December Update: Lots and lots of progress!
Greetings spire builders!
While it's only been a month since the campaign closed, it's felt like an eternity since we've sent major information. So welcome to what will be the first of many monthly updates for Cloudspire. You can expect one of these each month, and as you'll see below, we'll be doing everything we can to keep you in the loop on anything and everything going on around Cloudspire development.
The last month has seen significant progress on almost every front.
Minis? New prototypes and closing in on final sculpts.
Factions? Undergoing playtesting and balancing.
Rules? Much more locked down with modest adjustments being made daily.
The Griege? Okay, they still have a ways to go, but their tunneling mechanics are coming together nicely.
With the amount of progress we've made, deep playtesting to expose edge cases and more uncommon hang-ups for all game modes is quickly approaching. It's been super important to get the factions, events, and relics to a place where we felt baseline balance has been achieved so that we can confidently send out full prototypes to press outlets after the holidays. Also, because the balance of solo and co-op can swing on the tiniest of details, there are portions of scenario development that have been waiting for this type of testing before being finished. So, what have we been working on in November/December? All of it, and we're loving how things are shaping up.
Let's jump in to some more specific details!
Game Component Quantities
One of the things we always talk about is putting whatever is needed into a game to make it complete. When the campaign ended, we had greatly increased the contents of the box, but after further development, we found that we wanted to fill out a few specific areas with even more content. So, in the last month, we've decided to add in the following:
- 1 new Merc unit (chip)
- 3 new Merc Spire Schematics (chips)
- 2 new Landmarks (chips)
- 3 new Events (cards)
- 1 additional small hex group
These quantities are feeling *really* good in terms of variety and strategy and likely won't increase beyond these quantities...unless we get another ridiculous idea that we feel like will be sad if it doesn't make it into the box of course ;-)
We could have tied these things to specific goals in the pledge manager when we roll it out, but why do that if we already know we want it in the game? Regarding the $600k Stretch Goal: No change or progress on this just yet. We need to see both how we do in the Pledge Manager as well as get just a bit further into the box and container design (which is now well under way) before we'll know if this is something that can potentially be added to the game or not.
A few gameplay related changes have been implemented since our last iteration of the game. Let's touch on the mains ones below.
- Merc Units: Command Points have been removed entirely from all units purchased from the market. We wanted to make sure that investing in the market (both in terms of units/schematics purchased and your fortress gateport upgrades that affect your faction's participation in the market) was something that always felt important. In earlier builds of the game, we were finding that there wasn't enough priority placed on participating in the market. Now, with the heroes and minions from the market not costing CP to put into play, they become an absolutely essential way to get a slight edge during the Onslaught. So much so, that you may even find yourself buying something to keep it out of an opponents hands, even if you don't have as much of a use for it.
- Hero Leveling: Heroes now level up each time they last-hit an opposing unit. This has made leveling much easier, but also much more important. It also has drastically increased the importance of getting your heroes into the fray early and often. Without a leveled up hero you are at a significant disadvantage. In prior builds, we were finding that heroes were left hanging out on the outskirts of the fray, avoiding combat. Not so anymore.
Fresh Gameplay Videos!
Below, you'll find a brand new set of videos featuring both a full PvP game: Josh C vs. Ghillie in a start to finish 1v1 battle, as well as a solo playthrough of the full first Brawnen scenario.
A couple of notes on these. As always, we take a *lot* of time to explain things to the camera. The game does move much faster when simply played among two people. The other thing we'd mention is that we do make a few mistakes early on as we sort of reacquaint ourselves with the latest rules updates and Talent definitions. Forgive us on that :-)
We know many of you are still looking for co-op play and we want to get to it soon. Balance in solo is important, and it's even *more* important with co-op and two playable factions on the table. We're working hard on polishing a co-op scenario to show you soon, but it's not quite ready for prime time just yet. More on that #soon.
We've had Anthony locked in a room, unable to attend to his bees and chickens (yes, he raises bees and chickens. Of course he does, haven't you seen his beard?) working on Cloudspire art for days. Check out some of these amazing pieces below!
Anthony has also been trucking away on sculpts for...
Just this last week we received the latest 3D printed renderings of our minis for Cloudspire, and we're very excited about how they're shaping up. The video below will explain more about some of the changes and improvements we've made to the miniatures of Cloudspire.
Just as a reminder, these are not included in the base game, and are a purchasable Add-on.
