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Europa Universalis Development Diary #12

The most recent milestone, and biggest one so far, is the submission of files for the PPC (pre-production copy), as we’ll get back to just below. But to get there, there were a few other things that had to fall into place first. It feels good being able to say that the designs for all the physical components, aside from the print files, have now been finalized. Perhaps more exciting for most, is that Age IV Events, as well as all Milestones (the in-game ones), are now finally available for you to inspect, provide feedback on, and immediately try out on Tabletop Simulator (TTS) if you like.

Next week we will make most of the revised Missions public, and available on TTS. Following that we will publish updated, near final, versions of both the main rules and the solo rules for all backers to review and comment on. With this we are nearing the end of the development process for the game. The PPC should arrive at our office around mid December, and so we are closing in fast on the moment where mass production can commence. The Covid-19 situation has however resulted in our manufacturer (and board game manufacturers in general) being busier than ever, with orders queuing up, so there is sadly no way of fast-tracking production. Due to this, it is clear that bulk-shipment the games to the regional fulfilment partners will happen a few weeks after Chinese New Year.

Another, equally important but solely positive, lesson learnt, is that you simply cannot overestimate the value of a vibrant and supportive community. Bringing you guys onboard the development process for this game, has easily been the best decision we have made during this whole project. The contributions from members of the community has improved the game many times over. We have said it a few times already, but please come join us on our Discord server, where we try to respond to feedback every day, and where community members routinely organize games on Tabletop Simulator. This is also where you will find the most up to date TTS module at the moment, with all the newest components. But we read all comments, and have made so many significant adjustments based on the feedback we’ve received so far

Checking Proofs for the Pre-production Copy 

This week I’ve been going through the digital proofs from Panda’s printing team, after we delivered a total of no less than 90(!) preliminary print files earlier this month. Monday I pointed out some things that needed to be fixed, Tuesday I got updated proofs, and was able to approve the last of them! Overall it is looking very good! All the numbers add up as intended, all the different card backs have been correctly matched with the fronts they belong to, and no unforeseen problems have come up.

This may sound like we sent off the final print files without letting you look at them first, but this not the case. The PPC is first and foremost made to give us an impression of the whole product, and let us check if all components have come out as intended, in terms of numbers, dimensions, colors, aesthetics, legibility of text and iconography, etc. When the PPC arrives on our doorstep, we will spend some time to review all these things, and make the necessary adjustments. But before that, while we are waiting for the PPC to arrive, we will work on finalizing all text and art. Then there is a new round of file submissions, and checking digital proofs again, before giving the green light to start the press.

The Age of Revolutions

Age IV, the closing Age of the game, is undoubtedly an age of upheavals and grandiose clashes. No one will come unscathed from the ravages of war and revolution, but those who manage to harness the chaos may come out more potent than ever on the other side. Check out the Age IV Events for yourself in this overview document (there are still a few missing, but we’ll update it again soon).

The final Age will offer something quite different from the earlier Ages, with gameplay more focused on high interaction levels and conflict between player realms. It can be used as a grand finale to an epic campaign of four Ages, or it can be set up with scenarios starting just as the Ancien régime is starting to crumble.

Your Realm can either be left behind in the shadows of the past, or choose to embrace the new currents emerging across Europe. But everything comes at a price. Most virulent Revolutions will spread, rooting deep in your provinces, rattling your stability, spawning unrest and rebels, creating the primordial soup for progress, war, liberalism, and … modern emperors!

Quest for the Perfect Coins & Dice 

The quest for the perfect coin set has not been an easy task, but one which have finally come to a happy conclusion. Above you can see most of the coin iterations we have gone through, with a plethora of washes and effects. We wanted to find a balance between the vibrant shininess of the metal material, and that feeling that they have been used and touched by many hands. We’d like to think that when humans 2000 years from now find them (while excavating our pyram… mausole… graves), they will look at them and think that these are real. Below, with the rebel dice, are the last coins that came through our door last week, the final version of the 10 ducat gold coins.

Speaking of dice, here’s a picture of the rest of them. We think they have turned out really good.

Exploration Die, Cavalry Dice, Infantry Dice and Artillery Dice

Scenario Competition Winner

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a competition entry! We got more scenario submissions than we could have hoped for, of which many were really well written – and that’s one of the reasons that finding a winner took longer than expected. There are some patterns that stood out; you really like the Italian Wars and the Thirty Years’ War, and the downfall of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was also a hot topic – there were many variants and takes on those, some of them really interesting. We also had several scenarios that broke free from the history books to a lesser og larger degree. Honorable mentions must go to Manuel Lenhardt, for the original “The Last Crusade”, to Roberto Mendez Torres, for several great entries, to Sören Roman, for a great beginner scenario, to Aaron Isley, and to Menszu.

