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A stranger working at Ludonaute

This article was written by Christophe Raimbault

What is a boardgame designer for you?

Well, a boardgame designer is independent and living away from other common people. He is a strange guy with brilliant ideas. When he gets one, he grabs a pen, builds a prototype and contacts an editor. The rest of his time is spent to have fun to get new ideas…

I guess many people may think this way…

Let’s now have a look to the real life of a game designer.

First of all, a boardgame designer cannot be totally independant because boardgames are about people. Even if he has got an amazing idea, he never knows if it’s really a good one… He has to talk about it to others and try it with them… Designing a game is about creating a human experience and not only a bunch of rules.

Then, designing a game is a lot of work. And, most of the time, from the first brilliant idea to the publishing, a few years have gone by…

Finally, when a boardgame designer is not working on his prototypes, he is working on his normal job. It’s kind of a double life, not exactly like a superhero though… It’s not the job you want if you want to get a normal life.

I didn’t choose a normal life, but I’m lucky enough with Colt Express to consider today living with my designer job. So, why am I working now with my publisher Ludonaute for two months?

Well, you created for them a game awarded by the Spiel Des Jahres, then they obviously decided to hire your services to publish every single new idea you have.

No, absolutely not.

STOP answering my rhetorical questions! Damn!

I tried to enter Ludonaute’s office… but I was blocked by a strange employee.

First of all, Cedric and Anne Cecile have been really good friends from the very beginning of their publishing adventure. They realized I couldn’t work properly on new games and on Colt Express with my full time job.

They suggested to hire me half time to work on the Colt Express world (expansions, digital game, community, website…) and to help them with their new projects.

That suggestion was not to be forgotten… A few months later, I moved to work with them.

In my spare time, I can feel free to work in Ludonaute’s office on my personal projects.

It’s so much easier to work surrounded with other talented and passionate people ;) It’s a team work, they help me to test my prototypes and I help them on theirs.

Well, Ludonaute is working on your ideas now?

For now, we don’t have any other serious project in common than Colt Express. If we work again on a project in common, you can bet it’s because we are spending such a good time together working on boardgames. I am still convinced I can learn more by working with different publishers.

Work in progress…

Well, your life is quite interesting. But what will be this Insider’s Diary about?

I have just completed the first part of my plan: penetrate into Ludonaute’s organisation…

Second part of my plan: fill my insider’s diary with notes and quotes about Ludonaute’s projects and every day life.

Sooner or later, I’m quite sure I’ll find proof of something unnatural here. How such a tiny publisher can have had such a big success so quickly?

Is Cedric’s bald head hiding an Alien brain?

Is Anne-Cecile’s legendary kindness a way to mind control customers?

Are Marinella’s travels hiding a double life of secret agent?

You’ll know everything in The Insider’s Diary part 1…

Play differently with Colt Express

You are playing Colt Express for months now? Today we have something to renew your game experience in the most funny train of the West.

The last weekend, the visitors of the game festival Paris est ludique received a leaflet with two special rules and a new decor to put the common deck on. You can know download this leaflet in English, just click to the opposite image!

For those of you who like live role-playing games, you can now find the special rules for a much bigger fun. These rules allows to play up to 12 players. Click on the opposite image :)

Finally, we have decided to work with Twinples to create special pawns for Colt Express. Here is a first sample :)

A new game about Lewis and Clark: Discoveries

Do you like Lewis & Clark ? We do. This is the reason why we have welcomed Cédrick Chaboussit when he came back to us with a new game on this theme: Discoveries.

More than just an expansion of the first game, this one is a whole new adventure about the two explorers’ expedition (about which you know absolutely everything there is to know, of course).

While the first game was a race, this one is more focused on the exploration side. Discovering the territory, making a pact with the local tribes and an inventory of the natural species will be your main missions. To help you to do so, you will rely on your faithful companions, symbolized by dice.

The main interest in this game is the management of the dice’s flows, because you will be able to use yours as well as those of your opponents. Interaction and reflection will be the keys to victory.

Cédrick Chaboussit and Vincent Dutrait are still in charge, just let your wanderlust taking you away!

display

Rising to the stars

For a month, we have had no time to post here, too busy with making our next game: The Little Prince- Rising to the stars.

This project has come in between other projects we had in 2015. This is the first time we have to work this way, with tight specifications and a short timeline.

The target, mainly children and families, is quite different from our usual audience. this is a challenge for Ludonaute.

However, even if this project has turned our plans upside down in the past months, we have no regret at all to have seized this opportunity. We are very proud of the game we’ll finally release next summer.

In early November 2014, we learnt that an animated feature film about the Little Prince was in production. We contacted the fil company and tried to know more about it.

