Post-Gen Con reflection

This isn’t going to be super-focused, but I wanted to put up some kind of update while Gen Con is still fresh in mind:

  • While I still haven’t settled upon a name for Delve, the product itself is viable. I hit upon a novel marketing idea for physical copies (such as they are – what you’d get is a thumb drive with the two books on it packaged in a pocket container with the necessary components). Playtesters consistently nudged me in the direction of more crunch, of which I am wary but willing to be persuaded. The idea of the game is to purposefully dispose of much of the cruft that surrounds adventure gaming in order to cut to the fun part, which for me and many others is the story.
  • The big surprise of the show was Corona, which I thought would go over like a lead balloon, but which had several players at the first table Thursday night saying that this was a “shut up and let me give you money” kind of product. That was a well-needed boost. That said, those sessions were also the most prone to a phenomenon I was able to discuss with several other designers at the show, and that is the tendency of players to want to bias or skew their input based on the medium they prefer. That is, dedicated RPGers wanted Corona to be more of a role-playing game; wargamers wanted it to be more of a wargame; et cetera. That has forced me to examine what I want the game to be, since I’m the one producing it. My thought is that I just don’t think Parenthesis Press has it in its mission to go all in on the production of a full-on board game. I picked up a copy of Lautapelit/Asmodee’s Eclipse at the show, and I’ve been absorbing it: it’s very fiddly, which is what I like in a board game, but it’s also expensive and time-consuming to produce such a beast, as anyone who has tried to net a copy knows. There’s also a potential for the role-playing and strategic agendas to collide, and I’m very firm that if one side has to give in, it’s the strategy element: I’m not willing to have Corona be less oriented toward narration than it already is, and room to grow has to come from somewhere. The world-building and interaction were also very enthusiastically received by all of the playtest groups, reinforcing my personal instincts.
  • House of Cards continues to grow slowly via word-of-mouth. I initially feared a repeat of last year’s dismal showing at Games on Demand, but apart from the first Thursday session being empty, every other slot filled to capacity. I’m still waiting for booth sales to be processed to see how well the game actually moved, but I suspect it’ll be limited (but any sale of an actual book is good).

 

With that all in mind, I’m going to be getting up to my elbows in tweaks to Delve and Corona for the near future, then returning to Project Atlantis when I’m more satisfied with their progress and perhaps further along in the actual production process.