Final Days!

Hi Everybody!

Well, the Kickstarter is about to come to an end and if you’ve been waiting to share it around with your friends or to support…now’s the time! The final 2-3 days is crunch time!

If you want to see the game in action, we just uploaded a couple play through videos for your enjoyment! Hopefully, my exuberance and our trash talk isn’t too distracting for you! We tried to keep it reasonable!

Click here If you want to see a 3 Player Playthrough with Ryan and I and featuring Jenna, currently the person with the most wins on record who’s neither Ryan nor myself. This one’s a little lively and I don’t shut up.

Click here if you want to see a 2 Player Playthrough with Ryan and I. This one’s a little more calm for the first half, then I get too excited mid-way through and once again keep talking. Extra special treat at 39:50 if you’re into topical improv singing. Thanks to Ryan, for really bringing that home with the lyrics scrawl.

For those of you who are waiting for the solo mode, I’ve been working hard to get it ready in time. We need more development/testing on it. But, I’m still hopeful we’ll be able to squeeze it in there in time before the pledge manager closes if not by the end of the campaign!

Thanks!

-Evan

After the (Empire) Weekend!

Thanks to the wonderful Jonathan Liu from GeekDad for including us in his recent post here!

And thanks to all you folks who found us at the Rose City Comicon this weekend! We had a great time meeting you and showing you our game! Also, this event was HUGE and awesome! You should totally go next year if you haven’t been yet! I got to meet local designers like Manny Trembley of Dice Throne, and Tyler Tinsley of Dicey Goblins fame!

The Kickstarter is still going and we still need your help! Keep it going!

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After the Empire at Rose City Comicon!

Hi Everyone!

So, sorry this was a little last minute! But, we were at the Rose City Comicon today, and will be there again tomorrow starting about 10am, and perhaps even Sunday. Come find us in the board games room and play a game or two (lots of other cool games in there, too!! Special thanks to our friend Ben Eisner for helping get us setup there!

Also, in recent news:

Ryan did an interview with Nick from Board Game Expose here!

Then Ryan did an interview with Lizzy at Board Game Spotlight here!

Help us get the word out and put a little spice into the mid-campaign lull! Tell everyone you can think of to check out the kickstarter! And, if you’ve played it, tell everyone about your experience!

Thanks!

Kickstarter so far!

Hi Everyone!

We’re very grateful to all of you who have already supported us! Thanks to those who are new, and a special thanks to those of you who’ve been waiting for 2+ years! This really is a dream come true for Ryan and I. It’s becoming a reality and some months down the road, I’ll actually be holding my very own copy of the game we made together.

If you haven’t shared the campaign yet, help us keep it going! I want my copy (and yours) to have as many cool upgrades as possible! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/152730994/after-the-empire-0/

Check out our awesome friend Hannah, who mentioned us on her makeup vlog at 28:16 here!

Read an awesome review in French here!

Check out this Kickstarter list we’re on here!

Check out the awesome video discussing our game in French at 17:34 here!

The Kickstarter is tomorrow!

We had a blast playing and teaching After the Empire to everyone at PAX West in the First Look section. Thank you so much to everyone who was able to join us! We even got to see Mike, who is one of our earliest and biggest fans out there. He first played here at PAX West 2 or 3 years ago! And, it was always good to see James and Andy, who’ve been fans almost as long! Special thanks to Ryan for letting us crash at your apartment and Andy for helping us get setup!

The Kickstarter goes live tomorrow, and we’d love your support again! Watch here or Grey Fox for exact start time and links to the campaign. You’ll see all the components, watch some play through videos, and see a review or 2 to help you see what you’re getting in case you’ve never had the chance to play it before. In the meantime, here’s a bunch of photos from when I remembered to take them this weekend:

Thanks for all the fun this weekend!

After the Empire at PAX West!

Come join us to play a demo of After the Empire if you’ve never had the chance or if you want to try it again! The Kickstarter goes live September 3rd! We’ll be in the First Look section of the board game area Friday evening, all day Saturday, and likely the first part of Sunday. If you can’t find us, just send an email and we’ll make sure to point you in the right direction!

