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Gabe / on Fri, Jul 29 2016 at 10:29 am

Thornwatch at Gen Con!

I will be attending my very first Gen Con next week! I will be heading over there with the crew from Lone Shark games to talk about Thornwatch. We are coming up on the end of the design phase of this thing and it feels pretty great. We just recently had a meeting to discuss the size,shape and contents of the box. It felt like a huge milestone for me considering how many years I’ve been working on this game. I recently discovered the original notebook I used to design what I was calling Card Warriorz back then. I thought it might be interesting to share some of the earliest stuff I put down on paper.

The original concept for the game started with the idea of traditional RPG abilities serving like suits in a deck. Then I would build different classes using combinations of those “suits.” A Rouge deck would be made of Strength and Dexterity cards for example.

I designed the game by drawing out the cards and how they would interact with each other. Here I started thinking about powers being charged up with ability cards. This is still a core part of the game too.

Not everything I cooked up back then is still in the game. For a while I was thinking about a loot system that used a typical Ultra Pro 9 pocket card page. Loot would be given out to players as cards. A complete set of loot would form a large image like completing a puzzle. It was a cool idea but I could never quite make it work the way I wanted it too. Maybe someday I’ll dust it off and give it another try.

This is the very first Thornwatch drawing I did. I had some mechanics but no setting at this point. I remember when I talked to Tycho and we decided I should set the game in the Eyrewood. Coming up with the Thornwatch and their lore has been a blast.

Tycho came up with the idea of tying a wreath of thorns around a birch tree in order to summon the Thornwatch. So on one page I’m working on the mechanics and then on the next page I’m thinking about the world. I had so much fun jumping back and forth designing both sides of the game.

I’ve got a couple notebooks filled with pages like that. I think I’ll actually bring the first one to Gen Con with me next week in case anyone wants to thumb through it. Designing this game has been a crazy journey. In the last year or so I’ve had the help of Mike Selinker and Rodney Thompson which has been amazing. When I was doodling in these notebooks my goal was to design a game for the five people in my D&D group to play. Now I’m working with industry legends to polish this thing and get it on store shelves. Not only that but now Thornwatch is just the first game in a series called Eyrewood Adventures. We will also be developing games for the Lookouts and the Daughters of the Eyrewood. It’s just crazy to think how far it’s come.

I’m excited to bring the early game to Gen Con next week for some play testing. I played the latest version last night and I’m so proud of the game it has become. If you are gonna be at the show please come by the Lone Shark booth and say hi.

General Booth Info
Booth 2847
Hours: Thursday - Saturday 10 am to 6 pm Sunday 10 am to 4 pm

Thursday Aug 4
1:00-2:30 Panel Big Co-Op Game – From Betrayal to Thornwatch in Westin Capitol II

Saturday Aug 6
9-11 AM Learn to Play Thornwatch in ICC: 141-142 Tables 1-10

And I will be signing stuff:
Aug 5 from 2:30 PM to 4:00 PM

-Gabe out


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