The egg of the idea for DreamEscape came about mostly during three years of playing Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. It was a custom campaign written and mastered by our long time Mythos guru James. Although based solely in an alternative version of post WWII Scotland and France, it started me thinking how each of the set pieces were like scenes from a film yet to be made. As is often the case in the RPG, diligent investigators must return to the ‘scene of the crime’ to re-look at the evidence from other/new angles, preferably with new clues and insights – leading their deductive capabilities down different paths. In essence it was like a web of information held together by specific locations or events.
That thought bubbled around my head like the extrusions of Yog Sothoth and got me thinking how best to translate such a process of repeatable encounters into an easily succinct and digestible format for a tabletop game.
As students we were lucky enough to live in a flat that contained the complete collection of Fighting Fantasy adventure books by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone.
We thus spent many many hours getting lost down tunnels and dying to large white snakes when we should have been revising! The simple but effective format of these choose-your-own-adventure games stuck with us into adulthood.
In addition, I’m a huge fan of heavily thematic narrative boardgames, those that actually dive deep and tell a story rather than claim to be story-driven yet only drop a scant line or two of situation before requiring the player to spend tokens or roll some dice.
For me the most excellent Arkham Horror boardgame by Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson did this well, providing a strong sense of unknown adventure with more detailed ‘encounters’ that wove interesting (and often bizarre) stories.
For example, in one game of AH, as Cthulhu rose like a spectre of madness above the streets of Arkham, my man Ashcan Pete tore through downtown on his motorcycle, drove through a collapsing building and dove headfirst into the loathsome Great Old One, blasting his shotgun into its face. (Note: I don’t recommend this as a sensible course of action. It did not help much but was an exciting way to die nonetheless !).
Another more modern narrative game is Sleeping Gods by Ryan Laukat where the players spin out their own stories based on where their seaborne travels take them. Initial designs for DreamEscape were strongly influenced by Z-Man games’ classic Tales of the Arabian Nights by Eric Goldberg.
In one tale, I was forced to buy a slave princess for the Grand Vizier, got almost eaten by cannibal bandits while taking her back through the desert, spent months silently desiccating in a forgotten oubliette only to escape to rob a merchant caravan in the dead of night, then return in style and riches to Baghdad, married the princess only to be finally turned to ash by an angry Djinn I had double-crossed way back early in the adventure !
What worked in Arabian Nights was how changes to your character early on in the game could trigger unexpected specific encounters or effects much later in the game. This was a strong design goal when we began work on DreamEscape.
Of course we must also mention the recent excellent Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon by Awaken Realms, which developed a deep and intriguing storyline by linking a series of explorable locations that could be revisited again and again in different chapters.
This mechanism was partly responsible for spawning our Keycode system (see below) that soon developed to be the secret heart of DreamEscape.
Another recent game, 7th Continent by SeriousPoulp was similar to Tainted Grail in that it used geographical cards to present an unfolding map as the players explore. Although this greatly adds to table presence and immersion in the world, we could not use a similar visual mechanism since i) the game is set in a dreamworld where realms and locations are not fixed geographically, ii) being primarily a solo experience, there was no need to track character positions on the board, iii) there was no room on the story cards to contain part of a map as well as unique artwork, narrative and detailed choices.
Another major issue for us was the traditional use of a large book to tell the stories, and the fact that once printed, the story was fixed and could not evolve. So we dumped the book in favour of large story cards that would retain the depth of story in a format that could be easily expanded upon with future scenarios, expansions and card packs without changing the core game experience.
The criteria for a unique (or at least a very different game) therefore were that
— the experience had to be card driven (with the character sheet providing the focus for the player tableau (playing area)
— the story had to evolve both through card play, through decision making and by card interactions
— maximum replayability and discovery of the underlying novella story through multiple plays
— thematically strong following the narrative style of Cthulhu mythos novellas – while also maintaining a roleplay-like experience
The style of writing was an easy one to solve as we had been reading Weird Fiction for years. The style of these stories is most often through a narrator, either the primary or secondary protagonist who details the events and circumstances in the story from a very personal perspective. We chose to follow this rather unusual style (for boardgames at least) rather than the standard ‘game speaks to you, the player’ style (‘You lift the lid of the well to find a giant white snake coiled within. What do you do?’)
