The Future of High Noon (LOTS of Pictures)
almost 3 years ago
– Wed, Mar 31, 2021 at 11:25:55 PM
I have been working on this update for the past few days, intended to post it yesterday but my current office assistant has been more work than help 😅🙈
There's been quite a few comments and messages coming in about the future of High Noon, specifically from the folks who have backed at the All-In tier but also those at lower tiers hoping the expansions we don't unlock will be available after the Kickstarter. So let me get this out of the way right now...
Yes, we will eventually be making every expansion we don't immediately unlock here.
Yes, you will be able to purchase these expansions at retail.
Yes, if you are in my Ride or Die posse (pledge All-In)...
You will be getting every High Noon expansion we produce for the rest of time.
No matter how many times I say this, it seems the specter of the Kickstarter Modus Operandi still clouds the comprehension of most who come across this campaign.
Who would have thought that an independent creator using Kickstarter to launch not just a one-off product but a long-term brand and product line would be so unconventional and controversial? And here I thought that's precisely what Kickstarter was for. But it turns out "Kickstarter Only" projects are so commonplace that the entire industry has grown beyond accustomed to the idea that it's now written into their DNA and the only real "Kickstarter Exclusive" elephant in the room is the Kickstarter campaign itself.
The irony is not lost on me that the very same people who decry the propensity of Kickstarter exclusives and so-called "manufactured FOMO" will turn around and shun an independent creator - to the point of accusing their campaign of being a scam - solely because their plan is to actually go to retail, beyond Kickstarter and release everything to the public over time.
This, I believe, is one of the biggest issues our campaign faces because even our most ardent supporters sometimes have a problem remembering that this is about launching not just a game but a brand. That's not a knock on them. They've openly admitted it. It's simply a curse of the status quo. But it is something I aim to change.
Now, before anyone starts pointing fingers, my personal opinion on the matter is there's nothing wrong with launching a single product exclusively on Kickstarter. If that's what you want to do, I say go for it. It makes a lot of sense, actually. Like any other form of commitment, long-term plays aren't for everyone. Sometimes, all we have in the moment is one idea, One Big Thing.
To put another way, I love all the layers of a savory lasagna, but - from time to time - I also enjoy a singular chicken marsala. So I'm not here to dunk on the chicken lovers or the chicken chefs or even the chicken itself. But I am here to remind the entire dining room that - just because all the big chefs insist on exclusively making one, single chicken dish, lasagna is on the menu, always has been, and is a perfectly acceptable experience, and dare-I-say the one most likely to include plenty of delicious leftovers!
So let's dive into the multiple layers of the High Noon lasagna.
It starts with the core game.
High Noon's starter Set was always intended to be a gateway into the game and the universe. In that, it needed to not only be the lowest cost item-for-the-assets but also be as simplistic as possible. Only the most elemental of rules and accessories were to be included, merely to introduce you and the players to the fundamentals of the game system. You're going to get a handful of posses for play-style variation. You're going to get some basic game tiles to start building out your fledgling war-torn town, their terrain markings limited to 2 colors, just to get you acclimated to what to look for when planning your movement and strategy. Your loot cards will be just enough to get the idea of what possibilities some weapons, accessories and consumables will bring to your posse load-out.
Will there be more in the future? Of course there will and there already are. More colorful posses and characters, bigger tiles with more detail, and more terrain markings with new mechanics and a wider variety of loot cards to enhance your gameplay experience. But not here. Not in the Starter Set. This is just your primer for what's to come.
It's important to understand this. There was some pushback from people who protested that my game was already made and therefore there wasn't any opportunity for feedback. I understand the complaint, but feedback on the starter set was never going to be on the table. The Starter Set had a very defined purpose and could not deviate from that.
The time and place for feedback has always been - and continues to be - in the expansions. This is where the real potential for High Noon's future exists and this conversation maintains a healthy openness in our Discord group. If feedback on the development of High Noon is on the forefront of your concern and whether or not you back this project, I encourage you and invite you to join in that discussion.
