The European Space Agency and Auroch Digital are working together on a space exploration game

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The game, already supported by the UK Space Agency, puts you in the role of mission control as your journey to Mars

Auroch Digital are delighted to announce the involvement of the European Space Agency (ESA) in its upcoming game Mars Horizon. This support will help add a extra level of authenticity and realism to the game, coming out on PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch this year.

Design Director Tomas Rawlings said “Working with ESA is a massive bonus for the Mars Horizon universe. Having access to real launch control specialists who can explain the real life pressures and challenges they face will help make this game as authentic as we can. With the upcoming ExoMars mission in 2020 this is a fantastic time for us to be working with the agency as they put the final stages of preparation on this launch. 

The involvement of the ESA is a double win for the gameplay as we’re not only getting to talk to people planning actual missions to Mars but also the people who plan the strategy of the agency itself - all of which we’re planning to use to help shame the gameplay. To say I’m excited by this partnership is an understatement, I’m (excuse the pun) over the Moon!

We have also had such great support from the UK Space Agency who as a member of the ESA introduced us to them. It will help launch this title to the next level.”

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Mars Horizon is a hybrid management and Mission Control turn-based simulation game that puts you in control of a space agency as it attempts to head to Mars. The game takes you away from the role of pilot and into the behind the scenes world of space exploration. Using real life missions and vehicles the game is built around recreating the optimistic and authentic journey to Mars.

The game is scheduled for release in 2019 and you can find out more about it on the Steam page or via the game page.

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Three Indie Companies doing Coop Games, decide to do Coop for real

In our latest blog we thought we’d talk about a new collective being formed by independent board game companies.

In the increasingly competitive space of boardgames, three small studios have decided to work together instead and help each other create and distribute games to players.

The three companies are: 

  • Underground Games, whos games include Jagged Alliance: The Board Game and the co-op time-jumping and storytelling game Castle Von Loghan,

  • Auroch Digital who are currently kickstarting the space-themed game Mars Horizon: Blast Off! and who created the unique dark-humor take on the US political scene, Elections of US America Elections.

  • Joining them are newcomer Bos Taurus Diceworks who are working on an as-yet unannounced major IP title

This cooperation is more than an business decision - it is the attempt to have a different answer to the current trend in the games industry as a whole, where the larger companies gobble up indie developers and the remaining indies compete for an ever smaller part of the revenue. Instead of competition, the companies choose cooperation based on shared values and ways to run a business. The three companies also have called on other independent developer to join their cooperation and push the envelope on how games can be created and brought to players.

All companies originally met though digital game development but as all had a passion for board games, meeting at a recent conference they realised that they were having parallel experiences and realised there was much more to be gained by working together than working apart. In addition with underground Games being located in the major market of Germany and Auroch Digital & Bos Taurus Diceworks both being based in also major market of the UK, having a foot in each makes sense. Between the three companies they realised that there was a wealth of design experience, art talent and production skill - however each time one of them needed to solve a problem or improve a process, the learnings from this were only sitting in one place. By working together they realised they can share best-practice from manufacturers to how best to approach board game expos.

Jan Wagner of Underground Games said, “I have known and loved the works and the people of Auroch and Bos Taurus for a long time and all of us have worked as independent studios for a long time. For us, this cooperation goes far beyond simply helping each other become more visible in the market or reaching out to new players: We want to work with people who share the same values, the same love and the same passion for creating great games and truly build something in the spirit of sharing and growing together instead of competing.”

Dr Tomas Rawlings of Auroch Digital added, “There are a lot of shared interests but more than that shared values; we want to make amazing games for our players but we’re also committed to building up the parts of the boardgame experience that don’t always get a focus - from customer support to seeking better environmental standards for the materials used in making games.”

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Prototype to Kickstarter - The story of Mars Horizon: Blast Off!

