Board games that tell stories

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Archive for Ignacy Trzewiczek

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When football is bland and boring even for the fan OR EuroCup blog, part 3

Ignacy:
We discuss tactics. We argue if 4-4-2 is better than 4-5-1, we debate about choices managers make, we spend countless hours talking about who should play on that position and that position and if this player is better from that player. We discuss football all day long, and there are as many opinions as there are fans.

Poland lost against Slovakia yesterday, and as you can imagine, the whole country is debating. We debate manager personal choices. We debate tactics. We debate if our goalkeeper made a mistake. We argue why Lewandowski didn't score a goal. The Internet - as expected - literally exploded after the match.

That's all bullocks. Tactics, personal choices, individual player mistakes are all bullocks if there is no heart left on the pitch. There is no tactics that win the game if you don't run. There is no winning personal choice, if the team plays no pressing. There is no football without giving everything you got on the pitch.

The heart makes a difference.

That's why Ukraine, which lost against the Netherlands, gained thousands of new supporters last week.

That's why no one could care less for Poland after their bland, boring, uninspired performance.

We should not discuss tactics. We should not discuss personal choices. We should discuss if that's the performance of a person whose lifetime dream was to play in the National team during the EuroCup. Did we see that? Did we see the fire, the passion, the manifest of the moment of their life.

In Eleven we have Team Spirit stat. It breaks the rules. Unlike all other stats, it has no fundamental function, no general description. It's freaking magic. It allows you to do everything. It allows you to break almost any rule in the game. If your team has high Team Spirit, you can do crazy things.

Watching my National team having Team Spirit on level 1, the lowest possible, was a dreadful experience. I am sorry if you also had to watch it.



Thomas:
19-year-old defender Jurriën Timber was in the Dutch starting line-up in the game against Ukraine. At the start of this season, he only played in the second division of the Dutch league. What is it that makes a player grow?

In Eleven we have young players as well. They are eager to learn from the other players on the pitch or from a good coach. Make sure you put them in the line-up, train them, and they probably will become better.

At the beginning of the game, your veteran players form the trusted core of your team. They are essential for the team. They have great abilities, but will get older once you use them. Soon there will be other players developing themselves to take over their roles.

(of course, we are still in the middle of the development of Eleven, so keep in mind things may change!)

This Euro2020 day I watched 2 matches. I missed the one between Sweden and Spain.

The first match of the day was Scotland - Czech Republic. It was played at beautiful Hampden Park. It is home to Queens Park, the oldest football club in Scotland that still exists. After Rangers and Celtic, it has won the most Scottish cups (10), all won during the 19th century. The stadium is also home to the Scottish national team.

It all started well. The national anthem of Scotland was played, and all 15 000 Scots in the stadium sang loud and proud. Beautiful.
The absolute star of the Scottish team was Robbertson. He led his mates in battle. They were the better team in the first half, but it didn't bring them any goals. And just before halftime, Bayer Leverkusen's striker Patrik Schick scored at the opposite end of the pitch.

It was a great start to the second half, with chances on both sides. But then Schick struck again. He saw the Scottish goalkeeper was outside the penalty box and took a shot from a great distance. It resulted in the best goal of the tournament so far.

I liked the Scottish way of playing, but they lack a world-class striker. The Czech Republic has one. He goes by the name of Patrik Schick. I will remember him.

Next up was Poland - Slovakia. All members of the Portal Games team were probably watching this one nervously. Unfortunately, the game wasn't of the highest quality. The best players on the pitch were Zielińsky (Poland) and Hamsík (Slovakia). They brought movement into the teams and functioned as a connection between midfield and front. Poland had the most of the possession, but Slovakian winger Mak scored the first goal.

Right after halftime, Poland got back into the game by scoring the 1-1. Poland got their hope back. But then Krychowiak got his 2nd yellow card, and a couple of minutes later, Slovakia scored again. Poland tried to fight back. Bednarek missed the biggest chance in the 91st minute to equalize. Full time 1-2. Without having great players, Slovakia managed to defeat better quality players by playing organized and being a better team.


