Shadow Throne Outtakes

shadow_throne_box_whiteEarly in theĀ Shadow Throne Kickstarter, a backer asked if I had any fun stories about cards that didn’t make the cut. I’m finally getting around to it… four months after the Kickstarter finished. Better late than never, right?

Between the initial conception for Shadow Throne and when it funded on Kickstarter, I worked on a year’s worth of prototypes. When I discussed the evolution of the graphic design, I discussed seven versions of the game, but that doesn’t cover every little tweak I made along the way. Needless to say, I experimented with a lot of cards and mechanics that didn’t make it. Today I’ll cover some of the most interesting ones, explaining what I was trying to do and why they didn’t make it.

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Shadow Throne Kickstarter: Outreach II

Welcome to the final installment of Shadow Throne Kickstarter here on the Nothing Sacred Games blog! In case you missed the earlier posts, I first covered the core Kickstarter, then discussed the periphery, and started going over outreach last time. Today I’m going to finish covering outreach, talking about advertising, online communities, and miscellaneous strategies I used.

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Shadow Throne Kickstarter: Outreach I

Today I’m back at it, discussing the Shadow Throne Kickstarter in detail. Previously I discussed the core Kickstarter and the aspects on the edge, and today I’ll begin to discuss how I reached out beyond Kickstarter. Because I used so many strategies to do this, I’m going to break up the list into two posts. Today I’ll start with reviews/previews, interviews and podcasts, and game nights at local game stores.

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Shadow Throne Kickstarter: Campaign Periphery

In my last post I discussed the Shadow Throne Kickstarter at its most basic: the page, the video, and the reward tiers. But a Kickstarter is so much more than just what you put on the main page! So today I’ll to continue examining the Kickstarter by covering some of the peripheral elements: the stretch goals and the updates.

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Shadow Throne Kickstarter: The Base Campaign

The Shadow Throne Kickstarter wrapped up over a month ago and the team is hard at work finishing the game so we can send it to the printer. While we get the final files ready, I thought I’d take a little time to go over the Kickstarter to discuss what we did right and what we could improve for next time. I gave some quick impressions in my last post, but today I’ll start going over the campaign in a little more detail.

There’s a lot to cover, so I imagine this will take three or four posts total. To break things up, I’ve decided to start by discussing the basics of the campaign itself: the appearance, the video, and the reward tiers. Moving forward, I’ll discuss the rest of the campaign, from the updates and stretch goals to the reviews and outreach.

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Shadow Throne Kickstarter: Initial Impressions

Shadow Throne funded! Photo courtesy of Deb Fristoe. Thanks mom!

Shadow Throne funded! Photo courtesy of Deb Fristoe. Thanks mom!

The Shadow Throne Kickstarter came to a close at the end of last week, and I’m pleased to announce it was successful, bringing in $16,066! We didn’t quite hit the Shifting Shadows expansion stretch goal, but there was a ton of interest in the expansion, so I will probably look into Kickstarting it next year after backers get their copies of Shadow Throne. If you missed the campaign, it’s not too late to preorder a copy of the game through the Nothing Sacred Games shop!

In the coming weeks I’ll be examining the Kickstarter in a lot more detail, but today I wanted to share a few quick thoughts on it.

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The Shadow Throne Origin Story

 

Shadow Throne is now up on Kickstarter!

Shadow Throne is now up on Kickstarter!

Shadow Throne is now up on Kickstarter, so it’s about time I shared the origin story with all of you!

As I mentioned when discussing Shadow Throne design goals, and you saw when I went over the evolution of Shadow Throne card design, games don’t come from a single moment; they are a long slog, the culmination of months of incremental improvements. That said, the design process often starts from a spark of inspiration, which is how Shadow Throne began. Today, I want to tell you that story, which will also give me the opportunity to discuss creativity a little more abstractly.

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Shadow Throne: The Evolution of Cards

Last week I discussed the design goals I set out for Shadow Throne. This week, I thought I’d discuss the game from a different vantage point: the evolution of the graphic design of the cards.

I really enjoy doing these retrospective posts. Working on a game, you make so many tiny changes, it can be difficult to remember where you started and how far you’ve come. Additionally, it helps show how the designer’s understanding and priorities shift over the design process. Plus, it gives me a chance to show off a really awesome card frame you’ll see in the final game!

So let’s get to it with a card from the first Shadow Throne prototype…

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Shadow Throne Design Goals

Shadow Throne has come a long way from when it was just a little collection of design goals in my mind...

Shadow Throne has come a long way from when it was just a little collection of design goals in my mind…

The Kickstarter for Shadow Throne, Nothing Sacred Games’ next big release, is right around the corner! Over the next several months, you’ll be learning a lot about the game and its development. To kick things off, I thought I’d spend a little time describing the design goals that helped inspire and guide the development of the game.

What are design goals? Design goals are high level objectives a designer has for a game. Sometimes, these have to do with theme. Sometimes, they have to do with mechanics. Sometimes they’re about components. They almost always deal with the experience of the player. And while they don’t always limit what the designer will allow in the game, they usually should.

A while back, I discussed the design goals for Fungus, a game I spent many months working on. (Fans of Fungus shouldn’t worry… the game isn’t forgotten!) Today’s treatment of Shadow Throne will follow in that article’s footsteps.

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Design Analysis: Corporate America

Between playtesting, promotion, and just hanging out with friends, I’ve seen and played Corporate America well over 200 times. Even after playing that many times, I’m happy to say still I enjoy the game. Corporate America really lets individual personalities shine, so each game feels like a new experience.

Corporate America: awesome, if imperfect.

Corporate America: awesome, if imperfect.

But when you play a game that much, you see the full gamut of what the game has to offer, from the good to the bad. Couple that with the fact that you are (or should be) your own worst critic, and I’ve had a lot of time to think about how Corporate America could be improved. Today, I want to discuss what I would do different if I could do it over again.

Now, before I spend a couple thousand words tearing apart my own game, I want to emphasize that I actually think Corporate America is awesome. It’s my proudest accomplishment. People around the world have discovered and enjoyed the game. Reviewers seem to like it, too. The game is unique, meaningful, and a ton of fun. So even though the tone of this post will be critical, keep in mind that the game is great and you should definitely get and play it.

But even the greatest games can be improved, especially when they’re as experimental as Corporate America. So, if I could change five things about the game design, what would I do?

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