players are spending less time in debt, and it’s clear that I’ve created what I’d started out to do: designing a spatial strategy game with multiple winning strategies. I’ve found that so many games suffer from a lack of balance, so that there is really only one way to win them.
One example is Ticket to Ride. It seems from first glance that one can win either by accumulating and completing a lot of tickets or by building a lot of long track segments, but after thousands of plays, it is clear that the former strategy can never really beat the latter one. By changing the ticket cards in the 1910 edition of the game and the boards/maps in other editions, this balance problem is less pronounced, but still there.
So one of the playtesters last night of Monorails of Mars asked if the game would be available for sale in a few weeks. I told him it would more likely to be a year or two from now, because it takes a lot of play testing to make a game balanced enough so that for most of the game, all players believe they can win, even when they choose different strategies.