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The Rule & Make guide to Christmas December 14, 2016 09:52 by David Scott

Believe it or not, we're just 12 days away from another Christmas. What a time of year! It's always full of food, family, friends, festivities...and more than a few gifts to boot. 

So what are we looking forward to most about our festive holiday period? Like all good contemporary businesses (!) we crowd-sourced the solution...to a point! We asked the extended Rule and Make family three questions:

  1. What game are you looking forward to spending time with over the summer holidays?
  2. What game are you hoping your friends and family may spoil you with as a gift OR What game will you be giving as a gift this festive season?
  3. What is your New Year’s Gaming Resolution?

The below is their responses. From all of us at R&M HQ, we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and wish you all the best for the journey into 2017 and beyond!

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Allen Chang (Co-Founder & Creative Director)

  1. I picked up Round House at Essen Spiel this year. It's by a Taiwanese designer and publisher and has everything I look for in a good, solid Euro game. I also have new-in-seal games of Tammany Hall, Medici (2016 Grail Games edition), Dice City, Grifters and Hero Realms that I’d love to get to the table this holiday.
  1. If someone can find me a copy of Glory to Rome Black Box edition I will be forever in their debt, full-on Wookie style. Alternatively, in a more plausible reality, I’d love to own Alistair’s copy of Leaving Earth.

  2. Play more games. I rarely get to play games strictly for fun anymore.

Alistair Kearney (Co-Founder & Head of Production)

  1. At Essen Spiel this year I picked up Leaving Earth. It’s a super small production run game that looks amazing. The catch? The box is basically a shoebox with a continuous printed adhesive label around it. I’d have to cut into the box and/or label to get at the contents! Oh, what a dilemma. If I cannot bring myself to mutilate the box, I’ll look to getting Grimslingers (by the excellent Stephen Gibson), Hero Realms, and World Without End (sequel to the amazing Pillars of the Earth) to the table.
  1. If someone found me a copy of Pillars of the Earth I will ring Santa and let him know he can take the rest of the night off; it’s nearly impossible to find. Otherwise, a copy of Sushi Go Party or Dungeons & Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil shall suffice (but Santa has to keep working).

  2. I’ve slipped when it comes to attending our weekly gaming club, so it would be nice to get my arse in gear and get there with some regularity. I am afflicted with the “Publishers Curse”, whereby I never find time for anything other than our own prototypes. I also need to find a better home for my games; 50% are in storage, and the other 50% are crammed into a bookcase that’s overflowing.

Jason Kotzur (Games Development Lead)

  1. Christmas is a time for air conditioning and hopefully some big box fun. I’m hoping to get REX, Star Wars Rebellion and Cry Havoc to the table. Plus anything in my pile of shame that is still in shrink. I’d also like to see Fury of Dracula re-themed as a bunch of grinches trying to hunt down Santa now FFG no longer have the Games Workshop license, so we could make it a new Christmas tradition.
  2. Everybody’s getting Codenames! Because everybody should have Codenames.
  3. I would like to play more games and play certain games more times, but they still haven’t released that Dragonball Z time capsule thing to the general public.

David Scott (Public Relations Lead)

  1. I picked up 7 Wonders: Duel and the X-Wing miniatures game at PAX Aus and while I’ve had a few quick games of the latter I’m yet to get the former to the table. That will change this Christmas! Plus, I really need to convince my hotter half to give Patchwork a go...

  2. For the last few Christmases I’ve tried to have a tradition of giving my two nephews a tabletop game as their joint-gift...anything to try and entice them away from the console for five minutes! First, it was King of Tokyo, then it was Camel Up. This year I’m thinking Castle Panic.

  3. I want to spend more time gaming with the people around me who matter most - friends and family. I’m hoping that within a few months we’ll be shifting into a new house, which will provide more space to hopefully instigate a regular tabletop night with my playgroup, especially so I can give the more meaty 3+ player games a go. If we’re feeling really ambitious we might even be able to give Pandemic Legacy a crack…

Barantas (Designer, Hand of Fate Sugoi Bento)

  1. What's a holiday? I'll be working! If I can squeeze in the time I really want to get Dogs of War out again.
  1. I’m getting someone a game as a present. But telling would spoil it! Let's just say it involves a lot of building.
  1. Roleplaying! It's been way too long and with Starfinder coming out sometime in the new year I need to make sure I'm prepared!

