Press ESC to close

0

Back to business

It is pretty cool being able to make games. There is something about seeing your creativity come together and produce something physical you can hold in your hands. All that hard work over the years adds up to something special. Two19 and Kingless, though, needed more than just creativity. We needed to find the tools and methods to pull it all together. 

The concept for Kingless was conceived by a text message. That’s how this all began. A  single text. You can’t really run a project by text though, so we started by documenting and noting down information in Apple Notes. It didn’t take us long to realize that we needed a more robust solution. All of us were working on this remotely, so we needed something we could access and use no matter where we each were. 

Before we could really get started, then, we needed to set up Two19 as a remote business and find the right tools. We started out by using our personal Google Drives and sharing files. The most obvious thing to use with this was GSuite, so we set up a GSuite account, using the Two19 company name, and moved everything onto that. Problem solved.

Well, not really. GSuite is great, but it’s missing some tools that were key to keeping us on track. The things is, working with a remote team, you need something that gets you organized, helps the workflow, and all those other buzzwords. We needed something to help us work together better. We started to explore options like Trello, Monday.com, and Asana. We even toyed around with using Apple Reminders. We ended up with Trello. It seemed the best fit for us, and for what we were trying to achieve with Two19. 

Then we needed something to use as a chat tool, for quick communications. Like anyone, we already used various chat apps to communicate with each other; iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp. What we really needed was something a little more powerful, and something that would be focused on work – without the distractions. The obvious solution seemed to be Slack. 

We tried with Slack, we really did. We persevered for weeks. We were building channels, hooking into Google Drive, setting up automation, but at the end of the day, it was just too much of a hassle. Moving in and out of Slack just to send messages took us away from what we were doing. It never really fitted. Communication is so important with a remote team, and Slack never really felt like the cornerstone we were looking for.   

All this lead to Discord. We were already using Discord quite frequently for voice chat so we decided to see what else it could do. In many ways Discord has a resemblance to Slack. I tried to see if I could replicate what we had already done in Slack, or at least as best I could. It actually worked quite well. There were a few things that were a bit hit and miss. Wikis are a bit harder to make and don’t get me started on integrations via webhooks. Thinking about it though, we didn’t really need all that. What we needed was clear communication. In that respect, Discord is great. 

We still use Discord today as our main quick communication tool. We meet daily via Discord voice chat and it works flawlessly. Now with the added benefit of screen-sharing and video chat in servers, it’s going great. It’s doing exactly what we wanted. 

Six months later, I finally discovered Basecamp. This is what we had really been looking for. It’s given us a totally new way of working. Basecamp has tied together a lot of the platforms we’ve been using. Now we have a more coherent place for communication, announcements, and file management. I’m really happy with it because Basecamp feels like a single home for all the work we are doing on Kingless. We have this one platform where we can all check and get updates from all the areas of work we are busy with. It’s helped tie everything, and everyone, together.  

So, it’s taken a while, but we seem to have the right tools, and the right set-up, to make Two19 and Kingless really work. Like any new project, there’s been a learning curve, but it’s all worthwhile when I get to see, and hold, the results.  

Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

The August Update

Do we have an exciting update for you this month! 

We have been blazing away packaging up the last remaining art assets. Rules, Boxes cards etc. If you follow us on Social Media, you might already know this, but! – I’m extremely excited to announce we are now well underway with our manufacturer (Panda Game Manufacturing). Contracts have been signed and all assets are currently being proofed by the prepress specialists. 

In a few weeks time, we should have our first full pre-production model, again, keep an eye on our social channels as we will be sure to post up some photos as soon as we have this in our hands. As always, we will share all the details in our next monthly update as well. 

We can’t share much more on timeframes just yet. As we get further down the process with Panda, we should have a much better idea. Hopefully, in our September update, this should be a little clearer.

Tabletop Simulator

Now for some exciting news on the Tabletop Sim scene. Given we are now gold on all the artwork, we have updated our Tabletop Sim build to reflect this. If you’d like to get in early and give Kingless a try, head on over to the steam workshop.

Rules

If you’re checking out Kingless on TTS, you will want to have a peek at the official rules. We have them built into the notepad within TTS, but if you would like to see the print version, you can download a PDF copy

Even if you’re not playing on Tabletop Sim, check them out! we are really pleased with how they came out!

