Changing the Game
It’s been a revolutionary few weeks here at Savant Nouveau! Since our last update, we’ve made tons of progress, and worked on tons of playtesting! Firstly, we acquired Instructional Designer and Indie Game Developer David Silverman as our Game Mechanics mentor. Secondly, we made frequent visits to our local Game Kastle for marketing and publicity research. Thirdly, we completely re-conceptualized our project from the ground up. Savant Nouveau is no longer a board game. Instead, we've re-imagined our project into a science fiction strategy card game.
After meeting with our mentor, David Silverman, we decided to see how we could implement his feedback to make our game more engaging. Therefore, we’ve gone through some major hauls. Click the link below to view our updated rulebook.
Our changes were greatly inspired by the feedback David Silverman gave us. During our meeting, David advised us to test all our individual components in a vacuum to pin down problematic parts of gameplay. He suggested that we consider a lineup system akin to DC Comics Deck-building Game series and Dominion. He thought that a market system might be useful to our game.
I was excited about playing my favorite DC superhero, Red Robin, in this playthrough. Isn't he dreamy?
Immediately after meeting with David, we purchased DC Comics Deck-building Game: Teen Titans, and considered how we might implement its market system into Savant Nouveau. We like the speed of the lineup system, and how it allows players to introduce new cards into the market. For our purposes, we engineered a lineup system that gears towards our game focus: resource management and sabotage.
Eliminating our board and adopting a lineup system was a great start towards re-inventing (ha) our game. Our overall goal is to create game flow that has a slower beginning, and ramps up to insanity toward the end, simulating a real life college experience. At the moment, we’re continuing to test all our gameplay elements in a vacuum, and we’ve made significant progress.
Our goals are...
Goals 1 and 2 have been achieved, largely due to our enthusiastic playtesters and generous mentor. We're currently still exploring Goal #3. Goal #4 is going to take awhile. Many playtesters have told us that our game is easy to get into once they actually start playing it, but that initial setup takes too long.
In regards to Goal #3, so far, we feel that Biological Engineering (Camille Noir), Mechanical Engineering (Euphamie Bleu), Geology (Roselle Verte), and Botany (Felix Blanc) are in a decent place. We're still testing Medicine (Theodore Violet), Civil Engineering (Marron), and Meteorology (Desire Rouge) to ensure that those characters are equally engaging.
We supplemented our online marketing research with team field trips. Our visits to Fremont's Game Kastle helped us gain awareness on our Kickstarter market demographic! James, a kind employee, was very helpful and gave as us insights on game conventions. He also said that we can bring our game to his store to playtest when we are ready. We plan to go to Protospiel in March.
We attempted a plethora of games that James recommended us for our game mechanics and packaging research. Among these games were crowd favorites such as Lotus and Agricola.
One day Savant Nouveau will be here too!
We gathered a ton of data on packaging, presentation, visual development, assets, and more. We hope that game store customers will find our packaging and artwork appealing. (:
James referred us to resource gathering games such as Agricola and Lords of Waterdeep. We asked him about the indie games stocked in the store and he told us about Coup and Exploding Kittens. We soon learned that a new group making a Kickstarter on an expensive board game is extremely risky and unlikely to be funded, as many other board game Kickstarters have been burned with various failures before.
He also pointed out that party games are most popular amongst college kids, particularly the ones that could be played as drinking games. Despite the popularity, we decided to not become a party game because we wanted to keep our large aspect of strategy. We were, however, greatly steered in the direction of a card game rather than a board game.
Overall, it was great to mingle with the store employees and learn more about our game demographic! We had an educational time at Game Kastle, and bought GHOOOST!, a super spoopy game, for our group Halloween party.
Onwards! 100+ Playtests and Rulebook
Although building Savant Nouveau is a big challenge, writing a game manual that is easily comprehensible is a difficult ordeal as well. While we were exploring the depth and breadth of other board games, we found some game manuals hard to understand. Inversely, games like Tokaido, Munchkin, and Exploding Kittens utilize great editorial design and directions. We hope to follow in their footsteps to polish our rulebook!
We also hope to achieve 100+ playtests by the end of December. Our game is continuously evolving, and we hope to make it the best it can be.
Next time, we hope to showcase the highlights of our playtests!