Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Plague Doctor

If you've been paying attention to how the Kickstarter has been going (shameless link here:, you'd know that the King Prize, a prize which allowed the backer to make the 61st card in the Masquerade game, had been taken.

To sum up the story, I've been speaking in detail with the backer and he wishes to see a character he invented, a plague doctor, in the game.

This is more than reasonable, seeing a plague doctor in a fantasy game isn't an impossible thing as according to history they've been around since the 500's. The typical image of a plague doctor, however, is a creepy figure with a raven mask. It's very gothic and dark, perfect for Masquerade.

What a plague doctor looks like, art done by Torvald2000 on DeviantArt
It will be fun to play with the concept of plague in the Masquerade game, considering it is a close competitive party game. I was thinking as an effect, the plague doctor forces all players to discard a card they have in play so long as it is face up. The plague doctor, of course, will have to have high defense to make this effect useful.

What do you all think would be a good plague doctor effect? My own concept art of a plague doctor will be submitted in a few days once I get a scanner that works.

Also, please check out the Kickstarter for Masquerade and show some support!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Editors and Book Covers

The majority of my updates concerning the Masquerade projects these days have been on the Kickstarter website with the handy update feature they have. As a result, this blog has been neglected somewhat over the past few days, so here is an update just for you guys!

Remember though, you can find the Kickstarter here (

The biggest news I have concerning the Masquerade book is the fact that I have two new copy-editors looking over the book for me. One is a full-time author for a variety of books and the other is a professional journalist for online gaming websites. For privacy, I won't mention their names. This is good news for me, considering I just finished applying my own edits to the entire book. I've already went through a first chapter edited by one of them and seen plenty of errors I'll need to go back and fix.

Another important thing I've been working on is the actual book cover for Masquerade if you recall in my last post. I had a simple design worked out, but I took it and modernized it.

I really like this new design a lot and want to take it to a graphic designer in school to have them polish it up. I feel the font needs a little work.

There's been no real news on the card game side for Masquerade, I need to begin work on the King prize's card, the Plague Doctor. I'll probably start sketches for that idea sometime after Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

King Prize and Book Cover

As of writing, we are 16% into funding for the Masquerade Kickstarter! I honestly didn't expect to get that far in just two days. What's more impressive is that the King prize has already been claimed! That means someone has backed $300 or more for Masquerade and earned the right to create their own card which will appear in the final version of the game.

I won't say who is the victor without his express permission, but he's a friend of mine!

In other news, I realize I'm going to have to work really hard to get everything printable next semester once the Kickstarter is a success (That's right, claiming victory already). That includes the book and the cover, and trust me when I say I've been working hard on the editing all over break. As for the cover, well...

This is the first draft I had in mind, a sort of old fashion feeling. I don't know if this is what I want though, it doesn't feel modern enough. I'm going to have to be playing with styles on my own all over vacation unless I find a graphic designer interested in helping me with the book.

Perhaps I'll have to look around school when I return.

Remember, dear readers, to tell your friends about the kickstarter ( Shameless advertising away!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

We've Begun!

The Kickstarter for Masquerade has now officially launched! Check it out here (

I thank everyone who has shown support to me so far, here's hoping that the project becomes a success!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tomorrow, We Launch

Here I am, sitting in an apartment, waiting for my ride back home for Christmas break. There's still a lot I feel like I need to do for the Masquerade project, but it's either now or never. The actual project itself has been ready for some time. All it needs now is that push and some good marketing, maybe I'll have to go look into hiring one from the majors here at Champlain College.

That's another story though. For most part, the Masquerade Kickstarter is all set. There's only one detail missing and that's the credit card information, which should be here tomorrow. Unfortunately, I won't be arriving home until late, so that means I'll have a lot of work tomorrow.

You all can expect the Kickstarter to be launched sometime between 12-2 PM, by then all the problems should be worked out and I can finally begin. I'll probably do updates regularly explaining what Masquerade even is to some of the people who come from the Kickstarter. (For those of you who don't know, you can click the tab up top to find out).

I think another project I'll be doing in the future is a how-to-play video during my time off, so look forward to that.

I'm really excited and can't wait to begin.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The New Date

After weeks of waiting for the bank to finally get back to me, I've come to the conclusion that I can finally begin the Masquerade Kickstarter project! Hurrah!

The problem is I still need to wait for my new credit card number before that happens. Hurroo...

So basically, what this update is boiling down to is me announcing when the new date is going to be for the Masquerade Kickstarter. It's going to be December 17th. Yes. A Monday. December 17th. December. Seven. Teenth. Remember it.

This is going to be for real this time. I can't wait to see what happens. The new date will also allow my general audience, people at Champlain College, a chance to look at what I'm offering without being stressed over finals, considering that's what's going on this week.

That's all I have to say. I'm also working on designing the new book cover for the Masquerade novel, pictures will happen when I'm happy with a design.

Actually, you know what? I'd like to hear what you guys think. What is YOUR favorite book cover? Post it here in a comment and let me know.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Today Might be the Day

That's probably a pretty self explanatory post. The bank in my hometown is opening today, so here's hoping that they will finally approve my account and I can get back to work on starting the Masquerade Kickstarter. It really is just a waiting game this point.

