Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Insider #10

Warfighter has shipped, and has received an amazing reception! Thank you very much for all the positive posts, feedback, and reviews on Facebook!

The Tiger Kickstarter is launching TOMORROW! We're very excited about this, and we'll be posting a "How to Play" video with the launch. The video will show the "Eastern Russian Front 1943" Campaign, as well as the "Blitz" Objective card. This first video focuses on battlefield combat, and gives a good overview of the core game mechanics.

We're also supporting Extra Life, a group that donates money to help with the expanses at children's hospitals. The volunteers earn the money by playing games and narrating their adventures during live streaming game sessions. My personal friend, Katie Goecker, is a volunteer, and we are proud to support her generous work. Please visit our Facebook pages if you are interested in Extra Life.


Paul Aceto did a quick After Action Report (AAR) for Warfighter on Board Game Geek.

People are going to the Megabloks site and custom making some incredibly cool figures to use with their Warfighter games!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Insider #9

I'm working on rulebooks right now. I have one going for Tiger Leader, and another for Modern Land Battles. They take lots of time and effort, as any technical manual ranging from 16 to 48 pages would. It's like writing a little book. Only the characters MUST teach the reader something specific, and if I screw it up, the players get grumpy. So, no pressure.

Happily, Warfighter has been shipped out, to individuals and game store distributors. We are getting player comments and feedback every day. I love that. Reading them stresses me out, but when a particularly good one comes along, we all cheer.

I get lots of "Wonderful rulebook, I completely understand the game." comments. Yeah! I also get a few "The rulebook is not good" comments. Less fun.

In the middle, though, are the comments about the rulebook layout, or order of information being difficult to understand. I take that very seriously. I am always looking for the perfect balance of when to introduce something and how to explain it. I look at any rulebook I can get my hands on, to see how other companies do it.

There are a few techniques to choose from…

1) Introduce and explain all the components, then teach the rules of the game that will be using those components.
Pro: Readers have seen all the components and generally know what they do, before they have to use them.
Con: It takes so long to learn all the parts, the game feels heavy and boring.

2) Chronological. Introduce components while teaching the rules. The reader only needs to learn about a component connected to "this rule, right now."
Pro: Learning "As Needed". You don't have to hold on to knowledge, waiting for an explanation later.
Con: Not being able to see the Big Picture until you have finished reading the whole rulebook.

3) Start with the rules, with the component descriptions in the back of the rulebook.
Pro: It gets the game started quickly, and anything you need to know about, you - the reader - can look up in the back.
Con: The reader gets a feeling of being lost, while needing to reference the back, over and over.

Do you - the reader of this Blog, the reader of these rulebooks - have a preference? I'm always interested in comments and feedback.

Thank you for all of your help in posting reviews and spreading the word about Warfighter! We really appreciate it, and all of this community involvement is amazing. If you have an "AAR" (After Action Report), a review, or a game play write up, be sure to post it on your preferred website, and let us know. We'll include it in the next blog.

All the support you've shown on Facebook, CSW, and BGG have really inspired us. We are putting together plans to create a DVG Demo Leader program. The basic idea is to match up people who like our games with their local game stores. We'll provide demo copies of games and some kind of reward system to show our appreciation for your efforts.

Thank you again. Without your enthusiasm, none of this would be possible!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Insider #8

In some general DVG news, a member of Boardgamegeek has put together a Warfighter write up …

Second mission - covert strike against drug plane

This one looked hopeless because once you activate the location all the enemies screen the objective but you must destroy the objective in one turn or it escapes.

I took a chance and stayed one location back from the objective as I activated it. This worked out because two of the defenders were hired muscle and ambushed us at my current location. This kept them from screening the target and allowed me to push on to the objective with less resistance in the way.

