Past Q&A’s: Countdown to Pledge Manager (2)

Our Countdown the Pledge Manager has been paused at T MINUS 2 DAYS and holding!

Click to see the prior Countdown Days (if you missed any):

9Lone Wolf Mission 
8Tartarus Mission 
7Cryptobiosis Mission 
6The Lost Fleet Campaign
5Pilgrimage Scenario
4Deadly Frontier Campaign
3Deeper Horizon & Eternal Sunrise Scenarios


We are looking back at highlights from all the wonderful updates from Marcin via his weekly Q&A time on Mondays! Here is a walk through time with Marcin (the time stamps will let you go watch that recorded Q&A and jump to the specific time that interests you). I have had my own small company in the past (decades ago) and so I can appreciate much of what Marcin is doing. His open communication gives us all more than just information about what is going on. He gives us a behind the scenes glimpse of what goes into making a great game! We see high standards and an optimistic view of where their dedicated work will take both them and the game. It is interesting and admirable that he would do this!

So, as we stroll through the past four months of weekly glimpses into creating the world of ISS Vanguard, take care to note how the real world affects the creation of the ISS Vanguard world. We can see how the COVID situation drastically affected how Awaken Realms proceeded in creating this epic game. Both development and testing were severely affected, yet Awaken Realms found ways around it. Looking back, we should have been able to predict that the COVID situation would affect many aspects of this, including inevitable delays, and hopefully we enjoyed the ride along the way.

Now … soon we will see if this countdown to the Pledge Manager will hit a snag and need to be placed on hold, just as in real life, when countdowns to lift off also tend to encounter unforeseen obstacles that hold their countdowns!  But we need to realize how significant opening the Pledge Manager is! Once it is opened, all the add-ons and options are finalized. And once finalized, it likely cannot be undone (unfinalized). So … while we hope our countdown to the Pledge Manager is on target, I hope we all agree that we’d prefer the finalized Pledge Manager to be the best possible for the game and us!

NOTE: The May 3 Q&A with Marcin was postponed a week due to a national holiday in Poland. However, this does not necessarily mean the Pledge Manager Launch is also postponed! The Countdown may resume again later today or tomorrow!

NOTE: these notes from each Q&A LiveStream are 100% mine, so be sure to actually watch the Q&A to hear exactly what Marcin said. My notes are just my take on summarizing it.

NOTE: it is fun to look back over the last four months of Q&A sessions with Marcin… but I have had my own small company in the past (decades ago), and I know how bad I used to feel when I missed deadlines and such. Timelines are a good thing, but then reality creeps in and rather than make a poor product fit an optimistic timeline, it is much better to delay and extend the timeline in order to get a great product! Bravo Marci and Awaken Realms for AIMING HIGH!

To see the full set of notes plus the video click the date:

January 4

4:40 – Dice Tower? Not during campaign but maybe during the Pledge Manager.
7:50 – Less dice dependent? There will be some changes. Everyone has their own preference in games as to cards and dice – but it will be tweaked so that it won’t be boring
9:40 – Are the dials moving off the Ship Book to be a separate item? Still being discussed.
10:25 – Card sleeves question. Wait till after the campaign ends as Awaken Realms likely will have their own box of card sleeves just for this game
11:25 – Dice options? Maybe later.
14:50 – Dice trays? Maybe.
20:25 – A separate add on of just ship miniatures? No. Too much extra work and costs.

January 11

7:00 – if the ISS Vanguard campaign had been on Kickstarter it would have been the 12th or 13th most funded campaign in their history – and since this was the first campaign on GameFound this is HUGE. Their prior campaigns on Kickstarter for Tainted Grail and Etherfields did do better [my note: so they have 3 campaigns in the top 15 as far as funding]
8:40 – they are so excited about ISS Vanguard with 29,000 backers they are 100% going to make this game the best possible
12:30 – ISS Vanguard will have sleeves available along with a special box for them
14:00 – why no male aliens? A: How do you know? Maybe aliens don’t have genders. And at this point they have NOT developed all the alien races yet and there are many ideas for them. There may be some weird twists based on a human way of looking at things. Such as with their included Pilgrimage campaign where there are events that point out how things are NOT as they appear from our human perspective.
18:40 – you can land on a planet multiple times so you can discover things in a later landing
24:20 – Rulebook? They are working on the rule book. The person who did the rulebook video for Tainted Grail will be working on something.

