Dark Venture - BATTLE of the ANCIENTS

Created by Rob Lemon

A tactical strategy game set in a dark-fantasy future where players control asymmetric factions engaging in brutal conflict.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

October Update: Music and MORE!
1 day ago – Wed, Oct 27, 2021 at 02:04:11 AM

Hello Backers!!

This month brings an exciting update, as we have some NEW MUSIC to share. But first, a quick production update and some Tabletopia news.

PRODUCTION: I’m happy to report that pre-production is wrapping up. All files for the core game and expansion, with the exception of the books (and a few changes to cards and other elements based on updates to the books), are complete. With regard to shipping, I’ll spare you the boring details, but over the past two weeks I have been working on setting up all the framework necessary to fulfill in the UK and EU and everything is looking great.

TABLETOPIA: The digital Tabletopia version of the Core game is virtually complete. We plan to run a “beta test” of the full Core game on Tabletopia soon. Check the Battle of the Ancients page on boardgamegeek.com (specifically the forums) for more information on the Tabletopia beta in the coming month. Here is the link to the Battle of the Ancients page on boardgamegeek: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/298163/dark-venture-battle-ancients

The UNDERGROUND map on TABLETOPIA, set up to play a VICTORY game, TESTING SOON!

By the way, there is currently a “demo” of Battle of the Ancients on Tabletopia consisting of four scenarios on a quarter-size map for 2-player or solo games. It has been available since the Kickstarter, and is still available to play...right now! Here’s a link: https://tabletopia.com/games/dv-battle-of-the-ancients

The MAIN MAP on TABLETOPIA, set up to play a VICTORY game, TESTING SOON!

THE SOUNDTRACK: Lastly, a little bonus. Craig and Errant Space have made a lot of progress on the Original Soundtrack for the game. I’ve just listened to the first pass of the whole thing (multiple times, actually), and I think it’s amazing. Sections of the soundtrack are thematically linked to each game faction, making each section quite sonically diverse. The music travels from pure synth, to acoustic guitar, to ambient electronic, and even grinds a foot into heavy metal. Speaking of which, take a listen to a PRE-RELEASE TRACK from the soundtrack RIGHT NOW! “THE UNDEAD KING'S TWILIGHT RAID” is available for your listening pleasure on Bandcamp: https://errantspace.bandcamp.com/track/the-undead-king-s-twilight-raid

This track diverges quite a bit from the synth and ambient core of the soundtrack, adding some “metal flare” to the overall package. While listening, imagine the undead king, the Alderkang, on horseback, leading a charge of tentacled, skull-headed abominations into a dilapidated castle ruin to clash swords with several hulking varpen invaders.

Enjoy!

Rob

September Production Update!
about 1 month ago – Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 03:40:33 AM

Hello Backers,

I hope that you are all doing well! I’d like to pass along some fulfillment news, an important update related to shipping and the project timeline, and a quick update on production.

FULFILLMENT: In an almost-not-surprising fulfillment quirk, considering all that has happened in the past year or two, our US fulfillment partner will no longer be handling orders (as a third party) for backers that are in the UK and EU. However, I have already found a great partner for UK and EU fulfillment, GameQuest (ShipQuest, actually), and have started the process of getting all the EU/UK tax and shipping knots worked out! It's an additional expense (in money and time) but I'm happy to have found a solution so quickly.

SHIPPING: Next, an update on the worldwide shipping situation and our timeline. In a previous update (UPDATE #16, “Shadow, but there is LIGHT!”), I spoke about how we planned to use the “hold off on shipping right now and wait it out” approach to freight shipping because of the continuing global issues and price hikes. I’ve decided to stop waiting out the freight shipping issue, for now, and plan to move ahead with manufacturing as soon as possible.

However, we have been informed that *all* shipping in November and December could see delays, and if our shipping were to push out later than that, we could run into the Chinese New Year (a 15 day national holiday in China starting Feb. 1st) causing additional delays. I’d like to avoid some of these delays, as you could imagine, if at all possible.

