Ninja or Samurai? Find out in Daimyo’s Fall

Ninja or Samurai? Find out in Daimyo’s Fall

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Daimyo’s Fall is a deck-crafting game where players take on the roles of heroes in a land of a fallen Daimyo, or ruler. 2 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, can play a game in 60 minutes. Of course, familiarity with the game will make the game play faster.  Daimyo’s Fall comes to Kickstarter on May 9th, 2017.

The cards in Daimyo’s Fall are full of colorful and beautiful illustrations. There are hero cards, reinforcement cards, treasure cards (and a special type of treasure card, called Regalia), and lastly, Mon cards, which represent currency in the game

Hero Cards

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Hero cards have nine different pieces of information that is clearly identified. Although it may seem like a lot of information, you’ll learn them just after a few rounds of play. Heroes don’t cycle through your deck like a normal deck building game, another reason you will learn their abilities and rules quickly. In addition to the nice layout of information, you’ll notice that heroes have different frames. Ninja have purple frames and samurai have a red frame. Identifying the class enables players to see which treasure cards each hero may pick up and determines the reinforcement or treasure cards that a player can use.

Reinforcement Cards

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There are 18 different reinforcement cards, with all but two having six copies. Reinforcements allow players to get bonuses, gain skills or get victory points. There are eight different points of information on a reinforcement card.

Reinforcements are purchased to add to your deck. One unique feature of Daimyo’s Fall is the resell action. Each reinforcement card has a purchase cost as well as a value when sold. Mitsuki Sanada, above, is purchased for 10 Mon, but can be sold back for 5 Mon.

Treasure Cards

Treasure cards have two copies each and fall into two decks based on the samurai or ninja. To draw a treasure card, you must fulfill the loot condition of the active hero. Treasure cards work like reinforcements, but typically have a more powerful skill or bonus that heroes can use. Treasure is important because they give players victory points, which in turn, allow players to win the game. As mentioned above, there are some special treasure cards called Regalia and are difficult to acquire. The cost to draw one is high. However, players can also trade in treasures to draw a Regalia card.

Mon Cards

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Mon cards allow players to purchase reinforcements or heroes. They generate 1 Mon when discarded to the discard pile. An interesting limit in the game is that you can’t have more Mon cards than what you start with.  As the game progresses, they aren’t as useful, so find a way to remove them if possible.

Setup

In Daimyo’s Fall, each player starts the game with the identical decks of cards. All the heroes are shuffled into a deck and one is randomly disbursed to each player.  You can purchase more heroes, but you cannot have more than three heroes.  As in normal deckbuilders, you shuffle your starting deck and place your hero card in front of you. It is never shuffled into your deck.

The Domain

The Domain is the play area of Daimyo’s Fall and represents the palace of the missing Daimyo, the treasure, and the lotus tree at the top of the castle. Remember, once all petals fall from the lotus tree, the power of the daimyo is lost. Essentially, the loss of petals in Daimyo’s Fall represents a limit to the length of the game. Treasure cards, when played, release petals from the tree, so pay attention to the loss of petals throughout the game. There can be 40 or 50 petal tokens depending on the number of players.

There will be six face-down decks in the domain. You have a shuffled ninja reinforcement deck with 4 face-up cards available for purchase as well as a shuffled samurai reinforcements deck with four face-up cards available to purchase.  In addition, you’ll have a face-down hero deck, a ninja treasure deck, a samurai treasure deck, and a regalia deck. Besides the four ninja and samurai cards available for purchase, one hero card is drawn and placed face-up. This hero card forces a loss of petals based on the petal loss number displayed.  The domain is now set-up ready for play.

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Game Play

The game is played in rounds and a round is considered complete once every player has taken a turn. The oldest player gets to go first. Players, on their turns, play their Mon, reinforcement or hero cards to gain abilities and effects, to buy cards, or loot treasures. A turn has four phases. The Starting Phase has six actions that must be taken in order.

  1. Put non-exhausted cards into the discard pile. Change active heroes
  2. Move cards from your hand to the discard pile.
  3. Draw until five cards are in hand.
  4. Choose one non-exhausted hero to the active hero for this round. Active heroes can do 3 things:
  • Use loot conditions
  • Determine the skills that reinforcements and treasures can be used.
  • Duel
  1. Recovery all exhausted reinforcement, treasure, or hero cards by turning them vertically.

When choosing reinforcement or treasure cards, remember, only samurai can use samurai based cards and the same is true for ninja based reinforcements and treasures. If you have an active samurai hero, be sure to build a deck with a lot of samurai reinforcement cards.

The second phase of a player’s turn is the Main Phase. Players can take as many of the following actions as they wish, in any order. In this phase, a player can:

  • Deploy reinforcements or treasure. Deploying means to play a card and gain the bonuses immediately.
  • Purchase reinforcements or heroes. To purchase, discard Mon cards and buy the cards that you wish to put into your deck discard pile to be shuffled and drawn later.
  • Sell one or more reinforcement cards from your hand to gain Mon. Money gained this way must be spent this turn and can’t be saved or banked. An important note for gameplay is that heroes can be sold, but you must always have one hero. Also, a player’s deck can’t have less than six cards, so you can’t sell cards if your deck will go below six cards.
  • Use a Heroes’ skill. Skills are usually activated by paying a cost. Inactive heroes can use skills, but exhausted heroes cannot.
  • Return or Discard a reinforcement card from your hand. Some cards have rules that give you bonuses when you discard or when you return a card to its specific deck in the domain similar to selling a card.
  • Spend trade points. Trade points are gained through reinforcements and are special currency. You can spend trade points gained from deploying cards at any time during the turn.
  • Loot- When the actions match the active hero’s loot condition, you may draw an appropriate treasure card. Remember, this is how you score victory points and acquire better skills.