In other news though, I've recently been playing with the ideas of where I'd like to go next with the Masquerade project or any side projects in general.

The first thing that came to mind was continuing the Masquerade story.

Lately I've been trying to come up with a new plot with some interesting characters to advance the story behind Masquerade. I didn't originally intend to have a sequel to Masquerade, but now that I've finished the story I can see that there's a lot more places I can take the plot. There's more I'd like to say and more adventures that will follow Mary and Newgate.

While I don't want to say anything about the plot idea I have in mind just yet (It's likely to change in an instant knowing me), I will definitely confirm that a sequel will be more than likely depending on the success of Masquerade.

I think I may have mentioned in a previous post that I'd like to eventually publish Masquerade (the book) full time with a company. That means I'll have to start looking around for an agent once I do a little editing. I would also like to wait for the Kickstarter to see how popular the idea is. If it proves really success, it will make finding someone to publish my book that much more easier.

I was also thinking about working on another tabletop game idea, only this time it would be a stealth game tabletop game. I don't think anyone's ever attempted doing something like that and I have a few ideas on how to make it stealthy while including all the elements of a sneaking game like one you would play on a console or computer.

Again, we'll just have to see where the Kickstarter goes. Here's hoping it starts this week!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Still Waiting...

I'm still waiting on word from the bank. As a reminder, I need to open up a new account at a local bank and get a credit card, which is the only thing Amazon is willing to accept if you open an account for selling stuff on their website.

Until now, I didn't even know Amazon was involved with Kickstarter but it's been an important lesson on preparation ahead of time. I'm starting to think I needed a little more time than month to prepare for Masquerade's Kickstarter, but there's nothing that can be done about that right now.

I guess the important thing to do is to study for my finals (which are next week) and continuing providing you guys updates. Once it's Christmas break, I plan on advertising the hell out of Masquerade's Kickstarter page. I've already worked on the press release and everything. I'll even be contacting various blogs and websites in hopes that I get an article up about the project, that would really be something. Of course, there's always the support of the school too and various connections I have within Champlain.

Am I worried that Masquerade is going to flop? Absolutely. But I think that enough people like the idea and it will interest people on Kickstarter. Even if I don't get the money, I have the experience of being only one person in my year to pursue a goal like this. No one in Champlain College has had the guts to try and publish a card game/ book on their own.

At the very least, it's going to make a nice portfolio piece.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Where We Are

As I mentioned last Saturday in the blog post, Masquerade is currently going through some account difficulties in terms of banking. I'd like to inform you all that the problem is currently being solved. I'm working right now to open up a separate bank account to use for Amazon (the primary distributor of money for Kickstarter).

It's going slow as does most things to do with the bank. My hope is that by the end of the week I will sort this mess out.

Apologizes to having everyone wait like this. I should have looked into this matter sooner, if this were a real job I probably would have been fired. I'd like to promise that a solution will come soon, but considering its bank involved and out of my hands I have no idea how long this will take.

I can promise that as soon as the banking gets sorted out, I'll post that the Kickstarter is up. So stay tuned until then!

Check out the map in the meanwhile! A full hand drawn version of it is going to be one of the prizes for the Kickstarter, it will even be signed.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Banking Issues

So, if you might have realized it's December 1st and the Kickstarter for Masquerade still isn't up yet. That would be where you're wrong!

I completely made the Masquerade page but there's a catch. I hadn't counted on all the banking information I was going to need for my Amazon account for Kickstarter. That means that I'm going to have to wait until Monday before I can finally get the project off the ground.

I could sit here and complain about the situation but that wouldn't be fun. That's what the update is anyway and why there isn't a Kickstarter yet. Stay tuned for more updates, with any luck there the Masquerade Kickstarter will launch on Monday.

Wish me luck.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dawn of the Last Day

Now the nervousness is starting to kick in, knowing that I need to create the Kickstarter tomorrow. It's making me crazy!

It's the last day to get everything I wanted to do done and I have to say I feel like I've made significant progress since the start of the month. If you've been following my Facebook posts, you'll know that I now have the official Masquerade website up and running. You can find it here (

So the two major things I wanted to do before the Kickstarter began are officially done: the website and the trailer video. I'm going to start up the project tomorrow sometime in the afternoon and post the crap out of it. I'm not expecting a huge success, that's why I set the bar to just enough to pay for printing costs. But don't get me wrong, I'm going to advertise the crap out of Masquerade everywhere.

Wish me luck and see you guys tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Video's Done!

As of right now, the Kickstarter trailer for the Masquerade project has been completed! I'm a little shaky about the results of it, but for a first time I would say it's not bad at all. I really like how the music fits with the theme of the game and everything.

I followed the basic guidelines that Kickstarter laid out for making the video: talking about who I am, what the project is, where the idea came from, and why your support matters.

Overall, I wish I had a better quality camera and had more help with the footage. Maybe next time I work on a project like this, I'll hire a professional to do it for me so it looks a thousand times better. For now, at least I have the ability to say that everything in Masquerade so far is 100% created by me.

In other news, the website is still underway though I did get to see the results! I don't want to post them here because it's not quite ready yet but it's looking good so far.

Look forward to Saturday when the Masquerade Kickstarter finally gets created!