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Thomas Jansen is the designer of Eleven: the football manager game. Ignacy Trzewiczek is the developer of the game. They both will share their thoughts about EuroCup 2021 and also talk about the design or development of Eleven. Be with them every day during Euro! If you like football and board games, please, share the news about Eleven!

You can learn more about Eleven HERE!
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Tue Jun 15, 2021 12:23 pm
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Playing a Tactic card or EuroCup, day 3

Thomas:

Let's get back to football and board games today.

After 2 days of the tournament, I am most impressed by Belgium and Italy. To me, Belgium is getting more and more used to the fact they belong among the big ones. They have an experienced team, with great talented players. Lukaku was great against Russia. He contributed both in attack and defense. Italy made a good impression as well. But it took a while to break through the Turkish wall. For the neutral football fan, these kinds of matches can be intriguing...

When you play Eleven, you can send scouts to watch the opponent's team. This way you learn if it is a strong team and in which line up they play. If you are about to meet the favorites for the league title, you may choose a defensive lineup with defensive tactics. One of them is called ‘Play for a draw’. It boosts your defense and decreases your attacking power at the same time. lt often saves you, and sometimes you even steal the victory. Imagine the Turkish own goal didn’t happen and Turkey scored in a counterattack.

Have you ever been on that side as a fan? Remember how you exploded in joy? Or burst into tears, if on the other side. That's football.

I bet Turkey would have chosen these tactics too if they had the card available.

Of course, yesterday I was looking forward to the game in my home country: The Netherlands.

I remember the first moment I got interested in football. It was in 1988. The Dutch team won the Euros that year. I was... Eleven.

I literally remember every single game. For us, the semi-final was the real final. We won against Germany with a superb goal from Marco van Basten. For the Netherlands, it was revenge for the lost World Cup final in 1974 against Germany.

This year our team is OK. We've had a better team, but they can definitely grow during the tournament.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch England - Croatia. I took my kids to the playground. We had a great time. Some things are more important than the beautiful game. Nevertheless, England managed to win without me watching. Raheem Sterling scored the only goal. They took their revenge for the loss against the same opponent in the World Cup semi-finals 2 years ago.

I was really interested in North Macedonia. I'm an underdog man. And I hope they will do well. And become... 2nd in the group. Right behind the Netherlands of course.

They played against Austria, a team which is ranked about 40 places higher in Fifa ranking. The first half was full of mistakes but was entertaining. Austria had better players, but North Macedonia fought hard as a team. Austria opened the score with a beautiful goal, but Macedonia scored the equalizer in a way that looked more like pinball than football.

In the second half it could have gone both ways, but substitutes Gregoritsch and Arnautovitz showed why they should have been in the lineup by both scoring one more goal.

Full time: 3-1. I have been entertained, but I don’t expect these teams to reach the quarter-finals.

I put on my orange 2010 World Cup finals jersey. I was ready for the game. In the first half, the Netherlands were off to a good start. 3 chances in about 7 minutes. But the blue wall got thicker each minute. Sometimes it opened in a flash and the Ukrainians came out for a dangerous counterattack. It was clear the Dutch had the better players, but Ukraine used the ‘play for a draw’- tactics card with thought.

Finally, in the second half, the Dutch broke down the wall. Wijnaldum and Weghorst each scored a goal within 5 minutes. Everybody waited for the third Dutch goal, but instead, Ukraine scored. Twice! They tried the ‘play for draw’ card again, but it didn’t work. In the 85th minute, Dumfries scored the final goal of the game for the Netherlands: 3-2. Ukraine worked hard, but the Dutch took the victory in the end.

Satisfied, but a bit worried. I‘ve seen some good attacks, but although they played with 5 defenders, defensively it didn’t look great.

