Designer's Diary part III - How my Farm became the Sanctuary

Having my farm ready on the player board I started to work on action cards. Somehow it went pretty smooth. Take an animal, turn an animal, take food, feed an animal, place food in a storehouse, cut woods etc. In short words – everything you can do on the farm. And at that point I needed help from a particular Queen – Queen of Science: mathematics and her humble servant : Excel. I created a chart of how many actions can be taken i every color. It would be simple if there wasn't a problem where those cards have to show up on the table in a balanced way. So I created themed action piles : animals, food, storehouses, forests and special actions. And I prepared that for a 2-players game. I've figured it would be easier to playtest. And then I started to work on storehouse improvements which was really fun. I came up with numerous very powerful actions and decided that there can be only few of them each game. It was supposed to rise the game's replayability. With 2 players I created 6 action card piles, each of them including the same number of different card types. Every game those piles were different so the game played different as well. Simple as that. 
And then I started really intense playtests. First I drained ideas (and energy) from every single friend and college who plays boardgames. When I was inviting people for boardgame nights, I always invited one person for one hour earlier so I could play with him or her. And so i spent hours and hours – modifying and adding some rules, like hedges on cards, mice (at that time threats were simply mice) on most powerful actions to balance them, and I was looking for best possible balance between different in-game strategies. As time passed by, I didn't have to force anyone to play anymore. I took the game everywhere and showed it to so many people, receiving amazing feedback. Some people kept asking when its gonna be released , others who is going to release it. So I decided to show it to publishers. One of them accepted it and kept for few months, others said “no” right away, because it was only for 2-players, because too complex and so on. There was a moment I thought I would publish it by myself and take to Essen alone. But at the same time, at one of the conventions I talked to Tomek from Cube and he said they were looking for a new game to publish for Essen. We scheduled a meeting, we played, I left the prototype for a week. And I had my answer – we are going to publish it! I was very happy but for me and for the publisher it meant the beginning of enormous work. That was the beginning of the Sanctuary – a game for 2-4 players which used to be my Farm duel...
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