- Guntower Mike
PANDORA’s LOG: Stardate 23020503
Updated: May 8
So… Where to start…? I know, let’s start with this…
We will be at STAND 2-447 in the UK Games Expo on 2-4 June.
So do come and say ‘hi’ – and try out the new demo copies of the game we’ve just got printed.
And then there’s this!
This is the final cover image for the box art of Pandora Celeste (minus the headroom for the title). I love the way Cargo looks like he’s just noticed the Nasty up above them – though Lynn thinks it looks like Skins has just goosed him and I now can’t get that image out of my head… 😂
It’s been a stupidly busy month. First I was racing to complete the Tabletop Mod, then I needed to get the Learning Campaign sorted, plus we had all kinds of prep for UK Games Expo, not least of which was racing to get the cardfiles ready for the printer in time!
That was a bit of a saga. Lynn made contact at Airecon with a guy who came highly recommended as the Go To for small print run demo prototypes in this country. A few weeks go by, during which we were so busy with other things, we failed to notice that he hadn’t responded. Eventually, Lynn surfaced from her mountain of work enough to dig out his phone number and give him a call.
That’s when we learned that he’d forgotten to pass on our order to his staff and the deadline for UKGE orders had just passed.
Luckily, since it was his cock-up, they agreed to squeeze us in.
Unluckily, that meant we had 5 days spread across a Bank Holiday to get all cardfiles to them by the cut-off date (I get the feeling that if it hadn’t been a Bank Holiday, we’d have had less than 5 days). So suddenly, we had 124 cards, 90 Tokens and 5 Player Mats to produce by next Tuesday, and our primary artist Kris had family commitments over the Bank Holiday.
Luckily, most of the art had already been done, because we were already working to a deadline of the end of that week.
Unluckily, Discord chose this time of all times to play silly buggers. Kris & I mainly communicate on Discord. It’s a great way to exchange images and give almost instant feedback – or at least it is when it works. This weekend, not only did it not work, but it hid the fact it wasn’t working and pretended that it was. So I would send Kris a message and Discord would tell me he was offline. Since he was busy over the Bank Holiday, I had no reason to question that - and I didn’t have his phone number cos we did everything over Discord.
Then all of a sudden, Discord dumped 2 days’ worth of messages on me, and I realised that Kris had been trying to communicate all along, it just hadn’t been passing his messages on to me. But it had been passing my messages the other way. So a bemused Kris was getting ever-more panicked messages from me and responding to them, only to get an even more frantic message back! So we exchanged phone numbers – and of course, once it realised that it couldn’t screw with us any more, Discord started behaving again.
You’ll be pleased to know (I hope) that we made the deadline.
So if you’re coming to UKGE, do please come and find us at
where we’ll have a lovely looking demo copy of the game laid out to try.
In other news, the Tabletopia Mod is now up and running. I haven’t made it public yet, because I want to do some in-house testing before I release it to the wider world. But I have set up a private link here, which I will update every time I make any major modifications.
Please do hop onto Discord and try it out. I’ll happily run a demo game for anyone who’s interested – simply ping me on Discord and we can arrange a time. As it stands, you will find that the game has been set up to jump straight into the Learning Campaign (which I call ‘The TEECH’) without you having to do anything more than download the ‘TEECH’ doc from the server. It will then walk you through the game without you having to memorise pages of rules before you can even start playing.
The TEECH is divided into 4 mini-games, each of which takes about an hour to play (including the notorious ‘Tabletop Time Tax’): The Prologue is a race to the Iso-Ward which teaches you the basics; A Bit of a Bug problem is a scramble to jury-rig a flamethrower and burn out the Bug Pods before the Ship opens its airlocks to vacuum and kills you all (a somewhat hazardous way of learning about Emergency Protocols); Cleaning Up the Mess teaches you how to use the Aircon system and how to put out the fire you’ve just started; and Just When You Thought it was Safe to go Back into Cryo-Sleep pulls all of this together as you finally encounter a BIG NASTY and discover that you each have a Hidden Agenda!
Getting all of this to work has been a bit of a ‘mare. We had a programmed game which taught you everything you needed to know, but it simply wasn’t FUN – and what’s the point of learning a game if the teach puts you off wanting to play it? So Lynn & I sat down and hammered out what wasn’t working and what the teach needed to do (1. Let people have fun, 2. Teach people the basics, 3. Tell an entertaining story): then I completely rebuilt it to achieve those goals. I think I can safely say that it is now both fun and easy to learn.
Please do try it out, and use the feedback channel to let me know what works and how I can improve it. The more you guys feed back to me, the better I can make this game.
And talking of feedback: Kris and I are about to launch into the art for the Shipmap.This is the gameboard, and we would love to sprinkle it with little easter eggs that nod towards the great sci-fi shows we all know and love.
As you can see, he’s already done the Crew Quarters, which has a bunch of knowing references sprinkled round the room and we think it’ll be fun to have a lot more of these popping up all over the Ship. So please hop onto Discord and let us know what you’d like to see in our Suggestions channel – and while you’re about it, tell us which Nasties you’d like to encounter on the Ship and what other Crewmembers you’d like to play: we already have Gover (constantly complains and cracks bad jokes) and Marina (the kick-ass ex-Marine), and I’m working right now on the Military Android Big Nasty.
I’ll shut up now, other than to remind you to rate & review us on BGG, subscribe to our YouTube channel (where I’ll be posting some ‘How to Play’ vids when I can create the time), and check us out on Instagram.
Watch out for those dark corners!