Divinity: Original Sin - The Board Game Update #29

Following several months of radio silence and some discontent among the backers, Larian Studios brings us this new Kickstarter update for the board game adaptation of Divinity: Original Sin. The update talks about the reasons for all the delays and then goes over some of the recent mechanical changes.

There's also this video:

And here's an excerpt from the actual update:

Hello all and welcome to Update #29 for Divinity Original Sin: The Board Game.

While we’re still above the fold, we want to announce that we’ll be hosting an AMA live on our Twitch channel (https://www.twitch.tv/larianstudios) on July 19th from 10am to 11:30am Pacific, hosted by Kieron Kelly and designers Noah Cohen and Brian Neff. While we hope this update answers some of your most pressing questions, during the AMA we’ll be answering questions from the comments section of this update as well as questions that come in from the live chat. Please post your AMA questions below, and we’ll see you Tuesday.

Secondly, we apologize for the long silence in between updates. When we last spoke, we’d recently onboarded new designers and were already beginning to make great strides in solving the design challenges we’d been struggling with for some time. Those problems proved more complex than initially anticipated, and paired with our hesitance to update you with some key elements of the game still in flux, well, here we are posting our next update seven months later.

In hindsight, we wish we had kept you in the loop with smaller updates instead of holding off for so long. Thank you for continuing to show us patience and understanding.

So, let’s dig into it: what’s been taking so long?

Last year, our playtests were showing us that the game we had was just too complicated and too intimidating. We saw playtests where it took a person with intimate knowledge of the game an hour to explain how to play it, and where some players sitting at the table spent perhaps a total of ten minutes actually playing the game in the space of a two hour session. This told us that a radical rethink was needed, because all of the superfluous complexity was getting in the way of the fun.

Divinity *is* a complex series though, with a focus on depth of gameplay and player choice, so we didn’t want to reduce and oversimplify the board game. From a design perspective, we had to go back to the drawing board. With those changes came necessary changes to the art, layout, etc. It was clear the game needed a lot more development & fresh ideas, so we started looking for the right folks to help. In a sense, we took many steps backwards in order to take a giant leap forward, which is what we’re presenting today.

Because we were on the cusp of a great game, we weren’t ready to cancel the project and begin to refund everyone. We’ve always said that we wouldn’t ship the game unless we were 100% happy with it, so we decided to double-down - quite literally - on our investment. What started as a period of assessment slowly became a reimagining of the game, aimed at solving the issues brought up throughout playtesting.

This is a beast of a board game in terms of scope, so it naturally took the new team some time to come to grips with it, and to really understand how it played and how it could be improved. We were already a few months into that process back in December.

We’ve added more new folks to the team in the months following that update – Peter Wocken, Matt Paquette and Sarah Kelly have since joined to work on graphic design.

Since our previous update, the game has come a very long way – we’re at the means print/production whiteboxing stage as of now – and it’s time that we simply sat down with it and *showed* you what’s new. There’s a lot. In the below video, we’ll run through the key changes with two of our designers, showing you actual gameplay as we go. Please note that at this stage, board pieces are flat-printed prototypes for testing, so everything will look much better in premium punchboard when the game goes to print.

We’ve outlined the major changes below in text form, if you’d rather skip the long video[...]