BoardGameGeek News AquaSphere Preview:
W. Eric Martin's coverage from Origins - http://bit.ly/BGGaqua
A Brief Description of AquaSphere
News from the depths! The AquaSphere is a research facility stationed deep below the ocean's surface, and your skilled team—consisting of an engineer, a scientist, reprogrammable bots and exploratory submarines—is trying to gather as much data as possible.
The game board in AquaSphere has two main areas: A research station comprised of six sectors in which your scientist conducts experiments and a headquarters where your engineer supervises preparation of the bots. During each of the four game rounds, you take several turns, and on each turn you either:
- Use your engineer in the headquarters to program a bot; each round you can choose from three of the seven actions.
- Have your scientist bring a bot to a sector to perform an action.
Through actions such as improving your lab, sending out submarines, collecting crystals, and examining invasive octopods, you expand the abilities of your team or gather knowledge points, which are necessary to win. Additional challenges result from the limited size of your lab, which is your personal stock; you can increase the size of your lab, which makes life easier, but this costs valuable time.
AquaSphere is a challenging game of strategy and tactics with different paths to victory that requires planning in advance as well as skillful use of short-term opportunities.
Videos of AquaSphere Prototype
- General Overview Videos - Update #2
- Set-up Video - http://youtu.be/yJj5H2IVXsA
- Gameplay Video - http://youtu.be/bf_jpU0PImo
- Scoring Rounds -http://youtu.be/jonjF5NvvlA
Tasty Minstrel Games is excited for the opportunity to bring this Hall Games production to the United States and Canada. The mastermind of Hall Games is Ralph Bruhn. Since he got his start in the gaming business as a rules writer, we recommend you take a look at his thoughtful rules for AquaSphere before it is finalized:
What Is In The Box?
The submarine, person, and robot pictured above will come in the various player colors while the octopods will be purple and the crystals are black (and mysterious).
In each copy of AquaSphere there will be:
- 20 Crystals
- 15 Octopods
- 8 People (2 in 4 player colors; red, white, blue, yellow)
- 24 Submarines (6 in 4 player colors)
- 64 Robots (16 in 4 player colors)
A name everyone needs to know is Ralph Bruhn, he is the heart and vision behind Hall Games and he did the development for AquaSphere.
As a talented game developer, Ralph Bruhn has worked on Rialto (Stefan Feld), At The Gates of Loyang (Uwe Rosenberg), Luna (Stefan Feld), and Il Vecchio (Rüdiger Dorn). His prowess in game development was very recently acknowledged on a grand scale when Istanbul, with his previous partner Rüdiger Dornger, won this year's prestigious "Kennerspiel des Jahres" in Germany.
Speaking of award-winning teams, AquaSphere artist Dennis Lohausen did the artwork for Camel Up, this year's "Spiel des Jahres" winner. Besides this recent noteworthy work, Dennis also did the artwork for Terra Mystica and previous "Kennerspiel des Jahres" winner Village. The pedigree behind this game is of the highest measure.
Oh, and the designer for AquaSphere is none other than STEFAN FELD, one of the most highly regarded designers in the hobby today!
Stefan Feld first showed AquaSphere to Ralph Bruhn about 3.5 years ago. The pair took a one year break to care for and complete Rialto, so the total time spent on this game is between 2 and 2.5 years. Hall Games is always focused on getting the game right.
And it shows.
There are many important and interesting decisions to make both strategically and tactically while keeping the process of how to play the game straightforward.
Why USA/Canada Only?
The nature of the relationship between Hall Games and Tasty Minstrel Games is such that we can only deliver the game in North America.
Outside North America, Pegasus Spiele does the world-wide distribution of the Hall Games version (bilingual German/English).
We are happy to announce that If you would like to reserve an order for AquaSphere for pickup at Essen from Hall Games, then please utilize their website. http://www.hallgames.de/
All publishers are plagued with the same question, "How many copies should I print?" Behind that question are a lot of concerns, but it comes down to a surplus or a shortage. Both are bad.
Still, we have good expectations about how many we should print to make sure that we do not lose money. The problem is that with a game like Aquasphere from Stefan Feld we could drastically under print.
Without Kickstarter, TMG would print 2,000 copies. We have seen extremely popular euro games sell out that many copies as soon as they get in the warehouse.
Then if a game sells out as soon as it arrives, it is another 4 months to reorder and we still do not know how much to re-order! We could under print again and keep leaving gamers without an opportunity to get the game.
Kickstarter allows us to avoid that.
Why No Stretch Goals?
The game is complete and it is exactly the game that both TMG and Hall Games wants to publish.
We want to make sure that every gamer that wants a copy of AquaSphere is able to get a copy and to get it in a timely fashion. If this Kickstarter is successful that becomes possible for customers in the US & Canada.
Risks and challenges
Tasty Minstrel Games (TMG) has delivered numerous games throughout the world. Some that were funded on Kickstarter and some that were not. As an established small games company, the real question is making sure we manage potential sources of delay and communicating clear expectations throughout the campaign and after the funding ends.
Two primary sources of delay are staying on top of production and completing art in a timely fashion. These two things are closely related, of course. The completion of Aquasphere's artwork is done by Hall Games.
To address any concerns related to production TMG hired an operations manager in April to escort everything through the checkpoints and hurdles with our manufacturers. Thankfully we have worked with Panda Game Manufacturing for several years now and have a good working relationship with them. We also have a full-time production artist on staff now to support pulling all of our game assets together smoothly between Panda and our individual game artists.
In an effort to stay on top of communication, we now have a community manager to keep backers in the loop and keep the campaign focused and responsive. Behind the scenes our design and development team is quietly working to provide testing, balance, and inspiration in support of all of our games and designers. As you can see, we've assembled a full team here in Utah to elevate our overall level of service. We think you'll feel the difference.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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