January 18

10:40 – someone calculated that there will be over 2,800 cards. WOW! Is this true? A: Yes, it’s possible :) Yeah, there will be a lot of cards!
11:35 – they are looking into using a different sundrop color that is more Sci-Fi oriented
15:20 – Q: will we get to see models of the ships from the Lost Fleet? A: probably as an art form but not as models but the art will be amazing
16:10 – Q: will sleeved cards fit in the Ship Binder? A: Yes, they will fit. Some cards will be going in and out of the Ship Binder all the time and others not so much. “We’ll see”
16:50 – Q: any chance that the sundrop color will be changed to one more Sci-Fi like? A: possible, waiting to see where the production will take us
17:50 – Marcin is proud of the team he works with … crazy passionate people :)
24:10 – in the beginning there was thought of getting the first four crew members killed so that you would collect the rewards. Now they are balancing this out for the game.

January 25

3:35 – ISS Vanguard Dice … they will decide in the next couple weeks. Some might be metal, some translucent, etc [premium dice option] There will be a dedicated update for it.
9:25 – Q: dimensions for the cards, especially the square cards A: there will be some updates on that.
11:20 – Q: will there be a late pledge option? A: Yes, and you can be notified if you go to the ISS Vanguard webpage on Gamefound and click the FOLLOW button [inside the green panel on the right]
12:18 – Q: game play for 4 players versus just one or two? A: this is a complicated question that will likely need a full update. But generally, with four players, each player controls one section (both planet and ship phase). This game is the best co-op game that they have made so far. They are in the development stage now to see how to make it even better.
19:05 – Q: when will it be possible to make a late pledge? A: it will soon be open but only to backers, but there will be an option in it for retail stores.
21:30 – Q: promos? A: usually there is a 1 year exclusive on promos.
23:15 – [my question]: can a character in the game switch between the four sections from one scenario to another? Or once started do they always stay in the same section? A: Once started the character stays in the same section for life.
24:15 – Q: will there be a backup sleeves option? A: Yes, there will be a full sleeving option in very high quality with a storage solution
25:20 – Posters for ISS Vanguard could will become available soon, but we will see.
27:25 – there will be NO Q&A next week – Marcin will be on vacation :) … he will probably be back in time for the Q&A in two weeks though.

February 1

Marcin is on vacation, so there is no live Q&A on February 1.

February 8

10:30 – Q: Can we order just the miniatures? A: Sorry, but no. (a logistics problem)
13:45 – ISS Vanguard will be an EPIC STORY! It’s going to good! A lot of cool things happening.
20:15 – ISS Vanguard miniatures – proud of their work on them. The miniatures are entering production now.
30:55 – Q: there seems to be so many games coming out now with miniatures, is the market getting saturated? A: For ISS Vanguard the base game has tons of components and only a few miniatures for a very good price. And then, if you like miniatures, then you can buy them as an add-on. The added miniatures will not affect the game play that much.

February 15

12:15 – ISS Vanguard Info: they just posted a new update and they are changing the flow of how the game starts a little bit for the campaign game.
14:30 He is most excited about ISS Vanguard because it is Sci-Fi and it is “his” project, but Great Wall is also looking great and having a lot of extra development put in.
17:30 – in their games the optional add ons are not essential but are more like small side stories – so if you don’t have the add ons you will not miss a crucial part of the main story.
27:55 – Q: Playing ISS Vanguard solo – will I miss anything? A: no, there is not much that you will miss.

