Here's his rendition of the Oxcart Teamster, who was actually first seen on the game board itself. This is a card we've added in recent months of development as one of our starting refugees, to help balance availability of resources. I love the adorable oxen!
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Yet another in our amazing series of invader cards by Tomas, to round out new additions to the base game invaders! His lighting skills really shine in this one!
Also, we had a great time at Gamestorm this weekend. We had lots of great feedback from play-testers on our new game, Mountain God's Revenge. We had the pleasure of playing After the Empire with one of our long time supporters, James Hampton, who's been playing throughout the evolution of the game and can give us great insights. After a long day of play-testing, Ryan went home and I was privileged to play a late night game or two with local design legends Tim Eisner (March of the Ants and Grimm Forest) and Ryan Spangler (Sol).
First, we three played Antiquity. This was my first Splotter game, so now I get what people were talking about. This game is everything I didn't know I wanted from Settlers of Catan: bigger, better, heavier, and more engaging. And, if you're not careful, you can totally mess it up! Can you accidentally spend all your wood, then have no way to get more necessary resources for the rest of the game? Yep. Don't spend all your wood, unless you already have a woodcutter who can get you more next turn!
Then, Ryan and I twice played Tak, a great abstract game in the vein of chess, checkers, and go. The first game and a half I was basically convinced that it was mostly blind luck and there was no way to know or plan what to do more than 1-2 moves in advance. But, eventually things gelled, and it's really quite a deep and engaging yet quick play experience.
Check out another one of our new refugee cards! Ted has really captured the feel we were hoping for on this one!
Check out this new piece from our old friend Tomas O. Muir! As we've been figuring out what exactly is in the basic game and what is in the advanced play variant, we needed to add a little more content! So, here's one of the new invader cards!
So, what's been happening? Lots! So, we've been subjecting After the Empire to some penultimate playtesting rigors by even more people as we get closer and closer to the final stages of getting the game ready! Believe it or not, that's actually leading to some down time for Ryan and Evan here at Portland Gamecraft.
Downtime!? Not really. Actually, we've been busy working on lots of new designs and having fun playtesting them all:
What's this monstrosity? It's a secret...unless you can read Evan's chicken scratch on paper scraps for a game he's wanted to make for well over a decade. This one's going to take some time, so you might not see it any time soon unless you live in Portland and come by one of our playtest sessions.
Here's a lighter weight physical strategy game prototype we're excited about that's pretty darn unique. We're getting ready to bring it with us to PAX Unplugged in Philly next month. It'll be a little less stark white by that point...but probably not too much!
Here's another one we've been fiddling around with for about a year now! A big thanks to the gentleman who was still up with us at 3am Sunday morning at Gen Con.
And, of course, we're still playing lots of After the Empire and dreaming big for our release with Grey Fox Games next year! Thanks to Thomas for getting me out to Guardian Games in Portland this weekend to play a couple more rounds with him. It's always a pleasure to get destroyed by a fledgling upstart! I've played this thing well over 300 times, and you still kicked my butt twice in a row! We also met Jonas and Anders, who put up tough competition and provided some great feedback! I forgot to take photos!
Of course, there are lots of other ideas and things on the horizon for Portland Gamecraft, but rest assured, our primary focus is making our first game the best game it can possibly be. We're very excited to be working with Grey Fox, and we're very excited that they're helping to make one of my favorite games ever become a reality!
Well, we're finally recovering from a crazy sleep-deprived weekend in Indianapolis. There were so many amazing games and people there, it was almost too much. Our highlights were meeting up with Grey Fox's Shane and Josh, seeing our good friend's The Grimm Forest hit #1 on the hotness list, 7 minutes of heart-pumping mech-battling video-game action, meeting the incredible and friendly Margaret Weis, play-testing one of our currently unnamed projects, hanging with some hometown friends, and of course, playing After the Empire with friends both old and new.
We are very excited for the direction After the Empire has taken since working with Grey Fox, and we are looking forward to finishing it up and finally getting it out to all of you mercifully patient folks! We promise it's even better than before and hope you like it as much as we do!
As always, if you're in the Portland area, just get in touch with us if you want to join in on our playtesting sessions to help us make our games even better!
We're stoked to be at Gen Con 50 this year. It'll be our first, and we think we're jumping in on a good one!
Since signing on with Grey Fox for publishing, we've been working hard and focusing on making After the Empire the best possible game we can now that they're taking care of all the marketing and other heavy lifting. This has enabled us to make some really good changes, improve the experience for the first time player, and clean up a few things that had always felt just a little bit off.