Antoine Bauza and Bruno Cathala were in from the beginning. We watched some sequences of the movie and we all were seduced by the quality of the story and the pictures.

In mid-December, after a few work sessions with Antoine, Bruno presented us a prototype inspired from one of his unpublished games: Barback.

The theme of a journey in the stars (one of the strong sequence in the film) seemed us great. The point to point mouvement mechanism offered by our two designers perfectly fit.

We made some settings along the playtesting sessions: we dropped the dice, change the cards.

In mid-January, the game’s mechanic is settled. Players, the film company, the distributor like it. A great part of the job is done!

But the graphics are still to be created. Since the film is not finished yet; we have a limited amount of pictures.

In the movie, there are two kind of graphics: 3d animation mainly when it is about the little girl’s story, and stop motion pictures during the sequences about imagination and the Little prince’s story.

We want to use this two graphic settings. Our challenge is to have them coexisting in one playing area. On Antoine’s advice, we decided to use the stop motion pictures on contents related to the scoring and the 3D graphics in the “mechanical” contents such as cards or board.

We started working on a squared board, with a spiral path. despite all our efforts, we couldn’t come to something satisfying.

Then we thought about a lengthwise board, more coherent with the idea of a journey from the Grand-father’s house to the Little Prince’s planet. This game board was the one played in Cannes’ festival in February.

At this moment, Ian, Maëva and Christine, three graphic designers, came into play. They offered us to work on this project, using their experience in such works.

First change they did: creating a modular game board made of 3 tracks and 2 start and finish tiles. Setting up the contents become playful, and the games are now all different.

Second contribution from them: Maëva and Christine designed a stared background in which the planets arose as diamonds. An amazing art making the  journey enchanting.

We are now close to the end. We make children play on this last version. Each time, they really live the story and enjoy the game.

The box remains the last content to do. It is a big deal. We can’t miss it. The question is: should we keep the dark blue tones as the stared track is, or should we use the golden graphics standards from the movie? Shall we show the Little Girl and her plane (as she is the heroine of the film) or rather the Little Prince? You can see the final choice opposite. What do you think?

We learnt a few days ago that the film will be presented in Cannes’ festival in May. We are pretty sure that the audience will be touched as we were. The trailer has just been released. You can check by yourselves.

Le Petit prince movie - trailer

Today, the main part of the files are ok to print. We have just received the sample of the wooden plane, and it is cute!

The rules are still to be translated in 11 languages, and we’ll be fine !

We shall make them available on the upcoming page of the game very soon.

Our Festival in Cannes

Our FIJ 2015 in Cannes was a moment full of emotion. We put our booth up quickly during the afternoon with the help of Cédrick Chaboussit, and we met Christophe Raimbault and Jordi Valbuena next to the stairs of the Palais.

The ceremony of the As d’Or rewards started at 5:15 p.m., with the presentation of the game “Les Poilus”, that had been illustrated by Tignous, just before he was assassinated with other journalists of Charlie Hebdo. E thrill homage.

Then was a dull gibberish by a NPD group analyst about the Games market.

Nadine Seul, then, started the presentation of the 12 nominees, with Marcus and Monsieur Phal. One by one we came to the stage to give some words about our game. Short speeches, jokes, laughs, this is a cheerful moment.

On the Friday, Christophe and Jordi were asked to sign or talk in TV. They are the stars of the day!

At our booth, we made people play Discoveries. Cédrick listened to the players, their feedbacks, their feelings about the game. He doesn’t need to worry anymore: the feedbacks are good, VERY good ;-)

Christophe set up play tests of the possible expansions of Colt Express. Various “module” were played, we gathered feedbacks. We know that for sure the first expansion will contain horses and a stagecoach.

On the Sunday afternoon was the final round of the League of The Little Prince organized by la Boutique d’Oren  during the last 6 months.

It was a contested game, and the winner was Romain with his amazing 50 points-planet.

To sum up, this Festival was extraordinary. All the Thank you and congratulations we got gave us peps and energy for the next 12 months.

Can’t wait the next one!

Colt Express à la Contrée des Jeux

Colt Express sera à l’honneur à la Contrée des Jeux à Avignon le week-end prochain : le surdimensionné y sera disponible.
Nous y serons présents le samedi pour faire jouer Colt et les prototypes de nos futures sorties.
À bientôt !

It is near the end of the world!

Almost a year ago, we decided to publish the game of Gregory Oliver,  Madsteam. It is a game of resources’ management in a post-apocalyptic world. What seduced us in working on this game is the workers’ movement mechanics.

The first months after signing the contract with Greg, we worked a lot, with countless exchanges with the designer. We were looking for a story and the way to justify this story with the mechanics. We were not satisfied  with the way the shelter (the individual board where each player had his survivors) worked.

