So, here we are. A fun little lockdown hobby has turned into something so much bigger. This is quite a pattern for me (Cat), because I get washed away in my big ideas and all of a sudden, they become my everything. It’s a wonderful, creative way to live, as long as the tide is flowing in my direction, but man, it can be exhausting when you just want to sleep, and an idea is insisting on being extruded NOW.
So when I started thinking about how fun it would be to play a foraging game, I didn’t really understand what would happen to me. All of a sudden, I was paying attention to details that wouldn’t have been that important to me before, like exactly what people foraged for, and what they made with it.
The Valley is born
And then, one morning, I woke up with the urgent need to write. I sat down at my laptop and I typed ALL DAY. At the end of the day, I had a fully-formed draft game. Although some details have changed since then, the main shape of the game has not. I am still very proud of my early efforts, and they were playable immediately – and, in fact, we did, over and over, as we identified and refined the things that needed refining, added and removed things that weren’t right, and generally fine-tuned my vision – kind of like adjusting your camera lens. It wasn’t the game that needed fixing, it was my ability to see it clearly.
These pictures are from back in June, after I spent a day or so putting together a very quick outline of the board, some cards, and the player mats. Functionally, very little has changed: players still gather harvests, use them to make recipes, and then sell what they made at the market. They still have to deal with events in both halves of the game, and changing product values to account for the audience and weather at the market. I have added in refinements and details like the types of recipes, what they make, the events they encounter, and George came up with the detailed stats for the Cottager personas, to help us connect the two halves of the game. It feels like a really strong offering, now. and we really hope that people will enjoy it.
This blog will take you through the process we went through to get the Valley from its inception to however we decide to publish, as well as the ever-increasing number of other games that keep insisting on being extruded from my brain, and it will also give you glimpses into the life of a game-designer couple. Thanks for joining us!