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The third phase is the End Phase of the player’s turn. Not much happens at this point, but there are some effects that may activate at this point.

The last phase is the End of the Round phase. This is sort of a clean-up phase and the top card of the hero deck is revealed and is now able to be purchased. Don’t forget to remove petal tokens when you do so!  Also, the first player must choose two reinforcement cards and discard them and reveal two new reinforcement cards.  The first player token passes to the player on the left.

The end of the game occurs when the last petal token is removed. At this point, players count their victory points from reinforcements, treasure and hero cards. Ties are broken by the person who has the most treasure cards.

Although the game follows the traditional deck building rules, there are some fun interactions. There are times you can trade out treasures by using loot points. By spending up to 3 loot points, you can have three different “trade’ effects, depending what you want to do. You can trade the same class of treasure for another, trade a class of treasure for a different class of treasure, or trade out treasure for a single Regalia card. Remember, Regalia are powerful treasures and it might be beneficial to trade those cards out.

The second interesting interaction is dueling. Active heroes can duel other heroes. The attack and defense value of the heroes are based on their purchase and sell costs, respectively. Simply compare the attack value (purchase) value against the defender’s sell value, and the higher number wins. However, you can boost your value by discarding cards in your hand. So, you may discard cards and use the purchase cost as a boost to your attack or defense. Doing so means you may not have many cards in hand, but it may guarantee a win. Heroes will have a duel condition if they win or they may gain other bonuses. A hero that loses a duel must be turned inactive.

At first, there may seem to be large amounts of information on some of the cards. However, you don’t need all the information at once and you’ll learn what the icons mean rather quickly.  The text on the cards are also color coded- for example, we mentioned the colors associated with the samurai and ninja earlier. Text that matches a specific class is also color-coded for easy identification. In addition, words in bold print call out loot conditions so you always have a clear understanding of what must be done to gain those treasure cards.

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The rulebook identifies some confusing interactions with cards and clarifies weird or strange situations. The examples are well thought out and identified in the rules. In addition, there is a summary of the gameplay, index of terms, a list of symbols and their meanings, and some clarifications.

If you like anime inspired games as well as deck building games, Daimyo’s Fall gives enough unique qualities that it’s a no brainer to back and support. Kickstarter is to help creators with new projects, and this is exactly that. A new project from Axis Mundo and their design team.

Will you choose samurai or ninja to claim the great daimyo’s treasure before the last petal on the lotus tree falls? Find out on May 9th on Kickstarter, play it on Tabletop Simulator through Steam, or download the print and play from the website.

Daimyo’s Fall- A deck building game

Designed by Enrica Fincati and Francesco Simioni

Published by Axis Mundo

2-5 players

60 minutes

Ages 14+

Find Daimyo’s Fall can be found in the following locations:

On the web: http://www.daimyosfall.com/site/index.php

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daimyosfall/

Boardgame Geek: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/192891/daimyos-fall

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Interview with Icarus Miniatures’ Anthony Cerrato, Creator and Designer of the Icarus Project

Icarus Miniatures is a new miniature company with their eyes set on creating a new miniature skirmish game set roughly 800 years in the future.  They are currently several days into their Kickstarter and hoping to reach their goal of $45,509. This makes them similar to many other companies with stars in their eyes hoping for a bright future.  But what makes Icarus Miniatures unique?  I sent along a few questions to Icarus Miniatures’ Anthony Cerrato to find out exactly what is unique about their company, their game, and their passion for the hobby.

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The people behind Icarus Miniatures

First, can you tell us who is Icarus Miniatures?  

Icarus Miniatures was founded by myself (Anthony). At the moment, I’m the only full-time person in the company.

Who is responsible for the artwork, the sculpting, the designs, and the creation of the Icarus Project?  

The artwork is handled by the freelancers Daniel Comerci and Hokunin, who (I’m sure you’ll agree) do incredible work, and have really set the visual tone for this universe.

Sculpting is done by Questron Studios and Irek Zieliński.

What is your hobby experience like?  What do you enjoy about the hobby? (Painting, playing, etc)?

I got started in hobby in 2001 with the Lord of the Rings battle magazine by GW/Deagostini. I have always been more of a painter and story lover than I was a player, mainly due to not having a good local store to play in when I was young.

I’ve also been really involved with the hobby in general over the years, I was a moderator for the Heresy-Online forum, handling the kickstarter and Miniature Manufacturer forums, and I was a staff writer for Talk Wargaming, doing reviews and news for a time too.

I also have a background in the behind-the-scenes part of the hobby. I worked as part of the editing team for KEnsei by Zenit Miniatures

Can you explain the name of your company, Icarus Miniatures?  We have an allusion to the Myth of Icarus.  Can you elaborate some on your inspiration on the name?

I’ve always loved the Icarus Myth. Not so much the flying too close to the sun part, but the desire to fly and reach for the sky.

I also think Icarus is a cool name and works in both sci-fi and fantasy settings.

What is your favorite model or character in the Icarus Project?

My favorite model (so far) is the Gunslinger, I think he looks perfect as the lawman in space.

Front (1)

My favorite character that I’ve written so far is Charlie Bishop, the pilot of the Nimbus, which is a mercenary ship that travels the galaxy saving the day. Her background is so tragic, and she just can’t seem to catch a break. She was a lot of fun to write.

36 Charlie Bishop

Overall though, Gabriel Cross is my favorite character. It was him that kicked this all off when I began writing stories for him in University, so he’ll always have a place in my heart!

The Design Process

What was the inspiration in creating a miniature game?

The universe came about in my first year of University when I started writing stories about a bounty hunter named Gabriel Cross. I wrote stories for Gabriel for about 3 years before deciding to use the universe I had made in a tabletop wargame.