This narrative tool opens up a lot of interesting ways to engage the player by combining visual storytelling with more introspective monologue options that spin the standard storygame format in new and exciting ways. After all, you the player are inside the head of the dreaming character, making the decisions for them and listening to their mind talking as they react to the dreamworld around them.
Replayability in a story-driven game comes from offering the player different ways to approach and overcome each event and encounter; their decisions tailored by the resources that they have on hand. The phenomenon of ‘repeatable dreams’ we experience as humans immediately lent itself to firming up the concept of replayability – Only through repeated gameplay and making different choices each time will the player pick up the various narrative clues to the story puzzle presented and allow them to piece together the route to escape the dream and win the game.
Part of the fun of every roleplaying game is the collection of gear/equipment/magic items and artifacts, or hidden lore/spells or knowledge that gives the characters the edge later on. In Dreamescape we took this fundamental requirement further by making many of the Item and Lore cards a necessary prerequisite to winning the game; effectively ‘locking’ advancement in the story behind certain ‘key’ components. This became the Keycode system.
Many secret alternative storylines and major clues to the mystery are present on the story cards. These ‘keycodes’ (a combination of a unique
icon and a numerical code, like a hidden paragraph in a choose-your-path storybook) are initially locked. They can be unlocked only if the icon on a story card can be matched to the same icon on an Item or Lore card. The complete number then reveals the unique numerical code for an alternative story card that can be chosen by the player instead of the current story card. In the example shown here, keycode #0116 would be a valid alternative story code whereas #0239 would be incorrect.
The six keycode spaces on each story card therefore allowed us to maximise the functionality and card interaction between every card component, allowing us to evolve the game by inserting future keycodes into current story cards (future proofing the game). These future codes would only be revealed and become useful in future expansions of the Dreamquest story arc game series.
In part 2 of the Designer Diary series we will delve into the gorgeous graphical design of the game and show how both the game mechanisms and visual style complemented each other through the design process.The Art of Anja K. Lassin
We had the great pleasure recently of talking at length with our amazing artist for Gladiatores, Anja Kryczkowska Lassin, famous for the look of Gloom of Kilforth, 1066 Tears for Many Mothers and Paradise Lost for Green Feet Games to name a few. We got a chance to dig into her background, her fascination with different art styles and how she approaches working for the gaming industry.
BadCat > Hi Anja, its lovely to have you talk to us today. Please tell us a little about yourself; where you are from, how long you’ve been an artist and what art style did you start with?
Anja > Thankyou! I was born in Gdansk to a family with a French background – it comes on my mum’s side. Unfortunately though, I don’t speak French. Polish is my first language and English is my second one. I live in Poland at present. It has been a while since I started to work as an illustrator. I loved the cartoony style at first and it was my first true art love before I discovered Michelangelo, Buonarroti Simoni / Caravaggio / Leonardo da Vinci / Jan Matejko and many others. My second huge fascination was and still is realistic painting – mostly referring to Caravaggio’s style. I’m leaning more towards simplicity of presenting form at the present time.
Badcat > Has your art style changed over the years then or has it simply evolved?
Anja > I’ve always tried to keep both feet on the ground, so staying with one technique seemed like a stagnation of the creating process and the most important part of it, which is to express myself. I started from a more cartoony style ( black outlines, idealized body building, pretty faces, clean colors etc.). I have been progressively going through new ways of drawing (or I should say painting). I abandoned the sketchy style in the development of experimenting with lighting, studying such masterpieces like Caravaggio’s paintings (The Crucifixion of St. Peter – Church of Santa Maria del Popolo or The Martydorm of St. Matthew for example) – shimmering patterns of shadows and light! It could play tricks on your eyes you know? That’s what I like the most!
