Written by Jesse Bergman
First let me start off by apologizing for the lack of content on the website lately. When you are developing a game, there is a constant tug to want to show you everything we can, even when it may not be ready. Secondly, because we were scrambling to get our first demo kits ready for Feast of Blades, we just couldn’t focus our attention to our site the way we would like. We are continually making improvements and we would love to hear from you, feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Feast of Blades was a crazy weekend for us here at Punch-It Entertainment. Thankfully, the previous 8 weeks of hard work and effort from everyone at Punch-It Entertainment got us ready for our first demonstrations. When we signed up for the Feast of Blades, we had not put our final art design templates to print. We didn’t even know which deck lists would be played against one another. For two months, John worked tirelessly to get all the art assets ready to go. While Frank and I played hours of test games to find two decks that would deliver the experience we wanted players to have.
Despite some minor registration issues the weekend went off without a hitch. Getting our crew, made up of John Kimmel, Frank Hruby, Jenny Schroeder, and I, to the feast was no small task. Due to some prior commitments from both John and Frank, we were not able to leave Lincoln until 12:45 Friday morning. Setup for Feast started at 7:00 Friday morning and the doors would be open to the gamers around 11:00am. Plenty of time for us to get to Denver. However, when we got to Denver the hotel didn’t have enough rooms available from the previous night to allow us an early check-in. So road weary and tired, we setup the booth and cleaned up as much as we could, using the locker room attached to the pool.
Friday was a very exciting day. In fact it turned out to be our most successful day in terms of the quantity of demos provided. We ended up with very consistent traffic and many players came back to the booth to play again. Some visiting multiple times, bringing their gaming buddies, to try out Battle for Sularia. We couldn’t have been more encouraged! Two of the more positive things that came from Friday were the interaction with gamers, and seeing them learn to play Battle for Sularia. Almost every gamer we talked to was extremely excited about the deck building component of the game. We don’t want to spoil the fun here, so let’s just say you need to get to a demo to learn about this! With only 2 hours sleep in 37 hours, I personally was wiped out on Friday night.
Saturday was a very busy day for all the events going on at Feast, with every game tournament in full swing. During the day Chandler, from the Feast of Blades staff, approached me about offering a demo kit during the Feast at Feast dinner event that evening. After a quick discussion with John, we felt it was a good opportunity to get our game in the hands of a potential player and their friends. In the mid-afternoon, the card players started showing up for their tournaments. We set up booth #2 in their area and had a reasonable amount of exposure and demos throughout the day. These players tended to provide very solid feedback and gave us high marks overall on our feedback surveys. The highlight for us on Saturday was the raffle at Feast of Feast. One lucky gamer won a Battle for Sularia demo kit. I approached him and invited him to stop by our booth. I explained that we would teach him how to play, since the quick reference rules are not the inclusive rules of the game. While I was talking to him, another gamer approached and offered to buy the demo kit! I told the winner the kit was his and he could do with it as he would like. So congratulations to Adam Smothers for being the only person outside of the Punch-It Entertainment staff to have Battle for Sularia demo cards!
With Saturday ending on a high note, we had high expectations for Sunday. If there is a lesson to be learned from expectations, it is that they will inevitably let you down. Sunday was a difficult day for us as we just didn’t get a lot of traffic from anyone at the convention. We believe it was due to the fact that many of the gamers who had been eliminated on Saturday, just packed up and started their journeys back home. The remaining gamers were playing in final rounds for cash and prizes and were laser focused on their respective games. We almost packed in early ourselves and were going to drive back to Lincoln Sunday night. I am certainly glad we didn’t!
After the show had packed up, we took the Punch-It staff out for a celebratory dinner. After dinner, we stopped in the hotel bar for a quick night-cap. I ran into my friend, Ryan Foxworthy of The Trolls Den, and we got to chatting about the convention. Before long Josh Greenman of Greenman Designs Inc and his wife Jenny. Somehow, although I’m not quite sure how, we ended up breaking out a demo kit right there in the hotel bar!
Deep into the wee hours of the morning we taught players our game on that high top table, which was easily the highlight of my entire weekend! Finally around 2am I sat down across the table from Josh Greenman who had been playing most of the night with both decks. Josh was commanding the Synthien deck, which left me with the Jotune. At this point Josh was very familiar with the mechanics of both decks and he just wanted to keep playing when everyone else was bailing out. I have played thousands of games of Battle for Sularia but this was easily the best game I’ve ever been a part of.
I started the game with a quick turn 1 Gray Harrier and things were looking really good, as by turn three I was playing my Sky Hawk. This gave me enough attack value to start Joint Strike Force attacks on all of Josh’s sites. It appeared to me that I was in the driver’s seat and Josh was going to have to hold on for the ride. Turn 4 Josh plays a Centropolis and now I’m fighting the attrition battle as he can effectively remove one of my attackers every turn. As I continued to deploy as many combatants as possible, Josh kept effectively removing my greatest threats. I kept digging through my play deck for Evasion, but the top deck gods were not with me.
As play continued Josh built a board state with Animus Vox, Hades Sularium Crawler, and Sularium Excavator. All of these combined are enough Attack value to take down my sites in play, and with clever use of Feedbacks, Jacked In’s, and System Scramble’s, I’m slowly losing health to him. I draw into two Fire from the Sky’s and with the assistance of Vassad Saboteur’s I can start picking off adjacent sites. Josh quickly adopts new site establishment strategies that minimize my ability to effectively use all of my tools. On the tenth turn of the game, I look at my threats, do the math, and realize that I can drop Josh’s Centropolis even though he’s going to take one of my beaters out of commission. I declare the attack, it goes as planned, and Centropolis goes to the damage pile, finally! In this turn I also take Josh to -4 health; However, I was the initiative player and that means Josh still has a chance to take one more turn. He needs 18 points of damage to win, and I’m feeling pretty confident about the victory. With a Jacked In, two System Scramble’s, and a Joint Strike Force attack with Animus, Crawler, and Excavator, he is able to do 17 points of damage to me taking me to -4 health! Wait? What!?!
In thirteen months of play-testing we have never had this occur, either the off initiative player wins or loses, never have we had a tie and time to move to the next round of play! I knew if Josh had another Jacked In, it would be game for me. By doing the math, the only way I can survive his attack onslaught is by holding back my only available combatant, a lone Sky Hawk. So I pass my turn without an attack and wait for the Jacked In to win the game. Josh establishes his only site, a Centropolis! And that ladies and gentlemen is the game as he can now activate my only available defender and free swing into a site with his combatants for the win. What an intense game it was and I will never forget it. I just hope to get another shot at Josh sometime soon!