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Europa Universalis: The Price of Power DD #16 & #17

Note: This is a compilation of Updates number 26 and 27 of Kickstarter, to read them from the source follow this link.

Revised Rules, Delays, Shipping, To-do list (and some other fun)

Rules in different iterations.

We finally have some news in the Rules category (a bit further down), and we are also going to take you on a little trip back in time, to the game’s humble beginnings. But first …

Delays and Timeline 

My sincere apologies for the delays so far, as I’ve said in the comments, everywhere when asked. And my most remorseful ones if we have not been as responsive and communicative as we should have been, would have liked to be, and have been before. But again, you can ask me anything you like in faster-messaging platforms, like Facebook, Discord, or email, and I will reply as swiftly as I can. 

The reality of the situation is that it is just Eivind and me (Víctor) working full-time on the project (more like 150%), with a lot of help from the community of course – which we value like the Austrian player values the Gold Trade Card for Wien (especially once they have taken Hungary and Bohemia). I will not stop saying that we could not have made it so far without all of you on Discord and everyone submitting their comments on the PDFs. There have been so many of you chipping in with so much invaluable input, and this has contributed to a lot of great improvements. Even if it has also undeniably been a lot of work to read, consider, and implement suggestions and feedback, we know with certainty that it has been well worth it, because the game has become a lot better.

Apart from you guys, and ourselves, we have an accountant doing our bookkeeping, and obviously, Olly and Joeri making all that fantastic artwork. However, as much as we would have liked to add someone to help out on the administrative side of things, that has proven difficult. Last year it was impossible to meet with new candidates face to face, and now we are so far down the line that we do not have the capacity to look into it (because it is a huge task to find the right person and get them up to speed on all the details of the project, and we want to finish the game as soon as possible).

This has meant that we have had to do all of the administrative work as well: organizing and facilitating samples and production, making sure the component quality is at the level we expect (and that they all fit together), calculating volumes and weights, talking to fulfillment centers, trying to get to grips with the current ocean freight situation, replying to all emails we get with questions about orders and shipping, writing these Updates, making Sales Reports for our partners, talking to potential distribution and localization partners, etc. Obviously, these tasks cannot be neglected, or all the hard development work would be in vain. Still, this side of the project has taken us a lot more time than we thought, and that has affected development more than we would have liked. Thankfully, Eivind has been able to devote most of his time to writing rules lately. Development has progressed steadily ever since the Kickstarter ended, coming to fruition in the recent weeks, and we are now very eager to give you the first look at the revised rules.

Composing rules involves a lot of beard scratching.

Updates

I (Víctor), personally, will always prefer quality updates every two months, rather than short updates every month with less meaningful news. Also, updates actually take a lot of time and effort to prepare and write, since we are not just throwing together random stuff. We want to give you a glimpse of the latest assets when we can, and when it makes sense to show them. These of course need to be in a presentable state, but also images and text have to be prepared specifically for the update. We want to give information that is as accurate as possible, but being specific is not always so easy. (And again, you can contact me directly about any specific or general questions). 

So, for the moment the updates are going to be more of a bi-monthly thing until we get the final big game development milestones behind us, or have something really pressing to say.

I (Víctor), personally

⌛⌛ The Timeline ⌛⌛

The timeline issue has not been re-addressed so far because, on top of things always taking longer than we think, we are currently seeing a worldwide shipping crisis, with desperate container shortages and skyrocketing prices on all ocean freight from China, as you can see below. 

Some of you may know that several KS campaigns are having issues with this at the moment, and we want to assure you that this is not putting the project in danger. It does, however, affect budgeting in a significant way, so we wanted to take some time to see if the whole situation cools down a bit, and to seek advice from others going through the same experience. Some other campaigns, both big and small, have been forced to ask their backers for more money for shipping as a consequence of this, and Quackalope (along with several others) has explained really well why this is happening.

While we really sympathize with struggling publishers and see how this has been necessary for some (since the whole situation was impossible to predict back when all of us were getting the freight quotes), we currently have no intention of doing this, even if it means we have to bite the bullet and ship when rates are really unfavorable. Meanwhile, we have decided that with the current shipping situation it would be even more silly to rush things than under normal circumstances and have instead taken this time as an opportunity to be even more thorough with the development work on the game itself.

