Creature College Weekly Update Week 8 – A Blast From The Past

Weekly Update 8

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Welcome to our Week 8 News Round Up!

Well, here we are…only six weeks to go until UK Games Expo and getting perilously close to beginning our sample printing. Just the back of the box to polish, two and a half more battle cards to produce and our rules booklet to design and we’re there! To celebrate we’re offering double our monthly prize so in April you can win £80($120) of games of your choice…ever wanted to have that really big game? Well now’s your chance! If you’re not subscribed to our news letter go ahead and do so and you’ll automatically be entered into this draw and every draw until we launch in the Autumn. We’d also like to give a shout out for Midnight Zombie Marathon, a game currently on Kickstarter. This looks like a great little card game to use as a 30 minute filler and at $15 for US pledgers, well worth a try! We’ve backed it and Aaron will be creating some pledges for those outside of the US that want to pledge – they only need $1500 so help us get them over their funding target! The rest of this week’s update is really a bit of a blast from the past…looking at Creature College from it’s inception to where we are today. We’ll be releasing some of our embarrassing early prototypes and game scribbles and also the first picture of what the game looks like in play.

Win £80($120) of games in April!

Tell your friends, call out the majorettes and the tumbling clowns (even the scary ones that look a little like the ebil clown from the horror movies) and shout it from the parapets (if you happen to have a parapet, otherwise your front porch will do). We’re giving away £80 ($120) worth of games of your choice in April. Some lucky person in some far flung corner of the globe will be getting a mitt full of goodies and all they have to do is subscribe to our newsletter here.

April Special

Midnight Zombie Marathon – Help us get these guys over their target

We’d really like this game to succeed. It looks like fun and it’s very nicely produced. I guess it’s their first game and Aaron and guys at Arche Nemesis Games LLC have obviously put a lot of work into getting the look and feel right. So head over to Kickstarter and give these guys some love. Let’s get them over their funding target!

d9c85a087f148a232222eb9aae41c657_original

A Blast from the past!

So…how did Creature College start out? The morning after a drunken dinner party and feeling rather hung over but having foolishly agreed to create a game for my mates…this happened:

Notes

Yes…these inane scribbles were the first thoughts that made their way onto paper and roughly described the first version of the game. It took about a day to produce Creature College v 0.1 and at that point (before we’d encountered the sweaty armpitted monster of copyright) it was called “Mad Scientist”. I remember having my wife and friends sat around a table cutting out hastily produced cards and tokens. The result of the first version looked something like this (actually this is something like the third or fourth version but the 1st version was too embarrassing to photograph!):

Before

It’s interesting that many of the elements of the game actually did make it through the process of play testing, but a lot of mechanics and items didn’t as well. Money went, we had a points track at one stage and that went too…in fact most of our play testing involved removing things! The first game was a real stinker…it took about two hours to play and was about as exciting as searching your bogeys for little brown bits (I’ve never done this….honest). However through countless play tests and many iterations we’ve dragged the game kicking and screaming into a sleek starship of a game that’s fast paced (45 minutes) and fun with plenty of “oh you didn’t just do that!” moments. This is what it looks like now just prior to our first sample print run:

After

If anyone is interested in game design and has some questions regarding how we’ve got to where we are then by all means drop me an email at orhan@happyottergames.com. You can read more about our story in the event magazine for UK Games Expo when it comes out and we may reprint the article on or website depending on permissions. Have a fabby week everyone! Orhan.

Creature College Weekly Update Week 7 – Enter the Were-Gerbil

Weekly Update 7

Don’t forget to subscribe to our news letter if you haven’t done so already and you’ll be entered into our monthly “Win a board game of your choice” competition. Just click here.

Welcome to our Week 7 News Round Up!

So the more perceptive of you may have noticed that we seem to have fallen behind by a week on our weekly reports. I would like to be able to claim that our previous week 7 report was caught in an unexpected space-time vortex and sucked into a dimension populated entirely by sheep and people called Eric. Sadly the truth is a little more mundane that I’ve been caught up in far too much work for Creature College and real life has also encroached on my time. Having said all that, it has been an almost bed-wettingly exciting week for us here at Happy Otter Games. First and foremost we had the first images of our box design that some of you may have seen during the week on our Facebook posts, in addition Scott D. Randel was kind enough to send us a picture of him playing “Invasion from Outer Space” which he won in our March “Win a Board Game” competition.