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Thomas Jansen is the designer of Eleven: the football manager game. Ignacy Trzewiczek is the developer of the game. They both will share their thoughts about EuroCup 2021 and also talk about the design or development of Eleven. Be with them every day during Euro! If you like football and board games, please, share the news about Eleven!

You can learn more about Eleven HERE!
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Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:13 am
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All`s Well That Ends Well - EuroCup, day 2

Thomas:

And then you realize: In life, there is one thing more important than football and board games: It’s life itself.

During the game between Denmark and Finland, Christian Erikson suddenly fell down on the pitch and had to be reanimated. He was fighting for his life. Thousands of people in the stadium, friends, and family, and millions of people watching at home, were shocked. Erikson was brought to the local hospital. After a while, rumors suggested, Christian was conscious, but no one knew for sure. About an hour later, the good news came out: Christian Erikson was awake and was even able to talk. A huge sigh of relief.

I couldn’t imagine the rest of the game would be played that night. But it happened. Players decided to play again. It was said, Erikson also wanted the game to continue.

It was great to see the fans of Finland and Denmark, sharing their emotions together. Shouting Erikson's name. When the Danish team entered the pitch again, the Finnish players applauded for them. It was a terrible event, but there were some beautiful moments.

I once experienced myself, there was a situation with a fan who had to be reanimated during a match of my hometown club. It’s shocking, but at the same time, it’s great to see how many people want to help.

Of course, Denmark was shocked. There’s only one subject to talk about on the streets today. For the Fins it was a strange evening as well; This, being their first-ever match in a big tournament. They will never forget. But of course first of all it's about Christian and his family. I hope they get through this and I wish them well.

Finland won the game 0 - 1. But who cares today. I hope Denmark will pick themselves up and play a fantastic rest of the tournament.
Tomorrow I will talk about board games (Eleven) and football again. Somehow it feels less important today.

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Thomas Jansen is the designer of Eleven: the football manager game. Ignacy Trzewiczek is the developer of the game. They both will share their thoughts about EuroCup 2021 and also talk about the design or development of Eleven. Be with them every day during Euro! If you like football and board games, please, share the news about Eleven!

You can learn more about Eleven HERE!
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:58 am
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EuroCup, day 1

Ignacy:

The whole world is watching—the opening ceremony and then the first match—the highest pressure possible. It’s the start of the four weeks worldwide event, the first of 51 games. It’s the hour you were waiting for your whole life. I cannot imagine what’s happening in the dressing room, what’s happening when you walk out of the tunnel and enter the pitch. What’s in your mind when you hear the crowd and realize this is it – the opening match of EuroCup, and you are in. The moment you will remember your whole life.

It’s your hopes and dreams. It’s all the fans, supporters, media, everyone’s hopes and dreams to be part of the great game, to experience something exceptional, to see goals, and saves, and tackles, and beautiful passes, and smart plays, and effort, and heart, and drama too.

It’s the first game. The whole world is watching.

Thomas will write and analyze yesterday’s match below, so let me diverse from Euro for a second and talk about the first game… in board games.

When I told my friends and playtesters that I signed a football manager game, they were more than intrigued. Many of them work with me on my designs for more than a decade. Martin was helping me in 2009 with Stronghold, and then in 2010 with Pret-a-Porter; Maciej, on the other hand, was my main playtester for Imperial Settlers. He also designed a solo variant for Imperial Settlers.

They have trust in the games Portal is doing. They are with me for years, being one of the most trusted playtesters I have. It’s a great team of geeks.

They are also football freaks. We play football every Monday forever. We share two passions – board games and football.

So as I said, when I told them that I signed a football manager game, they were more than intrigued.

This first game of Eleven was like opening the Euro. Excitement, hopes, dreams. Martin came to my house to play it. I set up the game, explained the rules, and we played.

That very evening, the first time I showed him Eleven, we played only one round. After the last phase of the round, Martin smiled and gave me that look. It said everything.

This look said, ‘It’s really good.’
This look said, ‘You lucky bastard.’
This look said, ‘I’m in. I want to be in the dev team.’

