Creature College Weekly Update Week 10 – Competitions, Posters and Goats

Weekly Update 10

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Welcome to our Week 10 News Round Up!

So it’s been quite a week this week. Mostly it’s consisted of preparing files for our printer Wingo in China. This basically entails writing lots of instructions, checking through all the files and ensuring that we haven’t made any of those silly little mistakes that you notice later and think to yourself “Why didn’t I check everything through more carefully?” The last piece to this particular puzzle has been integrating all the feedback on the rules which was finished this morning. Now we’re in full publicity mode of UK Games Expo which happens at the end of this month. Mike Legan, our brilliant artist has been working on poster art which we’ll share later in the Newsletter and we’ve been working on some freebies to give away at the show. The other exciting piece of news is that it looks like we’re going to launch a little earlier than we originally thought. You’ve probably seen the odd piece where we’ve mentioned November but it now looks like we’ll be launching over the Essen Games Show in October!

We also have a winner for our April competition. Frank Auge won our $150(£40) prize and chose Cthulu Wars as his prize which is currently winging it’s way towards him! We’ll post pics of Frank with his prize as soon as we’re able to. We also published our first game review of Greenbrier Games’ Ninja Dice. You can read the review here.

Finally our friends Arthur and Veronica Critchfield launched their game Gruff on Kickstarter yesterday. We were able to drop in on their Skype launch event and have a chat with Brent whilst Veronica drew the most amazing Mutated Monster Goat mural in the background. We just want to say one thing:

BACK GRUFF NOW

Mutated Monster Goats….come on people! Joking aside this is a great game with fantastic artwork and a strong well play tested design. At only $25 for the bottom tier it’s one of the cheaper Kickstarters to back. It’s almost funded already. This will be a Kickstarter that you’re very pleased you’ve backed.

UK Games Expo, 29th – 31st May

So we will have stand 7 in the Library at UK Games Expo this year. We’re going to be playing the first sample version of Creature College, running competitions, collecting for charity (hopefully) and generally having a great time. We’ve started an event on Facebook and if you’re on this side of the pond (i.e. In the UK) we’d love to meet you and have a game!

UK Games Expo Event

Just look for our poster…you won’t be able to miss us!

Ninja Dice Review

We love Ninja Dice as a great little filler game for the end of an evening or to take with you on holiday. You can get Ninja Dice from Green Brier games. Read the review here.

Ninja-Dice

Back Gruff on Kickstarter!

This is a game that needs to get backed and then some. Not only does it have Mutated Monster Goats in it, reason enough to back it in our books, but it has fabulous artwork, a great design and compelling game-play. But don’t take our word for it, take a look at the Kickstarter video and the review video below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/31839895/gruff-the-tactical-card-game-of-mutated-monster-go/widget/video.html

Well that about wraps it up for this week folks. Have a great week and we’ll have more exciting news next week!

All the best,

Orhan.

Ninja Dice by Greenbrier Games – Review

Ninja-Dice

Recently I’ve been playing Ninja Dice from Green Brier Games with my kids quite a lot so I thought it was about time I wrote a short review. Ninja Dice was a Kickstarter launched in 2013 and it rapidly achieved and then smashed its funding goal.

The first thing to notice about the game is that it’s production is lovely and very well thought through. The dice are large enough and the printing clear enough so that you don’t have to peer too closely to see the symbols, the little plastic Koku (Japanese coins) look and feel right and to top it all off it comes in a natty little square Ninja pouch!

To play the game the players in turn have to beat the “house”, in other words by throwing the black dice one person creates a “house of obstacles” that the next person clockwise (the active player) has to beat by rolling five white dice. To beat the house the active Ninja has to roll symbols that counter the house’s security. So..the house may have rolled two guards, four servants and two locks….the active Ninja would need to throw enough fights, sneaks or keys to match in order to beat the house. If the Active Ninja beats the house they get a koku for every dice they’ve beaten, an extra koku for beating the house and still another koku if they do it by sneaking past everything (no fighting). The active player can continue rolling any combination of dice until he either beats the house or the other players drive him out of time.

Now here’s the clever bit…where the dice fall matters! So when the active player throws his white dice all the other players also roll a single die with coloured symbols. If an arrow turns up this symbol has a horizontal line in front of it and any player with dice in front of that line can have a Koku stolen from them unless they’ve thrown an arrow catch symbol.

