Challenges of Mutanite

Hi guys. It's been a while since I've written, and I miss writing!

I’ve been pretty stressed. Despite Masters of Mutanite feeling good at this point and gaining positive responses from playtesters, the project has been really challenging. The “Super Powers” project has been long (3 years), with a number of distinctly different designs:

  • Microgame
  • Tableau builder
  • Weird deckbuilder/handbuilder
  • Simultaneous tactical handbuilder
  • Action programmer
  • Tactical deckbuilder (Masters of Mutanite)

(Development time ran parallel to the Knee Jerk and Apotheca Kickstarter campaigns, and was delayed during my 5-month Hasbro contract job.)

I really liked a lot of the designs, but playtesters felt they just didn’t capture the superhero/villain fantasy, so I carried on. Masters of Mutanite absolutely DOES capture the fantasy (playtesters strongly agree), AND it’s fun and strategic, which is why I’m moving forward with it.

While I’ve had great playtests recently at Strategicon, Salt Lake Comic Con, and with local playtesters in the LA area, this post comes after a playtest last night in which one player didn’t like it. One player. It’s amazing what one player can do to a designer’s momentum, even after seeing excitement from so many players before. As with any game project, there's negative feedback over the course of development (hence why it continues to be developed), this just happens to be the one reaction that pushed me over the top to write a blog post so I could keep my head on straight. Props to every other creative also pushing through doubt daily. 

Despite feeling burnt out on the project, I’m continuing it — I want to see it through and get it into the hands of folks that love it. The plan is to Kickstart Masters of Mutanite in 2018 (likely January), but I would not mind handing it off to another publisher at this point. I would love a breath of fresh air and a paycheck.

This recent tweet from designer Joey Vigour rings too close to home:

Heck, I would also like going back to work. Since leaving my job 5 years ago, I’ve really gained an appreciation for team camaraderie, and I can’t wait to have it again. I miss the interaction, collaboration, compromise and growth that only in-person teams cultivate. Team projects are tough, but you always have each other to lean on, and that back and forth is really satisfying.

Welp… onwards and upwards, right? I recently shared a smattering of box art sketches for Masters of Mutanite:

box art small.png

Many folks replied with their favorites:

Sketch Votes

Before posting, my favorites were 6, 1, 5 for a variety of reasons. Sketch 4 was great but didn’t show enough of what players actually do in the game (especially at thumbnail size, such as on Kickstarter). I’ve instructed my artist to move forward with #6 with some tweaks, and I’m looking forward to seeing it come to life!

Other than that, I just tested a final design tweak (cleaner helicopter spawning), and I’m working with my graphic designer to finish up some components. Here’s our most recent score track:

score track.png

I’m also getting files ready so I can print nice copies for reviewers. It’s going to be tough because of all the dang punchboard pieces! But it should be worth it to have games that feel close to the real deal. I’m also iterating on the rulebook layout so it's as comprehensible as possible before proceeding to blind playtesting.