Have you ever confused 900 people all at once? Well, on Saturday, I was taking my dog Lupin for a walk when I realized that’s exactly what I’d done. Woof!
On Saturday, we sent out an update featuring the game’s revised Energy Deck. We also asked $300-level backers (who have dogs in the Energy Deck) to review their illustrations if they hadn’t had a chance to yet.
However, in our excitement to share the new look of the energy cards, we worded the update in a way that made many $75 - $150 level backers think we had sent them their custom dogs to be reviewed. As a result, many were rightfully confused, because they had not received any custom dog sheets.
If you’re one of those people who will be getting custom playable dogs from the $75 - $150 backer levels, or from backerkit add-ons, we want to make sure you know that you do not need to do anything further. We have not begun laying out the custom playable dogs yet. That’s one of our big tasks for October.
With over 1,000 custom dog cards getting created, we will not have an opportunity to review those cards with every backer individually. That said, if you have special concerns about your photo or if you're worried it won't render well on the card, you are more than welcome to reach out to us at email@example.com. We will work with you to make sure the photo and custom dog card look their best!
We’re going to be giving our all to these custom playable dogs. Each photo will be individually modified to fit into the game’s style and placed on an illustrated background. Backers will receive digital and physical copies of the customized sheet and accompanying token, along with a letter of thanks! We hope you find the result as cool as we do. :)
Thanks for working through the confusion with us!
We’re sorry to those we confused. We’re so excited to get you this game, as well as the two expansions and your custom dogs. We’re grateful for everyone who reached out and chatted with us, as it reaffirmed to us how enthusiastic people are to get the game and their custom playable doggos. Good Dog, Bad Zombie has an absolutely amazing community, and it really means a lot to us to be making something people care this deeply about. We were delighted to get the chance to connect with many of you individually and hear about how you’re looking forward to getting the game.
Also, I’d like to apologize to my dog Lupin, whose walk was cut extremely short on Saturday when I realized what had happened. I’ll buy you a new chew toy to make up for it, buddy. We can practice taking on zombies!
We’re excited to share with you a first glimpse of the look of the new energy cards in Good Dog, Bad Zombie. We’ve been working our tails off to finish everything to send to Community Printers, our ethical, sustainable, and US based printer! They’ve been collaborating diligently with us to have everything prepared in time to ship for the holidays, and we’re so delighted to be working together.
But without further ado (arooo?), we are excited to share with you some early glimpses of the illustrations in Good Dog, Bad Zombie:
Below is a sneak peek of some of the Energy cards (there will be 64 total, each with a unique illustration) in the game! These are all dogs submitted by you, our backers (at the ”Have Your Dog Illustrated into the Game” level), and that were lovingly illustrated by Evan Rowland and Fox Desfleurs, who did so much incredible work to make them possible.
Here’s what the cards looked like before:
And here’s what they look like now, featuring some of your dogs:
We’ve heard from a ton of people that they are really happy with their dog’s illustration in the game, and we’re so happy about that! But what if you’re not loving the illustration we sent you? That’s okay! There’s been a couple people already that felt that we haven’t quite captured their dog’s spirit. We’ll do our best to make adjustments to the illustration within reason to make sure you’re happy with it.
If that’s the case for you, please respond with your thoughts to the email we sent you with the illustration; that will ensure we see, track, and respond to your request. But please do so as soon as possible, with Tuesday, September 25th, at 5 PM EST being the last possible time we can accept those requests.
Thank you for sharing your dogs with us to breathe life into this game. (We’re saving hoomans from the undead, after all!)
We’ll have another update for you soon, showing off the updates and improvements to the other parts of the game.
Summer is now behind us and while fall hasn’t officially begun, the leaves here in New England have already started to change.
We've been using this time to make considerable progress on GDBZ! Below is a diagram we’ve put together showing our progress on getting materials to our printer - and we’ll dive into how we made that progress below!
