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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:

That New Spaceship Smell
almost 2 years ago – Wed, Sep 28, 2022 at 11:59:00 AM

Greetings fellow spacefarers! There's nothing quite like clambering through an airlock into a spaceship for the first time, is there? You've got the open universe in front of you, your friends in comfortable chairs around you, and that new spaceship smell wafting up from all of the fresh control panels. 

Graphics Update

Over the past few months, we've been buffing and polishing the Odyssey's dashboard. You'll notice that the colors on the Mission Control Board now neatly match the colors of the Odyssey itself, giving you one cohesive spaceship experience from inside to out. It's our plan to use this as the final game graphics (barring minor post-proofing adjustments of course). 

Game Board. No additional components are included in this image, but one can see spaces for tracking missions, momentum, and focuses.
The Mission Control Board is ready and waiting for the Operations Officer.

We also took another pass at the Momentum Cards. The fresh icons are meant to clearly convey the meaning of each different type of Momentum, so you can plug them into your Mission Control Board with confidence. 

Image shows 8 different kinds of momentum in a rainbow of colors. Each type has its own unique icon.
Updated Momentum Icons at home on the revised Momentum Cards.

The more Momentum you add, the livelier your board becomes. Your Operations Officer can track one, two, or even three missions at a time. There's even space for Focus cards to sit on the board so you can keep track of what's next.

Game board. To the left are three rows to use to track momentum. The first row is complete, indicating that the players should read U-1-K-S-S-S next. On the right side of the board are four spaces for Focus cards.
Here we see two active Missions on the Mission Control Board. The Operations Officer has a mission update to report!

Graphics work will continue into the purview of the Navigator next. This includes things like polished graphics for all of the Maps and the Location Cards.   

Art Update

Speaking of Maps, work on the final Map is progressing. We've got a watercolor-layering preview for you:

A partial in-progress image of a sandy-orange watercolor painting dotted by blue water and green plants. Buttes rise into a pink sky on the horizon.
Araveen in progress, looking butte-i-ful.

Still more color to be added, but it's shaping up nicely! With this and the MCB, we're approaching a point where all the biggest art assets are completed. Exciting :)

Writing and Stories Update

Writing continues with a special focus on Storybook 1. Chapters 7 and 8 have been getting some intense writing time. We're also running internal playthroughs of earlier chapters to keep increasing the level of polish and consistency throughout the whole story. Once the earlier parts of the story are ready, we'll send Chapter 9 of Storybook 1 into the supercomputer. 


We also have some exciting news! Our writing crew grew this summer, please welcome Mimi Mondal:

Mimi has been thoroughly vetted by Zibzab Writing Value Analysts (as you may expect, they score you based on your work's total scrabble value), and of course our own team. She'll be helping us with our push to get more stories onto your table. She's begun work on Storybook 2, since introducing someone late into the Storybook 1 efforts would be, according to the Zibzab, "anti-counter-nega-productive", a rare triple negative!

What's Next?

We're working hard to get stories ready for print so that we can produce Physical Game Objects this year, which remains our goal and target. At the end of October, we're going to evaluate what we could feasibly print at year's end and make a decision on how to proceed. This may involve a short run (exclusively for backers) of a playable Storybook 1. We're looking into multiple options with our factory and printing partners to make this happen! 

This would not affect the delivery of the full game + expansion, it would be a gift to our backers for putting up with our much-longer-than-anticipated production time for the game. We appreciate your patience, understanding, kindness, apples, and look forward to finally sharing this thing!

The Latest from Space
about 2 years ago – Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 02:11:40 AM

Hello spacefarers! It's a sunny, warm day here on Earth (maybe a little too warm!) and we're thinking about galactic adventures!

Graphics Update

The look of the game graphics is continuing to evolve as we settle into the final look of the game. Everything physically fits together, and it's enjoyable to play, but there's a bit of room for improvement to really bring your starship Odyssey to life.

For example, we've been putting finishing touches on the Map frame artwork lately. All the tools to help you navigate new places are there and easy to view.

Image of the starship the Odyssey with grid coordinates, a directional compass, and some information about the map.
The new Map graphics shown on the Odyssey's Map

Next up on the polish list are our Momentum Cards, Focus Icons, and some of the details on the Mission Control Board. 

One of our bigger tasks this summer has been to finalize the processes that allow us to bring the stories from the database and lay out / typeset them into book form. Basically - we're automating things so that we don't have to cut and paste in image headers/footers for every paragraph (that would take a long time!). In addition to the standard scaffolding for paragraphs, there are a lot of icons that need to land in just the right spot. 