I called in a mortar strike that wiped out the few smugglers screening the plane, then charged forward and tossed a grenade at the plane as the aircrew were pulling away the chocks. The grenade fragments failed to do any serious damage and the target started to move towards the makeshift jungle runway. I ran alongside pumping the plane full of holes with my automatic shotgun but it began to pick up speed and raced away. My squad mate dropped to a knee and fired 4 controlled bursts. The aircraft lurched off the ground and then veered off to the left slamming into the jungle in a ball of flames.

With the hired muscle still shouting curses and firing wildly after us we made our way to the exfiltration point.


This was very close. The extra attacks from whiskey tango foxtrot and overwatch combined with the attack bonus from combined fire are the only things that made this possible. The challenge was in getting out all these cards plus the mortar and still having enough cards to pay the mortars discard cost! I played overwatch the turn before and payed xp to retain it. I started the final turn with 6 cards in my hand and then used my hydration pack to draw the last card I needed.

I really thought I was set after seeing how effective the mortar strike had been but when the grenade failed I thought it was over. Very exciting and close game!

          Quoted from: John Paul Messerly at…

A team by the name of "Stuka Joe" has put together a great "how to play" video for Down in Flames: Aces High. They did a good job of summarizing the rules, and making it very easy to explain how to play. If anyone would like to Translate Rulebooks, or create how to videos, we would greatly appreciate it, and you would get mentioned for your support…

I got back from the movies with my girlfriend after seeing "Fury." It was a fun movie, with great set pieces, but my favorite parts were the Tank battles, and how realistically they were portrayed. It was readily apparent that a German Tiger Tank was more than a match for a single American Sherman tank. The Tiger's had better armor and a bigger punch, in comparison the American's had more Sherman's available. Going into the movie, I had just completed a Tiger Leader Campaign, and it felt exciting to see what I've been imagining on the dining room table come to life on the big screen.

Another reminder! Our Tiger Leader Kickstarter will be up here in 1 week and counting!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Insider #7

It's been a long couple of days with late nights at the office shipping out games. The good news is, after tomorrow morning when the FedEx truck shows up, all of your Warfighters and Counter Trays will be mailed out, and getting to you within the next few weeks depending on where you live. I'm really looking forward to hearing about your thoughts and opinions with Warfighter, as it was our biggest Kickstarter with the most stretch goals met!

My favorite part about Warfighter however, was the honor of real Soldiers sending in their pictures to appear in our game.

As a special preview, we are working on our Tiger Leader Kickstarter page. If you'd like to take a look, here's a sneak peek for our insider fans to what we'll be launching…

If you have any suggestions for making the Kickstarter better, please let us know!

Tiger's Campaigns have been flying by, and besides minor edits, everything has been going smoothly. Every game has a different "final cycle". The final cycle is when the game is 90% done, but there are a few last edits that need hammering out. With Tiger, the problem is balancing out the shortest and longest Campaign with the biggest and smallest Objective card. A problem we had last week, was that our longest Objective card "Offensive" worked well with "Poland 1939" but was extremely easy with "U.S. 1944". Is it that "U.S. 1944" is too easy? Was it random factors due to lopsided die rolls, and random card draws? Finding the balance, and cutting out the randomness is one of the most difficult jobs of being a game developer.

Question: If you were in WWII, would you rather be a Vehicle, Tank, or Infantry Commander?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Insider #6

Things are looking up! We just finished up the first half of the pack out, and will be finishing up the second half tomorrow! I can't wait for everyone to finally getting their Warfighters and Counter Trays. In other news, Tiger Leader's Commanders skills changed a bit. The "Medic" skill could be used on infantry cards to fix a Casualty, or fix any Commander from wounded to healed. They can also now alleviate 2 stresses post mission. In order to balance it out, some commanders now have the "Mechanic" skill. This allows them to either fix a single damage counter on a vehicle, or pay the "Large" SO cost on the bigger tanks. We still have Marksman, Spotter, Cautious, Overdrive, Aggressive, Close Combat, and Tactic skills placed on the different Commanders.

