Portugueses no Mundo – 29/07/2021

Cook-out, Interview, media, Multiuniversum

I was interviewed by Alice Vilaça for the radio show “Portugueses no Mundo”, which is about the experiences Portuguese people have when they’re living abroad.

If you speak Portuguese you can listen to it on their website or on the subtitled video below.

In addition, here is the transcript in English:

Alice Vilaça: Manuel Correia is 34 years old. He’s from Lisbon and is in Ireland. He arrived in Galway in January 2020 and it was here, in Ireland, that it all began – in 2013, followed by other international experiences. The two years in Ireland were followed by two in Germany, then two more in Sweden, until a return to Ireland in early 2020.

Manuel, is it predefined that these experiences are meant to only last two years?

Manuel Correia: Not at all. It’s just that I work in a very volatile industry and I don’t always have any control over what happens next.

AV: We’ll get to what happens next, this was just a bit of a tease.

2013, Ireland. What makes you leave our country and head towards Ireland, at the time?

MC: I think this needs a bit of context. 

I never found a career I identified with in Portugal. I was quite lost for a while and eventually I was able to find a group of people which were also interested in making games. From then on I tried to head in that direction. It took a while but I got there. 

I started at a studio in Portugal. About two years later I went to another. And at a certain point, when I started planning the next steps, I realized that there was no other worthwhile studio in the country, at least in my opinion, and I started to look for a job abroad. So when I had the job offer it wasn’t a surprise. It was because I had been sending CVs to other studios for a while.

AV: Was it at this time that you realized that Portugal is small – or at least your industry is small here – that you considered going abroad? Or was the international experience always present in your mind?

MC: It was always present. Games have always been a part of my life and I didn’t know of a single one that had been made in Portugal until fairly late. This lead me to think that it wasn’t possible to make games from Portugal. I didn’t know anyone who did this. I didn’t know of any studios in the country. It felt like a career that could only happen to other people. 

That’s why I was lost, because I was looking for a career that resonated with me and I couldn’t find it.

AV: Is it fair to say that you found your path when you got this offer to come to Ireland?

MC: I believe I found my path when I was able to get into the games industry, which was still in Portugal, but I felt limited and blocked. So yes, being able to leave unblocked my path and broadened my horizons.

AV: And what a path it has been! 

How was your first experience in Ireland? How was it when you got there? At the time, a different city from the one you’re at today.

MC: Oh yes, different for sure. At the time it was Dublin, now I am in Galway, but I must say it wasn’t completely new to me because I had already studied in the United Kingdom for six months in 2008 and Ireland has a lot in common with it. In fact, I’d say it only has the good parts of the UK.

AV: In any way, it was a different experience this time. You had already studied in the United Kingdom but I believe that the feeling of heading out to start a new life makes the experience quite different.

How was the experience of adapting to this new life, Manuel?

MC: It was very interesting. Naturally there were a lot of cultural changes, it was a new country, one I didn’t know yet. In fact, I moved here without ever having visited before. The whole process of finding this job was done through the phone. 

And to add to the new experiences, it was also the first time I moved in with my partner! We lived in different houses in Portugal and took the chance to live together here. So there were a lot of new things at the same time. 

The first encounter was already very positive. We found nice people right away. We started in a rented room in the city suburbs, in the home of a lady named Louise, and I remember that one of the first culture shocks, for us, was when she offered us tea and poured milk in it. It was something I had never seen, but it works quite well with the tea that they drink here.

AV: A different habit but sometimes you can see it in movies, when you hear someone asking if they want milk in their tea.

Before we return to Ireland and hear about the experience you’re having now, I’ve already mentioned at the start that you’ve also been in Germany and Sweden. We won’t be able to look into all these experiences in great detail but I will ask for a word, or moment, that defines each of those experiences and we’ll include Ireland.

Let’s start there. How would you resume your first experience in Ireland in a word or a moment?

MC: I’ll go with the word “Community”. Here I met a lot of people with similar goals and values to mine, so I felt very welcome. It was hard to leave and it’s a relief to find them again here, even in a different city.

