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mrimer
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Hi!

I'm excited to share some gaming news with the community. I'm leading a team developing a solo board game called Time Fenix. It's an evolution of the Twisty Little Passages / DROD RPG formula, and it will be in a board game format. We've been developing the game for about six months so far, and I'd like to share a sneak preview of the project here today.

Kickstarter Early Preview Page

Concept

Here's are some summary blurbs describing it:

Time Fenix is a solo-only, fully resettable, puzzle-adventure resource management campaign game with non-linear Metroidvania, legacy, *-and-write, and deck-management elements.

Play as Fenix, a warrior sage from an indigenous tribe, to protect a magitek world from an ancient threat with the help of a sentient AI.

* Take on 47 missions spanning 16 areas of an underground futuristic research facility.

* Manage power levels and resources as you navigate areas on laminated adventure sheets with a dry-erase pen.

* Seek out resources and power boosts, carefully defeat enemies standing in your way to advance, and plan how to defeat floor bosses to reach the powerful Time Crystals.

* Strategize when to perform mystical meditative actions to draw and play crucial resource cards from your Focus deck.

* Learn as you play: Story sections reveal additional game elements, rules, and mechanics as you progress.

* By growing your stats and gaining new Focus cards and abilities, you can replay areas in new ways to unlock additional powers and objectives.

* Seek out hidden bonuses to unlock greater power-ups. The game rewards more efficient play and clever meta-gaming strategy.

Do you have the wisdom and fortitude to descend to the unstable Reactor Core and prevent imminent disaster?

Status

The design and puzzles are nearly complete.

I'm working with artists to create graphical content, and I think it's already looking pretty good!

I'm collaborating with some alpha play testers to polish gameplay and puzzles, including kieranmillar, who has provided excellent feedback to improve the area puzzles, as well as others outside the Caravel community.

As you'd expect, designing a board game involves a huge consideration of the physical aspects of play, and I'm including component design as a core part of the process from the beginning.

You'll notice that this game has cards called your Focus deck, which you will draw from and play strategically to gain resources. There is randomness here, and this is distinct from RPG deck builders where the cards are primarily used during combat. You'll need to tactically integrate the randomness into your strategy for completing areas.

In addition to the adventure play sheets and cards, I'm planning for the game to have a dual-layer board for tracking your character's condition and inventory, various components for stats and resource tracking, and a campaign score sheet you'll fill in to track your campaign progress and character improvement.

Most areas have multiple mission objectives, involving defeating floor bosses to reach a goal point, and you will replay areas at different times during the campaign in different ways to reach new objectives.

The game is intended to be for all levels of players, with introductory tutorial areas at the beginning, and then a steady ramp up in challenge and complexity that gradually take off the training wheels.

I'm getting a BGG game entry set up, which I'll share when it goes live, and I'll be sharing more content here and there as things materialize.

Release Date

We're planning to self-publish Time Fenix. I'm in talks with some board game manufacturing companies to select the best option for us. We're crowdfunding so that we can raise funds to pay for a mass-print production run.

I anticipate the campaign going live later in 2024, with manufacturing, shipping, and delivery happening probably in early 2025.

So you don't have to remember, sign up here to get notified when our crowdfunding campaign goes live:

Kickstarter Early Preview Page

____________________________
Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 04-27-2024 08:39 PM]
04-27-2024 at 07:39 PM
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mrimer
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A few more things to say about Time Fenix...

How is this similar to DROD RPG / Twisty Little Passages?

* It has the same basic HP/ATK/DEF stats and streamlined deterministic combat resolution.

* The core of the game involves puzzley resource management.

* You navigate mazelike areas.

* You figure out the best order to take actions.

* There are multiple key types.

* There are special items that modify enemy encounters and how you navigate the areas.

* Most areas have GP and a "shop" where you can buy and trade resources, specific to each area.

* A few areas have special play rules.

* There are ~14 recurring enemy types that you'll encounter throughout the campaign. The ubiquitous roach makes a reappearance!

How is this different than DROD RPG / Twisty Little Passages?

Beyond the fact that this will be a board game, Time Fenix was designed with the following game mechanics and design principles in mind:

* Introduces deck draws and randomness

This is a novel mechanic in the "Magic Tower" genre, and I think it holds a lot of promise. In Time Fenix, available card draws from your "Focus deck" start simple, with little variety, so you can get used to the mechanic. As you progress through the campaign, you'll grow the variety and power of what you have in your Focus deck. You'll also evolve some resource cards. These evolutions enable you to tackle previous areas in different ways and tackle new areas with fresh strategies.

You'll gain card and deck manipulation powers that allow you to strategically and tactically bend luck around your Focus resources.

