1001 Odysseys

Created by Chris Cieslik

An adventure board game with storybooks full of journeys to visit new worlds, meet quirky aliens, and make many, many branching choices. 1-4 Players, 30-60 minutes per chapter.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Happy First Day of the Fourth Month!
about 1 year ago – Fri, Apr 02, 2021 at 01:54:08 AM

In order to test out some database things, I wrote a very silly, very short adventure. 

It is available here!  1001 Odysseys: An A-1 Day 

Real update next week :) 

The Odyssey Simulator Supercomputer Spectacular!
over 1 year ago – Tue, Mar 09, 2021 at 09:04:27 PM

Note: Kickstarter's image squasher squashed the images more than I'd thought! If you'd like to see larger screenshots of the five images in this post, they are here: https://www.plumplim.com/KSUpdate/


Greetings, future Odysseys Crew! 

Today, I am here to share a fun look into the fancy technology we are using to create, collaborate on, and test the many stories that will compose 1001 Odysseys. In our last update, we shared the zoomed-out visualization of the Chapter Mission Outlines, full of shiny interconnected idea pathways and storycircuits. I've created a portal for our writing + story architecture team that lets them build and then work inside that framework, using Words. Words that you will read in the future, perhaps out loud...to friends, at an object known in the distant past as a gaming table. Spooky.

Writing Stories

Let's take a look at the Story page for Chapter 1 of Book 1. There're some very minor spoilers here, as we'll be showing a little bit of actual in-game text.  Our story database contains information on all the paragraphs (which we lovingly call blurbs) and also the game logic that results from each action your crew takes inside the game world. 

Here we have a list of paragraphs that're possible to reach during Mission 1 (spoiler: you want to be friends with the Plumplim! But really, who wouldn't want that?), along with short summaries of the writing prompt for that paragraph. By clicking on one...

...we can see the details for that bit of the story. A brief prompt (a writing aid so we can keep track of which blurb is which), the current version of the paragraph in question, and the in-game results that will happen after reading it. The edit-history for this paragraph is a click away, so we can see what changes have been made over time and by who. On the right side, each word in the paragraph that also appears in the Almanac is highlighted automatically. There's also an Architect Mode button which is for editing the in-game effects. If we click through to see the definition for Plumplim, for example...

...we can quickly see all the paragraphs in the game that use that word. Plumplim, as it turns out, shows up in a lot of stories! This is useful for us to keep track of how often we're using weird alien words, so that we can make sure to define them appropriately for the Information Officer! It also means we can make sure our writing team all has the same idea of what Saloominum or a Quadrobite is (and they can update those definitions as they create them!)

Let's Play

The most advanced portion of our system is the Chapter Traversal module. It is a very well behaved computer program that plays through the game carefully, following all the rules that you'll be following with a physical copy of the game. It has many important jobs, and if we give it enough treats, it even performs these jobs well! Here, you can see the very beginning of a chapter traversal: 

It's done the initial introduction for the chapter, and discovered 4 possible choices that a crew could make. Clicking on one of these choices expands it to show the choices possible after that choice, and so on:

The most important job of the module is to check for errors - unreachable paragraphs, dead ends, infinite loops, and more! We're able to analyze the logs to check for these errors, because with literally millions of possibilities, there's no way a live playtest group could try every available option. Odysseys' story tree and rules are a bit more complicated than a traditional "turn to page 72" branching narrative story, so we want to be very robust in making sure crews are not lost in paradoxical story loops! 

Aside from that, the module lets us build out a chapter in pieces. Every time the Traversal module runs, it checks for reachable paragraphs that don't exist yet, and creates them as blanks for our writers. This means that when we created the Introduction paragraph for this chapter, the very first thing the module did was look at the initial commands given to the crew, and create the resulting four paragraphs. Then, we added the commands to those, and it built out the next wave of potential options, and so forth. Eventually, we create the whole chapter's framework, and all of the paragraphs are available for writers to write. 

If we wind up making changes, the error-checking kicks in. We'll know if we've accidentally blocked off part of the story, created new unwritten reachable states, and so forth. It's taken a lot of time to fully build out the support program for our writing team, but the amount of time and confidence we'll save during testing has been worth it! I hope it's been an interesting little peek behind the curtain.

Physical Cosmetic Rewards

In our last update, we said we were waiting on more pins so we can ship out plushies + pins, and we are waiting just a little bit longer. Because of a variety of port-related shenanigans, it'll take probably 3-4 weeks longer than we'd hoped, so we'll be aiming to ship out all this cute stuff in early April. More info on that later this month, as we get a firmer date.

General Progress

We're writing stories! It's been a chunk of time getting everyone up to speed on using our tools, but now things are rolling along. It's even nice outside today, which helps! We can't wait to share all of our space adventure tales with you, and thank you for your infinitely appreciated patience as we make the Cool Things.

