Play testing and the pledge manager
5 days ago
– Mon, Nov 23, 2020 at 06:06:08 PM
Hello! Two weeks seemed to have passed in a flash, and so it is time for another update. Yay! I hope everyone has been doing well in the meantime.
The first thing I'd like to address today is the timing of the pledge manager. We've been saying for a while that it will close around the end of the year, and now that the end of the year approaches, we've been getting some questions about the specifics of that.
So, while I still can't give you a specific date for when it will close, I am going to push it back a month. The pledge manager will be open through the end of the year and will close in mid-late January. Obviously this pandemic has gone on much longer than expected, and so we'd like to continue to give people as much time as possible to complete their pledge before we charge the cards.
But speaking of the end of the year and Cephalofair merchandise (sorry, not my best transition), I did also want to briefly announce that the long-awaited Cephalofair web store is launching early next week, just in time for the holidays! While some leftover Gloomhaven addons from the Kickstarter will be available, we've also got a lot of other cool stuff like apparel and drinkware.
Before I talk it up too much, though, I do have to admit that we are only prepared for US sales at this point. There were complications too numerous to mention that we are still working through to get the store open worldwide, and that will happen in January.
I'll be sending out a newsletter (link to sign up) when it does launch next week, so keep an eye out for that if you are interested.
Finally, let's talk a bit about Frosthaven! Today I just wanted to give a shout out to the amazing play testing efforts going on behind the scenes.
If you want to know a secret, some scenarios and character classes in the original Gloomhaven didn't really see a whole lot of play testing before it was released. When the game came out and players had a chance to dig into it, the general consensus was that it was pretty balanced, but there were definitely certain aspects - certain characters or scenarios - that broke when you really leaned into them. That resulted in a number of changes made in the second printing, which didn't sit particularly well with people who got the first printing.
So why am I bring this up? Well, I don't want it to happen again with Frosthaven, and the play testers are making sure of that. All 17 characters in Frosthaven have seen so, so much more play testing than any of the Gloomhaven characters, and I think the game will be significantly better for it. Even the starting six characters have changed significantly from the versions we shared at the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign (still keeping the same ideas and spirit, of course).
A few of the locked characters are still a little wobbly, and we've got a ways to go on scenario and item play testing, but I cannot thank this group of play testers enough for their thorough and consistent feedback, driven simply by a passion to make this game as great as possible. We're definitely getting there, and I think pretty soon we'll be ready to show you new versions of the starting characters with the new ability card layouts as well, and I am looking forward to when that day arrives!
For now, though, that is all I have to say. If you read that and thought, "Oh, man, I would like to play test Frosthaven," I will just say that we already have more people volunteering for play testing than I can handle at the moment, but if we do need more in the future, I will let you know.
See you in two weeks!
A change in update schedule
19 days ago
– Sun, Nov 08, 2020 at 09:47:32 PM
Hello! I have nothing to tell you!
I mean, there's only so many times I can tell you, "I am working on scenarios," before you get bored of me. And there certainly are more interesting game play elements to go into detail about, but if I do that every week, I will run out of things to talk about before too long.
So, the bottom line is that, with wave 1 fulfillment done, you don't really need to hear from me every week. Instead, effective immediately, we'll be moving to a schedule of releasing an update every other week. So after this update, the next update you'll receive will be in two weeks, on Nov. 20.
And that's really all I wanted to talk about. I did get less done this week than I had hoped because of certain political distractions, but we definitely don't need to get into that.
Also a new update for Gloomhaven Digital released earlier this week that is pretty sweet, so you can check that out if you got the digital game.
And, yeah...I guess I'll just go then? See you in two weeks!
Attacks on Frosthaven
28 days ago
– Sat, Oct 31, 2020 at 01:59:04 AM
Hello! We don't have to talk about shipping this week! Yay! Instead, I thought I dedicate this update going into a little detail on how attack events in Frosthaven occur. During the Kickstarter, I talked about this a little, but we've refined the system quite a bit since then, so let's get into it!
