Spotlight #6: More 2 and 3 Player Gameplay!
Greetings gateport jumpers!
Today's Spotlight is pretty straight-forward. Today we filmed a bunch more gameplay for you. While we intended for Josh vs. Josh last Friday to show a full three waves, apparently strange EU limitations on the filming time allowed on a DSLR before it is technically classified as a camcorder (look it up, it's weird) cut our video off at the half an hour mark last Friday, so we reset things today, and tried to continue from right where we left off. You'll see more events, and more Brawnen and Heirs shenanigans. You'll also see Ghillie take health from his fortress health stack several times to use on his units. :-P
Which brings us to a few things before we jump into the gameplay videos:
We've been working behind the scenes on some different options for Source and health tracking, and wanted to show you an example of where that's going. Using a health chip stack for your fortress gets confusing because number one, there's currently not a great place to put it in relation to your fortress, and number two, would require an additional 40 health chips in the box - not a great solution. While we can always handle it with a chip and a card (like we currently handle Source tracking) and could maybe even die cut the card so the chip fit inside, we have an idea to improve this even further. While more costly, our solution would make it easier to manage and much more integrated with the game.
Tomorrow, you'll see a mockup of both the health and Source tracking extensions we're working on for every fortress. This is one of a few 600+k stretch goals we had hoped to roll out during the campaign if we could raise enough funds. If funding doesn't allow for this, we may have to get creative in how we make this a reality, but for now, the easiest way is by asking you to spread the word this week on Cloudspire so more and more people can have a chance to back this game. With any luck, we can make this upgrade a reality so Ghillie will finally stop reducing his fortresses health in order to help provide healthcare to his units.
Enough about Ghillie...let's move on.
Live with Ghillie Pt. Deux
In preparation for the 48 hour countdown, Ghillie will also be doing another livestream tomorrow at 10:00 AM central. It will be rewatchable in case you miss it, but we hope you'll join us! Come ask your most grueling and difficult questions, and Ghillie will do his best to answer them if possible. Ask him how he got so pale, why he's so bad at Cloudspire, when the last time he's hung out with anybody outside of the CTG office and any number of other hard hitting questions!
As we said, we're going to keep the actual spotlight portion of this update simple and let the videos speak for themselves. Again, we've really tried to play this as accurately as we could with the current rule revisions. That does not mean we nailed it, as processing your next move, announcing it aloud to the camera, making sure not use a rule or mechanic that was different only a week or two ago, and trash talking your opponent is a lot to do at once.
The one thing we want to make sure we say though, is that we had a blast playing three player this afternoon. This was my first time playing the Narora with most all of the units in place, and all I could think about after we filmed was all the different strategies I want to try the next go round. This was also Shannon's first time getting to play with us, and like all good board games, the three of us couldn't wait to talk through our thoughts, strategies, and "what ifs" right after we finished (and we only played two waves!). With so much of the basics for the game now finished, we cannot wait to get back to work turning knobs and developing surprises for you as soon as the campaign wraps. Anyway, enough of the self-promotional blathering - enjoy the videos!
Home Stretch Goal!
So we mentioned that we hoped to add a 3rd hero to the mix for every faction on Friday. This has not changed. However, the method for unlocking such a goal IS changing to factor in what we are seeing this past week. While the landscape of backer expectations may be trending away from funding ideas and more toward funding completed projects, we'd like to reduce the impact that has on this goal specifically. Rather than tying such an important stretch goal to funds earned during the campaign, we are changing it to an unlock based on our total backer count.
Therefore, we're committing to adding a 3rd hero to the game for every faction (including the griege add-on) if we hit 4000 backers. We don't care if they're "all in" backers, or simply in at the $1 level. We just want backers. Why? Let us explain.
We're 3000% confident in this project and the gameplay system we're building. As we've said multiple times before, perhaps we could have done a better job showing it earlier in the campaign. A perfect storm of circumstances + our own decision to not work 90 hour weeks during the campaign seems to have contributed to a feeling that the game is somehow far behind where our previous games have been at the time of their Kickstarter launch. We're biased of course, and we're trying to sell Cloudspire, but let us unequivocally say that those feelings are unfounded.
Cloudspire is roughly where every single one of our big box games have been in terms of their development at the time of the Kickstarter launch. Undertow may have *felt* more finished, but that was largely due to the TMB gameplay system already being developed. We develop before, during, and after our Kickstarter campaigns. That, along with Essen and taking a while to get our current progress pushed into playable prototype mode seems to have hurt us during the campaign. That's on us, no excuses, we own it. But, regardless of where this campaign finishes, we view Cloudspire as our next big pillar franchise that will sit right alongside Too Many Bones as a perennially sold out, top tier title that is one of the crown jewels of anyone who owns it's collection.