There is also a Kanji symbol on the white active player dice that has the ability to multiply white dice that fall in front of it making it easier for the active player to beat the house.

Each of the die with coloured symbols on it has an hour glass symbol on one of the sides. Whenever one of these is rolled it is taken out of play and placed next to the house. All the players roll their dice at the same time as the active Ninja either rolls or re-rolls. Once the house is beaten or all the coloured dice have rolled an hourglass the round ends and the house and Active Ninja dice pass clockwise. Note that if all the hourglass symbols come up before the Active Ninja has beaten the house then the round immediately ends and the Active Ninja gets no Koku!

Once everyone has been the Active Ninja the turn ends and the next turn begins adding a sixth dice to the house which makes it harder to beat. A seventh die is added in the third turn.

This is a great space filler game…it takes about 20 minutes to play and is good fun but don’t try and overthink it! If I had any criticism at all it would be that if you don’t like luck in games then Ninja Dice may not be your thing. The game also has a “locations” expansion and a Kage Masters expansion (recently on Kickstarter) neither of which I’ve tried yet but they apparently add a lot to the game! So my recommendation 4/5, go and buy this game as a great little end of evening game.

You can find it here:

http://www.greenbriergames.com/main/

Creature College Weekly Update Week 9 – The Eagle Has Landed!

Weekly Update 9

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 9 News Round Up!

So this week we’re more excited than a very excited person who’s just won the lottery and got engaged to Scarlett Johansson all in the same week! Creature College is winging it’s way piecemeal to Wingo Games our wonderful printers in Guang Dong Province China as I type! They’ll be creating 5 prototypes for us that we can send out to reviewers, use for marketing and, oh, I don’t know…play even. Mike Legan, our fantastic artist, is busy working on a poster for our marketing materials at UK Games Expo which we’ll share as soon as it arrives. We’re also working on several other games in concept but more on those in future months. We’ve been running our “Name a Creature” Competition in The Boardgame Group on Facebook this week and we’ve had some fantastic entries. Many thanks to Micheal Scott Matecha, Josh Tolpa, Matthew Roberts, Matt Prowse and Ryan Myers for their winning entries and to everyone who took part. We’d also like to give a shout for two games this week. Midnight Zombie Marathon, which has 17 days left to run on Kickstarter and Gruff, a tactical card game involving mutated monster goats which will start on Kickstarter 1st May. We also finished the back of our box this week and we’re very nearly finished with our rules. We hope to be sharing a .pdf later next week.

Last but definitely not least, we’ll be giving away a £80($120) of board games of the winners choice to whoever wins our April “Win a board game competition”, but to make it even more interesting, we’ll add an extra £20($30) to that if we can add another 30 people to our mailing list by the end of April! That’s right £100($150) of games to the winner of the competition in April if we can add another 30 people to the list.

The “Name a Creature” Competition

Well it has to be said that this was a storming success. Unsurprisingly the community on Facebooks The Boardgame Group rose to the challenge brilliantly and we’d like to say a great big thank you to everyone who took part. Thanks to you Snuze Mumblethump, Briney Hydrosnuffles, Ruby Rumblestone, Sparx Franklin and Singe Flappingsworth will all be immortalised on our cards. The competition was such a success that we’ll probably run another of these competitions in the not-too-distant future.

Baby Mer-Dragon

Midnight Zombie Marathon and Gruff

MZM and Gruff are two great Kickstarters. MZM is funded already and Gruff takes off on May 1st. Arthur has done a fabulous job with Gruff and it really is a phenomenal game. We highly recommend that you take a look at it when it launches….mutated monster goats….who’s not going to love that right?

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The Back of Our Box!

We shared the design of the front of our box a while ago but Will, our fabulous designer has done his magic with the back of the box as well. He’s created a fabulously sexy image design that we’re very excited about! Drop us a note and tell us what you think! Our rules should be out this next week and well share them with you as a .pdf file!

back_front3

Win £80($120) of Board Games of Your Choice

Just for April and to celebrate finishing Creature College and sending it to the printers we’re doubling our normal monthly prize from £40($60) to £80($120). This means that one lucky winner will get to choose £80($120) worth of games! Not only that but if we manage to add another 30 people to our subscriber list by the end of the month we’ll top that up to £100($150)!

Win a Boardgame Banner April

Well that’s it for this week folks. Have a great week and get your friends signed up to the Newsletter!

All the best,

Orhan.

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

Weekly Update 8

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 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 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.