Monday, November 26, 2012


If you have been paying attention to the Facebook Group (, you'll know that as of Friday, November 23rd, Masquerade has applied for copyright. What does this mean basically though?

Well, aside from being one of the goals I wanted to complete before the Kickstarter on December 1st, copyrighting the game and novel is going to be what protects it should the project become a hit. Legally, no one will be able to "steal" the idea of Masquerade. Really anything can get copyrighted so long as it's an original idea and in fact I was debating if Masquerade needed copyrighting or not.

Combined with this blogs, which systematically dates each post, and my saved files I have proof that Masquerade is an original idea created by me at a specific date. No other person in the world should be able to prove me wrong in that respect. What copyrighting is, or at least the copyright I applied for, is essentially adding a date for the government or courts to refer to should there ever be a legal issue over intellectual property. I know that sounds absolutely complicated, but trust me when I say it makes more sense to the blood sucking lawyers than it does to me.

It other news, I printed out the first officially bound hard copy of the Masquerade novel. It's quite long and heavy, but what do you guys think?

With under a week left to start the Kickstarter, the only thing I have yet to do is edit the video together. That's my goal this week, wish me luck! I'll post it on the blog the moment it's completed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Website

So some good news before I launch the Kickstarter, I found someone who promised to put up the website before December 1st. And she's a professional no less!

In celebration of this, I've decided to post what the website is going to look like when it's complete. That's right, all the pages up for viewing. Check it out!

The Home Page
I was going with the theme of letters, wax stamps, and childish character drawings. I made the decision that it's actually Mary, from the book, doing these doodles. It's fitting with the style that someone her age would draw in and it adds depth because we get to see what she sees in the world around her.

The About the Book Page
The book page doesn't have the book cover just yet (I haven't created it after all!) but it certainly adds to the feel I was trying to create. There's even a little Mary sketch in the corner of the page.

About the Creator Page
To match the theme, I couldn't use an actual picture of myself so I came up with the Wanted Poster look with a stamp idea of a photo of myself.

About Game Page
This is probably my second favorite page on the website. It's a letter to Newgate, another major character in the game and story. I love the little note from another character, Carnell, to add to the theme.

And now my least favorite page.

Card Page
Yeah, I just don't like how this page came out. In the future, I'll probably rework it. But for now, it's important to have because I want people interested in the game to have a place where they can download the cards from for free.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Finding Editors

I know this was probably a post before much earlier back when I finished the Masquerade book, but I'm in need of editors. Not for the 49 chapter Masquerade book, though to be honest if you're interested I'll gladly take your help.

No, I need editors for the different writings I need to do to make both the game and the Kickstarter work.

The press release I've written for the Masquerade project has been written up and I've shown it to one person, my mom. Not that I want to insult my mother, but I definitely need more eyes to take a look at this considering this is what's going to grab the attention of blogs and newspapers. I've never written a press release after all, every pair of eyes that look at it will help with making sure I do this right.

The other thing I've off editing is the rulebook. If you check this link ( you can see the most recent version of the rulebook so far.

So, is anyone reading this interested in doing some editing? You'll get a sneak peak on everything I'm working on so far. Just give me an email at or comment on the page and I'll get right back to you.

Have a good Thanksgiving! Fill up on turkey.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Beginning of the Holidays

As I said before, the reason I haven't really been posting lately is because there's simply nothing I can show that you're all not going to see already once the Kickstarter begins. Most of it is boring documentation like the press release, which I need to send out to people to have edited before I deliver it to various websites.

For those who don't know, a press release is similar to a news article except it's what you write and send to news reporters to get them aware of you and curious about you. I currently have mine talk about how different the Masquerade project is, how interesting the dynamic between the card game and book is, and how young I am to be working on such a thing.

I would post it here for you to see, but it probably isn't all that interesting. I will be sending it out to different people though once the Kickstarter launches.

That reminds me, I need to have a link to the Kickstarter page at the top of this website soon!

I suppose if you want something for me to show you guys, here's the new logo I worked out for Masquerade. I'll be using this as the official header for most things related to Masquerade unless I can find a graphic designer to create a better one.
In other news, my Thanksgiving holiday is going to be filled with creating the video for my Kickstarter project, finding someone to create the website (problems arose with that this week), polishing the documents I have, and building some connections for the time when I post the Kickstarter.

This is going to be a real thing! I can't wait to prove to the world that I'm not just all talk!

I don't expect Masquerade to explode in popularity, but if I can even get just $5000 in donations from people that would be a great success in my book. It's like my teacher said, at the very least the reward for working on this is going to be an excellent portfolio piece.

I'll post the video on here once I finish working on it over break. I realize I need to update my video blog soon too...

Monday, November 12, 2012

Where Have You Been!?

That's the question I've been asking myself the past week. Truth be told, I haven't been sitting around doing nothing in that time (I promise!) but instead I have been hard at work with a number of projects including preparing for the Kickstarter.

So what have I done? Let's take a look at the list.

