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Side Room Games – Jan 2021 Update

Hey everyone – let’s dive in with some news!

Maquis: 2nd Edition coming 1 February!

Maquis is coming back to Kickstarter! This will be the 2nd Edition with some new content (missions, spare rooms, and resources) as well as some general clean up of the rules to help explain some of the finer details of the game and improve playability. For our previous backers & customers, the new content will be available to purchase as a mini-expansion and you’ll be able to fit it in the original box with some maneuvering. 🙂

Also, here’s an update on some of our ongoing projects:

  • Elements of the Gods:  The pledge manager on Gamefound is live as of today! Backers should have received an invite this morning. If you didn’t please send me a note and I can investigate. We’re working on getting the files prepped over the next month or so and should wrap things up by March at the latest. Next month we’ll share some of the updates & final versions!
  • Black Sonata & The Fair Youth We FINALLY got all of the issues resolved for European backers and games have gotten out to folks. There are still a few areas where delivery is a little behind but they all have left Collext. And with the last-minute Brexit deal it’s a huge sigh of relief for us since things will stay EU friendly. Because of general delays, if folks haven’t received packages by the middle of the month we can start looking into things. By then I’d expect any undeliverable packages to return back to Collext. We’re also in the preproduction phase for another print run, so if you missed out on the latest Kickstarter & preorders we’ll have stock soon, likely later this spring. 
  • Fallen Angels:  These also made it to Collext for EU fulfillment right before Christmas and are starting to arrive to the last backers in the EU. Much like above, we’ll give it some time to make it through the standard delivery timelines and then we’ll assess if there’s any issues to resolve. We also still have copies on our site available! 🙂
  • Mechanical Beast:  Here’s some more art in development! We really like the way the tiles are coming together. Still planning for launching after Maquis, likely around the April timeframe.

Finally, I’ll keep plugging our 2021 54 Card Game Design Contest on BoardGameGeek. There are going to be some awesome games coming out of this one – probably too many for us to publish! Luckily we’ve had good luck in getting entries from previous contests signed with other publishers and I expect that to continue this year. Definitely check them out, give them a playtest (easy print & play builds), and provide some feedback. And, if you have a design that’s been tinkering around in your head you should definitely get it down on paper & get it entered!

As always, if you have any questions or issues feel free to drop us a line through our social media outlets or send us an email at support@sideroomgames.com. Until next time!

Dustin

P.S.  If you’ve made it this far, you may want to stay tuned over the next week or so… We’re meandering out of the Orchard and have found a lovely little Grove we’re quite fond of… 😉

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Side Room Games – Dec 2020 Update

Hey everyone! We’re in the last week of our Elements of the Gods Kickstarter and we have some exciting updates on a few upcoming projects. Let’s roll!

Elements of the Gods – Kickstarter Exclusive!

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We’re in the final week of our Kickstarter campaign for Elements of the Gods! Remember, this one is a Kickstarter Exclusive, our first at Side Room Games. This means that the game won’t see a larger distribution for the English version and only retailers who back will be able to have it in stores in a limited quantity. Any leftover copies after fulfillment will only be available on our site at the planned MSRP of $60.

Also, here’s an update on some of our ongoing projects:

  • Black Sonata & The Fair Youth For European backers, we hit another snag… 🙁 There was an issue with the labeling process with Collext so the games have been sitting for almost 3 weeks at Heathrow. We figured out the issue and they’ve been working to get all of the packages relabeled & dispatched. Again, I am truly sorry that we’ve had these delays. There’s nothing more frustrating to a publisher than having games ready to get to backers & customers and when the process gets out of our hands things get complicated. We’re pushing Collext as hard as we can to make sure that things move quickly and this doesn’t happen again.
  • Fallen Angels:  As mentioned before, the last subset of games that are going to folks in Europe who ordered multiple copies + some specific countries where it made sense to send from the EU rather than China are on their way to the UK. They’re still in transit and hopefully arriving soon – that’ll wrap up fulfillment for that one but we still have copies on our site available.
  • Maquis:  We got our first sketches in from Ilya for the expansion missions & spare rooms – looking good so far! The plan is still for the expansion & reprint Kickstarter campaign in early 2021. As soon as we get the official launch date nailed down we’ll let folks know. 
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Mechanical Beast:  We’ve also got some of the first art sketches/draft in for it too! Really excited for where we’re going on this one. The plan is for Mechanical Beast to launch after Maquis, likely around the April timeframe. 