At the moment I’m fascinated by the simplicity of form – Lineart is very close to that but that’s not the comforting part. I think that ‘Samurai Jack’ by Genndy Tartakovsky (the american animated series) or ‘Batman Beyond’ developed by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett or ‘Hellboy” by Mike Mignola is what I’m looking for at the moment. But it is strictly relevant to animation only. But who knows maybe combining simplicity with realism (‘Ghost in the Shell’ by Masamune Shirow for instance) would be an interesting connection. My primary goal is to keep it (my art style) moving 🙂
BadCat > Who would you say has been your main inspirations in developing your art style so far and what about them inspires you?
Anja > Actually, my fondness for drawing/painting has strictly to do with comic books plus the history of art. When I started to learn English I found out that it’d be really cool to read as much as I could in the original language. I remember my earliest try to translate one of the comic books published by DC Comics titled ‘Superman vs the Demon – City of Lost Souls’ by Byrne & Giordano and then V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd.
Why these particular titles ? I had only two examples of graphic novels which weren’t translated into the Polish language :)) . My English teacher figured out that if I liked art soo much I can try to read books on art history and then I found Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. He exerted an unparalleled influence on my whole further life.
And as a result, I started doing sketches based on his work. I remember when I was trying to get the effect of an old High Renaissance drawing (sanguine or sepia on paper). My goodness, that was good old times!
As a matter of fact, that reminds me about one funny story relating to ‘David’ – one of the masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture created by Michelangelo. It happened in high school. I was told to draw ‘David’ for one of the scenic props. I had to make him as realistic and visible as he should be on the stage. So I did it!
Organisers asked me if I can handle it and after I said ‘Yes’ they left me alone with the task. Still don’t know how this happened but nobody came back to check how ‘David’ looked like. Well, I was trying to map the original and there was no such things like leaves covering his private parts.
15 minutes before the performance – one of the organisers started yelling and groaning:
Organiser: ‘Oh my God !! What made you think to make David like that ! He’s totally naked! There’s no time !!
Me: ‘But this is art …(resigned facepalm gesture)
Organiser: He can’t stay like that !! You must do something !! This is inappropriate !!
[Small reminder: It was the early 90s.]
There was no other painting stuff available, only black chalk left. And no time to redraw. So I took some chalk lying around and I drew him some black shorts.
The stage was set, the curtains raised and all I heard people in the audience saying: ‘ He’s got pants….. He’s got pants……He’s got pants…… !
I thought the organisers would kill me after the performance but luckily they didn’t :)).
And that’s how my earliest nickname was created: ‘ Black chalk ‘ 🙂
BadCat > Thats a great story! Your art has been described as almost photorealistic but we feel there is still a feeling of detailed sketching behind it that also reminds us of some of the late 80’s British comic styles
(e.g. art from 2000AD magazine) and some of the black and white European comic styles. Do you generally work from sketches or approach a new subject with the idea firmly in your mind?
Anja > My primary goal is to create interesting / eye-catching compositions or poses etc. I think that designing an illustration, character, landscape …. is like telling a story.
After getting the description I must devise / develop the whole plan that I have. As a result of this preparation process I have many initial sketches. It’s always better to discuss the project during an initial phase than changing an almost finished one. Saving you lots of time and hassle. By the way, I like making sketches ! 🙂 There’s a lot of different ways I can express the image. I use my face as a mannequin to create facial expressions – sometimes with modifications, of course. The same goes for character poses. It’s a lot of fun when you realize that you are using your own face as the basic model for a screaming female orc for example. Sometimes I ask one of my friends to be my model. This is a great way to study how the human body can be illuminated from different directions.
You can also use a camera to record a short movie with a scene comparable to what you want to achieve as a final result. But what about fantasy creatures, you can ask? Well, in that case there’s always imagination – like making one strange new species connecting to two already existing. As a result I have many, many sketches in my workshop :)). Maybe I should arrange some workshop tour or something like that ! 🙂
BadCat > Many artists nowadays seem to prefer working completely within digital media. Are you the same ?
Anja > Well, I must say I’m not a fan of creating something completely within digital media when it comes to the drawing process. Maybe it sounds weird since I’m doing digital stuff as well. But there’s always something like one original painting for example. It’s really hard to imagine the tastes, the textures of oil on canvas for example when it comes to digital painting. ‘There are specific brushes’ people say. Sure, there are but still that kind of painting can be copied millions of times. Digital painting looks cool but hasn’t got that special something what drives viewers the most.