The base game design is ready to go and we're excited to show it to Grey Fox for final approval, as well as all the last minute play-testing with you in case we totally missed something! We don't have a booth, so be on the lookout for us or just shoot us an email if you'd like to meet up and get a sneak peak or play-test. Here is our last play-test board by Print and Play in Vancouver, WA before Grey Fox helps us clean it up and make it all shiny, professional, and otherwise amazing!
Don't forget to come find us this weekend in Missouri!
"Four days of peace, love, and board games in St. Charles, Missouri, May 18th-21st at the 13th annual Geekway to the West!"
Come join us for a wonderful weekend of gaming! We will be at the Geekway prototype event on the tables in the lobby area near the library Friday night from 6pm - 9pm. Aside from that, we'll just be setting up wherever we can find a spot. See you there!
We are still waiting to put much information out about the actual game mechanics until we're 100% certain we are finished tweaking rules. This is so when After the Empire is released there will be no confusion when anyone tries to lookup resources and finds any older materials that may be outdated at that time.
But, we also understand that we need to put a little something out there, so people can get an idea of how to play this game, so they can tell if they might be interested. So, We made this brief little video last month with the sub heading "In-development rules as of 4/4/17" showing one round of the game.
Also, you get to see Ryan and Evan supporting their local game store (of which Ryan is co-owner), the Portland Game Store.
Here's the link: https://youtu.be/3mG6XHRtPyM
We really enjoyed our time this weekend at PDXAGE (sadly, the last). We had the pleasure of playing After the Empire with so many wonderful folks! It was great to catch up with our old friends and meet so many new ones to help us work out a few more kinks!
The folks at Blue Heron were kind enough to loan us one of their wonderful plastic dice and bits trays (see below) to help keep our play space organized!
A couple of the great folks helping us to put the finishing touches on our game before we launch our Kickstarter! Check out those stone walls! Impenetrable...well, at least until the Trebuchet shows up.
And the wonderfully supportive folks from Daily Magic Games came and gave me a run for my money in a 4 player game! If you don't already know, they are very active and generous in building and growing our entire gaming industry as well as the local gaming community in Seattle and Portland. Oh, plus they make awesome games! You should check out their live Kickstarter for their newest project, Sailing Toward Osiris, here!
Okay, so what's the big announcement? We've finally chosen our official Kickstarter launch date: August 16th, 2017!
A few of you in the know may be thinking "wait a minute, you said JUNE!" It's true, we had been shooting for mid to late June up till this point. And, it served us very well as a goal-post to help drive progress forward at a strong pace. We sat down for our Monday meeting determined to finalize our launch date. We considered many factors. There were of course a few non-game-related ones, including my upcoming honeymoon trip to Scotland. Scotland!? Awesome, right!? Except Evan would've been gone for 10 days smack dab in the middle of our previously estimated campaign time. And, of course, there was finals week for Ryan (good luck!), as well as various other of life's many important non-game-related things. But, with proper planning, those were all surmountable challenges to a successful Kickstarter in and of themselves.
The real reason is: we were rushing to get everything done. Don't get us wrong, we're not slowing down one bit as we finish up all our remaining graphic design and information presentation challenges. But, we are going to make sure everything is in place and ready to not only make a successful Kickstarter (with your help!), but most importantly, to make the best darn game we can for ourselves and for you all. We'll get in those last few playtests of that one little rule tweak, double check the placement of that one little icon, make sure the stone wall pieces fit together all nice and cuddly, and triple check that our rulebook can be read and understood by people who didn't make the game.
We believe After the Empire is already a great game as it currently sits on the table. And, it's only going to get better with the proper time to smooth the last rough edges. We strive to make the best game we can, a game we're proud of and stand behind in the years to come. Thank you all so much for your time, your enthusiasm, and your support! Let's make After the Empire known across tables everywhere!
We just got our new prototypes in! It feels pretty awesome to have a stack of After the Empire sitting on my desk.
Here's Ryan working hard on making some 3D printed walls perfect before we ship a copy to one of our reviewers!
And here's what it's looking like if I spread some game components out right before we play! I put a few cards out face up from the decks for you to see, but I didn't want to cover up our game board too much. With the kickstarter coming up in June, we still have a lot of preparation, but I'm very excited for how it's looking right now!