February 22 (parts 1&2)

4:07 – they are testing it much earlier in the development cycle and adding content in between tests. It is looking good for the base game system to be great. The ISS Vanguard development team is focused on doing it planet by planet, but once they finish a planet they play test it a lot which can affect rule tweaks. So far it is looking very good.
1:40 – how is wave 1 plans? It is a bit too early to tell. They are working on it a lot but many things could happen while playing and testing. It might be delayed a little bit.

March 1

6:35 – Still lots of work being done with ISS Vanguard. Things are going fine.
15:00 – Pledge Manager likely will open end of March or start of April and will stay open for about 2-3 months
15:10 – Metric System makes sense and they probably are changing to it (with some discussion)
22:20 – They will be using the metric system (he is making a note to switch to the metric system)

March 8

3:30 – ISS Vanguard is being play tested (even by Marcin himself). He wants it to be exciting every turn and they did make some changes for this … and he is liking the dice rolling now (which is one of the core things you will be doing during the game)
6:25 – They are looking at doing something quite cool (and awesome) with ISS Vanguard
9:05 – Look of the dice? All the info on the various dice will be posted as an update before the Pledge Manager
11:30 – they take pride in doing their shipping “by the book” – they ask the shipping companies to tell them what to do and they do it.
15:10 – They are working on it a lot, the maps, the card play, etc … They are making everything MORE FUN right now

March 15 (part1) / (part2)

5:20 – Still developing content and doing tweaks with the dice rolling system – very exciting
Likely no T-Shirt or Hoodie for ISS Vanguard right now (maybe in the future)
9:15 – Yes there will be a Late Pledge
12:05 – Q: Why does the language translations take so long? A: Their estimated translation time for previous projects were too optimistic (example, estimating 3 months and then it took 6 months). Big Campaign games take a lot of work (and time) to translate to other languages.

March 22

1:00 New COVID lockdowns (3rd or 4th) in Poland is causing some issues and most of their team is working from home. The blind play testing [playing the game for the first time] of ISS Vanguard had to be postponed until the lockdown is lifted. But their team is healthy and well.
2:20 Work on ISS Vanguard is exciting as they are polishing the game and working on the details (but the details make a great game!). They are working on it full force.
05:20 – Pledge Manager likely will open in the first half of April
16:05 Q: Will Pledge Manager open again before the 1st wave shipping starts? A: Maybe, but hard to tell right now as it does make things more complicated due to the many different types of orders.

March 29

0:00 – Currently Poland is under COVID lockdown.
9:05 – Is the App going be voiced with a language other than English? A: Voice over will be only in English. The text will be in the other language.
17:30 – Estimated Delivery Date? A: They are in deep development right now so it is hard to estimate. There may be a slight delay but it is looking good right now.
22:25 – Are miniatures being used more than in Tainted Grail and Etherfields? A: It will be about the same.
23:45 – How long with the Late Pledge Manager stay open once it starts? A: 2-3 months

April 5

2:00 Pledge Manager should be this month and will include Late Pledges. It will be a bit different that their normal Pledge Manager because it is on Gamefound while prior games were on Kickstarter.
6:20 COVID news – there is a lockdown in Poland so they are working from home. This is affecting how they are doing their playtesting (blind tests) and is delaying the process for them, but this delay should be small.
10:40 Q: were any Awaken Realms shipping containers on the huge cargo ship that was stuck in the Suez Canal? A: No, their containers were not on that ship. However, there is about a week delay at the Suez Canal that affects their shipping to Europe for their currently shipped games (not ISS Vanguard)
11:00 ISS Vanguard ship date? Too soon to tell due to it being early in the development timeline and is hard to plan as it is a super complex project. Should be about right but might be slightly delayed due to the working from home situation in Poland.
12:10 Q: Will Personal Files be shipped with the core game in Wave One shipping? A: Possibly. They will try, but they are not sure.