On the other hand, I understand that digital painting is quicker and cheaper. Multi-million dollar productions couldn’t exist without it. What can I say? there’s a way to accept the past with the future. Handmade plus digital became a perfect combination for me :).
The same goes for a 2D and 3D animation process. I know there’s a lot of old school animation followers. And not to sound like devil’s advocate but I think that there’s a lot of great, unique techniques in both types.
BadCat > What got you into doing art for games?
Anja > I’ve always wanted to do what I love the most. I started as a game tester. It was a long time ago and it didn’t quite compare to my dreams. So I decided to change something in my life. Luckily, I’ve managed to combine work with pleasure which is one of the greatest achievements during the last years. I have no intention to slow down 🙂 Hopefully, everything’ll continue the way it’s meant to.
BadCat > We particularly like the realistic female art you do. Where do you draw visual inspiration for these characters from?
Anja > Thank you 🙂 It’s always great to hear that your art style is well received. This is going to be an interesting subject, I reckon. When I was sketching female faces my grandma looked over my shoulder and said: ‘You know something, why don’t you take our family photo album ? Maybe you’ll find someone interesting.’. So I did it. The most funny thing was that I took my mum’s photo and I said to my grandma: ‘She looks really cool. Who is she ? ‘ My grandma started laughing at me. She couldn’t stop while I was wondering what was so funny about that. Well, that’s the story of how I discovered ‘time travel’ :)).
You are probably thinking:’ How the hell can she not recognise her own mother ?’. And in my defense, I’ll say that it is highly possible. Let me give you an example: I can’t recognise the early youth of my own face in the mirror. Besides, my mum still looks great! As a matter of fact, she was one of my models for an upcoming project. The clothing that they wear comes from my background studies on female ‘fashion’ – if I can call it this way.
BadCat > You are one of two artists for our Gladiatores: Blood for Roses card game. What interested you about the project?
Anja > I noticed the great opportunity to go deeper in to the main subjects covered in Gladiatores: Blood for Roses’ card game. I study gladiators weapons and parts of armour a lot these days. Knowing types of gladiators /warriors became some kind of journey through ancient Rome for me. It gave me a broader historical perspective along the way. What’s more, I learned about the Flavian Amphitheatre a lot.
I must admit that when I heard about female Gladiator facts I was more than surprised. There’s one absolute proof that relying on movie adaptations instead of trying to study our historical past is a huge mistake in this matter.
BadCat > Absolutely. There is very little known about them. Emperor Nero’s tribute to his mother involved a variety of gladiatorial fights including women. A marble relief from Turkey shows Achillea fighting a similarly armed Amazonia.
I’m a great enthusiast of searching / digging in the past, that’s why this project opened many doors at one time. Firstly, I start digging and found some interesting facts. Secondly, I gathered a pretty big bookcase about the ancient fighters. Thirdly, I discovered a few people involved in the production of a gladiator’s armour intended for special shows and events. I’m pretty familiar with the subject since my dad’s hobby is designing bladed weapons. I have one saber and two daggers made by him. Cool stuff!!
BadCat > That is really cool indeed! So do you prefer to paint Fantasy, Sci Fi or Historical art?
Anja > Well, I must say that fantasy art gives you a lot of freedom during the creating process. For example if you have some knight to design you don’t have to stick to the historical facts to remain credible (armour is a good example).
Science fiction is well known as the ‘literature of many ideas’. I’m saying ‘Yes!’ to every project which deals with futuristic concepts such as advanced technology, fictional worlds, extraterrestrial life and so on. As a matter of fact, I’m a supporter of the idea that extraterrestrial life occurs outside of Earth as much as the knowledge that we are in some way the remnant of a great civilization which existed here on Earth a long time ago. As a result of some disaster we are living settlers of our ancestors. Every technical invention nowadays is only a repeat of something which existed a long time ago. We could say that : “We are just a rehash of yesterday’s show”.