Sye Robertson (Designer, Robots & Rockets

  1. Skyrim, Cry Havoc, Grimslingers, Circus Flochati, Medici and many more!

  2. I will probably give people Robots & Rockets or Just Chocolate (yes, I’m biased!), I would love to receive Cry Havoc…

  3. To continue to try to be open minded about games, give them a chance, play things I would not normally play and try to feel what those who love the game feel.

Peter C. Hayward (Author, Skyward novella):

  1. My boyfriend is currently obsessed with Junk Art, so I suspect that will be hitting the table a lot! I also picked up Paperback recently, and so we’ll be deckbuilding a lot of words.

  2. I would love a copy of Zendo, but considering it’s been out of print for over a decade, that seems pretty unlikely. The gift I’m looking forward to giving the most is Clank! - a deckbuilder about sneaking into a dungeon and stealing a dragon’s treasure.

  3. I want to take Gil Hova’s 4P challenge in January. Other than that: keep playing more great games!

Brendan Evans (Designer, Skyward)

  1. I'll be travelling to spend time with my wife's family, so everything needs to fit into carry-on. Sushi Go Party and Durak are what I'm bringing to the table. Megan’s family have a copy of Dixit, so we will get to play that together. If I get time in front of a console with my three siblings, I'll be trying to sell them on Helldivers or Magicka 2 and we will all liberate the galaxy/midgård from the comfort of our couch.

  2. I'm hoping to give my dad Hive (I got a copy at PAX Aus, we played a few games with me and it's now the thing he wants most in this world), and maybe Secret Hitler to Rowan.

  3. I will not accidentally spend four hours playing Sid Meier's Colonisation.
    I will spend more time playing board games with my family.
    I will play a pickup game of Skyward in a game store.
    I will play more Hand of Fate with Michael.

Ellie Jang (Concept Art - Characters, Skyward)

  1. I added Sheriff of Nottingham and Betrayal at House on the Hill to my collection this year, so they’ll definitely make an appearance at the table. I’ve also been itching to start playing Hearthstone again.
  1. I collect tarot decks and have been reading tarot for around 4 years. I’m desperately in love with the Golden Thread Tarot deck, since it combines a modern take on the  art deco/Scandinavian aesthetics and traditional tarot imagery.  I’m crossing my fingers that my clumsy hints haven’t gone unnoticed.
  1. I’m a huge geek for tabletop RPGs, and I really want to set up a regular D&D night again. My recent games have whittled down to one-shot adventures with my fiance, as our friends have moved or gotten busy, and my changeling rogue Antiva Katarina de Goya Mercedes really needs to work on her knife-throwing.

Matthew Lee (Graphic Design, Skyward)

  1. I picked up Abyss at PAXAus this year, so I am looking forward to spending some time with that. I have also become enamoured with Mecha Strike Arena, and am currently building some robots out of cheap shop toys. So hopefully I can finish them up and get them onto the table.
  1. I am on some kind of astronomy kick at the moment, apparently. Hopefully, The Little Prince or Mission Red Planet shows up under the tree. I also wouldn’t turn my nose up at Fallout 4, to be honest.

  2. Play more games, regularly. Maybe even win at one or two. Hopefully become slightly less obsessed with Burger Up.

The Rule & Make Guide to PAX Australia 2016 November 02, 2016 10:31 by David Scott

If you've been following us on social media then you're probably well aware that PAX Australia is now just days away and that we are unbelievably (or, depending on your point of you, quite believably!) excited for three days of gaming and fun.

And if you haven't had a chance to follow our excitement to this point, here's everything you need to know about our involvement at the show. Come on down and say g'day, we'd love to see you!