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Finally, if you’re interested in designing a game or just want to check out some cool ones in development, our 2021 54 Card Game Design Contest is live on BoardGameGeek. Some of them are looking amazing so far. Definitely check them out, give them a playtest (easy print & play builds :D), and provide some feedback. And, if you have a design that’s been tinkering around in your head you should definitely get it down on paper & get it entered!

As always, if you have any questions or issues feel free to drop us a line through our social media outlets or send us an email at support@sideroomgames.com. Until next time!

Dustin

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Side Room Games – Nov 2020 Update

Hey everyone! Wanted to give folks an update on a few fronts, including some changes to our current Kickstarter campaign & statuses on our current & future projects. Let’s roll!

Elements of the Gods – Kickstarter Exclusive!

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Two significant things we wanted to let you know about in regards to Elements of the Gods. First, we’ve decided to do our best to help supplement some of the shipping costs for backers so we’re decreasing our planned prices for fulfillment. Take a look at the shipping section on the campaign page for specific costs for your area. We’ve also lowered the additional amount needed if you’re looking for multiple copies or a group buy.

Secondly, we’re also making this game a Kickstarter Exclusive, our first at Side Room Games. This means that the game won’t see a larger distribution for the English version and only retailers who back will be able to have it in stores in a limited quantity. Any leftover copies after fulfillment will only be available on our site at the planned MSRP of $60.

Also, here’s an update on some of our ongoing projects:

Black Sonata & The Fair Youth For European backers, the games did finally make it to Collext and went out the first week of November! If you hadn’t seen any of the comments on the KS page, for some reason the unloading process at the port took way longer than expected; the ship arrived 7 October, so almost 3 weeks! 🙁 It sounded like the port is really busy right now (Brexit panic!?!? :-/ ). So games are on their way and folks in the UK & Ireland have already seen them come in. I’m really hoping that other countries start receiving this week and I appreciate everyone’s patience on this!

Fallen Angels:  The bulk of fulfillment is complete and games are on their way to backers. I do know there have been some sleight delays since it’s a busy time of the year for shipments combined with challenges brought on by the pandemic. The last subset of games that are going to folks in Europe who ordered multiple copies + some specific countries where it made sense to send from the EU rather than China are on their way to the UK. Hopefully they’ll get there around the end of the month & Collext will get them out shortly thereafter. So surprisingly smooth sailing. 😀

Orchard The latest print run just completed and included versions in Spanish (Melmac Games), Italian (GateOnGames), Chinese (Treetato Games), French (ABi Games), German (Board Game Circus), Dutch (Gam’inBIZ), Japanese/Thai (Mr. Dexker), and Korean (Lotus Frog Games). We also partnered with guf in Australia and GigaMech Games in the US for special English versions in those regions. So, if you’re looking for another copy for you or a friend, there are lots of options headed your way. 🙂

Maquis: We finally have some exciting news… We are in the works with Jake, the designer, and Ilya, the artist to put together a small expansion for Maquis! The expansion will contain 4 extra-hard missions with different objectives & levels of victory. We’ll also have some new safe houses & resources to support these newer missions as well as the original missions. The current plan is to have things ready to go for an expansion & reprint campaign in early 2021 – currently looking at late January/early February but still working the timing. The plan is to do something similar to what we did with Black Sonata & The Fair Youth expansion. This expansion will be a little smaller in size so that should also keep the price down for backers. 🙂 As we get more details we’ll let folks know!

Also, if you’re interested in designing a game or just want to check out some cool ones in development, our 2021 54 Card Game Design Contest is live on BoardGameGeek. Some of them are looking amazing so far. Definitely check them out, give them a playtest (easy print & play builds :D), and provide some feedback. And, if you have a design that’s been tinkering around in your head you should definitely get it down on paper & get it entered!

As always, if you have any questions or issues feel free to drop us a line through our social media outlets or send us an email at support@sideroomgames.com. Until next time!

Dustin

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Side Room Games – Oct 2020 Update

Hey everyone! Exciting news from our end. 😀 As we mentioned previously in the newsletter and teased through some of our social media outlets, Elements of the Gods is coming. And we’ve selected a launch date – 10 November! Review copies are starting to go out this week, but here are some of the initial looks:
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We also have a Tabletop Simulator module ready to go! Feel free to give it a try and give us any feedback you have. 🙂 We’ll also have print & play files ready to go later this month if you’re so inclined.