I love such literatures like ‘American Indian Myths and Legends’, by A. Ortiz and R. Erdoes. I recently discovered great lectures on Youtube by Dr Franc Zalewski – one of our great Polish hidden history hunters. By the way, there’s also one of my favourite comic books talking about our ‘creators from outer space’. The series title is ‘Die Gotter aus dem All’ according to Erich von Daniken. Art by Polch, script by Mostowicz and Górny. An awesome story and marvellous art!
Historical art. That kind of task can be a great adventure and lesson as well. What I like the most during creating such kind of images is the fact that I can study medieval or ancient armour, culture, dresses etc. I’m calling this a very pleasant historical lesson, highly memorable. Each subject has a certain (different) value for me.
BadCat > We have talked a bit in the past about your other plans beyond illustrating games and we also share a passion for 9th Art comic projects (euro style bande dessinée). Is this something you would like to develop in the future?
Anja > Oh yes!! Both comics and animations had important effects on my life. I still keep thinking about an old bookstore close to where we lived. Luckily, they had a fresh batch of great titles coming in every second week. Soon I realized that my first goal should be to study what I could from this place as much as I can.
I remember my mum sitting in the armchair and watching me while I was drawing some short stories taken directly from our life or my grandpa’s stories. He was a really funny guy. He loved to play music using a teaspoon and a glass! Good old days 🙂
So my mum gave me a present. I have all of them still ( all these years …. time flies like a winged wizard, I guess ). Their titles are: 1. ‘Thorgal’- ‘ L’lle des Mers gelees’ by Jean van Hamme and Grzegorz Rosi?ski / 2. Valerian and Laureline ‘ Welcome to Alflolol ‘by J.C. Mezieres & Pierre Christin / 3. ‘La Quete de l’oiseau du temps’ by Regis Loisel.
These series along with many others had a profound effect on my artistic life.
BadCat > Yup, you’ve basically hit on 3 of the most famous series in European comics! All are stunning and every collection should have them. But interestingly they all have very different art styles.
Anja > Yes! I always admired Rosi?ski’s art for it’s dynamics in development (the way he was able to create living characters within a dynamic realistic style). Something I called: style pulsating with life without sterility. Furthermore, the way he built suspense through drawing the panels was brilliant! Thorgal has a special, unique atmosphere / vibe.
BadCat > Thorgal is an epic story arc but is really quite bleak at times and the atmospheric sometimes quite dark appearance of Rosi?ski’s cover art really reinforces that feel. We have a Rosi?ski chalk composition on our wall that we are very proud of!
Anja > A screenplay written by Jean van Hamme is a masterpiece. You can forget about everything else when reading this series. I’m telling you! And there’s never enough.
BadCat > Its the true art of a storyteller. Every tome often ends on a cliffhanger that makes you die to get the next one. Van Hamme is a hugely prolific writer too with his series XIII. We actually named our Gladiator
mascot that you drew – the Unknown Gladiator after XIII for obvious reasons if you know the van Hamme story.
Anja > The next certain favourite of mine is The Nikopol Trilogy: The Carnival of Immortals / The Woman Trap / Cold Equator and 32 Decembre. I love the stories, the art style. That unforgettable spacecraft in the shape of a pyramid, God’s characters and the Lady in Blue, of course. Well, I could talk and talk but I don’t think there’s enough time.
BadCat > No, sadly we should get back to the questions. We could talk about bande dessinée for hours (we also have a poster of La Femme
Piège on our wall too) 😉 So are there any other visual mediums (for example animation, film or sculpting) you would like to explore ?
Anja > I’m getting through to Jean Giraud “Moebius” also. The masterpieces like ‘Incal’ and ‘Edena’ led me to focus attention on individual animations -such titles like: Lorn – Anvil directed by Geriko ( Helene Jeudy & Antoine Caecke). Character Animation by Anthony Lejeune & Manddy Wyckens. Lorn Sega Sunset from ‘Rarities’ directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri of Ninja Scroll fame or C2C – Delta from the album “Tetr4”. The last one striking me with its simplicity and distinctive form. That looks really awesome !