We already have a great group of graphic designers (Cole Munro-Chitty and Jason Harris) currently working hard on After the Empire, but I just had a great meeting with the newest member of our team today, our friend Zoe Morgan-Montoya! She'll be helping us get many of our home-made icons ready for final test-prints over the next couple months. I'll be sad to see some of my placeholders go (I have an overdeveloped fondness for a couple of them - see below), but having game icons that look like a professional adult made them will be a great improvement!
PS - In case you've seen my admittedly horrible iconography, my personal favorites are Farm (wheat bale with 3 little geese) and Refugee (profile shot of a guy who looks kinda like Beavis' father, or an estranged uncle).
We finally got ourselves some sweet branded Ts for our convention appearances! Here's a dorky photo:
Also, we're very excited for our upcoming prototype printing (the box above is our current prototype). We'll be sending the newest copies out to some reviewers here in the next week or two!
Also, we'll be needing some blind playtesting help from any who are willing or interested to take After the Empire from us for a day or two to play with your play group and give us feedback. You'll get the game with our current rulebook, and as little further information as possible. We want to know not only what you did and did not enjoy about playing our game and your suggestions, but also especially looking for feedback regarding the rulebook and difficulty of learning After the Empire as compared with cold plays of other medium-heavy Euro games. The rules are pretty easy when we are there to explain the game, but we need to know what happens when it's just the rulebook there to help and no play through videos available. (Of course we'll make a play through video soon for the kickstarter in June). We've made some good changes and simplifications to the rulebook with the last few times we've done this, but we still need more help! Due to having only very few prototypes and lots of events coming up where we'll need them, we're looking for people who are in or near Portland for this, so we can avoid long wait-times (and shipping costs).
Thank you all who've helped us get this far! Let's keep going and make the best game (and rulebook) that we can!
Here's a photo from Ryan's house this Friday just prior to playing a couple games of After the Empire! Special thanks to those who came out to play with us; we had a great time!
Another amazing collaboration between the incredible artists Baconstrap and Ted Ottosson! They've done a wonderful job and we couldn't be more proud to have this as the centerpiece for After the Empire. I love all the details! It's a true work of art! The graphic design overlay is also coming along nicely! Only 2 months away from our kickstarter and things are really taking shape!
A staple among our great artists, Baconstrap has not only created many other great pieces of art you'll find throughout After the Empire, but he's completed a wonderful piece that we are lucky enough to put on the front of our box! It's beautiful and a perfect first glance for a game about defending your city from sieging invaders!
Here's player board #4/4 by the wonderful Baconstrap and Ted Ottosson! We're very excited to have these pieces finished for our new prototype printing (from our very own local Print and Play...thanks Chase!) just in time for Gamestorm this weekend! We'll be bringing these new player boards PLUS a first look at our game board with some new graphic design elements. Join us and be among the first to play on these beautiful boards! Or just come on by and take a look or chat with us! Online scheduling has been closed, but you can see the schedule here: http://schedule.gamestorm.org/index.html. We still have some room for our Friday and Saturday games, and there will be sign-up sheets available at the event. Here are our demo times and the current sign-up head count:
Friday, March 31st
 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM: 0/4
 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM: 1/4
Saturday, April 1st
 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM: 2/4
[????] 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM: Currently missing from schedule, so unsure of head count
 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM: 0/4
Sunday, April 2nd
 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM: 4/4 - Sorry, this one's full!
 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM: 4/4 - Sorry, this one is, too!
Here's #3/4 from the talented Baconstrap and Ted Ottosson! I love the snowy winter theme and iced over river!
And, of course Gamestorm is in 1 week and we're running demos all weekend. Go to http://schedule.gamestorm.org/index.html to see what spots are available and sign up!
Check out another great one from Ted Ottosson and Baconstrap. These guys are awesome!
Also, don't forget to come see us at Gamestorm in 2 weeks! We're running demos March 31st - April 2nd. Go to http://schedule.gamestorm.org/index.html to sign up!
We just got back from the GAMA board game and retail industry trade show, where we got to hob nob and chat with lots of industry big wigs, distributors, and retailers. We also got to sneak in a few demo sessions with some of those folks!
But, don't worry, we haven't forgotten you! You can come play After the Empire with us at the end of this month at Gamestorm here in Portland! Here are the scheduled demo times:
Friday 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Friday 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Saturday 11:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Saturday 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Sunday 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Sunday 2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Go to http://schedule.gamestorm.org/index.html to see what time slots are left and make sure you're on the list! Plus, you get to check out our brand new player board art by the talented artists Baconstrap and Ted Ottosson! Imagine building and defending your city walls on this: