Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Frontline Gamer

Another guest blog today, this time from Jody Barton aka Frontline Gamer. Jody did some absolutely sterling work play-testing Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster for me - his feedback was invaluable.

Also - if you would like to win a FREE copy of battle for Alabaster - check out his blog.



For those of you who don’t know me, don't worry I’m nobody important. I just happen to write a little gaming Blog called Frontline Gamer. You may have heard of it, but you probably haven’t, not to worry I won't take it personally. The long and short of it is that I’m a geek, a big geek, and I have a love for all things toy soldier and war game related. Always have done and always will do. I’ve played countless games from the tender age of 5 of your earth years, and I’m now in my late 20’s… OK, OK so I’m in my early 30’s… don’t you question me!

So I have a lot of experience to call up on, and I’ve played a lots of games. Meanwhile in real life I’m a researcher and statistician by trade, and that means I have an affinity for numbers and systemic analysis. I’m told by games designer types that this unique combination, of quite frankly nerdy skills, makes me a damn fine subject for play testing games. I’ve play tested many over the years, and not trying to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve gotten quite good at it... well people seem to ask me back every now and then!

So when Mike asked me if I’d mind play testing Sedition Wars for him I had to think long and hard about it… for about all of one second. Truth be told I’m a big fan of the miniatures, and a chance to help shape the game that goes along with those gorgeous little miniatures was just too good an opportunity for a fully fledged geek like me to pass up. Obviously I’ve had help from my friends, even someone as awesome (OK so I’m not that awesome, mostly just flukey) as I am needs opponents to crush (note, crushing has been optional thus far). We've approached it with some vigour, and I hope we've provided some useful feedback.

However, I’m not going to talk specifically about the game itself, or even how it’s shaping up, it’s shaping up nicely by the way, but more about the process that Sedition Wars as a game has gone through in the time I’ve witnessed it. Quite often as gamers outside of a project we think writing rules and games is a doddle. Go on be honest with yourselves, how many of you have thought over the years you could improve on a game that you play? Pretty much all of us I guess have thought that at some point or other, but it’s damned hard work let me assure you, and quite often a thankless task.

I’ve seen many projects from the inside now, and while to those of you on the outside it must appear all serene and swan like on the surface, let me assure you that below the waterline there’s a lot of furious effort and paddling going on. And so it has proved with Sedition Wars. Both Rob Baxter and Mike McVey have put so much effort into shaping this game that it has been really gratifying for me to see the Kickstarter campaign be so successful. Obviously I'm close to the project and I myself am quite invested, but if anyone deserves this success it's them.

There have been sweeping changes, the odd walk up a garden path… only to walk back down it again. There’s been iteration and there has been wholesale change. Evolution and revolution if you will, two themes that Mike and Rob have woven so well into the background to the Sedition Wars universe. Now while this is often normal for games still in development, the level of work, blood, sweat and tears from such a small team has been humbling to witness at times. They’ve worked themselves into the ground for this game, and that sort of dedication takes love.

But has it all been worth it? Well that will be for all you to decide when you finally get your grubby little paws on the game. For me though the game has fulfilled its original design brief with some finesse, it is a survival horror… no scratch that, it is a survival terror game on a board. It’s highly tactical and more in-depth than many board games you’ll have come across. At times it can be an unforgiving experience, which just makes those moments of victory all the sweeter. But above all else it’s a fun game to play, with a strong narrative thread. Rob and Mike have done a great job, and they should be duly proud of their achievements so far. Peace out!

1 comment:

SinSynn said...

Well, I for one beg to differ on the 'no one important' thing, as this man is responsible for many folks (like myself) not being able to pay their cellphone bills because we just have to purchase some mini stuffs he featured on his blog instead.
Shameless hobby pimp, but a fine gentleman nonetheless.

I've got my eye on the Strain, natch.