Gamboni Update from Golden Bell!
Marc from Golden Bell Studios here. I wanted to apologize for the slight delay in getting an update out to you since PAX Unplugged. We are normally in regular communication with Ewout however after PAX, I had to take a short business trip to New York that was unavoidable and I had not brought my computer with me. I am excited to share with you all the current status of Gamboni and expected timelines so that everyone is on the same page. I will also detail all the improvements that have been made to Gamboni since the unboxing video Rob and I had done which I’m sure most, if not all, of you have already watched!
As the Publisher and a designer myself, I felt there were a lot of things that needed additional polish and extra design implemented to make the game more seamless. On top of that one of my partners, Rob, acts as our Editor in Chief and our Chief Content Officer, in the beginning we had found hundreds and hundreds of typos that existed which needed to be completely fixed. In essence, the pre-existing state of the rulebook was unpublishable but has since been re-written by Rob and one of our in-house game designers, Alexander Flanagin. The improved language, clarity, and graphic design implementations will make the game much more streamlined and has created an approach where there shouldn’t be questions cropping up like we were receiving in our playtesting sessions which took roughly 6+ months. We had taken Gamboni around the Northeast to conventions like PAX East, PAX Unplugged, New York Comic Con, and a dozen others like Gen Con and Origins and feel that the current state of the game is nearly there.
Types of changes that were made included fixing up the roads on the board to make them more clear. Making consistent language from the rulebook to the different ranks. There were multiple terminologies used for each rank which caused a lot of confusion in our early playtesting, that we amended. We also decided to add a STADIUM spot to Queens to represent the former Shea Stadium (or current Citi Field, whichever you prefer) as that area of the map was completely unbalanced and essentially a dead zone. The Brooklyn Heights boss, whomever it may have been, rarely had ever won, and we had even wrote an in house program to check the math behind the design and saw a complete flaw in that aspect of the design which we had fixed.
Another point of contention was the Rico expansion. The way it was presented to us was not publishable, it was not designed (graphically or functionally) to a point where it was play testable. Ewout had told us he had not been able to play test the expansion which had caused great concern internally even though he had told us to trust him that it would work. Due to this, we had to undergo significant playtesting on Ewout’s version of the Rico Expansion which in our opinion was not playable to the point of it being fun. Hence, we decided to create a real full fledged expansion on the back of Ewout’s version that was heavily playtested, has additional mechanics, a lot of fun rules, and a ton of variants which expand the game for countless hours of replayabilty. I hope that what we had worked on will spark many game nights of your friends arguing who is going to be the rat any given night! With that, we also added additional Rico Tokens (aside from boss tokens), as the Rico card isn’t just a gimmick but will be an actual playable character in the game to choose from. This we felt was necessary due to the inability for us to publish Trump as a playable character due to copyright infringements that were raised by our legal advisors. The rico token acts as the rico player on the board but can also act as the first player token for the base game without the expansion at your discretion. But we feel it also acts as a nice collectible to commemorate the game! It’s a really cool fun addition that we hope you enjoy :)
Now the biggest addition that I had insisted on making is Variant Play. I felt that what happened was a potential monopoly syndrome as I’ve dubbed it where I found us playing the same game over and over with little to no variety. The way we were able to solve this was with many new variant modes. The one I’m most proud of designing is an additional implementation of a custom dice of the mob bosses that can be rolled at the beginning of the game. This will allow players to have an extra mob ability that will vary from game to game depending on which boss you’ve assumed control of. Other variants include modes where players can lease out spaces to other players, go into business with their enemies, utilize the limo in creative ways (much like UBER), a snitch/cheating mode that expands the Rico Expansion even more, an ‘evading taxes’ mode where players start off with more money if they play a second game and can keep money from game to game, and an ability to run a business from your house.
Back to the editing. We had improved the clarity of each of the player phases, and the cards themselves to avoid questions that had kept rising. Sadly, some of the additional art creation has been rather slow since Ewout and one of the artists hadn’t decided to continue working together so many artists were utilized in the production of this game. On the co-op mode and two player variant front, these had to be implemented as they were entirely missing from the originally submitted materials.
On the legal front, we also had to wait for the Registration to be issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the Trademark of Gamboni. These are all things that company’s must wait for in order to publish a game properly and protect our intellectual property from international IP thieves, rip off games trying to earn money off our good will, or just plain infringement of the game from a Patentable mechanics standpoint.
Unfortunately we have missed the boat on getting this completed prior to Chinese New Year, so due to this further delay we are going to be implementing new additional locations outside of just the Pizza Place, Strip Club, and Drug Labs. We have already the Skyscraper location in development and expect to have it completed this month. We are looking into adding Casinos, Poker Joints, Car Repair Shops, a Garage, a Recycling Plan, a Taxi Service Company called The Medallions, and a local bar/nightclubs. All of which require additional art we’re developing.
Once everything is implemented, we’ll then have a final sample made and send a copy to Ewout to review and play the final version to make sure everything is approved on his end and we aren’t missing anything as far as final components and to make sure that everyone is getting the best possible game they could ask for. We are really exciting about nearing this game’s completion!
Having said all this I want to assure everyone that the game’s quality is going to be so far superior to what you had been expecting and paid for that you will all be happy once it is received. We have been publishing games now for several years and have many successes under our belt, campaigns that have delivered upwards of 5,000+ units all the way down to under 100 for smaller niche games. We hope this update has re-instilled the excitement you once had and garnered additional interest for the development of Gamboni. We expect to be completed with most, if not all of the development sometime in Quarter 2 of 2019 assuming there are no further pushbacks from Ewout and his design team as our editorial side is completed and now we must just implement all the final changes we’ve been working on. From there, production time is roughly 90 days and shipping to the states takes an additional 30 days with 15 days of Customs lead time and 15 days for warehouse packing and trucking time. We expect the game to deliver in Late Q3 or Early Q4 of 2019. Thank you again all so much for your patience and hope you are excited to roll with Gamboni. If anyone would like to play test some of the new modes please let us know by sending an email to alex@GoldenBellStudios.com