The “Nearly” One Year Outer Earth Update

Posted by on Apr 7, 2014 in Blog, Boardgames | No Comments

Outer Earth has changed a lot since I started it back in May 2013. Being able to take part in Cards against Humanities Tabletop Deathmatch has been a superb experience and it has really fuelled my passion for boardgame design beyond imagination! I am super thankful for that! Now that the fluffy stuff is out of the way, lets talk about Outer Earth!

My CAH tabletop deathmatch episode has FINALLY aired and can be found at their Tabletop Deathmatch Website! If you havent seen it yet, I highly recommend watching it before going through this post!

As for Outer Earth, the game has changed tremendously over a year and this blog post will highlight those changes through one card type in the game, the development card!


The humble beginning

This was my first attempt at the pipeline concept. For this iteration, I used a coloured paper stock to quicken + save money on prototyping. The pipelines were causing an issue when aligning so they were thickened at the base to allow for ease of placement.1

The “GenCon 2013″ iteration

With the second attempt, the design was cleaned up and the icon was emphasized with a circle. I made sure that the pipeline thickness was skinny enough to look elegant while still being easy to use. A number on the bottom center has now been added to break auctions that end in a tiebreaker. This is the version that I brought to Gen Con and presented for the competition.

Colour schem’ing

With the earlier 2 versions, I had relied on the coloured paper stock to represent the different development types. There was a lot of comments that referred to “are you going to use these colours” and it was time to find my colour scheme for the game. I went a Yellow + Green + Magenta scheme and created a secondary lighter version of the colour. After receiving valuable feedback from some pro’s in the industry during the Tabletop Deathmatch, I made some changes for the better. The stock market + gameboard was removed to slim down the game time + components.


The Riffle Shuffle Deck

Up until this point, I had used my personal printer (an inkjet Canon Pro 9000 that works GREAT btw) and each time a new version of the cards came out, another printing + cutting + sleeving job that I would spend days doing would begin. I decided to make the next batch of cards through a professional playing card printing service.

The service that I used was PrinterStudio. I highly recommend going this route if you have 100+ cards to make AND want to create multiple sets of your prototype. The colours turned out a tad less saturated than I expected, however the benefit of having a deck that can be shuffled easily + looks professionally + could be printed again within days were huge.

Multiple game tweaks have also been added and all of them have a common goal of making the game more accessible and easy to learn without losing depth. I can proudly say that teaching and playing a full “short” game of Outer Earth can be done within 1 hour!


Minor Usability Tweaks

With the most recent version of the development cards, I decided to tackle some core problems with the previous versions.

  • The first one was to change the symbols. The previous symbols were too intricate to be distinguished from far away so I designed a more recognizable icon set.
  • There was a constant debate about the magenta colour (as in calling it magenta, red, pink etc etc) so I made a new colour scheme that would be easily named + works well in MOST colour blindness scenarios + looks better!
  • The last thing I added was a sliver of colour INSIDE the pipeline to which it could connect to. Many players eventually had the “ahaaaa” moment with the development cards when they learned that the starting point of each pipeline is dictated by the development type. Yellow developments = always left, blue developments = always middle and red developments = always right!

5Outer Earth has come a long way since the Tabletop Deathmatch and I am glad to say that a Kickstarter WILL be running in the near future (after the documentary has fully aired). My goal is to get the Kickstarter up and running within a reasonable time after the documentary ends.

Stay in the loop of future core updates, I highly recommend joining Outer Earth’s Mailing List!


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