Between March and August 2014, there were so many versions of the game that we were lost. We did not find the feelings, the great impressions we had first anymore.

Discouragement and despair were close. We were not happy with what we had done, nor the author. Of course, we had put away lots of gaming options that did not work, but there was no pleasure anymore.

 

We decided then to let Greg take the lead again. By our side, we had a lot to deal with Colt Express imminent release. Thus Madsteam was pushed in the background.

A month ago, greg called us back. He had a new version of the game he was happy with.

We plan a meeting then tot est it. For us it is the last chance because, to be honest, both Greg and we are ready to throw in the towel if the game is not what we are expecting.

The first game of the new version brings the same feelings as at the beginning:

  • The tactical moves on the board are back: Greg uses almost the same board as one year ago, with the bridges removed.
  • The bullying tactics work well in a fast-pace: there is no order in arriving anymore. Every meeple can be bullied.
  • The cupboards are new with a great search system.

But a problem raises: the unlimited stocks lead to a winner every time strategy Cedric soon plays.  fair enough, stocks must be limited to 1 resource maximum at the end of each turn. The second game is played with this new rule.

In the evening, Seb, Ju and Philippe playtest the game. For a year they have played the various versions of Madsteam. The game goes well ; Seb and Philippe’s scores are close at the end, each of them having played a different strategy.

The night goes on talking a lot about the shelters (again ;-) ), the bullying system, the need to introduce a third way to score…

The next morning, Cédric and Greg revise the shelters, making something simpler but more open.

Two new games finally convince us that the game is on the right track. After lots of shifts, it seems that we are happily going towards the end of the world…

Of course, it is not over. There is still a lot of work.

The idea now is to create a different shelter for each player, to make the game even more open. It will need lots of tests you can follow on the Facebook page of the game if you wish:

https://www.facebook.com/MADSTEAMgame?fref=ts

Over-sized Colt Express

 

Once upon a time in the Old West…

– The Colt express is here!

– From now, every man for himself!

– Oh Ghost look! it is shining in here !

– I am not here…

– I am Ghost…

– Let’s go!

– I must carry this suit case during the whole day. What rotten luck! I’m gonna let it in the locomotive, it will be safe here.

– Guys, what are you doing up there?!

– When you have to shoot, shoot,… don’t talk!

– Hep, Django, don’t mind if I stay in your back?

– I’m gonna shoot someone! He won’t see it happen.

– Come on Marshall, we could deal with this…

– No one will be above the law, and I am the law!

All change now!

As you have noticed, the over-sized copy of Colt Express is ready to be played.

A big Thank you to Dominique for his work and patience with the miniatures. You can have a look at his website here:

La petite Boutique de Zeblate

Nuremberg is coming

Next week, the International Toy fair will take place in Nuremberg (Germany).

This is a major event for all game designers, publishers and distributors. It is only for professionals, no gamers there. You cannot find any stand with people playing on the ground as in Essen. All goes in displays and closed rooms with smiling hostesses.

Business is business. The table top games area takes up only a small part of the huge Messe. Just have a look at the map:

Ludonaute has no booth there. I just occupy a table from time totime on Asmodee’s booth. Meetings, talks about the upcoming games with business partners.

 

To make it going well, we need to present prototypes as finished as possible.  Crafting has been keeping us busy these last days: printing, sticking, cutting :-)

Graphic demonstrations below

Colt Express, a nominee for the “As d’Or – jeu de l’année 2015”

Here we are: the list of nominees for “As d’or – jeu de l’année 2015” is released, and we are very proud to be part of with our last game Colt Express.

 We are so happy to see our game  to be thrust into the limelight, all the more since it is with 11 other great games. Some special mentions:

  • for Bruno Cathala, nominated twice with two gems : Abyss and Five Tribes? Year 2014 is his year!
  • for Perlin Pinpin, a game from Cocktail Games. I know that Matthieu enjoys this situation right now.
  • for Le Lièvre et la Tortue, a new game in “Tales and Games” series. After The 3 Little Pigs nominee last year, Purple brain has launched a wonderful collection!

The list of winners will be disclose during the ceremony on Thursday 26th of February at 5 p.m. If you are not onsite, you can watch it on live on trictrac.net.

As with Lewis & Clark lest year, we shall support Colt Express during   the Festival International des jeux de Cannes from 27th of Febraury to 1st of March. The game designer Christophe Raimbault will be there to make you play to the game with its prototypal expansion.

Testing night Tuesday 21st of January – Seb is playing the Marshall

Colt Express can be played on Asmodee’s booth too, with an over-sized version.

And some lucky people (maybe you ;-)  may play life-sizedColt Express games .  

If ever you know nothing about Colt Express yet, please have a look at the two videos below.

Colt Express official trailer

Colt Express en Stop Motion