In the field of computer games, crowdfunding projects have recently suffered a few image scratches. If you disregard the prominent and multi-million dollar projects such as Star Citizen, the financing of digital content has been slow. On the other hand, the situation is very different in the board game sector: Many young authors are successfully using the well-known crowdfunding platforms to realize their dream of their own board game. So also Markus Allram from Austria, head of Epic Pan and initiator of the board game project Circle of Eternity.
Fantasy board players should Circle of Eternity keep an eye. The board game combines a classic fantasy setting with sophisticated character mechanics and promises a high level of counterplay. What is behind the crowdfunding board game Circle of Eternity and why the project is worth supporting, you will find out in the following article, in which Markus Allram himself has his say in an interview.
The picture on the right gives interested parties a first impression of the expected game equipment from Circle of Eternity (CoE). As is usual in the fantasy genre, game manufacturers are rarely stingy with their box contents. This phenomenon is not new, but it has become a standard in fantasy board games. What decades ago with a heavyweight (in the truest sense of the word!) How Hero Quest worked, works today just as well for current top stocks as The legends of Andor. So it's no wonder that Markus Allram and his team from Epic Pan also rely on this horse and want to surprise fantasy fans with lots of gadgets. It is not without reason that the saying goes in role-playing circles: If you're strong enough to carry the game box on your own, you're strong enough to beat up orcs! The content list of Circle of Eternity shows the thematic course the Epic Pan team will take. It's pretty classic where goblins, forest spirits, trolls and a phoenix appear. This corresponds to one of the trends that can currently be seen in the conception of new role board games (keyword dungeon crawler). Purely thematic Circle of Eternity therefore timeless and yet exudes the charm of a board game from the Hero Quest era.
Circle of Eternity is a cooperative board game in the style of a strategic dungeon crawler. 2 to 6 brave players choose their favorite hero from a range of six different characters that will be available when the board game is released. The aim is to pave your way through the dangerous dungeons together, beat up boss monsters and take in all sorts of useful treasures (loot) that strengthen the heroes - all embedded in an exciting story that continues in the course of the adventure.
First of all, the most obvious feature is that modular game board. The board players assemble their individual game plan from 22 different playing areas. So even purely visual differences will provide a lot of long-term motivation. The principle of modular game boards is popular and has been known since the beginning of the extensive Quest board games. The fact that even current titles rely on this concept shows that Epic pan seems to be doing quite a bit right in terms of game design. Circle of Eternity relies on three different variants, which differ in terms of the size of the game board and thus also the playing time:
- Small variant: 45x45cm, 2 to 3 players, approx. 3h playing time
- Medium version: 45x60cm, 2 to 5 players, approx. 5h playing time
- Epic variant: 60x60cm, 2 to 6 players,> 7h playing time
A net playing time of several hours is not uncommon for complex board games such as Axis and Allies. Game rounds longer than seven hours should be just as rare as they are interesting for hardcore role-players.
It also seems Circle of Eternity to become a real Lootfest. Finding treasure is one of the core ideas to prepare the heroes for the upcoming boss fights. In addition to pieces of equipment, players will find all sorts of useful small items and powerful spells. And since boss fights are hardly imaginable without fat loot, victories over dungeon bosses are rewarded with epic equipment. With a progressive story and the modular playing field, a high replay value should be achieved, which fans can enjoy until possible expansions appear Circle of Eternity captivates. The story takes place in one, especially for Circle of Eternity designed fantasy universe. The graphic design is done by Melanie Wolf, who gives the look uniqueness with hand-painted illustrations. So much attention to detail has to be rewarded: It is financed Circle of Eternity via the crowdfunding platform wemakeit.com. The financing phase recently started and 11 fantasy fans have already indicated their support. If you Circle of Eternity If you also want to support, you still have around 40 days, to bring the project closer to the financing target of 30.000 euros.
I push the makers of Circle of Eternity In any case, keep your fingers crossed, because if this game delivers what it promises, board players can expect a real role-playing heavyweight in autumn 2016.
Interview with the maker
What is behind the idea of Circle of Eternity and who is responsible for it? Markus Allram has these and other questions in a short interview Spielpunkt.net answered:
Spielpunkt: Where does your passion for fantasy (board games) come from?
