A journey of discovery…

Sketches

Floris Tribe Expansion Box Lid

G’day guys,

The Kickstarter is SOOOOO close now. Just waiting for a confirmation of date. Extremely exciting times around here.

So I thought to tide you all over, I would upload the proposed box lid for the Floris Tribe Expansion. This is not 100% final and could change before production, but I am very happy with how it turned out. Feel free to use it as a screen wallpaper to brighten up your day with Floris-ey goodness. 🙂

Floris Cover low res

I would love to hear what you guys think of it. Also, if you have any questions about the game, now is a great time to ask them!

Cheers,
Ben.

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The Great Battle of Crepusculum and Small Update

G’day again everyone!

I thought it was time to do another post over here. With things very busy behind the scenes, I thought I could share the latest information with everyone as well as showing off some art of the third game (formally Race to Dusk, now called The Great Battle of Crepusculum).

SMALL UPDATE:
First of all, I’ll pass on where the company is at right now.
Dawn continues to be partitioned to make it easier to get into, with some of the more advanced scenarios seeing some minor streamlining and the Luftle Tribe getting a make over to fit more in line with the intention of the game. The publishing company was interested in seeing the second game in the series DUSK – Rise of the Occulites II as well and so a few months ago a prototype of the game was sent off for them to check out.

There was some decisions to be made about how to approach the possible releases of The Rise of the Occulites Saga, one of which was which game to launch with? The first or the second? Now before any panics I want to explain this in more depth. First of all, I think it is really exciting and reassuring that the company is looking at the games as “The Rise of the Occulites Saga” which it is, rather than just one off games. Secondly, I too was a bit nervous about rearranging the order of releases, but after a bit of thought, this possibility makes sense. The first game DAWN, will be more likely on the more expensive side of boardgames, with 32mm scale figures, a huge board, terrain overlays, player boards, cards, dice etc… it will certainly add up. It is also just as much miniatures game as it is boardgame. Launching the Rise of the Occulites with an expensive and perhaps not as much of a “traditional” boardgame, might start the Saga off on the wrong foot. We want people to try out the games so they can fall in love with the setting. To do this, a more accessible first release (in terms of money and gameplay-wise) ‘might’ be needed.

Bear in mind that nothing has been decided, but that this is a possibility. DUSK – Rise of the Occulites II, whilst still having lots of depth and strategy, is much easier to pick up and play for your casual boardgamer. DAWN – Rise of the Occulites I is being structured so that it too is easily accessibly, but it contains lots of layers of depth and has the ability to play out campaigns, so is more suitable for more regular boardgamers/miniature gamers or fans of the Occulites series.

One of the important bits of feedback on DUSK I have received from playtesters, was that it wasn’t that easy to identify each different character just from their pictures. Especially if you were not always playing the same Tribe. So I have revamped the Block Sticker Templates to help make this clear.

If you are interested in seeing these published or love the setting/ideas, please spread the word and consider posting about it on BGG, Facebook or your blog (DAWN currently has an entry in BGG, but DUSK doesn’t yet – feel free to add it if you like).

THE GREAT BATTLE OF CREPUSCULUM – RISE OF THE OCCULITES III

So while I restructure DAWN and wait for a decision on DUSK, I began more playtesting and work on what was “Race to Dusk”. The game was good fun, but even though it had a nice balance of depth and accessibility, it felt a little dry. So I have worked hard to transform the game into something much more interesting to play.

To help this happen in card game form, I chose to set the game further down the timeline, so that it takes place after DUSK – Rise of the Occulites II. This makes it the third game in the series and as such, will feature all the current known tribes as playable factions – Palaudis, Hydris, Floris, Ignis, Nimbus, Silicus and Tundris (with creatures and Luftles being Neutral cards). THE GREAT BATTLE OF CREPUSCULUM will be a stand alone game (with the option for expansions further down the line) and moves away from the Natural Selection Deck concept (don’t worry, it will be back for TIME – RISE OF THE OCCULITES IV).

The idea behind the game is that as Tribal Colonies spread across the lands, the concept of diplomacy and allies begins to form. Fluid factions begin to rise across Crepusculum as the world teeters on the brink of war. You are an influential member of your Tribe. Your job is to recruit the biggest and most effective army in the land. One that will rival your enemy’s and through your Tribe’s might, will ensure that peace is kept… for a while longer at least.

The game introduces the concept of the “Natural Selection Web” which displays groups of Occulites, Creatures, Learned Abilities and Terrain that can be used to help you succeed in the building of your army. All the different cards will have their own artwork, capturing the beautiful, but dangerous world of Crepusculum.
In addition to the statistics that all cards in the game have, cards can also have:
Innate Abilities – Abilities that are always active
Instinct Abilities – Abilities that can be used whenever they are triggered, but must be “committed” to use.
Learned Abilities – Abilities that are only used in the Nominate phase and must be “committed” to use. These are some of the most powerful abilities in the game.

The game follows six simple phases each turn, with all players resolving their actions at the same time in four of them, to help keep downtime to a minimum.
D eal cards to the Natural Selection Web and roll dice.
A llocate dice to cards.
R esolve winning bids for each card and refresh.
W ar. Total up your Tribe’s strength.
I nvest Tribal Tokens to play cards from your hand.
N ominate Learned Abilities to use in Turn Order.

As you can imagine, with 7 Tribes, as well as Creatures, Luftles, Terrain and Learned Abilities to illustrate, this one could take awhile, but I will be doing up an artwork-less playtesters kit for it in the near future if you like the series, love card games and are interested in helping out.

As usual, thanks for the continued support and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. 🙂 We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Cheers,
Ben.


Some artwork from Dusk – Rise of the Occulites II

G’day guys,

Just a quick update today to let everyone know that I’m still working very hard on the Rise of the Occulites series, including breaking up the rules of Dawn to help new players get their head around the game before diving in to the more advanced scenarios and rules. I wanted to share some artwork that will be used in Dusk – Rise of the Occulites II as well.

Also, as a sneak peek, I have included sketches of two new Occulite tribes that will be introduced in Dice of the Occulites and hopefully in an expansion for Dusk… the Silicus and the Tundris. This will be the first time that anyone outside of my playtest group will have seen images of them, so I’d love to hear your feedback. They are from the far west and far north of the area that Darwin has mapped in Dawn… oops, we haven’t got to that part of the story yet. I shall say no more. 😛

But first of all, let’s check out a few pieces of art that will be used in Dusk – Rise of the Occulites II…

Foraging Nimbus

The Pressure of Leadership

Then of course there are the Occulite Tribal Chiefs…

Hydris Tribal Chief

Floris Tribal Chief

Ignis Tribal Chief

Nimbus Tribal Chief

Then of course here are the sneak previews of the Silicus and Tundris Tribes.

The Silicus Tribes are dwellers of the red, sandy deserts. Their design is inspired by the Australian Frilled-Neck Lizard and the Thorny Devil. Whereas the Tundris are inhabitants of the snow and ice covered highland regions of Crepusculm.

Silicus in Spinifex

Silicus Tribal Chief

Tundris Tribal Chief

Well, there you have it. I hope to post some more of the background story soon and hopefully some more news on the state of the games in the near future. If you have any questions, feel free to post below, join the Darwin Games forum or email me on ben@darwin-games.com.au

All the best! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

Cheers,
Ben.


More Sketches

G’day guys,

Well, its official – I’m married! It was an awesome day – couldn’t have gone any better really. I won’t go into it all too much as I don’t want to bore anyone, but wanted to share my joy as well. So here is a quick photo from the day before I jump into some news.

So anyway, I’ve been working hard since then, going back over my notes to better organise the rulebook for Dawn – Rise of the Occulites. The aim here is to provide a set of quick start rules to get players going quickly, with the option of adding layers into the game by adding the advanced rules in the chapters following. This provides a clear path to learning the game without it becoming overwhelming with the number of choices available to you. This is not to say that its uber-complicated (yeah its a word… 😛 ) but that the best way to learn is to play. As this is the way the game was designed (in layers), it is proving easier than I thought to break it down and we’ve had some great success so far. This approach will help the game fit the boardgame mold a bit more. Its been an exciting time and continues to be so. More news as it comes to hand.
I’ll finish off today’s post with some more iPad sketches. Its been nice to just relax a bit and sketch away while I’m on the couch, eating breakfast or waiting around.

Hydris and Electricity

Hidden Eyes

Dutiful Guard

Nymphlet Harvest

Speak to you all soon!

Cheers,
Ben.


Honour Under the Southern Cross

G’day guys,

Have been doing some basic sketches lately and just thought I might share a couple. Just quick sketches on my iPad while waiting for appointments, or during breaks etc…

"A Long Way From Home"

"Dawn Patrol"

"Honour Under the Southern Cross"

Hope to be back soon with some more information on the Rise of the Occulites, but it might be a bit quiet for the next week as my girlfriend and I get married next Friday!

Cheers,
Ben.


Update on Dawn and info on Dusk – Rise of the Occulites II

Welcome to the first post here of 2012. I hope that the new year is a fun and successful year for all of you!

As you have noticed (and some have emailed me about – and rightly so) the December release for Dawn – Rise of the Occulites did not happen. While this may look like bad news, it is in fact quite the opposite. Exciting things are in motion for Dawn, which will be announced when we have more information to share. Just know that it is a positive delay. We are also taking this time to refine the rules, add in examples and more scenarios to the game (which is always a good thing!). Look for more information on the release of Dawn soon.

