Hello again, Boss Monsters!
We received good news today, confirming that our pallets have been delivered to the fulfillment center for packing, labeling, and mailing. That definitely keeps us on track for shipping this week (maybe as early as tomorrow...), and we look forward to posting again when we have news that actual mailings are underway.
While we await more news on that front, we thought we'd delve into the one card type we didn't talk much about during the campaign: Heroes.
Hungry for Heroes
The novice player sees Heroes as a threat, and to some extent, that's correct. After all, a Hero who survives your dungeon can deal a Wound, and it only takes five Wounds to kill you. But Boss Monster is balanced to make you feel powerful and make it clear who you should really worry about: your opponents. Far more often than you'll lose a game due to Wounds, you'll lose because an opponent beat you in the race to gain ten Souls.
So Heroes are a resource you want to acquire, and you'll have to constantly shift your strategy to balance your dungeon's treasure against what your opponents have on the board. Boss Monster is not a game where every Spell card or Room ability affects your opponents directly, but every turn you'll have cross-table interaction in the form of the Bait phase. The key to success is making sure your dungeon has the goods to lure in adventurers. Especially in a multiplayer game, you don't want to be the Boss who builds a dungeon optimized only for Hero-slaying, only to discover that nobody's dropping by.
When our campaign announced with the promise that backers could literally put themselves in the game, some people questioned the impact on the game. Do we really want to give some random backer that much power? After all, no one wants their cool videogame-themed card game interrupted by Heroes with names like Sir Stabsabutt or Long Schlong Silver. Luckily, a few factors worked against that.
First of all, we included the words "subject to approval" in the description, and weren't afraid to turn down someone committed to a truly bad idea. After all, there was a long line of people who didn't discover Boss Monster on the first day, who would eagerly snap up an open Hero slot.
Second, we had the power of pixel art on our side. Boss Monster's world of "Arcadia" is a pretty diverse place, but it all ties together thanks to the uniformity of the game's 16-bit art style. Hero backers shared a character concept with us, but then we worked closely with Boss Monster artists Kyle Merritt and Francisco Coda to make sure that each Hero would look awesome.
Finally, our backers are just cool people. No one suggested anything immature or stupid, and the only suggestions we had to reject were ideas too similar to existing concepts. Boss Monster is equally influenced by video games and tabletop RPGs, and the same was true of our backers' Hero concepts. Many backers saw this as an opportunity to immortalize their personal D&D or GURPS character, while others chose to pay homage to their favorite 8-bit game. We love the resulting mix, and we still smile every time we see an especially clever or obscure reference.
So now, without further ado, here are some of the Heroes that you'll be seeing soon in your copy of Boss Monster. Since you'll be able to enjoy their flavor text soon, we'll just share their images and some additional lore.
The Classic Adventurers
While many of the heroes in Boss Monster are parodies, many are simply original characters who fit classic archetypes. These are adventurers that you might see in a friend's pen-and-paper dungeon-crawling campaign, or as heroes in a typical JRPG.
Fire's Breath is a scarlet-haired femme fatale who wields twin scimitars and practices a whirling dervish style that makes short work of her foes. Across Arcadia, monsters use the phrase "kissed by Fire" as a euphemism for decapitation.
Charles the Young is a favored soul of the Light Goddess, and learned to smite evil before he learned how to tie his shoes. What he lacks in experience he makes up for with innocent faith in the power of good.
Jesta the Rogue is a veteran of countless dungeon crawls, mostly because he manages to keep other party members between himself and the nastier-looking monsters.
Koey the Dragon Mage has pledged his life to defeating Kirax, the Golden Dragon. He wields powerful green energy bequeathed to him by a mysterious patron. Also known as "Koey the Inquisitive," he is often the first in the party to ask a question or make a request.
Visitors from Videoland
Our favorite Hero cards are the ones that reference or poke fun at classic video game characters. Here are just a few of Boss Monster's videogame-inspired Heroes.
Boden the Pantless is a brave knight who believes he'll never lose a fight... even when he loses his armor.
Hya, Legendary Shinobi, is a ninja of legend. Once an assassin serving the highest bidder, he switched sides when a Boss Monster betrayed him. Now he seeks revenge, and none who see his katana's blade live to tell the tale.
Frankov is a shirtless man who fights evil with a handlebar moustache and the unlikely ability to spit fire at his foes. Most believe him to be a circus performer gone mad, but some whisper that he is actually the envoy of a higher power.
Delatorious, Angel of Light, was once a mortal boy. Now he is a winged servant of good with unerring aim and a magical crossbow.
Romero, the Indigo Friar, is part of a cult obsessed with the color blue. His dedication to happiness is unnerving even to his fellow humans, and dungeon denizens want nothing to do with this creepy cleric.
These are just a few of the 41 Heroes you'll find in the core edition of Boss Monster. Most fit into one of the two categories above, but you'll also find parodies of other pop culture icons. Be on the lookout for a tricksy halfling, an errant walker of planes, and even the bastard son of a northern lord.
