Monday, September 25, 2017

New Millennium Game Board
Okay, I'm the first to admit that this blog is by no means a play-by-play documentary of the machinations Terra Nova has in mind for Millennium and beyond. That would take an encyclopedia of information and every minute of my time to document it in every minute detail.

As it stands now, Millennium is moving forward at a steady pace and scheduled to launch in November, as planned all along. A soft launch, because I can't go all out with multiple advertising and promotional outlets. Not that any of that will guarantee sales, which most likely it would not, but it's nice to dream that it could.

"Let's get real here."


Let's get real here. Advertising doesn't work that way. You have to win the trust of your potential customers first. And that comes about with great reviews, positive customer comments, influencers and key buyers who champion your product and help spread the word like wildfire, etc.

Besides, if you advertise without a good offer to back it up, you've got nothing really except a ton of money that goes into advertising with little results if any. In short, advertising is no magic bullet.

In reality, Millennium is now going through a developmental growth spurt and still in its second stage of prototyping, which means it's not ready for the consumer market, yet. And what is just as true, is that it must still undergo a good round of player testing before it reaches the point of putting it on store shelves.

"Advertising doesn't work that way."


That said, there's no reason why the game can't go on sale after another month of tweaking and more play testing (by family and friends). It will in November, but with very limited advertising and promotional support at that point in time. Anyone can buy the game if they find it either through The Game Crafter website, or this Millennium Blog. There is always a possibility that hard core gamers might take a chance on a game they've never heard of or know little about. Then again that depends on the landing page, for instance. And let's face it, proof of concept is everything.

I have to work it this way because I am only one person with limited resources. And inching Millennium along at this pace is all I can do right now. I have 6 other games I'm developing and in the middle of each of them. This stage of development takes time and patience to get through. Most of it is developing the artwork and game mechanics. Getting the core concept in place and tweaking it to the point of a working prototype with many details unresolved up to that point.


Back of Millennium Box
It would be so much easier with 2 or 3 people in the mix who could help me but I'm on my own and that's probably the hardest part. No regrets, though. Too many cooks can also be a nightmare. For now, I'm doing fine and plugging away at a steady pace with all the games in my queue.

Luckily, some of these games are much simpler card games, easier to design and play than Millennium. This game (Millennium) has grown and branched out even to the point of multiple expansions in the works because the concept and themes are far reaching.

The main difference in the current prototype is in the game's mechanic's, how it works and how it feels when you get to the end of the game. You want gamers to feel as if they are reaching another level and attaining their ultimate goal with a good sense of both tension and relief along the way.

Millennium in particular is a game of survival and sacrifice, so there is a sense of strategy and planning to achieve your goals as you journey from point A to B, on to C, and so on. You feel there is a sense that something bigger is at stake (besides your life) and you must go on against all odds.

It is this tension that must build to a climax and finally a resolution so that the game is successful at each level and beyond.

So far I've included many new playing cards, I solved the big problem I had with the train tokens because Game Crafter had discontinued some of the train tokens included in my game. My solution was simple enough. I found tokens that look like train cars (long rectangles) and included 5 in different colors to represent each of the train cars accordingly and assigned them each a score.

Engine Train Card
I think this works better than having the train in one color and still uses tokens that you can run on the train track north. It's a visual thing and by adding more cards (18) I can include some of the cards that were missing from the first prototype.

These new train cards are a bit of fun with hobo hitchhikers, dogs, and other sorts of strange humanity you might come across in an Apocalyptic setting such as this.

Levity is important, as you know in life and in gaming so I made sure to add a good mix of lighthearted happenings in the midst of all the turmoil. Not unlike real life, whereas Texas, Florida, Mexico, and Puerto Rico are experiencing their share of hardships even as we speak.

These events are certainly heart-breaking to say the least and hopefully each of us who has been more fortunate thus far can help in some way those in dire need. Please contribute to the Red Cross if you can. Every dollar counts.

If anything, events such as the devastating earthquakes and storms this month have been a wake-up call for so many who were already living in duress. Here in northern Florida, we had our own concerns and storm damages, but nothing like we've seen elsewhere.

We need to be prepared at all times and that's not always possible. Sometimes, carrying on is hard to do when loved ones and other families are in trouble. Our prayers are with the afflicted.

Please Help The RED CROSS

Speaking of the Red Cross, here is another one of the new cards I added to the deck. It's a mercy of sorts card if you can help a friend in need out of the rubble and help nurse them back to health before you continue your journey northbound.
Red Cross Token Card

This is not a coincidence, but thematic of the game and so I had included these cards originally. There are many other cards along these lines and as I have said, this Millennium game will only get better as time goes by because its themes are indeed a sign of the times ahead.

The Red Cross link above is real, however. Please visit their site and help however you can. I plan to give again soon and wish I could do more.

At any rate, I am pleased with the evolution of Millennium and I think it will be a great success. For me that means that the game itself works as intended and that a fair amount of interest will accompany its journey among other collectible board games you enjoy.
There is so much more to say but I realize I must keep these posts short. Since I showed an update to the bottom of the box, maybe I'll talk about how I went about designing it and my reasoning behind each element.


You'll notice, there is a fair amount of tried and true sales techniques (gimmicks) used here. Namely, the free gifts, although they are a good quality and desirable. Remember, they are part of an offer that's been around since Cracker Jacks, for example.

You have to throw in the kitchen sink if you can. Take no chances and always make them an offer, as The Godfather said in a strained voice, "make them an offer they can't refuse."

More about offers next time.

Till then, stay safe and keep on gaming!



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