Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can you 'compute' the game?

During and after the amazing Spiel '11 Essen experience, many people came to us with one obsessive question: since there's no randomness in the game, can you 'compute' your way to victory?

The answer we always gave was no. For some that was enough, for others, well, they needed to hear the reason.

The simplest and funniest was "can you compute chess?" and if you're no Kasparov, the answer is most likely no. Even though Warriors & Traders is not and never aimed to be as complex as chess, it is still complex enough so that there's no guaranteed winning technique that one can apply in all games and have a 90% probability to win.

Through play testing, and I am taking about more than 200 tests, we balanced the game in such a way that no matter what path you're choosing, you have a chance to win. More than that, we've seen that no one was getting even close of determining the result of the game even two turn before someone actually won.

To conclude, for the skeptics the complete lack of random is a reason to believe that they can actually compute their way into victory no matter what... and this would be true if they played alone. But the truth is that any opponent can and will come up with surprises. So, just like in life, the acts of other create enough randomness so that the game remains non-deterministic and... fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Essen - what an experience!

It's hard to find my words after what happened in Essen. 

We're newcomers to the world of board games publishers and the attention we got was overwhelming... in a good way! 

So I will start by thanking all those who came by, asked questions, played, bought one copy, brought some friends or gave us vote on BGG. Thanks to all of you, we made the most out of this event and now we're ready to get the games to all of those who did not get a chance to come by and visit us.

We were planning to have 2, maximum 3 gaming sessions per day and yet, even on Sunday, we managed 5 and still had to refuse a lot of people who wanted to play Warriors & Traders with us. We promise that next year we'll come with a bigger stand and more play-tables for gaming enthusiasts. 

We ended up the fair with no games in our stand and this another reason to be proud and thankful to all of the people who saw the potential of Warriors & Traders and gave or will give it a try.

There are so many things that happened that I wish there were an infinite amount of time and space on the blog to talk about all of them. I'll just say that now we're doing our best to get the game anywhere where there are board game fans so more people will play and enjoy!

Once again, thank you all...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Essen Day 2: It's Alive!

Hi everybody!

The second day of Spiel'11 is over. It was a busy day. A lot of people from all over the world came to our stand. We managed to hold 3 demo games and for tomorrow we alreday planned 2 more.

So far, we are getting a lot of attention and positive feedback and it feels great. So thanks everybody who supported the development of this game during the last 1.5 years. We appreciate it. Also thanks everybody who is showing an interest during this days. We also appreciate it and you are always welcome at our stand in Spiel'11. Special thanks to those who are buying our games - hope you have a great time playing and be sure to let us know what you think!

Lots of things happened today:
  • we got in the Boardgamegeek GeekBuzz - it's a top of new games at Spiel'11. We are curently ranked #7 in the medium traffic category and for some time during the day we were ranked #1 overall. For tomorrow, we hope to get into the high traffic, so keep our fingers crossed.
  • we got a short review on facebook, by brettspiele-report
  • we have the first tweets about W&T
  • during the demo games, I saw a strategy that we never thought about during development (and it was effective). I am happy for this, because one of our goals as developers was to create not a game that is played in a predefined way but rather one that is rich and consistent enough that players are allowed creativity in using the rules

A small change in the blog today - I posted most of the pictures on facebook and will only link them here: day 2 pictures. One reason: it is faster to upload on facebook. Second reason: I am experimenting with different ways to provide updates in order to find the most convenient one for the people receiving the information. Feedback is always appreciated.

Finally, just one picture from the demo games today:


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Essen Day 1

The stand is prepared. The games are ordered neatly in their boxes on our shelves. We are ready ...

... set ...

9:45 - a large crowd is waiting outside the gate to the exhibition centre. 10:00 - the gates open and the Spiel '11 begins

we even got a demo game going in our booth ..

an last but not least, we sold some games

that's it for today.


Essen Day 0: The Booth

Yesterday we got up early and packed the car ...

... we started towards Essen. It was the last stand preparation day, before the opening on Thursday. We had some rain in the morning, but soon it stopped and we got to the hotel we are staying at, close to Essen ...

Then we went to the exhibition hall and started building IKEA shelves and tables. The electrical screwdriver helped a lot.

