Quest Writers: $500 Writing Contest, New Features and more!

Writers and adventure-crafters,

We have several exciting updates this week!

First off, we just announced two new ways to earn money and prizes for writing:

November Contest - $500 Grand Prize!

November is traditionally National Novel Writing Month, but why not write an interactive adventure instead? Write a 20,000 word adventure between November 1 and November 30th for a shot at $500! Click here for more information.

October - Double Loot Points for Spooky Quests!

This October, publish a Halloween-appropriate quest and earn two loot points! (Plus a bonus point if you're a first-time author!)

New Features and Fixes

Scott and I have deployed several upgrades to the Quest Creator to make your life easier, including:

  • when the app encounters an error in the quest (specifically, with {{ops}}, such as invalid syntax), it'll show you the error to help you debug it
  • streamlined example quest
  • remove line numbers from side of text editor to make the page less cluttered; add current line number and word count to bottom right
  • fix some bugs with * on round and roleplaying cards and GOTOs inside of on round
  • fix bug where multiple of the same style in a single paragraph, such as italic text italic, would mistakenly be treated as a single group (italic text italic)
  • fix bug where the text editor cursor would sometimes jump randomly (especially when searching with control + F)
  • fix bug where style detection included ops contents, so you’d get weird behavior with things like italic {{.numAdventurers()}}_
  • add several words to spellcheck dictionary that are uncommon in general English but common in roleplaying

Writing Inspiration

Looking for inspiration to get started, or take your writing to the next level? Check out the new Quest Crafter section of the Expedition website (https://expeditiongame.com/questcrafter) for weekly writing inspiration. This week's post covers 20 ideas on how to make more interesting and personal enemies - a great way to get your players more invested and spice up combat!

Adventure onwards,

Tod, Scott & Greg

Halloween & NaNoWriMo Contests: Over $500 in prizes!

Adventurers,

With the expansion Kickstarter over 900% funded... we are rendered speechless by your enthusiasm! (If you missed it, you can pre-order it here.)

To celebrate - and thank you - for your support, we're pulling out all the stops in making sure you have awesome adventures to play.

This October: Loot points!

We're rewarding anyone who publishes a spooky or horror-themed quest using the Quest Creator in time for Halloween!

Every spooky / horror quest you publish earns you 2 Loot Points.

If you're looking for writing inspiration, quests earn 1 additional Loot Point for incorporating the theme "The Monster with the Face of Man": Sometimes the most monstrous evil hides behind the banality of the mundane.

And, if you're a first-time author, you'll earn an additional loot point!

To qualify, quests must be at least 20 minutes in length, published publicly before midnight EST on October 31st, and follow Expedition community and quality standards.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out the new Quest Crafter section of the Expedition website: https://expeditiongame.com/questcrafter 

This November: $500!

We're holding a $500 quest writing contest. Yes, you read that correctly: $500!

November is traditionally National Novel Writing Month ("NaNoWriMo") - but instead of writing a novel, why not push yourself creatively and write an interactive story using the Expedition Quest Creator? This time around there are no theme constraints: write whatever story your heart desires, as long as you can fit it into the Expedition system.

To keep to the spirit of NaNoWriMo, qualifying quests must contain a minimum of 20,000 words. You cannot start writing your quest until November 1st (though you may work on an outline ahead of time), and your quests(s) must be published publicly by midnight EST on November 30th.

In preparation for this contest, we'll be releasing new tools for authors that allow you to define when quests are part of the same series - as well as upgrades for the app that will make it easier for players to discover and enjoy multi-part series. Instead of publishing your quest as a single 3+ hour adventure, you may also choose to publish it as a multi-part quest series.

At the end of November, the Expedition team will select 5 finalists and the winner will be selected by audience vote. The voting period will last two weeks after the submission deadline. At the end, whichever quest has the most votes wins! If there is a tie, the prize will be split among the winners.

September Winners

Without further ado, the winning quests and authors of September's adventure contest!

  • Best Horror: Dark Castle Vol 1 by Grayons Prettyman
  • Best Persona and Best Overall: The Girl (Z.E. #1) by Jackson Gaydon

Congratulations to Grayons and Jackson for their excellent quests!

New features

The app (v1.7.1) has gotten several upgrades, including:

  • Settings are now saved across sessions!
  • Added support for The Horror expansion, including expanded setup and combat rules and searching for / displaying Horror-enabled community quests.
  • Several improvements to the settings interface
  • Clarified that "Custom Combat" is GM Mode
  • Clarified on surge card that some UNDEAD surges apply after they're knocked out
  • Fixed several small bugs, including that some community quests' "The End" button did nothing

 

Also, Expedition is now on Instagram! (@ExpeditionRPG) - make sure to tag us in your Expedition photos :)

Until next month,

Todd, Scott and Greg

Four Days Remaining - And Remote Play!