1. We've got a booth that's quite roomy!
Having a booth at PAX is an investment, but one we're always happy to make as it gives us a 'home base' to chat and play games with all you wonderful people. This year we went and made our booth even bigger! How big? Well this time we actually have space for tables to demo the games we have at the show. You'll find us right near the Magic: The Gathering area in the Tabletop space, booth TT630 for those playing the numbers game...

2. We'll have more games than ever before to play!
Oh boy, it's lucky we got a bigger booth. Here's the full list of games you can play and/or buy at our booth this year, including those by friends of ours who are sharing our space:

Just Chocolate
Tavern Fame 
Smiths of Winterforge
Skyward
Entropy
Burger Up and of course, the Burgers of the World expansion
Rise To Power
Robots & Rockets
Ninja Dojo Fight!
Final Fantasy TCG
Overseers (courtesy of Gonzal Aguirre Bisi)
Tatsu (via Gen42 Games)
Hive, as well as the Ladybug, Mosquito and Pillbug Expansions (via Gen42 Games)

3. We're involved in a panel!
At a loose end on Saturday afternoon? On beahlf of the entire R&M family I'll be hosting The Great PAX Tabletop Debate! Our topic? "Is the tabletop gaming bubble about to burst?" Now, we all love games and we want this great industry of ours to continue for years to come, but the rise in popularity of the industy in the last few years has got us all thinking about the future. We thought this would be a great chance to bring some friends and colleagues together from across the Aussie tabletop scene and have a really good pow-wow about it. 


Rule & Make to produce the official Hand of Fate tabletop game November 01, 2016 08:03 by David Scott

 

Defiant Development has partnered with Australia’s leading tabletop games publisher, Rule and Make to produce a Hand of Fate tabletop game based on their award-winning, multi-platform franchise of the same name.

Rule & Make - publishers of Burger Up, Rise to Power, Entropy and Robots & Rockets - will develop the official Hand of Fate tabletop game, drawing on elements from both the original game and the forthcoming sequel.

The tabletop version combines deck building with key aspects from the video game and translates these into the physical space.

Hand of Fate is an action role-playing video game that combines deckbuilding, choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and real-time, third-person combat. Players take on the role of a nameless hero and challenge the enigmatic Dealer, a powerful sorcerer and master of the Game of Life and Death.  With over two million copies, Hand of Fate has built a cult following of players across Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac and Linux.

Morgan Jaffit, Creative Director for Defiant Development, said the partnership for the project was a natural fit. “We've been aware of Rule & Make since Rise to Power, as they worked with Nick Smith, who's also the concept artist for Hand of Fate.

“Since then, we've kept in touch and watched their titles - and enjoyed them. Ninja Dojo Fight is one of my son's favourite games, and we've played plenty of Entropy along the way as well.”

“When we started thinking seriously about a physical version, we spoke to a few different people in the space, but it was Rule & Make who we really wanted to work with, largely because they were local, passionate, creative, and knew our game inside out.”

"In terms of the tabletop version, we’re really looking forward to having an actual game we can unfold with friends, and we’re excited by some of the mechanics ideas Rule & Make have in mind.”

Rule & Make’s Head of Production Alistair Kearney said that the collaboration of two Queensland-based games production companies was an exciting one. “Being based so close to the Defiant offices is only going to help the development process and ensure they are as involved as possible. We’re confident this will mean the end result will be an excellent representation of the HoF universe, bringing the vision of both companies to life.”

“To be able to see the digital game come to life in physical form, and take advantage of what physical games can offer over the digital medium.”

“We’re big fans of the original Hand of Fate game and can’t wait to the sequel when it lands early next year.”

Hand of Fate 2 is currently in development and is expected to be release in early 2017 on PC and Xbox One.

Rule & Make’s latest game, Skyward, was successfully funded on Kickstarter late last month, with 903 backers raising nearly $38,000.


Skyward Kickstarter launch September 29, 2016 10:11 by David Scott

We teased it several weeks back, but the day has finally arrived: our next game Skyward will officially go live on Kickstarter tomorrow night, Australian time.