It’s funny how things work out at times. When you start working on a project you think you have a clear idea of where it’s going and how it’ll pan out. It’s not often though that a pen-and-paper prototype can get so much interest and good feedback that you end up running a Kickstarter for it. But here is the tale of how that came to be...  

A playtest that made us think twice

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So for those who follow our content will have heard of Mars Horizon. That game is still progressing well. (And is looking pretty slick so far. We’ll have some more news from this is coming very soon!)

Now it’s quite common for when we’re testing a gameplay idea for us to revert to good old fashioned pen-and-paper. This project was no exception. There were many prototypes that we built at various points to test different ideas. One of these ideas though, shone out above the rest.

Would this work as a standalone game? Could we make a full card game out of it? And so it began…

Fail-Safe Testing

The video game has always been intended to be an authentic look at what it would be like to run mission control. So we have been working with the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to make sure that what we were saying was correct.

We decided to pop along to their very nice offices and take along the prototype. There we met their informal lunchtime boardgame club (I know… very cool!). To our delight we had the some great feedback, including how great this would be as a physical game too.

That idea stuck with us, so we went away and did some more work. We also decided to demo the game at two boardgame events - just to sanity check our thinking. City of Games in Bristol and Dragonmeet in London. Both times we had the same sort of feedback.

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What is the game like?

The game puts you in the hot seat of a space agency as it attempts to get a mission to Mars.

You managing your resources and invest in buildings, technology and vehicles to get there before anyone else.

The more missions you complete, the more research, money and prestige you can get. But, bigger missions need more funding and getting there before the rest of the players requires some calculated risk taking…

What does it share with the digital version?

The key thing it shares is the theme - getting the first crewed mission to Mars. It shares an art style and the missions listed are actual space missions - past and future. It also shares a bunch of gameplay ideas on the way rockets, vehicles and facilities work.

But, over time the card game has created its own life that has emerged from the extensive testing and iteration. So each is its own thing.

They are sister games both proudly carrying the Mars Horizon title and logo.

How can I get my hands on it?

So we are going to be Kickstarting the game. If this is your first time to the concept we’ve come up with a handy guide to explain everything as simply as we can.

If you are already on Kickstarter you can follow our page now! You'll get all the latest information as soon as it comes out.

When is Mars Horizon digital coming out?

There is a ton of really awesome stuff going into the digital game at the moment (including some awesome reveals, like the one below) and the development team working on it is bigger than ever.

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We are getting loads done and it is looking more and more like it’s ready for some serious testing soon. So we hope to have a firmer date for you soon… keep an eye on the Steam page where we will update everyone with the latest news!

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

The Year In Review 2018

First off a big Merry Christmas to everyone from all of us here at Auroch Digital. We’ve had a bumper 2018 and there has been a world of stuff that has gone on here so we thought we’d give you a quick rundown on what you may have missed…

January - A month of us talking to the world! Nina Collins spoke at PC Connect about the how we translated Ogre from a tabletop game into a digital game, while Peter Willington was on a Digital Discovery Track panel talking indie publishing. In the same month Tomas Rawlings spoke at Gamesforum discussing what happens when games intersect with the real world. We were also a part of the Global Games Jam in Bristol too.

February - We made a big announcement and launched our third Kickstarter campaign for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics (A!CT) which was successfully funded and reached four of its stretch goals! We also went down to City of Games to show off the paper and pen prototype of the game. for the eagle eyed amongst you… there might be another good reason to click the follow button on our Kickstarter page for January 2019 👉 *HEAVY WINK* 👈

March - We started the month off right by completing the Kickstarter campaign for A!CT and getting a whopping 218% funding from your awesome people. It also coincided with our announcement of the PS4, Xbox One and Switch versions too. Tomas also wrote about why Dune II: The Battle for Arrakis is a seminal real-time strategy game with a massively influence today.

April - A!CT became the obsession for the studio and as we all got fitted for new robes and cultist gowns, we decided to give the website a much needed face lift. You are looking at it now - ain’t it pretty?

