I have been cogitating on the possibility of this product ever since my very earliest days of getting involved in ‘professional’ adventure writing. Having worked on the project off and on for some time, I am nearing a stage where my outline is becoming solid enough to begin work on the specific mechanics, rules, and artwork.
Set-up: The game will be an OSRIC-based, modular design with customizable maps for cavern, dungeon/sewer/castle, outdoor, underwater, and airborne scenarios. The basic game will come complete with counters, die, cards (treasure, action, trap, etc.), instruction sheet (duh!), and enough customizable map tiles to provide adventure within all the settings mentioned above (or, combinations of all of them). My goal is to make it as rules-light as possible. It will be a game designed for 2 to 10 (or more?) players. It will be played as three teams; heroes (team 1; a selection of standard and Usherwood OSRIC races and classes) vs. monsters (team 2; ‘monsters’ can be either non-human creatures, or human adversaries) vs. game (a random adversary controlled by cards, providing random encounter possibilities for both hero and monster teams). The hero tiles will be strongly (if not directly) based on the pre-generated player characters that appear within the Usherwood Adventure modules. All creatures will be based on their equivalent that appears within the OSRIC SRD and all Usherwood Adventures modules. Also, I will be incorporating as many of the OSRIC SRD rules as makes sense to do so.
Winning the game: Winners will be determined by a points system. Points to be determined by completion of specific goals assigned to either team; hero or monster. Treasure accumulation will only occasionally determine a winner.
The Adventures: The game will come with a variety of customizable scenarios, as well as a free-form play mode that will allow players to get involved in a completely random series of events and changing goals. These scenarios will take place within the scope of the Continent of Vermé; although knowledge of the campaign setting will not be necessary for playing the board game, some knowledge of the setting may be helpful in the completion of some scenarios. Players can also purchase separate ‘expansion’ customizable map and card decks that will be based on published Usherwood Publishing products (i.e., Yrchyn, the tyrant, The Shattered Skull, The Shadowed Keep, etc.).
What I need from gamers: I need three or four teams who will commit to play-testing the rules and mechanics using prototype game pieces. Typically, this will be comprised of rough artwork generated from an inkjet printer. Play-testing teams will be required to play test the game multiple times (each time a new beta is prepared, and again using the final release candidate), and each pass will come with a form to provide feedback. Feedback will be required within a specified period of time (to be determined, but I am thinking it will be within a couple of weeks following each version release). You will also be asked to provide input on rules additions (not simply commentary about the rules provided to you). What you’ll get in exchange is my thanks (of course), credit in the rules documentation, and a copy of the final game following manufacturing. Manufacturing will be dependent on a successful Kickstarter campaign following successful playtesting. So, the ability of playtesters to assist in helping to raise Kickstarter funds will also be graciously accepted.
If you and your gaming compatriots desire to be involved in this opportunity, please send me an email expressing your interest. The email should include; each player’s name (or, preferred alias), gaming experience (though OSRIC experience will be looked upon as a plus, it is not required for your team to be selected…experience with Usherwood Publishing products specifically will get you extra brownie points), professional background (writing experience will get extra points!), gaming philosophy and style, and what is looked for in a board game (try to remember, this product is a board game, not a roleplaying game). Additionally, please provide; your group’s history of gaming, a team name (for example The Shattered Skull), and primary email contact (an usherwoodadventures.com email account can be provided to your team on request, for example; (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, include any play-testing in which your team has been involved on previous products, if any (not having experience in play-testing will not prevent your team from being selected). Selected teams will be required (as individual participants) to sign a non-disclosure agreement. The agreement will remain in effect for five (5) years following final manufacture of the game.
Selected play-testing teams will be notified September 2013. I expect play-testing to take place October 2013 and conclude April 2014, while manufacturing will take place between April 2014 and July 2014. Those dates however are an estimate only, and subject to change. A special release party may be planned after final manufacture, but before the packages hit store shelves. I have a location selected in Everett, WA where I would hold such an event, if it happens. Should the event take place, all play testing teams will be invited to join me as my guests (travel arrangements will be made at the teams’ expense…I try to be generous, but I can’t be that generous). The event will allow guests to play the game in a community setting, where the camaraderie of fellow gamers will be enjoyed with good food, good drink, and great live music (I even have a band selected…although they don’t know it yet). The event may also include special industry guests also, if I can swing it.