We talked for an hour about the game and were super excited about upcoming months of work.

Eleven delivered. Eleven was everything Martin hoped for. Eleven is a football manager game we all waited for.

***

Thomas:

For me, Euro2020 started yesterday, right after work.

I like football. My main focus is on club football. Especially the smaller clubs. They were part of the inspiration for designing Eleven. The fight against relegation has intrigued me just as much as trying to become champions. I enjoy the stories behind a season of small clubs. Not being relegated at the end of the season can feel just as good as becoming a champion. I wanted players—when playing Eleven—to experience these dramatic emotions in one of the scenarios of Eleven. Just try not to relegate. Easy, right?

After a disappointing season with my club, I had to change focus. So, I went into a supermarket and bought the ‘Guide to Euro2020’. I read about all the national teams, star players, and stadiums. I really got excited. This is going to be great. I picked my favorite countries, mostly underdogs, and I was ready for the tournament. Ready to watch the first match between Italy and Turkey the next day.

Of course, Italy was the favorite to win this match. If it was about the national anthems, they are definitely finalists to me. What a great song! But it’s not. And Turkey has a dangerous team. They took 4 points from France during qualifying. They beat the Netherlands with a deserved victory. They are fast and deadly. Unfortunately for Turkey, as the first half progressed, the Italians got more and more dominant in the game, resulting in lots of chances. The Turks weren’t able to counterattack, which is normally their strength, due to the fast intervention of the Italians.

But Nevertheless, 0 – 0 at halftime. After the break, Italy got their well-deserved goal; unfortunately, it was own goal. I felt a bit sorry for Turkey because they defended quite well and were unlucky here. After the goal, it went loose. The Turkish wall collapsed. Full time: 3-0.

Italy has shown its strength, and I definitely think they will become the group winner. Although Turkey failed both in defense and attack against a different opponent, they may be able to play the game they like and still end up as number 2 in the group.

I enjoyed this game! I have seen worse at the start of a tournament. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s games!

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Thomas Jansen is the designer of Eleven: the football manager game. Ignacy Trzewiczek is the developer of the game. They both will share their thoughts about EuroCup 2021 and also talk about the design or development of Eleven. Be with them every day during Euro! If you like football and board games, please, share the news about Eleven!

You can learn more about Eleven HERE!
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Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:15 am
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Soaking the spy theme

I received the story script and several additional pages of rules for the game from Jakub Łapot and Przemysław Rymer. I read them and was really impressed by the new concepts. The idea of different zones where players could act, the exposure rules, and even the death of the agents! There was a ton of theme in that first draft.

I built the prototype and played it by myself to see how it all worked.

An hour later, I had my answer. None of these ideas worked—literally, nothing, not a single piece functioned as planned.

Was I devastated?

Not at all. That's how it all starts. Every damn time.

***


It took us another few months of research to make a comprehensive list of ideas for the mechanisms of a spy game. I watched lots of movies and TV shows about spies. I read books. I read comic books. I did the same gig as always—I soaked with the theme. I had a notepad full of ideas.
What's important for the spy theme:
- codes
- secret messages
- gadgets

I combined it all with the initial ideas from Łapot and Rymer. I was ready to build a set of rules that would work. Testing began.

***


Rymer wanted to use real code cards from the Cold War era. I was skeptical. I was afraid it would be too difficult for players to understand. But after all, it wasn't that bad. And I admit, when I gave playtesters a real code card from the Cold War and told them it was real shit, they were ecstatic.

This is a real thing. We are receiving messages from the CIA. We need to decode them. We are spies.

I wanted players to also decipher KGB messages. That was, for sure, the task players would not be able to do. We had to come up with a supplementary idea, something that would feel like deciphering the message and yet, would be doable by a random geek who’s not working in secret intelligence. I bought Ken Russell’s books about puzzles and looked for some ideas. Few hours into reading, I had my first Soviet cipher. I used simple mathematical tasks and equations to challenge players. I tested this idea with the playtesting group a few days later. It worked awesomely. First try, the first score, touch down.