May - Due to the overwhelming success of the A!CT Kickstarter we launched the project on PledgeManager letting those who missed out a chance to back the game too.

*insert Thus Spake Zarathustra music* We announced the super awesome mission control, rocket building and space management strategy game… Mars Horizon. With some support from the guys at the UK Space Agency the game looks at the reality of space exploration and trying to land the first manned mission to Mars. We did a Podcast series about it too… have a listen!

June - We carried on with A!CT and Mars Horizon got a spot in the BBC’s Sky at Night Magazine, while Tomas Rawlings got a nomination for the Lifetime Achievement Award category at the 2018 SPARKies tech and digital awards.

July - Ogre players stretched their creative muscles in the screenshot submission contest for Ogre to celebrate Origins Game Fair 2018. There were some incredible entries, including the winning entry, of a recreation of Coronado Island for their Invasion of San Diego scenario!

We also appeared at Develop, with Tomas talking about the “Steampocalypse” and Nina talking about the benefits of working for an Indie company.

August -  A!CT started taking shape and we had some really cool pre-alpha shots to show and a very early look at the game on Steam with Lead Designer Adam Carter-Groves. We also completed the trifecta of promotion with the launch of the A!CT podcast series.

We also had some lovely journo folks down to have a go on a few of our games including… the long sort after Dark Future: Blood Red States.

September - We said goodbye to our old Community Manager Jake and said hello to our new Marketing and Community Manager Matt in what can only be described as a seismic monumental moment for the company. (Take one guess who is writing this article…🙄)

However the big news from from September was...

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics came out on steam by the way this month. Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn! Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn! Ph'nglui mglw'nfah Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

October - We asked you for your thoughts on a brand new project we are working on, currently called “Project War Strider”. We wanted to talk to you about robots, what are the coolest robots, what settings should robots be in and how your robots should move.

In amazing news, we had over 450 of you reply so a massive, massive thank you for that. If you want to stay in the loop, make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter and keep an eye on the blog as we will talk more about the results soon.

In sad news, no one really wanted a 1950s robot detective game #heartbreak

November - We launched our brand new podcast series where Matt Davies and Matthew Walker interview some key people at the studio on the ins and outs of video game development. As well as ramble on about chocolate bars and Civilization. You can grab Episode 1, Episode 2 and Episode 3 now (there will also be some special episodes for Christmas so don’t forget to subscribe!). Also an interesting look at our Twitter data told us that 99% of our fans are dog lovers - so that’s a thing.

December - ...and here we are! December 2018. A whole year done and dusted! Again as we said before a massive thank you to everyone who has supported us and followed our stuff throughout the year. If you’ve bought one of our games in a sale - thank you. If you’ve listened to a podcast - thank you. If you’ve liked or shared a post of our - thank you.

2019 is sure to be another bumper year and we are really excited to be releasing A!CT on the Switch, Dark Future: Blood Red States and Mars Horizon - as well as another exciting project (all will be revealed soon)

Till next time!


Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

The Auroch Digital Sale

So guess what? We are having a sale.

It’s not just any sale though… it’s on absolutely everything we have got!

With Christmas around the corner we know now is the time to start thinking of friends and family and what on earth to buy them… well for that special geek in your life we have some amazing deals on offer for you.

We’ve collected all them for you in one handy place. 👇 👇

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics - 20% Off

How and why to review on Steam

Steam reviews are important.

They are really, important.

As a small independent games developer - Steam reviews are basically everything. Did you know 90% of all consumers will look at reviews before they purchase something online? Did you also know that Steam uses review numbers as a way to determine what games to promote?

The mystic art

So here is another interesting question: how many reviews have you ever left on Steam?

We are often so enamoured, or enthralled by a game that we often forget to pop over and give it a thumbs up and leave a comment saying how much we liked it. But the question is why don’t we?