Being cautious and taking that new information into account, we plan to fulfill the game early next year, in the 1st quarter. That said, I am going to try my best to wedge Battle of the Ancients into manufacturing and shipping timelines wherever I can in an attempt to avoid delays, if at all possible, and will update you on my progress.

PRODUCTION: Now that the “Kings and Heroes” Adventure Scenario has been written, Battle of the Ancients is 100% content complete, and about 98% edit/design complete. There is a lot packed into this game, and I’m very happy that it’s mostly finished.

From the "Kings and Heroes" expansion: An orpal gatemaster enters the throne room of the Foregone King. A lurking hero (he has a ram skull token on him) has been overtaken by THE DARKNESS. Also, there's a solitary egg in the corner of the throne room.

I’m currently getting all the components ready to print (token and board sheet layouts are being finalized), and everything is being proofed. The rule and scenario books are going through final edits, they’ll be delivered last, but I’ve started to send the rest of the finished game component art to the manufacturer. I’m very proud of Battle of the Ancients and all the weird, engaging game mechanics and story moments that it contains!

Initial token layouts for 2 out of 6 sheets. Hope you like punching!!

That seems like a good note to end this update on. I’m in a groove this week, getting a lot done, so I’m going to get back to work. Thanks again for backing this project, I genuinely appreciate your support!

Rob

Sculpted Item Samples and a Progress Update!
2 months ago – Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 07:16:33 PM

Hello backers, 

I hope that, so far, your summer has been great!

‘Battle of the Ancients’ production is moving along smoothly. I (finally!) received samples of our sculpted game components and they look AMAZING. These prototypes were cast in a dark gray color that blends into the map too much for my liking. I believe that a lighter color will make them pop, so in the final game they will be cast in light gray. That said, these sculpts look fantastic and have crisp, clear details (as you can see in the photos, below)!

I also received color samples for the bags to be used in the game (a yellow "Portal Draw Bag" for the Orpal faction in the core game, and a purple "Beast Draw Bag" for the Beast faction in the "Beasts and Eggmen" expansion). The bag colors are rich and vibrant. Both cloth bags will be printed with their faction icons, we’ll see printed samples of the final versions soon. Along with the bags, I received color samples of the wood cubes (used for tracking the completion of objectives towards summoning Ancients, for tracking Hero special abilities, and for tracking Victory Points in a Victory Game).  They look as terrific as...simple wood cubes can look.

Recently, I have been focused on the “Kings and Heroes'' expansion: developing new items, writing the Adventure Scenario, and testing everything. The map depicts an interesting chunk of geography. There are two stout watchtowers with a west/east road separating them.  A river (also running west/east) divides the map in half, and the heavily guarded castle walls keep the riff-raff out of the majority of the NE quadrant. There’s also a ‘Botany Lab’ to explore in the NW corner.

Working on the "Kings and Heroes" Expansion Adventure Scenario

BONUS ELEMENT: I added a second floor castle tower as a new punch-out to the expansion. This turret provides a perfect vantage point for an archer (friend or foe) to snipe from!

Alright, until the next update, stay safe!

Rob

Shadow, but there is LIGHT!
4 months ago – Tue, Jun 29, 2021 at 08:24:57 PM

Hello Backers,

Over the past month we’ve been hard at work crafting Dark Venture: Battle of the Ancients, as you’d expect! There are a few new developments and, for the most part, things are moving along as planned. More on that later.

The ALDERKANG faction is primed and ready to attack!

Firstly, I wanted to take a few minutes to discuss and address a topic that has been causing a lot of concern in the board game industry recently: the drastic increase in freight shipping prices. After games are manufactured overseas, they must be shipped from the factory to local ports (then to local fulfillment centers) around the world using huge cargo ships. Many game publishers, large and small, are noting a drastic increase in the price of this cargo (freight) shipping. In some cases, there has been a 300-400% increase in price (some publishers are being quoted 3-4x, up to 9x the price!), and many publishers are seeing substantial delivery delays. The pandemic-created backlog of products, not just board games, waiting to be freight-shipped is partially why there are higher prices, but there are many factors at play (fewer ships running, a diminished workforce to load and unload the ships internationally and domestically, etc.). We are hoping that as the effects of the pandemic subside, shipping prices will normalize.