I also wanted players to look for the secret words and sentences in the intercepted messages and understand the additional meaning of what was said. This is yet another essential element of all spy movies. They always say something like: "King beats Bishop on C4," which means that explosives are prepared, and assassination of the cardinal is in the works! Stuff like that is always a part of the spy movies! KGB agents don't talk like that, but nobody cares—it's the theme, it's how it’s done in books and movies. We did the same in the game—players must intercept messages, listen to them, and then think about what was said and what each word meant. That's silly fun, that's us, geeks, being smarter than Soviets, that's what being a freaking spy is all about!

***


Vienna Connection. Decoding real code cards. Deciphering secret messages. Reading between the lines. We put it all. We build the experience. We made you a spy.

Are you ready, agent?




***
More about the game: https://portalgames.pl/en/vienna-connection/

My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/trzewik
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Tue May 25, 2021 11:52 am
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Uncharted territory

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I met Joel in person for the first time at Gen con 2012. I was running demos of Robinson Crusoe. I knew him as a YouTube reviewer and was very excited when he came to the booth to learn the game. He didn’t say a word for the whole game, and frankly speaking, I was terrified. He was really silent during the game, and I was pretty sure he was bored to death with it. After the game ended, he said he loved it, congratulated me, and left.

I think the word that describes my feelings at that moment is “perplexed.”

***

I met Joel the very same day, in the evening. I was invited by fans to play a football board game and when I came, I realized that Joel was invited too. I sat next to him. We played.

He was calm with his emotions again but opened a little more. And he regaled me with super funny comments about football and the game through the whole night. His sense of humor was right in my alley. That game night was a blast. It is still one of the highlights of all my gaming.

***

I mention Joel today because last week, he recorded a new episode of his vlog, a celebration video – it’s been 10 years since he started his channel. Quite the anniversary! It’s one of the most respected review channels in our hobby, with a great audience. Joel doesn’t go for clickbait content, doesn’t run to review all the hotness; he does his thing, deep, thoughtful reviews of games he plays. I respect that a lot and love the content.

In the anniversary video, he said words that struck me, and I wanted to follow up today on what he said – that is how discovering new games and genres is an important part of our hobby. It’s the search for the spark, as Joel said, it’s entering the uncharted territory as I’d describe it.

I remember myself in 1993 when I read about RPG for the first time. Had no clue what it was, but it sounded so amazing and was like nothing I saw before. More than a year later, after long months of reading about it and trying to figure out how to play RPG, I finally played it, and it changed my life. I fell in love and became obsessed with RPG. And then I discovered something called Warhammer Battle, and that was new uncharted territory. I discovered miniatures, terrains, rulers, and all that jazz. And then I discovered board games. And then I discovered historical war games. Each step in these unknown territories was like a beginning of an epic adventure, it was Sam leaving the Shire, it was the beginning of something new.

You’d say I saw it all. You’d say there is no uncharted territory anymore. You’d say it is over.

You’d be wrong.

The spark is here. It’s called Rangers of Shadow Deep, I discovered thanks to Joel’s channel. It’s called Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, I discovered thanks to Grant Rodiek. It’s called Risk Legacy I discovered thanks to Rob Daviau. It’s called The Mind. It’s called solo gaming and Arkham Horror LCG…

Been in gaming since 1993. Thanks to brilliant designers, I’ve been exploring uncharted territories for all that time.

P.S. Joel's anniversary video here.

***

My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/trzewik
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Tue May 11, 2021 12:59 pm
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Robinson Crusoe - I did it justice

I remember being a kid and being honestly perplexed when my school friends were complaining about Robinson Crusoe. Thick, boring book, with no dialogues. They whined. In Poland, Robinson Crusoe was mandatory reading in school. Every kid was complaining. For me, it was the novel of my life, even though my life was like ten years long at the moment. I loved it.

