Built From Scratch
a foreword by the designers
“Sprode, here’s the concept I have in mind. Literally I’ve been thinking about this forever…”
This was the beginning of a very lengthy email proposal, from Tony to me, way back in August 2011. This was the beginning of a game called Lore Slinger.
If you know Tony, he is a bit of a Ferengi. No, he doesn’t look anything like one, but he does share some of their business guile. Back in our college days at Tri-State University (now Trine) in the basement of Alpha Sigma Phi, we would openly discuss politics, games, women, and business ideas. As they called it way back in the 1920’s – he always had “an angle”.
But talking and doing are two completely different things. We had both seen many small businesses try to make it into games and fail, so when he first made this proposal to me, I was rather skeptical. However, by the time I finished reading that fateful email, I knew we had to try it – if only to take just this one chance to follow our dreams. At the very least, we would gain some great experiences along the way! Thus began our Lore Slinger journey.
We started with the lore. Together, Tony and I wrote a lengthy tale, developing the characters and plot of Lore Slinger. We created a graphic novel series to provide players with the background of their favorite, soon-to-be-playable characters. We had a successful comic Kickstarter in May of 2013, which allowed us to produce actual printed comics and send them to the kind folks who showed us their amazing support. In addition to providing plot to the game, the images from the comic were directly used in the first versions of the game itself – tying the game and comic more tightly together, as well as saving us the costs of supplying artwork for the game. We met some amazing people throughout the industry and learned so much about the community!
Little did we know, our journey was far from over. The story of Lore Slinger had become a pet project, something Tony and I were fond of. But, we found ourselves spending all our efforts on the comic and losing our focus on our original vision – to make a great game that we were proud to share with the world. Along our journey, fellow comic writers Comfort Love and Adam Withers gave us a sage piece of advice at Youmacon: “Don’t kill your little darlings, murder them!” I took this to heart, as we didn’t want to let anything stand in our way, least of all our own egos. So, ultimately, we moved past our original lore and pushed for something much bigger and better for the game. We wanted to have our first game be a great one!
Now, you’re probably wondering, “Wait, what’s Lore Slinger, I thought this was Yashima!?”
Well, Tony and I signed our game with Greenbrier Games in October 2013. Once signed, we had many discussions about what our game was, and what our game would become. The folks at Greenbrier wanted to give our game an artistic vision that would make it stand out on the shelf. So, the “swords and sorcery” of Lore Slinger became the “katanas and kami” of Yashima. And as huge fans of Asian cinema and folklore, Tony and I were all for it! While at its core the game is still Lore Slinger, tried and true to what we designed and play tested over the many years, the new story created by Julie Ahern is one we’re proud to be a part of.
We first met Julie at GenCon 2014, and it was immediately apparent that she had a knack for turning chaos into a coherent and tangible story. At the time, about five different people all had their own ideas regarding what the story was going to be. Like a certain Italian sculptor, she was quickly able to cut all the flak and fat off everyone’s concepts – converting our communal disorder into articulate fiction. Thanks, Julie, and all you amazing artists, for breathing life into a game we once could’ve only dreamed of!
Please enjoy the lore and the artwork contained betwixt the covers of this fine book. The intent of this book, not unlike our original comic, is to provide the players of Yashima with a fascinating backdrop for relatable characters you’ll assume the role of in the game. And thank you to everyone who has shown us your tremendous help over the last few years of our lives! It’s been a LOT of hard work and I’d like to extend a very heartfelt special thanks to everyone for your support, encouragement, and playtesting efforts – we couldn’t have gotten this far without you!
Joshua “Sprode” Sprung
What he said. Oh, and don’t forget, your support of Yashima at greenbriergames.com/yashima (or by introducing it to local game shops) helps us bring additional characters to life!
Tony Gullotti, the Ferengi