My friends and I had become tired with the game we were playing and wanted a new sci-fi game that was simple to play and was really cinematic, so I decided to make my own.

What has been the most difficult part of developing your game?

I think the most difficult thing to begin with was breaking away from the standard unit types you find in other games. A lot of units and characters from the original version have been removed over time because they don’t fit the narrative.

What has been the most enjoyable part about developing the game?

Working with community and listening to their thoughts and feedback has been wonderful. Seeing how excited people are to get the game in their hands is a great feeling!

How do you playtest a project like a miniature game?

To begin with, it was just me and some dice running through situations and scenarios in my head. This moved on to playing games myself to test some of the mechanics that couldn’t be done in my head.

After that, it was grabbing friends to play with and get their feedback.

And now the community is a huge part of the playtesting. We have a group on Facebook where people discuss the game. I try and stand back now and let the community answer each other’s questions where possible to help foster that community.

Why did you choose a D6 for the mechanics in the game?  Some people try to be very creative and use something different than a D6. However, most wargamers prefer to use a D6 in their war games, so this does seem like a logical choice.

What dice to use was never really a question for me. My vision of the Icarus Project is a game that’s incredibly easy to pick up and play. Everyone is familiar with six sided dice, and even if you’ve never played a wargame before, you likely have some D6 in your house.

This makes the game as accessible as possible to new players, and people who’ve never played any wargames before.

Using poly dice can work very well in some games if the mechanics for using them are creative, but I think straight replacing the D6 with a D10/20 but then using it in the same way just to be “different” is pointless.

It seems that you’ve followed a trend of “scoring hits” on attack rolls, then using those hits to roll above an armor, or defense value, in this case, to cause damage.  This makes it easy to get into the game and to pick up.  Was this something you wanted so players felt comfortable playing your game, or did you ever have ideas of doing something a little more foreign and less recognizable by wargamers? Maybe use a D12, for example with a totally new mechanic?

Again, it was a very conscious decision. I’ve played too many games where hitting and damaging are more complicated than they need to be, with tables or having to calculate things. I wanted players to look at a unit profile and instantly identify what they need to roll.

A player’s fondest memory of the game isn’t going to be that they had to roll a poly dice to work out damage, it’s going to be the narrative of that moment, when in the final seconds of the battle their favorite model was able to land their hit, kill their enemy, and win the game.

I’m a firm believer that the rules only exist to facilitate the story that the players are creating on the tabletop, and the rules should as un-intrusive as possible to let players lose themselves to the story.

What is your favorite part of the game design process?

Other than interacting with the community, it has to be the background writing. I come from a writing background, both as a published author, and as a professional writer and marketer, so I love writing stories.

There’s a lot more background written than has been shown so far, and I’ve got a roadmap for another 4 factions, as well as some major universe events.

What is the most challenging part of the design process?

The early stages of art development were quite nerve wracking. Relying on others to translate your ideas and descriptions into art and sculpts is scary. Luckily, the artists and sculptors who have worked on the Icarus Project have all been amazing. I feel really lucky to have found such great talent so early on.

The Icarus Project

What was your inspiration for the different races in your game? We know of humanity, or the Alliance. We know of the Nexus and that they caused two galactic wars, and the introduction of the Praesidians who had been watching humanity. You also describe the Ji’Tar, who live on the outer rims of explored space. But where did that inspiration come from?

Most of the races in the game originally come from the days when I was writing stories in this universe for pleasure.

The Nexus went through a few iterations. They have always been green, but began life as scaly lizards. As time went on and more stories were written, they began to move away from scales, grew a second pair of arms, and became what they are today. As the Nexus are the closest thing to an “antagonist” the game has, their look has developed with what I needed the bad guys to be.

For the Praesidians, I wanted a visual link to the classic “Greys”, so large heads and eyes, but I didn’t want diminutive creatures, so chose to make them much taller than humans. This also helps strengthen the look of grace that they have in their culture.

The Ji’tar have clear Cthulhu influences, and their appearance really fit with their background of being a particularly ruthless race.


The Icarus Project is a miniature war game.  To distinguish it from other sci-fi games, can you describe two or three unique aspects to make it stand out? Why will players choose your game over the others?

The main thing that separates the Icarus Project from other games is the focus on the narrative and cinematic. If throwing a grenade into a building and watching the explosive force throw your enemies out the windows to their doom, or shooting an enemy of their motorbike only for the bike to continue moving and flatten one of your models before hitting the wall and exploding, or disarming a bomb seconds before detonation to secure victory sound like things you’d enjoy, the Icarus Project is for you!

All the units available are also narrative driven, so have strengths and weaknesses in line with the background of their character. I want people to build armies based on what they like, not on what is widely accepted as the “best list”. The army lists are balanced, which means the game is ideal for the competitive environment, but it’s in the narrative games that you’ll get the most out of it.

You have several scenarios in the current version of the rules.  This is something I’ve seen left out of miniatures games in the past.  Can you describe your thoughts behind including them?

Including scenarios seemed like the obvious choice. How are people supposed to begin forging their own narrative in the universe without some examples given by us?

I think perhaps one of the reasons some games don’t include pre-set scenarios from the beginning is they are scared they won’t be balanced. Balance in the game is very important, but fun is more important. The best games I’ve ever played haven’t been balanced, they’ve been the hero squad in a last stand against an endless horde, the small team infiltrating an enemy base to assassinate the leader.

Some of the scenarios included in the book are intentionally un-balanced, such as the Last Stand or Breakthrough missions. But it’s not the win or loss that matters, it’s the story the players create while playing the game.

Can you explain how to build a Strike Force, or army, for The Icarus Project, and maybe any unique or different rules in doing so?

