Howdy pals! Thanks for tuning in on the latest and greatest in True Messiah news. This month I have the last of the commissioned art, as well as schedule-y stuff that you’ll definitely want to read if you’re following the game at all. Here’s the rundown:
The True Messiah rulebook now has some nice art serving as the background image for each page, as well as lots of images showing what the game pieces look like and illustrating how the rules work. There’s a fully illustrated round from a sample game near the back, and an index for easy look-up of game terms!
I’ll be making a few minor tweaks before this actually goes into production to depict finished components, reflect any final rewording of the rules, and to abide by binding requirements for manufacturing (for example, rulebooks need to have a page count that is a power of 4 due to the way they’re constructed). Such last-minute alterations aside, the rulebook is now finished.
Testing thus far suggests that my hunch from last month was correct: using a 5 x 6 playable area for 2-player results in tighter games than 6 x 6 did, but without the claustrophobic feel and lack of strategic flexibility produced by 4 x 6. I’ve redesigned the board with this new playable area for 2-player games.
In addition, based on playtester feedback, I’ve made the icons which indicate player start positions less in-your-face so as to help preserve the aesthetics of the wasteland. Here’s the new board design:
For the sake of comparison, this is what the board looked like in its previous incarnation.
With all of the game’s art now complete and the game board design finalized, it’s time to finalize the art on the back of the game box! I’d have finalized this already, but I don’t yet have a physical copy of the final game board available to use in the back-of-box picture of the game. A physical prototype is in production; once that arrives, I’ll take the necessary photos, composite them with the rest of the back-of-box stuff, and the box design will be complete.
Aside from changing the 2-player playable area to 5 x 6, there have been no changes to the rules since last time; just balance tweaks to four cards. Fear of God, which I’ve noticed being not-useful-enough in a few too many matches, has been made a bit more powerful and had its cost decreased slightly. On the other side of things, Teleport and Pilgrimage have had their costs increased slightly to reflect how powerful they are when used properly.
The most important of the card tweaks this month, though, was to Fruit of Knowledge. You may recall from last month that when I scrapped the old “miracle seal” rule, I restricted use of Fruit of Knowledge to “the last player in the turn order” during the first round. This particular wording turned out to be a mistake–it allowed the last player in the turn order to attain a numerical temple advantage almost immediately while still retaining his or her tie-breaking advantage in bidding. It sounds obvious in retrospect, but this imbalanced the game.
I’ve since reworded the card to be usable by any player during the first round, but only during the “last player turn” in the turn order. This makes its usage restrictions identical to those imposed by the old miracle seal rule: it keeps the last player in the turn order from being totally hamstrung by Fruit of Knowledge before their first temple is built, but simultaneously prevents them from gaining a free turn to use it where other players cannot.
For Gen Con, I’ve just received the schedule for True Messiah in the First Exposure Playtest Hall! I’ll be running games of True Messiah in 4 time slots:
Thursday: 6 PM – 8 PM
Thursday: 8 PM – 10 PM
Thursday: 10 PM – 12 AM
Friday: 2 PM – 4 PM
(Note: if you’re going to be at Gen Con and you’re not signed up for the Playtest Hall but you want to play True Messiah, just shoot me an email and I’ll try to schedule a time for you to play!)
In addition to Gen Con, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be running games of True Messiah during all 3 days of ValorCon right here in Chicago. The times:
Friday: 6 PM – 10 PM
Saturday: 12 PM – 4 PM , 6 PM – 10 PM
Sunday: 12 PM – 4 PM , 5 PM – 9 PM
“So Craig,” you might be thinking. “It sounds like the game is pretty much done; maybe it’s time to tell us when the Kickstarter’s gonna hit?” So, I don’t have the exact date yet, but I can tell you this much: my plan is now pretty firmly to begin the Kickstarter for True Messiah sometime in September 2016.
Why September? A few reasons. First, this’ll give me a chance to promote the game at Gen Con in early August while also giving the legions of Gen Con attendees a little time to recover from the financial outlay of attending that vaunted event.
There is also a chance that I’ll be attending PAX West; if I do, this’ll give me a chance to do some last-minute work on promotion and plumping up the mailing list in anticipation of launching the campaign.
Aside from convention considerations, this will give me a chance to get pre-release copies of True Messiah out to various board game reviewers and Youtubers so that I have some recommendations/coverage lined up for the campaign.
Finally, this will ensure that I don’t stumble into the nightmare scenario that is running a Kickstarter campaign in the looming shadow of Christmas. Been there, done that: it sucked. I don’t want to go past late October with any campaign I run, and as such, September becomes the sweet spot.
Welp, that’s all I’ve got for this month, compadres. Don’t forget to sign up below if you want an email notification when the campaign launches! 🙂