🚢 🚢 To whoever is more curious about the current shipping situation, here is an article with a video that explains things quite intelligibly. 📦📦

The rules are the final hurdle, and with the rules nearing a finished state, we are happy to see that the changes suggested by the community have been getting smaller and smaller, making us confident we can soon push the button. Once we do that we can get back on track with the production timeline, and we can get solid estimates from shipping and fulfillment partners. But since there are so many elements influx in the world of international shipping there is no sense in doing it before we arrive at that point.

So, we cannot give a step-by-step timeline with dates yet, but as you asked in the comments lately, a To-do list is feasible.

🗒️ To-do list for the coming weeks 🗒️

Yet to be finished (but all in progress): 

Rulebook: Backers and community members are already helping us with proofreading and spotting inconsistencies. Example Illustrations have been updated to reflect the new rules and new component graphics all around. Revised Rules part 1 is available just below, part 2 is soon to follow.

Update the Player Aid once the Rules are complete.

Solo Rulebook: Again with great help from members of the community, we have fine-tuned Bot behavior and tried to make the charts foolproof. We are now adding these changes to the final document, along with the remaining Bot Realms. Solo rules are coming just after the main rules.

Scenario Booklets: Having adjusted Victory Conditions for a few of the scenarios after testing, we are making some layout changes to be able to include an extra scenario. Once we have cross-referenced all the scenarios with the new rules doc, we will publish these in full as well.

Then comes the administrative work:

– Get an updated timeline from Panda GM.

– Sort out the impact of the new VAT regulations for the European Union.

Organize fulfillment for continental Europe, the UK, America, and Asia.

– Try to get a hold of those few remaining backers who haven’t completed their orders on Gamefound.

Organize shipments for retailers and distributors.

– Complete paperwork for future possible localization partners.

– Write more Updates.

Even with all of the above, we are moving forward, and here’s proof:

📖 The Rulebook (Part 1) 📖

We are done revising the first half of it but still need to double (and triple) check that the second half is consistent with the first (and itself). And that we have remembered to go through all those little notes, suggestions, and discussion threads (both internal and external). We believe that the first half was the most demanding one to get through, but the Peace Resolution section in the second half is also seeing a lot of changes. It is getting there though, and when we are sure that it is almost “final final” (though not yet “ultimate final final”), we will publish that one too of course.

Without any further ado, .

You can obviously point out the little typos we need to fix, but also tell us what changes you think would help making things perfectly understandable.

There are some new concepts from Age IV, as the Revolutionary Regime Government form Idea, and the Revolutionary Ideology which behaves like an infectious faith, that is hinted at in the Part 1 PDF, but which will be fully explained in Part 2. But these all build on already known elements of the game mechanics.

As well, you can see the Glossary of the new iconography we made – a whole new font that works with the text and saves a lot of space, and should also be helpful as a more visually recognizable element when scanning through cards on the table and in your hand.

scanning through cards on the table and in your hand.

Updated setup graphics and instructions

We have set up a Discord Server, since that lets us communicate faster in short messages with the people who want to actively be part of the development, in the same environment as playtesting is happening on a day-to-day basis. This also enables us to communicate with those who missed out on the Kickstarter campaign and came to join us later on, who are not able to communicate with us via the KS interface. Would you like to join? Follow the link.

All of the 702 cards are done

Well, not done as in printed but done as in “Final Final” so, if you would like to click on the images, go to the respective links and see if you can spot any elusive typos, that would be helpful for the “Ultimate Final Final” file, the one that goes to print.

The Mini Cards

After going around and making sure everything makes sense within the Events, within the Set-ups, within the different game versions, within HISTORY. We have the newest and, we hope, the last iteration of the Missions, Milestones, Power Struggles, and Ideas for you here.

Click on the image to go to the PDF in which you can comment on any typos or doubts you may have. Please do so in the corners of each card so the text remains readable for the next person.

