Thank you making Release! such a success!
Check out http://inedo.com/release for more information and to pre-order.
I know... how could one possibly make software development more interesting, more fun, and more riveting? It's hard to imagine, especially when you're staring at that back-lit screen with cramped fingers and a sore neck at the tail end of another 80 hour week, but if you can peel yourself away from that desk, then here's a great way for you and your coworkers to take a 30 minute break.
Release! is 3 to 5 player card game that takes modern development methodologies and crams them into a trick taking card game that is fast paced, easy to pick up, and has a lot of room for strategy. But Release! is more than just a fun way to spend a few minutes. It's something that can bring your team -- and even different teams -- together, at a table, for a reason other than a routine meeting.
In all my years working on different projects at different organizations, one of the best team-building activities I've found -- aside from an open bar, of course -- is gaming. It lets everyone see a more casual side of each other, illustrates how different members think, strengthens relationships between coworkers, and ultimately, makes both the workplace and the work produced much better.
We take this to heart at Inedo. Although our day job is building DevOps and Continuous Delivery tools like BuildMaster and ProGet, we're also pretty into games. That's what inspired us to make CodeMash2010: The Game a few years back, and is also why we're making another game today.
We wanted to theme Release! around a particularly exciting paradigm shift that's happening in the software development industry today: agile software delivery. That's the all-encompassing term for emerging practices like DevOps, Continuous Delivery, etc., that strive to deliver better software faster.
One of the reasons we chose a trick taking game type was because they produce a unique sort of communication. It's a subtle sort of economy of sly glances and led cards, whether you are trying to silently tell your partners what you need them to do, or trying to push your opponents into getting rid of just the right card.
Partner play is obviously where this really shines. The way you manage your partner relationship reflects the way we feel teams have to actually communicate in the workplace. It's just not efficient to spell everything out for everyone; you have to develop a more concise language.
The game is simple: manage cooperation and competition with other players across 10 hands (or "releases" as we call them) to score the most points. Each release is played the same, but the scoring rules change from release to release. Your team needs to continuously respond to these strategic shifts in order to produce the best release possible.
The cards are divided into two decks .
The Play Deck
This deck consist of three suits (Birds, Doors, and Fruit) of cards numbered 1-13. These are the cards you will have in your hand.
The 12 face cards are special, not just because they have special rules when played, but because they feature practitioners who have made significant contributions to the software development community; folks like Patrick Debois, Dan North, and Jez Humble. Here's a mock-up of the play cards:
Linda Rising, Kenji Hiranabe, Kent Beck, Gene Kim, Elizabeth Hendrickson, and Jeff Patton will also be featured, along with seven more yet-to-be revealed Practitioners. Who could they be? Suggestions are always welcome!
The Tools & Methods Deck
This consists of 18 different cards that determine how the release is scored. The name kind of sums up what these will reflect in the real world: the software and philosophies that help to drive modern development. Some will help you score big, and some will be complete flops. Here are some mock ups:
Want to know a bit more specifically how the game is played? You can download the beta rules here.
Release! is a pretty fun game out of the box. However, we designed it with extensibility in mind so that you can add lots of variety through Release! Plug-ins and Expansions. We’ll host these on the Release! Repository to-be-built website; some will be available for purchase, others will be limited edition (i.e. only available at a conference), and a few will even be shipped to you completely free thanks to sponsorships.
Basically we are releasing Release! with agility in mind.
Maybe most exciting for our backers at the $12 or $25 level, we’ll send you all available Plug-ins and Extensions for free! They'll all be included in the game box you'll get after we ship.
You can install any number of Plug-ins into your Release! deck. The cards in a Plug-in will replace existing Play Cards (such as the 2 of Birds) and/or add to the Tools & Methods deck. For example, here’s the Astah plug-in.
We made this plug-in for Astah because they were kind enough to back at the Plug-in level. Additional plug-ins will include...
- Loupe Plug-in - sponsored by Gibraltar Software, makers of the popular Logging & Error Management platform called Loupe
- BuildMaster Plug-in - sponsored by the BuildMaster team at Inedo, makers of the DevOps and Continuous Delivery Platform, BuildMaster
- Redgate Plug-in - sponsored by Redgate, builders of ingeniously simple tools for .NET, SQL Server, and Oracle
- AppTracker Plug-in - sponsored by our friends at AppTracker, makers of an applications migration workflow tool
- Open Source Plug-in - featuring community-supported tools like Git and Chocolatey
- YOUR NAME HERE Plug-in - interested? Contact me or back at the Plug-in Level
A Release! Expansion is a bit more involved, and modifies the gameplay through additional rules, cards, and components. All of the Expansions we create will be tied to a specific theme, such as Agility, Visibility, Collaboration, and so on. Here’s what you'll get so far...
