Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Updates on the NSKN website

Last week we've updated the website of Exodus: Proxima Centauri, this week it was time to refresh our other new release, Wild Fun West.

Wild Fun West webisite

So, what's new? Being an engineer I like order and lists, so here we go
  • updated game components with pictures
  • the final rules of both game
  • wallpapers to download
  • useful links - these sections are constantly updating
  • an interview we had at the UK Games Expo, presenting all our work so far
  • news about preorder and release
I must have forgotten something... the best way is to take a look and see what's new.

Happy browsing!


__________________
More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BoardGameGeek | (...) Magazine
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Blog | Facebook |  BoardGameGeek
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad 



Monday, August 20, 2012

Interesting times ahead of us


If you've been following us for a while you already know about our intentions to crowd-fund our two new games of this autumn, Wild Fun West and Exodus: Proxima Centauri. Well, it's time to make this announcement official. Some ten days from now, both games will be available on IndieGoGo and we are counting on your support.

I will anticipate a few questions you may have. First of all, we went for IndieGoGo and not for the more popular Kickstarter because the latter does not allow yet project from non US residents. We've been looking for a partner publisher to support our projects, but we did not do a very thorough job and IndieGoGo is just as reliable and we wanted to be fully in charge of these campaigns. 

We also decided to run two campaigns at the same time. We are fully aware how risky this is, many gamers have limited fund to pledge to new board games and it is quite unusual for a small size publisher like NSKN to start more than a project at a time. But we did not want to keep you waiting any longer. Both games are ready for production and there are already quite some people waiting for them. We want to bring both Exodus and   Wild Fun West to life as soon as we can, so those of you who will pledge will enjoy the games before the end of 2012.

Speaking of preparations, we've updated the Exodus: Proxima Centauri website. You can find there the final rules, wallpapers, pictures, link and much more.

This being said, there are a few crucial weeks in front of us and we're hoping to go to Essen with good news and brand new games... with your support.

Stay in touch and do not miss our campaigns debut on IndieGoGo around the 1st of September.

__________________

More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BoardGameGeek | (...) Magazine
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Blog | Facebook |  BoardGameGeek
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad 


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Developing technology in games and real life

In many modern board games and especially in the empire building games, the games is won by accumulating Victory Points. There are usually many ways to do that, conquest, exploration, economic and technological development. Warriors & Traders and Exodus: Proxima Centauri fall under this category, of civilization games, where players compete on several "layers" and each direction brings Victory Points.


Exodus: Proxima Centauri tech tree
While play-testing Exodus: Proxima Centauri, several people asked me why are there no VPs awarded for developing their technology tree. The same things happened to a lesser extent with Warriors & Traders. I gave an answer to each person, but I feel it would be useful to elaborate on this a little bit more.

The topic I am going to debate is the reasoning behind our technological development and how are we benefiting from that.

First of all, what drives us - humans - to research. There's curiosity on one side, our constant need to discover and to find answers and on the other side there is the need to improve our lives, our existence, the need to prosper, but also the need to expand or defend.

I have read research (I cannot quote though) that most technological advancements in the history of humanity were achieved during the time of war or while preparing for war. Just think about World War II or the Cold War. Also, during the time of peace, most of our technology was not a purpose but means to achieve a greater goal. What I am trying to say is that we rarely research for the sake of science, but we have a purpose, a goal to achieve. 

It is possible that I am over-simplifying things, but I have this image in my mind of the first man on the moon. This was a peaceful technological achievement, but the technology that stood behind it was driven by the Cold War Space Race, which has mostly (if not solely) military purposes.

My point is that developing technologies, research in general is the path to achieving a goal, not the goal itself. Moving back to board games... in Exodus: Proxima Centauri, there is no VP award for learning any specific technology, although researching is an important part of the game. It may be an obsession of mine to make games (even sci-fi ones) realistic, but every technology gives an advantage and just waiving one's achievement in front of the opponents won't bring extra power, it would be just a threat at most. And this is exactly what happens during the game when a player has reached a technology that would potentially give him an outstanding advantage: his opponents see it, fear it and react. 

Imagine that during the Cold War the US would just tell the Soviets "we know how to make nuclear weapons" and the Soviets would suddenly say "you the greatest, you win". History proved that both sides had to actually make nuclear weapons and threaten to use them to get a strategic position. The technology served as means, not as purpose. I followed the same rule. In Exodus, most technologies bring some military or civilian know-how. Then, the players have to build the weapons or the ships to take advantage of the successful research. Nobody says that they have to actually use the weapons, just like the Soviets never attacked the US, but they can be used to build up influence and to score indirect points. 

Maybe I've taken the comparison too far, it is just for the purpose of exemplifying a concept that I believe in - technology is not greatness but it serves as a path to greatness.

Now I might be accused that I did not follow the same principle in Warriors & Traders, where the most advanced player on each of the three tech paths gets a direct award of Victory Points. The reality in the Dark Ages was different. The intelligence was not as developed as we are used to and enemies had to severe difficulties in spying on each other and gather relevant information. Hence, there was a short path from  reality to myth and a big discovery could easily transform into a legend which would simply keep the enemies away.