Update on surveys

We have had a couple of questions come in regarding post Kickstarter surveys. Don’t worry, we’ve not forgotten. Once we have the pre-production model in hand, we will be able to gather some accurate weights to calculate shipping with. As we mentioned previously, we will have more accurate information down the track. More on this in next months update.

The Big Milkshake

Earlier in the month, we launched The Big Milkshake! – Stick with me here…

The Big Milkshake is a mixture of all of the flavours of Two19. It is the new home of our thoughts, release notes, game announcements, and advice. Everything from Game Design to our favourite chocolate bar.     

Everything you wanted to know about Two19, and a lot you probably didn’t, will all find its home on The Big Milkshake.      

We will continue to provide all updates on Kingless and the progress we are making via Kickstarter, to all of our backers. Nothing will change here.

We wanted to do something a little fun to tie in with the launch of TBM. We have put together our Neon Milkshake playlist on Spotify. It is a vibrant playlist of our best retro electric tunes from the 80s, 90s and now. 

Next month, we will be doing a dive into our own musical tastes with our individual mixtapes…

Discord

Lastly, If you didn’t know, we have a public discord community for Kingless. If Discord is more your social platform, hop in and say hi! You’ll often find us hanging out there. 

  And that’s a wrap! Another month down, and it’s been a busy one! 

  See you all in September! 

Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

Fire up the blenders!

Firstly, welcome to The Big Milkshake!

To make life easier, let’s call it TBM. 

Don’t worry, we haven’t thrown in the dishcloth, quit making games, and gone into the milkshake business! At least, not in the traditional sense… 

Instead, we’re stretching analogies. The Big Milkshake is a mixture of all of the flavours of Two19. This is it. This is the new home of our thoughts, release notes, game announcements, and advice. Everything from Game Design to our favourite chocolate bar, it’ll be here. Everything you wanted to know about Two19, and a lot you probably didn’t, will be on this site.

Two19 has only just begun. We’re just starting. We have lots of ideas in the works, and a lot of things to talk about. TBM is our new home for all these crazy thoughts. We’ll be posting as often as we can. 

It’s not just a blog for Two19. Yes, we will be sharing news and stories from Two19, but The Big Milkshake is about more than simply what we are doing. This is a place for us to talk about our learning and share our knowledge. We have learnt so much from launching our first Kickstarter, running our business during a global pandemic (which you might have noticed), and of course, making games. We’ve had a lot to think about. TBM is our creative outlet for these thoughts. This is where we share with you everything that’s going on in our world, our games, and our experiences in bringing them to life.

TBM is our new website for everything Two19 related, even if loosely. We want to entertain, and to inform. We also, humbly, hope to help others as we go along. This whole experience has been a massive challenge, with a lot of learning. Hopefully what we post here can help others learn from what we’ve done, and avoid our mistakes. We can’t promise you won’t make a lot of new mistakes though.

To keep up with Two19, come to The Big Milkshake. 

So, sit back, grab a milkshake and enjoy!

Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

The July Update

Welcome to the end of July! This month, we come bearing news, updates, and a freebie! Let’s jump straight in…

New Cards

We are done! The artwork is now 100% complete. All the new cards have been through rigorous playtesting to make sure nothing has broken and we have not thrown off the balance.

This work has, unfortunately, put us a little behind schedule. We had planned to run a live stream this month, but we wanted to take the time to make sure everything is right. especially the new artwork. This has resulted in not being able to to put together the new deck to live stream with. As we start to package up all the artwork over the next couple of weeks, we will have a better estimate as to when we can run these live streams. Keep an eye on our socials for more information. Super exciting news here, we have now finished all the artwork for the new cards! It has taken a little longer than expected, but I am sure you will agree, these look amazing!

Kingless Timeline

In the interest of being open with all of our backers (and anyone else reading this, hi! 👋). We wanted to share some more information on our timeline. 

We are currently a couple of weeks behind schedule. Our plan was that we would have all the artwork ready to go by mid-July. Unfortunately, as these things do, it has taken a little longer than expected. This delay shouldn’t push out our delivery for the end of the year. But as we get more information throughout the manufacturing process we will let you know. 

Our August update should be a little more production orientated!

Two19 Public Roadmap

We are in the process of building a public roadmap for Two19. This roadmap will display not only the info for Kingless but also any other current and future projects by Two19. The hope is, any time you are interested in seeing where are at in the development process, you will be able to jump in and get an overview. 