If you’ve played a wargame, you’ll be familiar with how to build a strike force. You begin by selecting the army you want to use, then select a group of characters and models from that army up to the agreed points limit.

You have a lot of artwork available, and it really makes your world stand out.  Can describe your vision of the world of the Icarus Project?  What are some of your favorite images?  What image do you think represents your world or game the best?

The universe of the Icarus Project is quite realistic and gritty, but not grim dark. There are a variety of worlds throughout the galaxy, ranging from glistening technologically advanced worlds in the core, to desert slums on the fringe.

Throughout most of the galaxy, people just want to get along. They’re not concerned with wars on the other side of the galaxy, or mega-corporations taking over huge areas of their public services. They only care about what directly affects them and their families.

Kickstarter Questions

Why and How did you decide to use Kickstarter to get your game funded?

Kickstarter allows creators to connect with a lot of people they never would otherwise, it also allows companies to bring more products to market in a shorter amount of time than they otherwise would have been able to.

At this point, you are three-fourths of the way through your Kickstarter. What are some lessons that you’ve learned in this short amount of time?

I think that Kickstarter for the tabletop industry has changed a lot in the last few years. When it first started, smaller companies were using it to get their projects off the ground and to market. I think these days, a lot of the projects being crowd funded are basically pre-orders.

What advice could you give people that are interested in doing something similar through Kickstarter?

I think it’s harder on Kickstarter for smaller companies now. You need to be able to go to Kickstarter either with an existing track record, or a practically complete product, which means people need to invest more in the lead-up to Kickstarter.

That being said, the community KS creates is amazing, and even if you fail to fund on your first go, you’ll have gained a whole host of new fans to follow you back on your next attempt.

You’ve kept your factions in the game to two as a start for the Kickstarter project but have four in the rulebook.  It seems like a good idea to stay focused and limited. Were you tempted to add more faction models into the Kickstarter?

The rulebook actually has 6 full factions; The Alliance, Nexus, Praesidians, Ji’tar, Mercenaries, and the URC.

I would love to have gone to KS with more faction models, but we need the money to make those factions!

Luckily, all of the factions have at least one piece of art to give people a visual idea of what they will be like.

Miscellaneous

How do you anticipate keeping the community interested and going strong a year after your game is released? This seems to be the hard part for a lot of companies- Keeping the players going strong and community thriving.

It always comes back to the narrative, the story. As long as people are engaged with the story of the game, and keep making their own stories through playing games, the community will thrive.

I plan on keeping people engaged with new narrative scenarios, more short stories, new models and art, and encouraging the community to feedback their ideas and stories.

Besides Kickstarter, how can people get involved in helping the world expand or making sure the rules are playable and tight?

The best place to go is to our Facebook playtest group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/624446314350222/

There you can ask any questions you have, give feedback, and I show the playtesters sneak peeks regularly too.

If you had the funds available, what would you do as an initial release for the Icarus Project? More factions, more models? What would be different if money wasn’t an object?

In an ideal world, I’d like to be able to go to Kickstarter with the starter sets for the Alliance, Nexus, Praesidians, and Ji’tar factions sculpted, printed, and painted. That gives a good amount of choice and variety to players.

Finally, since I’ve asked you a lot of questions, is there anything you’d like to talk about, discuss, or explain?  You have free reign to do so. An open mic so to speak.

I just want to thank everyone who has supported us so far, and encourage everyone to take a look at the kickstarter and give the rules a try!

And I’d love for people to get involved in the community, share their stories and ideas, and join us on this journey!

Icarus Miniatures Kickstarter project will close on Sunday, October 4, 2015.  However, you can currently order one of their miniatures, Gabriel Cross, of the Mercenary faction on their website here:

gabriel_cross

The image looks stunning and I look forward to holding not only that miniature, but others, from Icarus Miniatures in the future.

Icarus Miniatures has a philosophy that I admire and one I think we should all try to follow. From their website:

Our Company Culture

Icarus Miniatures is being built from the ground up with a very specific culture, one that we feel will really help us to stand out. Company values sound very corporate, but they are crucial to making sure everyone involved with the company is on the same page and knows what we are all about.

Our five company values are:

Fun

Family

Thinking Differently

Transparency

Doing Good

Icarus Miniatures can be found and contacted below:

Website: http://icarusminiatures.com/

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/icarusminiatures/the-icarus-project-a-new-sci-fi-skirmish-wargame

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IcarusMiniatures?fref=ts

Contact Icarus Miniatures: http://icarusminiatures.com/about-icarus-miniatures/

Email: info@icarusminiatures.com

Kickstarter: MidKnight Heroes Miniatures

Hi all.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but this Kickstarter project got me excited.  The guys at MidKnight Heroes are running a funding campaign to get their core group of miniatures off the ground.

The goal is to fund the first three miniatures in their range with rewards adding new miniatures at rising funding goals. Below you have Elvia, Leonide, and Oda, the three heroes of the MidKnight Heroes world.

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

They have started sculpting their first mini, Leonide, a race of Fai (humanoid monster race) which you can see below.  I think this is a great start to awesome looking miniature.

LeonideSculpt1

LeonideSculpt2

 

Finally, here is a link to the MidKnight Heroe’s Website, and a link to their Kickstarter.

Drybrushing is Your Friend: Completed Ruined Pillars From Advanced Terrain

I completed a set of ruined pillars tonight using some simple drybrushing techniques.

The pillars come from Advanced Terrain who had a Kickstarter back in 2010, I believe, and even though the store is closed, I was able to order some of the ruined pillars as seen above.Advanced Terrain who had a Kickstarter back in 2010, I believe, and even though the store is closed, I was able to order some of the ruined pillars as seen above.

The pillars and other terrain sets are rubber, and are molded after Hirst Arts terrain.  It’s some of my favorite terrain.