Behold: The Story Skeleton
over 1 year ago – Tue, Jan 26, 2021 at 11:28:07 PM

Hi folks!

  Just checking in with you to let you know that we continue to be alive (knock on wood) and work on this sprawling universe we love so much. In fact, this week we’ve been working with a refreshed vigor. It feels like it actually is 2021, at last. 

Writing Status:

  Book Outlines (a flowchart that shows Chapter to Chapter flow, Passport Items and Contacts discovery and usage, Maps that will be used, and key story beats) are 99% complete! The last thing that remains is to lock in a few Passport Items.

  Chapter Mission Outlines are 97% complete. Behold:

A carefully obscured selection of some of the Chapter Mission Outlines for the first four Storybooks.

  Peer into the minds of our writing team who have been tirelessly patching together this science fiction Frankenstein of sticky notes on Miro, a flowchart-creating tool. Each of these graphs represents the narrative structure of a single Chapter in the game, our Chapter Mission Outlines.

  Each week, we get on a group call and say thoughts at each other until we build a story. This is the structure of that narrative: blood (Trin had a bad paper-cut one time), sweat (Sarah had to deal with regularly scheduled explosions out her window for a while), and tears (all of us have cried a bit at this point) went into each of these sticky-note-looking squares. We’ve floated getting matching tattoos of the Miro board (it was shot down immediately).

  We’ve been spending a lot of time with a deeply neurotic character who's been away from society for a while and looking for his purpose in the universe. We’ve taken to calling him our anxious, horrible son. Looking for a place for yourself, finding your calling, discovering your purpose in life -- We’ve all been there, right? We see a little bit of ourselves in him, and maybe you will, too.


Art Status:

  We have pencil sketches for the Bassilas Map and the Araveen Map. Both are looking like places that you'll want to visit and explore, and we'll share our artists' work in a future update once things are a bit further along.

  We have also seen a few delightful new sketches for Storybook illustrations. These will provide  great opportunities for you to see our characters and details of the story up close.


Looking Ahead:

  Everything in our narrative already fits together: we’ve populated our universe with vibrant worlds to explore, whimsical characters, and everything that happens on those planets and to those people. The time has come to add meat onto the adamantium-bolstered skeleton of our story! We do this by translating all of these flowcharts into the engaging text that you will read as you play through the game. It is through these storybooks that you'll be traversing Insula and high-fiving its denizens.


Canvases, Plushies, and Pins Update:

  For folks who already backed for or ordered a Canvas, we'll be shipping those out on February 1st. You can still order them on BackerKit (and in the future from Plumplim.com) if you'd like a beautiful Insula world adorning your walls. We're prepping a plan to ship out all of the Plushies and Pins in a wave, and our estimated ship date for that is March 15th (We're waiting on some more pins from the factory, turns out we had less than we thought!). Many huggable Plumplim are ready to take a seat on your desk, shelf, or couch!

Serving up some StarBurgers
over 1 year ago – Wed, Dec 23, 2020 at 01:34:12 AM

Hello, friends! We have been working steadily, and we are excited to share with you a brief update.

Almanac Entries

We’ve been adding more entries to our almanac of places, people, and things throughout Insula to give players a clearer picture of the galactic sector. As we mentioned in our last update, the almanac is written in the voice of a knowledgeable and adventurous Elemens character that we’ve come to really enjoy.

Here are a few of our favorite recent entries:

StarBurger:
    StarBurger is a sector-wide chain of fast food restaurants that serves fries, shakes, burgers, and several different burger-shaped foods. For example, the ZibBurger is a burger-shaped, tightly packed pint of greasy topsoil intended for Zibzab consumption. The TimtillaBurger is an angry beetle in a cheap burger costume, which Timtillawinks delight in defeating and then consuming. For the Plumplim, there is the Burgergum, which is a plush toy shaped like a burger, since the Plumplim photosynthesize and therefore do not need to eat.

    My personal favorite on the StarBurger menu is the Burger, which is just a burger. I love to see truth in advertising!

Welcome to StarBurger, may we take your order?

Flimwaiter:

     Flimwaiters are the newest addition to the Federation. They are a marine-dwelling and space-faring species, which is quite frankly a fascinating combination! They manage their mastery of both worlds through the use of echolocation and telekinetic abilities in their home ocean, and through SWET suits in the open air. Marvelous!

  If you take nothing else from this entry, please know that the Flimwaiters are simply hilarious. Certainly, not everyone takes too kindly to the jovial if ribald nature of the Flimwaiters, which is understandable. But personally, I find them to be a laugh riot. Sure, their pranks may sometimes be “dangerous” or “deemed illegal on most populated worlds,” but how fun it can be to get into mischievous scrapes with a pod of giggling Cetaceans!