As is the way with all Kickstarter campaigns, we're working furiously in the background to make sure everything is just right ahead of the public launch, so there have been more than a few sleepless nights to this point...

However, we're incredibly excited to get it out of our heads (and inboxes, and Slack channels haha) and into the gaming community. We can't wait to see what you make of it!

We already mentioned in a previous post a little detail about the basic mechanics of the game, but what about your role in the Skyward universe? In short, each player takes charge of a unique faction, trying to make their mark on the construction of a city in the clouds. Here's some more detail from the campaign page:

After centuries of sparring, the four factions have finally put their differences aside and agreed to combine their strengths to build a better tomorrow. As a commitment to this new alliance, they are working together to launch Skyward - the world’s first airborne city, constructed above the point where all four empires meet.

You have been elected onto the board to help design the new city. Each season, the board selects a new Warden to assist in dividing the work among its members. Use your connections with the four factions and influence as Warden to get your name attached to the biggest and best buildings of Skyward, and eventually be recorded in history as the Founder of Skyward.

No Kickstarter launch announcement would be complete without a preview of course! So here's a quick look at one of the factions you can play in the game - The Preservers - alongside one of the buildings that you can choose to place in your city. 

We've posted several different teasers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well - a sort of social scavenger hunt if you want to find them all! - and will be posting a few more in these next twenty-four hours. The hype is real!


We're going to Essen! September 19, 2016 09:47 by David Scott

Yes, folks, you are reading that correctly. Allen and Alistair will be flying the R&M flag at Internationale Spieltage Spiel '16, one of the world's premier tabletop gaming conventions held annually in the German city of Essen.

It'll be our first trip overseas in an 'official' capacity, and our first time in Essen, so we're very much looking forward to taking it all in, finding out more about the European gaming scene and meeting designers and game-lovers from around the world.

We don't have a booth - maybe next year?! - so the team will simply be floating around the convention floor across all four days of October 13 to 16 and seeing as much as possible. I know both Allen and Alistair are particularly keen on seeing Uwe Rosenberg's next game, A Feast for Odin...so keep an eye out for them!

Of course, we'd be absolutely thrilled to meet with any of our fans who happen to be there, or others in the tabletop industry who want to connect. Is that you? Drop us an email on team@ruleandmake.com and we'll see what we can sort out as part of our visit.

 


Marking the arrival of the Mid-Autumn Festival September 15, 2016 08:00 by David Scott

Today is a pretty special day in the calendar for those with ethnic Chinese or Vietnamese heritage, with September 15 officially marking the start of the Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival. 

For those not aware, the festival is celebrated when the moon is believed to be at its biggest and fullest, with a full moon is a symbol of prosperity, happiness, and family reunion. The festival is widely considered to be the second most important on the Chinese calendar after Chinese New Year (Chinese Highlights does a decent job of explaining the ins and outs here.)

However, you may be surprised to learn that Rule & Make has a strong connection with this festival.

Firstly, co-founder Allen Chang and his family have long celebrated the festival, both here in Australia and in the ancestral home of Taiwan. 

And Entropy draws some inspiration from one of the Festival legends: Chang'e Flying to the Moon. How exactly? Well as regular Entropy players would know, your key challenge is to try and assemble the fractured parts your reality so that you can make it home. It's a similar story for poor Chang'e, who consumed an elixir that made her fly up into the heavens and into the moon, unable to return to earth and be with her loved ones.

You can also see a touch of the moon in Advaranau’s pink crystal world...

So we wish all of those celebrating this year's Festival an enjoyable time with family...and maybe you can play a game of Entropy with them all while you're at it?!


Table Tyrant Games join Rule & Make September 09, 2016 08:21 by David Scott

Australian game design and publishing studio, Table Tyrant Games (TTG), have officially joined the Rule & Make family!

The new partnership will see the Queensland-based TTG become a division of Rule & Make (R&M) and act as the company’s primary game development studio. The move will help to significantly increase R&Ms capacity to support Australian indie game developers, with the team at TTG working alongside game development lead Jason Kotzur to actively seek out, assess and incubate game submissions from local designers.