Art Update

Watercolors have begun for Araveen. The tiny progress photo that we've seen so far is looking good. Map painting is a long traditional media process, so it should be finished later this Summer. It's our last map artwork awaiting completion, and all that'll be left to do after it's painted is to put the frame on it like the one on the Odyssey above!

We're also continuing work on illustrations for the Passport Items and Contacts, and anticipate that work being done in the next 2-3 months. That will wrap up all of our artwork needs for the project!

Writing and Stories Update

We've just finished a round of intense revisions to Chapters 1, 2, and 3 in the first Storybook. These chapters have achieved a very nice level of finish, including connections with chapters that occur after them, so we're putting them to rest. Next up for us is writing more blurbs in Chapter 8.

Getting the stories into our blurb writing/playing system has taken a bit longer than anticipated. Your Passport save file supports replaying any Chapter that you have unlocked. This means that you might have Passport Items or Contacts from the future of the narrative. Human players can handle this just fine, but the narrative supercomputer needed some updates to be able to cope. Once that is squared away, we'll be putting Storybook 1 Chapter 9 into the supercomputer so we can write and test at the same time.

Other Storybooks are in various stages of completion, and we'll get back to them once we have Storybook 1 in a play-ready state from start to finish.

Funding + Schedule Update

A couple of folks requested an update on the financial health of the project.  Asmadi Games is in sound financial shape, and we anticipate no issues getting 1001 Odysseys to print and shipped to you all once it's completed.  Our other projects are doing fine (One Deck Galaxy is in production now, Aegean Sea is up next and will be in production this Fall), and our existing games are selling well. We have purchased 0 (zero) ponies and no magic beans (and definitely no bitcoin), worry not.

Our goal remains to physically print 1001 Odysseys content this year and get it on its way to you. It's been a rough year (it's been a rough 2 years!) but we're working through it as best we can. I'm optimistic about our goal, and as the artwork mentioned above gets completed, we'll share those pieces that won't spoil storybits (and update on the completion of other things). 

What's Next?

Gen Con is just around the corner! You can come visit our booth, we will not be running demos but will have a variety of promo cards available to hand out, along with our games and shiny pins for sale. Our artist Cari will also be at Gen Con, just down the aisle from us! Visit her too, she's cool :)

History in Space
about 2 years ago – Sun, May 22, 2022 at 07:20:35 PM

Hello Friends!

Thanks to those of you who were able to stop by and see us at PAX East, it was grand to talk about the game and to share the new passport folder in person. It folds, it holds, it's amazing and bold design! We look forward to seeing more of you at Gen Con this summer and PAX Unplugged in the fall. Plans for demos at those shows will be announced closer to those dates!

Art Update

The Artists continue to work away on the images that will bring Insula to life for everyone. We are getting dangerously close to spoilers in the art realm, but we felt good about showing you this image:

A Timtillawink educational moment, art by @MisterCrowbar

There will be adventure! Our next art projects are more in the graphic design side of things, so:

Graphics Update

We've been capturing the odd moments from the edges of working on the narrative tree to continue working on the graphics that sit around the beautiful illustrations and bring the whole thing together to create the feeling of being on board the Odyssey with your crew. 

We've had prototype / partially completed art for our location, momentum, and focus cards for a while, and we're now putting the finishing touches on to them to make them as cool as they deserve to be (it turns out, all cards want to be cool, it's just a thing that cards do). We expect to have much of this to show off in our next update! 


Stories and Writing Update

Specific text continues to fall firmly into the spoiler category, but we are still writing, and also revising. We're reading through some of the older work with fresh eyes which gives us the opportunity to laugh at it all over again and to improve it for overall continuity.  

With the updates to our Tech, we've been able to fill in some of the missing blurbs that we'd been waiting to get into the database (more on that next), so we can lock in some of the chapters that were 95% done. Hurray! 

Technology Update

New computers have been installed, and after a bit of motherboard drama everything is up and running!  Did we also install a big fancy new air conditioner so that the office won't be a billion degrees this summer? Yes! This is especially relevant as Boston braces for...95 degree May (what the hell?) weather this weekend. Benchmarks are now showing our traversal algorithms running between 5x-20x as fast on this machine as our previous cloud options, so a traverse that would've previously taken a day can be completed in a matter of hours. This is extremely helpful, and will accelerate our work both writing and verifying chapters. 

The next tech project (for me, Chris) is in now upgrading the presentation of our virtual-play website, to display a fancier simulated version of the Mission Control Board and game state. This is what we'd planned to share available to the public late last year, but got sidetracked with writing/upgrades/etc. 