Besides working on Dawn over the holidays, I’ve taken up the opportunity to work a bit on Dusk (the second game in the Rise of the Occulites series). The gameplay is really smooth now, but I decided to upgrade my prototype a bit with some artwork. So I have been sketching and colouring on the PC to print out some 19mm x 19mm stickers to affix onto 20mm x 20mm coloured blocks.Here is a sample of some of the artwork I’m using for my prototype…

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Dusk – Rise of the Occulites II is a fast and fun boardgame for two players which takes place further into the Occulites timeline. The Occulite Tribes are now much more advanced. The simple family of five members has been forced out of existence as Occulite numbers swell. With this swelling of numbers, comes the need to expand their territories. Dusk sees you take control of an Occulite Tribe and tactically manoeuvre its members to achieve a series of secret objectives before your opponent does.

The Luftles Tribes appear to have been suppressed by this quick expansion of Occulite numbers and they now only appear as auxiliaries available to all Tribes.

This currently leaves 5 Tribes competing for dominance:

The Palaudis, Floris, Hydris, Ignis and Nimbus. Each of these Tribes have 31 blocks available to them for each game.

These 31 blocks consist of: 1x Tribal Chief (this is a mandatory selection, but you have two different Chiefs to choose from depending on your strategy – represented by the same block)
7x Creature blocks, which are available to all Tribes. (1 of which is selected for each game – unless you are playing the Clash of the Creatures scenario)

5x Band 3 Characters (3 of which are selected for each game)

9x Band 2 Characters (5 of which are selected for each game)

9x Band 1 Characters (5 of which are selected for each game)

Stickers are applied to only one side of the block, so there is a strong fog of war element. Some of the Character’s abilities require you to ‘reveal’ your Character to activate their ability and so positioning and careful strategy is very important.

Palaudis Youngling Block

The blocks available to each Tribe are different depending on their Tribe’s focus, but are all taken from a pool of 6 different Band 3 Characters, 5 different Band 2 Characters and 4 different Band 1 Characters. So for example, the Palaudis Tribe have 3 Luftle Rangers, 3 Luftles, 1 Youngling and 2 Tribe Members available to them in Band 1, of which 5 blocks will be chosen. This reflects the strong bond the Palaudis have formed with the Luftles.

Whereas the Floris Tribe has only 2 Luftles, 1 Luftle Ranger, 1 Youngling and 5 Tribe Members available to them in Band 1.You can quickly see how the different numbers of blocks available to each Tribe changes the overall feel of the Tribe.In addition to this, each Tribe has its own Innate Ability that further defines them.

Luftle Chief Creature Block

The board is also modular and is created at the start of the game, with the players having some choice over which terrain appears, so that it can be exploited. You can also purchase “Natural Selection cards” (that are represented differently from Dawn) by spending Tribal Tokens to gain benefits or instil disadvantages on your rival Tribe.

Games are played until between 1 and 3 (chosen at the start of the game) secret objectives have been completed by one Tribe, in which case that Tribe is victorious.

Palaudis Rebornling Block

Games of Dusk – Rise of the Occulites are played out in 20-40 minutes depending on the number of objectives and are very easy to pick up. With all Band Characters being drawn from the same pool of Characters, it is easy to regularly swap Tribes, without having to learn a whole Tribes worth of new special actions. It is a very accessible game, which I hope everyone will enjoy when its released.

Dusk has been extensively tested within Darwin Games, but external Playtesting will begin early this year. Dawn is of course still the focus for the moment. I just wanted to give you all a little insight into what Dusk is about. If you have any questions or may be interested in playtesting further down the track, please don’t hesitate to email me on benATdarwin-games.com.au or reply to this post.

Cheers,
Ben.


Concept Sketches of the Tribes for “Dawn – Rise of the Occulites”

G’day guys,

I just wanted to upload some rough concept sketches for the five Occulite Tribes (Palaudis, Floris, Hydris, Nimbus & Ignis) and the helper creatures the Luftles (which will now also be a fully playable tribe in Dawn in addition to being able to recruit them for an Occulite tribe)

These are the sketches that I have sent Bob to base his sculpts off from. Some will change slightly when the get sculpted, due to the placement of mould lines and practicality. The first three tribes being sculpted are the Palaudis, the Floris and the Luftles. Not too long after that, we will get the Ignis, Hydris and Nimbus ones done too, then after that, the game’s rulebook will be released.

I hope you enjoy this little insight to how this project is growing and developing.

Palaudis Tribe

Floris Tribe

Luftles

Hydris Tribe

Ignis Tribe

Nimbus Tribe

Which tribe is your favourite? Please feel free to post below. 🙂

Cheers,
Ben.