We think it's the perfect fusion of all the things that make Hoplo and Too Many Bones great, along with a huge helping of many other brand new and exciting elements. We are *so* confident in this game, that we believe the vast majority of $1 backers will decide to purchase the game or Cloudspire bundle before the pledge manager even opens.
If you're not completely sold by the end of the campaign, that's okay. Additional content is on the way. We're prepping prototypes and draft rulebooks to send out to Ricky Royal, Man vs. Meeple, Rolling Solo, Secret Cabal, and more. If you can't take our word that the game is a blast, we hope you'll take theirs when the coverage arrives.
So, we've set the modest goal of 4000 backers to add the 3rd hero for every unit. If you're as excited about his game as we are, please spread the word and encourage any friends you have that are on the fence to back the game at *any* level. The final 48 hours of the campaign are critical. We're busily adding everything we can to the campaign page heading into the home stretch. Thanks in advance for each and every soul you tell about our game :-)
*Some have asked if we will continue to unlock stretch goals through the pledge manager after the campaign like we have done with a few of our smaller campaigns. The answer is most likely, no, as it undermines part of the purpose of Stretch Goals within the campaign itself. So while we appreciate every $1 backer that wants to delay a Cloudspire purchase to give their pocket book a rest from a busy October, or who is fairly sure they will back later on but are just waiting because they know it will surely fund, know that delaying your pledge greatly affects what we can commit to adding to the game. With that said, we will do whatever we can to get everything we can into this game, no matter the outcome! :)
2 vs. 2!
We were asked early in the campaign if the game supports 2 vs 2, and with enough time now to playtest it, we can say that 2 vs 2 not only works, but is an absolute blast. We're playing with the rules a bit to see if there's any victory conditions we want to consider modifying, but the teamwork and synergy is a lot of fun, and we'll have more to show on it in the future.
A few other notes that we just wanted to mention as we wrap up things up for tonight. As we continue to play test and put the game through the ringer, we often encounter things that need modification. Due to how we offer our Kickstarters, we want to make backers aware of things that may see adjustments moving forward so you can remain caught up in the development process right along side us. Here are a few things that are seeing modification this week:
While heroes are a lot of fun to play, they are currently a bit too squishy. The forms of healing for each faction short of returning to the fortress, are fairly expensive fortress upgrades that aren't as accessible as we'd like. We are looking at ways to improve this in a very asymmetrical way for each faction from HP bumps for certain heroes, to cheaper advancements for other factions.
By the same token, in the current prototype we've been testing (and filming) it's a bit harder than we'd like for heroes to level up. Part of this is the health issue, but we're looking at other ways to streamline and improve this process. We want heroes leveling often, as they're critical to the game and add a lot of personality and play style options. We want players to have the option of focusing on a specific hero and investing in them heavily while giving others the option to go for quantity over quality. We are looking at a few different ways of making sure heroes can level early (without creating an OP hero situation) to make sure that MOBA element we love so much really shines through.
As for fortresses, right now their upgrades are a bit too expensive. The goal is to make a single fortress upgrade during each and every building phase almost a no brainer. This encourages a lot more experimentation with fortress advancement trees and feeds the rapid escalation of the game. Waves 1-3 should be tense, but largely about preparation. Once waves 4 and onward hit, we want big, scary, powerful units and heroes roaming the board - ready to potentially reduce a fortress to rubble when played with the proper amount of skill.
The Rest of the Way
While we showed off a relic and several events in the playthrough videos, tomorrow we want to spotlight Events, Relics, and Landmarks. They continue to evolve with each day as we get more and more crazy ideas on what to do with them. The events in the videos today should give you a nice idea of how we want events to go. Relics, in the meantime, are typically single use items that can really swing the tide of battle.
And Landmarks (previously referred to as Points of Interest), well let's just say we have a lot more than a couple of Bug 1s and 2s up our sleeve. We're hoping to showcase ALL of that tomorrow before the 48 hour email goes out.
From there, we'd like to cover each of our add-ons and stretch goals in more detail and we're hoping to get a co-op video out before the campaign closes as well. No promises, but we're going to try.
There's 72 hours to go, we're ready to rock! Thanks for your support, enthusiasm, and encouragement. We truly couldn't make this game without you.
With love and excitement...and even more love,
Josh, Adam, and Josh (Ghillie)