That’s what I’m trying to accomplish in my private project. I’m working on this short animation for a few months. What I can tell at this point is that action is kept in the ‘urban dark electro, cyber goth, industrial trend, making the workspace more design focused. This is going to be uploaded as a pilot on my upcoming Youtube Channel :)) Stay tuned my friend 🙂 Soon I’ll let you know the result and can’t wait your reaction!
BadCat > That indeed sounds awesome. We look forward to that! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Anja!Gladiatores: Blood for Roses Prize Draw
In celebration of the launch of Gladiatores on kickstarter we will be giving away a full CHAMPION (Deluxe) level pledge, worth over £100, to one lucky winner, totally for free! Entering this awesome giveaway is so easy!
All you need to do to enter the draw is subscribe to the BadCatGames newsletter, which you can do just by clicking here!
Already signed up? Don’t panic! You will automatically be entered into the prize draw – no need to do anything else.
Terms & Conditions for the prize draw can be found here. The prize draw will run until 30th June inclusive.
Gladiatores is a rapid-playing immersive battle game for 2-5 players. Each player plays a gladiator school trying to hire the best of eight heroic gladiators for a sequence of arena events. In each event, players then play their chosen gladiator, using a hand of combat ‘move’ cards that simulate the cut and thrust of actual combat using a unique dueling system where cards can be countered only by certain others. This leads to exciting back and forth chains of cards being played – all to impress the crowd and win the wreaths of glory.
Here is a great video showcasing how the game works.Terms & Conditions of Newsletter Giveaways
As game designers we are always hugely inspired by the visions and skills of artists to create inspiring works of art.
Without fantastic art, our games would be nothing more than an idea with mechanics attached. The artists and graphical designers provide the form to our function. And as dancers will tell you, form is everything!
Often the unique artwork of a talented artist jumps out at us and instantly we find ourselves thinking of possibilities; where is this gorgeous landscape? why is this person running away? What is that creature shadowed in the background? and these ideas immediately start spinning ideas that could become intriguing games.
In the words of the rock band Placebo – Without you I’m nothing
Our first game Elemenz is a case in point.
Jason our designer already had a fairly strong idea of what the four alien shamans should look like and after seeing the work of Ascary Lazos, knew that he would do a great job.
We are not in the habit of dictating our own vision to an artist – to straightjacket them into churning out our rendition of how the game art should look! Instead we think it is vitally important to let the ideas and subsequent work organically evolve by allowing the artist as much free reign as possible and bouncing ideas back and forth with the designer(s). In this way very often, new ideas will spring out into the mix and lead to a more exciting result than we could have otherwise hoped for. Including how the game itself will change to accommodate the artists vision.
A good example of this is with the Energy Totems in Elemenz (see image below). We were pretty vague with what we wanted on purpose except that the outlines should be of the four main alien races in the game and they should be translucent. What Ascary produced on his own was stunning (with the threads of energy passing through the semi-corporeal bodies) and we could never have come up with something so good without him. A few tweaks to highlight things from us and the work was done with awesome result!
Because of our ongoing relationship with the artist, we already have plans to revisit the world of these creatures for a new game Exogenesis in the next couple of years. Watch this space…
Another great example of the synergy between designer, artist and publisher is with our second game Gladiatores: Blood for Roses. The brief we gave our artist Anja was a combat scene in an arena that showcased some of the gladiator types used in the game. We were blown away by the complex action-movie-in-an-image result that she has produced but we will let her explain more about it in her own interview. For now we leave you with just a clip (perhaps 10% of the artwork) in sketch form.
So in the following series of blog posts we will interview the artists that help so much to make our games a reality and highlight how they have added to the concept narrative behind each one. We will ask each artist where their own art style comes from, who else has inspired them to create such wonderful pieces and dig a little bit into the character behind these amazing works of art.Blood on the Sand – BadCatGames takes on UKGE2018
This year was our 3rd UKGamesExpo at Birmingham NEC and the best by far. Every year the BadCatGames stand grows (but perhaps not proportionally) as the event itself grows. This year unconfirmed reports put Expo 2018 as the 3rd or 4th largest show in the world, behind Essen, Cannes and GenCon with 21k+ individuals attending. Hall 1 is almost stretching at the seams now and we love the use of the second section up the stairs – not just for the photo ops!
