Friday, April 18, 2014

The name of the game (part 2)

In my previous post I was asking for your help to brainstorm for an appropriate name for the upcoming board game from NSKN Games.


Philosophy - Artwork

We gathered your brilliant ideas on BoardGameGeek, on Facebook and here. In only two days we've got 111 possible names. We chose our top 9 and now we are asking you one more time to provide valuable input.

There is a poll open here, on the NSKN Blog, and on BoardGameGeek. If you encounter any problems with the poll below, you can also access it through this link.

Your input is needed one more time, please vote for the best title for a card game which takes players through the technological advancements of mankind from ancient times until the first industrial revolution.
Legacy of Time
Progress: Evolution of Technology
Pages of History
Technocracy
Ascent: Rise of Civilizations
Evolution of Technology
Technology
Progress
Heritage
Poll Maker

Thermodynamics - Artwork

Last but not least, we are wishing you all a Happy Easter!


photo: clker.com
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The name of the game

As some of you may already know, we are developing - and I must confess that it's going very well - a card game which we used to call Evolution.

While our game testers have been excited about how the game works and feels, there's a small hick-up on the road to publishing and that's the title of the game. Evolution makes people think of Darwin and species evolving in time, while the game is about the evolution of technology.

And here comes our cry for help - we need a cool title for a cool game. 



Artwork - Bridges
Artwork - Irrigation





















Choosing the name is a two-step process. First we'll gather ideas and feedback and we'll select the best 5-7 proposals. Then, we'll create a poll to make the final decision. We want to involve the gaming community in the creation process in our endeavor to deliver only the best products to the hobby market.

We are asking you to reply to this post, on Facebook or on Twitter and propose a new title which would suit this game better than Evolution. The person who proposes the winning idea will be handsomely rewarded.


About the game


Evolution is a card game for 2-5 players. Each player develops technologically one nation from antiquity to the first industrial revolution. The player with the most develop nation wins the game. 




The technologies are divided into three ages:
  • ancient (10000 BCE to 500 CE) - from the invention of the wheel or the development of agriculture
  • medieval (500 - 1450 CE) - from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and beginning of the migrations 
  • renaissance or early modern (1450 - 1740 CE) - from the invention of the printing press and the formalization of science
They are also divided into three paths or areas:
  • culture - focuses on arts and the development of human behavior and values and contains technologies like Burial, Musical Instruments, Opera, Newspapers or Sociology
  • engineering - covers the most practical discoveries and advancements in human history, such as Masonry, Cast Iron, Paper, the Steam Engine or the Railroad
  • science - focuses on rather abstract developments of humanity, like Mathematics, Astronomy, Cartography, Thermodynamics or Biology
The game play is streamlined, each player take a set number of actions per turn with the ultimate goal in mind, researching technologies to develop his nation and win. The main actions a player may take are:
  • research a technology by paying a cost (resulting in discarding one or more cards) or having one or two prerequisite technologies. Each technlogy comes with a specific benefit, thus enhancing the game play or making a step towards victory
  • developing a technology in time which translates in setting a tech card aside and letting scientists develop it over 4-5 turns
  • draw cards from a common draw deck
Researching a specific technology brings one or more of the following advantages to that player:
  • direct victory points which count towards the total needed for victory 
  • one or two steps up on the three tracks (population, army and prestige) on which players are competing for dominance
  • game play enhancement like having more actions, drawing more cards, discounts for technologies, moving to the next age, etc
Each tech card is used both for development and for paying the cost of a technology. Each player will manage his hand of cards, drawing cards, spending them for research or setting them aside for long term development in a competitive card game which is still missing its most important feature - a title.

If you want to become part of the development process of an interesting table top came, please share your thoughts with us and we will be grateful.


Artwork - Alphabet
Artwork - Education




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Monday, April 7, 2014

Praetor in the making

Praetor is getting ready to hit the shelves of the hobby stores and to give you a hint of how is this happening, we got some images from the factory where everything is taking place. In all honesty, most manufacturers won't allow taking pictures of they most well kept secrets, but this is what we can share...


Massive amounts of soon to be punchboards

... in 7 languages,

printed, cut and glued.

With the final cut they become City Tiles, all on nice linen paper and thick cardboard.

The preorders for Praetor are open until 21st of April and there are still around 100 copies left out of the total of 200.