We are still planning this out at the moment, but keep an eye on our socials for an announcement in the future. We think this will be a really handy tool for our future and keeping everyone in the loop with our progress.

Freebies 🎁

Everyone loves a freebie!

We wanted to say thank you to everyone for supporting our Kickstarter by giving away a little freebie this month.

We have worked with the extremely talented Remy Loz to put together this absolutely beautiful background.

Remy has a distinct minimalist art style. This scene is Remy’s interpretation of the Hammer & Crown at sunset. You can download the background in full 5K Resolution from our Google drive. (be warned, It’s a big file!). 

I hope you like this as much as we do. Feel free to share this around!

Merch!

We have some pretty awesome Two19 and Kingless T-shirts up on our merch store. There are some cool Kingless Dwarf T’s coming soon as well so keep an eye out.

That’s a wrap for July! Please take care and we shall see you in August!

As always, you can find us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook ❤️

Alex, Nathan & Sebastian.


Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

The June Update

June is almost over and we got our June update in just-in-time!

We have been really busy this month preparing all our artwork for print. We still have 3 of the 10 new cards left to draw and then we are done! While we are on the topic of new cards, we wanted to share a couple of the sketches…

We have had great fun building these new cards, we know you are going to love them when you get your copy of Kingless later in the year.

Rules

The design of the rules is now complete, minus a few changes in the layout of the text. Once that final coat of varnish is dried, we will share the full versions. But to give you an idea of how it’s looking, here is a small screenshot.

Since we designed Kingless to be fast and easy to play, we felt a folded sheet suited the nature of the rules better than forcing you to thumb through pages of a booklet.

Rather than having a wordy list, we wanted to have a large reference guide for individual card effects, along with supporting imagery. You will find this on the reverse side of the rule sheet so you can easily refer to it as you play if required.

Live Stream

We thought it would be cool to run some live streams of Kingless. Over the next few weeks, we will lock in a date/time and announce via our social media channels. We would love for you to join us in a round or two of Kingless. Don’t worry if you can’t make it, we will record and put the videos up on our YouTube channel.

Timeline

In the interest of being open, we wanted to share some details on our timeline. This is all subject to change, of course. We hope to have the remaining cards complete and signed off by the middle of July. This will allow us to have the proofs ready with the manufacturer (Panda Game Manufacturing) and start the process of manufacturing shortly after that.

As we have more concrete dates we will provide further updates. But at this stage, we are on track!

July is going to be a big month, so look out for our update in a few weeks time.

As always, hit us up on the socials with any questions or just drop by and say hi!

See you in July 👋

Alex, Nathan and Sebastian.

P.S. We now have an official Merch store on Cotton Bureau. If you’re interested in a Kingless or Limited Edition Two19 T-shirt, they are now available! We would love to grow this over time, so if there is anything you would like to see, let us know! https://cottonbureau.com/people/two19

Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

Testing Kingless

Very early on in this development process, we had what we felt were the bare bones of a game. Therefore, after a bit of work we decided to try playing Kingless for the first time. We knew right at the beginning that we weren’t going to have created a perfect fully functioning game that was both fun and balanced. So our first draft was a chance to test out things we had not yet fully established.

M ost of the actual development of Kingless was managed through working collaboratively online, but to do a proper test we had to play it. Getting three working adults together in person regularly is always going to be a challenge, especially given the number of times we would have to play test Kingless. After a small and fruitless effort to play Kingless on paper, we decided it would be more effective to test it online. Our first port of call was Tabletop Simulator by Berserk Games; if you are unfamiliar with this, it’s (unsurprisingly) a simulated table where people play all manner of games. This worked great, as we could upload our cards into the game and play in the evenings after work.

Image for post

We decided from the very beginning that the only way we would make meaningful progress was with strict version control. This would allow us to take notes for each version we played and see how the changes we were making influenced the game.

The first few playtesting sessions were tremendous fun, and we were making card and terminology changes almost on the fly with one version following another in quick succession. After those initial sessions, we had all the major loopholes fixed and the game’s language decided, as well as having a lot of fun; but most importantly, we were starting to have fun playing Kingless in addition to making it. Since then the greatest challenge has been balancing the pacing and feel of the game, which has been a nuanced process and was the dominant consideration for several versions.

