Project Update: A good first turn! Let's play some more :D
It has been a little over 24 hours, and it's been a great first day for Innovation Ultimate. Over 1500 backers, $100K raised, triple our goal, and some pretty ridiculous games of Innovation that we streamed online. If you missed the streams, worry not, we'll be doing more soon!
As the card demands, I'd like to thank each and every person who's chosen to support our project here on BackerKit - you all are the reason we make games, and you're also the reason we're able to make games. We're thrilled that so many folks still enjoy a game that was built almost 15 years ago now, and one that we're very excited to upgrade.
Happy Wednesday, everyone!
The easy way is to just use clear sleeves, but I was wondering if anyone was trying to do something nicer. Say, colored (for expansions) matte sleeves with numbers on the back marking age. Don't know how one would go about acquiring sleeves of this kind though. Any ideas?
Project Update: November Update: Artwork, Gameplay, Clarity, Pledge Management/Schedule, and PAX Unplugged!
Artwork & Graphic Design
As we mentioned during the campaign, we've done a redesign of the card backs. We've also changed the previous checkerboard pattern on the card fronts to a design that is related to that age's back artwork:
What you can also see here is that we've done a full redesign of the latticework that connects icons when piles are splayed. In 3rd edition, we had the latticework change from age to age. Since we're doing the background art differences, this freed up the latticework to do an important new duty: Color identification!
Now, the lattices differ by card color, not age. They now have shapes related directly to the shape surrounding the card's age/value in the top right. Our goal here is for this to provide a significant distinction between card colors to anyone with color vision difficulties, and will also make each color's splayed grid look more consistent.
We're also working on making the 150+ new card images for The Unseen, Age 11 cards, and a handful of card identity changes across the other sets. Lots of cool new things to represent!
With the playtesting resources we have available on Yucata and BoardGameArena, we've been able to play a LOT of Innovation over the past couple months, as have many of you! We've been taking in feedback and adjusting card balance based on our experiences and others. Some highlights:
- Buffing some of the early Unseen cards to speed up games that were getting a bit bogged down
- Lots of clarifications for self-execute/fully-execute cards that caused
- Updating Aslant-splay card effects to be cooler and allow for more splayed cards
- Buffs for late Cities with bonuses to give each 3x instead of 2x
- Changes to several age 9/10/11 cards in Base to make the late-game flow through ages better
There are many many more changes to cards (small and large) that we've been making as we go. We're getting pretty happy with where the game is, but there's still testing to be done.
Effects / Wording Clarity
One place we've been making a number of changes is card wording clarity. Removing extraneous phrases that were confusing, general streamlining, and making cards from different sets that did similar things more consistent in their wording.
An example of this is the new keyword self-execute which replaces wording like "execute all non-demand effects on [card]. Do not share them". We've also isolated visible to only refer to cards in a stack. A splayed stack has all cards in it visible, an unsplayed stack's top card is the only one visible. Other effects that refer to icons, hex/card images, bonuses always now only refer to those on a top card or those revealed by a splay.
There is one potential wording cleanup that we'd like backer input on - cards like Masonry: "You may meld any number of cards from your hand, each with an [A]. If you melded four or more cards in this way, claim the Monument achievement."
We're considering the following options:
- 3E wording: "If you meld four or more cards in this way..."
- Simplified: "If you meld four cards in this way..." (With rulebook definition that during verification, numbers include "or more")
- Ordinal: "If you meld a fourth card in this way..." (With rulebook definition that ordinals - second, third, fourth, etc always include "or more")
There's a poll attached to this update (hopefully?) that allows you to vote for the option that you think works best. Thanks for your input on the topic!
We haven't yet opened the pledge manager, and we're probably not going to until December at this point. We need to do some back-end things with BackerKit to do with shipping before we can get that running, and frankly right now - getting the game finished is more important!
Our aim was to send the game to print around December 1, but we've undertaken a good amount of extra work with the cardbacks and more balance updates than we'd initially thought. We still very much want to submit the files to the factory by the end of the year, but it might slip a couple weeks beyond that. We still aim to deliver in the Spring - none of this was going to be on presses until after CNY regardless.