If you are anything like the author (who is planning on leaving a lot more reviews after doing this research!) it’s often because you have never done it before and so a handy guide on how to would be helpful… and wouldn’t you know it… we have exactly that here!

The fool-proof guide to leaving a review on Steam (with photos)

Step 1: Log into Steam and find a game to review

We could pick anyone of these great titles…

We could pick anyone of these great titles…

Step 2: Click on Store Page and scroll down till you see the review box

I will not apologise for my love of Black Dynamite

I will not apologise for my love of Black Dynamite

Step 3: Type in your review into the box and then select a thumbs up (we hope!) or thumbs down.

As a developer we would love to know what you particularly loved about the game and/or thoughts about what might be added in the future.

Perks of the job...

Perks of the job...

Step 4: Move the mouse down to “Post review” click the button.

Step 5: Sit back, relax and embrace the joyous feeling of helping an indie developer make more awesome games.

This gif will be you after you’ve done.

In all seriousness, it is that easy and it is really helpful. So if you have bought one of our games (or any game from a developer you like) pop on Steam and leave a review. We’ll be super grateful for it!

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

We need your help to make a game

Robots are cool. The multitude of types and examples makes it a treasure trove of opportunity. The idea of controlling a giant, gun-totting, cyber badass is high on everyone's to do list (or the people I hang out with at least).

With that in mind we’ve made a short survey that looks at a number of different topics related to mechs. We want to know what mechs are your favourite, what kind of story and setting you prefer in mech games, and the importance of things like single player, multiplayer, and mod support.

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So if you’re a fan of things like MechWarrior, Steel Battalion, Chromehounds,  Armored Core, World of Warships, Silent Hunter, Cold Waters, Gundam or any other robot-related thing (Day the Earth Stood Still anyone?? No?… just me?!) we’d love to hear from you. And if you know anyone you think would love it, please send it across to them as well, as we want as many people as possible to weigh in!

Fancy some Auroch and Chill…?

While we’ve got you here… you might not know, but we are now streaming weekly!

You can join us on Mondays 16:00  - 18:00 (UK Time) for Auroch Plays. Kick back and watch us as we play a number of classic games from big strategy to some of the coolest indie tactics titles.

Then on Thursdays 16:00 - 18:00 (UK Time) join us for Auroch and Chill. In this show we get under the bonnet of some of the titles we’ve been working on, giving you an exclusive look at new content as well as revisiting a few of our older games.

Thank you from us

We just wanted to also say a massive thank you to everyone who has bought, reviewed, and shared our latest game Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. We really hope you‘re enjoying it, and hugely appreciate your support

Until next time!

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Out now: Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics

You read that right, our new strategy game is available to purchase for PC via Steam right now.

As you’ll know, it’s a turn-based, squad-level tactics game in which you control a group of Allied specialists at the height of World War II, attempting to thwart a Cthulhu-tinged Nazi menace that’s hell-bent on bringing the free world to its knees.

It’s a fusion of deep strategy and fast play, set in a unique alternative history universe we think you’re going to love.

Grab the game now and let us know how you’re getting on through any of the usual social channels.


Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, more Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, and also... Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics is almost here...

The studio is laser-focused on our new Weird World War strategy game right now, as development begins to wrap up and we start to think about release dates. It's been in production for a good long while, but the end is sight and we're eager to get it into your hands, whether that be on PC or console.

With that in mind, we've been revealing more and more about our turn-based tactics title, such as in articles over on our Steam Community page detailing various aspects of the game, including The Shroud a.k.a “Fog of War 2.0”, and we’ve been introducing the world to two of our four main characters - Ariane Dubois and Captain Eric 'Badger' Harris.

Episode 2 of the podcast is also now out in the wild, available through all good podcasting platforms and it’s well worth a listen for a behind-the-scenes look (or should that be “listen”?) at some of our thinking during development.

And if you like all of that stuff then you’ll be pleased to know there’s even more where that came from - expect to see much more of the game over the coming weeks.

