TSD Previews

TSD Previews

It’s a busy Halloween weekend as the finishing touches are added to our KickStarter campaign!

If you want to get a head start on familiarizing yourself with The Shared Dream, you can read a preview copy of the rules right here!

And if that’s not enough, check out this Quick Look of board setup on YouTube here!

Character Previews

Character Previews

In my mind, character is key. Any good story, any good RPG, an good game starts with good characters. While a story can tell you about a character and an RPG can have you experience that character, by its very nature a board game has a smaller window to let characters shine. While we hope lots of people who play The Shared Dream will infuse their play-throughs with dramatic card readings and in-character reactions, the only aspect of a character we can truly enforce is its mechanical representation.

As a quick reminder, characters in TSD are usually played as their “Waking World” selves. Referred to as Anima, these Waking World selves are humans who are able to make magic real and channel a dream identity (the Animus) in the real world. Each Animus has 3 Ranks, with its Rank being decided by how much Conviction was spent to channel it. In other words, the more Conviction a player spends to channel their Animus, the stronger that Animus becomes. Each Rank has a Passive Aspect, which is always available to that Animus while they’re channeled, and 3 Animus Ability cards (one for each Rank) that must be played to go into effect.

Here is a preview of one of the six available characters in The Shared Dream.

Tillman Scott/ Superhero

tillman1

Character design for TSD is done in two steps. First, we translate the character themselves into an appropriate form for a board game. For example, Tillman Scott is an older man who is a highly intelligent college professor. (Tillman makes an appearance in the Skills chapter of Of Dreams and Magic, and will feature heavily in an upcoming ODAM story module.) So, I immediately knew that Tillman should have a lower Combat score, a high Magic score (while magic and intelligence aren’t necessarily related, it’s a viable shorthand), and an average-to-high Social score. Tillman has average health and deals average damage, while having a very low Movement statistic. The movement statistic is where step two of character development comes in – mechanical balance. Every character in TSD is half a whole, so both the Anima (the “real world” character) and the Animus (the “dream identity”) have to be considered when developing a character. So, to explain his low movement, we’ll move on to Dr. Scott’s Animus card:

superhero4

Well, that’s quite a change! Even before considering the Passive Aspects, the Superhero very obviously has different capabilities than its real world counterpart. It now has a very high Combat Score, lower Magic and Social scores, and most dramatically, an extremely high Movement score (the highest in the game, in fact.) The purpose behind this high Movement is revealed once we examine the Superhero’s Passive Aspects.

Rank One, Strong Arms, allows the Superhero to take an Anima with them when they move from one location to another. This can be helpful in a multitude of ways, such as delivering a slow character to a Location necessary for their Reflection deck or removing a particularly weak character from a dangerous situation.

Rank Two, Tireless Defender, does not directly use the movement statistic, but the Superhero’s high movement allows the Superhero to “swoop in and save the day” by moving across the board and “tanking” the hits from multiple opponents.

Rank Three called, appropriately enough, Save The Day, grants the Superhero even more movement flexibility by allowing them to directly jump to another Anima. This can be used in conjunction with either of his other Passive Aspects. So even if the Superhero’s 5 movement isn’t enough to get to where he wants, when conjured at Rank Three, the Superhero can always be the consummate team player by always being where they need to be.

The final component of a character is, of course, their Animus Abilities. After all, what good is becoming a Superhero if it doesn’t give you something cool to do?

superhero-cards

Continuing the theme of being a protector/savior, Rank One allows the Superhero to deal guaranteed damage to an opponent, as well as forcing them to move. By using Mighty Throw, the Superhero can serve as a “shield” by standing between the enemy they’ve thrown and the rest of the players, knowing that the enemy is likely to move and target him (enemies always move towards and the closest Anima.)

Eye Beams is a fun ability, since it can be used on its own to finish off an opponent at range, or can be used in conjunction with Mighty Throw to deal 6 damage to an opponent as a 1 point action. More than one play-tester couldn’t help but puff out their chest and read off the card “Get back, citizens! I’ll handle this!” as they use a 1-2 combo of Mighty Throw and Eye Beams to finish off a Reaver!

And finally, at Rank 3 is Heroic Resolve. While it may be less impressive at first glance, having the security of Heroic Resolve allows the Superhero to jump into the most dangerous of fights and come out on top. Of course, channeling at Rank 3 is a risk in and of itself since it requires 3 Conviction. And even the mightiest of hero can end up biting off more than they can chew when relying on Heroic Resolve!

So, there you have it.  Tillman Scott, otherwise known as the Superhero! Now, I know what you’re thinking. These images are great, but isn’t it time you got to see the Superhero “in the flesh?” Well, time to meet the beautifully 3d-printed Superhero miniature. Like any good Superhero, he’s ready to jump into that injection mold and make his transformation from 3d model to The Shared Dream component. But of course, he can’t do that alone! He needs YOUR support on November 1st, when The Shared Dream hits Kickstarter!

superheromini1

 

 

Look at all this stuff!

