How it began.
I’ve been fortunate enough to work in the board game industry for the past five years and I’ve seen a lot of changes. I’ve experienced being taken on by publishers, working with many publishers on their next big projects as well as successfully self publishing games. But with economic changes, Covid and other factors over the last couple of years I’ve also noticed that an already tough industry is getting a lot tougher.
It began with a post on the Facebook group the “Board game design lab” where I made a call for board game designers to send me their Roll ‘n’ Write game concepts. The response was amazing with over twenty games being submitted for review. I ultimately chose two, one of those was “A Wayfarers Tale” designed by James Emmerson. I’ve been fortunate to work with James in the past on Tranquility and Tranquility, The Ascent by Board Game Hub, two projects that I immensely enjoyed and games that have been received exceptionally well for their game play and design.
What is “A Wayfarer’s Tale”?
A Wayfarers tale is a Roll ‘n’ Write, digital download that’s due to be launched on Kickstarter in a few weeks time.
A Wayfarer’s Tale is a 1-4 player race to explore uncharted islands, collecting Treasure and avoiding Monsters along the way to score the most points. Turns are taken simultaneously, and there are no rounds in this 30-45 minute Roll ‘n’ Write voyage of discovery.
Instead, players choose from a shared pool of dice each turn, adding 2 dice values together to enlist the services of an intrepid Explorer to help them traverse tricky terrain.
Play continues until a player visits every Town on the island, but true victory is measured in fame and wealth! Your final score in A Wayfarer’s Tale is based on how many Towns you visit, how much Treasure you discover, and how many Monsters you face.
Why a digital Download?
The objective when starting development on “A Wayfarers Tale” was simple. Develop an easy to print game direct to the player that can go from print to play in minutes. No manufacturing, no distribution issues, just fire off a digital copy of a high quality game.
By cutting these huge costs we can pass the savings to our backers and offer a premium game that would cost £30+ if manufactured for coffee cup prices.
Another huge change in the way I design games happened on this project with the purchase of a Remarkable Tablet. A Remarkable is a digital notepad that allows you to draw directly on the screen, this is nothing new but what the Remarkable does so well is to mimic the feeling of traditional drawing, it feels almost identical to paper. I initially decided to use the Remarkable as a way to sketch out ideas and scribble down concepts in the evening as they popped into my head. What I wasn’t expecting was the fidelity and smoothness of illustrations I could pull off which ultimately led me to use it for all the core, black and white artwork within the game, something that’s changed the look to a traditional, hand drawn feel and something I think, has improved the game.
From illustration to layout.
I work in an unusual design format. I’ve extensive experience in design but I started life as an illustrator. So when handed a brief I generally start with illustrations. This works for me as it gives me a chance to define the art style and world the game lives in. This then leads to my graphic design choices, layout and fonts. I realise that there will be several design experts reading this and shaking their heads in disapproval, the bottom line is that this format works for me, the illustrations inspire my other choices in the game.
Doubling up the game.
One major thing that has needed to be taken in to account is the way players use the game. For that reason we’ve had to design the game twice, once as a low ink design that’s slightly more simplified and icon driven and a full colour version. The low-ink is designed as a literal print and play, a quick throw away game that you can scribble all over. The full colour is ideally designed to laminate or stick in a plastic sleeve so it can be used again and again. We’re currently looking at other options where we double up the player sheet and map to one page for ease of use and to increase portability.
This is the point where most people think 90% of the work is done. If only that where true!
The next step is to go through a final round of reviews and testing, to double and triple check the rule-book to make sure everything is as tight and as intuitive as possible.
After that it’s time to look at reviewers and marketing as well as the Kickstarter page design. These are the most important parts. The game is a digital download which means low cost but high numbers we’ll need a lot of people to make this work!
Right now we’ve just completed the Kickstarter page and it’s now taking Pre-launch sign ups! So Click here to get notification of launch in the next couple of weeks!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this, and we hope to see you on launch day.