It’s also been a great week for play testing. We went down to Cardiff on Wednesday and met up with Robert Fisher, Scott Robinson and Patrick Barry, a trio of very talented board game designers who are part of the meetup group Playtest UK. Many chips were consumed whilst playing Creature College and the guys gave some great feedback on the game much of which should make it into our sample print. We’ve also finished the draft of our rules and they’ve gone to our designer for the design work. Last but far from least, a few weeks ago Sherri Kopel Haight made the suggestion on Facebook that we should have a Were-gerbil in the game. We loved the idea…so we put him in and you can have a sneak preview of the concept art below.

We’d also like to give a shout out to Gruff from Studio Woe which will go live on Kickstarter on the 1st of May. We’ll definitely be supporting this great tactical card game, mutated monster goats! We’re so in!

Our Game Box Design

The design for the front of our box was finished earlier on this week and we have to admit…we love it!

box1

We decided to let the great folks on Board Game Geek’s Facebook site tell us what they thought of it and we’ve had some great feedback:

 ” It is very cute and clean. Clean is always good and very easy to read.”

I like it. Definitely catches the eye and makes me want to see how the game plays.”

“Very Appealing, I would pick it up…its eye catching and engaging.”

“clean, polished and above all – readable!”

Our brilliant designer is now working on the back of the box.

Invasion from Outer Space

Scott D. Randel  won our March “Win a Board Game” competition and very kindly sent us this great picture of him playing the game with his friends!

scott randel

I haven’t played Invasion from Outer Space but by the response this picture received on Facebook it’s definitely worth giving it a go. I may be forced to raid my piggy bank and see if I have a few pounds left in there.

Beware the Were-Gerbil

We love our community, you have some great ideas and you’ll be glad to know that we do occasionally actually listen to them! When Sherri Kopel Haight saw Kevin the Giga Pig on Facebook she exclaimed that if the game had Were-Gerbils in it she was in! Well, never being the ones to loose the opportunity and thinking that Were-Gerbils would be past cool…we decided to put one in the game and here he is…thanks Sherri!

were-gerbil

Well that just about rounds it up for this week. Thank you for all your support guys and please do tell all your friends about us and we’ll love you forever!

Orhan.

Happy Otter Games Ltd.

Creature College Weekly Update 6 – Dellcon, Competition Winners and Box Art Sneak Preview

Weekly Update 6

Don’t forget to subscribe to our news letter if you haven’t done so already and you’ll be entered into our monthly “Win a board game of your choice” competition. Just click here.

Welcome to our Week 5 News Round Up!

We’re late this week! I know, I know….the weekly round up normally goes out on a Saturday so what have we been doing with our time? Well as always it’s been a mad busy week, we were fortunate enough to go to Dellcon at the Dellhouse in Malvern, UK over the weekend which meant that instead of writing newsletters we were out enjoying ourselves playing a lot of cool games including Creature College. Our hosts, Kevin and Elizabeth, were fabulous and I can recommend the Dellhouse if you ever want to organise a gaming weekend with friends! We’ve also been working on an article for the UK Games Expo show magazine. It’s all about being a virgin games designer in a cruel world! You’ll like it! Actually our world really isn’t cruel at all, it’s pink and fluffy and filled mostly with cuddly things albeit some of them having huge pointy teeth.

We’ve finished our box art as well and we’ll be giving our wonderful WordPress followers and Newsletter subscribers a sneak preview below! We also have another competition winner! Scott Randel won our March competition and will shortly be the proud owner of a copy of Invasion from Outer Space by Flying Frog Productions. Way to go Scott! We’ll be giving away a game every month until we launch in the Autumn so tell your friends to subscribe to our Newsletter and let’s share the love!

Box Art from Our Fabulous Artist

As an exclusive treat for our News Letter subscribers we’re giving you the first peek at our cover art. We haven’t built all the design pieces around the cover art yet so you’re seeing it pre-production! Drop us a line and let us know what you think!

cover final painted2

It’s just possible you may spot one or two of our other characters and creatures that we haven’t yet released any information about!

Dellcon

We’d like to give a shout out for our friends Kevin and Elizabeth at the Dell House in Malvern. They hosted Dell Con 2015 last weekend. We met some cool people, nearly got blown off the top of the Malvern hills (I had to actually hold my hat on), played more games than I can remember including Terra Mystica (my favourite), Suburbia, Alea Iacta Est and Ticket to Ride Europe, and play tested Creature College. I can recommend the Dell House to anyone who is organising a weekend away with their games group.

the-dell-house

Competition Winners February and March

Kris won our February competition and sent us a picture of her holding her winnings! Scott Randel took the prize for our March competition and we’re looking forward to seeing a picture of him playing it with his friends!

