Well, it’s been just shy of a week since PAX South ended, and we’ve been hard at work here at Randover Games. We learned a great deal during our time in San Antonio, and here is a quick post to let you guys in on some of our updates.
Encounters the Wild
Coming out of the shadows (or as one company called it, “Goodbye, Obscurity Mode”) is a big step for any start up. Until you start getting other opinions, you can safely sit with all the hopes and dreams of any untested aspiration. Once you get under the eye of your perspective peers and patrons, it’s a completely different situation. Did you prepare enough? Were your ideas good enough in the first place? Should you even be doing this?!
In truth, these first impressions are rarely either good or bad enough for it to be telling about your success or place in an industry. Most people meet you with idle curiosity at best, and apathy at worst; hardly a series of reactions worth making much hay over. However, these facts are a small comfort for someone with an untested, unrevealed idea; and let me tell you, it can be stressful.
All that being said, I can happily report that Randover Games came away from PAX South with a new found confidence in our direction and excitement for the future. We rekindled old connections from my previous work in the video game enthusiast press, and we spawned a large set of new new connections with developers, both established and starting out just like us. Our Twitter is slowly growing and we’re beginning to make a place for ourselves in the general board game community. It’s really a fun time for us here.
But enough of that, what did we learn about our games?
Our play tests were very successful and we learned a great deal about our big headlining title. The biggest positive we learned from our playing is that the mechanics are working rock solidly and were easily picked up by all the players. I spent a great deal of time chipping the mechanics down to be as simple as possible, and it seems to be paying off in ease of use and initial impressions. A huge win for our first public tests.
That said, we discovered some major room to grow: our reward devices were a bit lacking (see: non-existent). I spent so much time making a well oiled machine, that I stripped out just a little too much of the actual fun! Thankfully, we quickly got on the case and had a rather enjoyable time injecting a lot of that fun right back into the game. As a final note, we have a lot of exciting news to reveal in the next few weeks as our art continues to grow and develop. We are currently in talks with some amazing illustrators for the wide selection of monsters and our amazing character artist, Holly Hansel, has some ridiculously cool character art we can’t wait to show off.
Cast and Capture
Our time publicly playing C&C was very encouraging; within only a couple turns, every player understood the simple mechanics of this fishing game. Even more fun, once they had a grasp of the normal play, they started noticing more complex and tactical maneuvers with very little input from Pantics and I.
With bright, interesting art, and striking card design, this title turned out to be quite the head turner too. We played many games while waiting in line and it never failed to draw at least one person’s curiosity. Unfortunately, this kid friendly game isn’t necessarily directed at the general PAX crowd, so attention waned fairly quickly, but we are undeterred. This is a fun little game and I can’t wait to see it fully fleshed out with wonderful and interesting art.
Truth be told, we took Tainted to PAX South without ever play testing. Not once. I made the cards with a rule set in mind and a flow of game mapped out in my head, but we never had the minimum 4 players for any test in the scant few days before leaving for San Antonio. Keeping this in mind, it’s not hard to believe me when I say the mechanics were a bit less… polished.
That said, we had an amazing time playing Tainted with friends, both old and new. Over the course of just a few hours of playing we had so much fun that people didn’t want to stop meddling and tweaking it with us. We learned a lot, and on the drive home, we restructured the game with a new set of rules built around what we were able to learn. We now have a vastly improved prototype rule set that doesn’t require a single card change! It’s simple, it’s frantic, and most importantly, it is fun. I can’t wait for the insanity of play test number two.
PAX South was a great learning experience for us, and a brilliant way to start 2015. Everyone here at Randover Games is now looking forward to the next convention with a hunger that is practically palpable. We feel like we belong, and we hope you will all get to meet us and play our games. Maybe, after it is all said and done, you’ll think we belong too.
Thanks for reading, and Game On.