  1. Get a proper website: I've spoken before that I'm working on this. I want to post in the future what some of the pages will look like. The art for this is all done save for a few missing components and pictures. (In progress)
  2. Design the final cards: This is why I've been working so hard on the card backs lately. Now that the backs are done, I want to get the final art in for the fronts. Then I'll be all set!
  3. Copyright: I've also said this before. Copyrighting is going to be a huge thing so that no one steals my idea or name. It should be simple enough to do.
  4. Book Editing: The book is now finished, so I need to edit it! I want to send it to publishing agents by the time the Kickstarter starts, so I need to make sure it's as polished as it can be.
  5. Perfect the Rulebook: The rulebook has been something I've been working on and off on for the past month. I need to make sure the rules are clear and understandable for anyone who wants to pick up the game and play. A few sessions in the QA lab should fix this.
  6. Speak to Blogs: I've been thinking this over and I want to spread the word of what I'm working on to other big named sites once I have something more to my name. It will be awesome to get even one of the major sites on the internet like The Escapist to do an article about what I'm working on.
  7. Rewards: Kickstarter is about giving rewards to people who pledge money to you, therefore I need to  think long and hard about the kind of rewards I'd like to give. I have a few ideas and may even do a future article about it.
  8. Design the Page: How Kickstarter is going to work is I'll have a page all to myself that I have to post information on about my project to get people interested. I'll be doing research all month to find out what sort of design successful pages go for. (In progress)
  9. (Optional Step) Find an Agent: This may be optional considering I may go the self publishing route, but it would be awesome to have an agent to help me publish the book. Even an adviser would excellent in the coming days.
Obviously there still a lot more to do but with what I have right now I'd say I'm making excellent headway. I think the count is 19 days left, so that should be plenty of time to work on the steps, particularly the Kickstarter page step (step 8).

Unfortunately, there isn't much for me to show you guys just yet save for the new cards which are all complete. So here you are, enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Video?

So my main focus this week has been the Kickstarter page or more accurately how I'm going to get Masquerade noticed on Kickstarter. If you're ever been to a Kickstarter page, this is what the first thing you see looks like.

Boss Monster's Kickstarter page. Their card game is awesome!

As you may notice, there's the name of the product, the funding for it so far, and a brief description. But there's also the video taking up the majority of the page. This is what many of the viewers for the project are going to refer to.

Most Kickstarter videos last only 2-5 minutes at most because that's what many viewers only have the patience for. That is a very short time limit to:

-Introduce myself
-Tell the story of the project
-Talk about the rewards
-Explain what the project is
-Ask for help

Of course there's the quality of the video to consider to. I want people to realize that this isn't some company asking for help, this is a young college student with a goal to publish a unique card game/story. But that shouldn't excuse the quality of the video. Thankfully my school allows for me to rent good video equipment because of the filming majors.

This week I plan on writing out the script as best as I can and possibly filming myself when I return home next week for Thanksgiving break. Don't think the holiday is going to stop me from working!

In other news, I finished the box art and plan on making art for the Kickstarter page with it! Check it out and give me your opinions!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kickstarter Prizes

So besides today's blog video, I've also put together the prizes I'm going to have for the Kickstarter. The thing is I'll need some feedback for them to see what you guys think of them. Anyway, here's the video real quick if you're all interested.

Do I seem nervous? I certainly am starting to feel it!

Here's the list of prizes I decided on for the Kickstarter project. If you don't know how it works, basically if you donate the listed amount of money or more, you can choose the prize you want plus all of the prizes beneath it. You can check out the Kickstarter pages for more details (

$5 or more: You get your name added to the rulebook as thanks
$20 or more: The card game is yours plus all the below
$35 or more: The book is yours plus all the below
$50 or more: Both the book and the cards will be personally signed by me plus all the below
$100 or more: Special Edition pictures from the original card game and book plus personal special mention in my blogs. You will also be mentioned in a special thank at the back of the book plus all the below
$200 or more (Limited to 5): Your name will appear as a character’s name in the game plus all the below
$300 or more (Limited to 1): You will get to design your own card that will appear as the special 61st card in the game. This includes a picture of yourself as designed plus all the below

The limited prizes are obviously limited to only a few people, the first few who donate that much. I decided to make the prize for the Bloody Christmas Contest, which failed big time, the main prize for Kickstarter. I'm not expecting a whole lot but I am going to try to market the crap out of Masquerade once I get started.

Also, here's the card box I'm working on as promised.

I used a design I found online for poker boxes, so it should be about the same size and hold up to 61 cards for the deck. The design is pretty straight forward and I'll go into more detail with it in the future when I complete it.

Until then, take care guys!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

28 Days Left!

The countdown is underway and we're making progress! I've learned that I need to start looking into making an explanation video for the Masquerade and tell the Kickstarter donators what exactly Masquerade is. If you're curious about that yourself, you can check out the new "What is Masquerade?" tab at the top of the page.

Sounds like the video will basically be that page only a little more detailed. More details will be coming up soon on the video. I'll be sure to post it here for you guys to see!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thirty Days!

It's not like going around the world in eighty days, that's for certain. Hopefully it will be easier, but I'm not counting on it!

So what's in thirty days you ask?

Well, as I've said in some of my previous entries, I plan to start the Kickstarter ( for the Masquerade project on December 1st. That means as of today, November 1st, I have thirty days to complete everything required for Kickstarter. Only a month...Wow...Kind of scary now that I think about it.