Finally having this pack out is a relief. After all of this anticipation, finally seeing the pallets being unloaded into our warehouse feels great! We spent hours putting Warfighter after Warfighter into boxes with every combination of bonus packs and extra dice. Tiger is changing, but I feel for the better, as having commanders with combat as well as non combat skills is necessary. The diversity gives me more options for what I need at any given time. It also means that when I'm a few weeks in, and my commanders are all stressed out, I can buy a new unit and give him a medic commander. He'll be pouring the coffee for my shaken and unfit guys, bringing them back to the fight.


What is your favorite German WWII tank?

(As a quick note, thank you for everyone who saw our Stug III had a barrel length problem! The updated card is here.)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Insider #5

After an uncountable number of hours watching Kevin play test Tiger, we're testing out a new Unit trait called: Large. Having a vehicle with the Large trait means that you need to pay 1 SO for every battle you want to send this vehicle in per week. To compensate, the SO cost of every vehicle with the trait Large was reduced by 4. We'll see how this goes, but I'm hoping that it adds some more historical flavor to Tiger. This simulates the extra supplies, fuel, and maintenance issues suffered by the heavy vehicles like the Tiger and Panther.

Warfighter, its Expansions, and the Deep Dish Counter Trays will be here on Monday! This means that we will have them shipped out, and you will start receiving them shortly. We have no idea why the Port took so long, but we will have them soon!

People ask me why I would bother to write a rulebook before I knew the entire game was finished. It sounds perfectly reasonable to wait. It would save time and LOTS of effort if I just sat back and waited for the game to be done. Well, there are two main reasons I write, and re-write for the entire duration of a game's design.

First, it takes weeks to write a rulebook. It's not just the rules, it's the examples, the graphics, and especially the example of play. Every concept must be covered, clearly and simply. If I waited for the game to be done before I started, it would delay the printing by weeks.

Secondly, it IS more efficient. "How can that be?", you might ask. "You need to change the whole rulebook every time a new rule, concept, counter, card, or system is added."
 Trust me, it's more efficient. Here's why…
Writing a rulebook is like telling a story. When you have retold the story a hundred times, it is easy to accidentally leave parts out.

When I write a rulebook, every detail matters. It's not enough to tell players to roll the dice. I must remember to mention it is a ten sided die they are rolling. If I write while the game is being created, I have a much better chance of typing in all the rules, because they are all NEW to me. As soon as the game changes from a 10-sided die to a 6-sided die, I add it into the rulebook. This keeps me from forgetting a rule or letting the rules run together. Imagine how terrible it would be to know a rule, but to forget to write it.

A rulebook is usually the only conversation with the design team a new player will ever get. It has to be great. It has to be clear. It has to make the game feel understandable, and fun. The best way to do that is to make sure nothing is missed, and the best way to make sure nothing is missed is to keep updating throughout the design.

Having this new Large trait really mixes up how I'm going to play. I used to start off by purchasing a lot of cheap units as their cost was half to a third that of a King Tiger or Jagdpanther. I typically purchased Panzer 35's or Panzer IV's for 8 SO. As the best unit in the game, the King Tiger costs 17. Now that it costs 13, I can either buy a Panzer IV and a halftrack with the Transport ability, or pay an SO cost every week, but have a high firepower, heavily armored beast of a tank. This makes these units amazing in short games, as I technically get the -4 SO cost reduction, but only having the tank in operation for 3 weeks, means by the end of the campaign, I've saved 1 SO. However, having a late war tank is a necessity, as my weaker tanks will be blown up through continuous fire from the Allies.

As a special treat for Insider readers, a first look at the Tiger Leader rulebook was just posted on the DVG site, but not yet announced. The rule book still has many drafts to go, but it is off to a good start! Check back on future Insiders to get advanced notice and new announcements!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Insider #4

I'm happy that Tiger Leader's wrapping up and I'll be setting Kevin on Israeli Air force Leader when we've sent this out. The Tiger Leader Kickstarter will also be coming up soon, and I'm hoping for some fun stretch goals with metal counters, and miniatures for the units! In other news, we're in contact with the molding company, and things are looking good.