As long as we're on the topic of sculpting, we can now officially tell you that we are indeed doing custom molded pegs to track fortress upgrades. Anthony will be starting to sculpt these just as soon as he's done with all the other things we need him working on.
These should be a nice improvement over the Battleship pegs we've been using in all of the videos :-)
Fortresses have continued to evolve. We have gorgeous artwork for all of them now, and we've made a few quality of life improvements to the UX. One-off upgrades now feature a symbol that corresponds to your faction reference sheet. Upgrades with prerequisites now are numbered in such a way that it's easy to see if it's a progressive upgrade. Check out some of the new Fortresses and reference changes below!
Near the end of the Kickstarter we also unlocked the more advanced Fortress mats that will include die cut areas to hold your Source and Health tracker chips. This artwork is currently being worked on uniquely for each faction but here is a larger version of what these will end up looking like:
Ever wonder how these neoprene mats are made? It's a lot more "hands on" than you may think! In short, bulk neoprene is ordered and a fabric layer is adhered to the top side of the rubber mat. Then the mats are cut based on our die cutting instructions (thats the stage the stack of white mats to the right in the video below are at). Once those are ready to go, each mat (fortress) is prepared and aligned face-down on top of a reverse-printed thermal transfer graphic. This is what the video below is showing (while making some of our earlier fortress prototypes before we added places for our chip counters).
Once the mats are finished being prepared, the graphics are thermally affixed using heat and pressure. Mats are then trimmed and checked for placement accuracy. And that is just one Cloudspire Faction Fortress. There are 20 mats to each game!
Thank you all for your get well wishes, thoughtful comments, and general encouragement around the surgery one of our children went through this past week. She was quite the trooper throughout and while recovery will take awhile, she left the hospital in good spirits.
Pledge Manager Launch Date and Details!
So beyond questions about more videos, the question we've seen by far the most is in regards to the Pledge Manager. We decided to launch it *after* the holidays to avoid the launch day getting lost in the holiday shuffle. Officially we will be using CrowdOx again and it will go live on Thursday, January 3rd at approx 11 am CST (you will be sent an e-mail invite). We will likely send out one more update on this specifically, prior to launch.
January 3rd should give all of you time to get many questions answered, digest the videos and information in this update, etc. But wait, there's more. There's a few other awesome things beyond Cloudspire coming in the Pledge Manager as well, so we wanted to give you a heads up on some of the savings you'll be able to expect!
PLEASE NOTE before you look at these prices: Too Many Bones' MSRP will be increasing to $129.95 on January 1st. This is due to manufacturing cost increases and our general inability to keep the game in stock.
In the Cloudspire pledge manager, you can expect to see some impressive bundle options:
1. Triplock Gameplay Bundle - Triplock, all solo episodes - $45 (save $15)
2. Too Many Bones + Undertow Bundle - $190 (save $25)
3. Everything Too Many Bones (TMB, Undertow, Age of Tyranny, 40 Days in Daelore, Ghillie, Tink, Nugget, Gasket, Adventure Map 2.0, Ally Pack, and Premium Health) - $360 (save $55)
4. Hoplomachus Big Box Bundle (Hoplo: The Lost Cities, Rise of Rome, and Origins) - $170 (save $45)
Why are we offering our big box titles at close to Kickstarter pricing? Well, that's a good question.
There may or may not be some new TMB content coming to Kickstarter this spring that will deliver *immediately* after Cloudspire is fulfilled. Because of this, we wanted to give our Cloudspire backers a first crack at the bundle pricing that will be available as a part of the Kickstarter. The *new* content will not be available in the Cloudspire PM obviously, but you'll get the same price break on existing content that backers of the new spring campaign will receive. This is as close to the original TMB and Undertow Kickstarter prices as you will ever see.
The Triplock and Hoplo bundles offer you a chance to get the same pricing we've offered in other places (only at conventions in the case of Triplock) in a slightly different format. The Hoplo Complete Collection offers a $50 discount. We're giving close to that *same* discount in this bundle, but without needing to take the full plunge on the add-ons. Hoplo has enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in terms of popularity as of late, and we'd love to see more TMB fans who have never tried it out give it a shot :-)
Anyway, that wraps things up for this update. We hope everyone enjoys some time off with family and friends and we will talk to you all at the start of the new year!
Adam, Josh, and Josh (Ghillie)