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Subject: HEXICA (Preorder now available, ships April) rss

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Eric Terry
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UPDATE: 3/14/13

Now available for preorder here. Thanks!

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Hexica

Hey guys, for the past year my friend and I have been working on a board game called HEXICA. This is the first board game we've ever made and our goal is to garner enough support via Kickstarter to send it off to a factory we live near. For now, we've been making the game on our own. The whole game from the artwork to the concept was done by us.
We'd thought we'd post some of the processes we used and share pictures to show the experience. It seems that others have done this too and we've enjoyed reading their posts, so hopefully others will feel the same about this one.

It should be noted that we live in China so we can have things printed for really cheap compared to how much it would cost in a print shop in the states. All the cutting and assembling and so forth we've done ourselves.

-Making the Board-




We got 4 sheets of 2mm chipboard, then used black matte contact paper to hold them together as a backing. The front map was printed on thick paper with a sticky backing, which holds the front of the board together. It's a quarter-fold.

-Making the Ships-






For the ships the easiest and economic way we found was to print them on high quality business cards (with a thick satin finish). It was possible to fit 3 ships to a card. The downside is that you usually have to print a minimum of 200 cards, so there will be more than we need, but this method is the cheapest and highest quality we found. We tried cutting out the ships by stacking 12 at a time and using a ruler and razor, but unfortunately the quality wasn't that great so we started using paper cutters. It took a little longer but the finished product looks a lot better.

-Damage Counters-


This was one of the more frustrating aspects. We discussed many different things to use and actually found the most cost effective and lightest things were small pre-cut wooden (beech) cubes. They came a thousand to a box and they were pretty cheap (about $12 US). So we divided them up and then used spray paint to color them. Who would have thought spray painting small cubes has a learning curve? Anyway, many sanded and repainted cubes later, we had enough to make a few complete sets.

-Making the Box-




We used 1mm chip board, scored and cut it according to the measurements, then folded the edges and used tape to hold it together. We used the same spray adhesive to hold the printed cover down and for the bottom used the same black matte contact paper to wrap around it. The 1mm chip board isn't particularly strong by itself, but the contact paper and printed sheet it helps to reinforce and stiffen it.

-Advanced System Cards and Money-
These were just a matter of printing out sheets of these and then cutting them. Unfortunately because we're hand cutting everything we had to forgo boarders on the cards because the imperfections would stand out too much. We'll save that for the factory to take care of.

So hopefully some of this rigamarole will give you guys some ideas, or at least something to laugh at. If anyone is interested in more details about HEXICA we'll be posting a video on YouTube very soon. We'll also be selling the hand made editions shortly thereafter.

Thanks for reading!
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Arjen Schouten
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Re: HEXICA
I really like the artwork on the board and ships. Would be nice to see more about this game. How it plays, rules, etc.

The copies you are making by hand are for playtesting or for reviewers or something? Because you said you will have the game printed by a nearby factory.
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA
The handmade copies will be available for purchase online. Depending on how well they sell and how they are received, we will take the project to Kickstarter. We've actually already got the factory set up here in China, we just want a little more recognition for the game before going that route. We will have more info about the rules and gameplay as videos online later.

-Eric
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA
Tonight we filmed a short spot that we'll be uploading to Youtube after editing. This spot will explain some of the process behind the game and the components, but our goal was to keep it short and simple, so there isn't a lot in it about the rules and how the mechanics work. More of that to come later...


HEXICA video shoot


HEXICA video shoot

-Eric
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
Hello again! Here's the finished HEXICA preview video. Please note that this is a very brief and basic introduction to the game, and doesn't discuss many of the details. That will be in a separate more detailed video later. Thanks for watching!

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David Fair
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
Thanks David, what was I doing wrong?

-Eric
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David Fair
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
No worries...

To link a you tube video, just put the video number, rather than a full URL, in the dialog box after you click the red "Tube" button. In this case the number is "77KXo0UtWZI", so that is all you need.

You have an interesting looking game. I wish you well.
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
I see. I'm used to just standard html posting on forums, so this is taking some getting used to. Thanks for the tip! Since you've obviously got a wealth of experience with releasing games, any suggestions you might have for us would be greatly appreciated!