I will be using this stuff for Recruits this weekend when I do my Hell Dorado and Relic Knights events.

Although I didn’t paint these, they came from the Kickstarter painted.  This is what my other set looks like:Kickstarter painted.  This is what my other set looks like:

Ruined Walls

This is some great terrain and Patrick ever opens his shop up again, I’ll be buying some more.

Dawn: Rise of the Occulites Interview with Ben Boersma

Dawn: Rise of the Occulites, By Eagle Games and Darwin Games and created by Ben Boersma

Images obtained from the Dawn: Rise of the Occulites Kickstarter Page, by Eagle games and Darwin Games.

Since Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is steaming away on Kickstarter, and the game’s creater, Ben Boersma agreed to an interview, I thought I’d send him along some questions and see how things are going.

Hi Ben!  Glad you could take the time out of the busy Kickstarter to answer a few questions for the readers of Pen and Lead.  Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is currently on Kickstarter and has met its funding goal.  There are still over 20 days left to contribute- so it’s stretch goals here on out.

Occulites Game

Now, on to the questions:

  1. First, to help out the readers of the blog, can you give us a brief run down or overview of the game?  Maybe something people can’t get from a quick Google search or read through the Kickstarter?

Dawn is a miniatures boardgame that sees you control a Tribe of Occulites through a variety of different scenarios. At the heart of the game is the Natural Selection Deck which you draw from to create a hand of 7 cards. The management of these cards is vital in making strong tactical decisions to achieve the scenario’s goals.

Each Tribe contains five Occulites, one of which is your Chief. While your Chief is alive, he bestows certain actions that can be taken by spending your limited Tribal Token resources. Dawn has a Core set of rules that can be played by just about anyone, but also contains advanced rules that can be layered in to add depth and additional decisions to make during the game. Layering these in provides a gentle learning curve up to the full game, but Dawn can be played at any of these levels whilst still providing a deep, thematic and enjoyable game. It can be played as stand alone scenarios or there are rules to link these together into a full Sungem Season and develop your Tribe by learning abilities and picking up skills through your actions on the table.

  1. Doing a quick memory jog, I can remember seeing information about your unique miniature game, Dawn: Rise of the Occulites, a couple of years ago.  Tabletop Gaming News posted your Developer Diaries # 1 and introduced people to your game and setting back in January of 2011.  Obviously you have been working on the game for a long time.  How long have you been working on Dawn: Rise of the Occulites before the news hit the internet and gaming news sites?

At the moment, I’ve been working on the Rise of the Occulites Saga games for over seven years now, but the concept of the Occulites and their world goes back further. Dawn is the first one that I started working on and the future development of the game continues even today as I continue to expand the world. I am really passionate about the Rise of the Occulites setting and proud of what I’ve been able to do with Dawn.

  1. Obviously, development of a game can take a few years.  During that time, what has been the biggest challenge to you, as designer of the game?

There are many big challenges with a game like this. One of these is coming up with a system that allows many varied scenarios so that combat isn’t always the focus and the play style of each scenario changes. I think this adds enormous depth and replayability to a game. Making each Tribe play differently and to their thematic strengths, whilst not making any of them too weak or overpowered. Writing the rules clearly so that your intention comes across succinctly in the rulebook. This is so much harder than you would first think and I have a lot of respect for those that have that skill. Being able to seek feedback from friends around the world on how the rules for Dawn read and were laid out was vital and I am extremely grateful to them for their help.

One huge challenge that I had was whether to develop it as a full blown miniatures game, or as a boardgame like I ended up doing. Whilst seeming similar in scope, the reality is very different and deciding on where to take the game would shape how it was produced. Without Eagle Games’ help, I would not have been able to make it a boardgame and it would have been a miniatures game instead. I am thrilled with the decision to go down the boardgame path and in a perfect world, that is what I wanted to do.
I have learned a lot of new skills as well, I’ve taught myself to illustrate and have improved much over the years (to the point where I’m redoing most of the card art for the game due to a change in my art style).

  1. Besides the challenges, the development must include some great moments as well as some frustrating ones.  What has been the greatest source of enjoyment for you as well as the greatest source of discouragement?

The greatest source of enjoyment has come from two sources. One, developing the world and then engineering thematic rules for the world and its inhabitants and after hard work modifying them, seeing them just click into place. But the second one would have to be seeing the reaction people have the unique setting. Hearing things like “my boy has not stopped drawing Occulites since he saw them” or “my daughter and I are really excited to play” is incredibly satisfying and rewarding. The greatest source of discouragement was after all the hard work I put in, seeing the last campaign fall apart. That was absolutely soul crushingly heartbreaking. However from that, I’ve put in a lot of work listening to feedback and making adjustments to improve the overall package. So through that discouragement, I’ve drawn a lot of strength and in the end I think the first campaign failing has helped Dawn become a better game and ensured the success of this second one.

  1. Dawn: Rise of the Occulites has some unique imagery, both in the model design and in the world of Crepusculum. The Occulites are beings with a single eyestalk rising above their bodies.   What inspired you to create such wonderful designs that definitely stand out from the traditional humanoid sculpts and ideas that others have?  Essentially, what inspiration did you have to create the Occulites and the world they live in?

Crepusculum

You know, I get asked this a lot and I’ve never really been able to nail it down. I believe that they are the culmination of my childhood experiences. I used to explore the wetlands and bush when I was little (and still do now). I was obsessed with frogs and loved looking for them and other creatures. I used to collect snails and trade them with my next door neighbour. I used to watch shows like Trapdoor and The Muppets and my brothers and I would create our own monsters that we would draw when we were kids. I honestly think that the Occulites and every other creature in the Rise of the Occulites setting is a reflection of the things I enjoyed when I was a child. Parts of all the creatures in Dawn come from different experiences I’ve had. From the frog-like feet of the Palaudis, to the snail-like eyestalks of all the Occulites, the frill of the Luftles and many other things, they are all shaped by things in my life. I don’t want to get too deep or anything, but Dawn is a really personal game for me. Something unique to share with friends and family.