Here's our stand near the end of the day:

We did a bit more work after the picture was taken but I dont't have the final picture because we had to live in a hurry as the exhibition grounds were closing. I'll show you tomorrow how it got to look in the end.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Essen: Day -1 The City We Built

Hi all,

Last time I left to go working for our concept for the Inventor's Booth in Essen. We did just that and now we have a game prototype that we shall call for now "The City We Built". It's a city building, bidding, cardgame for 3 to 10 players and we are quite proud of it.

Tonight we finished doing the mechanichs and it was time to print and cut the cards:

... then we procedded to add color graphics:

here's a close-up of the "Saloon":

With the deck ready, we went to Sorin's place to get the electrical screwdriver. Once there, we naturally played a test game. For bidding, we used Twix candies:

One specific bidding round started small...

... and then got bigger ...

.... and even bigger ...

... in the end Sorin almost won the game but we left because it was getting late.

Tomorrow morning (which is actually soon) we leave for Essen where we will prepare our exhibition stand.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Essen: Day -2

Hi everybody,

As we wrote before, we are taking W&T to the Spiel'11 in Essen. While the gates of the event will open for the public on Thursday morning, we have to do some preparations until then. So today we took a trip from Brussels to Essen to see our booth.

Spiel'11 is held in a venue called (I think) Messe Essen. And let me tell you, it is one very impressive venue.

The building complex is huge (I believe there are 12 exhibition halls). It took us 15 minutes to find our hall, the number 4:

... and soon we also found our booth:

... we were able to get the car in the exhibition hall, in front of the booth and offload the first couple of boxes:

... and a W&T poster:

next steps: find some furniture and setup a nice looking exhibition booth. I'll tell you about this later - now I have to run and work on our concept for the Inventor's Booth.


Monday, October 17, 2011

First War

Well, Hi!

Three weekends ago, as the games were finally getting to our warehouses, I was planning to quickly have the first playing session and post some pictures to show you how a table with W&T on it looks like.
Then I got a bit lazy and prefered to play some more instead of actually posting about playing - that is until now. Here's how it looks like - a picture from my fifth playing session with the boxed version of the game:

here's a detail with a section of the map:

and here's how the full layout of the game looks like:

Click on the photos for larger versions.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Join us in Essen

This autumn, like every other autumn, the biggest event for board game 'geeks' takes place in Essen. It is one of the biggest gaming conventions in Europe and the place where the big names in the industry show their newest creations for the first time. I am, of course, talking about Spiel '11.

We are joining them and will launch our own game, Warriors & Traders™.

With the amount of new games announced for Spiel '11, this year's convention is bound to be a hit. We are hoping you'll stop by our stand and enjoy a game under direct assistance of the very game creators!

Another attraction of this year's exhibition is the Inventor's Booth. This is the place where game creators show their yet unborn games. This is a unique chance to see what's going to be on the board games market the next year. We'll also be there, with a new concept. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to spoil the surprise.

There are already people out there playing Warriors & Traders... in Essen you also have your chance!

Did I mention when and where? 20-23 October, Messe Essen, Germany.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The games have arrived

It all started one and a half years ago with a dream and now it's stone cold reality! The games are in the NSKN warehouses and ready to be delivered to our first customers.

Making the games was much more than a game, it involved hard work, imagination, patience and more hard work. The last step was to bring the games from our partners in Germany who physically produced the games to our storage places in Belgium and Romania.

This was supposed to be an easy task, we had everything arranged way ahead of time and it was not the best time for surprises. But life has its own twisted sense of humor... Just a few hours before the pick-up time, the transport company who was responsible to load a full 20 tons truck of games for Romania cancelled on us and another two hours later the van for transporting to Belgium became unavailable.

With a supreme effort of calling, begging and threatening, we managed to limit the delay to only 24 hours. Calling almost every single transport company in Belgium and Romania, we found our salvation. Last Wednesday, in a foggy German morning one truck and one van were loading all the brand new boxes of Warriors & Traders and just yesterday everything arrived without further events in our warehouses.

It looks like every part of the making of these games has its own story to tell and we're hoping for more stories, happy ones from the people who will very soon enjoy our games.