AV: Germany.

MC: Efficiency. I know this is a bit of a stereotype, but right when I started working at the studio they promised their players that there would be something new in the game every week. If you know how these games are made that sentence is enough to give you vertigo but we were able to do it, at a great cost.

AV: Sweden. 

MC: Innovation. I had the opportunity to work with tools which weren’t public yet. Several were secret, related to new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, and it was really, really interesting to explore what could be done with them before they were commonplace, before standards were set.

AV: Manuel, were all these relocations caused by your professional life?

MC: No doubt. They were either the result of job offers or ambitions to progress my career further.

AV: So the return to Ireland in January 2020 was also motivated by your professional activity.

MC: Exactly. I was invited by personal heroes, which I’ve long admired, so I could not refuse.

AV: Is it fair to say you currently have your dream job?

MC: I’d say so. I am working at Romero Games, which will sound familiar if you’re into games because it was founded by John Romero, the creator of DOOM.

AV: I confess it’s a whole language I’m not familiar with, but certainly those who are into games will know what you’re talking about.

Manuel, did the return to Ireland feel like coming back home?

MC: Yes, in multiple ways. As I said, it was a chance to work with friends, heroes and people who I already knew but after two countries where we didn’t speak the main language, it’s such a big relief to be somewhere where I can talk to everyone.

AV: Language is a very important factor in an experience like this. The process of adapting and integrating is so much stronger and deeper when you can speak the local language.

MC: Oh yes, absolutely.

For example, English has opened many doors for me but in Germany not everyone spoke English and there were even some proud people who did not admit they did. 

No matter how hard people were to deal with, machines were so much worse. Whenever I needed to speak to automatic answering machines in a language I didn’t understand, without the chance to ask them to repeat or to speak a bit slower, it was very discouraging.

AV: In this return to Ireland and with the feeling of returning home, was there still a process of adaption? Was there some continuity to the process which you had begun back in 2013? Was it easier because you (or both of you, because this was something you’ve lived together) already had some experience moving to other countries?

MC: Yes, there was some continuity. Much of the paperwork had already been taken care of in the first time. We had the equivalent of a Social Security number. This was the easiest out of all the relocations.

AV: All that experience must have helped.

How would you define the Irish? Are they very different from the Portuguese?

MC: No, I wouldn’t say they are very different from Portuguese people because they are also very warm, kind and have a good sense of humor. The main difference for me is that they are excellent at telling stories. You can probably tell by the amount of celebrated Irish authors but it’s not just those. This is also true of people you meet in your daily life.

AV: Do you feel at home?

MC: Yes. But really, given the situation, that question is a bit of a trap. Due to the pandemic I have been at home for over a year and a half (laughs), so I very much feel at home. I feel very comfortable here.

AV: When I ask if you feel at home it’s to know if there are any aspects of the daily life there which you find hard to adapt to, so you don’t feel completely at home. Is this happening, in your case? 

MC: Not really. If it had been my first time here I’m sure there would be some, but this time we knew what to expect.

AV: You were talking about the pandemic and the fact you’ve been at home for a year and a half. You could say the same is true for a big part of the population. Do you feel that is preventing you from experiencing this fully?

MC: Yes, but I don’t think that is a bad thing. In the other times, after a year and a half I felt like I knew all there was to see in the area. Here, given the health guidelines we’ve had to take it one step at a time but that only leaves us with more to see in the future. I can’t complain.

AV: How is your daily life at the moment, Manuel? Are there still any restrictions? Are things slowly going back to normal?

MC: Yes, exactly. There are still some restrictions and things seem to be getting back to normal. The pandemic started right after I got here (it wasn’t me!) so I didn’t get to see a lot of what normal life was like. It’s hard to compare.

The vaccination rates are rising, some places are reopening with some caution and some controversy, but things seem to be progressing at a good pace.

AV: Let’s look at the professional side of the experience, since it seems to be driving it. We know you work with videogames. You might have worked on some games people are playing at the moment. What do you do, exactly?