Developer commentary trailer now out

Yup! This video’s got more gameplay of Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics than you can shake a moderately-sized stick at.

Plus studio owner Tom steps you through how to play the game, talks about the game’s systems, and much more.

Media coverage is starting to roll in

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Since our last blog post, we’ve taken the game to both Gamescom and PAX West - two huge games industry events - and the response from press has been really encouraging.

Lots of coverage has been generated from these events, as well as the release of our developer commentary trailer, including articles from our media pals in Japan, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Serbia, Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and many more besides.

But for the English speakers out there, you can see a selection of what the media is saying about the game over on sites like Trusted Reviews, Ready Up, PCGamesN, Operation Rainfall, TrueAchievements, and Hooked Gamers.

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics takes formation with a brand new trailer, goodies from Modiphius, studio press day and new Dark Future content!

Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics update

If you follow Auroch Digital on our various platforms, you will definitely have heard about Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics. It's a tactical, squad-based shooter with RPG elements based on the wildly successful tabletop RPG Achtung! Cthulhu, by Modiphius Entertainment, scheduled for release on Steam, Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. The game pits you, a crack team of elite allies from across the globe, against two rival Nazi factions that have taken their fixation with the occult to a dangerous extreme, utilising technology and allying themselves with otherworldy horrors from the Cthulhu Mythos.

The game has come on fantastically, as you can see in the comparison screenshots (pre-alpha) below;

Our publishers at Ripstone Games have also just released a brand new teaser trailer for the game too featuring all-new artwork, setting the tone for the game with its light vs dark theme. The trailer was launched just ahead of the Steam page for the game going live, where you can wishlist the game now! 

We LOVE the style and how it will fit into the game with the new 'Shroud' system, which we'll talk about below; 

And if that STILL doesn't scratch the itch for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, you can literally watch it being played by lead designer Adam Carter-Groves. It doesn't get much more horse's mouth than that! Adam talks through the gameplay and UI, future plans, the new Shroud system and much more in this short stream. You can follow us on Twitch to keep up to date with our live broadcasts, which will be picking up as we get closer to releasing Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics, Mars Horizon and Dark Future: Blood Red States.

You may have been following our How to Make a Game with Auroch Digital podcast series about how we're making Mars Horizon, implementing real science and engineering principles and talking through the challenges and results over the course of development. If you haven't yet, you can check it out here. It's been an interesting way of looking at our own processes and strategy when making a game, and it made total sense to us to do the same for Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics! You can check out episode 0 and episode 1 on the Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics game page, and be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Podbean, Castbox, Mixcloud, Podchaser, Acast, and/or Stitcher (aaaand breathe).

One final thing on Achtung! Cthulhu Tactics before we move onto what else we've been up to this month; Modiphius, the creators of the original tabletop game, have given away a FREE PDF copy of their Achtung! Cthulhu Combat rule set, which is a simplified version of the Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish rules, designed to allow you to play faster and larger games with multiple players. Also included in this free package are force guides for four major factions in the game; Section M, Majestic, Nachtwolfe and Black Sun, allowing you to build up a typical army from scratch!
 

Bristol Games Hub Press Day

Bristol Games Hub, where we are based alongside a multitude of other fantastic indie developers, held an event last week to exhibit all the exciting stuff we're working on. The response was fantastic, with the producer on Mars Horizon, Mike Daw, sitting down with Bristol 24/7 to discuss the game and Hub in general. Jupiter Hadley of IndieGameJams.com was very impressed with Dark Future: Blood Red States.

Speaking of Dark Future... 

We've also just released a brand new screenshot from Dark Future, which can be found below. We'll be sharing more and more Dark Future: Blood Red States over the coming months as we gear up for the early 2019 release.

Matt Davies

Marketing and Community Manager for Auroch Digital in Bristol, UK.

Find me on Twitter: @mattlosvert, on Stream Mixer.com/AurochDigital or more regularly on @AurochDigital