So far, I've started work on the eight steps I've assigned for myself by finishing up the card art and working on the rulebook. I plan on completing that by this weekend. I'll also be doing research into a Kickstarter page for Masquerade this weekend to boot. Busy me!

There will be more updates like this as time goes on. Look forward to them!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Rulebook Updated!

If you read my last post in the blog, you'll know that I've decided to launch my Kickstarter project on December 1st and there's a lot to do before that. One of the things on the list was to perfect both the card design and the rulebook. This week I've decided to do both, I've already begun to make the new card design with about 20 cards out of 60 already done.


This is all final card art and text, or at least it is for the results from the Kickstarter. Any minor changes will be added before the cards themselves get printed as real playing cards.

There's also the matter of the updated rulebook. I had been working on it for quite some time and there are only a few changes I need to add to it before it's ready for the final print. I also need to be testing it in the Quality Assurance lab here at Champlain.

If you're curious about what the rulebook now looks like, check out the word version here ( or the pdf version here ( Both are the same document.

What I was going for the rulebook this time was a smaller, compact, and more to-the-point design. After all, if I'm going to sell Masquerade to people, I need to expect them to understand the basic rules without me having to explain them.

Please, if you're curious, check out the rulebook and let me know if you spot any errors or inconsistencies. All your editing will be of great help in the future when I finally get around to printing the game. Here's to doing it by next semester!

Monday, October 29, 2012

8 Steps Before Kickstarter

As I've discovered, the steps before Kickstarter are going to be long and tedious but I think I can do it before the final date of December 1st. There's so much to get done!

In case you didn't watch the video and are too lazy to make a mental note of the steps, I'll record them here for your convenience.

  1.  Get a proper website: I've spoken before that I'm working on this. I want to post in the future what some of the pages will look like. The art for this is all done save for a few missing components and pictures.
  2. Design the final cards: This is why I've been working so hard on the card backs lately. Now that the backs are done, I want to get the final art in for the fronts. Then I'll be all set!
  3. Copyright: I've also said this before. Copyrighting is going to be a huge thing so that no one steals my idea or name. It should be simple enough to do.
  4. Book Editing: The book is now finished, so I need to edit it! I want to send it to publishing agents by the time the Kickstarter starts, so I need to make sure it's as polished as it can be.
  5. Perfect the Rulebook: The rulebook has been something I've been working on and off on for the past month. I need to make sure the rules are clear and understandable for anyone who wants to pick up the game and play. A few sessions in the QA lab should fix this.
  6. Speak to Blogs: I've been thinking this over and I want to spread the word of what I'm working on to other big named sites once I have something more to my name. It will be awesome to get even one of the major sites on the internet like The Escapist to do an article about what I'm working on.
  7. Rewards: Kickstarter is about giving rewards to people who pledge money to you, therefore I need to  think long and hard about the kind of rewards I'd like to give. I have a few ideas and may even do a future article about it.
  8. Design the Page: How Kickstarter is going to work is I'll have a page all to myself that I have to post information on about my project to get people interested. I'll be doing research all month to find out what sort of design successful pages go for.
  9. (Optional Step) Find an Agent: This may be optional considering I may go the self publishing route, but it would be awesome to have an agent to help me publish the book. Even an adviser would excellent in the coming days.
Well, that's it. Those are the eight (nine) steps I have ahead of me before I get the Kickstarter started. Remember, it will be on December 1st. Mark your calenders, we're going for the gold!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book is Done!

So now that the book has finally been completed, I have to start focusing on editing and finding people to edit! Email me if you'd be interested in that at

Also an important note: I've decided to plan the date for the Kickstarter for Masquerade for December 1st! More details on that later including a list of goals I need to accomplish before then.

Thanks guys for your support so far! Here's to taking the next step in the road to publishing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Making a Card Back

For a card game one of the most memorable pieces for me is the card's back, especially in games like Magic, Pokemon, and Yu Gi Oh. Heck, I even remember some of the cool designs on regular old playing cards because they're so symbolic to the card game. My point is, for a card game where players often see the back at least, the back is an important feature to consider when designing the look.

It just so happens that Masquerade is one of those games where player's often see the backs of the cards.

I spoke of the back being a symbol to the game, and it really is on some levels. The back is going to appear on every card in the game, so it's important to give the players a message to take away from looking at it if that's your intention. Taking a look at Magic's card can speak volumes about the actual game itself. It appears to be some sort of cover to a book, much like one of the old tomes wizard use in fantasy stories. In the center of the card are five circles, each a different color. These aren't like the four red circles in the corners of the cards, which are probably a part of the book cover. The designer wanted us to see these five colors (red, blue, green, white, black) for a reason, so they must mean something. Lastly is the text with the name of the game, Magic the Gathering, at the top and the words Deckmaster at the bottom.

What can we take away from this card back? Well besides the name, we can deduce that the game probably involves wizards on some level due to the tome-like design and the words Deckmaster. We also must guess that those five colored circles in the center play some significance in the gameplay.

Those who actually have played Magic will know that this is correct; the game is about two wizards fighting each other with summoned creatures of five different elements. That's saying a lot about the context for such a small picture which is also uniform enough to allow for a deck of sixty or more of these cards to not look unusual. If you're wondering what I mean by uniform design, take a look at the back of a playing card sometime. While the art is very beautiful, it's not so distracting that you lose sight of the more important part of the card, the actual front with the information!