Click here to see the list of all the other awesome games in First Look!

Hopefully, we’ll see some of you this weekend in Seattle!

The strange story of After the Empire...

Well, if you’ve been following along, we were doing alright on the Kickstarter and even funded about 200%. But, the campaign just wasn’t quite as ready and approachable as it could’ve been and I think we lost a lot of steam because of that. So, Grey Fox is going to relaunch September 3rd! Please back us again the second time around and tell all your friends! Hopefully, it’ll be more enticing this time, with more content, reviews, and maybe even a play-through video! For those of you who’ve been waiting for After the Empire for over 2 years now, this should almost seem fitting. This thing will happen, I promise! Thanks again, and sorry for what I hope is the final delay in this game finally becoming a reality.

Here’s how Ryan put it:

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for all your support of our game, After The Empire. However, the publisher, Grey Fox Games, has decided to cancel the current kickstarter campaign, and relaunch in a few weeks with a stronger advertising presence and better content. I'll be posting about it all again, but for now, here's Grey Fox's reasons in their own words:

"Hey After the Empire backers,

As you may have noticed, we've been silent for today. That is because we have been looking hard at this campaign and after much deliberation, we've decided to temporarily cancel this campaign. We did not come to this decision lightly and we would like to share our thoughts behind this decision, but first we’d like to thank each and every one of you who jumped in and supported us in this campaign. You honor us with the faith you showed in us as a company and in this fantastic game. We're incredibly grateful for all of you and we hope you will rejoin us when this campaign relaunches on September 3rd.

Why We're Canceling
It has become clear from both the helpful comments of backers and the relatively low traffic that this campaign is getting that there are things we can do better and we’d like to take the relaunch as an opportunity to do just that.

We understand that we have missed the mark in several key ways:

1. Showing off how amazing and unique the gameplay is

(This is a game we think has the potential to be ranked in the top 100 games of all-time on BGG. It's both epic and satisfying)

2. Making it clear how much value backers are getting from a production standpoint.

(We know from showing this game off at conventions that After the Empire has an unbelievable table presence. We need to do a better job of communicating just how sprawling all the goodies you get with this game are)

3. Raising awareness about the campaign.

(Our efforts on getting the word should have been much stronger before this initial launch and we intend to spend the next couple weeks building awareness about the campaign)

4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, giving you more exclusive goodies right from the start!

The Relaunch
When this campaign relaunches on September 3rd, it will have more exclusive goodies right out of the gate.

We intend on giving you more exclusive and upgraded components with the base pledge from the start. We think you'll be quite pleased with it.

We will have full gameplay videos, more previews, and a cleaner rulebook so that everyone can get a clearer sense of how After the Empire plays.

We'll have additional add-ons tied to the campaign as well.

We'll also be making daily updates on social media and stepping up our marketing efforts to ensure awareness is increased.

What You Can Do
First and foremost, if you saw enough here to love that you backed this campaign, please come back on September 3rd and pledge your support again.

In the meantime, help us spread the word.

We have provided some cool After the Empire social media avatars that we encourage you to use to help us raise awareness about this campaign over the next few weeks.

Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your support! We're doing this to make the best possible game we can and bring it to the widest possible audience on release. We greatly appreciate your understanding and continued support.

There will be an update here as well as an announcement in our Grey Fox Games newsletter when the relaunch goes live. Until then, thanks again!

- Grey Fox Games"

After the Empire Funded!

After only a few hours, we have funded! Thank you so much for everyone who’s already backed After the Empire. We’re so grateful for your support.

But, don’t stop now! Call your friends, share the campaign on facebook and twitter! The stronger we can end our first 24 hours, the more likely we’ll reach even farther by the end of it and be able to unlock all kinds of awesome stretch goals for your copy! Keep going!

After the Empire Kickstarter is nigh! August 13th!

Have you been waiting for this Kickstarter to launch for a long time? So have we, and it’s finally here! Thank you so much for all your patience. Please urge anyone who you think would be interested to go and back the game the very first day of the campaign. The more buzz we have early in the campaign, the more lists we get on, and the more the Kickstarter algorithm pumps us up. Please help us get this game out there!