This is our biggest project yet and we’re chomping at the bit to get it out there! This is what I’d consider our first original project (non-PnP beforehand) so we’ve put a lot of energy & love into it. It’s a great game and we’re hoping you will all love it! We’ll remind folks once it gets closer to launch, so definitely stay tuned. You can also subscribe & become a fan on BGG too!

Also, here’s an update on some of our ongoing projects:

Black Sonata & The Fair Youth  Fulfillment has been going on all through September and into October. The last major piece is Europe – the games made it to the UK on 7 October and will start heading out to backers/customers this week and next week. We also addressed some concerns/issues with the expansion box in an Kickstarter update (check it here). If you have any questions or issues feel free to reach out to us at support@sideroomgames.com.
Fallen Angels:   Production is still on track to wrap up on 20 October, so games should start heading out to backers by the first week of November. Woohoo! 😀
Orchard  Production has started for the different languages (Italian, Spanish, French, Korean, Chinese, German, Japanese, Thai, and Dutch) as well as some exclusive deals for English versions in Australia and the US. Current schedule shows finishing different versions around the end of October and continuing through November. So if you’re on the look out for a different language version stay tuned for more info!
Maquis:  Still planning (lame!)… No news yet but we’re working it!

Also, if you’re interested in designing a game or just want to check out some cool ones in development, our 2021 54 Card Game Design Contest is live on BoardGameGeek. So far we have 12 entries and more will be coming soon. Definitely check them out, give them a playtest (easy print & play builds :D), and provide some feedback. And, if you have a design that’s been tinkering around in your head you should definitely get it down on paper & get it entered!

As always, if you have any questions or issues feel free to drop us a line through our social media outlets or send us an email at support@sideroomgames.com. Until next time!

Dustin
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Black Sonata: Designer Diary Part 4

Game in Progress…

To show off the brilliant mind of John Kean, we wanted to share some of his thought process while making Black Sonata. This series of posts are pulled from his Work In Progress thread on BoardGameGeek. Here’s part 4:

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD…
12 June 2017

Ugh. I stayed up late last night trying out my idea for the main game mechanism. It worked as intended (after some tweaking) but after a while I had to admit to myself that it just wasn’t much fun.

So I have straightened the spine, stiffened the upper lip and headed back to the drawing board. It is a scary thing to do, but I feel I owe it Shakespeare and his Dark Lady to find the best possible use for this theme (which I am totally smitten by).

My failed idea was based on a shifting labyrinth of tiles through which you and the Dark Lady would move according to a roll-and-move mechanism. Your task was to keep the Lady from escaping off the edges while searching for tiles (books and letters) with clues to her identity.

Now I am thinking it would be cool to use a game board representing Shakespeare’s London and the ten or so significant locations that we know about. I’m not sure yet exactly how to use it, but I’m sure inspiration will come eventually. I suspect it needs to involve a Dark Lady pawn, and it would be good if it also used another deduction mechanism. I’ll go back through all the suggestions in this thread again for potential solutions…

To clarify – I will keep the deduction mechanism with the suited cards, though this still needs some tweaking, and find a new way of earning the clues. Fingers crossed…

SOLO HIDDEN MOVEMENT MECHANIC?

Here’s an idea for a deduction/hidden movement mechanic. It is distilled from some of the posts above, particularly suggestions from Jan and Deyan about discovering hidden rules, together with ideas about wheels, moving coordinates and clues on the backs of cards. Actually, I didn’t really invent this at all: it was all you guys – thanks!

Anyway, imagine you have a map of say 10 locations, joined by paths so that each location has 2 to 4 paths leaving it. At each location are some features, like a tree, a church, a water view, a flower garden, a statue etc represented by 2 to 4 icons at the location.

You also have say 30 or 40 tiles (or cards), three or four for each location. Each tile is numbered unobtrusively on one side and also features a dot in a particular position that corresponds to that location (like the clue cards in Outfoxed). On the reverse side is an icon denoting one of the features present at that location.

Now, the designer provides a list of numbers that specify the order that you should stack the tiles at the start of the game. (Actually, there would be several different lists corresponding to different paths that the quarry could travel around the board, but each game would use only one with the rest being for replayability.) After ordering the tiles in a stack, face down (and icon up) the pile is “cut” several times as a magician does with cards so that the player does not know the starting point.

You are represented by a pawn on the board, while the location of your quarry (the Dark Lady) is hidden as the top tile in the pile. Each turn you would take the top tile and place it on the bottom of the pile, so that the Lady has moved to another location (or not!). The tile icons would give clues as to where she might have moved and could be now. Then you’d move your pawn one space along a path OR, if you think you have tracked her down, search for the Lady at your current location.