Many of these entries had innovative twists, mechanics, or victory conditions. The winning scenario checked all of these boxes, and showcases some of the cool things you can do with this game, by adding a dash of imagination and preparation. That is why we are thrilled to announce the winner as:

Patrick “Patch” Johnston-Hart, with the scenario “Here I Stand Once More
 

TTS screenshot of the setup



For those who are curious, this scenario is a tribute to the GMT Games title Here I Stand, a great card-driven game focusing on the time period of the Reformation.

Congratulations, Patrick! It is well deserved! We’ll contact you via email to finalize scenario details, and to arrange for the Deluxe Game reward to be credited to your Gamefound account. 


What Turczi Says …


To round this off we thought we’d tip you off about this excerpt from a larger LIVE Q&A that prolific game designer virtuoso Dávid Turczi did on November 1st. He goes into detail about the solo modes he has designed, and in the above clip he talked briefly about his experience working on Europa Universalis: The Price of Power.


Thanks to everyone that has chipped in (and continue to do so in the Discord Server) to refine the Solo Rules and helping us getting rid of loopholes. Making the bots into something we can really be proud of.

Take care,

Eivind & Víctor @AegirGames

Previous Development Diaries

#1 (Map Board)
#2 (Box Art and Monarch Power)
#3 (Action Cards and France)
#4 (Set-up, Sequence of Play and Castile/Spain)
#5 (Diplomatic Relations)
#6 (Warfare and Ottomans)
#7 (Non-Player Realms)
#8 (Basic Actions)
#9 (Solo Mode and England)
#10 (Events)
#11 (Summary of a year)

To be the first to get news, learn how to sign up as a play tester, and receive reminders about Development Diaries, Sign up to our Europa Universalis newsletter!
Also, please visit the Aegir Games’ Discord Server and the Europa Universalis Facebook Group!

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Europa Universalis Development Diary #11 – A Year Out of the Ordinary

It’s been way too long since we last published an update here, and there has been a LOT going on since then. In the meantime, we hope that most of you have been able to follow the game development in the other fora where we publish updates, and that you are all in good health and staying safe.

Keep yourself updated!

First and foremost, if you would like day-to-day updates about development, the places to go are Aegir Games’ Discord Server where there are daily discussions and play testing of the game. And the Europa Universalis: TPOP Facebook Group where you can find all the official information and some memes. There is also a collection of Kickstarter Updates with in-depth information about the game development over the past year – these come out about once a month.

In development for two and a half years

We have come such a long way, and the game has been improved beyond what we thought we could achieve, thanks to the community! These pictures below are a compilation from our 2019 album, with Dávid Turczi, UKGE, ARCON, Essen Spiel and the end of the Kickstarter campaign. A detailed look at 2020 follows below.

Post Kickstarter Timeline – From November to October

  • November 2019 the support (you guys!) for the Kickstarter totally exceeded all our expectations, with the campaign raising more than $550K

After some intensive game development, Christmas and working up the Pledge Manager:

  • February 2020 we put up the first public draft of the Solo Rules, designed by Dávid Turczi and developed by us. We also got the first tray design drafts from Gametrayz, as well as metal coin add-on designs!
  • March 2020 we won 2nd place in BGG’s Most Anticipated Games of 2020 in the Historical and Wargame categories. We revealed Panda Game Manufacturing as our manufacturer. They were chosen due to their experience, catalogue and proven quality, both humane and in component materials. Also illustrations from our favourite illustrators Olly Lawson and Joeri Lefévre
  • April 2020 we got the first miniature and dice samples, gorgeous stuff that just got better and better.
  • May and June 2020, wood token samples, metal coins and and a white sample that included the double-layered player mats arrived at the office. June also saw a host of new Event cards being published for wider testing, including Age III and several new playable realms.
  • July 2020 the new and long awaited iteration of the General Rules and Solo Rules. That took a lot of hard work.
  • August 2020 we got the final trays! Ah they are so beautiful, everything fits so neatly, and for a game with this scope it is so practical with truly functional trays. You can see some videos below in the appropriate section.
  • September 2020 we got the definitive miniatures, which look fantastic, and we released the 1618 map, which got a lot of love.
  • October 2020 I’m writing this to you, we are finishing Age 4 events, Milestones and Missions, we’re readying files to make a complete Pre Production Copy – the last step before mass production.

Main Rules and Solo Rules

Take a look at the updated drafts for both the Main Rules, and Solo/Bot Rules. There are so many improvements, in no small part thanks to the community play testing of the TTS module over Discord and BGG. We have also been striving to make sections intuitive, and less ambiguous. 

The whole document has gone through a language clean-up to make it easier to read. Significant changes, include: Alliances, Royal Marriages, Casus Belli, Peace Negotiations and the Holy Roman Empire.

As the rules are still a draft, expect the file to be updated several times, as we get more feedback and finish more gameplay examples.

Solo/Bot Rules have seen some major revisions to the Diplomacy, Defend and Military Action. New bots should be coming very soon, with guidelines for how bots handle new Events we’ve added.

Panda Manufacturing

Very happy to announce that the game will be produced by the renowned and well regarded Panda Game Manufacturing. Known throughout the board gaming community for their quality and high standards.

