Final call on the pledge manager!
13 days ago
– Sat, Feb 20, 2021 at 02:37:39 AM
Hello! I hope you are all doing well! Time just keeps moving over here, week by week, we are still trying to get everything wrapped up, but there is still a ways to go!
Before we get into all that, though, I will warn you one more time that the pledge manager will close for non-retail backers on March 1, and we will be charging cards. If you haven't yet completed your Backerkit survey, please do so as soon as you can. Like, seriously, go do it now! And if you have any questions about the process, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the last update before it happens, and after that, you will no longer be able to complete your order!
Also, just a note that if you pre-ordered Frosthaven AFTER the Kickstarter, you don't need to do anything else with your order.
All right, so last update I dropped a lot of info on the Boneshaper, including the new look of their character mat and ability cards, and we got a lot of great feedback on it. Josh has been iterating quite a bit over the last couple weeks, and so I wanted to give you the latest look - not only of the Boneshaper, but three more starting classes as well: the Drifter, Banner Spear, and Deathwalker!
So let's take a look:
First, you'll notice we've weathered the borders of the cards to result in a more rustic, less sci-fi vibe. Second, we played around a lot with the best way to communicate added effects of abilities (the stuff in the color-highlighted areas), both regular effects like range and targets, and conditional effects like elemental consumptions and other weird stuff.
We increased the size of the main ability icon so that it would be clearer at a glance what the main point of it is, then lined that up with the regular effects, as this is particularly important for range and number of targets - you want to clearly and easily link your attack ability to its range and how many enemies you can target. We then also wanted to link this to any conditional information in an un obtrusive way that also makes it clear that it is still part of the ability, so we added a different border around these sections, and connected them to the rest of the ability with a subtle line.
It's also important to note that we brought the elemental infusions out of the bottom right corner, as this is important information to pick up at a glance as well.
I do also want to note that there was pushback on the all-icons approach to the abilities, but we are continuing forward with this design. I am still running play tests with new and veteran players, and while I still think there are some kinks to work out, the icons haven't been a significant hurdle for players, especially new ones. Still working on increasing the sample size, though.
You can find PDFs of these four starting classes' starting cards here.
I also wanted to show you the tweaks we've made to the character mats as well:
Just some subtle changes here like moving the traits down to the bottom and weathering these borders as well. Plus some general cleanup.
And then on the back, you can see we've changed the metrics a bit, swapping out "Healing", "Protection", and "Conditions" for "Support", "Defense", and "Control", which are a little better at encompassing the full move set of a class.
In other news, we received a white box sample from the factory, which was helpful for a number of reasons, but, well, it also generated this picture, which I'll just leave here without further comment.
And finally, I just want to give a big shout-out to Chris Kessler, Cephalofair's Retail Sales Manager, who started work with us one year ago today! This last year has gone in a bit of a different direction than we expected with the canceling of all conventions, but Chris stepped up to do, among other things, an absolutely phenomenal job running customer service, answering all your questions and making sure replacement parts and merchandise orders get sent out in a timely manner. Thanks Chris!
And with that, I will now return to working on this giant, many-headed beast called Frosthaven. It's gonna be so awesome and epic, I can't wait for you to experience it. Until next time!
Character cards and character mats
26 days ago
– Sun, Feb 07, 2021 at 12:21:07 AM
Hello! I want to dedicate this update to showing you what we have been working on with redesigning character cards and character mats, but first just a small reminder from last update:
The pledge manager will close for non-retail backers on March 1, and we will be charging cards. If you haven't yet completed your Backerkit survey, please do so as soon as you can, and if you have any questions about the process, reach out to email@example.com. Thanks!
All right, so now I want to tell you a little story about a simple character class and the journey they went on. This character class started out in Jaws of the Lion - a human Necromancer that I loved very much, and so did everyone who played it, but I eventually had to face the realization that it was too complicated for that game, and, in fact, summoning as a whole should be removed.
The poor Necromancer was replaced! Kicked out of the Jaws of the Lion by the Voidwarden and forced to travel north to join with the Frosthaven classes. But those classes already had a human among them, so the changes were far from over. The Necromancer had to become an Aesther, as well.
But not only that, I have been disparaging their name from the very beginning. "Necromancer" just feels so... generic fantasy. Maybe it brings to mind that guy from Diablo 2 with the bone shield and the army of skeletons. It just never fit quite right. So we made another change...in fact, we made a lot more changes. In order to reward the former-Necromancer for all we have put them through, they were the first one to get the full face-lift treatment to show you the new character card and mat designs.
So, without further rambling, I now give you the Boneshaper!
There's a lot in this picture to talk about, but let's start with the most impactful: the character ability cards. Here is a closer look at a couple:
One of the main things we wanted to accomplish with the new card design is just to reduce clutter. A lot of more complicated actions in Gloomhaven got kind of scrunched up. It wasn't 100% clear what was going on, and sometimes we even had to reduce the font size to uncomfortable levels. We really wanted to strive for clear and concise information in a more open, inviting design. Josh did a lot of redesign on the borders and other elements to maximize the amount of space we can use for actual ability text, and then also worked on better ways to present that text.