Adventurers,

With less than a week left, The Horror is over 500% funded!

More importantly, thanks to the incredible support from the community, we unlocked the Remote Play stretch goal - and we're less than $10,000 away from unlocking a really cool research & development stretch goal to explore VR and Voice Assistant versions of Expedition. If you haven't yet, make sure to check it out!

Also, we're on Product Hunt today! Product Hunt is a site that hundreds of thousands of people use to discover interesting new products. If you want to help spread the word & help us reach that stretch goal, click here to check it out!

Remote Play

expedition-remote-play-tabletop-simulator

Imagine if you could enjoy Expedition with your friends... even if they weren't in the same room! That's right - coming soon, you'll be able to synchronize apps with other players and go on quests, no matter the distance.

In the coming months, we'll be rolling out this functionality to beta testers. If you want to be a beta tester, email Todd@Fabricate.io with the subject "Remote Play Beta Tester" and include if you'd like to beta test for the web app, Android or iOS.

Quest Writing Contest

In all the excitement, don't forget that we're still holding a quest writing contest! Publish a quest by September 14th at midnight EST in one of the following categories for a chance to win gold - I mean, cash:

  • Best use of Persona ($50)
  • Best Cthulhu or Horror genre story ($50)
  • Best Overall ($100)

We also have a quick, 2 minute survey here. Whether you're a veteran writer or are intimidated by the thought of writing your own quests, we'd love to get your feedback so that we can make your experience better!

New App and Quest Creator features

Somehow while running a Kickstarter, Scott and I still found time to make several exciting improvements to the app and quest creator (who needs sleep, anyway?):

App v1.6.2

  • Improved experience for going home from in the middle of a quest; now asks you "Are you sure?" in a nice, themed dialog
  • Show more details on quest search details page so that you can pick out the perfect adventure
  • Tune damage and loot
    • Slowly ramping damage if you're only down to 1 player or 1 enemy, so that infinite loops (like continuously dodging without dealing damage) don't drive the rest of the players insane
    • Providing slightly less loot for higher tier encounters
  • Numerous style improvements for splash screen, menus and search
  • Numerous small rules clarifications thanks to players' questions
  • App version now visible at the bottom of the "Tools" page
  • Engine improvements in preparation for supporting The Horror expansion
  • Fixed a bug with "Retry combat?" button where it would show up even when you won combat

Quest Creator

 

 

Until next month,

Todd, Scott & Greg

 

Quest Crafter Weekly: Private Publishing and More!

Hello, quest creators! We've got a few juicy updates for you this week.

If you haven't yet, make sure to check out the first expansion on Kickstarter. It's now over 300% funded and close to unlocking a game-changing stretch goal: remote play functionality built into the app!

Private Publishing

It's finally here! You can select the "Publish privately" check box when publishing in the Quest Creator and the quest will only be visible to you in the app, through the Tools > Private Quests button. This is super convenient for playtesting unfinished quests without being tethered to a laptop or desktop.

expedition-publish-private-quest

Server Upgrades

In addition to adding private publishing, we made a number of changes to our core server code. Switching our database library to Sequelize let us add a number of additional unit tests that make sure the more complex data operations (such as updating quest ratings) continue to work as we improve the rest of the system and add new features for the upcoming expansion pack.

Free content for writers

The first post of our new Quest Crafter series is now live! In it, Greg gives you 20 different ideas on how to handle the common "your party enters a tavern" situation. Check it out at ExpeditionGame.com/questcrafter.

Let us know what you want to see next!

Greg Miller has been quickly ramping up as our community/content manager. He's made a quick, 2-minute survey that'll help us continue to improve your quest writing experience. Whether you've written five quests, or struggled to start your first one, your input here is incredibly valuable!

 

Thank you,

Todd, Scott & Greg

New Team Member & New Features

Adventurers and Adventure-Crafters,

First off, if you haven't already, make sure to check out the Kickstarter for the first expansion. It funded in just two days and is now unlocking all sorts of cool stretch goals. The top stretch goal - which we might reach with your help - is to build remote play capabilities into the app!

New Team Member

Scott and I are thrilled to announce that Expedition has hired its first employee - and from the Expedition community, no less! Greg Miller, one of our most prolific writers, is now Expedition's author community manager.