The Events, Setup Cards, and Action Cards

We have been through these many times over and made up our minds about the effects and the repercussions they will have on the Rules and game. Still! If you see any typo there that tingles your grammar senses…

Click on the images to go to the PDF in which you can comment on any typos or doubts you may have. Please do so in the corners of each card so the text remains readable for the next person.

⛑️ Realm Player Aid ⛑️

Finally, I can show it to the world, and please let me know if there is anything that my big fat brain has missed.

Faded Shields mean there are provinces on this map from that realm, but their capital is not on that particular map.

Asterisks mean the Realm is only found on the 1618 side of the map.

Colors on the years mean the Religion from which they start in each respective year. You can see the legend at the bottom right of the page

Tax Income in (brackets) means they were not there in that map, but since in 1618 are, the information is shared. Maybe there is a better way for that. Open for suggestions

Final Map – at the Printers

Ay mamasita! What a ride, trying to find the most appropriate names for each of the Provinces and Areas, and make everyone happy. But this is how it goes, and files for both the boards and play mat add-ons have been submitted to the printers.

When in doubt we have used EU4 naming conventions where it was applicable. In the cases where there have been no direct equivalents to compare to we have had to trust our own instincts in the end but also taken a lot of feedback to heart from you guys, our backers, and members of the Aegir Games Discord Server Community.

Player Mats

Some days ago, @Captanc asked in the Discord about the size of each player on the table, so I did some pictures, and I thought, these could also go for an update. Here you see how good and tidy is, how 20 Units fit perfectly on the Available Manpower Pool, and that there is enough space on the Monarch Powers to fit all the cubes.

Things I would like to highlight:

– The rounded corners on the Player Mat.

– How tidy everything is, easy to place and reach.

– The new slot for the “Change National Focus” cube.

– How tilted the leftmost Large Town is (heheheh).

– The different configurations possible and more, up to your imagination.

🤴 Status Mat ⛪

This is the name we chose for the Imperial Authority and Papal Curia. It also includes the Round Status as many of you have seen from long ago if you played with us on TTS.

Now these two are more explanatory and they will help you remember your Bonuses and extra Actions you have available, along with the Sequence of Play of the Player Aid and Rulebook

👊 Punchboards 👊

One Puuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunch! I’m trying to fit this in as a pop-culture reference but it is proven more difficult than I thought. Apart from that, all cardboard tokens have been finalized, you can see we have included some Negative Prestige tokens (Prestige is our Victory Points) and taken out some others that were not used as much or at all.

Deluxe Edition & Standard Edition 

That color on the edge of each Manpower token indicates what token is on the back of it.

Standard Edition (Base Game) – replacing wooden tokens

(click on the image to go to the PDF document, leave your comments there)

🔄 The Game: Past and Present 🔄

We have come a long way since the first prototype was put together and we started play testing the early framework for the game, I’m sure you all know. But today I want to close the gap between how it was and how it is. Europa Universalis: The Price of Power has gone through a veritable metamorphosis since its conception in Eivind’s head and notes. Some of the concepts we have stayed true to throughout this entire process, but many others have been buried or seen the light of days as a result of the countless hours of playtesting put down by all our testers from near and far.

🔄 Player Mats

You had to count your provinces on the map, E-V-E-R-Y—S-I-N-G-L-E—T-I-M-E you were doing income or checking manpower. In the first player mats, there were eight slots for National Ideas intended for a printed set of Idea tiles for each player. Also, there were tracks for a marker in each Monarch Power field, which you would move up and down as the Skill total changed, but players constantly forgot to move them. Good riddance.

🔄 Events

The ones on the left are very old, almost from the beginning. The current system for the Events had not been conceived yet, and we realized soon enough that both the way the cards were implemented and how they were written was rather bland, arbitrary, and frankly quite boring – the players did not have much of a choice at all. Still, some cards offered options, and that seemed like a good idea, so we decided to make options for all of them!

Obviously, that image was a placeholder! As much as we like Hieronymus Bosch, we always intended to replace those with original artwork.

🔄 Action Cards

So much card space before

Action Card costs early one was a lot of trial and error, with costs being way too high for what you got in return. Rebalancing that was obviously crucial.