So if there's two things to take away from the card backs it's this: they must show a little about the context of the game and they must be uniform on some level. For fun, let's take a look at some of the designs Masquerade has gone through over the months.

The first design was certainly uniform enough to suit a card back and correctly conveyed the context of conflict as well as the medieval setting, but it didn't quite hit the point I wanted to send to the players. You see, when the players have their cards face down, it means they're "hidden". Mystery was an important theme of the game that this back doesn't display. Though it certainly is a nice design that I wouldn't mind going with.

The next design a friend made for me was certainly more mysterious and dark, but it wasn't quite what I was looking for. The images felt too strong and distracting and the strong color draws your eyes to the card. I imagined players would share more at the back than the actual card!

The card design I've made myself was an attempt at combing all that I learned with the first designs made by my artist friends. I think the stained glass windows in the corners is a nice touch while the picture is the center grabs your attention and accurately portrays a masquerade mask. The saturated windows in the corner also display the actual classes and symbols you can find the game, a nice touch if a player decides to really observe the card back. I'll probably be going with something like this as my design.

Don't think that means I don't like the other designs! They're both really awesome, they just don't quite fit with the style I wanted to pursue. As I said, they certainly gave me ideas!

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Website- Coming Soon!

I know it sounds cliched, with the coming soon thing that is, but Masquerade be having it's own official website where I plan on advertising and eventually selling the products. That and the card back has been where I've really pooling my resources during the weekend.

I promised last week was going to be where I looked into copyrighting the game, but things have been moving forward with the website. I found a friend who is interested in organizing the site as I had envisioned it but he needed me to create all the pages, so I couldn't resist.

Here's what the new homepage is going to look like, call it a teaser:

The style is going for a realistic feel with all sorts of nods to events and characters in the book. The cheery character drawing will also be seen on many of the pages, as you can see from the homepage. A lot of the symbols like the wax stamps and letters are things that appear in the card game as well.

My hope is that this flashy new site will grab people's attention and allow me to show the project more seriously at conventions. The hosting has already been purchased and soon will be going live!

There's also the card backs which I've been working on. I was going for a stained glass window look, but I'm thinking about swapping up the colors for something more relative. Going to ask my artist friends though, but if any of you have feedback, feel free to comment!

This week I hope to print out the latest versions of the cards for a final playtest round to test the rulebook again the week after. I hope things go well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sneak Peek: Chapter Three

As promised to you guys, here's chapter three from the Masquerade book. I'm actually almost finished writing it and am in need of editors or people who simply want to take a look at it. Let me know if any of you are interested!

This is more a background chapter that really sets the world in place and explains what the boundaries are for the fantasy. My hope is that it also clarifies a lot of questions the reader has been having up until this point.

And so, without further a do...

Masquerade Chapter Three

            “Your ignorance surprises me, Count Wymund. I’d never have imagined that there would be a soul in the nobility who did not know about the Emperor of Berma.”

            “You’ll have to forgive me, Lord Carnell. Unlike you, I am not the smartest man in the kingdom.”

            The funny little man, who was Lord Jop Carnell, sat across from Wymund giggling like a gnome. By all accounts he looked like an elf from the old folktales, save for his lack of pointed ears. He was a good foot shorter than Wymund and had a bush brown beard that covered most of his face so much that only his long nose and silver spectacles could otherwise been seen. Carnell seemed to fancy giving the impression to others that he was a sorcerer, as he enjoyed wearing long robes and pointed hats.

            “Now, now, I have never made such a claim. I’m just a man who believes information is among the most important things one can acquire in life. I’ve based my fortune on it after all.”

            “Right, I’m sure plenty of people want to pay for information on shipping manifests…”

            “Not just shipping manifests, my young friend!”

            Carnell stood up on his stubby little legs and wandered around the study where he and Wymund had been drinking tea in most of the afternoon. Aside from old tomes, most of the room was filled with legers, newspapers, charts, maps, and every other sort of parchment imaginable. Wymund found it impossible to believe that such a mess could be considered organized, but Carnell seemed to be able to navigate through the maze of papers with such direction that the young count could only assume he knew where he was going.

            “Behold, nearly every piece of information within Avalot, and even some of our nation’s surrounding neighbors! My collection is constantly being updated on a daily basis by my agents who find every newspaper, every written word, and any tidbit of knowledge that anyone can know!”

            “Yes, and I haven’t come to listen to you brag about it, Jop.”

            Carnell looked angrily at Wymund, who sat looking bored in his chair. “True, you certainly have your father’s arrogant disposition towards my brilliance, Wymund. What was it you asked? Why an old soldier like Captain Newgate would be so shook up by a presence like the Emperor’s? I’ve heard a whisper that you and he have been friendly with one another lately.”

            “I simply wish to learn more about the Emperor of Berma. No doubt you’ve heard of his impending arrival, correct?”

            “Of course I have! You’d have to be a fool with stones in your ears to not know about it, the way they talk about it within the Court!”

            “I don’t understand what the huge fuss about this old man is, though.”