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Welcome to the team, Greg!

As he gets up to speed in the next few weeks, expect more awesome content and tools for authors to make your lives easier and your quests even more awesome :)

New Features

Now that Scott and I have recovered from GenCon, we've been able to get back to coding and have added several hotly-requested features to the app:

  • Add option to retry combat if failure results in the end of the quest... you no longer need to worry about coding this into your quests - the app will automatically insert it any time your combat's on lose event goes directly to an **end** or only has a single roleplaying card before **end**.
    • Speaking of time travel, I've been playing Life Is Strange this week, which features some pretty cool time travel / checkpoint mechanics. If you're interested in more features to encourage players to go back and forth in your quests to explore different possible outcomes, let us know!
  • Add settings for timer speed and font size.
    • We now have a lot of settings in the app, so one of the next big things we're working on is the ability to save settings / have them persist across games.
  • Add confirmation dialog before leaving a quest via menu -> Home.
  • Fix several performance issues, including removing dependency on jQuery to reduce code size and memory consumption.
  • Clarify that discarding an ability when leveling up is optional.

 

We got a lot of fantastic feedback in person at GenCon - much of which we deployed in this week's app update. If you have other ideas / suggestions / improvements, let us know! Yes, we do read our contact form :) You can also message us with the handy little "contact us" button on the bottom right of the Quest Creator.

Until next week,

Todd

The First Expansion: Live on Kickstarter!

Adventurers,

Scott and I are thrilled to share that The Horror is now live on Kickstarter - and will be shipping in time to arrive for Christmas! Copies are just $10, with flat rate $5 shipping.

Join us to celebrate the launch and play the expansion at GenCon booth #2962

The Horror includes a new "Persona" mechanic that adds roleplaying, storytelling and strategic depth. It's inspired by the Cthulhu mythos, and will be used in a wide range of quests - everything from family-friendly adventures to horror-enthusiast mysteries.

If you're at GenCon, come check it out at booth #2962!

We've only gotten this far through your support and feedback. A special thank you to all of you who've provided feedback, shared Expedition with friends and written quests.

If you'd like to help support the Kickstarter, please consider sharing it on social media today. Here are some example posts:

Expedition: The Roleplaying Card Game just launched its first expansion! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/toddmedema/expedition-the-horror @ExpeditionRPG #GetYourAdventureOn

Check out this RPG... it's half board game, half video game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/toddmedema/expedition-the-horror @ExpeditionRPG #GetYourAdventureOn

I just backed a family-friendly tabletop RPG that's fun for all ages: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/toddmedema/expedition-the-horror @ExpeditionRPG #GetYourAdventureOn

Thank you for your support! And here's to many more adventures!

Todd & Scott

Expedition: An Exciting August

Adventurers,

Things are getting exciting at the Expedition Castle.

Last month, we saw several new features launching and new quests published (and winning prizes)

This month, we're launching the first expansion (August 17th) and going to GenCon! Read on for more:

The Expansion

Expedition: The Horror is coming along perfectly in time for its launch on August 17th. We've finalized all of the art with the artist, including this awesome logo. In an Expedition first, all of the enemy cards will have custom artwork on them!

expedition-card-game-rpg-expansion-logo-cthulhu

What all will be available in the Kickstarter? Copies of the expansion, as well as base game + expansion bundles. They'll both be available with discounts, so it'll be a great chance to pick up a spare copy for a friend or birthday present! There will also be 6-packs of the expansion and base + expansion bundles.

Parents: Note that even though the expansion is horror / Cthulhu themed, it's still the same level of age appropriateness as the original game. Expedition is a game of imagination and storytelling, and it can be as fun - or as terrifying - as you and individual quests make it.

You can download a free beta copy of the expansion here. If you're considering backing the Kickstarter, backing and sharing on launch day (August 17th) would be a huge help! Kickstarters that are able to fund within 24 hours get a lot of extra attention that will help us unlock more awesome stretch goals :)

App updates

This month's app updates include:

  • Improved setup rules for 1 and 2 player games
  • Improved the appearance of icons in the app
  • New server architecture for the quest creator, reducing load times by as much as 50%
  • Fixed several bugs

Quest contest winners

As a reminder, July's categories:

  • Best Mystery: Who dunnit? The suspense is killing us!
  • Best Family-Friendly: The funnest quest with an "Everyone" rating takes the cake here.
  • Best Romance: Whether it's a rom-com romp through the forest or a dramatic political romance, one thing's for sure: it's going to be an adventure!
  • Grand Prize

Each winner will get a signed pre-release copy of the expansion. The Grand Prize winner also earns $100!