- Anti-Patterns Expansion adds a new deck of cards that will introduce a new rule every round reflecting our favorite development anti-patterns from The Daily WTF. These anti-patterns will cause wild swings in game play and tactics.
Visibility Expansion draws on one of our favorite games, pinochle. It will include an expansion deck of cards, and will allow you to score points for certain combos... so long as you reveal your hand to everyone at the table. And of course there will also be some other fun Visibility bits thrown in there as well. This expansion was made possible by our friends at New Relic.
- Mystery Expansion a to-be-announced expansion that was made possible by the fine folks at Chef.
- Operations Expansion will feature an entirely new suit of cards, aptly named Ops. Much like real-life Ops, these will act as powerful trump cards. But keep in mind that, in Release!,you'll often you want to throw a hand rather than take it, and thus you'll need to play your Ops trump cards appropriately. This expansion was made possible by our friends at Puppet Labs.
You can also sponsor a Release! Expansion. It’s a bit more involved than a Plug-in obviously, but it’s a fun way to support the game, feature your company, and promote the relevant development themes. Please contact me to learn more about backing at this level.
The standard reward levels are listed to the right, but to summarize:
- $1 Release! sticker and a digital copy
- $12 Single Deck (3-5 players), sticker, digital copy
- $25 Two Decks (3-10 players), larger box, sticker, digital copy
Since we have had such a great response from the community, we're able to offer stretch goals now! The stretch goals will affect backers $12 and $25-level backers.
- [$4,000 - met!] Open Source Plug-In will add 6 new Tools & Methods cards that will introduce some of our more unusual scoring methods. Once we hit the goal we will start development and start sharing the cards with you as soon as they are ready.
- [$5,500 - met!] Anti-Patterns Expansion. Ever have to deal with a solution that’s worse than the problem it was meant to clean up? You will once we meet this goal. This expansion will introduce an entirely new deck to Release!: a global effect deck that will house the best of the worst ideas around in software today from The Daily WTF. Each release, players will have to work around and plan for drastic shifts in game play.
- [$6,500 - met!] Game Box. By this time, your Release! game will have outgrown its little box. If you are like us, you hate juggling a ton of little cases, so we will streamline your load out a bit with a new box designed to hold all the cards you take home from this KickStarter, and quite a few more.
For the duration of the KickStarter campaign every time a new sponsor jumps on board with a new Plug-In or Expansion you will get it shipped to you with the base game. It’s as simple as that.
This list isn't static by any means, as we move forward we will keep adding more and more goals so you can walk away with more and more Release!
Like the project? Want to see it actually come through? Share it, tweet it, post it, whatever it. Let people know about our game and we will be able to make it better. It’s pretty simple, and very appreciated.
Like games? Intimately familiar with the gritty work of software development? Let us know what you think. Also feel free to email us to tell us how smart and handsome we are.
Did you know that no synonyms for shipping start with 'R'? We do now.
We'll ship through USPS. We've wrapped all of our production and U.S. shipping costs directly into our reward levels, so what you see for each level is exactly what you need to pay.
International shipping will cost extra.
Risks and challenges
While most of the artwork is already done, we still need illustrations for the remainder of the face cards. However, Mark Bowytz (the illustrator) is quite eager to get finish these, and has had no problem delivering on past projects (including CodeMash 2010: The Game).
After the artwork is complete, production and distribution are the next challenges -- but we're quite experienced with this aspect as well, having successfully produced and distributed thousands of swag items for The Daily WTF and Stack Overflow. We will be working with an established, local printer that specializes in card production, and will ship to backers via USPS.
In the highly unlikely event that Mark is unable to complete the illustrations, we'll get a new illustrator who can work in a similar mark-drawn style and will have all the art redrawn. This will change the illustration look slightly and will cause print delays.
Should there be any print problems (quality, etc), we will simply get a new batch. If the mistake was ours, we're prepared to suck it up and pay for additional print runs. Obviously, this will cause a print delay.
We've got a pretty good idea of how many packages get lost/damaged/returned, and should this happen to your copy of the game, we will be prepared to handle that as well.
And finally, should the zombie apocalypse occur during this project, we will shift our focus to basic survival, finding a cure, rebuilding civilization, and reestablishing infrastructure. We anticipate these activities will cause some delays in the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)