Each location would have its own “master” tile with a hole bored in a unique position. To search for the Lady you’d place the top tile from the pile onto your location tile and then flip them over as one. If the dot appears in the location tile’s window then you have found her, otherwise you know she is somewhere else on the map, but you still don’t know where.

So the aim is to deduce where the Dark Lady is lurking from the sequence of location icons she passes, then try to get your pawn one step ahead and catch her at that location. If you do, you earn a clue to the main mystery (her identity). But here’s the catch – after searching a location, whether successfully or not, that tile is discarded from the game. This means that the Lady will start to jump around the map more and more erratically as tiles are lost from her initially smooth path, and it will become harder and harder to find her. Your aim would be to find her enough times to get sufficient clues to solve the final mystery before you run out of tiles in the deck (or it gets down to say ten tiles).

(Of course you could use cards and sleeves with windows instead of tiles, but I think tiles might be easier to handle if there’s not too many of them.)

Righto – in my head this sounds like it might just work. Or am I missing something obvious here? Maybe there’s a nifty way to refine this idea before I go to the trouble of building a prototype. And maybe I am destined for disappointment as in my previous mechanic…

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Black Sonata: Designer Diary Part 3

Is it her?

To show off the brilliant mind of John Kean, we wanted to share some of his thought process while making Black Sonata. This series of posts are pulled from his Work In Progress thread on BoardGameGeek. Here’s part 3:

THE THEME
5 June 2017

William Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets were first published in 1609, possibly against his will. The first 126 sonnets are outpourings of homosexual love and admiration to a “Fair Youth”, probably one of Shakespeare’s patrons: Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, or William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. The subsequent 28 sonnets, however, document a stormy relationship with a “Dark Lady” who seduces the poet and holds him in an agonised thrall. In a bizarre twist, sonnets 144 and 145 reveal that the Dark Lady has also seduced the Fair Youth and the subsequent love triangle sees the poet spiral into a deep and melancholy madness of fire and syphilis.

For more than four centuries scholars have argued over the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady. At least eight plausible candidates have been suggested, plus a plethora of less convincing ones. But like so much of the great poet’s life little documentary proof remains, so we shall probably never know…

At least that’s what you had been taught as a young student of English literature. And it springs to mind now, years later, as you discover a forgotten cache of letters in the basement of the National Archives. For among them are two penned by Augustine Phillips, a known associate of Shakespeare, that hint at the identity of the Bard’s shadowy mistress.

Suddenly with fresh eyes and thumping heart you find yourself catapulted into a labyrinthine web of hints and allusions scattered through the remaining fragments of the lives and works of Shakespeare and his associates. From document to dusty document you will chase the ephemeral shadow of the Lady, gradually collecting clues to her identity as she darts teasingly just out of reach.

Can you solve English literature’s greatest mystery? Or will the Dark Lady elude you, slipping away like smoke to be lost forever from the pages of history?

ABOUT THE NAME

Once I decided to theme the game around Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady”, I needed a name that would evoke a shadowy pursuit.

Shakespeare repeatedly refers to the Lady as “black” (both in colouring and deeds) so that part was easy. “Black Sonnet” didn’t sound right, but somehow “Black Sonata” did. It carries echoes of noir mysteries like the Black Dahlia videogame and Black Vienna. Plus, I like the allusion to music, whitch is another of my passions.

Or her…

The term sonata has a very precise meaning in Classical music, but in Shakespeare’s time that was not the case. Then, sonata could refer to any instrumental music: music that was “sounded” rather than “sung”. Sonata and sonnet share the same word origin, and the clincher is Shakespeare’s sonnet 128 which concerns the poet’s feelings as he watches the Dark Lady play the virginals (an early keyboard instrument):

How oft, when thou, my music, music play’st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand.
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.

Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

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Black Sonata: Designer Diary Part 2

To show off the brilliant mind of John Kean, we wanted to share some of his thought process while making Black Sonata. This series of posts are pulled from his Work In Progress thread on BoardGameGeek. Here’s part 2:

ANOTHER POTENTIAL MECHANIC?
30 May 2017

It’s 2am and I’m awake thinking about one of the suggestions posted above…

Say you had ten locations labelled 0 to 9. There are two pawns – one representing you and the other a spy with whom you need to rendezvous. You have a “code wheel” with two circles of card, slightly different sizes, pinned at the centre so that you can rotate them relative to each other. Each circle has the numbers 0 to 9 spaced evenly around the outside, and the top (smaller) circle has a small window cut into it.