Without further ado:

  • Best Mystery: Azure Agents Chapter 2 by GraphiteHelix. Why are the undead attacking Faeyvre, and how will you stop them?
  • Best Family-Friendly: Fishin' with Dad by Cory Smith. A timeless father-son fishing tale, and a great parent-kid adventure :)
  • Best Romance: This one's proven to be a challenge for quest writers! Nobody was able to claim the romance prize - so if you're looking for writing inspiration, this would be a great opportunity to try your hand at a new type of story.
  • Grand Prize: Dark Gifts (Part 2 of the World Breaker series) - Greg Miller has done it again, with another literary and adventure masterpiece set in the World Breaker world. Congratulations, Greg!

Expansion quest contest

To celebrate the launch of Expedition: The Horror, we're holding a quest writing contest that's all about the new Persona mechanic. There'll be two $50 prizes: one for the best use of Persona in a quest, and one for the best Cthulhu or horror story. The contest starts now and ends two days before the Kickstarter - September 14th at midnight, EST. We can't wait to see what you write!

If you haven't checked out the expansion beta yet, the rules and cards are available here.

If you haven't tried the quest creator before - or haven't used it in a while - make sure to check out the quest writing tool. We've made a lot of upgrades to it in the past few months, including spellchecking, collaborative editing, and a "notes" section.

GenCon

Expedition will be at GenCon booth #2962!

Besides copies of the game and t-shirts, we'll also have unique, free promo cards available each day in limited quantities. We expect them to run out quickly, so make sure to swing by early in the day if you want them! Even if we run out, we'd love to meet you, our fellow adventurers, in person.

 

Adventure onwards,

Todd & Scott

Expedition Loot Club and Playtest Log

Adventurers,

We're excited to share a way for you to earn real-world loot while doing what you love most: playing board games! Announcing the Expedition Loot Club!

Expansion pack development is kicking into high gear in preparation for the August 17th launch. Click here for a sneak peak of the new rules and cards that you can print and play at home.

Playtest Log

This week, we thought we'd try something a little different and share some insights from our game design and playtesting process.

Our goal with the expansion is two-fold: create more roleplaying depth, and more interesting mechanical options. Expedition's core philosophy is to be a simple a game that's fun for a wide audience - which means we want to avoid adding a lot of new complexity, while creating mechanics that are appealing to new and experienced RPG players, as well as players who enjoy roleplaying and those who prefer to focus on the mechanics.

To achieve that, we're adding a new "Persona" mechanic, including a new "Influence" class of abilities and new "Horror" enemies. Persona provides you with more roleplaying depth, allowing your adventurer's personality to improve or decline (your optimistic adventurer could improve to become courageous... or decline into being overconfident). These states also grant you a power (such as increased damage from being courageous).... or an affliction (such as making your rolls harder from being overconfident).

How do you balance such a broad-reaching mechanic? Especially one that adds a new type of card and new enemies, abilities, adventurers and loot?

You can try playtesting hundreds of times to uncover every possible mechanical possibility... but that's time better spent on adding more features to the app and quest creator!

Instead, we use a set of mathematical definitions to automatically balance the game. We assign each mechanic a value and a conversion rate to other mechanics, similar to currencies and exchange rates. For example, losing one persona is worth two health, and gaining one persona is worth three health. Then, by going through the abilities and multiplying their effects' values times their chance of succeeding, we can arrive at an "expected value" for playing each ability. We go through and make sure that all abilities' expected values are similar, and voila!

This frees up our playtests to focus on the feel and interactions of the game. Sometimes, even though an ability is balanced correctly, players still shy away from it because it doesn't seem worthwhile. Or, they discover an overly-powerful combination with another ability or loot. We also use playtests as a chance to make sure players are playing in a good direction. For example, we generally want players to be progressing in combat, attacking and dealing damage rather than continuously healing. While you could set up the balance so that healing is just as easy as damaging, that would lead to a pretty boring game where combat never ends because you aren't dying... but you also aren't dealing damage!

We're excited to hear what you think of the new expansion. Click here for a sneak peak, and visit ExpeditionGame.com/kickstarter on August 17th to be taken directly to the Kickstarter. The Kickstarter will include discounted copies of the base game when purchased with an expansion, so it's a perfect chance to share the adventure with friends!

 

That's all for this week - if you found the playtest log interesting, let us know on Facebook / Twitter / Reddit and we'll make sure to share more in the future!

Todd & Scott