MC: I am a game designer. I create videogames and boardgames. It can be tricky to explain to those outside the industry so I’ll compare it with cinema: I am somewhere between a screenwriter and a director. I have to come up with ideas, understand how they work and describe them clearly enough so that the team can bring them to life.

AV: Are you fulfilled, professionally? Or is this a path in which every new project, every new game, offers a chance for higher fulfillment?

MC: (laughs) Both. At the moment I am fulfilled but it was that search that lead me from place to place. The industry is very volatile and it’s hard to control what the next project at the studio will be, and if it will be something you’ll like.

AV: Is there any project which you particularly enjoyed working on, or is the next one going to be the best one yet?

MC: That’s very hard to answer. There are two games that come to mind. 

One is a game called Cookout, which is a virtual reality game about making sandwiches with your friends. There are four people around a table and they have to prepare the customer’s orders. That was very fun to make because, contrary to the trend, this is a cooperative game so you have to coordinate and work together.

The other is Multiuniversum, the first boardgame I was able to publish. That one is very important to me because all the games I had worked on until that point had been sold digitally, which makes it very easy for them to disappear without my control. 

It’s a lot more fulfilling to be able to hold something I made with my hands. It’s here, it’s in my shelf. It’s mine and I can pass it on to my grandkids. To me that makes it a lot more valuable than the rest.

AV: We can hear that in your smile.

Manuel, when you were a child, if someone had told you that at 34 you would be in Ireland and working in your dream job, would you believe it?  

MC: Not at all! As I said, for a long time I hadn’t even realized that games were made by people. They just appeared in stores and they were fun.

AV: Let’s explore Galway! What kind of city is it?

MC: It’s relatively small but very vibrant, it has a culture of arts and music. There are buskers on the streets, but naturally not as many at the moment. The restaurants are excellent and I can’t wait to explore more.

I’m really enjoying it here. It is close to the sea so there are always boats, seagulls and rain. But it’s not as intense as in Portugal. The raindrops seem smaller and most people don’t even own an umbrella. 

AV: Since it rains more often the rain itself not as intense as here. When it rains here, it’s no joke. 

Have you found a favorite spot in the city, Manuel?

MC: Yes! I think the answer is predictable but it’s a place called Dungeons & Donuts. It’s a boardgame store that also makes their own donuts. They have a large game library and room to play, so it’s a great place to try new games instead of having to buy every single one.

When things were normal I went there every weekend to play with others and it was great. I really miss it.

AV: I started the conversation by asking if the plan was to be there for two years but you said it depends on your professional activity. Is this Irish adventure meant to last?

MC: I believe so, but judging from past experiences I can’t be completely sure. The two years in each place look deliberate but they were never planned. This is always so tied up to how things are going at the studio that it’s always hard to say.

AV: What has been the biggest learning of this game, or this experience?

MC: Learning how to live with this uncertainty. We plan things as best we can and stay prepared for whatever might come next.

AV: Do you miss our country? What do you miss the most from Portugal?

MC: I miss the people, naturally family and friends but I also miss the places I used to go to most often. Train stations, Gare do Oriente, downtown. These are places I like to revisit when I go to Portugal but with the schedule so full of people to meet, I don’t always get the chance.

AV: Due to the pandemic these visits to Portugal have become more limited. Have you been able to travel during the pandemic?

MC: No. We haven’t even tried. In the current situation we wouldn’t feel safe in an airport or a plane, surrounded by so many strangers. The last time we went to Portugal was before we moved here. Mine was in October, almost two years ago.

AV: In the last year and a half, was it more difficult to be abroad? Did miss it more, did you feel like you were even further due to the current situation?

MC: Strangely, no. I’ve been talking to my family more often than I used to, in part because social isolation has also forced them to use apps to communicate, so now I can follow the conversation too! I end up being a lot more in touch compared to when they were talking to each other face to face. 

AV: So you feel closer, despite the distance?

MC: I’d say so, yes.

AV: Manuel, the only thing missing is a word! What word would resume everything you lived in these years since you’ve left Portugal?

