‘Unfortunately, we are increasingly under the impression that ever more very good games are being hastily put together at the last minute in order to meet release deadlines, without sufficient attention being paid to the comprehensibility and completeness of their rulebooks. We have never had to rule out so many in and of themselves very good games as this year, simply because their rulebooks did not meet the quality we expect. We jury members no longer wish to see ourselves in the role of beta-testers for rulebooks, which are only made adequate on the second printing run.’ – Spiel des Jahres jury chair Tom Felber

No doubt many of you will already have seen the comments above, over the last couple of weeks. The fact that the chair of the SdJ felt the need to comment on rulebook quality is significant. Whether you think there’s a decline in standards, a status quo or something else, the fact that they felt the need to make a public statement speaks to some real underlying issues.

We’ve had our own rulebook issues in recent weeks and, having seen Tom Felber’s comments, we feel more than ever that we made the right decision. During the Kickstarter campaign we said we were going to create a new rulebook format – supplying a ‘learn to play’ book as well as a reference book. This was a very ambitious target for such a small company as ours and it’s probably no coincidence that not many companies our size have attempted such a thing yet. With hindsight it was too ambitious.

We realised in later April that we were never going to meet our production deadlines if we pursued the new rulebook. Fortunately, our rulebook for the first edition has been widely praised so we took the decision that we were better off expending our efforts updating the previous rulebook than delaying production for something that is non-essential. The rulebook for the revised edition will, thus, be based on the rulebook from the first edition but with corrected errata and with 4 additional pages of FAQ’s and examples of things that have been asked since we first published that rulebook.

Where does that leave us? We submitted all scenarios and rulebooks on time and have received production samples. As ever, there were one or two minor issues with these samples but that’s what the samples are for. Basically, we’re on schedule for October, as we promised.

We have also received the finished Victim #3 miniatures and shipped a batch to Ukko, our miniature painter. This means that those of you who added the ‘painted Victim 3’ to your order will receive your complete order at the same time as everyone else.

Conventions

This has been another busy few weeks for those of us in the DDP team, although some of us have managed to take some holiday – which partly explains why this update is late again. Timo and Tiinaliisa’s European convention road-tip has continued and they’ve been joined at various points by other members of the team. You can read about all their exploits in Tiinaliisa’s ‘blog‘. If you want to join us for a few games of Perdition’s Mouth: Abyssal Rift, Darwinning! or one of our future projects – or just say ‘hello’ to us – we will be at the UK Games Expo this weekend (stand 1-L10). UKGE has rapidly become one of the world’s biggest boardgame conventions and we’re delighted to be returning this year and showing off our new projects.

Wait, what? New projects?

We’ve learned a lot this year, particularly from our Darwnning! Experience. Firstly, we won’t again run two campaigns so close together. Secondly, we won’t again launch a title on Kickstarter without first introducing it at multiple conventions.

Many of you will know that our next big Perdition’s Mouth title will be Soul Spire, and many of you that know that (understandably) ask about it often. Development of that title is always ongoing and we can now state that it will be playable as a standalone game as well as an expansion for Abyssal Rift. It adds considerably to the world and to the ruleset. BUT. We will not launch it to Kickstarter this year, and will probably not do so before 2020. Partly this is because we want to make sure it’s ready and partly it’s because we don’t want to milk our loyal fanbase – we already introduced a lot of new content in our 2017 campaigns which we’re still preparing for you now, afterall.

So, our next big project will be Singularity Sky, which we aim to launch on Kickstarter in Q1 2019. This is an evolution of one of our earlier games, Phantom League, and is based on Charles Stross’s books of the same name. We’ve been working on the new rules for many months now and we’ll have our first publicly playable demo copy at UKGE. We should also have demo copies of future smaller games to play at UKGE as well and you can find details of all the games we’ll be bringing on Slickerdrips’s excellent Geeklist.

Gamechangers

Thankyou to all of you who donated to the Ugandan boardgame convention. Going only by the emails that we received asking for the ‘Sabotage’ scenario, we helped to raise £230. We’re really happy about that.

If you sent confirmation of your pledge to us you should have already received your download link. If you haven’t then please let us know.

Lee and the DDP team.