Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Entanglement Board Game Crowd Sale!

It's here! Today the Entanglement Board Game is available for purchase over on The Game Crafter. For the next two weeks, it's available as a crowd sale, which basically means that the more folks that buy a copy, the cheaper the game is to purchase for everyone!

Entanglement's list price is $39.99, but is currently available for $34.99 as the initial sale price. If there are sufficient sales, it may drop as low as $24.99!

What is Entanglement?

The board game is based on the web game of the same name. You're creating an elaborate garden labyrinth by placing one tile at a time, connecting a meandering path of twists and turns.

You have a limited number of tiles to play, but you can create a longer path and a larger garden by winding through Sakura trees: each pass acquires additional tiles for your expanding garden.

Should you risk your limited tiles to set up a valuable move, divert your opponents' paths away from the Sakura trees, or focus on an easy path through another Sakura tree? Weighing what to pursue when provides a mental challenge for those who hope to master it.

How is it different than the web game?

I've deliberately changed a few game rules to fit better for table play, but all the components are there if you really just want to experience a real-life version of the digital game. Here are the major changes:
  1. The board game focuses on the limited-tile play of the Sakura-flavored Entanglement maps, not the boundary-based maps of classic Entanglement. This change makes initial setup much easier and prevents pre-placed tiles from shifting off-grid when they're not adjacent to other tiles (as described here).
  2. Sakura tiles are dealt into players' hands instead of being pre-placed on the board. (This is for the same reason given in #1, and also adds a little more strategy and variety.)
  3. Scoring is based on the total length of completed lines instead of on the length of individual moves. This change helps the game move a bit faster, since tallying scores like the web game isn't terribly fun to do manually.
  4. The lines are thicker, and they don't glow. The thin lines were confusing to follow visually, and I didn't want the game to be radioactive.
If you want to check out the board game's rules, you can download a free copy here.

What's included?

A bunch of hexagons! Yay!

There are 6 colored tokens that are used to trace players' paths and a set of 72 hexagon tiles: 1 start tile, 6 sakura tiles, and 65 randomly-generated path tiles. (It is the same set of path tiles in each box, so buying another box won't introduce a new randomly-generated set.)

What does it look like?

The look and ambiance of the web game is quite peaceful. That said, I wasn't able to bottle up the ambiance and include it in the box. You will need to provide your own Zen garden and maybe grab the Entanglement sound track. Here's a bit of the art that is included.


I've been impressed with the overall quality of the physical tiles produced by The Game Crafter, but I cannot show that here very well.

Why a crowd sale?

I decided to go this route for several reasons.

My first thought was Kickstarter, since it's super-popular for indie board games, but after a bit of investigation I found that, as such, there are also a lot of implicit expectations. Most of the best performers seem to include several tiers of awards and other extras as goals are met. This, along with the initial production of the Kickstarter campaign, keeping up with everything during the campaign, game production, and order fulfillment, proved to be a bit more management overhead than I was prepared to invest.

My second thought was print-on-demand. It's low risk, no campaign to manage, no unsold inventory to store, and no in-house order fulfillment. I've ultimately chosen this route, but unfortunately it's a bit more expensive and order fulfillment takes a bit longer. (They have to make it before they ship it!)

Due to the print-on-demand cost for a single purchase, I had considered pinning together a web-based ordering system to group multiple purchases together so multiple copies could be printed at once (and therefore reduce cost), but then I realized my print-on-demand provider had already thought of that. Woot! Thus the crowd sale. It essentially takes a bunch of print-on-demand orders and turns it into a single bulk order, reducing the price for everyone.

In any case, check it out and see if an Entanglement Board Game is a good fit for you... ...or someone special this coming holiday season!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Entanglement Released on Steam

Today's the day! Check out Entanglement on Steam. It includes 12 maps plus a Daily Challenge mode:

    Classic Entanglement
    Sakura Grove
    Hana Blossom
    Lotus Petal
    Desert Trek
    Sakura Blossom
    Sakura Garden
    Daily Challenge
Up to six players can play head-to-head in a hot-seat multiplayer mode, and the game is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux in 25 languages. Vključno s slovenščino.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Entanglement on Steam!

Over the past two months I've been experimenting with NW.js, a tool that encapsulates web-based apps as executable applications. Using nw-builder, I had a working "native" app relatively quickly, but I did have to spend a bit more time making sure app icons and application menus behaved correctly across platforms. (I intend to post one or two of my technical solutions to these issues over the next few weeks.) The end result is that the code-base for the native app is essentially the same as the online version, so any updates appearing in one should eventually appear in the other.

Once I had viable builds for Windows, OSX, and Linux, the next logical step was to explore distribution. Steam seemed like a great marketplace to explore. I've been on the consumer side of the system, but trying to get something put out there on the seller side of things seemed like a fun learning opportunity.

After paying the initial $100 game submission fee and downloading the SDK, I wandered around the Steamworks site for about two days (with no water or shade!) trying to figure things out. There are plenty of knobs and buttons and features available, but thankfully Valve provides a convenient checklist to go through that made my initial experience much more purposeful. Had it not been for the checklist, I may have been wandering for weeks.

In any case, Entanglement is now available on Steam! Well, not immediately, but it releases on October 17th! Unlike the web version, all maps will be immediately available for play: Classic, Sakura Grove, Hana Blossom, et al. Visit the community page and let other folks know what you think about Entanglement! Unless you think really terrible things about Entanglement... ...in that case, let other folks know what you don't think about Entanglement...