            “Then I suppose it’s true what they say about youth, so quick to act but never taking the time to consider their actions.”

            “Isn’t that why I came to you?”

            A sly grin appeared underneath Carnell’s bushy beard. “Indeed, even after mocking my collection. You wish to learn? Impress me with an appreciate sum for cooperation, information should not be freely given.”

            “Ah, so what you’re saying is you know next to nothing about the man or his imminent arrival and wish to charge me for the legwork involved?”

            The smug smile on Carnell’s face quickly disappeared as a pair of big angry eyes took its place. “No. No. No! It irks me to think a know-nothing lord such as yourself could make such an impression within the court! Don’t insult me by claiming I know nothing about a subject you only remain ignorant about because it was before your time!”

            Carnell hopped up on one of his table’s and pulled down a map of the world as Wymund continued to sit smiling, happily sipping his tea. “Now pay attention, you young upstart, I’m only going to explain this once!”

            He took a stick and pointed at a large landmass in the center of the map. “As you no doubt know, Avalot wasn’t always the great nation it is today. In fact only fifty years ago, we were as much divided as the Outland Countries are now. This was because of two great factions at the time.”

            The world map was divided into several large chunks, with two provinces larger than all the others. Carnell aimed the pointer at the one on the right.

            “On one side of the conflict was our general province today, Avalot. Our great mines and forests, including our trade on gasoline, allowed us to maintain a constant presence among the other nations through trade and commerce for generations.”

            This time he pointed to the section on the left. “On the other was a relatively new power rising in the west. A small unnoticeable nation called Berma had made a discovery that drastically altered the face of warfare and allowed their small armies to acquire territory faster than we could have been prepared for.”


            “I see you aren’t completely empty-headed, Wymund. Yes, by stroke of luck, the tiny failing government had stumbled upon that explosive black powder. With the help of their inventors, they equipped their armies with it and began marching to conquer their neighbors before we could react to stop them.”

            “I thought gunpowder was some queer magic they used in the stories to scare the troopers.”

            Carnell’s face turned beet red in anger. “And I trust you heard such rumors while drinking with those vagabonds in the tavern! I detest excusing simple science as works of magic, rest assured gunpowder is a very real and very dangerous natural phenomenon. It allowed the once small nation Berma nation to expand into an empire which pushed all the way to our borders until twenty years ago.”

            “What happened then?”

            “What was inevitable, the Emperor of Berma declared war on us. He and King Alric were practically at each other’s throats for a time, if the word from the old veterans of the noble court is to be believed.”

            Carnell hopped off of his desk and began flipping madly through some of his old books all while continuing his explanation. “It was a brutal war. Many of my relatives fought and died in the war, leaving me alone as the sole inheritor of the Carnell fortune after my father was killed. The armies of Avalot at the time were the largest in the world, but Berma had the advantage of their new technology. Imagine fields of men charging at each other, only to have wave after wave of them being cut down by only a handful of soldiers. Much of the battles had been fought on the lowlands to the west, making the land there completely unusable.”

            “Charming, who emerged victorious then?”

            “No one, the fighting ended in a draw that lasted for years. The Bermans couldn’t push our vast armies east enough to make any more progress inland, but we couldn’t supplant them from the hills west, they were too entrenched. The worst days of the war happened there, day to day charges into the Berman filled hills with no real sense of progress.”

            Carnell held up a sketched picture in what appeared to be an old journal of sorts. It was a crude drawing of men in armor walking towards mountains with more soldier aiming sticks at them. Red ink covered the paper, to the point where Wymund wasn’t sure if it was blood in the picture or real blood the artist had himself spilled on the book.

            “Captain Newgate had been one of the commanders in the armies that took part in these marches. I suspect he saw many of his friends perish at the hands of those Berma soldiers in the hills. Any mention of Bermans or their worst enemy, the Emperor of Berma, no doubt sparks some pretty disquieting memories for the Captain. Worse still was that the conflict never really ended, save for the truce.”

            Finally, Carnell pulled out an old newsletter which read in big bold letters “TRUCE ACHIEVED!”

            “Former King Alric finally was able to negotiate with the Emperor. I think you know the rest; peace happened at last. The King agreed to marry the Emperor’s daughter, our Queen Beatrice, in trade for an alliance between Avalot and Berma. Beatrice was wedded and dozens of nations followed our unity. After years of conflict, we now have the largest and most powerful country in the world.”

            “With some old in bred bad blood it seems. Knowing all that, it comes as a complete surprise to me that the Emperor would bother to come to his most hated enemy’s funeral.”

            Carnell cackled as he took his seat and returned to his tea. “I know many things Count Wymund, but I cannot claim to know the thoughts of men. Motives and history, most definitely, but the shadows in men’s hearts are best left alone. There are too many variables to consider as to why men behave as irrationally as they do.”

            “I never thought you’d be one to decline on learning something new.”

            “I’ve lived a long time to know not to trifle with the Bermans, especially their crazy Emperor. Whatever he’s scheming, so long as I can maintain my status, I care not about the fate of Avalot.”

            “When you put it like that, you make it seem like the King being murdered was no freak accident, just like Newgate.”

            “He’s said such things, has he?”