Each area features a series of "Focus Encounters", where you can opt to defeat enemies to draw more cards and reshuffle your deck. You'll want to plan ahead and prepare yourself to tackle these enemies so they don't drain too much HP when you need to draw more resources.

* Smoother difficulty curve

Twisty Little Passages had a rather quick ramp up in challenge. Following TLP's release, we wanted to provide these kinds of bite-sized puzzles with more flexible gameplay. Time Fenix has a much more gradual curve and is more forgiving, with flexibility in what you can take on next and how you play through each area as you get beyond the tutorial sections.

At the beginning of the campaign, there's a lot of structure to keep things simple, and gaining new play actions as you progress enables your play options to branch out more and more.

* Non-linear meta-game play structure

As in classic Metroidvanias, in Time Fenix, you steadily unlock new areas across a non-linear overworld map of the facility, and you can choose which areas you (re)visit during the campaign to gather incremental power-ups.

* Adaptive difficulty

Even with randomness, assuming the player is making an honest effort, it's likely that many of the areas can be completed successfully on the first try. There's a mechanism for making objectives incrementally easier to complete in cases where you have to retry.

* Scoring

You score points based on how many HP you have remaining as you complete each objective.

There are many opportunities to optimize your score. While the tutorial areas have guardrails on what you can do, later areas grant more and more flexibility in how you will tackle them.

This means there's a lot of latitude in the scores you can achieve. I anticipate players will want to share their best scores with the community.

How long is the game?

I anticipate most areas (game sessions) will take 10-30 minutes to play through.

There is a lot of play content to experience and enjoy. Going through the entire campaign will take about 10-20 hours.

Other trivia

Time Fenix draws and blends inspiration from multiple sources, including other solo and flip-and-write board games, like Legacy of Yu (progressive campaign, managing a resource deck) and Hadrian's Wall (using dynamic resource draws and resource chaining to progress along tracks), as well as video games like the Pikmin series (incremental missions with puzzley terrain navigation).

____________________________
Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 04-27-2024 08:46 PM]
04-27-2024 at 07:59 PM
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Bombadil
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This is very exciting! Thanks for sharing the news earlier with us Mike!

I love the idea of evolving the Twisty Little Passages-style puzzles with a card deck. Eager to see how the random factor is introduced setting while keeping the puzzle balance.

This reminds me... at the time of the TLP Kickstarter I was in uncertain times and could only back at the PnP level. Will there be an opportunity in the Time Fenix to get a physical copy of TLP? (Or are there physical copies available to purchase anywhere?)

05-18-2024 at 09:51 PM
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mrimer
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Bombadil wrote:
This is very exciting! Thanks for sharing the news earlier with us Mike!

I love the idea of evolving the Twisty Little Passages-style puzzles with a card deck. Eager to see how the random factor is introduced setting while keeping the puzzle balance.
Hy, Bombadil. I appreciate the feedback!
This reminds me... at the time of the TLP Kickstarter I was in uncertain times and could only back at the PnP level. Will there be an opportunity in the Time Fenix to get a physical copy of TLP? (Or are there physical copies available to purchase anywhere?)
Unfortunately, there aren't any physical copies sitting around in storefronts that I'm aware of. I'd like to reprint TLP if I can ensure there's enough demand to sell ~1k copies or more. Otherwise, mass printing cost is prohibitive.

There was a great Board Game store/distributor in Europe that I worked with to fulfill Kickstarter orders in the EU, which might still have spare copies in inventory, but I haven't kept in touch recently and I'm not certain. Check out here:

https://boardgameprices.co.uk/item/show/31020/twisty-little-passages

I mention them because I received confirmation that our US, CAN, and AUS partners ran out of copies a good while back, but from the EU might still be a possibility.

Also, check with resellers on the TLP page on BGG.


____________________________
Gandalf? Yes... That's what they used to call me.
Gandalf the Grey. That was my name.
I am Gandalf the White.
And I come back to you now at the turn of the tide.

[Last edited by mrimer at 05-19-2024 03:13 AM]
05-19-2024 at 03:09 AM
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Bombadil
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Thanks Mike!

mrimer wrote:
https://boardgameprices.co.uk/item/show/31020/twisty-little-passages
There's some hope here, one store in Greece seems to have some copies, but their site seems to be under maintenance. Will try to chase it up with them

05-21-2024 at 01:35 AM
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Bombadil
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In case anyone is interested, they redirected me to their new store and I managed to get a copy of TLP here. :D
It seems they still have ONE copy left if anyone is also looking for one.
05-26-2024 at 11:55 AM
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Ezlo
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Excited for a second book! I sadly lost my TLP copy in a flood along with most of my other books in 2022 so this will be a nice replacement.
06-05-2024 at 09:35 PM
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