For now, let's talk about what the future currently looks like...
A little Hotter, a Little Higher
We've already begun the roll out of expansion posses that add color and variety to the universe. With the release of Father Franklin and Grizzly Greenwood we not only introduce machine guns, animals and a unique coral-and-isolate playstyle but also the first new terrain mechanic: Hazardous.
Specifically, the campfire and broken glass on their starting tiles are the first terrain of their kind that hinder and damage those who pass through it. This mechanic will become more relevant in future expansions and game-modes, but these posses bring them in gently to - once again - acclimate you to their purpose and effect.
Following those two expansions is the hotly anticipated Bonnie Beecher and the Bandero Blondes. And while most of the anticipation stems from the desire for more representation in the game and universe, the real value here is in the mechanic of elevation that their starting tile introduces. This mechanic will be much more prominent in expansions, posses and tile sets that role out, bringing in more high ground positions and the advantages that come with them.
Players will be vying for these elevated positions, as they render certain cover obsolete while granting critical attack and defense bonuses.
While the elevation in this tile won't be the most widely used at first, this is one of the biggest changes to the game at the point of the roll-out, setting the stage for all sorts of possibilities down the line, setting the stage and standard for many of the future expansion posses.
The Crates Get Heavier
With a wider variety of characters comes the need for a wider variety of weapons and equipment and the world of High Noon is replete with items to choose from. An expansion of loot cards will be the first in a line of strictly card-based expansions in the High Noon product line, offering an array of colorful consumables, forgotten firearms and a host of holsters to carry them.
These cards are currently available to playtest and enjoy in the free digital version of High Noon accessible through our Discord server.
Interactive Tiles and Resource Management
Miroslav Zoric is apparently a posse you either love or hate. Even though his likeness and technology is (albeit loosely) inspired by real-world historic data, his deviation from the standard fare spurs and big-irons has set a few people off. Nevertheless, what excites me about him isn't his theme, but the mechanics he introduces.
Miroslav is the first posse with a tile that actually does something and that you can do something to. He is also the first posse to introduce the concept of a posse-specific resource that you can manage and use to activate special abilities. In this case, his starting tile is his research lab, who's generator provides the power Miroslav channels into his basic and special cards and his turrets that he places around the board. A player can shut down the generator, effectively neutralizing Miroslav, so a good defense of the lab's entrance is key. Meanwhile, Miroslav must be careful how he spends his generator's energy, as it only recharges at the end of his turn, meaning the other players have the entire round to drain his power, keeping him from playing his more powerful cards.
That said, Miroslav is a zone control posse, gaining power and control of the board with each tower he places around the battlefield. Whether he chains them together to multiply the strength of one's attack, connects two to form an impenetrable defensive barrier or even detonates one to damage everyone around it, the more towers in play, the more destructive the otherwise unassuming scientist becomes.
With the introduction of Miroslav, you get the concept of functional tiles and areas, which adds a myriad of possibilities for game modes. You also get the first taste of resource management, which will become very important for other future expansions such as Gov. McGrady who introduces another development in the game...
Unique Victory Conditions
I tell everyone I talk about High Noon with, the value is in the posses. Whether it's a completely different playstyle, a completely new mechanic or exponential combinations of replayability, each posse brings something entirely new to the table.
True to that standard, Governor McGrady takes the entire point of High Noon up to this moment and flips it upside down. Governor McGrady doesn't care about gold and doesn't have to fight for it. He gets it for free at the start of every turn. Governor McGrady doesn't care who is left standing or how much gold they have. All he cares about is winning re-election.
So, while everyone else is fighting amongst themselves, Gov. McGrady is working the table, influencing players and gathering votes. For him, the race against the clock is the race for Saratoga.
This poses a unique challenge for the Governor because he is not a fighter. He has few hit points and fewer attack and defense cards. And if he dies, his henchmen flee, meaning you lose. So, where every other player thus far is an advanced form of a Queen in Chess, McGrady is the King and must be protected at all costs.