Rulebook Sit-downs and Layout
In August, our game editor Joshua Yearsley ran a number of rulebook sit-downs. The goal of these sitdowns was to make sure that people actually understood the rulebook! With Josh’s insights, we were able to make some solid improvements.
He suggested final edits based on those sit-downs. Here’s a sample:
And in turn, we’ve been hard at work on the rulebook layout!
The layout is now nearly complete. We’ve got a few more diagrams to go, then it’s off to the printer with this lovely little book!
Another August project was making decisions about the final components that will be going in the game. This was a big project! While it’s not possible to get every one of our pieces manufactured in the US, we’re trying to source as many of our components from quality US-based suppliers.
We chose Chessex dice because of their commitment to consistency and quality:
We’re also working with a manufacturer to create our custom scent tokens:
And we spent a lot of time going back-and-forth about color choices for the game's tokens, making sure the colors we chose weren’t duplicated between different types of pieces, and that those colors contrasted with each other and with the board.
T-shirts off to the printer!
Finally, the order for your limited edition GDBZ shirts is off to our screen printing company. After ordering two different shirt samples, we just really, really liked the darker, forest green tri-blend shirt featured on the right. The fabric was much softer, the green was richer, and the shirt generated a ton of compliments whenever we took it out on the town.
The printer estimates roughly a two-week turnaround for the shirts, after which we’ll be shipping them to you!
Missed ordering a shirt but having second thoughts? We ordered a few extras in all sizes. If you’d like to hop on the GDBZ shirt train, click here:
July and August have by far been the busiest months for GDBZ. Here’s what we’ve been up to, and here’s what’s coming next:
Custom Dog Art
Fox has been hard at work on custom dog art and has completed an illustration of almost every backer pup that will be included in the game! We’re thrilled to start previewing these with backers so we can share them with you in the next update.
Here’s another peek at the process:
With every illustration nearly complete, Evan will be working with Fox to do a final pass on the art so all pieces look and feel consistent. Then, Evan will go through and add background art to each energy card. Finally, the cards will go into layout with flavor text and an effect (like Herd 2 or Run 3) for each pup!
GDBZ rules are complete and the rules have been passed to our editor, Joshua Yearsley, for a round of iterative, player-focused editing. Josh uses rulebook read-throughs with folks of all ages to identify places where the rules could be more clear, where additional diagrams may be helpful, and to do one last round of playtesting on the game. Josh has already hosted two sit-downs and we’re now flowing the rulebook into layout so he can test the laid out rules with the next group of players!
Evan is back in Chicago with Brian for a week of intensive design and playtesting for the Weird Smells and Unlikely Allies expansions.
The two expansions have been a blast to work on! They’re allowing us to engage with the game in fresh ways after developing it for around four years. The Weird Smells expansion, in particular, will bring some new ideas we weren’t able to fit into the base game. As much as we love the base game, it’s also exciting to be mixing things up. In Weird Smells, you'll go on missions to help Hoomans who aren't ready to join you in Hooman Town - but who want your help finding the source of the zombie outbreak, escaping the city, uncovering a lost relative, or just having some fun for the first time since the apocalypse broke out. In return, they'll teach your dogs new tricks, which give huge bonuses to your pack. It's been a joy to write the storylines and craft the mechanics for these missions!
After Evan returns, we’ll switch from the rules design phase of the expansions to the final playtesting and layout phase.
Custom Dog Cards
One huge project we’re undertaking for August is collating the data from over 1,000 custom dog cards into a single spreadsheet, that can then be flowed into an InDesign document. The process involves a lot of Excel formulas, error-checking, and data-merging all your pup info into a final formatted card template.
This has been one of the most challenging parts of the project. We’re excited to share a peek at what that process looks like when we’ve started flowing the data!
If you haven’t filled out your survey and you backed at a level with custom rewards ($75 and above) you have until the end of this week, Friday August 10th, to complete your survey and upload your custom dog photos. After this, we’ll be exporting all backer data and prepping custom dog cards for our printer!