Kris + King of Tokyo

Have a great week and a safe and happy Easter everyone and we look forward to updating you again after Easter!

All the best,

Orhan.

Creature College Weekly Update Week 5 – DellCon and Vesper Bunnysnatcher

Weekly Update 5

Don’t forget to subscribe to our news letter if you haven’t done so already and you’ll be entered into our monthly “Win a board game of your choice” competition. Just click here.

Welcome to our Week 5 News Round Up!

Another busy week here at Happy Otter Games as we work to having an updated play test version of our game ready for DellCon next weekend. We’ve also made good progress on the box art and Will, our designer is primed to work on the design component of the box as soon as the artwork is finished. He has also been busy working on the design for the battle cards which are coming along nicely and should be finished by early next week. We’re very close now to having all our artwork and design completed.

The rules need to be updated with examples and just have a little bit more humour injected into them now that we have the base text complete. We’ve also been running a competition during the week to name one of our creatures, more on that later. This coming week we’re going to start to write a couple of articles for publications on the experiences of a first time indy game publisher so watch out for them in the coming weeks.

Vesper Bunnysnatcher!

Earlier this week we asked our wonderful community to come up with a name for one of our creatures to be included in the game. We’re pleased to announce that the winning entry was from Nikki Boom and Ian Loxam. Who came up with the name “Vesper Bunnysnatcher” for the character in question. As a special preview for our newsletter subscribers here is Vesper Bunnysnatcher in all his OtterColour glory complete with “Pissed Off Bunny” :).

Vesper

We hope you like your colour version of the creature Nikki and Ian and thank you again for your great entry.

DellCon

So this week see’s our first convention of the year. A small collection of gamers in Malvern sitting in the heart of the English countryside at the Dell House. I think Kevin and Elizabeth still have some space so if you’re interested then give them a call and come along. It will be a very pleasant weekend of gaming. We’ll also have a beta version of Creature College there for anyone who would like a game.

Ninja Dice Kage Masters

We really got into Ninja Dice this week. Our own copy turned up from our friends at Green Brier games across the pond and we decided to give it a whirl at Monday games night. It was a lot of fun with some real “Nooooo!” moments. Definitely a good way to Kill half an hour. The Ninja Dice Kage Masters Kickstarter is into it’s final week so get yourself a copy of Ninja Dice and back their Kickstarter for many happy ours of Ninja’ing (is that even a word??)

Well that about wraps it up for this week! See you again next week with more news and updates.

Creature College Week 4 Update – Game Design Lock Down Mode

Weekly Update 4

Subscribe to our News Letter to have a chance to win the board game of your choice every month until the Autumn.

Welcome to our Week 4 News Round Up!

One of the funny things about projects of any sort are that you sometimes get weird lulls in activity. A bit like being in the eye of the storm only with a lot more orange and magenta involved when it comes to Creature College! Week four has been a little bit like that; we’ve finished all the draft versions of our box art and our brilliant artist is now beavering (ottering surely?) away at creating box art so awesome that you may need specially filtered sunglasses just to look at it without being struck blind by it’s sheer awesomeness. Our designer is working on battle card designs and project X is on hold for a few weeks until we get some work done that has to precede it. The end result is that other than the occasional post on Facebook and working on completing the copy for our rules booklet it’s been a little quiet. However there are a couple of shout outs I’d like to do for some of our friends and say a word or two about our March “Win a board game” competition.

Nova Aetas on Kickstarter

Nova Aetas from Ludus Magnus Studio has about two weeks left to run on its Kickstarter campaign. The game is set in the Italian Renaissance, a period I’ve always loved with all its intrigue and infighting. The twist is that the world of Nova Aetas is an alternate Italy where chimeras, sirens and fauns also roam. Part RPG, part board game, part figure game Nova Aetas is undeniably beautiful. It’s worth buying for the figure moldings alone. We’re backing the project here at Happy Otter Games and hope you will too.

Ninja Dice Kage Masters

From a fellow group of board game ninjas across at Green Brier Games, Ninja Dice Kage Masters is an expansion for the popular Ninja Dice game. It has around two weeks left to run on its Kickstarter. I love the idea of Ninja dice that where the dice fall modifies the outcome of how your ninjas battle! Unique and masses of fun! Get a copy of Ninja Dice from Green Brier (it comes in a natty little Ninja bag perfect for impressing your friends at parties) and then back this project!  We’ve already donned our black masks and are practicing our blood curdling cries of “AAAIIIIEEEEEE” having backed the Kage Masters Kickstarter.