Some wonderful people have been talking about After the Empire! Check out this nice spotlight! And, Grey Fox Games has some reviews in the works that should be published soon!

We’ll post an update with a link to the Kickstarter page once it’s live! You can also follow along on the facebook page here!

After the Empire at Origins!

We were busy this past weekend in Columbus, OH demoing After the Empire! It’s always a fun convention, as it falls on the same weekend as the Pride Parade, which runs right past the convention center. We got a another chance to hang out with the awesome Grey Fox Games folks and do some more development work with them. Check out Alex from Grey Fox discussing ATE here at about minute 7:00. The timeline for the kickstarter is still not set in stone at this point, but sometime in the next few months is the plan. Here’s what our demo setup looked like:

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While we were there, we also had the opportunity to sit down with a few other publishers to take a look at our zombie game, a fishing game, our hex map adventure combat game, and moved things forward with the likely publisher of Mountain God’s Revenge, which is getting close to being our second officially signed game!

A Surprise Quasi-Interview

We were recently contacted by a group working on a game creation centered story-telling project for a large sporting goods company. They had lots of questions regarding the creation of games. I’m modifying the format to fit this blog, but here’s generally what was asked and answered if you find such discussions interesting:

1) Take us through what you think makes a great game and perhaps some key considerations that you make.

Maybe I'm pigeon holing your company here, but I'm assuming they're looking more for a physical game, like basketball or hopscotch, whereas we create tabletop board games. I've never created a more physical type of game and don't see myself as a great story-teller. That being said, there are inevitably some overlaps between the two disciplines. Off the top of my head, these might include:
- must balance excitement of possibility with frustration of randomness
- must reward skill and practice while not turning away new players (unless high level competitive)
- minimize 1 off rules and exceptions for smoother and more consistent common sense gameplay
- minimize player elimination or waiting times in longer contests (games lasting >15-20 minutes)
- setting limitations and parameters up front is important

I'm sure there are many more, but I'm not sure I quite understand the specifics of what you're looking for. Also, some games are quite popular despite breaking 1 or many of these rules, so they're more general recommendations rather than game design commandments. So, hopefully that helps.

2) What brings people together and allows them to bond around a set of arbitrary rules?

This very much differs depending on the game. You'll notice the sort of folks that come together to play a heavy Euro board game do not have high cross over rates with folks who come together to play basketball. So, the answer is game and genre specific. The only common denominator is perhaps exactly what you said...something brings people together around a set of arbitrary rules. Depending on the game and genre, these might include: drive for excellence, competition, community, finding tribe, interest in game subject or theme, enjoy physical exertion, enjoy mental exertion, tradition and history, drive for notoriety, drive for money, healthier alternatives to other activity choices, feeling able to express self in the game's context.

2) Why do people continue to invent games when, surely, there must be enough out there already?

I would ask in return, why do people keep writing books? Surely, there are enough books. Your real question is, why do people create when we have everything required for living? For us it started with a basic knowledge of what was out there and the desire to play something a little different, the whim and will to try to make it ourselves. Our first game was initially just for us to play and a fun exercise to accomplish, but eventually we realized others might really like it, too. Many other reasons could include: money, notoriety, sense of accomplishment/acceptance, a need to express oneself in a medium of preference, a feeling of duty or pleasure as it may improve the lives of self or others, sense of purpose/meaning, desire to shape self-identity.

3) What drives game development - culture, environment, beliefs?

Yes, plus self.

4) How do you take action and test an idea?

Again, this will vary greatly depending on the game. General rules are: set intention, ideate, shape to restrictions, make sure it answers or fulfills intention, update, start with the minimum work/money necessary to create a working prototype, test it with self to find flaws, update, test it with trusted groups to find flaws, update, repeat until it's the best you think it can be, test with outside groups, update, repeat until it's the best you think it can be. There are more specifics depending on genre/game and whether you intend to just play it yourself at home, want to sell it to the public, want to sell it to another company, etc.

Updated timeline from Grey Fox Games!