Simply put, we’re planning to wait out the freight shipping price increase. As of this moment, the “wait” has not changed our schedule, but I wanted to let everyone know earlier than later, this (and other pandemic related issues) are likely to cause our schedule to shift somewhat. Right now, I’m not sure how much. We are making great weekly progress, as planned, and are continuing without delay: finalizing game components, editing and finishing the rule books, testing everything (over and over) to refine the gameplay, reiterating, and sending files to the manufacturer. 

There’s no way that we could have foreseen the myriad of pandemic-related changes that have occurred worldwide. That said, I am committed to delivering Battle of the Ancients to you in a timely manner, at the price that you pledged. I will keep you up to date with any new shipping developments, and the facts, as the production of Battle of the Ancients continues.

Now onto current development news! The molds for the 3D components will be finished this week, we should see the first samples of the plastic components next week. It’s a bit later than I expected, but I’m still very excited to see the first 3D pieces!

Delok, chief advisor to the Alderkang, holds court with the Egg King while on horseback. Will they form a tentative truce?

For the past month, I have been focused on the ‘Beasts & Eggmen’ expansion, tying up loose ends, testing, and typesetting the adventure scenario into the rule book. It will be the thickest book yet, with 9 spreads (36 total pages). I had so many ideas for “events” with the Egg King, and I was able to fit all of the best ones into the game. Adding the flavor and strangeness of the original Dark Venture to this particular adventure was a priority, and I’ve certainly achieved that goal.

That’s it for now. I will post an update with photos of the plastic 3D components as soon as I get them (hopefully next week), so until then, stay safe!

Rob

May Update: Writing, Writing! Editing! Also, More Writing!
5 months ago – Fri, May 28, 2021 at 06:33:41 PM

Hello Backers!

We have made a lot of progress over the past month!

EDITING: Now that the 4 books in the core game are content complete, they are being EDITED. Editing a project as text-heavy as this is a time consuming process. Not only are the books being reviewed (in multiple passes) for grammar, spelling and (arguably, most difficult of all) punctuation, the CONTENT is being checked and double checked for consistency and accuracy. There's also a focus on making rules both easy to read and concise. In addition to this, I'm (constantly) reviewing game balance, testing and re-testing scenarios, and making slight changes. After all the text is edited into a final draft, I'll typeset it into the books (again!) and *that* will be reviewed/edited several times (to make sure that nothing was accidentally cut off,  forgotten, or changed). Currently we are on schedule.

WRITING: In tandem, while working with the editor on the core game, I'm writing the adventure scenarios and finalizing the faction-specific rules for the "Beasts and Eggmen" and "Kings and Heroes" expansions.

Being able to play the BASIC SETUPS of the new asymmetric factions in a VICTORY GAME is great, but the co-op ADVENTURES are something altogether unique. The adventures are SOLO to 6-player open-world experiences. My goal is to create play sessions (with objectives that take about 2 hours to complete) where players explore the world, battle monsters, activate events, and generate their own stories, while immersed in the weirdness that is Dark Venture.  

MORE ITEMS: I have completed the art and design for all the ACTION and ITEM cards in the expansions (and a couple extra items for the core game). Minor lore spoiler: In the original 'Dark Venture: Adventure Card Game' there was a quest that begins with your hero stumbling over the dying body of a powerful warlock. This warlock curses your hero, then dies. Your 'heroic quest' is to break his curse. In 'Battle of the Ancients', one of the new weapons in the game is the enchanted head of this dead warlock!

MANUFACTURING: On the manufacturing front, we are expecting to see the 3D components (fences, walls, Fallen Star) in mid June.  I'm looking forward to showing them off! We are starting to get the game components (all those tokens!) print-ready, which can take some time.

That's it for now,  got to get back to work. Hope you all have a great weekend!

Rob