April Updates from Otherworld Games

Hello Otherworldly Beings,

Happy April! I’ve got updates on Color Space:

  • I’ve set a Kickstarter date (Nov 2nd)
  • The Tabletop Simulator version will be out soon for FREE; early access to newsletter subscribers
  • Physical explorations of Color Space are coming along nicely

Before we get to it, I want to mention that the best way to receive instant notifications on milestones and monthly updates for Color Space is through the Otherworld Games Monthly newsletter. If you’re coming here FROM the newsletter, please accept my apology for asking you to do something you’ve already done—and thanks for being a follower of the Otherworld Games Monthly newsletter! I may even have some goodies in the works for newsletter followers 😉

Color Space Kickstarts November 2nd

That’s right, I’m finally in a place to set a Kickstarter campaign date. I want to keep in mind that the Kickstarter launch is NOT the same thing as the publish date. It will take more time to finalize everything, work out shipping, and all that good stuff after the campaign—assuming its success. (Don’t think about failure; don’t think about failure; don’t think about failure…)

I don’t yet have things like per-unit pricing, other merch, or stretch goals worked out yet as I’m still working on material design for the game. I’m focusing on Color Space first and foremost before expanding out to commit to a bunch of other merch and goals. One thing I’ve been toying around with is a poster, take a look and let me know what you think:

More updates on Kickstarter specifics as soon as I have them!

Color Space for Tabletop Simulator will be out SOON

The first iteration of Color Space for Tabletop Simulator will be out in the next few weeks—free of charge. People who join the newsletter will get early access to this, with instructions on how to download and install it. Note that you must have Tabletop Simulator to play.

Someone’s about to score two diamonds (their choice) from the 3 purple + 2 orange path
Close-up of the same path—a player could instead treat this as a 3 orange + 2 purple path (but can’t combine them or score from both paths on their turn)

I don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll send an email out to everyone once it’s ready. Expect that to happen in the next few weeks as we polish it up a bit. Thanks for your patience on this.

Physical Iterations of Color Space are Looking Great!

I’ve been working with The Game Crafter to deliver a beautiful physical version of Color Space. It’s not only important for me to deliver a beautiful game, but a game that feels satisfying to play. And it must be durable!
We have two different main styles of Color Space in these photos:

  • On the left in each photo is an epoxy style (similar to dominos or Hive tiles)
  • On the right in each photo is an acrylic inlay style held together with tough cement glue
  • In the middle is a wooden prototype we’re exploring that we may offer at a higher backer tier

To be clear about these tests, an engineer at The Game Crafter left them in a rock tumbler for hours—they survived with a few scratches. The engineer then threw them at walls and the floor—probably taking some aggression out from me bugging them with all my requests for different prototypes and tests—and eventually the acrylics broke.

The pros with the acrylics are that they have a unique look which more closely matches the color scheme I want for Color Space, and it’s easier to maintain color consistency with the pieces. The cons are that they’re less durable.

The pros with the epoxy are that it’s durable as all hell and feels a bit smoother to hold. The cons are that it’s more difficult to get the colors right, and there may be more color variance in the design from unit to unit.

What’s next for Color Space?

Once I can settle on a decent physical version of the game, expect gameplay videos and trailers! Also expect a call for more playtesting—right now I’ve been playtesting with smaller groups of people—as the Tabletop Simulator version becomes more available.

That’s all for now.

See you later, Otherworldly Beings…

How I approached iterative designs for Color Space

Color Space has gone through several revisions to get to where it is now. Before it was Color Space, it was called A Colorful Game…

Imagine this folded into a double-sided card. You’d turn to reflect which color was active.

It was a 3×3 grid of cards that you shifted around to make your color, which you randomly drew at the beginning of the game. First player to make ten of their color won. It soon evolved to getting points for making combos of colors. First to score 30 points won. I designed it for one of the Button Shy Game’s 18 card game challenges. Don’t think they gave it more than a glance. They went with games that were far more visually attractive. But I knew I was on to something and I needed to take the board game design process from start to finish. From idea to a fun product that you can buy.

Then, I added hex tiles, representing primary colors, and roads, representing secondary ones. You had a hand of cards and you’d create a path of color combos, then play a card from your hand to collect points. Something wasn’t quite right, so I just removed the cards. You then just needed to create paths. Depending on the path, you could collect a certain number of roads. First player to collect five of each secondary color won. That’s when the game became Color Space.

I’ve been playtesting and working on design iterations of Color Space for a few months now. The game has progressed quite a bit in that time. I’ve changed the design aesthetic a few times, but for the most part it’s been a similar game across the board—no major changes. That’s always a good place to be.

With the trajectory I’m on, I should be able to put this game on Kickstarter this fall (2021). I’ve still got things to do. Videos to make; photos to take. I’ve got to publish ads about the game. Oh, and I’ve got to finalize the designs and make sure that I’m getting a prototype back from the manufacturer I’m working with that has the best quality.

I’ve also got to think of pledge tiers. I think the aesthetics of the logo and box art design are fantastic. I’d like to make some prints and t-shirts for higher tiers. Beyond that, I’ll likely reach out and ask what potential backers want to see.

After all this time, Color Space is almost ready to launch. I couldn’t be more excited. I hope that anyone reading this will be too, especially after seeing some of the gameplay videos.

…Speaking of which, I’m going to go work on that stuff. Until next time!

Meet Color Space, a two-player strategy game

Hello everyone! I’m nearing the final work on my designs for Color Space (formally titled “A Colorful Game”), a two-player tile-laying strategy game.

In Color Space, players compete head-to-head to be the first to collect five of each of the three secondary colors (15 secondary colors total) represented as diamonds in the picture below.