Of course, with all of his political favor cards in the hand of the right political-minded player, that may not be such a challenge after all.
East Will Meet West
This has always been a major point of contention, but I really don't care. It's my game. This is my love letter to the great Westerns that molded and shaped who I am. Quite a few of the most influencing westerns were just re-skins of famous films from the far east. These films were just as prolific in their time and - from where I'm standing - the western genre as we know it wouldn't exist without the samurai genre before it.
It's for that reason, there will be samurai in my universe, just as there was in our real one. Their motivations for being in America will make perfect sense and their gameplay mechanics will integrate seamlessly with those of the cowboys and Indians. Naturally, you can't have samurai without ninja, so they will be making an appearance as well.
Saratoga Will Be Explored
A lot of the games I sent out for reviews ended up getting unboxing videos made instead. My thoughts on the merits (or absolute lack thereof) aside, one thing of note was how completely dismissive they all were about the map that was included in the box. On the surface, that's totally fine. They hadn't taken the time to be remotely curious about the game or the universe, so I couldn't possibly expect them to understand the meaning or purpose behind the map.
As we have covered more than a few times, High Noon is set in a universe. This universe has lore. Most of the lore you as the player will explore exists in the state of Saratoga, where these various (mis)adventures take place.
This map, that you get in the Starter Set, actually sets the stage for a lot of the expansions rolling out and provides landmarks to some of the driving forces that set the stage for the shootout in Sweetwater Gulch, the scenerio contained in the Starter Set.
Up until now, most of the posses exist on the same dirt that covers most of the state, but Saratoga isn't all dry beds and tumbleweed. In the rich oil town of Stratford City, where bigger is always better, wide cobblestone roads full of monuments pave the way for fresh markets and larger-than-life buildings.
Characters can take the physical high ground and shoot down on their enemies from the first-of-its-kind multi-floor saloon.
With a map of its massive scale, getting around can take several rounds. Fortunately, the roads are lined with rails for fast-moving streetcars that characters can hitch a ride on and use as mobile battle platforms.
These moving tiles also serve to introduce the mechanics necessary for the planned epic Train Station expansion that will require an entire update (and Kickstarter) dedicated to it.
The developed civilization isn't the only place to enjoy giant maps of reversible tiles and endless gameplay. To the northern border of Saratoga is the lush woodland of Timber Heights, full of winding rivers, campsites and forest trails. Easily combine the tiles to form beautiful timberland.
This tile-set expansion is so vast, it requires three different packs to collect them all. Timber Heights also introduces dense terrain for characters to hide in and shoot from. It also includes universal starting tiles, making it perfect for tournaments of all sizes.
Other expansion tile sets are planned in the works and memorialized on the map. Venture to the snow-covered mining town of Oreville and into the mineral-rich mines of Montoro Range, or battle it out in the ghost town of Purgatory where supernatural occurrences are all too common.
The flagship campaign of the RPG expansion will take you south of the border, across the Rio de Estela, into the jungles of Selva Rica to track down the mad Col. Rodgers who has become the blood god of the lost Mayan civilization of Tzultacaj. Who knows what untold riches await the party?
Oh did I mention the RPG Expansion?
With most of the mechanics set in place by this point in the roll out, it will be very easy to unveil the RPG expansion of High Noon, which will - like all of the other expansions - seamlessly integrate with the game system as it is.
True to the vision and purpose of High Noon, the RPG expansion will also serve as a "gateway game" for people to quickly and easily get introduced and accustomed to Role Playing Games. Creating your character will be a breeze and leveling up, equally as simple.
Players will use points to purchase their starting stats (Speed, Range, Inventory, Health, etc) and be equipped with a basic starter deck. In this way, the players form the posse. As they level up, they will choose from various poker chips that have icons on them to identify which stats they are leveling. The final result of high-level players will resemble a table of card players with stacks of chips in front of them, continuing the look and feel of an old school game of wild west poker while providing the familiar RPG experience we all know and love.