  1. So the game was relaunched on Kickstarter.  The first attempt didn’t end up the way you wanted, but I’m sure the campaign taught you a lot about the funding model.  Obviously, this time around, Dawn: Rise of the Occulites was a quick success.  What do you attribute to the success of this second campaign as compared to the first one?

It has come down to a couple of things. Having all aspects of shipping to around the world fully investigated, researched and covered in advance of the campaign (we had a few hiccups come up last time), having prepaint images ready before the campaign started (last time these came through too late and we weren’t happy with them and have ended up paying more to ensure a MUCH higher standard of paint job), better communication, more relevant stretch goals and perhaps an improvement in the cards may have played some part? I also think that Dawn has had more exposure as well which has helped. It is a uniquely themed niche game from an Australian designer that most people wouldn’t have heard of before (unless you are in the indie miniatures game community), so exposure has been important.

  1. What advice or help can you give others who may be interested in pursuing Kickstarter as a funding platform?

Very simply, plan for every outcome in advance and don’t be surprised or upset when something you weren’t expecting happens. Just adapt and roll with it.

Hydris Tribe

  1. Kickstarter is making Dawn: Rise of the Occulites a reality.  If you were to find a traditional approach to publishing and releasing the game, how do you think it might be different?  Essentially, using Kickstarter has allowed the game to grow.  What do the backers have to look forward to that a traditional approach wouldn’t have allowed?

Well, with a traditional approach, I’m not sure that Dawn – Rise of the Occulites would even be published. It is a huge game with really different and unique theme. These are not characters that are your regular fantasy archetypes. There are no dwarfs or elves, no zombies and no Cthulu, so for many publishers that would be a risk they may not be willing to take no matter how good the game is.

Luckily for me Eagle was open to the idea and Kickstarter has now allowed us to release much more than we would have been able to if we had taken a traditional approach. With a traditional approach, the base game would have been smaller. The Tribes would likely only have two unique figures (Chief and Tribe member) and would have not been able to be prepainted. There would have been less scenarios as the components required for those scenarios would have added to much to the content. The individual player boards with pegs would probably have been altered for cost savings and been much less useful than they are now. There is also no way that any of the Expansion Tribes would be have been made until the base game had proven that it was popular.
So going through KS has so far allowed us to increase the size and quality of the base game, produce the Expansion Tribes and the optional card expansions and we wouldn’t be on our way to getting Puscuals and Nymphlets sculpted up and moulded if we hit our higher stretch goals.

So in a nutshell, KS has allowed us to release lots more Dawn and give backers much more content and a better deal than we would have been able to otherwise.

  1. Speaking of the Kickstarter, which pledge would you suggest to a potential backer and why?  What can they expect from their pledge?

Ok, so it depends what you are after from the game. If you want access to all the Tribes, there are two pledge levels that we would recommend as being the best value for money. If you want to paint the figures yourself, or are happy with non-painted figures, then Puscual Hunter is your best bet. That will get you the Core game and all three Tribe Expansions, as well as all the listed Stretch Goals. There are some early birds left of these and they clock in at $135.

If you are after all the Tribes and to have all the figures really nicely painted, then Sunmaster is the pledge level you want. That gets you the base game, the three Tribe expansions and all the Stretch goals listed. There are some early birds left at $245 and $246.

At Puscual Hunter and Sunmaster you also receive a bonus 9 Luftles to match the rest of your figures (so unpainted at Puscual Hunter and painted at Sunmaster).

If you also wanted the optional card pack expansions for the expansion Tribes, they weigh in a $8 each (for a total of $24)

What can they expect from their pledge? My absolute gratitude and thanks as well as an awesome game that they can play with their friends and families for years to come.

  1. The stretch goals add expansions to the game and include the additional Occulite tribes.  According to Board Game Geek, the game is for 2-4 players.  Do the expansions add more players to the game, or simply more options for the 2-4 players?  What do the expansions offer that the base game doesn’t?

The expansion Tribes allow for more players (2-4 plays well, 5 needs some alterations otherwise it can be too slow between turns), but they also add more options to the game. Each Tribe brings a unique play style as well as their set of innate and learned abilities. They also bring two more scenarios each to the game which can be slotted seemlessly into a campaign or can be played as stand alone. They also bring the terrain that their Tribe is associated with and in some cases (Floris) a new predator, the Drunmoth.

  1. The game itself isn’t quite a miniature game, nor is it quite a board game.  How do you successfully merge the two distinct types of games into a successful single component like you did with Dawn?

I think that it was important to think about what the drawbacks for both of those types of games are as well as the positives and then try and merge the positives and take away the drawbacks. You obviously can’t do that with everything, but I think we’ve created a nice balance between the two with Dawn.

For example, one of the biggest drawbacks for the general populace with miniature games is the measurement, so that had to go and we replaced it with hexes. Another example is the peg boards used as the individual player boards helping to keep track of your Tribe’s development in a much more user friendly format. The Natural Selection Deck itself helps to merge the miniature and board game aspects as well and I think really ties the game together nicely.

  1. Obviously, the core game pits two distinct tribes of Occulites against each other.  Can you tell us about the different tribes in the base game as well as the additional tribes in the world of Crepusculum?  How are the different and similar to the others?