So, to keep the long story ...not so long, I am concluding my debate on technologies here wishing that people will simply enjoy playing our games.


__________________
More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BoardGameGeek | (...) Magazine
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Blog | Facebook |  BoardGameGeek
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Re-branding

Welcome to the NSKN blog! That seems an odd way to start an article after almost one year of online presence. But one year ago, this blog was mainly about Warriors & Traders and things have evolved significantly since then.

Today, NSKN Legendary Games has two projects (obviously board games) that should be finalized before Spiel '12 Essen and a few more upcoming games and expansions. Wild Fun West and Exodus: Proxima Centauri are fully designed and tested and soon they'll have the first contact with the true gaming world on IndieGoGo and for 2013 we have more surprises for you. 

We are no longer wrapped around one game, our first release, we are trying to expand and "attack" more diverse game types. Thus, this blog has become the NSKN Blog and it is time to acknowledge that ... in writing :)

And, to go with this wind of changes, we also updated our logo. It's not yet up on our official website, but this is already work in progress. Here is a sneak peek, just above.


__________________
More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BoardGameGeek | (...) Magazine
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Blog | Facebook |  BoardGameGeek
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Board Games from an expert point of view

Today I have the honor to introduce our first guest blogger, Mark from Grim Tree Games. He reviewed Warriors & Traders a while ago, doing a great job and he has been kind enough to share his opinion about the board games world with us. Without further introduction...




OK, this article may be a bit self indulgent, but bear with me. All being well at the end of it there will be a point, or at the very least an apology if I ramble myself into a corner.

I wasn't sure where to start with this. At first my message was pretty simple, but as I started to think about it more, the more elaborate and in depth I wanted to write. That's because its a big subject, but here it is in a nutshell. People like to play games, its a in-built drive that most of us have in one form or another. Culture no longer promotes table top gaming as we know it. Less people are playing games because of this, even though most people would enjoy the experience.

So, first point, people like to game. I have always thought this. Sit someone down and play a table top game with them, most of the time they will like it and would play more. As a race we have been playing games for thousands of years, there is a reason for that. Its in our nature to challenge each other, and games allow us to do this in a social manner.

Next point, our culture no longer promotes table top gaming. This the case in the larger parts of Europe and the US, however I know some countries such as Germany enjoy a very healthy gaming market. Everywhere else, this lack of promotion is mainly because it is more profitable to promote hobbies that give you instant gratification, as they sell better. Buy a Xbox game and you are playing in minutes, an in game tutorial is stepping you through how to play it, and you don't need anyone else to play the game. These are all roadblocks to tabletop gaming, you need to read and understand rules, and you need to gather a group of people to play, then, you need to explain the rules to them. Yes, it takes longer and there is more effort involved, but the rewards are massive. I would take a table top gaming session over playing a computer game any time. Sitting cross from your friends (soon to be mortal enemies) and being part of a game, being social, is definitely more satisfying than playing with the same people via a computer game. I know, I play online with the same people I play table top games with, and we would sooner table top than play on the computer.

So, that actual problem, how introduce more people to a hobby that most people would enjoy if given the chance. There is scale to the problem. On a larger scale it would be good if more could be done to promote the hobby, but TV adverts and huge marketing pushes cost a lot of money. Without the money generated from huge sales no-one wants to take that gamble it would appear. Until someone does take that first daring step into mainstream advertising we will be in a chicken and egg scenario. On a smaller scale we can each do our bit to introduce new players to the hobby and get our friends and family playing games, and hopefully they will do the same and spread the word at a grass roots level.

And this gets us to the self indulgent bit. One of the reasons I started Grim Tree Games and all the bits that go with it was to try and do my part to grow the hobby. Before Grim Tree I would pull anyone I could into a game. I would ramble onto people how awesome table top gaming was until they eventfully gave and in played, and as predicted,, they liked it. Its a pretty good thing to see, the 'click' behind their eyes as rules make sense, strategies form, and they get really involved. As I said before, there may be the odd person who it really doesn't appeal to, but most of the time I managed to convert them into born again gamers.

After years of this I wanted to get more involved. With a background in web design and IT I decided to start a web store, and a blog and YouTube channel to promote the games further. I go to clubs as much as possible to bring new games to the table. We use the blog to talk all things games, and we have a YouTube channel where we unbox and explain games. We do the usual unboxing videos of games, but we then we do a video showing you how to play the game. We have had lots of comments from people who were new to gaming who said that the video helped in learning the game, removing one of the roadblocks and helping people who want to get into gaming. And that's what I want Grim Tree Games to be about, removing road blocks by getting people together, explaining the games, and introducing people into the hobby.

So here we are, I think I have arrived at a point. Table top gaming in all of its forms is great, but its not an amazingly accessible hobby. Until its a big money business with massive marketing campaigns, its up to people like us to get out there and tell people how good it is, to keep our hobby alive and strong. We try and do our bit, and we love every minute of it.

Mark
Grim Tree Games


__________________
More about NSKN Legendary Games on the website Facebook | Twitter | BoardGameGeek | (...) Magazine
Warriors & Traders can also be found on its own website | Blog | Facebook |  BoardGameGeek
Follow us on Twitter: AgniAlexandraAndrei and Vlad