I’m sure many of you have at least one of their games on your shelf, like Wingspan, Pandemic, Twilight Imperium IV, Feudum, or Pax Pamir.

Custom Trays

… as you might have guessed from the video above. And for those who enjoy good storage solutions as much as us – you can grab some popcorn and click play on the second video a bit further down, where you can see us unboxing the “white sample” box, and putting some authentic game pieces into the trays to see how everything fits. [Spoiler alert!] They fit really neatly, and we are just making minor adjustments to the width of some of the wells in the trays.

Remember to check the video below!

The plastics are supposed to be the best in town, sturdy stuff that you can give as heirlooms to your descendants. The player tray is designed to hold all tokens and pieces of one player color, so no sorting of any kind will be needed prior to setup (provided you put them back where they belong after each game of course!).

Here are some still images for you to enjoy the details.

On top, next to the common resource tray, there will be space for the player mats, reference sheets, the rules and scenario booklet. The box will be a little bit thicker than the sample we got. The latest estimated dimensions for the box are 305 x 380 x 127 mm, meaning that it should just fit nicely into a Kallax shelf. As you understand, this is going to be a meaty and heavy game in every sense. Take a look into GameTrayz to know the guy behind this design.

And now to the promised video made in-house:

Miniatures

We recently got new a new batch of sample miniatures – this time the real deal, showcasing a full set of all of the player colours. These 3.5 cm miniatures have retained the detailed look of the master sculpts, and with the PVC 100 material they are sturdy, yet slightly flexible, for a maximum lifespan. The colours match perfectly with the wooden tokens as you can see below.

Sturdy and durable plastics, ensuring longevity.

The miniatures make the armies stand out so you can find them with quick gaze at the board, and the different stances and postures also make them easy to tell apart from each other. Please excuse our photograpy skills, but we hope you get an impression.

This is an older version of the map that we printed some time ago by the way. You can see the newest one in the section below. 

Just as intended, the miniatures visually stand out on the board

Of course we also had to try putting them into their respective slots in the trays, along with all the wooden pieces and tokens that go in them too.

Take a moment to appreciate the lids of the trays. They will make sure that no matter how you flip the game box and trays, everything is going to stay in place (disclaimer: they do have a limit, and would probably not survive a 360º backflip from the top of a 4 floor building). 

The miniatures fit perfectly as you can see. In those tailor made compartments, they will stay protected even if you decide to paint them. And you will always know exactly where they are when you need them.

Metal Coins Add-on

These samples show both clean versions of different metal colors, and coins with a test wash applied. We already know we want a far lighter wash on the X-coin, and we are awaiting some new color samples to make sure we end up with the optimal result. How cool are those designs? Wait, I know, very cool. Aurum Potestas Est.

We have the metal coins almost ready, and we think they are beautiful! These have been shown in our social media and newsletter, so if you’re not in there, you know you’re missing out. Sign-up to the newsletter!

They were designed by Andrew Forster (who has also designed the coins for Venice, a game co-designed by our good friend, and EU:TPOP solo mode designer, Dávid Turczi).

So, pre-order them in our webshop, (yes, one set is enough, but what about you get 20 sets?) Be the coolest kid in the neighbourhood!)

The 1618 Map – A Different Game Experience

We are happy to present the map that is coming on the reverse side of the game board, but be aware, this is not just another map, it will provide an altogether different game experience.

  • In 1618, Major Powers here are MAJOR.
  • A Religiously divided Europe provides new challenges from the outset.
  • Grandiosity and despair from the very beginning, with crumbling, old giants, and new, dynamic pretenders. Perfect for asymmetric scenarios.
Full Deluxe Edition reverse side map with Eastern Europe.

Wood Tokens

We received wooden samples directly from the manufacturer. These are very close to what the final pieces will be like. But these have been hand painted, and the final mass produced tokens will actually have an even better finish and print. We still think these look rather stunning to be honest!

We also received a white sample of cardboard components, to make sure they function as intended and that they fit with the other components, and the trays in the box.

And of course we had to try them in action, and play around like the silly, hairless monkeys that we are.

Illustrations Galore

We are very happy with our card illustrations made by Olly Lawson and Joeri Lefévre (check their respective instagrams!). But an image is worth a thousand words, so I’ll leave you with the gallery already.

Previous Development Diaries

#1 (Map Board)
#2 (Box Art and Monarch Power)
#3 (Action Cards and France)
#4 (Set-up, Sequence of Play and Castile/Spain)
#5 (Diplomatic Relations)
#6 (Warfare and Ottomans)
#7 (Non-Player Realms)
#8 (Basic Actions)
#9 (Solo Mode and England)
#10 (Events)

To be the first to get news, learn how to sign up as a play tester, and receive reminders about Development Diaries, Sign up to our Europa Universalis newsletter!

Also, please visit the Aegir Games’ Discord Server and the Europa Universalis Facebook Group!