What's Next?

More writing! More tech! We're getting closer to done with parts of the game, and we'll be starting efforts on translating words stored in the database into words that're properly laid out in a PDF that we can print out and do a physical test of some of the chapters in the game (with maps! and cards! and boards!). The goal is to have that in place before Gen Con, and if things are amenable to full demos there, we'll run them. If not, we'll put together a stream of us doing it here at home. Maybe even with some special guests! 

...the special guest is Ivy. Happy Spring and almost beginning of Summer, everyone :) 

Databases: Anyone got a Space Age Computer?
over 2 years ago – Fri, Apr 08, 2022 at 07:35:27 AM

(Oops, Sarah made a minor edit after me so it says the post is by Sarah, but it's actually by me, Chris! Sorry for the confusion :D )


Hello friends, and happy Spring to everyone in the Northern hemisphere! The winter chillies are fading, and being able to go outside again? Yes please.


April is a busy month for us, we (Julia and I) are traveling for the next week, and then we (Sarah, Julia, and I) will be at PAX East the week after! We're going to be in Tabletop in the Foam Brain Games booth, and we'd love to see anyone who wants to stop by :)  We will have the same super-mini-demo of 3 cards that we had at PAX Unplugged, as required-masks makes playing full chapter demos somewhat untenable. Say hello! Wave from a distance! Air hugs! It's all the social-distancing rage. 

Statistics!

Let's talk about some numerical progress: Writing-work has continued, and we've now got 1,112 paragraph-entries in the database. Things are going well, and our writers just wrapped up a 2 hour writey-feedback-slack-meets, as is Thursday Tradition. Ivy (cat) oversaw this meeting from far above the computer. She liked what she saw between naps.

These paragraphs and their commands represented a total of 7.9 million unique pathways that are traversed while playing through the game so far.

Now, you might be saying, "That sounds like a lot of pathways. How's your database feeling?"

In response, the database let out a fascinatingly unique noise that represents a combination of a 56K modem, the sound of finding a treasure in The Legend of Zelda, and a slide whistle. 

It's a few too many paths, as it turns out.

The Database

Much of my (Chris) work this winter and spring has been refining the database to make it do the things we want it to do to support the writers. There're four main things the database does.

  • Centralizes all the writing work so everyone on the team can see it. This part is quite fine, and behaves like a wiki. (We also have a wiki for backstory and whatnot!) 
  • Allows our Narrative Architect (Sarah) to enter the commands that follow each written paragraph into the system, which allows for the next two functions:
  • Dynamically creates entries for the new paragraphs that will be available to players based on all the commands from previous paragraphs. (Essentially, it builds out the chapter as we go.)
  • Tests every single possible set of choices that the players could make in a chapter, providing statistics, verification of unreachable blurbs, and verification that there are no dead-ends.

The last two functions are where the heavy work has been ongoing. Our original traversal algorithm blazed straight through the whole chapter, trying everything, doing it all with style, and then it hit a particularly tall, wide, and branchy chapter and basically exploded. 7 million of those 7.9m paths came from one chapter and would've taken 49 hours to fully execute on the server (too many, especially when the traversal must be run multiple times as we add commands and build out chapters). 

Over the past several weeks, I rebuilt it with a heavier focus on converging identical states at various checkpoints, and have been testing it thoroughly. Here's what this looks like, functionally:

You can see that there're some percentage estimates of how often a specific paragraph is likely to appear in a segment of playthrough, and also how likely it is to reach game states approaching this area (we call them Nodes!) .

The further you get into the chapter, the more potential game states there are! Ones that the database has run through are in green, pending states are red. This is from some testing I was doing today:

This view is for me and Sarah, the rest of the writers do not have to worry about our shiny-computer-totally-not-Evangelion-interface. Writers see something much more reasonable, like this:

Hey look, it's the start paragraph from the first chapter of the first book of the game!  


What this allowed us to do is identify the area of the offending-7-million-path chapter that had the problem paragraphs, trim down a couple options, and reduce it to a much more reasonable 500,000 paths (which, with the new improvements, runs much faster). Hurray! 

Playtesting

We had planned to open up online-playtesting of some chapters to backers in the past couple months, but getting the database functioning properly for writing the game took priority - we still want to get that functionality out so that you can try out some chapters, and I'll be back to working on that after PAX! 

Priority 1 is getting these stories finished so that you all can enjoy the game on your tabletops, and we remain hard at work toward that goal! 