Assets are subject to change. Move primary color tiles to create secondary color diamonds. Create a qualifying path of these diamonds to be able to collect some!

This game has been a year-and-a-half in the making, and the journey’s not over yet! I’ve got a lot more playtesting to do. I’m also working on a Tabletop Simulator version of Color Space. There’s YouTube videos, advertising, getting the kickstarter page going—aaaah! I’m stressed. I should play some Color Space to relax.

Here’s a sneak peak of the box art.

Box art is subject to change. I’m happy with what I have here, but I’ll add some texturing to make it stand out more.

What’s next? My immediate next steps are to lock in all of the designs and get some beautiful prototypes printed. Then I’ll be able to make gameplay videos with assets that better reflect what the game will look like.

After that, I’ll work on an estimate with manufacturers and fulfillment facilities, and create a minimum budget for the kickstarter!

Then it’s marketing, marketing, marketing.

Look out for some more fall updates on Color Space.

A Colorful Game: What’s Next?

Hello everyone, it’s been a minute! Sorry for not posting in a while. I am, as we all are, navigating the virus and other passion projects. (I’m working on a creative writing career—go figure.) Now, my project has entered a phase where I’m playtesting the same build heavily to make sure that it’s balanced. This is important to a strategy game. Both players should be on the same playing field and players executing a fun move shouldn’t be defeated by random chance.

Every game—not just strategy games—needs to make sure that a particular player doesn’t have an unfair advantage. Sometimes this could mean that designers might need to tone down the benefit of a mechanic. You can sometimes have an unfair advantage just by being the starting player, though. I aim to make sure that isn’t the case in A Colorful Game.

I’ve got four things on my plate right now for A Colorful Game:

  • More balance playtesting
  • Design for physical game assets
  • YouTube tutorial video
  • Tabletop Simulator version (with scripting)

The bottom two items are still in their infancy, and I don’t have much to show for them. As for the top two:

More balance playtesting

This is from a most recent playtest. The grey meeple signifies the tile that was just moved. (Players can’t move the tile that was recently moved.)

I’ve been rigorously playtesting with my wife or sometimes playing against myself. It’s coming along smoothly. My big worry right now is that there’s a first player advantage. More testing will see if that’s the case.

Design for physical game assets

I’ve been wanting to make the components out of wood for the longest time. But I’m warming up more and more to the idea of making them out of resin (similar look and feel to modern sets of dominos). Resin is typically heavier than wood, and may have better longevity. Also, resin is typically less expensive to manufacture and generally easier to work with. The difference would mean more rounded corners as well versus wood. Here’s a quick side-by-side.

Resin mockup (left) versus a wooden mockup (right) of the assets for A Colorful Game.

The differences might look minor in Illustrator, but they’ll feel major when holding the physical components. I’ll still stand by my love of wooden components though. I just think they look neater and more unique.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Until next time!

Quarantine, Tabletop Simulator, and Improved Prototypes

It’s been a minute, let me catch you up on what I’ve been up to. COVID-19, the Coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), whatever we’re calling it—as long as we’re not calling it something prejudiced and hateful—has absolutely delayed plans. I had weeks worth of playtesting on the schedule. All of it erased. These things happen, I know. No one could’ve predicted this, and I’m well aware that my plans to develop a tabletop game being pushed out a bit are the least of everyone’s worries. I can weather the storm.

This doesn’t mean that A Colorful Game is cancelled. Far from it. This means that I’m rearranging my plans to develop a Tabletop Simulator version of the game. My plan was to learn a bit about Lua and scripting later, after I had mostly secured the game mechanics and design and the game was more or less in manufacturing. I’m shifting gears on that.

Uh…what?

Let me reveal a hypocritical anecdote about myself: I currently work in the tech industry and love technology but I severely dislike the efforts to bring tabletop games to the digital realm. Yeah, I’m one of those. I play board games to get away from screens. I don’t judge people who enjoy playing digitalized board games, I just don’t enjoy doing it myself. The only exception to that rule was TheCodingMonkeys digital version of Carcassonne (RIP). Even that was killed off by the horrid gimmicky 3D version that Asmodee vomited all over us. Have you ever bought the perfect piece of clothing, only to have the vendor come back to you ten years later and say, “can we replace that with this designer trash bag?” It’s like that.

Digressions aside, this isn’t about me or my curmudgeon tendencies, this is about getting a game out there that I think is quick, fun and can work on a digital platform. It’s not done, but here’s a sneak peak:

Screen Shot 2020-04-29 at 9.48.04 PM.png
A Colorful Game features limited quantities of tiles that you have to strategically add or move

But what about a version for that whatcha call it…physical realm?

I’m working with someone on the material design for A Colorful Game. I’m leaning toward using wooden assets, but I’m keeping my options open. I want to make sure the game looks good and feels good, but it also needs to last. What’s great is that this game has been whittled down to a few components, so I predict that I can keep the price reasonable while seeking high quality assets.

Here’s a look at what (aside from the rules sheet) is likely to be included in the physical version.

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 3.05.24 PM.png
There’ll be 30 roads and 10 tiles included, along with a rules sheet—compact but fun!

What’s next for this puppy?

 

Getting the game into tabletop simulator will allow me to ramp up my playtesting schedule more. A few things that I need to focus on:

  • Rules sheet layout and design
  • Box design
  • Settling on general game design

Then I can start advertising the game more and setting up preorders. All-in-all, I’m looking at this winter or likely early next year before a kickstarter. I’m OK with that. And, hopefully, we’ll be healed enough to be able to seek some good ol’ fashioned tabletop games fun.

Sorry for taking so long to write this. I’ll try to make more frequent updates.

Until next time…