Okay, so the After the Empire kickstarter is officially slated to run after Tsukuyumi (looks really cool), which Grey Fox is running in March. So, After the Empire goes to kickstarter in May, 2019! It’s just a couple months past what we expected, and we are very excited, to say the least! Also, we just looked at a work in progress on some more art they’ve commissioned for ATE, and it’s looking awesome!

On a side note, I recently poked around BGG for mentions of After the Empire. Thanks for everyone who put us on your lists! Here are a few highlights from what I found:

We’re part of this recap from cardboard hoard.
We’re on this most anticipated list.
We’re on this list from heavy cardboard.

PAX Unplugged

We had a great time at PAX Unplugged! We showed lots of people After the Empire, and some of them wrote or spoke a little bit about it. We made Eurogamer’s best 5 PAX Unplugged games list, and Eric from Punchboard Media along with Jake of Draft Mechanic had some nice things to say on the podcast. (Edit: in case you´d like to skip directly to After The Empire conversation, it starts at 01:17:09…thanks I.M).

We had a couple meetings, and we’re still looking to be on track for the first quarter 2019 kickstarter for After the Empire through Grey Fox Games. Let this young gentleman’s double fist pump show you how excited we are:

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We also had some very productive meetings with publishers on a couple of our other games, like Mountain God’s Revenge, 3 Ways to Die (working title), and even my old little family game Big Fish River got a little bit of love. And of course we spent some quality time with our good friend Tim Eisner (watch for his new release Tidal Blades to come out).

Big things are happening!

PAX Unplugged 2018 First Look Preview!

After the Empire will be making a special appearance at this year’s “hot games” first look! The wonderful crew at PAX Unplugged will be showing our upcoming medium-heavy euro game, currently looking at a 1st quarter 2019 kickstarter launch through Grey Fox Games.

If you’re excited to try it out, check out all the details here and be sure to find After the Empire on the list and give us a thumbs up! Last I checked, we were #5 below the post. So, come on down to Hall A this Friday starting at 10am. We’re not sure when they’ll need to make room for other games throughout the weekend, so if you missed it and really wanted to check it out, send us an email and we can probably setup another play for you or at least tell you when we’ll have it back in first look.

We’re very excited, please come by and take a look! Just keep in mind it’s still a prototype!

After the Empire is coming!

Just in case we thought perhaps we’d been dreaming all this time, Grey Fox Game recently teased about the upcoming release in their newsletter! Here’s what they said:

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“We're excited to announce that our first major project for that year will be After the Empire, a game we've been developing for quite some time now.

After the Empire is a worker placement game set in the Middle Ages where you fortify your castle against invaders, all while competing for limited resources and recruiting those left without a home as a result of the ongoing wars.”

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“As you can see from the prototype, this game will have a big-time table presence and really delivers on creating the kind of engaging, immersive experience we specialize in.

More details to come!”

We’re super excited to be working with Grey Fox, and look forward to getting this game to you all!

We’re also bringing our new designs with us to PAX Unplugged in Philadelphia at the end of November! Shoot us an email if you want to meet up with us check out what we’ve been working on!

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Playtesting!

Since Origins, we've been working hard on our games. We gave our good copy of Mountain God's Revenge at Origins to a prospective publisher, and are cobbling together another working play-test copy to further develop some exciting new ideas.

We've also been working hard on getting 3 Ways to Die ready for an upcoming publisher review and possible signing. This coop zombie map and event deck based adventure game with luck and gambling was originally developed by Evan Halbert and Cris Kelly, now with Ryan Mauk lending his assistance after it was resurrected again from my bookshelf. We're having a lot of fun with this one! Here's Cris and his family during one of our play-testing sessions:

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I was also lucky enough to help play-test an upcoming solo version of the board game Santorini. Made by the friendly folks at Roxley Game Laboratory, this is one of my very favorite abstract games. Here's a progress shot of one of my many games ending in defeat:

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Things are also hectic here since Origins because Evan is moving (from one part of Portland to a different part of Portland), which includes selling one thing and buying another. These processes are not user-friendly and could really stand some revision and rules updates.

As always, if you're in or around the Portland area, please don't hesitate to join us for our regular play-testing sessions. Hopefully, we'll see you all soon!