Twin Tin Bots design notes
1. The spark : Spaceships, combat and inertia.
A finished game is something solid, clear and detailed. The rules are precise, victory conditions are well defined, as are the means to reach them. In the beginning however, things are much more murky. There is nothing, or almost nothing. A spark, a blurry aspiration to something.
One morning I was toying around with the idea of a low complexity space combat. One ship per player, simple actions : move forward, turn, shoot, … and we merrily duke it out. I already created such a game, with simultaneous programming followed by a common resolution of the moves. Here I rather thought about turn-based, where you would end your turn by secretly choosing your next turn's move.
This kind of daydreaming is what a game designer's days are made of. Most of the time the dream fades. But every now and then it catches on, develops and grows into something worth working on. I was just finished with my big game Olympos and I guess the idea of working on a game with few rules made for a nice pace change.
Make sure to check out the first part of this series : Twin tin bots design notes by Philippe Keyaerts.
The making of Twin Tin Bots
1. Game Development
I was lucky to be involved with Twin Tin bots from the very first playtesting session. The prototype was already nice looking, with cute foam-core robots.
The first play was too long, lasting over two hours, but most of the elements worked quite well and I immediately liked that new game we just tried. Over the next few weeks we met for some more playtesting sessions, as the game was refined and developed. The more I played it, the more I liked it, and when Philippe told me the game was now far enough in the development process that he was starting to pitch it to publishers, I told him 'hey, I've loved that game since we started playing it, would you consider letting me publish it ?'
- Dragon Rage Designer Diary
By Lewis Pulsipher
Publisher's note : This Designer Diary was written in Oct 2012, and was pending publication in for a long while. I eventually decided to publish it here, as it is still quite relevant. At the time of this writing, Dragon Rage is almost sold out of the 1.500 initial copies. I only have a few units left in belgium, and I am toying around with the idea of a reprint, maybe at the same time as the standalone expansion which Lewis is designing. It would be a shame to let such a nice game remain unavailable for too long!
- While Dragon Rage was originally published in 1982, it was reissued in a much higher-quality format with an additional map and many additional scenarios in Belgium in 2011. The game was very expensive to obtain from the US, as I’ll explain below, so I haven’t written this until the advent of good distribution in the USA.
This will be a quite different designer diary because it has been over 30 years since the original design. Perhaps it will be instructive to game designers more for the publishing history of the game than for the development history.
Dragon Rage has had a pretty checkered history. It was published in 1982 and sold very well I was told, but I was never paid for it. The publisher went bankrupt for reasons having nothing to do with its boardgames, and their games went into a kind of limbo. At the same time I took what amounted to a hiatus of 20 years from the game industry, and when I “came back” it took me many years to find a new publisher for the game. Here’s the story.
I have published a new chapter of the board games production book :
Chapter 11, production part 1 : printing, cardboard and boards.
You can read it here : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/11_production_printing_cardboard_and_cards
As usual, feedback from other industry sources if welcome and will be integrated in the book !
Press release - Brussels 18 mar 2014 - for immediate release
Twin Tin Bots free to play web version now available.
Twin Tin Bots is a robot programming game, by Philippe Keyaerts, who is well known amongst gamers for his previous successes : Vinci, Evo, Olympos, and of course the SmallWorld series.
In Twin Tin Bots, each player programs two robots to harvest crystals. The available orders are simple (forward, turn, harvest, unload, ...) but there are two robots to control with three program slots each, and only one order can be changed each turn! Furthermore, the other player's robots are after the same crystals, and will push your robots, or might even rob crystals from them.
The availability of the game on both platforms offers you choice between the turn-based play on Boite à Jeux or the real time play on Board Game Arena. Come forth and discover the joys of robot programming and crystal harvesting!
Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 13th, 2013.
Flatlined Games goes IELLO exclusive for worldwide distribution
The current US distribution model is quite complex, and different from what we know in Europe. Flatlined Games has been working for two years with IELLO in Europe, and they have done a fantastic job in distributing our games in Europe and Canada.
IELLO USA has been growing very fast and already established strong brands on the US market, such as King of Tokyo, Ghooost! or The Three Little Pigs.
Most European distributors only work with exclusive deals, as the German market has taught them a price war on board-games does not benefit anyone in the long run. IELLO USA furthers this approach by focusing only on a select catalog of games from their publishing partners, which they distribute under the IELLO brand in the US.
Flatlined Games is proud to announce we signed an exclusive distribution deal with IELLO for the US. Starting right now, all US retailers and e-tailers will be able to get all games published by Flatlined Games exclusively from IELLO USA. Our current US stock has been transferred to IELLO warehouses and is immediately available.
Flatlined Games is also proud to announce we signed an exclusive representation deal with IELLO Europe for the rest of the world. IELLO works with local distributors all over the world to offer local language versions of their catalog, which will now include all Flatlined Games products.
Distributor from all non-US countries that wish to add local language versions of Flatlined Games products to their catalog can reach out to IELLO Europe for further details.
I just published chapter 10 of the board games publishing book : tendering for production.
You can read it here : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/10_tendering_for_production
Here is some information about Flatlined Games at Essen Spiel'13.
Flatlined Games will be at booth 1D139.
We will be happy to welcome you on our booth!
This year, we'll eventually be able to release Twin Tin Bots, by Philippe Keyaerts : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/Games/twin_tin_bots
For those of you attending the Warmup Day, we'll be doing Twin Tin Bots demos the wednesday evening before the fair opens : http://www.warmupday.com
Philippe Keyaerts will be on our booth 1D139 Thursday from 14.00 to 15.00 and Saturday from 13.00 to 14.00 so it'll be a good time to get an autograph :)
We will offer the game at a special fair price of €50 instead of MSRP €55, and you can preorder it right now at a special preorder price of €45! http://www.flatlinedgames.com/essen2013
Please note that we will only have a limited quantity of games at the fair. Preorders must be picked up before Saturday 14.00.
We will also have a limited quantity of exclusive T shirts at the fair :-)
We ask Kickstarter/Ulule backers who wish to pick up their copy at Essen to fill the preorder from on our website : http://www.flatlinedgames.com/essen2013
: Make sure you provide the same email and username as you used to
support us because this is what allows us to match your information with
the kickstarter info.
We will also require a valid ID with a photo
(ID, passport, driver's license) so we can make sure we do not hand over
your game to some stranger.
The factory is hard at work on producing Twin tin Bots, and of course it won't be available yet at GenCon.
However, we do have a prototype of the game that you will be able to play at GenCon :)
The prototype should be in the game Library, if you need more info ask out at the Game Salute booth and make sure to say hi to Dan and his team!
Thanks to game Salute for making this possible :cool:
Chapter 9 of the games publishing book is online : Commissioning art for a board game!