I think the most controversial thing here is that we have removed a lot of text from abilities in favor of solely icons. You can see that clearly with the top of Transfer of Essence, which Strengthens an ally in range 3 and Poisons an enemy in range 3 (with elemental consumptions to add targets). In this new format, we can have an entire ability (outside of the elemental consumption) on a single line instead of needing a separate line for each element (the ability, the target, and the range). The main ability is large at the front of the line, and then all modifiers and effects are written smaller to the left in a colored area.
I recognize that this this might be a little confusing or unclear at first glance, especially for those already familiar with the format of the Gloomhaven cards, and we are still doing testing to see if that is alleviated after a play or two getting used to it. We're also running testing to see if the symbol-only format is too inhibiting for new players unfamiliar with the system. I am also hoping that the player aid cards and the character mat (which we'll get into in a bit) will also significantly alleviate any confusion.
Just a couple other cool things to point out though - note that mandatory parts of an action are now more clearly called out. Mandatory abilities are outlined with an exclamation mark, and all icons that trigger at the end of the action if any part of the action is performed (elements, experience, losing the card, etc.) are contained in their own box in the lower right. We've also cleaned up persistent bonuses with use circles (the bottom of Life in Death) to clarify where your token starts, and when you get experience for advancing it. Oh, also: summon art in the summon abilities! Since we're doing standees, this is actually the best way to link your summon out on the board to the actual ability card.
If you want to take a look at all the new Boneshaper cards, you can see them in this PDF. Note that if you scroll down far enough, you will get to higher level cards, which some consider spoiler territory, so be careful.
Now let's move on to the character mat! First, the front:
Some of this will look familiar - the portrait, the icon, the HP chart, and space for conditions - but we decided the round summary was not something that needed to be on mats and instead we could use the space to provide information that was helpful and specific to the individual class. If a class has special rules (like the Blinkblade or Deathwalker), they will be written here, but otherwise this space will just provide tips and reminders - here explaining the concepts of non-loss summoning, mandatory self-damage, and the intricacies of targeting for the Boneshaper's heals.
We also wanted to give players a prominent reference for all the icons used on the ability cards. Like I said before, this should improve player's initial encounters with those icons. We also have the class' traits listed at the top, and some class-specific rules references at the bottom if players are having trouble with one of these deeper concepts.
And then, the back:
This should also be pretty familiar, with some new cool stuff at the bottom. This might actually look vaguely familiar if you've ever played Spirit Island. I always found the ratings for the various metrics on the back of each spirit board to be very helpful in picking which spirit to use, and I wanted to do something similar to give people a better idea of what a class does and how it should operate. For instance, in the case of the Boneshaper, you can see that this class isn't going to be doing a ton of damage, but can help out significantly with healing and preventing damage.
And then at the bottom, though it's not actually there at the moment, we'll provide a section number to read when this class retires for the first time.
So the last thing I wanted to look at is the player reference card, which is another important source of information, especially for new players:
Not too much has changed here outside of adding the new conditions and updating some of the icons. I hope you like them!
And that's everything I wanted to show you. Keep in mind we're still tweaking things here and there, so these aren't quite final. We're happy to listen to any feedback you might have in the comments.
And also if you are part of or know of a group who has zero experience with Gloomhaven and are interested in play testing with these new cards, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we move more starting character classes over to this new format, I'll provide PDFs for those as well, but in the mean time, that all I've got, so I'll catch you again in two weeks!
Backer and retailer pledge manager update
about 1 month ago
– Mon, Jan 25, 2021 at 12:12:45 AM
Hello! Thank you so much for all your feedback last time on the scenario book! We've made many changes, such as making the loot table bigger and adding icons to the different terrain types for color blind identification. Lots of good stuff there. I don't have a new sample for you or anything, but I just wanted to let you know your feedback was helpful!
Today I wanted to spend some time talking about the schedule for the pledge manager, and then also show you the Frosthaven Sleeve Set (!), so lets get to talking pledge manager.
The pledge manager will close to non-retailer backers on March 1, and we will lock orders and charge all cards on file for any outstanding balances at that time. As you know, we wanted to keep the pledge manager open as long as we could, given the pandemic. Obviously that is still ongoing, but we are going to need to move forward with manufacturing, so we really do need to lock in final numbers.
If you haven't completed your pledge manager for wave 2, please go ahead and do so as soon as you can. And if you have any questions about your pledge or the pledge manager, reach out to email@example.com, and we will do our best to take care of you.
Next, I have message to our retailer backers from Price, so feel free to skip down if that does not apply to you.
Retailer Pledge Message
We will be extending the Retail Backer Pledge Manager until April 1st, at which time we intend to lock orders and charge cards on file with Backerkit.
Please be sure to double check your order and payment method by this time, and reach out in the meantime if you have any final questions before locking your order in.
If you haven't yet received access to the Retailer Pledge Manager we may still be awaiting your verification or business documents. If so, please submit your verification surveyHERE and/or submit your business documents to firstname.lastname@example.org - we'd still love to work with you and your store!
