I hope you’re doing well!
I’ve made it back from Gencon, and oh boy am I excited for what this game has become! It was awesome opportunity to meet some of the designers who have helped me learn the ropes, meet those who will be involved in production, and get the word out about the game . And most importantly, I was able to playtest Outrun the Bear with the goal of making it the best game it can be!
Now I’ve been able to do some great playtests before: Unpub events, Dice Tower West, and meetups with the Tucson design group. They have all been fantastic experiences. But the first exposure hall at Gencon really was the next level!
Between Friday at 10 am and Sunday at 2pm, we got in 20 hours of playtesting with 57 different players. Thank you so much to everyone who sat down for a game. You really made my weekend!
Now playtests are not all fun and games, even if all you’re doing is having fun with games. So what did I learn about Outrun the Bear over the weekend?
The game is working, and it’s working pretty well– with the exception of a rare-ish order of operations question that popped up, there were no major issues for gameplay.
Some of the reaction cards in the game are tied to that order of operations issue. If you don’t know, reaction cards are played as quick play cards, and some players questioned just when they could play a couple of their reaction cards. So now I’m working on the phrasing of these cards, so that you’ll know when you have your opportunity – ya know, without having to invite me over.
If you’ve been following the development of the game for a while, you’ll know that pacing the bear has been one of the largest challenges for me to overcome. Well, I’m finally 100% satisfied with how the bear behaves! It’s fast enough that players feel the pressure it generates… without being abruptly devoured. The bear can still get you pretty quick, but the double-sided starting tile will give you a slightly slower bear if they’re playing for the first time or just want a little more laid-back race from the bear.
(Image) A fattened bear returns
There were a lot of great ideas offered up too. A few of the many that stand out are an in the box bragging rights tool, making it easier to track who is who on the board, and interchangeable co-op vs competitive cards. I love every suggestion that was made, and I am currently working on creative solutions to try and make them happen. For now that’s the best I can promise.
Another highlight of the convention was getting a chance to meet with Gameland Manufacturing about them producing Outrun the Bear. I had received a quote from them before, and I’ve been a huge fan of their production quality. After seeing their booth I’m sold!
The components I’m looking at feel great and look beautiful. If my camera hadn’t given me so many issues, I’d be sharing those pictures now. For now, all I can say is I can’t wait to get my factory copy of Outrun the Bear.
A Shoutout to The Games and Designers
Of course the convention wasn’t just all about Outrun the Bear for me. Like most designers, I am a gamer! How could I miss out on taking a peek at all of the amazing games that were there, or nerd out over meeting designers who’ve made something I love?
Some of my favorites from the playtest hall were:
- Hike It! (a game that I will likely buy two copies of– one for playing, and one to frame on my wall) by TJ Swing and Ron Halliday, who were set up next to me in the playtest room
- Timelancers (a super intriguing time travel manipulation game) by Kenny Heidt and Lee
- The Last Summit (A surprising social deduction game where the hidden traitor was in your heart all along) by John Hague.
Not to mention, all of the awesome published games in the main hall! Getting to meet Ryan Lockett and his family, Roy Cannaday, Evan Halbert, Emily Willix, Chris Stone (who took those play test pictures for me), and Luke Laurie were all real treats!.
If we met at Gencon it was great to have met you! If we haven’t met yet maybe we will one day in the future. I’m waiting on a full quote from Gameland for the manufacturing and shipping. So hopefully when you hear from me next on August 28/29, I’ll be able to let you know about the pricing of the upcoming Kickstarter, as well as receive a preview of the Kickstarter pre launch page!
In the mean time, hop over to the Outrun the Bear Frontrunners Facebook group and check out the great bear stories I’ve heard during my time play testing the game– or even better, share one of your own!
Oh and one last thing: I’m compiling the list of playtesters for the rulebook. I have everyone from Gencon, but if you’ve played the game in the past and want to be mentioned in the rulebook, please email me your first and last name… I have some records but I know they’re not complete.
Race you soon,
Game Designer, Outrun the Bear