Hi there everyone!
It’s been a long, long time, hasn’t it?
In July of 2011, I shut Linty Fresh down due to having some issues with the partner I was working with at the time. He was doing his best to run things, but was falling behind, and orders weren’t going out as scheduled. Unable to find any other options, I was forced to go on hiatus. Eventually I was able to move all of my LF stuff to a warehouse, where it’s been looked after ever since. I always had it in my mind to get things up and running as soon as possible, but between settling into a new life here with teaching, design, and getting married, I just didn’t have the time and energy needed to refocus my LF efforts.
Meanwhile, in the Fall of 2011, a good friend of mine, Eli Ortiz, decided to give China a try as well. He ended up being my roommate (before I got married). We spent the first month or so reminiscing on our childhood games and hobbies and eventually came up with a wildly intriguing idea – why not try to design our own board game? Within two days we had an idea for a pirate-themed game where players would compete for control over islands full of treasure. We called it “Isle of Gold”. But after putting together a prototype and testing it, we realized we wanted the ships to be more varied in their movement and abilities, and the seafaring theme seemed a bit restrictive. So why not set the game in space? With this new setting allowing us a LOT more freedom, we went back to the drawing board and started brainstorming what kind of ships we wanted, what their abilities would be, and oh yeah, how do you win?
The initial winning condition was defeating all enemy ships. But it just didn’t work. It took way too long! Also, the board was so huge that it took a couple turns to get into place. We we scaled things down, and came up with a new element that would forever define the game – flags. Instead of having to destroy everyone else, players simply had to collect a certain number of flags, which would appear randomly on the map during each turn of the game. To complicate things, we put a flag limit to the game, so that eventually the flags would run out, forcing players into combat to steal other player’s flags. This created a very interesting dynamic to the game, where no one wanted to get the flags too quickly (lest they become a target), and yet waiting too long was certain to make a player lose. This made every game a really fun exercise in outwitting your opponents, and took the strategy to a new level.
As the weeks turned into months, the game continued to develop. It suddenly got very complicated (11 different kinds of ships, 30+ event cards, conflicting rules) and some of the fun of the actual gameplay seemed to be evaporating. We realized we needed to make it simpler – our new goal was to be able to explain it to a new player in 4 minutes or less. So we started the painful process of removing ships. It was difficult because we had some we really liked, like a Shield Frigate that could protect all adjacent friendly units, and a Laser Frigate that could shoot along rows and columns (much like a rook in chess) Still, we realized these were bogging the game down, and we needed to streamline.
In the end, there were only 6 ships (including the Mothership). The way they fought, moved, and defended became MUCH easier, and we found a way to simplify the money system so that players barely had to think about how much they cost, or how much they could make when being salvaged. The result was a very intuitive and easy-to-understand system. And that made it play faster, and funner.
Over a year has gone by since that first pirate prototype, and we are thrilled to have a finished game in our hands. The name is HEXICA, and it’s a fast-paced flag-collecting strategy game. We are confident that people are going to love it! In the places we’ve tested it, some players asked to buy a prototype copy after just one play. In one area, they still get together several times a month to play! As for production, we are working on a mini-run now, which will be released on a re-opened Linty Fresh soon!
The next plan is to launch a Kickstarter to raise funds for a full factory run. If all goes well, that will happen next year in the Spring. So if you’re interested in playing it before then, be sure to grab a copy early, as they will likely sell out soon! (More info here when the game goes on sale on LF)
Want to see more? Check out our preview HEXICA video below.