So what does the closing of the pledge manager mean for the overall timeline? Unfortunately, I still don't have any solid updates on that. As already discussed, we are definitely looking at some delay past the previously estimated delivery of July, and I'll let you know as soon as we can pinpoint a new schedule. Things are getting done, and we'll be starting manufacturing on some elements after Chinese New Year, but some things like the scenario book are still pretty big question marks we still need to nail down.
One thing we are zeroing in on are the ability cards, and I'm excited to get to show that to you in the next update, but for now, we'll just have to be satisfied looking at the FrosthavenSleeve Set:
In this bad boy we have:
- 1,500ct Small Sleeves (Mini Euro Size)
- 1,100ct. Large Sleeves (Standard Card Size)
- Premium 100 micron thickness
- Non-PVC and acid-free polypropylene plastic
- Over 4.5lbs of sleeves!
- Remember you can still add this to your pledge for $40
So there you have it, that's all the news for this week. Remember to come back in two weeks for a look at awesome new ability cards. In the mean time, stay safe and be excellent to each other!
Scenario book preview
about 2 months ago
– Sat, Jan 09, 2021 at 02:52:07 AM
Hello! After I sent out last week's update, some of you encouraged me to just keep to the original schedule and wait two weeks before sending out another one, but oh boy! Last week felt like it was at least two weeks long, so here we are with a real live update. Let's get to it!
Three weeks ago, I broke down where we were with the scenario book, so I wanted to let you know I've made serious progress with that. I only have 10 scenarios left to design, so those "layout" and "special rules text" columns are solidly up above 90%.
I should be able to get the rest of the scenarios created in the next few days, and then I can move on to story text and shoring up a lot of the over-arching campaign infrastructure, which includes treasure chest and scenario rewards along with scenario loot tables. These are all important for starting play testing on the overall campaign structure, to make sure that the town progression and threat events are fully balanced.
I gotta say that I am pretty excited to be almost done with creating scenarios. 137 is a lot.
The main thing I wanted to show you today, though, is the scenario book layout that Josh has been diligently working on. I want to share some images below and discuss some key elements about them, but before I do that, let me just say a couple things:
- If you don't want to see any spoilers for the first two scenarios, avert your eyes. Nothing else will be covered in this update, so you can just stop reading now (bye...).
Not all of the artwork is final, so you will see some placeholder art from Gloomhaven (like the dark fog tiles).
We haven't done final editing passes on any of the text, so there may be some typos. No need to point them out.
We are interested in your feedback, though. The design is pretty well set at this point, but we are always open to hearing suggestions.
With that said, here are the first two pages:
So Josh really wanted to clean up the visual style of the book and make things easier to parse. You've still got your introduction text as normal, but everything else that you will need to keep in mind as you are playing the scenario is broken up into their own easy-to-reference boxes. There's a clear scenario goal that tells you where to go when you achieve it and when. There are the special rules, and also what sections you may need to reference as you play.
The larger map on the first page of a scenario will only show you the room you start in and what you need to set up right now, but there is also a map layout reference that shows you how all the map tiles of the scenario will be configured, so you can set those up and make sure you have the proper table space without having to move things around later. Each map tile is also labeled so you can find them easily.
And then we also have the loot table so you know how to set up the loot deck, and a scenario key that tells you every monster and overlay tile you will need to play the scenario (even if they are not in the first room) so that you can have them ready to set up when you need them without having to go back into the box.
But what are these section numbers? The introduction for each scenario will be one page in the scenario book, but all other supplemental information that you will need as you actually explore and complete the scenario is broken up into different sections in a separate book. Here is a mock-up of that:
One thing to keep in mind here is that the actual section book will have the sections of all 137 scenarios mixed in together, instead of just alternating sections from scenarios 1 and 2. The main point is that a scenario won't have multiple sections on the same page, so you can never accidentally look ahead and see what's coming.
Also we'll try not to have sections spill over onto the next page, but that final page above is a good demonstration of a smaller section that doesn't span the full width of the page.
There is a delicate balance we are trying to strike here with the pages feeling more open and not jam-packed full of text, but also not having the section book be 200+ pages long. I think we are on our way to achieving both those things.
One other important thing to note here is that as you are flipping through the section book from section to section, no information from the previous section will be pertinent to your current section, so you'll never have to flip back and forth. All the over-arching information on the scenario can be found on the introduction page of the scenario, which is of course in a separate book.
And, I think that's all I wanted to point out. I hope it was illuminating, and I'll see you in two weeks with more cool stuff! Stay safe!
Happy New Year!
2 months ago
– Sat, Jan 02, 2021 at 01:15:03 AM
Hello! I know we're scheduled for an update today, but it is New Year's Day, and I think the update can wait another week, so that's what we're going to do. Expect a real update next week!
In the mean time, I wish all of you the best 2021 possible, full of Frosthaven and other great games to play with loved ones, without fear of pandemics or all that other 2020 badness. It's still gonna take some work to get there, but I know we are up to it. It's time to buckle down and do everything we can to make the future better for everyone!