MC: Horizon. I felt very limited in Portugal and leaving broadened my horizons.

AV: We can tell! Thank you.

Manuel Correia is in Galway, Ireland. He is a Portuguese person around the world since 2013.

Game news!

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, boardgame, boardgame prototype, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu, Superhot

Hello everyone!

Here’s a recap of news that have been shared in other social media over the last months:

SUPERHOT: The Card Game has been released in China thanks to Super Banana Games! It’s amazing to see my games travelling to countries where I’ve never been.

 

Multiuniversum: Project Cthulhu was reprinted! When the Kickstarter launched it was meant to be exclusive, but it sold out rather quickly due to its great reviews. You no longer have to go insane looking for the last copies, just check Board & Dice’s shop!

 

One of my favorite things about print and play is that it allows (and even motivates) the players to get creative and if they love the game some players take their copy to the next level. Look at BGG user BulldogBite’s awesome Agent Decker build!

 

Blight Chronicles: Agent Decker

As for the progression of the development and design perspective, we’re almost there, and we can see a bright light there at the end of the tunnel. On that note, we’re working hard with David Decker while Zoe and Hideaki are waiting for their turn since we want to have a solid base game before inviting other agents on the mission.

Since working on a game with multiple paths is challenging and we had to develop our own tools to be able to work together from different countries. One tool allows us to access an editable version of the cards at any time, without depending on software licenses and the other allows us to save the game. Saving allows us to “load” the game from that point instead of having to restart every time, and helps us see which cards we picked on our most successful runs.

Now let’s get back to work!

Game News!

Agent Decker, Blight Chronicles, boardgame, boardgame prototype, crowdfunding, Multiuniversum, Superhot

Hello everyone! You won’t believe how much has happened since my last post. Here are the highlights, one project at a time:

Multiuniversum

sealofapproval.pngZee Garcia from The Dice Tower reviewed Multiuniversum and gave it a Seal of Approval. What an honor! I’ve been watching their reviews for years and this was a definitely a career milestone.

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As if that wasn’t enough, it also got the Silver Medal at Gamelympics’ “Best Hobbies of the Future” category in Boardgame Blender (39:20)!

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Thanks to Grey Fox Games Multiuniversum is making its way to the USA, featuring a new cover and these cool new scientist meeples. I want one!

BGG user canglingy wrote this fun thematic interpretation of Multiuniversum.

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BGG user Thorin2001 created a Microbadge on BoardGameGeek!

 

SUPERHOT: The Card Game

I demoed Superhot tirelessly at Essen 2017. It has been getting a lot of reviews both in video and in text but this is my favorite so far.

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BGG user jorl created a Microbadge on BoardGameGeek!

 

Agent Decker

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Board & Dice released a version of Agent Decker with brand new art by Paweł Niziołek. You might recall it was one of the stretch goals from SUPERHOT: The Card Game’s Kickstarter campaign and the fans are loving it online! It’s at 768 downloads at the moment. The number went up as I wrote this post.

Meanwhile the original version of Agent Decker has been downloaded 10.103 times from the itch.io page! What’s your favorite version?

 

Blight Chronicles: Agent Decker

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My next project was announced and its name is Blight Chronicles: Agent Decker. It’s my first co-design, along with Matt Dembek from Board & Dice. I’ll be revealing more information about this one soon and you can get the latest news by subscribing to its BoardGameGeek page.

Now let’s get back to work!

Lots of news!

Agent Decker, boardgame, boardgame prototype, crowdfunding, event, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu, Superhot

project_cthulhu

A lot has happened since my latest post. Let’s do a quick recap, shall we?

Multiuniversum – Project: Cthulhu’s Kickstarter campaign was very successful. We asked for $7000 but our backers contributed close to $19.500 USD, funding it 278%!

Shortly thereafter it was printed and shipped to Essen Spiel, where it was officially released.

Last year I went to Essen for the first time and spent four days pitching my games to publishers. This time I was there to demo my first published game! For three whole days I taught the game to as many visitors as I could.

