It's been a long day.
Awaking triumphant to the clearing of the four-figure threshold left me buoyant. I spent the morning refining the typesetting and layout on the rulebook so that I could upload it as a printable .pdf. Perhaps took me longer that it should, as I'm still relatively new to Adobe InDesign, but the finished version is available here.
I know I have a lot of marketing to do, so I began in earnest. Then the dread set in. Since I started the day, I'd had no new backers - it wasn't like the day before at all!
My work had led me to a Facebook group for UK tabletop games designers. Joining and introducing myself, I found a friendly bunch of people whohad a lot to say about my Kickstarter. At this point, still having received no backing, I had strong concerns about the project. The constructive criticism I received about the way the Kickstarter was put together was invaluable, though also quite lengthy. Despite focussing on creating a professional quality product, my page was weak, my stretch goals were weak and combining postage into the advertised price made people feel that I was asking too much.
It means a lot of re-working to be done. At the very end of the day, Paul delivered a new audio for the 'How To Play' video that sounds incredible. My first job tomorrow is to put that to the visuals and reupload it. Else, I'm pulling together the graphics to go on the page, but I'm concerned that, as an inexperienced graphic manipulator, the time it take to produce them will be longer than Elementa can afford. I will see how I get on tomorrow.
More positively, I've been engaged by one of the Kickstarter community on the finer points of the game's design. I find that kind of discussion enjoyable, as it enables me to talk about the creative process and explain why things are the way they are in-game. I'll repost for you!
Referee said (in reference to the rulebook):
Very cool, thank you. It seems well written.
What I would add is maybe a couple examples of fine points or an elemental phase. Since you are at 5 pages now, you want to shoot for 8 (I'm sure you know that, but multiples of 4 is what works)
My concern, from the cursory read and having no experience with the game, so take this with salt as needed, is that it seems the first battles might be a bit irrelevant? I mean, you could break in the first five battles and still win...
BTW, if Defender takes an early break at the start of an Elemental Phase, the Attacker still gets an action, right?
Hi again Referee! Thanks for your feedback.
Yep, multiples of four - I'd intended to have the Glossary page separate, on the reverse of the Reference Sheet. That way you can refer to it when reading the Rules Sheet without having to flip to a back page each time.
However, I can see how some examples would be valuable. I'd condensed a couple of sections to keep within those four pages - namely the components description and illustrative graphics. Returning those and adding examples would certainly flesh out the booklet, so I'll see how many pages I can bring that up to.
With regards the Break aspect, this is absolutely a feature. In the playtest it wasn't irregular for one player to Break to the next round very quickly upon seeing the manifestations played by their opponent. Realising you have nothing to gain and everything to lose on the upcoming Elemental Phase enables you to attempt to re-establish an advantageous position for the next round, whether it be denying your opponent's elementals' power, or drawing the cards you'd need to neutralise their threat. Conversely, that can lead to a player holding back from displaying they have a strong advantage in anticipation of such early breaks. If they can tip the scales gently in early rounds, it means a crushing blow on the sixth round will have a greater impact.
This is the main reason for the establishment of the early Break rule. We found that with a Break in the phase at that point (without allowing the attacker an action), it denies a dominant player from building on their advantage in too great a manner. The design choice was based upon enabling a player that had made a mistake in an early round to have a better chance of making a comeback in the latter part of the game, without annulling the advantage of the other, especially if they then held back.
I had found that players' first couple of games focussed on manifesting powers, battling and generally having a laugh withcombinations. In those games, the Break option was only used as a matter of desperation (and almost always too late!). In further games, players began to think of the game as a whole, with the first five rounds more akin to skirmishes, with bluffing and manipulation more prevalent.
Of course, they didn't get the chance to think over the rules for any amount of time before they jumped in to the game, so that would explain why. I learned that it also means that if you want your kids to play with you a second time, you have to try and defeat them on a level they'll enjoy (ie plenty of direct confrontation), which was an unexpected lesson learned!