Anyone familiar with Gloomhaven will know that city events are generally a source of something good (or at least interesting). But Frosthaven is a far less safe place, and often outside forces will attack. These special attack event cards will come up roughly 50% of the time in winter, but you should also expect one or two of them to occur over the course of each summer as well.
The front of the card will make clear in the text that it is an attack, but otherwise will look like any other event with a choice on how to deal with the situation on the front. You'll then make your choice and turn the card over to see something like this (very, very prototype) image:
You will have to resolve the attack either way, but your choice will modify the attack in some way. Each attack has a specific threat value and number of buildings targeted. For each building targeted, you will flip over a card from the Town Guard Modifier Deck (!), add (or subtract) the result from your defense value, and compare that to the threat value. If you meet or exceed it, the building is safe. Otherwise, it is damaged.
I know, I know, I used a lot of interesting word there that you probably want to know more about, so let's talk about them one at a time.
The Town Guard Modifier Deck is very similar to a character's attack modifier deck, except this is something that persists over the course of the entire campaign, as you find different (and secret) ways to add and remove cards from it, making it better over time. Just like an attack modifier deck, though, there's an automatic fail in there that you can't get rid of, just to make sure you're always on your toes. No matter how high your defense is, there's always a chance the attackers will get through and break something. In fact, it's worse than that, because if you draw this card, the targeted building will be wrecked! (I know, another new word!)
So let's talk about damaged and wrecked buildings next then. A damaged building isn't the end of the world. You will need to spend some resources to repair it immediately (depending on the building), or if you want to ignore it, you can lose some morale and the townspeople will fix it for you (oh, man, now I have to talk about morale, too...). If a building is wrecked, though, that's quite a bit worse. That will require more resources to repair, and it can't be done immediately. The building will have to spend a week in its wrecked state, meaning that you can't interact with it or get its benefits, and, depending on the building, it may instead have some negative effect like a continual loss of morale until you get it fixed.
So what exactly is morale? Well, you can kind of think of it like reputation from Gloomhaven. It is a value that is going to move up or down based on the results of certain events and scenarios. Unlike reputation, though, there is no innate benefit to having it go down. You want this to go up as much as possible. You'll get a bonus to your defense value the higher it is, and if Frosthaven ever bottoms out, well, very bad things happen. Don't do that.
So how else do you improve your defense value? Well, there are a number of buildings that will help with that, plus a number of events will provide options to improve your defense as well. You'll see it constantly growing over the course of the campaign, but each winter will bring new and more powerful attacks to compensate.
But it is not all doom and gloom, though! Each attack card has racial designation, represented by an icon in the lower right corner (the, umm, snowman in the example image). And when you resolve that race's storyline, you get to remove all those nasty attacks from your event decks. Of course, there will always be a number of neutral attacks that aren't affiliated with any of the three major races, so be sure to still keep those defenses up.
And I think that just about covers it. I hope all that info sounds interesting!
In other news, its just more and more scenario work over here. Except for a few outliers, all the guest and contest designs have been implemented for play testing, so that is significant progress.
It has been a busy week, and I have to get back to the grind (after I grab some dinner), so I will talk to you again next week.
And remember to VOTE!
Final wave 1 shipping update!
about 1 month ago
– Sat, Oct 24, 2020 at 11:36:36 PM
Hello! What a glorious day it is! I know it is a glorious day because I don't have five roofers banging away above me today. Let me tell you, that can severely disrupt your work flow, as I found out yesterday. But today it was raining, so I got a lovely break from the incessant noise. I'm sure they'll be back tomorrow though...
Anyway, you probably didn't come here to learn about my issues with disruptive noises. (Or maybe you did?) Let's talk about how all wave 1 shipments have now been sent out! Yay! This includes all wave 1. wave 1.5, and Forgotten Circles shipments in all countries.
