March 9, 2016

True Messiah March 2016 update

Hey guys, it’s time for another update on True Messiah, everyone’s favorite surreal religious horror strategy board game! The last update encompassed several months worth of progress, so there was a lot to cover there; this one will be a wee bit more compact.

Let’s start off with that surprise I promised you…

Miniatures

Yeah, you read that right! I commissioned the supremely talented David Mann to create 3D models of the four messiahs…

Card Spread Messiahs (550w)

…and here they are, unpainted and 3D-printed at 71 mm (2.8″) in height!

Miniatures Promo Pic 71-mm (550w)

Tell me, are they not lovely? We’re currently putting the finishing touches on slightly smaller 58-mm variations, each of which will be able to comfortably share space on the board with the game’s various unit chits. Speaking of which…

Chits

All of True Messiah’s chits are now complete, with lovely finished art! Have a look at the game’s nonbelievers, avatars, and messianic masks:

Chit Spread B (550w)

Nonbelievers are those wild-eyed dudes with the machetes; they’re not allowed on your holy spaces, but since you control access to food and water in the territory, they’re still under your control. Avatars are those shadowy figures with the tentacles; as projections of your messianic powers, they’re terrifyingly powerful. And each messiah starts the game with a mask; it is said that you can break your mask to be reborn at full strength…

Music

As you may recall, I hired Ryan Richko (composer of the truly excellent Telepath Tactics soundtrack) to compose theme music for True Messiah. That theme music is now complete, and frankly, it sounds friggin’ awesome! Without further ado:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/250872277″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

You can expect to hear this track in various promotional videos I cut for the game–and inevitably, in the Kickstarter pitch video itself.

Box Art

Box art is currently in-progress, and should hopefully be wrapped up pretty soon!

Rules

I’m quite pleased with True Messiah‘s rules, but as long as there remains room for improvement, I’m going to keep on improving them.

One big improvement I made over the past month: there is now a 3-player mode! This means that True Messiah officially supports 2-4 players rather than just “2 or 4,” as it was previously. This should make it much easier to assemble the requisite number of players for a game whenever you’re in the mood to play.

Another thing I’ve been focusing on in the rules this past month: play time. Specifically, reducing it.

Over the course of playtesting, I’ve noticed that it can often take a number of rounds for a player who is clearly winning to actually whittle an opponent down enough to properly clinch the victory. To address this, I’ve made a few tweaks to the game:

  • In a video game like Starcraft, this issue is wholly addressed by the inclusion of gg (“good game”), a concession that one player or another has won without the need to drag things out to the game’s ultimate conclusion. In Starcraft 2, the mere act of sending the message “gg” to another player will actually end the match, with the receiving player deemed the victor. While any group of players can choose to do this sort of thing with any board game, I’ve taken the (perhaps unusual) step of explicitly including it in the rule book:

 

“Regardless of the above, if at any point all of the other players agree that a certain player has won the game, the game ends with that player the winner.

  • I’ve improved some of the game’s most expensive miracles with an eye to securing a quicker victory for a player with an economy strong enough to afford them. Meteor Strike can now target an unwary player’s holy city, instantly destroying them; Doomsday now wipes out all enemy low units not situated on a holy space; the avatar created by Create Avatar is now much more powerful; and Equality, once the game’s premier come-from-behind card, has been replaced with Judgment, which hammers every player who is behind on temples with the loss of an additional temple.
  • Simultaneously, I’m experimenting with linearly scaling the number of coins that players receive at the conclusion of each round based upon how many temples they possess. Players with more temples already had an economic advantage due to more available belief for coin-generating miracles, but just plain giving them more coins as well should help to further cement the importance of maintaining a temple lead–and, in concert with improvements to the most expensive cards, allow players to spend those coins acquiring miracles that can wrap up the game expeditiously.

I’ll be testing these changes over the next few months to see if they accomplish their goals, but so far the signs look positive.

???

Finally, I have a bit of extra news that I’m holding onto here, but I’m not allowed to say anything just yet. Stay tuned, folks–until next time!

…oh, and before I forget: if you haven’t done it yet, make sure you sign up below to get an email notification when I launch the Kickstarter! That way you can help make sure you won’t miss out.