-Eric
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David Fair
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
gameyy wrote:
Since you've obviously got a wealth of experience with releasing games


Wrong guy, dude. I have had a slight hand in helping with the text on one parody expansion, and i have 2 PnP games that, honestly, were only so-so. Never published anything at all. Ignore the Game Designer badge... it'l fool you into thinking I know stuff.
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
BeyondMonopoly wrote:
gameyy wrote:
Since you've obviously got a wealth of experience with releasing games


Wrong guy, dude. I have had a slight hand in helping with the text on one parody expansion, and i have 2 PnP games that, honestly, were only so-so. Never published anything at all. Ignore the Game Designer badge... it'l fool you into thinking I know stuff.
So you wear it because...?
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Jake Staines
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
mccrispy wrote:
So you wear it because...?


Probably because BGG applies it automatically if you have your name against a game in the database.
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
Bichatse wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
So you wear it because...?


Probably because BGG applies it automatically if you have your name against a game in the database.
Ah! That would make sense. Well, it wouldn't... doesn't. That's like giving me a "Winner of Games" over-badge because I've won a game once against weak competition. Come to think of it, I think I've seen threads on the devalued nature of the Game Designer overtext (no disrespect intended BeyondMonopoly). Still, if you've designed anything, it shows a significant level of effort that I guess deserves recognition.
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David Fair
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
mccrispy wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
So you wear it because...?


Probably because BGG applies it automatically if you have your name against a game in the database.
Ah! That would make sense. Well, it wouldn't... doesn't. That's like giving me a "Winner of Games" over-badge because I've won a game once against weak competition. Come to think of it, I think I've seen threads on the devalued nature of the Game Designer overtext (no disrespect intended BeyondMonopoly). Still, if you've designed anything, it shows a significant level of effort that I guess deserves recognition.


Probably the design i put the most effort into Was my AoS C&O expansion. We playtested that map 40 or more times, but the idea i was trying to implement never really quite became workable. I posted it to BGG in the hopes that others might find a way to make it work.

The Icehouse game Influence needed a lot more work, and it was an admittedly poor effort.

But the Agricola X-Deck was a pretty fair offering. While a parody, we did work hard to make sure it was workable and would not break the game. I made 2 of the cards, and contributed to the significant re-design of at least 2 others, IIRC.

So, while i would not call myself a "Game Designer" in the same inflected tone I would use while describing Alan Moon or Reiner Knizia, I like to think that I am not devaluing the badge by having it.
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
BeyondMonopoly wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
Bichatse wrote:
mccrispy wrote:
So you wear it because...?


Probably because BGG applies it automatically if you have your name against a game in the database.
Ah! That would make sense. Well, it wouldn't... doesn't. That's like giving me a "Winner of Games" over-badge because I've won a game once against weak competition. Come to think of it, I think I've seen threads on the devalued nature of the Game Designer overtext (no disrespect intended BeyondMonopoly). Still, if you've designed anything, it shows a significant level of effort that I guess deserves recognition.


Probably the design i put the most effort into Was my AoS C&O expansion. We playtested that map 40 or more times, but the idea i was trying to implement never really quite became workable. I posted it to BGG in the hopes that others might find a way to make it work.

The Icehouse game Influence needed a lot more work, and it was an admittedly poor effort.

But the Agricola X-Deck was a pretty fair offering. While a parody, we did work hard to make sure it was workable and would not break the game. I made 2 of the cards, and contributed to the significant re-design of at least 2 others, IIRC.

So, while i would not call myself a "Game Designer" in the same inflected tone I would use while describing Alan Moon or Reiner Knizia, I like to think that I am not devaluing the badge by having it.
Well there you go then, don't be doing yourself down
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Handmade copies to be released soon...)
Here's a bit more background info to the game before we get our actual gameplay video up...

To explain things a bit better, perhaps we should go back to the initial concept behind the game, how the idea came about, etc.

In the Fall of 2011, a good friend of mine, Eli, decided to give China a try. I'd been here at that point for about 3 years and was enjoying it, and persuaded him to come for a few months. He ended up staying, and being my roommate, and we spent a lot of time reminiscing on our childhood pastimes, including, for the most part, games.

We were really big into strategy games, especially Starcraft and the Age of Empires series. We spent many, many nights hooked up on a LAN battling it out. As we got older and got busy with our lives, we played less and less of these games, though we still enjoyed playing any varieties of games we came across, including a lot of unique activity-style games that the Chinese here like, where you don't need any special cards or equipment. That idea of face-to-face interactivity appeals to us more now than it did as young kids.