Markus Allram: I'm just a total fantasy and mythical creature fan and have therefore decided on the “classic” fantasy genre. However, there are a very large number of creatures in our world. So we have everything from the well-known dwarf to the phoenix to elementals and various gods and half-gods. Demons, mixed races and still completely unknown beings are scattered at home on “Elara”.
Spielpunkt: When and how did you come up with the idea of realizing your own game project?
Markus Allram: The idea of making a board game was born over 10 years ago. However, school and girls were more interesting at this point. Not necessarily in that order, but there was little space for what turned out to be a large project. During my acting jobs I started working on the game again and before I knew it I had an artist and a graphic designer on my team. At that point, about 2 years ago, it was clear that I really had to try and bring this game to market. And just recently, our team has grown by 2 game mechanics developers.
It is our goal, and in the last dozen test games, this has been very much confirmed, to fill the gap between simple fantasy tabletop games and the sometimes highly complex pen & paper games. It is a game for professionals as well as for people who would like to take a look at the fantastic genre of role-playing games.
Spielpunkt: Who is on the Epic Pan team?
Markus Allram: On the one hand, we have dear Melanie Wolf, a long-time friend of mine, who is responsible for the illustrations. These are lovingly hand-painted watercolors and some are currently on display in Vienna, Marxergasse 24.
Then there is our graphic artist Vera Imade, she puts together the individual paintings and drawings by Melanie and thus designs the layouts for the playing card, the game board and the character sheets.
Since I have to take care of all the entrepreneurial aspects myself on the side, I recently brought a couple into the team to help me write the rules.
The game system, the cube mechanics and the story of this epic fantasy world come from me and took over 3 years to develop.
Spielpunkt: What difficulties did you face at the beginning?
Markus Allram: The beginning wasn't actually the problem at all. Much more that we don't seem to reach enough people who want to support the project. Unfortunately, our resources are limited. Otherwise I would go straight to anyone interested in German-speaking countries and do a test game with them. We have had several dozen test games with players who are really familiar with the genre and have received consistently extremely positive feedback.
Spielpunkt: What was your best experience so far regarding the Circle of Eternity project?
Markus Allram: The best experience was the very first test game about 3 years ago. Everything worked. The mechanics and system were played for the first time and it just worked. Of course, we still had a lot of balancing work to do at the time, but the basic concept took effect right from the start.
But what I personally always put a smile on my face is when I can watch test match groups as they have a lot of fun with my game.
Spielpunkt: What makes CoE different from other fantasy board games? Why are you better than the competition?
Markus Allram: As already mentioned, with “COE” we have managed to fill a gap in the game scene. Our system is ideally suited to offer newcomers the opportunity to deal with the topic of fantasy role-playing games and pen & paper games in an easy way and to try out the genre.
The players explore a game board with their hero characters, which is composed of 22 playing surfaces. These can be set up differently each time and so the game board alone creates an extremely high level of replayability. But the player also has a lot of freedom in designing the heroes. Another component turns “COE” into a simple yet extensive game. The playing cards and character sheets are specially foiled and written on with white board markers. These are dry, easy and quick to wipe off. To erase these markers properly, we also supply washable felt sponges.
Through these implementations, we generate an extremely high level of replayability. Every time the landscape looks different and you have to come up with new strategies to get to your goal.
Spielpunkt: If everything goes well, the Circle of Eternity should appear in autumn 2016: Can you be visited at Spiel'16 in Essen?
Markus Allram: Unfortunately, no. Since the exact time of implementation has not yet been determined, we were unfortunately unable to register for various trade fairs this year. But we should be there by 2017 at the latest.
What the Epic Pan team did with the board game Circle of Eternity has made is extremely ambitious. Despite the early financing status, the project is already making a good impression and should be a real insider tip for fans of complex fantasy board games. Circle of Eternity relies on a mixture of modern game ideas and the feel of the game that many role-players know from the days of a Planescape Torment or Baldur's Gate - absolutely classic fantasy. As Markus Allram mentioned in the interview, it's here Circle of Eternity a development time of now over 3 years. Such an ambitious project should definitely be looked at very carefully.
Currently the project Circle of Eternity Over 30 supporters have already invested 1.700 euros in the crowdfunding project. Those interested still have from today 21 days timeto support this ambitious board game idea.