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Dueling Samurai

Richard Janutka just quit job teaching (stats and physic) to go full-time home school teacher and indie artist. Dueling Samurai has been his epic mission - their current 100% funded status is due to an old-school strategy: hitting the pavement. We have conducted an interview with Richard about their project.

How do you Integrate digitally to your game community/players who are online?
Before our campaign started we discovered Tabletopia. In just three days we were able to upload our entire game, and opened up a free exploration/play testing area for people to use. I would recommend this for any game developer and/or Kickstarter project. This digital integration of our game has allowed potential backers to fully explore the game. Since we funded in 2 weeks I can only assume that our digital game on Tabletopia helped with the success of this project.

How does playing this boardgame "Dueling Samurai" enhance the cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue with your community of players, in particular, enhancing their knowledge of culture and history?
The game starts in the year 1560 with 48 historical warlords. These characters start in the territory they controlled at the time. Their characteristics are based on history ­ who they killed, what they did that stands out, and how they died. This will all determine your strategy in the game, so players get deep insight into the eras historic samurai. The map is also accurate, but for gaming purposes, we have only 48 territories and there would have been around 68 (depending on the year). Gamer reviews clearly show that our adherence to history is very popular and we pulled it off in a fun way, which is cool.

How do you make this new product create that lasting international presence in the gaming community?
We have encouraged people to host tournaments around the world. We are scheduled to have a tournament in Auckland, Germany, Australia and Japan (possibly more) in 2017. Currently in communication with groups that promote travel to Japan, we eventually want to have a trip to the Tokugawa museum in Nagoya as the prize for our tournaments. Since this plays as a tournament game very well ­ we will continue to host and promote our tournaments world­wide. Which way is the 'speed' added to the story of this mathematically harmonious tabletop game? By using D12’s for dueling, and subtracting the difference from the results, players can expect every roll to be crucial. Large armies are destroyed in as few as 2 or 3 rolls (sometimes more, especially if a tie triggers a natural disaster). Also, attack cards are very devastating and can destroy many samurais with them, quickly. Essentially, a lot of damage can be done in little time, making this game truly fast and furious.

How long did you take to prototype and test the user experience of this board game set?
8 years. We have play tested with hundreds of gamers over this time and we tested different iterations of the concept. For over half a year we have toured around New Zealand with our manufacturer direct prototypes to promote and get feedback on the game we are publishing via Kickstarter. Over this half a year we have gathered as much feedback as possible. Most feedback is that rules are very tight and presentation needed a bit of work for rule clarity. Backers can expect a clear, crisp entry into this game with a quick learning curve, due to our extensive efforts to get feedback from many serious gamers.

What are the next steps when you are fully funded? How soon will backers or gamers receive their set of 'Dueling Samurai'?
After we fund we will send our updated cards (font changes, rule clarity changes and rule tweak), updated artwork for the game board and new playing pieces to our factory. This work is 99% done already, so the factory will pretty much just have to press the print button after checking our work, thoroughly. I know this since we prototyped with our manufacturer and know exactly what to expect.
Timeline: 1 month to finalize all images and the order we will make. During this time we will have molds made for models. 1 month to produce and 2 weeks to deliver to our distributors. Backers can then expect to get their copy of Dueling Samurai within a couple of weeks. That brings backers to safely be able to expect their game by November.

What is the 3D printing bundle and why did you include these digital file rewards?
We prototyped most of our models on a Makerbot. It was a difficult learning curve, which caused me to enjoy and respect the industry. So, I wanted to reward the industry in general for being pioneer testers of a beta technology with this offer. This being my first publication, I knew that reaching all the stretch goals was going to be difficult. So, I wanted to do my best to let gamers get what they wanted, regardless of what happens with our stretch goals. I know for a fact people have backed the game to print the models and am happy I made this decision.

What are the challenges you had faced while developing this game?
Please see update #3 on our project to learn about who we are. The BigForest Creativity Lab is a family driven effort. Our biggest challenge was to learn about working together well during this Kickstarter campaign. Although there have been setbacks (a failed campaign), this process has helped us form a very tight family and we have all grown to form our efforts on this project. Another huge challenge is having to economically compete with very big gaming companies that use Kickstarter. Unfortunately, consumers expect big company prices from small indie game projects, which makes this an extremely difficult and competitive industry. This is why we are incredibly grateful to have succeeded in this campaign in just two weeks.

Dueling Samurai Reviewed by JaamZIN on 6:07:00 PM Rating: 5
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