If you’re having trouble completing your survey or uploading photos, just let us know! We know the surveys have been finicky and we’re happy to manually upload your pup photos or plug in answers.
If you can’t complete your survey by August 10th, you will still get the game and your custom dog card, but the printing quality of the cards may vary from the first printing. Our printer is offsetting all the cards in a huge batch on a giant press sheet—a printing process that isn’t possible for smaller batches.
Any cards that don’t make it into their offset batch will be produced print-on-demand at a later date. We’ll make sure we’re satisfied with the quality, but because these will be going through a different printer, the color processing and paper stock may be different from the pieces printed with the base game.
Note: If you've already reached out to us about switching out or manually uploading photos and your survey still isn't locked down, don't fret! We received a lot of these requests and we're processing through them all by the 10th.
Summer is flying by! It’s hard to stay cool with all the heat waves passing through New England. Here are some backer pups who know how to chill out and enjoy the fun and the sun.
How do your pups stay cool in the heat? We could use some tips!
Hello backers! We hope summer is treating you well.
We've got a fun update for you! We're going to dive into some lessons we've learned from creating Good Dog, Bad Zombie; give you an overview of how production has progressed; and share some of your dog pictures!
Lessons Learned from Designing Good Dog, Bad Zombie: Letting Go of Mechanics You Love that Aren't Working
While the game design is nearly complete for GDBZ, we thought it would be interesting to share our designer diaries for developing the game in the form of a retrospective. We will share these in occasional updates!
Here’s an example that I encountered while designing Good Dog, Bad Zombie: about two and a half years ago, there was a version of the game that used a mechanic we were calling “Call of the Pack.” I thought it was a great feature that would inspire cooperation in the game in a unique way. To summarize, the way it worked was that every single card had a “Pack” symbol on it. On your turn, when you played a card, every other player could “hear” your “call” and immediately play any card in their hand with the matching Pack symbol. This would allow stacks of effects that would inspire teamwork and involve people in the game even when it wasn’t their turn. Neat.
For some reason, I became stuck on this mechanic. Even when I’d break the game down and rebuild it in between playtests, I always kept the Call of the Pack feature in the game out of dog-like loyalty. For some obsessive reason, I thought it was the best part of the game. And I’m not the only game designer who has had this kind of problem. I’ve noticed similar issues occur a lot in the game community. I read posts on message boards with people wrestling with this conundrum, posting questions like: “I really like this mechanic in my game but I’m not sure it’s working… should I keep it? How do I make it better?”
We get glued to these ideas that we think are great, until the ideas own us, rather than us owning them. The game design process then becomes fixated on these particular mechanics that we think define the game, rather than examining the game as a wholistic experience.
We continue to roll on the production of the game! Fox is taking all of your amazingly adorable submitted dog pictures and drawing them into amazing hooman-rescuing pictures. We are about to begin work with Joshua Yearsley and Kate Unrau, our editing team, to make sure the rulebook and the rest of the game are as easy to understand as possible. Presently, Hannah is working on the scent deck - she had a meeting with author Rebecca Slitt to help come up with more event ideas, in order to make the game's storyline unique for each time you play. In the next couple of weeks, we will be receiving the die-lines from Community Printers, which we will begin filling out with all of the designed game components. Our plan is to get Community Printers the complete game by the start of September, so they can use the fall to print and assemble the game.
At the start of August, Brian and Evan will meet up in Chicago for one last dog-powered game design meeting. We'll use this retreat to put the final touches on the base game as well as finishing the Weird Smells and Unlikely Allies expansion packs!
Some of your good dogs!
Welp, we should have known it would be an incredibly popular thing to ask if we can share pictures of your dogs. (I mean, we did make a game that features our dogs in it...) And we love seeing this enthusiasm. After all, it's what made this game possible. So, we will occasionally feature a couple dogs - picked at random - in future updates. Thank you for sharing your doggos with us and with this game!