UPDATE: LC GAMMA-PROTOTYPES
The alternate title for this blog post should be:
“DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK”
Last Monday was Labor Day, and I didn’t publish a blog post. First, this was due in part to the fact that I had the Gamma-Prototype version of the Legacy Command card game - all weekend. I had actually printed it the Thursday before, and played it three times over the weekend. The image for this blog post was taken by Morgan Cristine during the first ever playthrough of Legacy Command on Thursday night, August 30th. I was happy, and terrified.
The other reason I didn’t post on Labor Day, is that I allowed myself to actually take the day off and enjoy an extra rest day. My weekends are usually a personal paradise marathon of my game design work. Labor Day weekend was no different, and actually, I began working in NanDeck to build the decks for my next prototype, the Beta-Prototype.
NanDeck is a program that connects a visual editor for cards to spreadsheets of values, and even plugs in images from a file directory. EPIC. But by the time Sunday night came around I was significantly more wiped than my average Sunday night self. I opted to allow myself the holiday for chilling out and enjoying the afterglow of printing a new prototype of a game I’ve been working on for two years.
I had been under the impression that the Campaign Planner would be printed before the cards. I had hoped the Planner would be done by September 1, but somehow the cards beat them to the manifestation station.
How did this happen?
Frankly? Limiting Beliefs.
To complete the card game, I believed I needed the damage markers to be made at the laser-cutter in Iowa City. I believed I needed a card template made by a designer. I believed I needed the artwork to be in place. I believed I would have to send the cards to a game printer.
It turned out that I was wrong.
I have been working on the Campaign Planner documents for 5 months, but in reality I had been working on the cards for much longer. I just hadn’t put it all together yet. When I finally felt I had the card mechanics right, I simply made my own damage markers. Then I made my own template in Google Slides, I used placeholders for the artwork, and I brought my files to my local print shop to print up two full sets of cards on 15pt stock for a whopping $19 total (including cutting - wow!). Suddenly, I was holding my game in my hands. Suddenly, I was pulling 6-sided die from another game to play my very own Legacy Command card game.
It goes to show you: Be careful what you tell yourself you can’t do, because you will probably prove yourself wrong.
The three playthroughs of the Legacy Command card game provided me with three full pages of revision notes. I spent some time on Sunday thinking about these changes, and opening my creative channels to allow inspiration and innovation to flow through. With the gracious feedback of my three dear Playtester friends, I think I was able to correct many of the issues we found in the game’s first runs. Most of it worked great though!
By Monday, I was resolved to put away the Gamma-Prototype and begin working on getting the Beta-Prototype into NanDeck to use it for the next printing. Fingers crossed - I’m hoping I am able to finalize the complete NanDeck files by next Sunday. I’ve never used NanDeck before, but after some tests, I am feeling the transfer will go smoothly. Switching my design platform from Google Slides (individual, manual edits) to NanDeck (spreadsheet changes, automatic edits across the entire deck) will be worth the effort, I’m sure. Wish me luck!
So, where is the Campaign Planner? Well, I’ve been saving the greatest news for last.
I’ve been working with a very talented designer in Argentina on the documents for the Planner. I am happy to say today that he delivered to me what I consider to be the final Gamma-Prototype. Even though I’ve been using these documents for 5 months (and some of them for two years), I still consider the Planner docs to be largely untested.
I spent about 7 hours today preparing a Google Slides file to receive all of the Planner docs. I revised all the instructional pages, labeled every page for continuity order, added a cover page, and added a credits page. All together, the Campaign Planner (Initiate Level version, with starter tutorial) is 80 pages. This will be 40 pages or so with double-sided printing. This was my page number goal, so I’m really glad things balanced out.
I have blocked out time this week to place and position all the official Gamma-Prototype final versions. Once complete, I will export as a PDF and send to lulu.com for printing.
Very exciting for both me and for the LC Playtesters who will get a FREE copy sent to them to try out.
Are you a Playtester? Because you should be. I’m going to be sending out a steadily growing number of items to people who are willing to test the Gamma-Prototypes. Sign up now to recieve the maiden voyage copy of the Campaign Planner - delivery of which falls under my optimistic estimation of about 2 weeks. You still have time.
I will notify Playtesters through the exclusive email I send to them, so get on it if you’re into this.