Look at all this stuff!

They say an image is worth a thousand words. While the ODAM team has been hard at work putting together The Shared Dream, a lot of the components are designed individually and have evolved a lot over the course of development. So it’s pretty exciting to see a great image like this:

cropped1

It’s even more amazing when you realize that this isn’t even the full game! This picture is of the printed preview version of The Shared Dream which contains only 1 of the 4 included Shared Dream scenarios. More pictures and video coming soon!

Adapting ODAM

Adapting ODAM

This post may be of more specific interest to those who are familiar with Of Dreams and Magic, the tabletop game that The Shared Dream is based on, but hopefully if you’re not familiar with ODAM, this post will inspire you to learn more!

When creating the player characters for The Shared Dream, we always knew we wanted to pull directly from the “iconic” sample Animus from the book. They serve as an obvious bridge between both products, no matter what direction you’re coming from. Just as in development of ODAM, the first character we started with was Nikki Meeks and her CLEO Animus.

 

cleo

 

There are plenty of parallels between the workings of ODAM and The Shared Dream, making the conversion process relatively easy.

First, we take the Passive Aspect and see what elements of it would both make sense and make for a compelling board game character. One of the central features of the CLEO unit is her weapon, the Vector Z9, so that was an easy Rank 1 Passive Aspect. To simplify its use, rather than being an external weapon, it automatically extends CLEO’s range and gives her a Combat bonus when firing it.

The next Passive Aspect that had an obvious parallel was Rank 3, which normally triples CLEO’s movement distance. For balance purposes, that number was reduced to double and had a situational modifier placed on it. We felt it would be strange if Nikki was channeling her Animus strictly to quickly move across the map or to run from enemies, so we added the stipulation that the additional movement could only be used if the next action taken was an Attack.  For the 3rd Passive Aspect, we took the overall trend of Cybernetic Enhancement increasing Firearms skill to grant the CLEO unit more Combat and Damage.

player-mats_page_02

Once the Passives were chosen, we repeated much of the same process for the Animus Abilities. The Abilities in the ODAM RPG are purposefully vague, allowing them to be slotted into multiple Animus with little adjustment. We also felt that the Waking World adaptation of magic should be one that can be more subtle – after all, even for an Anima, the Doubt is ever present and affecting magic within the world.

ability-strip

Control Pain became Hardened Plating, allowing the spirit of CLEO’s rank 1 Ability (a defensive measure) to remain while stripping out the RPG-only mechanics behind it (Wound Penalties.) Hot Pursuit has already been emulated through CLEO’s passive aspect, and Regeneration now has some functional overlap with Hardened Plating, causing us to skip those two abilities. We also felt that while in an RPG self-buffing is a fun and impactful decision, in a board game something more active was preferable.

Since Concussive Blast has a more straightforward interpretation (does lots of damage at one location), it was selected as CLEO’s Rank 2 ability. We also felt that a Rank 3 Ability should be less situational than Concussive Blast would be, since Concussive Blast obviously becomes much more effective depending on the number of enemies on the board.

Finally, Detention Field felt like it would make a better Rank 3 Ability for two reasons. One, it has a very powerful utility that can alter the whole board, and it has a very obvious way to be scaled up (Giving CLEO’s Rank 3 about a 16% chance to completely lock down enemies for a Night Phase.)

I hope you enjoyed this look into the adaptation process from RPG to board game, and that it helps you understand the design mindset we approached this adaptation with.

Playtesting Continues

Playtesting Continues

While the mechanics of a game of The Shared Dream haven’t changed much, the past two weeks of intense playtesting has really helped us fine-tune the pacing of the game. It’s very interesting to see how slight mechanical changes (does an enemy attack as soon as they appear, or do they have to wait?) can really change the dynamics of a game. I’m glad to say that so far all of our testers have found The Shared Dream to be both playable and fun, so we’ve really been able to set a laser focus on the pacing and dynamics of an individual play session. Sessions  with newbies who need to have the game explained to them are running about 2 hours, which we think means a seasoned group should be able to run through a scenario in 90-100 minutes, which was our ultimate goal.

We are currently in the process of applying number changes and making some final cosmetic adjustments to the game elements, after which we will put up the Print and Play Edition. We’d love to get your feedback on what you see, and hope you choose to go forward with a printable play test. Either way, your feedback is a big part of this blog and the development process, so I’d love to hear what you think at matt@odampublishing.com

Also, if you’re in the Metro New York area and would like to playtest The Shared Dream with the developers, drop me a line and hopefully we’ll be able to arrange a session!

On a final note, if you’d like to be notified when the Print and Play files are uploaded, simply sign up to our newsletter to get all the latest about The Shared Dream.