Flimwaiter swimming through the ocean with a variety of support bots

Hungry Nebula:
  The Hungry Nebula is the somewhat terrifying cloud of dust and gas that surrounds Insula. Long ago, it threatened to swallow our fair sector of space! Fortunately for us, the combined efforts of the peoples of Insula pushed the nebula back and contained it. So now, instead of threatening to devour us, the Hungry Nebula merely contains us on all sides and eternally looms above us in the night's sky. Everything's fine here!
 

If you can see this distortion, you are too close. Back away from the Nebula.

Writing Status

92% of Chapter Mission Outlines are now done! We're continuing work in Storybook 3, weaving together several different plot lines and developing a wide variety of adventures for you to experience.

Map Status

The schematic underlay for Bassilas has gone off to the artist. Preliminary sketches are looking good, with lots of fun little vignettes waiting to be discovered.

Our final Map for this box will be Cullicut. The rough schematic is shaping-up, and once we're confident that all of the locations we need will fit, we'll be passing that underlay along to the artist as well.

Looking Ahead

In the new year, we'll keep going with these four Storybooks, moving into the fine details and writing the blurbs that players will read.

Writing blurbs is one of our favorite tasks—we get to see our plot and story come to life, and give voice to the characters we love so much. We’re so happy with the narrative “roadmap” we created for ourselves, and we foresee this being a grand adventure in storytelling together.

News: Canvases, Plushes!

We're going to take the opportunity in January to start shipping out goodies. With the four large maps complete, we can now print canvases to send out to backers who've ordered them. We also have many cute huggable Plumplim Plushies in our possession, ready to sit adorably on your desk, shelf, or next to your cat. (Plumplim love rolling around with cats!). 

If you'd like to be part of the first wave of canvases or plushes and haven't already ordered one, please adjust your BackerKit pledge by January 1. We'll be locking down addresses for those orders right after the new year, and will be emailing backers individually with shipping info once they're on the way.

Get out the Maps
over 1 year ago – Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 11:06:42 PM

Hello friends and explorers! In today's update, we're going to tell you a bit about what we've been working on. We're also going to share some new artwork!

Artwork

We're very happy to present to you fully painted illustrations of both Urvellion and Flimwait. Please enjoy.

Map of Urvellion, the home of the Lackerdoods
Map of Flimwait, the underwater home of the Flimwaiters.

Map Status

Schematic Underlays for Betelgeuse (the misty homeworld of the Mindweavers) and Araveen (the arid homeworld of the Felisi) are complete. We use these simple underlays to determine where the Location Cards will fit in the background. They're very abstract in this phase so that we can move locations around until they all fit on the page without overlapping. Once this is done, we pass them on to the Artists who turn them into the beautiful illustrations we all love to explore. We've already started the underlays for Bassilas and Cullicut, our last two locations for this release, so the end of this process is on the radar.


Writing Status

The Chapter Mission Outlines are now at 84% complete overall. We've been expanding Storybook 3 and developing the sentient species we'll be spending a lot of time with in its 10 Chapters.

We're also developing some entries for our Almanac, the guide that will help you understand all the fantastic new sentients, places, and things you'll encounter on your voyage through Insula. We're writing them from the point of view of a friendly and well-traveled Elemens who has made a career out of sharing her knowledge with others. Thinking about what she would tell visitors to new worlds about it helps us get a better understanding of what we should be sure to share with our players.  As an example, here's part of the Araveen entry.

Reconnaissance has brought back this screenshot from our secret almanac-writing page

Production and Schedule Update, from Chris

Hello spacefriends! As we continue through November, the 36th month of the year 2020, I am here to talk to you about our overall schedule and production plans. When all of this *motions to entire world* started this spring, it felt like we'd be more or less back to normal by the end of the year, with conventions, factories, distribution, stores, and game nights working the way they should. Obviously given the state of things right now, that's not happening. Asmadi Games as a whole is pushing all of our 2020 releases (One Deck Galaxy, Good Puppers, 1001 Odysseys, Aegean Sea) to 2021. The downside of course is that we all have to wait longer to play the cool games we want to be playing. The upside is that we've had much more time to work on these games and make them better! For Odysseys, this has meant more time creating beautiful maps and architecting the story scaffolding that will make playing and replaying satisfying. For the other games, well, let's just say that LOTS of dice have been rolled for One Deck Galaxy.

It's frustrating for you all as backers to have to wait, and I apologize that we didn't make our original estimate. We encountered the exciting double-whammy of "Uh oh - this will take longer than we thought" and also "Oh no, the world is exploding." For things like Aegean, Galaxy and Puppers we could just say "Eh, we're done. Print it!" because the only things changing there are the game's mechanics and balance. The mechanics for Odysseys are done! We're working now on all the things that support those mechanics (Stories, art, etc). Sorry for being late, sorry for all the apologies, and sorry that this update doesn't contain a picture of a cat yet.

Cygnus and Pisces hard at work

There! Fixed!

Have a safe Thanksgiving, all, and if anyone's doing the virtual BGGCon this weekend and wants to chat, come say hello! I'll be in the Asmadi Games text room all weekend :)