As fellow Queenslanders, we’ve been well aware of the good work TTG have been doing over the last few years and their good eye for quality game concepts and execution has been very impressive.

The team here at R&M HQ will be providing support in all facets of game development and publishing to TTG’s projects from here out, with the first co-badged project under the new arrangement to be Smiths of Winterforge, launching on Kickstarter in Quarter 4, 2016.

We’ve long held aspirations about boosting the presence of Australian indie games in the US and Europe gaming markets; we think as many gamers as possible should know more about the innovative ideas, talented designers and down-right-entertaining games that exist in our part of the world! In adding TTG’s game catalogue to our own, and with a burgeoning network of distributors internationally, R&M will now act as TTG’s official representative overseas and we’re hopeful this can help to further boost international recognition of the Australian games scene.

“This partnership excites us greatly,” says Table Tyrant Games’ head of game design and marketing Dylan Shearer. “We’ve known (R&M co-founders) Alistair and Allen since we started making games and have always had a sense of comradery between Rule & Make and Table Tyrant Games, particularly with both companies being based in South-East Queensland. Now, both Aaron and I are delighted to grow both businesses through this alliance, and see our games the hands of more players.”

You can read more about Table Tyrant Games here, while details about the forthcoming Smiths of Winterforge - including a print and play version - are available here.


What We Learned: Burger Up Kickstarter campaign September 06, 2016 08:13 by David Scott

The end of another successful Kickstarter campaign always arrives with mixed emotions. On one hand, as a publisher, you're elated; all the sleepless nights and long hours have resulted in a physical product people actually like playing!

But the perfectionists in us are restless; always looking for the areas of improvement or seeking out the things that could have gone smoother.

So as we look forward to launching our next campaign for Skyward on Kickstarter, here are some of the key things we learned while running the Burger Up campaign.

1. Expect the unexpected
We originally had planned to start fulfilment of the game in April. However due to Chinese New Year, our manufacturers shut down for an extended period of time pushing this date out further than we had expected. This, coupled with a longer than anticipated completion time for the stretch goals meant we finally started fulfilment in mid-July. Not a disaster by any means, but still further out from our original hopes.

2. Bigger games need more protection in shipping
Burger Up is the biggest box we've produced to date and we knew from the outset that getting the packaging right was going to be a priority. We asked our manufacturer to come up with individual custom mailer boxes with corner protectors, and they worked an absolute treat for the vast majority of backers (~75%) who were only receiving a single copy of the game. 

We'll definitely be expanding our use of custom mailer boxes for future projects, if only to prevent any risk of this happening again...

3. Review your game-samples like a CSI crime scene
We've got a great relationship with our manufacturer, who have produced the last four Rule & Make titles now. And yet there's still the chance communication issues can arise, such as our issue with the shortage of $1 coins. We'd thought our checking of the final sample was completely thorough, but alas our coin counts were still out. It was a valuable lesson and one we will heed in future projects.

4. The game community is at the heart of what we do
This wasn't a new learning, just one that was amply reinforced across the campaign. 

There are some creators that treat Kickstarter as a sales platform. Funds are certainly a big component to crowdfunding, but for us, we believe in getting the crowd involved. With our previous campaigns, we've involved the community in various ways and we feel we've managed to strike a great balance between creative authorship and community input. Throughout the campaign, we've reached out to everyone for suggestions and ideas. We knew we were going to paint the wall red, but what shade of red?

We plan to continue our efforts to include ways for the community to help shape the project. We believe community involvement is what makes Kickstarter so awesome and unique, and the feedback from our fans to this point has been overwhelmingly positive. Thanks all! Without you, none of this would be possible.


Announcing our next game: Skyward September 05, 2016 09:21 by David Scott

Skyward
A floating city, a colourful sky scape, zeppelins and townsfolk and a long-haired explorer...welcome to our next game, Skyward! 
Designed by Brendan Evans, Skyward is a 2 to 4 player competitive card game, with a unique (and dare we say, clever) card drafting system, that takes about 45 minutes to play. We've been quietly working away on the game where we could while Burger Up was in production, but now that we're all flipping burgers quite happily we could turn our attentions, um, well, skyward.  
That's all we can share for now, but suffice it to say we're very excited! The game will be hitting Kickstarter very soon so if you haven't already, do sign up to our mailing list here.