Each turn you must place your pawn where you think the spy will go next. Then align the number corresponding to your pawn’s previous location (outside wheel) with that of the spy pawn (inside circle). Now a number is visible through the window, and determines the next location of the spy pawn. If you got it right, you and the spy will be in the same location and a clue is exchanged.

So your challenge is to deduce the pattern underlying the wheel. I’m guessing it will somehow involve modular arithmetic but will need to check that out… (not now – it’s 2am). The game could include several different wheels of each size and you’d choose some combination at random at the start of the game. Maybe there could be more than one window. Maybe the locations would be named rather than numbered, to make it harder.

This could work, I think, as long as the underlying maths is sound. I have no idea if it is yet, but will investigate further…

PROTOTYPE DEDUCTION MECHANIC

OK, I have put together a simple one-page PnP prototype for a deduction mechanism that seems to work (I think!). I have wrapped a simple pseudo-game around it, mostly as a way to test how many clues are needed to make the deduction (it seems to vary, but I haven’t had a chance yet to look at it more systematically).

I am excited because this seems to create a nice “if that then this OR that” logic puzzle that is not just about eliminating possibilities.

NOTE: Do not study the cards and try to discover the patterns or memorise their symbols! This will ruin the deductive element and spoil the game for you.

Please, if you do try it out, can you report back on how you got on. Useful data would be the “suit” of the hidden card and how many clues it took to correctly deduce its symbols. In lieu of that, your score would be almost as helpful. Thanks!

Here’s the link: THIS IS NOT THE FINAL GAME

Meanwhile, I need to start thinking about a theme. I have a couple of off-the-wall ideas, but I need to digest them for a few days (and do some research!). More news soon…

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Black Sonata: Designer Diary Part 1

To show off the brilliant mind of John Kean, we wanted to share some of his thought process while making Black Sonata. This series of posts are pulled from his Work In Progress thread on BoardGameGeek. Here’s part 1:

THE CHALLENGE
29 May 2017

Recently I have been enjoying a range of solitaire PnP games, but noticed that there are very few replayable solitaire deduction games. I love deduction games and it seemed to me there is a gap here. A few weeks ago I posted a thread on this:

Replayable solitaire deduction game – is it possible?

The response was very interesting. At first the consensus was “nope, not possible”. Then it morphed to “OK, maybe possible with the use of a game app”. Then finally a couple of suggestions came out about how it might be approached, using edge-notched cards for instance. Overall, the consensus seems to be that it *might* be possible, maybe.

Well, that’s enough for me – challenge accepted!

I have enjoyed designing games for recent BGG contests, and in this year’s 9 Card Contest, just finishing up now, I set myself an extra challenge as a seed for creativity. In that case it was to design a solitaire deck-builder in just 9 cards, and I’m not sure that the resulting game (Blorg in the Midwest) quite achieved that, but it was a lot of fun exploring the idea with suggestions and input from this community.

So my personal design challenge for this contest is to design a replayable solitaire deduction game (not based on elimination), without the need for an accompanying app. I have been mulling this over in my head for a few weeks now, and I think I have an approach that may work. But more about that soon…

A POSSIBLE MECHANIC?

A few days ago a friend introduced me to Dobble, and like every newbie my first reaction was – how the heck do they do that?! The mechanism of every card having one (and only one) symbol in common with every other card seems somehow miraculous. I had to figure out how it works, and once I did I started to wonder if it might be a way to attack the solo deduction problem I had been thinking about…

Of course, you smart people will have figured out by now that it won’t work. Removing one card from the Dobble deck, you can’t possibly deduce what is on it from the remaining cards without comparing every single one of those cards with every single other one. Which would not be fun. And if there is more than one card that you don’t know then there is no way to deduce which of them is the target card.

But what about if you simplified the number of symbols and added a second loop? Well I’ve been playing around with that on paper and I think I have come up with something that is sort of half Dobble and half Mastermind.

It would use 11 cards, and each card would have three mystery symbols. You’d shuffle the cards and set one aside unseen. Your task is to deduce the three symbols on the set aside card from a subset of the remaining ones. There would need to be another game mechanic for how you earn a clue card, but each time you do you’d get more information on the target card, because each clue would say how many of that card’s symbols are present on the target card.

I think it works on paper. Next step is to try it out with some old business cards…