Monthly “Win a Board Game” Competition – March

If you’ve just joined our subscribers list through our “Win a Board Game” competition then a great big WELCOME to you. The great news is that not only are you now entered in our March competition but we’ll be giving a board game away every month until we launch and you’re entered into every draw! Our March competition ends on the 31st of March and we’ll be letting the lucky winner know straight away so they can choose their board game. You have to be 13+ to enter and the prize will be up to £40 ($60). Good luck!

Creature College Week 3 Update – Tackling the Rules

Weekly Update 3

Welcome to our Week 3 News Round Up

As always it’s been another really busy week! We were very pleasantly surprised at the beginning of the week to be contacted and invited to attend a mini-con called Dragondaze which takes place in Newport, Wales on the 19th of September 2015. We’d really like to give a shout out for Dragondaze as all the proceeds from this event go to help Bernado’s young carers, a really worthwhile cause. We were also very fortunate to be introduced by our media studio to the folks at Greenbrier Games, they have a wealth of experience in launching Kickstarter campaigns and had a lot of very good advice. We’re looking forward to having a closer relationship with Greenbrier as we move closer and through our own Kickstarter campaign.

Ninja Dice

Greenbrier also have a current Kickstarter campaign for an expansion to their Ninja Dice game. You can find the Kickstarter page here. They’re a great company and this is a very slick game so head over to Kickstarter and give these folks your support!

Design Work

It’s been a huge week for design work. Our incredible board game design ninja “Will” has been hard at work and has completed the designs for our mission cards, ability cards, research lab cards and game boards. We’ll be sharing some of this design work in our monthly news letter so go ahead and subscribe if you haven’t done so to get an inside view of the world of board game design.

February’s Board Game Competition

Our board game competition this month was won by Kris Kosche from Germany. As soon as she’s decided we’ll tell you what game she went for! If you missed it don’t worry, there’s another chance to win this month. All you need to do is subscribe to our newsletter and you’ll be automatically entered into the draw.

Rules Booklet and Cover Art

So we’re taking a big step towards a finished game this coming week as we’ve started the box artwork and we’re working on the rules booklet. Nearer to our launch date we’ll release our rules on our website as a downloadable pdf. Until then we’ll be releasing snippets of information or if you want to find out exactly how the game plays come along and find us at one of the conventions listed in our events calendar, we’d love to see you!

Project X

We’ve made some great leaps forward on Project X in the last few weeks but we’re on a little bit of a hold now as other work takes priority to prepare us for UK Games Expo in May. Keep an eye out here though as we will be releasing more information about Project X as the year moves on.

Creature College Week 2 Update – Anime Con and Designs

Weekly Update 2

Welcome to our week 2 news round up

It’s been another exciting week for us here at Happy Otter Games. The highlight of the week has been an invitation to take part in London Anime and Games Con on the 4th and 5th of July. That finishes up our round of games conventions that well be going to starting with Dellcon in March and finishing just before our Kickstarter goes live with Essen. For more details take a look at the events page on our website. Come and find us at any of these conventions and we’ll be happy to play a game with you!

Art & Design work

Our design work has come on leaps and bounds this week. We’ve now finished the design for our mission and ability cards and our designer has started work on the research lab cards. We’ve  officially finished over half the design work and we’re well on the way to hitting our end of April target for having a ready-to-print game. Our artist has been working on the Plasma Canon battle card towards the tail end of the week and this weekend is a milestone as we start work on the box design.

Play-testing

With the completion of much of the design and artwork we’re ready to going into our final phase of play testing where we share the game more fully with an extended group of play testers. At this late stage the game plays pretty flawlessly so we’re expecting this to be mostly small alterations to balance more than anything else. There are two play testing groups we know of that have volunteered to help with this final phase but if you’re in the UK and you’re interested, let us know!

Project X

We can’t tell you much about project X other than we saw some of the first footage from the studio we’re working in with in Montreal and it blew our socks off! We can’t wait to show you some teasers but that will have to wait until the summer!

The monthly competition

February’s win a board game competition is nearly over but it’s not too late to enter! Just subscribe to our news letter and you’ll be entered int a draw to win a board game of your choice up to a value of £40 ($60).