Years passed. High school. College. Life. I was a book worm, and geek, and a gamer. I discovered RPG, found a game company, wrote few RPG games, started a family. Robinson Crusoe was with me all the time. I read it few more times, watch all the movies about it, even designed an indie RPG game about castaways that never got published.

Then I discovered board games. I designed Witchcraft (2008), Stronghold (2009), 51st State (2010), and Pret-a-Porter (2010). Early 2011 I felt I am ready. I felt I have enough skills and knowledge about game design to do Robinson Crusoe justice and make it into the best board game I can ever design.

It was 10 years ago.

As for today, the game has nearly 100k logged plays on BGG. It sold in more than 200k copies worldwide. Released in 12 different languages all over the planet. And exactly today, on Sunday, April 11th, 2021, the new edition of the game, this full-blown fantastic Collector’s Edition, passed 2 million USD on the Gamefound platform. Quite the milestone.

And even though the design is 10 years old, I still look at it with pride and satisfaction, and I strongly believe I did Robinson Crusoe justice.

I like to think that this 10 years old Ignacy would be pretty darn proud of me right now.

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***

Link to Robinson Crusoe campaign: https://gamefound.com/projects/portalgames/robinson-crusoe-c...
My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/trzewik
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Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:10 am
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GDJ#4 - Technology tree in Robinson Crusoe

For the Robinson Crusoe Collectors Edition campaign that is happening right now on GameFound I write a short story about the rules of the game - how they work and how I developed them. I thought I will share them on my blog too. I hope some of you find them interesting

Today we will be discussing Inventions in Robinson Crusoe. But before we talk board games, we will talk books...

And we will start with the Positivism movement in the literature:

"The English noun positivism was re-imported in the 19th century from the French word positivisme, derived from positif in its philosophical sense of 'imposed on the mind by experience'."

Julius Verne lived in the second half of the XIX century. The era of great technological progress, great minds coming up with life-changing inventions, and bright minds of the era bringing one revolution after another. Verne, like many others, was fascinated by it. He strongly believed in science and knowledge.

Mysterious Island is a few hundred pages adventure that on every single page praises science. Characters change their dramatic situation into safe and comfortable with their knowledge and science coming up with new inventions and tools in every chapter.

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I had to bring it to Robinson Crusoe. Technology tree, creating tools, using resources found on the island to create items - that was essential for the genre!

In the game, we have 5 different terrain types (Mountains, Hills, Rivers, Plains, Beach) and each of these types unlocks a chance to build different tools.

If you find Mountains, you will gain access to Fire because you will find flint among rocks.

If you find River, you will gain access to Map, because it is easier to draw a map of the area, when you go along the river and won't get lost.

If you find Plains, you will gain access to Cure, because on plains there are herbs you can gather.

If you find Hills, you will gain access to Bricks, because there is clay on the hills.

And so on, and so on.

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And when I say technology tree, I mean it.

If you build Bricks and Fire, you can now build a Fireplace.
If you build Cure, you can now also build Poisonous Weapon.
If you build one item, you can unlock access to another Invention. As you play you decide what Invention to build not only based on the function of the tool and how it helps you, but also by what other inventions you will unlock and get access to. It's a pretty cool choice for all players.

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I might be wrong, but I believe that if Julius Verne could play the game, he would like it. I did my best to appreciate the spirit of his novels.

***

Link to Robinson Crusoe campaign: https://gamefound.com/projects/portalgames/robinson-crusoe-c...
My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/trzewik
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Sat Apr 3, 2021 11:13 am
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GDJ #3 - Island tiles

Let me invite you all for one more journey. Let's talk about Explore action in Robinson Crusoe! It is essential in all novels about castaways. They always end up on the beach, on the distant shore of the unknown land and they have to discover the land. They explore.

When you explore, you draw the top Island tile from the stack, reveal it, and put it on the map of the Island. How these tiles differ?

They represent different areas. You may reach Mountains, find River, get to the Hills or Plains. Each tile has a Terrain type, and that unlocks your chance to build tools (I will discuss it tomorrow).