Some challenges, however, are insurmountable. For us, this challenge was that you cannot truly test how a game plays and feels with 6 people with only 3 testers. We therefore decided to take the opportunity to open Kingless up to our family and friends to let them play it, so we could both show off the fantastic art we were receiving and get their valuable input. This brought us to our first live play test, which will be the focus of another blog post that is coming soon.

After that wonderful event, we were able to get some of our close friends on the tabletop simulator and test Kingless out with more people. We found it behaved exactly as we had hoped, with lots of player interaction and with valuable cards moving back and forth. My favourite thing was that while everyone wanted to win the game and be the King, what really kept everyone engaged the whole length of the game was to stave off being the Fool.

Image for post
Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

Designing the Kingless Dwarfs

Coming up with the conceptual ideas behind the Kingless Dwarfs has actually been a very challenging part of this project. Between the 3 of us, we have each had our own idea of how we want each Dwarf to look.

Alex lead the way with the design style and lore behind each of the Dwarfs, this gave us some solid direction when coming up with the names and designs for each of the Dwarfs. Together, we worked from a comprehensive spreadsheet containing a whole suite of information on each Dwarf. We wanted to capture as much information as we could from the very beginning. The more information we had the better. Once the names had been decided, we started working on the features of the dwarfs.

We included things like hair colour, age, positions and poses, items they may be holding. Sometimes we even went so far as to include stains on their clothing to keep with the theatrics.

We reviewed and tweaked these design notes until we hit something we were all happy on. More importantly, a design that worked with the character. This is where we handed the notes over to our Designer, Anastas. Anastas works her magic and a few days later presents us with a first sketch. For me, this is the most exciting part of the process, it’s when we really get to see our ideas come to life.

Image for post

This now gives us an opportunity to refine the design further. As with Bron Lawbringer, we wanted to change the way he was positioned. It just didn’t feel right having him standing, after all, he’s too drunk for that!

Image for post

Once we are all happy with how the sketch is looking, Anastas will then get to work on colouring and adding the card text to the design. At this stage, we add smaller details to the Dwarfs. Some have rips or stains on their clothing, others have gloves tucked away in their pockets. Every card we build have small nuances that if you look for long enough you will find.

Our design process for each Dwarf takes around 5 days to complete, from sketches to full colour. It’s not a quick process, but I think you’ll agree, they look fantastic!

Image for post
Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading
0

The Origins of Kingless

Kingless began as all projects do, with an idea.

In August 2018I had this idea for a dwarf-themed game which bore no resemblance to Kingless whatsoever, beyond the presence of cards. After a quick think about how it could work, I suggested it to Sebwho responded with instant enthusiasm. I had heard that we are currently in the golden age of independent tabletop game design, what with the internet to connect people and the wonderful power of crowdfunding to bring ideas to life. We knew we wanted Nathan to join us on the projectas we were already working together and he has played more tabletop games than both of us combined.

After an initial brainstorming session for the mechanics, Seb and I thought we had really nailed it. As you probably guessed, we had notand you will see almost nothing from those initial frantic notes in the game todayNathan put us to rights and spent an evening inventing the bones of the fast and approachable game we have today.

Those initial efforts left us with an excellent framework, but we had only just begun. We knew we needed dwarves, events (spells at the time) and items. All of these factors had to have a name and a function to play off of each other, so as to really bring the game to life. After throwing enough ideas at the wall to see what stuck, we got a list of dwarves we were happy with, complete with a name, an identity and a pivotal role in our game.

Image for post

I’ve always found naming characters to be challenging, and it turned out to be even harder to name a game. We decided to create a spreadsheet containing a handful of name concepts. We then independently reviewed and added a number rating to themso we could get a final list together. This ended with a clear result for Kingless, but if you look carefully you can see the central theme and the very first reference to the Hammer & Crown.

Image for post

With both the name and the game roughed out, we began the long process of playtesting and improving it. As you can imagine, the first playtest was rough with many improvements being done on the fly, and turns were made in between frantic note-taking. By the third playtest, however, Kingless was finally starting to feel like the game we had imagined and fun was being derived from gameplay and not just us laughing at our own hubris.

After many incremental changes, we arrived at version 0.7 for usthis was a milestone. Kingless was now playing how we envisioned, and it was time to open the game up to friends and family.

Sebastian Roberts
Continue Reading