How much time do you have? lol

Each Tribe has evolved from a more primitive and basic form of Occulite, to adapt to their natural surroundings. So the Palaudis, who live in the swamp, have developed frog like feet, hydrophobic hair that keeps them from staying cold and wet after moving through the swamps. They have developed a natural alliance with the Luftles and treat them as true members of the Tribe. The Hydris live around waterways and so have a more streamlined body, they have gills to allow them to breathe underwater as well as fins and flippered feet. They are very adaptable. The Floris are masters of camouflage and can change their leafy coverings to blend in with their environment, often ambushing their oppponents with a savage aggression. They live in the bushlands and forests of Crepusculum. The Ignis are an honourable and noble Occulite species who dwell in the lava flats. They are skilled combatants and are able to use their skin to trap and release built up heat from the lava flats to their advantage. The Nimbus live high in the mountainous regions of the world and have evolved winged membranes that allow them to glide and fly short distances. Their hollow bones make them extremely maneuverable, but also susceptible to injury.

Different Occulite Tribemembers

Each Tribe plays different and for a more in depth look at each, you can check out the Tribe Spotlight updates on the Kickstarter.
Palaudis: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/624073
Hydris: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/624576
Floris: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/622297
Ignis: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/622901
Nimbus: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/623470
Luftles: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2002188924/dawn-rise-of-the-occulites-0/posts/625746

  1. Besides the imagery in the models and world, what makes Dawn: Rise of the Occulites unique, mechanics wise?  How are the conflicts within the game resolved?

At the core of the game is the Natural Selection Deck which helps to resolve the decisions that you make during the game as well as many other situations that arise such as the effects of Terrain, the ability to Hide, to spot other figures etc…

A Natural Selection card looks like this:

It has three separate functions. It can be used to activate figures (The greenish number set over the Occulite image) at the start of your turn. If you used this card for that purpose, you would be able to activate 3 Occulites on your turn.
It can be used for its numbers. This card is an Aggressive card as it’s Aggressive number (Spearhead) of 10 is higher than its Defensive number (Shield) of 5. This determines how many dice are rolled in combat, but can also determine whether or not an Occulite successfully hides, is spotted or the effect of a Terrain overlay when they enter it etc…

The third function is to use it for it’s card effect. This card’s effect is ‘Attack Opening’. If you discard this card when attacking, each 0 rolled counts as two successes. The management of these cards is absolutely vital for your Tribe’s success in the game. It creates simple problems that require difficult decisions to be made. Do you keep this card for its Activation number to get a lot done on a future turn? Or do you use it in an Attack to roll 10 dice? Or use it for its card effect?

The Natural Selection Deck basically helps the game be easy to play, whilst still containing difficult decisions that actually matter. We are really proud of what the Natural Selection Deck brings to the game. With 16 different Card effects, as well as optional Advanced NSD cards bringing even more, the game is easy to play while being quite deep.

  1. Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is only the beginning of the Saga.  What else (other projects, miniatures, games, etc) do you have in mind for the world of Crepusculum?

It certainly is only the beginning of the Saga. There is LOTS more planned in the world of Crepusculum. First of all, there is much more planned for Dawn which we would love to release in the future, including regular support through downloadable scenarios, but also more Tribes, creatures, predators and terrain overlays, as long as the demand is there to support it.

In terms of future games that follow this development, check out this link to see some of the things I’ve been working on for the Rise of the Occulites games. As you can see, there is much planned! I’m extremely passionate about the Rise of the Occulites setting and hope that others are too, allowing us to release more Occulite games in the future.
http://riseoftheocculites.wordpress.com/game-design/

  1. Finally, for fun, if you could do the “Ultimate” game of Occulites, what would be?  Disregard funding, publishing, retail, shipping.

That is a difficult question as I love all the Occulite games that I’ve created. When I design a game like Dawn, I do go for the Ultimate straight away and then see if we can achieve it. Dawn is very close to being that ultimate game. Regardless of funding, shipping etc… I would love to have a fully 3D board with fully 3D terrain. One day, I’ll get around to making one of these for myself and hopefully someone else will be passionate enough to try it for themselves too and will share lots of photos of it!

But all in all, I’m extremely proud of how we are offering up Dawn as is. For me it is an absolute dream come true that it is being produced and that families and friends all over the world will get to explore the world of the Occulites… and at the end of the day, that really is an ultimate achievement.

Thanks again, Ben, for taking some time out to answer these questions.  It is appreciated.

Dawn: Rise of the Occulites is the first in the series of games centered around the Occulites.  It is currently funding on Kickstarter and has met its funding goal with.  The Kickstarter will end on Friday, Nov. 8th at 1am, EST time.

Some new pledges have been added as part of a stretch goal, so if you missed out on an early bird, there are some “almost early bird” pledges now available.  Give Rise: Dawn of the Occulites a look through and go pledge to make this game even bigger!

Component list of the basic game:

  1   64 page Rulebook for all basic and advanced game play
28   Miniature Figures:  10 Occulites and 18 Luftles
1   36″ by 30″ Game board
18   Terrain Overlays
1   Natural Selection Deck (108 cards)
10   D10 Dice numbered 0 through 9 (0 counts as zero)
12   Sungems (Red Acrylic Crystals)
10   Individual Character Boards
50   Pegs (25 each in Green and Blue)
2   Tribe Reference Boards
10   Tribal Tokens (5 cardboard disks for each tribe)
18   Luftle Reference Cards
20   Luftle Health Tokens (10mm)
1   Condition Track Marker (Orange Acrylic Crystal)
81   Tokens
6   Nymphlet Directional Tokens (Triangular Colour Wedges)

Links of interest:

Darwin Games

Dawn: Rise of the Occulites blog

Eagle Games

Dawn: Rise of the Occuluites at Board Game Geek

Dreadball Season 3 Kickstarter Survey and Update on Ball Launching

Mantic Games just sent out a new update in regards to the Season 3 Kickstarter survey, as well as a new change in rules in regards to the ball being launched.