Congrats to the winner of August's #BurgerUpLive contest September 02, 2016 10:08 by Alistair Kearney

 

Burger Up! #burgeruplive

A photo posted by Amy Brown (@amy.laur) on

 

Congrats to Amy for this shot of her and her playgroup giving Burger Up a go, a photo that duly won her the grand prize in our #BurgerUpLive competition. 

Why this photo? Well (a) it looks like they are having a ball, which we love, (b) there's an obligatory towering burger of awesomeness and (c) they were one of the few entries that were actively using the Kickstarter-exclusive Burger Up coaster. Triple win!

You can check out all the entries to the comp on our Facebook page here. Be warned; they'll probably make you hungry!


A burger competition of epic proportions August 07, 2016 15:00 by David Scott

It's no secret we're fans of Kickstarter - both as backers and creators - and like many of you, we feel a special kind of excited when a game we've been involved in finally gets mailed out and hits the table of our playgroup.

We've been absolutely chuffed to see your comments as Burger Up finds its way to all our backers around the world. We're thrilled that so many of you are enjoying the game already.

So we thought: why not find a way to celebrate the closing of our Burger Up campaign with all of our fans...and their playgroups too!

Ladies and gentlemen, we invite you to take part in our Burger Up: Live! competition.

As you all know, the tagline for Burger Up is 'Building Burgers of Epic Proportions', so we thought it was only fitting we had a competition that rose to the challenge of this statement.

Entering the comp is very simple:

  • Take your freshly-arrived copy of Burger Up to your playgroup
  • Snap a photo of you and your group building epic burgers
  • Upload the photo to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the tag #BurgerUpLive

And that's it!

We'll be choosing just one winning playgroup from all the entries we receive. The person who supplied the copy of Burger Up for the photo will win a copy of Rule & Make's next published game, and up to three (3) members of your playgroup featured in the photo will all win their own copy of Burger Up. Sweet swag, right?!

The competition will run through to August 27, with the winners to be announced in our Burger Up campaign update on Sunday August 28.

We'll choose the photo that we feel best encapsulates what Burger Up is all about, with bonus points up for grabs for particularly creative or burgerlicious entries. 

So what are you waiting for? It's time to get your playgroup together!


Jason Kotzur joins the team August 02, 2016 18:54 by David Scott

It’s been a busy few months here at Rule & Make HQ and no group is more aware of that than the many passionate game designers who have approached us with their pitches. We appreciate the time and effort you all take to send us your ideas and we promise we read them all, even if we don’t respond straight away!

As a result we’re very pleased to announce the arrival of Jason Kotzur to the R&M team who will be heading up our games development area. He’ll be taking a leading role in reviewing all the designs we both commission and receive, and engaging directly with designers around the country to - in his words - “make awesome things happen.”

Many in the Australian tabletop community will know Jason is no stranger to game design. The founder of End Game Games and occasional podcast host of Tablepop, he’s tried his hand at nearly every part of the game production process, from concept through to design and development, graphic design, marketing and publishing. And he’s very optimistic about the future of the local tabletop scene. “It’s like a volcano,” says Jason. “There’s a lot of activity happening underground, but we’ve got a big explosion on the way!”

We asked Jason what the one piece of advice he wished he’d had before he’d started on his game design journey, and his suggestion was to spread your love across multiple projects and ideas. “Games are like plants. You need to care for and nurture them, but you shouldn’t invest everything into a single plant. You should try to grow a garden and then you can pick your best plants to focus on, nurturing them to thrive. All your other plants go to the compost to be reused to make your successful plants stronger. As a game designer, you’ll learn more by exploring game design through multiple games, rather than one darling project.”

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves!

So if you’ve got a game you want to pitch to us, do send it through to submissions@ruleandmake.com and introduce yourself to Jason in the process.