Originally I had no intention of releasing information about Breakaway until early 2019 - there weren't any opportunities, I didn't think I could put something together quickly, and there's always the never-ending amount of work to be done on tweaking mechanics, adding lore, balancing abilities, designing character sheets, and so on.
And then... Breakaway was selected for Collaboratory for PAX AUS! I am ridiculously excited, but also now running around flailing to get things done in time. As it turns out, stress has been a motivator for me. Who knew? My first point of action was to get things together and help people get to know me and Breakaway at the same time. Enter Moo, who I have used once before and had previously delivered the desired result.
I ordered some business cards and stickers - business cards for contacts, stickers for people who want to playtest the game. Thankfully my artist, Josh Wright, is not only skilled but also has a really great eye for colour. (His art is all over this website, and his website is also here.) These business cards pop, and the stickers look ace.
I then realised that all sessions will need to be very short - at maximum 90 minutes and minimum 60 minutes - and that player creation is just not going to be feasible in that kind of time. In order to get the maximum amount of people through the game, I would need to factor in the maximum amount of people (5) at the table with 60-90 minute sessions for my allotted time (3 hours Saturday, 3 hours Sunday). That's 30 people at most, and 20 people at the least.
This was the perfect time to test out if Breakaway's player creation is intuitive. I whipped up a rough approximation of what player would need to know, made statistic and skill information nice and big for easy viewing if people were standing from outside of the table, and popped down ability information from both Culture features and two different backgrounds.
This really highlighted just how well I know Dungeons & Dragons and how prevalent it is in people's minds. Because Breakaway is so new, I was hesitant to have any extraneous information not on the sheet. If this were D&D, you could just write "Darkvision", and many people would understand exactly what that means - give or take a few versions.
After producing character sheets, it occurred to me that this was really a chance to give players a fun experience - something that they could be talking about for a while. They're doing me a favour by playing Breakaway, why not make something special for them as a way of saying thank you? I stepped through several ideas that went past just stickers - folders (too bulky), hats or shirts (expensive for a short run, slow shipping), character sheet pads (expensive, slow shipping)... It seemed that no matter what I thought of, there wasn't enough time or budget to get items together for players.
Finally, my Public-Relations-By-Day brain kicked in and I realised I could just put together a mock tourism pack for players, complete with small d6s. It saves me from carrying tonnes of dice that someone may take home with them by accident (leaving me scrambling), and gives people some cute d6s. Who doesn't love cute d6s?! I'm currently putting together a "Congratulations on your approved Charter" letter, a mock tourist brochure highlighting some of the city's best attributes, and a copy of a Charter form with a giant "APPROVED" stamp on it.
All told, it will be a very thick envelope - especially with the dice included - but it will hopefully give players a good impression and allow them a little insight that I won't be able to give them outside of that 60-90 minute window.
A friend and I are putting together what we hope to be the tightest of one-shots to lead players through, and this Sunday will be the first thorough playtest of the game itself. Wish me luck friends, and if you're going to PAX AUS I will see you there! You can catch me in the Collaboratory section of the Freeplay area from 10:AM to 1PM on Saturday and from 10:30AM to 1:30PM on Sunday.