The elusive designer Jason was there along with 2/3rds of the BadCat team (Chris and Cheryl) supported by our demoers Giles and Rob and some of the younger BadCatTribe (Laureline, Anna and Elliot) who did a sterling job converting dice game fans into fans and buyers of Elemenz. For some of the younger team it was their first gamecon and they had a blast by all accounts; even making friends with rivals – looking at you ITB team! (only kidding) + they got to sneak in a few quick games before the con started (yes we have the tribe signed up already for a repeat next year !). It was lovely to get compliments from gamers about how enthusiastic, competent and dedicated our demo team was, especially Elliot who managed to sell a copy of Elemenz to everyone sitting around the table at one point!
Our 10sqm plot at UKGamesExpo was still not enough space to handle the numbers of eager gamers keen on trying their chances on the arena sand in Gladiatores: Blood for Roses or summoning their energy dice to do battle in Elemenz. Our location down from the main entrance seems to have a lot better footfall as we are close to the Esdevium gaming area and our stand is a natural corner point for folk to change direction and head into the twisty confusing labyrinthine alleyways of central Hall 1!
The new location is also ideal to set up and dismantle (yes we have dibs on it for future years so back off exhibitors) as we are close to one of the rear exit doors, so it’s just a quick upload/ offload to get all our gear moved from transport to con. Also because of the corner position and close to the Esdevium stand we felt there was much more room for gamers to hang around and see what was going on (pausing for drink or scrutinising the increasingly complex Hall1 map).
Expo is definitely getting better every year and hats off to the organisers (Richard Denning and team) for the huge effort they make each year to create an all inclusive 3 days of gaming extravaganza. UKGamesExpo should indeed lock itself into the top 3 position from now on.
We really enjoyed chatting to all the excited gamers and an array of cosplayers throughout the 3 day UKGE event. This kept us busy and in the end we didn’t get to record the podcasts, live feeds from our demo tables and videos we would have loved to have shared online. We spent a lot of quality time just talking with folk; backers, industry professionals and reviewers who stopped by to talk about our games.
Gladiatores seemed to be a hit with everyone, from families to septuagenerians, to those just looking to spill the blood of their gladiator opponents on the sands of the colosseum. For a change the BatCatTribe actually did well and survived a few bouts, impressing the crowds. A lot of this has to do with knowing the hidden tactics of card combos or matching certain cards with the unique abilities of the Gladiators. The gamers who tried the game (young or old) got the hang of it quickly and we estimated that even as a completely new player – a single fight lasted only about 15mins/player – which is our normal time estimate and pretty reasonable for a card game designed to be quick and intense ! Some great ideas came out of these sessions, with great suggestions on how players would like to see an element of overarching campaign and progression. Watch this space folks !
UKGamesExpo 2018 was again a complete blast for the team and we want to give a huge thanks to all the gamers who came by to say hi, chat with us and try out one of our games. We meet new faces each year and make more and more friends who we get to see at each expo. For us, that is what makes UKGE special and therefore consider yourselves all as honorary members of the BadCat Tribe. Now we have settled in to the site in Hall 1, we have big plans for how to kit out our stand in the future for the retail launch of Gladiatores: Blood for Roses. See you there in 2019 !ElemenZ Reviews
Amusing/confusing/subterfuging interview with the tree-hiding squirrels of Gaminglorious.
Age of Heroes gaming preview for Gaming Respawn
Interview we also did with them about Elemenz and our future projects.
Meeples Anonymous – interview with the designer Jason Maclean Jones
Plus accompanying preview video
Video preview from those good people at Board Gaming at Home
No, we are not talking about those strange alien beasties in Under the Skin by M. Faber! (If you don’t know what we are gibbering about go read it – its excellent… and weird)
Anyway, we have had some support from those lovely people at Business Gateway and the upshot is we are getting a totally new website courtesy of Unavoided.com
Scheduled crash landing for this will be sometime soon in October so that is the reason for the lack of recent update posts.
Dinna fash folks, its on its way.