            “Not to me directly, he hasn’t. But the way he and the Queen have been at each other throats, you’d think it was some sort of conspiracy.”

            “Perhaps, but people like you and me shouldn’t trouble ourselves thinking about the what-if’s and theories that no doubt litter the court. If there had truly been some sort of plot, I’m confident I would have heard about it at the very least. Newgate’s behavior can easily be written off as grief, he and King Alric were very close. Childhood friends, even.”

            “I wasn’t aware that you considered me in your little upper crust noble club, Carnell. Should I be honored?”

            The little noble sighed reluctantly. “Though you are incredibly na├»ve, young Wymund, I cannot deny that you’ve been making a particular amount of waves within the noble hierarchy. We’ve all made our claims to different lands and regions as members of the noble court, but only a select few of us ever hold enough influence to win over the crowds of Avo. Information may lead to power, but it appears as if it isn’t the only road to rule.”

            “I have no idea what you could be implying…”

            “Act the fool all you wish, I can see through your ruse. You have a silver tongue on you that can convince anyone to do anything for you. How you managed to win over half the population of Avo is beyond me. Those bands of cutthroats and ruffians are beyond me, but it may be their voice that wins you a piece of the pie that gets divided up after Alric’s funeral. That will make three of us.”

            “Perhaps if the rest of you actually cared for the common folk, there wouldn’t be a funeral to begin with. You should go down into the ‘sewers’ as you call them once and awhile to have a drink.”

            Carnell made a quick look of disgust and continued sipping his tea. “And lower myself to drinking in the same room as those ruffians? Not a chance!”

“Who’s the third member of this jolly round table you seem to be establishing, anyway?”

            “That loudmouthed exploiter, Radolf Maynard. No doubt you’ve heard of him, haven’t you Wymund?” Carnell gave a sickening laugh.

            Wymund just stared into his tea. His coy smile had completely vanished. “Yes, him I’ve heard of.”

            “He’s apparently been amassing a fortune through weapon’s trading and armaments dealings. He was right on the border with the Berman Empire during the war. Rumor has it he’s even discovered the Berman’s secret to gunpowder but has been selling it for such outrageous prices that no one’s willing to buy it.”

            “He’s a disgusting man.”

            “Well, we can call him what we want, but the fact of the matter is he’s been playing the trade game right for the past few years. In fact, I daresay that even if you added up all the wealth from each noble in the court together, it still wouldn’t be enough to topple his fortune and he only seems to have a taste for more.”

Wymund continued quietly contemplating his tea, Carnell merely shrugged and said, “Between the three of us, there’s more than enough influence to run the kingdom.”

            “But not one of us would be fit enough to rule it.”

            “I hadn’t pegged you as a cynic, young Wymund. Or are you merely speaking about others and not yourself?”

            “It doesn’t matter I suppose. You know things, I know people, Maynard knows the market. What happened to the heart of the kingdom? Ruling with a just cause and divine righteousness? What does power do to a man to twist them so?”

            “I think the answer to your question is that we grew up. Such ideals are the things for the youth and blind men, like your father.”

            After a long pause, Wymund finally spoke. “Do you think we’ll improve ourselves?”

            “Well, that’s one of two roads we can go by. But look not to the future for too long, it is the present we must be wary of.”

            It was at that moment, there was a knock at the study door. Carnell cursed and continued to sip at his tea.

            “Just as I finally sit down too, come in!”

            A messenger nervously entered the room. He tipped his hat and bowed, not daring to look Lord Carnell in the eye.

            “M-Message for you sire! Urgent delivery! Didn’t mean to disturb-“

            “Fine, fine, fine! Be gone you whelp! Set it down on the table!”

            The young boy nodded and looked up briefly. His eyes caught a glance of Wymund and the look of anxiety on his face transformed into a sincere smile.

            “Lord Wymund?”

            “Ah, Terry. Off delivering messages today as opposed to cleaning up the vomit in the bar, are you?”

            “Yes, well, it’s only that way when you treat the house to a free round, my lord.”

            “Are you here to deliver me a message, boy?” interrupted Carnell. “Or are you here to waste my valuable time with pointless stories from the gutter?”

            “B-But I have a letter for the Count as well…”

            “Bring it here then, Terry.” The young boy sheepishly handed it over to Wymund. The Count noticed a wax seal that he did not recognize, but continued to open the letter and read it out loud.

            Greetings Count Lancelot Wymund,

Despite these darkest of times with news of the death of Avalot’s greet leader, King Alric Dacre, I have elected to hold a small gathering of great host. The most influential and popular noblemen and nobleladies have been invited to attendance.

I seek only to gain a greater perspective of my former rival’s lands by getting know the stalwart defenders who have assisted Alric in ruling it for all these years. No doubt you keen members of the Court can make a guest to this nation feel more welcomed, especially since I go to a funeral of not only one whom I respected but one whom I considered a friend.

I look forward to seeing you there, Lord Wymund. We will meet in the royal garden, overlooking the courtyard an hour after the wake.


            Wymund gave a great pause in the reading as both Carnell and Terry looked at him with intense curiosity. But only Carnell spoke aloud.

            “Well!? Who’s it from, Wymund?”

            “…The Emporer of the Berman Empire. Julian Narvineous.”