We Will Add Dimension
Somewhere throughout this timeline, the landscape itself will gain a 3rd dimension. It won't become completely 3D. That was never the intent nor design of the game and it shows in the artwork. However, the tiles will become something of a hybrid of 2D and 3D, similar to Battle Systems and others.
Just like Battle Systems, the buildings will be assembled in a puzzle-like fashion., however, unlike Battle Systems, we will be using the same high quality polystyrene material that we have used for the terrain tiles. This will ensure they are durable and stand the test of time, while making the colors really pop. Also, no glue will be required for assembly!
I wrote up a whole update about this in an update on the previous campaign and you can read more about it and see all of the pictures here.
It Will be a Wild Ride
And by that I mean there will be mounts in High Noon. From wild stallions to covered wagons, motorcycles to Model C's. There are more than 50 designs for unique mounts planned for High Noon, each with their unique traits, abilities and bonuses for the rider.
Like the buildings, these mounts will be constructed like a puzzle out of polystyrene. They will come packaged in a sealed pack similar to trading cards. You'll pop them out of the "cards" and put them together to form the cool 3D mounts.
With the introduction of the mounts comes a whole new wave of expansion posses with their own. The 4 horsemen of the apocalypse will absolutely make their appearance, as will a circus ringmaster who rides a giant war elephant that can smash and stomp on everyone while granting an elevation bonus to the rider. It's going to be a hoot.
Putting it All Together
There is so much more that I haven't gone into, but I hope this gives you all a birds-eye view of the roadmap for High Noon post-Kickstarter and hopefully it helps you all to understand this campaign was always just the beginning for the brand and I mean it literally when I say the best is yet to come.
At the end of the day, with all of the expansions and supplements, High Noon is anything you want it to be.
That's not to say one needs all of the expansions and supplements to enjoy High Noon to its fullest. Quite the opposite. The purpose of the expansions is for people to pick and choose what they want for their individual unique experience.
Of course, you know I gotta say it, those of you who go All-In on this campaign at the $300 pledge will get everything I just laid out - and more - as we produce it. 🤠
We needed the Kickstarter to be a success so we could roll out with more than just the Starter Set so people could see the real value in High Noon is all the different directions it can go. By crushing the goal, we did exactly that. All thanks to you.
In keeping with our unconventional - but logical - approach to our Kickstarter of going into production on the widest possible offering of expansions at launch, we will be keeping our pledge manager open for late pledges, as well as our retail pledge manager, and all monies collected during that time will go toward unlocking the stretch goals in our campaign. So, let's say we close out our late pledge manager and our total is $150,000. We will be unlocking Father Franklin, Grizzly Greenwood and possibly another expansion, meaning you will get your free add-on!
And if you went all in, that means you're getting all of those add-ons for free. No pressure. All of the other pledge tiers are loaded with value and I know you're going to love whatever level you go in at. But it needed to be said for those of you on the fence and unsure how it will all work.
Yes, we will be producing all of these things either right away (if the campaign does well enough) or over time (if the retail does well enough) and you will have the option to purchase all of these expansions in the pipeline at retail or get them for free if you are a part of the All-In Ride or Die backers.
OK! I've written my brains out at this point, so I'm going to give myself a break. Hopefully this has answered all or at least a lot of your questions, but - as always - if you still have any, feel free to leave them here or in the comments or pop into the Discord chat and ask me there. I'm here for you guys.
Thank you for your unwavering support through all of this. I can't wait to bring High Noon in all of its epic forms to your table!
What did you think of this update? Are you excited about this timeline? What other expansions would you like to see in the High Noon universe? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think! Have you joined our Facebook Group or Discord server? That's where the party's at! Use the links to come on over!
If you like these updates and want to support our campaign, please consider leaving a comment and sharing this post with your friends, family and network. A little word-of-mouth goes a long way.