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Photo by BGG user Jakub Niedźwiedź

I have a lot of respect for anyone who’s demoing. The halls are very loud and you have to be even louder, but without sounding like you’re shouting! My voice held on during the first day, but by the end of the third I could barely speak. My advice? Drink plenty of water.

My demoing gig was cut short due to Multiuniversum and the expansion selling out! It was extremely rewarding, and it gave me the chance to see the other halls and say “Hi!” to friends.

After Spiel there have been a lot of new reviews and at the moment Multiuniversum is currently on 2320 in the BGG Rank.

The next print run will feature the rules in Spanish as well. Muy Bueno!

Meanwhile my new project has been announced:

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SUPERHOT The Card Game is an adaptation of the popular videogame SUPERHOT. Its core mechanics are based on Agent Decker plus the concept of “Time moves when you do”! As a big fan of the videogame I’m doing my best to do it justice.

Speaking of Agent Decker, both the game and the rulebook have been updated for clarity and consistency due to player feedback. You can download it here.

Multiuniversum: Project Cthulhu

boardgame, crowdfunding, Multiuniversum, Project Cthulhu

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The stars are right and you know what that means! Yes, our scientists have opened a portal to R’lyeh and bad stuff is coming through.

The first expansion for Multiuniversum is on Kickstarter right now! If you enjoy the base game this is a nice way to bring in a different flavor, a new set of portals and a twist in the mechanics. If you don’t have it there are tiers in which you can get it along with the expansion!

This is a major milestone for me and I’d love you to be a part of it. Even just sharing this link can make a big difference. Let’s go!

 

Multiuniversum at UK Games Expo 2016

Arcádia, boardgame, boardgame prototype, event, Multiuniversum

MU_box

It’s real! As of this June 3rd, Multiuniversum is officially released.

Off to a bumpy start, my flight was delayed so I only got to the event after most of it had closed for the day, leaving only the open play rooms. I was trying to find Board & Dice (B&D) to see how the final production copies had turned out. They kept me up to date with photos and videos, but I hadn’t seen a production copy in person.

Before I found them I noticed a family sitting at a table with a familiar box. They had done the setup and were reading through the rulebook, getting ready to play the game I had been working on for years. I wanted to say hello, maybe even teach them how to play but then it dawned on me that I have no idea what the etiquette for this type of situation was.

I paced around the table, got my phone out to take a photo and realized I had no signal. How can I arrange to meet if we can’t communicate? I went outside.

After meeting B&D and showing them around the open play rooms, we noticed the family had finished the game and were adding up the final scores. This time we said hi, talked to them for a bit and they asked me to sign their copy!

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Not just any copy. The first production copy I ever saw.

It was pretty unbelievable.

We kept playing it most of the night, and it was a lot of fun seeing players look through the crazy universe illustrations for the first time. The angry gummy bear was clearly the most popular one.

When the players recognized the game I wondered where they had seen it before, and the answer was unanimous: Rahdo’s runthrough. Thank you Rahdo!

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I spent the most part of the next two days demoing the game, teaching and playing it with everyone who popped by the booth. The response was very positive. Most players bought a copy after the game was over and some even came back for an autograph!

Most people just asked for a signature, others asked for a note and one player even asked for a thematically-appropriate joke. Cheers to Robin David, who saw that picture of me signing a copy and brought me a much better pen from Ireland the next day!

During the night I saw the game being played all over the open play rooms, an amazing feeling after working on it for so long.

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It seems word got around and by the end of Sunday it sold out!

All 400 copies.

Thank you everyone! But especially:

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Multiuniversum release!

boardgame, boardgame prototype, Carousel, event, Multiuniversum

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Are you going to UK Games Expo? I am. Couldn’t miss the release of my first card game: Multiuniversum!

If you’re going to the event why don’t you come over to Board & Dice’s booth and check it out? When I’m hanging around I’ll teach you how to play and even lose graciously.

Meanwhile Multiuniversum is popping up all over the boardgame social media. There are a several reviews in Polish already (thank you Google Translate!).