PAX Unplugged: Booth 3246
We will have a demo set of Base + Unseen (maybe one other expansion, we'll see - I have to cut them by hand) at PAX Unplugged the first weekend in December, and we'd love to have you stop by! We'll have a giant inflatable Plumplim, as is tradition. It's majestic.
Project Update: Final week - Gratitude and Ongoing Work!
I'd like to address and apologize for the quietness of the back half of this campaign. My original plans were to be more active streaming plays on BoardGameArena and Yucata, among other things. Unfortunately, as some of you are no doubt aware from my posts on other projects and elsewhere on social media, it's been an extremely difficult year for me personally. Without going into too much detail, there's a family medical situation that's been taking much of my time, and in particular over the past couple weeks I've spent many, many hours going back and forth to the hospital and otherwise dealing with things. I sincerely appreciate the well-wishes, thoughts and support I've received. The good news is that things seem to be trending in a positive direction with regard to the situation. I'm hopeful that I'll have more time and energy for game-things during the Fall.
While I've been largely sidelined, work has been continuing in a variety of areas on the project. As we shared in the last update, we're working on new images for the card backs. We've got three more of them in various stages of completion and sketching, and will be showing some of that art in the coming weeks as we progress toward print-readiness. We're also working on the individual card images (the hexagons) for the Unseen, the new Age 11 cards in other sets, and a small handful of other icons across existing cards that need updates. We're also still poking at the card-front template, making small adjustments as we prepare to create all the cards in the updated style. InDesign adventures are coming, hooray!
On the game design side, lots of playtesting has been going on both on BGA and Yucata, and we've been amassing feedback from all of the game's fans who've helped us out by playing the game! Lots of things are working great, but a few things may still need some tweaks for balance, fun, or just wording clarity. It's been super valuable to have so many eyes on the game, and I think it'll result in even better quality than we would've had without that participation.
Thanks again to each and every one of you! We couldn't make great games without people who want to play them, and your early support for Innovation Ultimate here on BackerKit helps us significantly in bringing Innovation Ultimate to you all in its best possible version.
Project Update: Last Day! Quick Licensing / Localization Update
I wanted to offer a quick update on localization - I'd hoped to share more details before the end of the campaign, but the situation I mentioned in the last update has prevented me from finalizing contracts and doing a formal announcement of partners. I can say that we're confident that there will be forthcoming editions of Innovation in Spanish, French, German, Chinese, with strong possibilities of some other languages as well. These versions will all carry the same look and design presentation as the English version, with some small adjustments for language as necessary.
Work on those editions cannot start until our version is fully complete, so it will be early 2024 before we share files with our localization partners - their versions are not part of this campaign nor will they be available from us directly in the pledge manager.
We're really excited to wrap this campaign up and thankful to everyone who's backed and supported us! Have a great Friday, everyone :D
Love the new look. Pledged as soon as I saw the replacement of the checkerboard with the new, tastefully placed architectural highlights. Looking forward to this new edition of one of my favorite games. One piece of feedback on the current iteration: I think the impact of the both the art and design would be improved by removing the unnecessary thick black and white boarders around the icons. These boarders have a very specific late 80/early 90s windows powerpoint referent that to me doesn't feel thematic while distracting from the rest of the design. They also are inconsistent with the design for the circular victory point/bonus icon boarder without adding any needed differentiation. I think the design as a whole would really pop with the removal of these boarders. The rest feels like is moving in a great direction. Thanks for all your hard work!
Yeah, there is quite a big wave of negativity by a very vocal few, but I want to say that this is a good campaign, the effort to keep it civil, added to the consideration of options and changes to the cards and their designs, added to personal issues that every person will have beyond their control, is to be recognized, and that's what I want to say. Thank you. PS: As a proof that the icons work, look at that image with the game at the right. What is that yellow card? No clue, too small. But what are their icons? Easy. A crown at the top (And who cares if people is calling them crowns or coins? None of those is the official name anyway), and at the bottom, black hex, then two castles. That is what the design wants to do. The green city next to it has two bonuses of 7 points, two clocks, and a leaf. Even those cards on top of the decks, you can tell what icons they are (those that aren't obscured by the other cards, of course)