Updated: Apr 11, 2021
We started 2021 full of hope. Vaccinations take full throttle... I am dying to play board games again on a regular basis with real people who love playing as I do. A year where I can physically showcase our future flagship game. It will hopefully also be the year of our campaign. Armillary Games has taken flight as a publishing company with a dedicated office, but since I can only work on it less than part time for now, it goes with a pace which my spare time allows me to. We are arriving at a new crossroad where our artists are drawing the final chapter of our character developments.
Afterwards, hopefully before Summer, we will work on the final graphics and illustration looks of cards end playing boards. The illustrations that come to mind to be done are especially the constellations in the game. I will be designing a separate constellation star map as well, specifically for the planned art-storybook.
In the meantime I am working on the rulebook, finalizing all the modules with the rules and with examples. I have stopped with the time consuming editing and making of test play films for the moment (still one in preproduction), because at Q4 around the SPIEL-convention period we want to have our campaign start ready. This however will depend on, the availability of all our artistic partners and the budget we can muster for our first big project. The ETA of the game will nevertheless be for 2022.
Powers of 'super inventions'
The Solo mode has several story lines with the first zoomed in location board: the Old Observatory. Although it can be used in advanced multiplayer sessions, it is first and foremost build to entertain the solo players. An overview of the super inventions that can be triggered with the techniques of our basic instruments of the game:
1880 Brass EQ telescope: Local action on Lat. R. +2, Lon. R. 0/+30. You may score any or all the top cards of the draw decks (basic and planet observation) as well. Requirements: Telescope – EQ-mount – Refraction
Harrison's Clock: travel to any place on the same latitude. Both starting location and target location need to bear the same vehicle symbol. Requirements: Orientation – Time – Star Map
Spherical Astrolabe: Sol Ange will assist you during the Astronaut chapter. Instead of a regular movement on the lunar track, Sol Ange may move on the Earth Map up to 5 flight steps between any two vehicle symbols of the same kind. If you have the matching continent tile without a pillar on it, score a visible object. Afterwards, put a pillar token on the matching continent tile on your player board. Requirements: Orientation x2 – Time
Orrery: When scoring a planet, search any week deck or draw deck for a card with the current ecliptic background constellation of the planet (indicated on the orrery). Requirements: Reflection – Star Map – Orientation
Playability of the special characters
Although the characters from the Solo mode are not playable Solo because they make part of the story line, in an advanced multiplayer mode, players can choose to play as Arman Cherepakha (Арман Черепаха) or Sol Ange (ηλιακός άγγελος). What will their abilities and hidden agendas look like? I intend to reveal this in the next blog, but as a spoiler I can tell you that Arman is able to use the 1880 telescope right from the beginning. Drawback is that it can only be used at a single spot on the world map. The Sphinx will be able to use hidden agendas of any character not picked by other players.
The prototype of our first location board 'Old Observatory' will be a place where a miniature of a 1880 Brass EQ telescope can reside on top of the Super Invention tile in the big dome. Could you image that! In the upper left corner the AI-action deck dictates the Zond 5 mission preparation progress of the Russian tortoises according to your actions.
On the main board Teplovoy Ekran is shadowing your choices in order to block your progress. There is also a modular board for the Zond 5 mission progress, functioning like a timer with varying pace according to your actions.
Once you were able to forge the right Super Invention before the entire Zond 5 mission is complete, you can remove the modular board piece to uncover your lunar mission track. There is an icon I added to mark the spot where your Command Module will stay in lunar orbit. There is also an outline to fit other space mission tracks like Zond 5's.
Poll of your favourite basic character
More and more people are starting to notice our project and are joining our mailing list or liking us on Facebook. In the meantime, we would like to make a poll of your favourite basic character. Please go to the homepage and click on the heart icon to indicate your favourite character.
Same goes for Board Game Geek, track down a miniature you like and give it a thumbs up. This would greatly help and support us in all kinds of ways.
Ana Román finished the miniatures of the tortoises last month. Enjoy the movies!
Sphinx Sol Ange
Our 'pièce de résistance' is still under development. I wanted to wait, but I can't anymore! Our finale is a character twist from the usual humanoids with animal faces to a legendary beast with a human face. The Sphinx from Ancient Aethiopia, in the upper Nile region, South of the Sahara Desert. Oedipus' legend in Thebes of the famous riddle is an expression of time for humans, but also a reflection of one's twisted fate. In the legend, the Sphinx threw herself from her high rock and died, but in the game she outlives civilizations as a reminder of the vastness of time and space, in which humans are attempting to read the universe within the little time fractions they learn to exist.
The following images give you the corrections and changes, starting from the final one of many sketches to the coloured version of an experimental redhead, then to an arrogant and terrifying but more female Sphinx. The last picture holds suggestions to important corrections that haven't been done yet, but according to us, to better portray the realism of wearing a crown/helmet and getting rid of the muffin hairdo.
Last version until now by Diego Sanchez:
Change suggestions by Vincent Verhoeven:
Together with Deborah, we tried to look at the details and I have put some of the remarks into the drawing. I tried to mimic the colours to blend better into visual suggestions, what might be harder to express in words. The first remark I didn't notice, but Deborah did; was the nose bone area with a white bump and an endless line (7). The helmet straps (2) was still weird to wear. The headgear would still fall off as a neckless, although it already was a 'skull fitting' upgrade to the redhead version. We found that it would look better above the ears (3) with flat strait hair (1) instead of a 'muffin' hairdo. Missing eyeliner (7). Sol symbol (5) still needs to be added, because the ability and background in the game. Number (6) is just a test adding some gold touches, but not really a necessary change.
What do you think of the suggested corrections? Do you like this character? You can leave your comments below or on Facebook.
The globe Sol Ange is holding is based on a Syrian or Egyptian spherical astrolabe of 1480, and is the only ancient one left, known to the general population, in the world. Currently showcased at the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford. And yes, there will be a miniature of the sphinx and the astrolabe too!
I am trying to finish the next version of the rulebook within the coming weeks with examples and Solo game rules. The TT and TTS version of the game should be having their third version uploaded by the end of Easter vacation.
So that's it for now. Write to you later! Don't forget to like your favourite character... Much appreciated. Bye!