Uplift Andrew assembled a print-and-play copy and took awesome photos, like the photo in the header and  these other great photos!

Then it got into the Top Hotness in BGG:

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Then Rahdo did a runthrough!

This is a big milestone for me, I love Rahdo’s videos so this feels like having a cameo on my favorite TV show.

Dice Tower mentioned it in the UKGE Preview video (at around 10:00). The art got their attention, now we just need to get them to play it. It’s a pity Zee Garcia isn’t coming with them because I believe he would like it the most.

This has been a long time coming. The first post about it is from 13 March 2012 – four years ago! It’s been through many iterations, a few themes, three countries and three loyal playtest groups. All because I stumbled around a mechanic which I hadn’t yet seen in a game and found it intriguing.

I learned a lot, and I can’t wait to hold a final production copy in my hands.

Come share that moment with me, this weekend in Birmingham!

What if there were no bad cards?

designer tips, Multiuniversum

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The game is almost over. It’s your turn and this time you have a chance of winning. You draw a card and – oh no! Not that card. That’s not the one you need. Your opponent takes the victory. Again.

We’ve all been there.

Every designer has its own process, but the starting point seems to be a big point of contention. Do you start with the theme (setting) or with mechanics (how the game plays)?

For Multiuniversum, it started with a question:

“What if there were no bad cards?”

Every action card has all the possible actions in the game, shuffled around. You can find them on the left half of the action cards. Each action is in a slot with a color and a number, which corresponds to the computer stations on the center of the table.

The computer where your character is defines the slots you can use.

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For example, in the above image you’re at Computer #1, so you can do any of the actions on the first slot of the cards.

If you use the “Move” action on the leftmost card, you can walk your scientist over to any other computer. If you move to Computer #3,  you’ll be able to use the actions on the third slot of your remaining cards.

This is the core of the game. That action you really need? You’re holding it in your hand. The challenge is to figure out how to chain the actions to make the most of what you’re dealt.

With three actions per turn, this creates a tree of possible choices for the players to explore while they wait for the next turn. It gives the players the feeling that they’re in control, and the solution can be found somewhere in their hand.

There’s no joy like seeing a silent, focused player unleash a mighty “Eureka”!

Multiuniversum will be published this June by Board & Dice. If you want to keep up to date with all the updates and awesome art, please consider subscribing to its BoardgameGeek page!

Announcing Multiuniversum!

boardgame prototype, event, Multiuniversum, Pizza-go-round

A couple months ago I went to Essen to pitch my games and boy, have I got good news!

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Board & Dice really liked the mechanics of Pizza-go-round. So much so that they’ve got a very clear idea of where they want it to go, and it’s a lot more exciting than delivering pizzas!

It’s called Multiuniversum!

We’ve been working hard on streamlining the gameplay and creating a new scoring system which gives the players clearer goals and fits this new theme.

I don’t want to spill the beans right away, but here’s a glimpse of the latest prototype:

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If you were at Pionek this weekend, you might have seen it!

Stay tuned.

iDIG Music Festival

Agent Decker, boardgame prototype, competition, Contactics, event, Multiuniversum, Pizza-go-round, Sinking

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I spent the end of last week at the iDIG Music Festival showing my games to the visitors! I was surrounded by irish game developers showing their awesome games, and my boardgames stood out due to how different they were.

A lot of people wanted to know more about them, and some even sat down to play after asking how they worked! Agent Decker was the one that got played the most, mainly because nobody had heard about solo games and I could help them rather than compete against them.

I quickly put together a digital version for the show, and two players managed to complete it!

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The main goal was to have a version which looked a bit better than my scribbles on paper, and figure out how much room there will be for proper art later on. It worked pretty well!

It was my first time showing games at an event, so I didn’t know what to expect. A word of advice: if you’re presenting at an event bring some eucalyptus drops! If you’re lucky people will check your games out and ask about them, so you’ll be talking constantly and the voice will start to go away.

Time to write the Agent Decker manual so I can publish it online!