Below is the text of the update:

The Season 3 survey has been really popular, and we’re working as fast as we can to answer all the queries that come in. If we haven’t answered your question yet, don’t worry – we’ll get to you! We’ve had a few requests for photos of things that haven’t been seen yet, so we’re working to get them all snapped and edited. We should get them all out before the end of the survey next week. In the meantime, here’s one to keep you going!

That’s Wyn Greth’zki and the DreadBall Mech, facing off against Ludwig and his insect buddies!

In other news, the DreadBall Season 3 book is nearly finished! We’re just pulling the final pieces together and getting it all laid out nicely. One of the exciting new rules is a subtle change in the way the ball is fired into the arena. It’s now fired out at a much higher speed, meaning that standing on the launch line no longer means you can try to catch it! Instead, you become the target of a Thrown Ball, with more dice being rolled for the Throw the closer you are to the launcher. This was great fun during playtesting – in a recent game, one of my Goblins took a high-speed ball to the back of the head as the result of a The Ball Shatters card… That’s the joy of DreadBall!

So, with the change in the rule about losing your rush when you can’t grab that ball on launch, it seems things are changing and will make players, and the game, that much more interesting and fun to play.

So, what’s your favorite part of Dreadball?  The teams, the rules, the strategy?

Hell Dorado Kickstarter Continues its Success- More Add-Ons

Hell Dorado Logo

Hell Dorado Logo

The Hell Dorado Kickstarter for the new Inferno expansion continues to climb.  Cipher Studios met their first goal of a new mercenary add-on model as described:

Marcus Leblanc

Chaplain Brother of the Knights Templar

Mercenaries Independent

Since Templars can only confess to their own Brother Chaplains without obtaining a papal dispensation, the position of Brother Chaplain is extremely important to the well-being of the order. Marcus traveled to Hell a short time after Andre and he has been working with his master to rebuild the order’s strength in the underworld. They feel their mission is no less relevant in the infernal realm than it was in the Holy Land. Marcus is the spiritual leader of the bailey as well as a fearsome warrior in his own right after many years of training and study.
marcus
The second stretch goal of a hardcover book at $22000 has been reached as well.  I think a lot of gamers appreciate the hardcovers.
Harback Expansion

Harback Expansion

The next stretch goal is a pair of “Infernal Hordes” add-ons at $27000.
Infernal Hordes add-on

Infernal Hordes add-on

 

Although I think Cipher is doing great on their Kickstarter, they need to start adding in some freebies so current pledgers up their pledges.  As of right now, we are just getting add-ons that we can buy later, nothing for the current Kick.

Thoughts?

Hell Dorado INFERNO Expansion Kickstarter Started

Hell Dorado INFERNO Kickstarter has Launched!

Hell Dorado INFERNO Kickstarter has Launched!

 

Cipher Studios, producers of Anima and Hell Dorado, announced an expansion for Hell Dorado last year, and that Kickstarter has finally begun.  The focus is raising money to fund the first expansion to Hell Dorado, called Inferno.

From Cipher’s announcement:

Cipher Studios is proud to announce today that we are launching the Kickstarter event to help us fund the publishing of the first expansion book for the Hell Dorado Miniatures Game, Hell Dorado: Inferno

Hell Dorado: Inferno is the first expansion to the Hell Dorado game and universe. In Inferno Fallen Angel Abezeth, claiming to be sent by Lucifer, heads a massive demon host bent on eradicating the upstart invaders from Lucifer’s realm.  Inferno includes the first set of models and rules created for the game by Cipher Studios and will feature rules for new models for all six Hell Dorado Factions. It will also feature: New Scenarios, new battlefields, and new terrain types to make your games more exciting than ever before. Hell Dorado: Inferno will give players more army strategies, more game variety, and more of the miniatures that make it one of the best looking miniature games around.

We’ve decided to run a Kickstarter event to aid us in funding the major costs associated with creating a print manual. We’ve already released several of the models to be featured in the book, however there will be plenty of new surprises to be had when you get your hands on it. There’s also plenty of goodies and special perks available to those who back us at this stage, including signed artwork by Bertrand Benoit, the lead Hell Dorado Artist, Limited Edition sculpts, and even a 200 point company painted by our studio painters!

So get over to the site and pledge to support the next chapter in Hell Dorado today!

 

Visit the KS page HERE.

 

Update on Hell Dorado Kickstarter by Cipher Studios

A little bit of information on the Hell Dorado Kickstarter has been revealed by Cipher Kai on their forums.  Here is what he had to say about it:

Hell Dorado Logo

Hell Dorado Logo

Just a quick update on the Kickstarter.  We are working hard on making this a great campaign that will excite the audience and offer great incentive to jump in and get back to the Hell Dorado universe.

We’re recovering from our last Kickstarter: Gate of Memories.  These campaigns are pretty intense.

We are working on the video and are in the editing phase.  We’re developing cool pledge levels, add ons, and stretch goals.

A few more elements and we’ll be ready to launch in February.

A few posts later, it was mentioned that a hardcover rule book will be part of the Kickstarter campaign!

I look forward to this as I love the models and the game, and since it’s resurrection, we’ve been waiting for some more “oomph” to add to the game.

Tor Gaming’s Relics Kickstarter Reinforcements- Stretch Goal # 1 Models

Finally, a last image of some stretch goals for Tor Gaming’s Relics range of miniatures.  Their Kickstarter should start within the day, but I wanted to make one last post and get everyone excited.

Below you will find the first stretch goals for each of the four factions; Britanan, Orcnar, Nuem, and Vaettir.

Enjoy the preview artwork!

Puppeter, Ealdmolder, Domini, and Vaelad

Puppeter, Ealdmolder, Domini, and Vaelad

Now, it’s off to bed to hopefully wake up to a new Kickstarter!