Besides minor number adjustments, Tiger is looking to be all set and done! I've played a few campaigns now, and they've all been running smoothly, I'm looking forward to seeing this go off to the printer soon! Other than Tiger, some Modern Land Battles play testing, and Dan is showing me how to write a rule book, which is a lot more difficult than I would have thought. Always writing in active voice, and having each and every sentence say exactly one idea is a challenge, but I enjoy learning this! J Bad news on Warfighter and Counter-Trays though, we STILL haven't gotten our games from port.

Well, it's been an exciting couple of days. I heroically handed over the Tiger rules for proofing with a smile on my face and a sense of accomplishment in my heart. The reactions from Dan and Kevin were a combination of nervous throat clearing and side-ways glances. Turns out, SEVERAL parts of the game changed in the last few days. For example, the information on the Campaign cards and the information on the Objective cards (which, last week were called Situation cards) completely changed around.
Do you want to choose Commanders for your Campaign? Well you can't! Because everything I wrote about doing that is different. No problem, I'll just hunker down and start re-typing.

Then, tonight, Dan and I sat down for a fun game of Modern Land Battles. The game is just about done. The rulebook was complete a week ago, with a few finishing touches going in here and there.
Then, during the game, Dan stopped playing and stared at the table for a few seconds. I've seen that look before. It usually comes after a game has been declared "just about done".
His head tilted a bit to the left…then a bit to the right. Finally, he said…"huh". Then, "hmmm". Then he picked up a Terrain card and looked at it for a few seconds, and put it back down.
"What if we change the Terrain cards to do *this*?"
We discussed it for a while, moved cards around, changed the idea a bit and decided to try it.
"What if we change Maneuvering to do *this other thing*?"
Discussion, discussion.
"…and what if we change our battle rows to better reflect movement *this way*?"
He was getting excited now.
We played the game with the new ideas and…Dang It! It was a better way to go.

Looks like I'll be re-writing both the Tiger and MLB rulebooks. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Insider #3

Dan: I got a call from the shipping center, and the port is busy, but we may get our Warfighters and Counter-Trays early! Possibly any day now, and then a huge Pack-Out, and hopefully you will all get your games within the next week or so! In other news, Tiger is going well, and I feel like it's wrapping up. The movement system is down, our new Objective cards are working and throwing in a little flavor each game, it's all working, and I'm glad that the time we've put in is paying off.

Kevin: I've been playing Tiger for a few hours every night, and doing some emails/pack outs of orders. I'm excited for when we get our Warfighters and Counter-Trays though, because that will be a long night, but at the end of it, we'll have a huge amount of boxes ready to ship out. I'll post a picture or two of us receiving the games, and everyone packing them out also, so you can see what it looks like. Tiger being close to finishing will be nice, as we can send it to the printer, and hopefully have Israeli Air force done before we have Tiger back.

We had a great time playing Modern Land Battles last night. For some reason, we fell into LOL Cat speech.
"I can haz missiles!"
I put my hand up… - "Denied."
"All your artilleries belongs to us!"

It sounds ridiculous, but we were having a great time.

The rulebook is just about finished. I'm putting in the new maneuvering cards now.

In other news, the Rise of the Zombies tutorial is finished and ready for upload.
I am working on the Warfighter tutorial now. It should be up in about a week. Of course, the Warfighter pack-out will jump to the front of the project list, but I can mix in lots of tutorial work.

I also plan to link the tutorials to the website, so you can see the game, and see the link to the tutorial.
It would be great to get feedback on the tutorials. I would like to make one for each game and I am only on game number 4. If there are changes, problems, or a better way to do something, now is the time to get it right. I'm open to most changes, except for live action filming. If a camera is ever near me, I choke.