To be perfectly clear, because I know there is a lot of understandable confusion around the waves, if you ordered any wave 1 product (Gloomhaven, Forgotten Circles, Gloomhaven Digital, Gloomhaven Solo Scenarios, Gloomhaven Removable Stickers, Forgotten Circles Removable Stickers, Metal Coins, or Gloomhaven Metal Pins), either on its own or part of a bundle, and completed your pledge in BackerKit, those products should now be in your possession, or, at the very least, on their way to you with tracking details.
The only exception to this is if you ordered metal coins and no other wave 1 products, those are being sent to you in wave 2.
With all that said, if you think you should have received a wave 1 product and didn't, first, make sure you completed the pledge manager, then, if everything is in order on BackerKit, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get the issue straightened out.
And that's all I have for this update! It is an important milestone!
Scenario work continues to be arduous, but I'm continuing to make progress. Right now I am trying to get through a first pass on all guest designs and contest submission winners, getting the maps laid out and the special rules written out in a consistent format. Once that is done, I'll be reaching out to all the authors for their approval of any tweaks I made, and then we'll be in a good position to begin filling out the structure of the scenario books.
This is a monumental task, but, like I said, it is progressing, give or take the shooting of a nail gun above my head. So I'll be back next week, where I'll see what other cool elements of the game and the work we are doing I can tell you about!
But, before I go, on a non-Frosthaven-related note, if you live in the US:
That's it. The election is Nov. 3, less than two weeks away, and you can go to vote.org to easily find the best way to make sure your voice is heard. Thanks!
Masteries and other progress
about 1 month ago
– Sat, Oct 17, 2020 at 01:13:07 AM
Hello! As always, it has been a busy week for me and Cephalofair Games working on Frosthaven. There is a lot left to do, but we are making good progress!
First of all, an update on EU and rest of the world shipping: As of today most orders containing copies of games have shipped, with smaller accessory orders wrapping up through next week. Fulfillment Europe anticipates having all orders shipped by Wednesday, so if you haven't received your shipping notification yet, please know it's right around the corner!
Next I wanted to share with you another cool thing we have been working on: Masteries.
This is a small addition to each character class that gives players a bit more challenge. Essentially, each character has two "masteries" written on their character sheet under their perks. These are interesting/difficult objectives that the player can complete within a single scenario if they work for it.
These will be more difficult than a 2-check battle goal, unique to that specific character, and may not be achievable until the character reaches a higher power level, like around level 5 or 6. The hope is that these will also, in a small way, communicate to players what that class is capable of, as the masteries will be about leaning into that character's strengths.
The exact masteries for each class are still in development, but, for instance, the Necromancer may have a mastery than says "Have six summon abilities in your active area at the same time."
When you achieve the mastery, you'll receive a one-time reward of 15 experience - nothing fancy or unique, as we don't want these to feel mandatory, but just something that is cool and fulfilling to achieve. Think of them like video game achievements. Something to build and shoot for, if you are into that sort of thing, just to spice up the play a little bit. Also, some of them may not be achievable without certain sets of higher-level ability cards, and we don't want players to feel like they missed out on something important if they don't take specific cards.
Other progress of note:
I've spent most of the last week working on scenarios - mostly cleaning up and organizing guest design scenarios. As I said last week, we're looking at around 140 total scenarios, so there is a lot to do here. I'll likely be at this a while.
Josh has laid out the main punch boards, and we are at 19! That may still change a bit one way or the other, but I think it is safe to say this will definitely be bigger than Gloomhaven (which had 18).
We have 3D prints of all the miniatures from the factory, and they are fantastic. There are a couple minor adjustments to be made, but we are almost ready to head into the actual molding process.
And that is it! Some interesting Gloomhaven news will be dropping on Oct. 20, but Price won't let me talk about it yet, so keep your ear to the ground for that. And make sure to have a good weekend! Until next time!