It’s that magical time of year: Essen Spiel! The time when Bezier Games launches one or more big titles, and I finally get to see all sorts of people playing (and hopefully enjoying) our new games. It’s also the time I talk to customers and press about these new games—and teach them.
The weird thing is that for me, these games aren’t new at all; in fact, I haven’t played our new releases (Silver Bullet, Suburbia Collector’s Edition, and One Night Ultimate Bonus Roles) for several months. Weird, I know. But there are reasons…
Through the design and development process of Silver Bullet, I played it hundreds of times. Once the written rules were finalized, I played it dozens more times as the artwork/graphic design trickled in, culminating with a few plays just before I sent all the files in to our printer. At that point, I stopped playing, with just an occasional demo or press interview thrown in over the six months or so while the game was in production.
Wait, so I haven’t been playing Silver Bullet for months?
I love playing Silver Bullet, especially the way it ratchets up the interactivity with the Gremlin/Mortician combo. But for the past six months, I’ve been busy working on other things, like the third game in the Silver series, due out in early 2020 (and sent to production a few months ago). I’m also working on a bunch of other upcoming games, and a whole lot of publishing- and company-related items.
In the past two months in particular, my Silver focus has actually been on the fourth game in the series, which (as of this writing) has a close-to-final set of new cards. (I’m obsessed with the game’s new Zombie card, and can’t wait until everyone has a chance to play with it… but that won’t be until next year.) While I’m working on that fourth Silver game, I’m also testing it for compatibility with the other three games, so it’s not like I’ve forgotten about Silver Bullet… it just hasn’t been front and center in my mind recently.
But to everyone else, Silver Bullet is brand new (as is Silver for many, because it just became available in stores earlier this month). And at Essen Spiel I’ll be talking primarily about it, not the fourth game I’m neck-deep in at this time. At this moment, I have to focus to remember the cards in Silver Bullet (vs. the cards in Silver or the other two sets). If you see me at our booth in Essen Spiel squinting or looking up at the ceiling, I’m likely trying to keep the cards in Bullet straight from all the other cards in the other sets.
So Many Permutations!
Silver Bullet has 14 different cards (well, 52, but there are multiples of each of them) with all-new abilities that can be played as a stand-alone game, or combined with Silver by swapping out all numbers of one game for the same numbers in the other game. That’s 28 different, unique abilities with just the first two games. That’s 16,384 permutations (thanks, internet!). We couldn’t possibly test all those combinations (at about 30 minutes a game, it would take nearly an year of 24 hour-a-day playing to do that), so instead, we did all sorts of different variations. The odd cards from Silver, the even from Silver Bullet. 0–6 from Silver, 7–13 from Silver Bullet. Primes from Silver, non-primes from Silver Bullet. We swapped out cards after each round sometimes to test more of them. In the end, you can be confident that any weird combination you come up with between the games will work, though some are more fun than others… part of the excitement of Silver Bullet is picking your favorite cards from each game and throwing them together to make your own personal best-of. And once the third, fourth, and fifth games are available, you’ll have 4.7 million, 268 million, and 6 billion ways to combine your cards, respectively. Here at Bezier Games, we’re all about replayability.
Because Silver Bullet is the first follow-up to Silver, it has the challenge of adding enough new, interesting abilities to the game while keeping the feel of the original game. Silver Bullet also has to maintain the accessibility of Silver for new players. Most players of Silver Bullet will have played (or at least know of) Silver, so they’ll likely be excited about some of the newer mechanics, such as Goth Girl’s ability to discard cards to the bottom of the deck (instead of the top of discard pile), keeping good stuff away from your opponents. Or the Mortician’s ability to activate the ability of a card you are discarding. Or the Gremlin’s ability to add a card to a player’s village without discarding another card.
And then there is the silver bullet itself. It plays out differently than the silver amulet, even though you gain it the same way (by successfully calling for a vote). The amulet from Silver protects one of your cards from your opponent—perfect for 0s and handy for other low-value cards. The silver bullet kills a card, so if someone adds a nasty 12-point Gremlin to your village, you can place the silver bullet on it, and that card is effectively dead. It won’t count for points at the end of the round. Oh, and you can choose whether to use the bullet or the amulet in your games, which doubles that 16,384 number from earlier to 32,768 permutations of those first two games.
Silver and Silver Bullet at Essen Spiel
Because Silver is so new, we’re showing both it and Silver Bullet at our booth (1-G139) in Essen. If you haven’t played either game, try Silver first. If you’re at a table with other people who have already played Silver, we’ll start you off with Silver Bullet. It’s not any harder than Silver, it’s just full of different abilities using the same basic gameplay.
We’ll have both available for sale, but as always with Essen Spiel, we have a limited number of games available, so stop by early in the week to be sure you can get a copy. And if you see me, ask me about the third and fourth Silver games…that’ll definitely keep me on my toes!