Passport to the Stars
over 2 years ago – Sat, Feb 19, 2022 at 07:02:56 PM

Greetings backers, friends, and future space explorers,

It's winter here in the Northern hemisphere. For us that means cold snow, warm cats, and steady work on 1001 Odysseys. Today we have a first look at our new Passport graphics and some other status reports.  

Graphics Update

We've shared the Mission Control Board and various Map components in previous updates. Now we're ready to show you something new for the Information Officer. The Passport is where you and your crew can keep a record of your journey through Insula. Before we begin, we must stress that these are not final production images. Each Passport will be designed to support its own Storybook. The title and number will of course match, but the Passport will also include a checklist for Chapters that you have unlocked, Items and Contacts that you have collected, and spaces to record your Achievements. Each of these lists will only be long enough to store the information needed to complete the Storybook. You'll be able to tell how much you have left to discover.

The Passport Folder is also designed to literally contain the physical minicards that represent Items and Contacts, as well as Chapter Data Sheets from past play sessions. It took some trial and error, but we believe that we have come up with a format that will do a very good job of keeping everything in place even when you tilt and shake the game box. 

Now let's introduce you to some visuals (Spoiler warning: text may contain actual titles of Chapters, Interludes, or Storybooks).

The Passport exterior (back and front) has space to store Achievements. Shown folded. (Graphics not final)

 First, we have the exterior of the Passport. Triangles on a diagonal sash show you where you can keep your Achievements stickers as  you earn them. You'll also notice a tab on the right that secures a small flap, keeping the whole thing closed when it's not in use. Lifting that flap opens the Passport.  

The interior of the Passport has checklists for Chapters, Items, and Contacts and a place to store Passport Cards and Chapter Data Sheets. (Graphics not final)

Inside we have space to keep track of and store our Chapters, Items, Contacts, and Chapter Data Sheets. The Chapter list is on the left flap, and includes a space to check off Chapters as you unlock them through the Storybook. We have also added Interludes to this list. Interludes are a new very short collection of blurbs that take place in between Chapters which we've added to improve the experience of replaying a Storybook. 

Checklists for the Items and Contacts are located on the top and bottom flaps so you can gauge your progress at a glance. The minicards showing the details of these Items and Contacts fit in the space between.

The Chapter Data Sheet will come as a notepad of several identical sheets, with the idea that you can use them to play or replay any Chapter that you've unlocked. Each sheet includes a place up to six Missions. It also includes checkboxes for several Events that will help the Commander determine where to turn in the Storybook.

To get a real sense of how this will feel in practice, we built a simple working mockup. Beware! This is only a rough demonstration of how the Passport generally works. Materials will change, graphics will evolve, and dimensions may change as we work with our manufacturer to put these into the game. (Spoiler warning: Text may include actual titles.)

Here is how we imagine the Passport opening at the start of a play session:

And here is how we imagine it closing when it's time to clean up between sessions:

We're very satisfied with how the Passport is working now, and we look forward to seeing it in action.


Art, Writing, Stories!

Usually we show a pretty new map with updates, but...we've already showed almost all of them!  The last map, Araveen, is scheduled to be painted over the next month or so. Our artists were busy with non-Odysseys projects and things for the first few weeks of the year, but we're back to drafting the remaining chapter header images and then we'll be on to the small spot illustrations for Items and Contacts, plus Almanac bits. We're not going to show very many of those in updates, because they're spoilers for the most part. Most of our artistic efforts have been on graphic design (like the Passport above), which we'll continue to refine as we get final specs from the factory on what's feasible! 

In the world of Writing and Stories, we've begun the process of translating Old Story 4 into New Story 4 (much writing was done for a previous set of mechanics - most is fine, with a few tweaks here and there), and getting it into the Database. This is moving quicker than normal writing, and we hope to have most of Story 4 fully implemented by early Spring. 

I (Chris) had planned on having a website version of some stories available for backers to play around the new year. Apologies for not having that in place yet, I'm working on it and hope to have it available soon. 

Scheduling and Manufacturing Updates

We've been in talks with manufacturing partners on how to make the folders for the Passports, and it all seems pretty viable! This was our last real physical-item concern, and we'll continue to mock up prototypes to make sure they work well in practice. 

January was slow - it was cold, snow happened, sick happened, staying inside to be safe from omicron happened, but we got a reasonable quantity of things done. All of those things have begun to change (hopefully!) and we aim to get lots more done in the rest of Winter and the start of Spring. 

We have some booth space at PAX East, and a couple of us will be at Granite Games Summit. Hope to see you all soon, and we remain excited to get this game into your hands as quickly as we can! :)