Most of the past few days have been devoted to Modern Land Battles. The game is doing okay for pre-orders but it will take one more big push to gather in the last of the orders needed for printing.
For those of you unfamiliar with the pre-order process, it works like this. I get the major portion of a design worked out and tested, along with some initial artwork, and place the game on the DVG site for pre-order. People then get to pre-order the game at a reduced price. As a game gathers pre-orders, the final bits of game development and artwork are finalized. When enough pre-orders are collected to pay the printing bill, pre-order credit cards get charged, and the game is sent to the printer.
I’ll soon be able to post new cards, a rulebook outline, and sample of play on the web site. Hopefully, this will generate player interest, and the final batch of pre-orders.
Wan also sent me a first look at the Napoleon cover, and it is looking great! I sent him some Napoleonic paintings and quotes to add to the sides of the box. We’ll hopefully have something to place on the site in a week or two.
I finished reading the Napoleon book. Talk about a busy guy! From the time he took command, rarely a year went by that he wasn’t at war with somebody.
On the topic of horse trivia, the name of Napoleon’s horse at the Battle of Waterloo was “Marengo.”
I now have 6 Napoleonic campaign maps outlined. The next step is to create playtest versions of the maps. To do this, I’ll start by dividing them into historical territories, placing important cities and battle sites, and creating the Set-Up list of forces and rules. Soon after that comes the victory conditions and the rules specific to each campaign. Once the entire campaign is in place, we work on the playtesting and balancing. This is the trickiest and most time consuming step of the process. This is the part where Holly really shines. By the time a game goes the printer, she has played it at least 100 times. The hardest part is keeping track of “today’s rules”. As she finds problems, rules, numbers, and charts change day by day.
Each campaign must be difficult to win, but not impossible. It must also present the player with different choices. Players are very smart and quickly figure out the best way to win a campaign. This means there must be changing conditions in the campaign to prevent a “best” strategy. The hard part is to install changing conditions that do not make the campaign more or less difficult to win. It is also important that any events outside the player’s control do not affect the chance of him winning. It’s no fun to play for an hour, roll a die, and realize that even though you had control over the die, you just lost. Therefore, random events must offer variety in affect while being equal in power. Very tricky to do.
Once a map has solidified, the final artwork is created.
I’m also starting to get the next wave of work done on our Frontline game. That is another game available for pre-order.
At any given time we have about 5 games that we’re working on. At this time, there are a couple more games in the works, but we need to make a bit more progress before talking about them!