We love the variety of Boss Monster's Hero cards, and actually think their idiosyncracies give the game more flavor than it would have had if we'd been forced to develop them all ourselves. We hope you enjoy seeing the plucky Heroes of Arcadia in your first game of Boss Monster -- and then mercilessly crush them with the power of your dungeon!
Ladies and gentlemen, the wait is almost over.
Shipping This Week!
This week, Boss Monster will begin shipping to backers. That means we're gloriously close to getting this game into your hands and hearing what you think of the game that you've made a reality.
Up to this point in the campaign, every prototype, T-shirt, and 10-Doh has been mailed one at a time. There was a time when we considered doing the same thing with the final game, but we long ago realized that hand-packing nearly 5,000 games would be absurd. So we'll be trucking everything to a shipping and fulfillment company that can turn around every unit as quickly as possible.
We still don't know what day this week the shipping will begin, but once games are in the mail, they should take no more than 2-3 days to reach U.S. backers. International shipping will take a little bit longer to process (because of customs paperwork) and several days longer to ship.
Brace Yourselves... The Updates Are Coming
Back during our campaign, we posted daily updates. This wasn't something we originally planned, but things were moving so fast that we legitimately had new information to share on a daily basis. After the campaign, we slowed down updates as we focused on finalizing the game and readying it for production. But more recently, we've avoided posting because we didn't feel it was cool to inundate you guys with information until we could answer the fundamental question of when we'd be shipping.
Now that game delivery is truly imminent, you can count on hearing a lot more from us! We won't be bugging you every day, but we're excited to be back in touch with everyone. Also be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook page, which is our favorite way to share cool snippets and provide a more personal look at Brotherwise Games.
We'll be using our updates to provide more exact information on shipping, but also to share fun news about Boss Monster and things that we like. For example...
Kickstart Kickstarted on Kickstarter!
As we look back on the past year, we never stop thinking, "God bless the Internet." Crowdfunding has made it possible for guys like us, a couple of risk-averse dads with families to feed, to connect with thousands of like-minded geeks and pursue our dreams. Kickstarter is an awesome phenomenon, though it also has its dark side and it's hard to wonder how long this high will last. There's a fascinating story here, and the folks behind the Kickstarted documentary want to tell it.
We backed this project because we want to see this movie and we like what they've shown so far. And okay, we also backed it because we want to be in a movie, and Boss Monster has already been selected as one of their "Crowdfunding All-Stars" to be featured in the film. Check out this cool "file card" from their website:
Ironically, Kickstarted may not be successfully Kickstarted. With just four days left to go, they still have a fair bit to raise. But we all know that the last few days for a project can be big, so for all you patrons of the arts out there, check it out.
We can't wait to get this game in your hands! Again, stay tuned to these updates for all the latest news. And thank you again for your patience and support!
Greetings Boss Monsters,
Tonight we have the latest news for Boss Monster backers, including a tantalizing sneak peek at the final product!
First up: a shipping update
Our manufacturing is complete, our partners at Panda Games have packed up 5,000+ copies of Boss Monster, and our shipping vessel is on schedule for a mid-June delivery to our distribution center in Los Angeles. Make your offerings to the sea gods now. We're doing everything we can to speed up things once the games hit the ground in LA, including going through an onerous pre-vetting process with U.S. customs now that (we hope) will shave a few days off the time the games will sit in the Port of LA.
Secondly: Game Store Pre-orders and Boss Monster Ambassadors
In our last update we asked you to preach the gospel of Boss Monster to your friendly local game store. You must be doing something because the numbers we're getting back from distributors are inspiring to say the least. Boss Monster WILL have a very healthy presence in game and hobby stores this summer. In the coming months, we intend to roll out our Boss Monster Ambassador program, wherein we offer you exclusive goodies for demoing Boss Monster at game stores and conventions. We're also developing materials to encourage game stores to host Boss Monster at their board game nights.
Lastly: A Sneak-Peek Inside the Box
To whet your appetites further, last week Brother Two recorded an unboxing video that shows you the actual game box and contents, including the gold sleeve and coins (going to all Kickstarter backers) and the extra cards going to Player's Choice and Power-Up Pack backers. This is not a prototype, but the real deal. It exists, people!! It exists!!!! [insert maniacal, exhausted laughter].
Check the video out here:
One other note that you may notice in watching the video: holofoils. In general, the printing of the game is masterful, but because of the nature of printing holofoil cards, our blue and black holofoil bosses came back a tad darker then their counterpart non-holo boss cards. See the comparison below:
We believe this difference is minor enough that we could not justify holding up delivery by another half month for reprinting, but we wanted to be upfront about it because, as we've said in the past, this game is your baby as much as ours. As the video shows, the game over all came out looking dead sexy. We predict you will be delighted and the retro-gaming pleasure centers of your brain will be firing on all cylinders.