Fireside Chat with Foxtrot Games: A PAX South 2019 Tabletop Finalist.

1/13/2019 • PAXSouthNews

Days are drawing nearer until PAX South 2019 and we’re all in great anticipation for what’s in store. We had the opportunity to sit down with Randy from Foxtrot Games to learn a little more about what we can expect to see from them!

First off, how did you feel being nominated as a PSIS exhibitor? 

“We were very excited, as you can imagine! It’s always great when industry veterans believe your game is worth showcasing. Also, there’s nothing more an indie development team can hope for than the opportunity to share their game with an audience eager to see it. We’ve been working frantically to get everything ready, and we can’t wait for people to check out The Search for Planet 9!”

What made your game apply to PSIS?

“You’d probably have to ask the judges to get an official answer! But two things stood out to us that led us to submit it. First, the theme is timely and not like others you typically find in board games; players take on the role of astronomers searching for a distant planet in our solar system, just like real astronomers are doing right now. Second, the integration with digital is pretty exciting; our companion app knows the location of Planet 9, and players interact with it during the game to conduct their research.”

What is your game about?

“Players are astronomers searching for a distant planet, as I mentioned. Each game uses a different map of the solar system, with objects arranged secretly by our app according to predefined logic rules. Each round, you will visit observatories and perform actions to gain information. It’s a competitive logic puzzle. As you learn more, you can start publishing theories — that’s the main way you score points. Eventually, using the game’s logic rules and the location of other objects, you’ll be able to deduce the location of Planet 9.”

What did some of the ‘preparation chaos’ look like in the months and weeks leading to the show?

“The game is still in development, so we’re trying to get as many things ready as we can. Printing and cutting prototypes, running playtests, adding some enhancements to the companion app, that kind of stuff. Plus there’s the logistical details of booking flights and lodging, ordering a banner and postcards, and juggling day jobs and families and holiday vacation — it’s been a hectic few weeks!”

This is not your team's first game. Have you exhibited at an event like PSIS before? If so, how did the attendees’ feedback influence the design and development of future gameplay?

“Playtesting our games at conventions is a huge part of our process. We haven’t shown games still in development at a PAX before, but we have had great success in the First Exposure Playtest Hall at Gen Con and various events run by The Unpublished Games Network (Unpub). We have made some drastic changes based on feedback at these events: we completely re-themed one game, and we stripped out half of another game, just as examples. Games try to create experiences for their players, and there’s no substitute for testing the game with as many players as possible to see if it does in fact create that experience.”

Anything you want to say to the other developers this year?

“I hope you all have a successful show, whatever success means for your team! For those still developing your games, I encourage you to go into the event with a list of specific elements that you want to test. We’ve found that we gain better insight and are able to make more improvements faster if we are observing specific things during the tests, not just whether players are having fun or not. Oh — and be sure to make time for some fun yourselves!”

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