April 12

5:45 – There should be an update for ISS Vanguard this week. Late this month should be the Pledge Manager and Late Pledge opening.
9:35 – One of the main things they are working on right now is ISS Vanguard.
12:05 – How close to the schedule is ISS Vanguard? A: They are still working on the development right now so it is hard to put “dates” on it. No major fixes are needed and nothing bad has been found in the game. There could be delays but it still is possible to hit their initial estimates for the schedule. The style of the game is very unique. The art and colors are very interesting and different than what they’ve done before. There will be a lot of cool interactions in the game.
14:25 – Q: are there things to do to keep on schedule even during the COVID lockdowns? A: They are working on a tabletop simulator. This is difficult with a campaign style game.
19:00 – ISS Vanguard will be an amazing game. (but they don’t want to rush anything)
20:20 – Q: will pledge manager allow adding to the pledge? A: yes, there likely will be some added items available. Maybe some posters.
22:00 – Q: putting cards in sleeves – will sleeved cards fit in the box? A: to allow cards to fit into the box with sleeves they would need to allow about double the space, and then people who do not get sleeves are impacted. So, what Awaken Realms does is that those who order the sleeves thru them will get an extra box to hold the sleeved cards.
28:00 – Q: will placing a miniature on a card block the text on the card? A: They are trying to make a space on the cards where the miniature can go.

April 19

1:50 – they are working on tweaking the Tutorial
5:00 – Pledge Manager should be available by the end of the month
6:45 – Working on it now, but the Rule book finalization usually comes near the end of development
9:45 – Testing is ongoing in house now. They are sending a couple updated prototypes to some blind play test groups around the world.
12:55 – Q: Are the dice a darker color now? A: They have been doing research on the dice and the final dice should be a translucent style. There also might be an upgraded more pretty version of the dice (even 5 metal dice) as a special dice upgrade pack available.
16:30 – Late Pledges should ship at about the same time as the original campaign pledges

April 26

6:30 – Pledge Manager is coming – was planned for this week but there is a Polish holiday on Friday so now may be first half of next week
7:05 – Another Update should come out at the start of next week with news, highlights and info on the changes being made
7:25 – They are working with a new development prototype now that includes all the changes
7:40 – They had some of the play testers who tested the original prototype play test the new version with the changes and they like it much better now.
11:25 – There will be some extra things available that people can get via the Pledge Manager… some fun things (he doesn’t want to spoil it now)
13:55 – question about the crew sent down on the mission – A: decision on the crew is made by the player(s) where they review each section to choose which crew member to take. Remember that they might die … so take into consideration which crew you wish to risk on this mission
14:35 – question about the premium dice option – A: yes there will be a premium dice option (he had a pack of them right there at his desk). He held one up but it was hard to see. It is translucent with two colors inside and special dots. Plus it will include metal dice, likely 4 metal dice. They look better, but still have the same weight (different than the “stone” dice that were in the original prototype which did NOT work out since they were pretty easy to break and crush and super expensive besides so that type of dice was not really an option).
16:05 – there will be some updates coming (prior to delivery) to show off all the additional content that they have been adding to the game that will include some small spoilers but there be some cool things.
16:30 – question about the miniatures – A: the miniatures are mostly for the collectors… you can play fine without those using the cards. They are not that much more fun, but they are cool looking and create this extra feeling to the game. So, if you like miniatures, go for it. But if you don’t like miniatures, then don’t get that add-on option as the game will play fine without them too.
17:30 – the problem with the games (in general) is that some reviewers consider them too hard, while others say that they are too easy!
20:50 question about dice rules that seem very punitive and will there be two ship binders? – A: There will be one ship binder. They have done some modifications to the dice rules that have made them so much more exciting. Details will be in the upcoming update. Some rolls can give you special skills and other interesting things. Now you get rewarded for using extra dice and even if you fail in your roll you can get things.

Click => Full 3 Column Site

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