At the same time, I was always designing and producing things using a local and inexpensive print shop a block away from my apartment. I designed posters, 3D models, wrapping paper, and all sorts of other stuff. (Before coming to China, I ran a small apparel company called Linty Fresh and used to love this sort of creative process, where the end product is something people can use and enjoy)

One day, as we were talking about games and game design, we came up with a wildly intriguing idea - why not try to design our own board game? Within two days we had an idea for a pirate-themed game where players would compete for control over islands full of treasure. We called it "Isle of Gold". But after putting together a prototype and testing it, we realized we wanted the ships to be more varied in their movement and abilities, and the seafaring theme seemed a bit restrictive. So why not set the game in space? With this new setting allowing us a LOT more freedom, we went back to the drawing board and started brainstorming what kind of ships we wanted, what their abilities would be, and oh yeah, how would you win?

The initial winning condition was defeating all enemy ships. But it just didn't work. It took way too long! Also, the board was so huge (HEX grid 20x20) that it took a couple turns to get into place. So we scaled things down and came up with a new element that would thereafter define the game - flags. Instead of having to destroy everyone else, players simply had to collect a certain number of flags, which would appear randomly on the map during each turn of the game. To complicate things, we put a flag limit to the game, so that after 3 rounds the flags would run out, forcing players into combat to steal other player's flags. This created a very interesting dynamic to the game, where no one wanted to get the flags too quickly (lest they become a target), and yet waiting too long was certain to make a player lose. This made every game a really fun exercise in outwitting your opponents, and took the strategy to a new level.

As the weeks turned into months, the game continued to develop. It eventually got very complicated (11 different kinds of ships, 30+ event cards, nuance rules) and some of the fun of the actual gameplay seemed to be evaporating. We realized we needed to make it simpler - our new goal was to be able to explain it to a new player in 4 minutes or less. So we started the painful process of removing ships. It was difficult because we had some we really liked, like a Shield Frigate that could protect all adjacent friendly units, and a Laser Frigate that could shoot along rows and columns (much like a rook in chess) For awhile we debated whether to keep or delete a lot of these kinds of elements.

What actually helped us to decide was Steve Jobs biography, which I was reading at the time. I always admire Apple's design mentality: simplicity + intuition. There's a story in the book about how Steve throws a fit at someone who wanted to put an On/Off switch on the original iPod. His thought was it should go off automatically, and that it was a waste of space and ruined the design. Don't be redundant. That made sense to me. Chances are, people simply won't miss that extra functionality. With that, we went back and streamlined everything, made a lot of cuts, took out a bunch of elements, and simplified the board design.

In the end, there were only 6 ships (including the Mothership). The way they fought, moved, and defended became MUCH easier, and we found a way to simplify the money system so that players barely had to think about how much they cost, or how much they could make when being salvaged. The result was a very intuitive and easy-to-understand system. And that made it play faster, and funner.


Ships by gameyy, on Flickr

For example, originally ships had 5 different values to memorize: Cost, HP, Speed, Range, and Attack. Also, there were Harvesters, which collected money each round they existed, and the money varied depending on the spaces they were on. So all these values were there, and they were easy to forget for new players. So eventually we got rid of the Cost value and just made it the same as the HP. That way, if you wanted a ship with 8 HP, you needed to spend 8 credits. You were literally buying HP. It made sense.

There have been a lot of little Eureka moments through the development of the game, and it's very rewarding to play the game with a newbie and for them to barely have to reference the player cards (which list all the ship stats). That's been a key goal for us - try to make the interface of the game as transparent as possible, so the players can get to the actual gameplay right away.
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Arjen Schouten
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Re: HEXICA (Teaser video now on Youtube)
Thanks for the video and design history. It sound like it's a fun game. Waiting for the gameplay video and rules.
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Eric Terry
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Gaming Related » Do It Yourself
Re: HEXICA (Teaser video now on Youtube)
For the latest info on our project, check this thread HERE in the General forum. Since we have moved past the production phase and are starting to sell the games, we thought it best to have a new thread there.
 
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Teaser video now on Youtube)
Just wanted to let folks know that this game now has an official entry here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/137362/hexica

Thanks to those who offered their support in the form of geekgold, feedback, and comments!

-Eric
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Eric Terry
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Re: HEXICA (Teaser video now on Youtube)
Howdy again.

Just a little note to let you all know that HEXICA's 1st Edition copy is now available for preorder here.

Once these are sold out, you'll have to wait for our Kickstarter (this summer) to get your hands on the game.

Thanks!

-Eric
 
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