The tiles also have other features. You may find tracks of the beast. If so, you will take a beast card from the deck and add it to the Hunting action space. You have tracks of the wild animals so Hunt action becomes available.

The tiles have sources. It may be a nest of birds (food source), a fishing area (food source), or a dense forest (wood source). Depending on where you stay, where is your camp located, you will have access to different sources, which is crucial to surviving on the Island.

You may also find Discoveries. If so, you will draw a Discovery token and they represent so many different things. It might be a goat you will take to the camp. It might be an old gun lost by some pirate. It might be herbs that you will use for a cure. It might be worms that you can eat and feel like Pumba. It might... There are like 20 or more different findings in the game! Always a surprise!

On some tiles, there is also a Totem icon. If you find a tile with that icon, you check the scenario sheet and see what happened. In each scenario, Totem means something else, dedicated to this particular story. It might be a village of cannibals. It might be a cursed swamp. It might be the lair of King Kong! These icons build the story and theme of each mission!

Overall, as you see, the explore action is essential for the theme of the game. You landed on the island. You are on the beach, you have a wall of trees in front of you. You make the first step, you enter the woods, and see what happens. Tracks of wild animals? Unexpected discovery? River?

Trust me. Everything can happen!
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Tue Mar 30, 2021 8:25 pm
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GDJ #2 - Companion characters in the game

For the Robinson Crusoe Collectors Edition campaign that is happening right now on GameFound I write a short stories about the rules of the game - how they work and how I developed them. I thought I will share them on my blog too. I hope some of you find them interesting

Today I'll explain how I came with the idea of a Friday companion and how this character works.

The first question is super simple. I stole it from Daniel Defoe. Friday is an essential character in the book, he is Robinson Crusoe's companion, and of course, I had to have him in the game.

That was fast, right?

So how does he work in the game?

Friday character is used in a solo game, two-player variant. He is also used in other variants (3 pl and 4 pl) on easy mode. Friday is non-player character, a companion that is managed by players together. Unlike player characters, Friday has only one pawn.

Friday can support players - you add his pawn to player pawn in an action space to have successful action (see yesterday's article). It is simple and thematic. You work together; it goes nice and smooth.

Friday can also do an action on his own. And that's a tricky part. While playtesting the game, it was really weird when I was rolling for his actions, he had adventures, I read them, and in many cases, flavor text made no sense in a context to Friday's character (who is a native on the Island).

And that's when I did a twist - each time you roll for Friday, and you roll Adventure, you don't draw a card, he just gets a wound. Simple. And so thematic. How so? Let me show you the scene:

Diary, day 17,
It is late in the evening. Friday left camp before lunch and was supposed to do some fishing and bring food. He is not back. I worry. I don't know if something happened to him.

Diary, day 18,
Friday showed up in the camp in the night. He was wounded in the leg. I tried to ask him what happened, but he couldn't explain. I need to teach him English for more hours a day. He was pointing at a tree, making some weird noise, and showing his leg covered in blood. I had no clue what he meant. After few minutes of this dreadful mummery and poor acting, I pointed at my head and made an expression I don't understand. He got frustrated and went back to the woods. I need to teach him English. I really do.

So as you can see, in terms of the theme and flavor, Friday has some adventures, but we have no clue what happened to him because he cannot explain. So just a wound and no story!

The game comes also with a dog character. You also use him as an additional character that can help. The dog though cannot do action alone. He is a companion character. On his card there are listed green and red human icons - that means he can be used as a companion character in green and red actions, that is - Exploring the Island and Hunting.

Obvious, right?

I told you, I am not that great designer. I just took the book and made it into the game. It's all super easy to grasp if you understand the theme!



***

Link to Robinson Crusoe campaign: https://gamefound.com/projects/portalgames/robinson-crusoe-c...
My vlog: https://www.youtube.com/c/PortalGamesStudio/videos
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/trzewik
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Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:56 pm
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