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Thursday, March 27, 2014

An expansion for Exodus - IV. Victory

Many people label Exodus: Proxima Centauri as ameritrash, a game in which fighting is the highway to victory. Besides fighting, there are several more way of accumulating victory points and the expansion will bring a few extra. Let's discuss them one by one, highlighting the changes introduced by the expansion.


Space combat


The expansion brings almost no changes here, the winner of every space combat will gain points for every enemy ship destroyed in that combat - and remember that in Exodus everyone is an enemy. However, players may end up sacrificing Dark Raider to deal damage before combat and without awarding anyone points with this action.

Centaurian Resistance cards


In the base game, a player had to make a choice after defeating the Resistance: keep the card for Victory Points or discard it for an immediate benefit. In the expansion, after a player has researched Quantum Reflection, he will be able to gain the benefit and the points.


Politics


In Exodus, the holder of the Chancellor title would get 5 points at the end of the game, the Vice-Chancellor would get 3 and so on. The expansion allows one player to gain extra points by having a relevant political role. On top of that, with Fringe Politics the same player will gain points at the end of the game for each active law. This is part of our aim for great asymmetric game play and a way to make politics more attractive throughout the game, enhancing politics as a strategic layer of the play.

Trading


The economy used to be simply means to an end. With the expansion, one player will be allowed to trade resources for Victory Points. I will not say more, this is a part of the game which requires more testing, so the trade rate between CP and VP is not final, but it is going to happen. A player less inclined to fight will have the option to... fight just a little less and harvest a little more. 

Research


I guess this is the part which everyone was expecting. Compared to other established 4x games, Exodus refused the "techers" the ability to invest heavily in research and thus achieve victory. The question "why?" was on everyone's lips every time we played Exodus in convention or in private. We wanted to keep the base game simple and deliver to those who wanted a classic combat oriented fast empire builder.

The design paradigm has changed when we decided to build this expansion, hence the introduction of points for research. There are two technologies influencing this path to victory. Fringe Science will allow every player to score points for each technology they have researched with a nominal cost above 11 CP. However, this technology is available to a single player who makes a decision which will affect everyone. The Technological Singularity will allow one the player to gain VP for the total nominal cost of his technologies.


I left space domination and control of the planets at the end because the expansion bring no changes to this part of the game.

Overall, the expansion brings new concepts on the path to victory, but neither one of the "new ways" is self sufficient. Exodus will remain a complex game and victory will be achieved with a mix of strategies and  best tactical decisions.

If you missed the first episodes of our preview of the expansion, here they are:

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Praetor production or how 0.4 mm can make a difference!

We haven't talked about Praetor for a while and today is a good time to continue the "conversation" for several reasons. 

The first and most important is that Praetor is in production. For the past several months we've been preparing files for the box, the punch-boards, the rules and so on. We have had at least a dozen of sleepless nights and tight deadlines, the kind of work which is furthest possible from my beloved game design, but just as important. 

Once the files were completed and approved by our partners - you do remember that Praetor will be published in 7 languages, don't you? - we sent them to the printing house and they sent feedback and the process went on and on until finally all the color proofs and the die-cuts impositions were all ready.

If you're wondering how a board game looks like in its earliest production stages, long before the final product is a box nicely shrink wrapped and ready to find its way to your gaming table, here are some examples:


Punch boards on a 70 x 100 cm printing paper with the die cuts in red


Box insert color proof

If you'r wandering if there were mistakes, the answer is "of course". In a business where even one millimeter counts, we had to re-make all the boxes because the knives were 0.4 mm (that's 0.015 in) too close to the border of the relevant graphics. It may seem ridiculous, but it's part of a publisher's job to avoid all the possible mistakes and produce a game as close as possible to perfection.

In the picture below you can easily notice the yellow (almost) circles showing this almost zero distance from where the die line is and where it should be. These 0.4 mm created a 12 hours continuous work load for one of my colleagues. Thankfully, this time it wasn't me :).


Die line for the from of the box


Well, this is all behind us now. We have just approved all the files, the color proofs and there's nothing left than to wait another few weeks until we see the final product.

And since we've been less busy with production issues, we had the time to update our website. And this is the second round of good news about Praetor. If you visit the NSKN Games website, you'll notice that Praetor has migrated from "Upcoming" to "Games". This means that the last drop of shadow is gone and Praetor is an ongoing reality. Hurray! So, take a look on the new web page of Praetor and you might even discover a few surprises. We'll talk about them soon, really soon!

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