And they’re not even in their final form, you remember the new card backs? We are happy to remind you:

🔄 The map

There are even more steps in between, you know that you have seen it, but this is one of the biggest gaps I can show you, also that was a prototype, glued on cardboard and scribbled all around with notes. It almost cannot be seen, however, the idea was to have link the Trade Nodes with a directional flow of trade similar to the PC game, but this was never implemented in full.

🔄 The Box

It was obvious that “The Board Game”  already existed, but we did not know at first what subtitle should we use to differentiate them, until we wrote the script for the Kickstarter video, “Ah, the price of power…”.

Then, the fantastic illustration by Tomasz Jedruszek gave the box the right feel, distinguishing it from any version of the PC game, yet firmly linking it to the Europa Universalis universe, showing in one illustration all the struggles of the Ruler of a Realm.

🔄 Ideas

I am having trouble finding more old examples because they are tiny and get lost, but this one speaks volumes. The “idea” behind it was to save Monarch Power from one round to another, it was quickly discarded.

🔄 Missions

Old ones on the left, PPC on the right, and still they’ve come a lot further. These are harder to differentiate at first sight since these came later on, but the text has changed a lot. They have been refined to give that special historical flavor to each Featured Realm, and get as close as we could get to a balance between them, in both challenges and rewards.

🔄 Tokens

Getting rid of unused mechanics and make new relevant mechanics and tokens for them has been one of the most important tasks of the development process, also, everything is prettier and more akin to the PC game aesthetics now. The first prototype sets of tokens had little stickers on them, each and every one glued on by hand (I’m still having nightmares about that).

🔄 Dice

From printed stickers (first on the office printer, then with The Gamecrafter, again glued by hand, on all six sides of each die) to engraved acrylic dice. The ones that have changed the most since those early days are the Rebels Dice, with more outcomes and new rules.

🔄 Bot Decks

Dávid Turczi’s handwritten prototype bot cards on the left, and pre-production copy decks on the right.

🔄 Power Struggles were not a thing!

The Standard Edition (Base Game)

This is in recognition of all those who have ordered the Base Game, or Standard Edition as we now prefer to call it. You are there, we know, and we appreciate you, here is a video and some images we made from the Pre-production copy.

Note: The map on the back should not be upside down, that is why you make pre-production copies.

Scenario Showcase Videos!

Thanks to the help of Jarige, Mikhs, CrazyShini, Arccos, and Al’Eskander, we are making a series of videos with experienced players, showcasing the first, or first few, rounds of each Official Scenario. But we also explain the hows and whys of each of our actions, so you can learn to play with them too!

Here it is the Sea Route to India, the last one recorded:

Find a way around! Rush to the New World! Frenetically, Portugal runs to colonize, as we witness the awakening of the Big Blue Blob, the English almost “Bankroet” incident, and … Castile turning into the powerhouse of the cell … I mean, Spain

And one of the community favorites, Mediterranean Dominance:

Naval Battles, the biggest Plague possible, a lot of player interaction from the very beginning!

You can still find more in the channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AegirGames

Oh, Snap!

One by one, all Snap points have to be placed by hand

Thanks to the Community as always, for providing feedback for all the components and rules. And thanks especially to Mikhs and CrazyShini who helped me to click on all the provinces and Snaps on the newest map, so we can have the latest. Mikhs also updates the scenarios on TTS, with the newest cards so we all can play the latest version of the game. Thanks also to Patch for providing the punchline in the title of this section.

I think I have said it many times, but I will still say it again. If you want to be part of the active community and test with us Join the Discord! we do demos anytime people need them!

Más vídeos en Español

Roberto Méndez – (Mikhs), está haciendo una serie de vídeos explicativos en Español:

Partidas completas y conceptos del juego en los que sumergirse en profundidad para los que quieran más chicha e incluso crear sus propios escenarios.

Vente a Discord con nosotros, estamos haciendo varias partidas a nivel principiante y a nivel avanzado a la semana y estamos abiertos a más! https://discord.gg/qaVAvDJaea. Tenemos una pequeña comunidad (que podría ser más grande, contigo) en español donde podrás consultar reglas y unirte a los eventos que hacemos.