"Glory, my lord? I would find glory in marching alongside you, hewing down my countrymen, and looting shoulder to shoulder with your sainted knights? Perhaps. Perhaps I would. But this old fort is the glory given to me. I have a charge to guard it still, and can abandon it at no cost. You have enemies beyond your rivals for the throne, my lord, whether you ken it or no. And it is my duty to the Empire of Lyssan to see that this fort stays guarded against them, for the day they will surely march again.
May the gods smile upon you, my lord. Know that even as you march to war, you are watched over. The Eagle's Guard has a duty, and that duty shall never be betrayed."
- General Klaus Drendt, to the Contender Emperor Gustav Heiner
You will find them on the frontiers of the empire, manning the oldest fortresses. They watch over roads that no army has marched for a hundred years, yet they keep their swords as sharp as if war would break out the very next day. They have not fought for a generation, yet veterans of a dozen battles speak of them with respect. They are The Eagle's Guard.
Each of the contenders have tried to gain their fealty. The Wolf offered them fame and glory. The Hawk plied them with riches and power. And what The Vulture offered them, none could say. Of all the contenders to visit The Eagle's Nest, he remained there the longest. It is said that when he left that oldest fortress, that the general embraced him as a brother. Yet all the contenders rode away alone. None have found the key to make The Eagle's Guard abandon neutrality and march from their posts. The fate of Lyssan may be decided on the day they do.
It's been a very busy last month for Lyssan. In the last few weeks, the game has:
- Had a major redesign of the board, along with numerous lesser rules tweaks.
- Picked up a graphic designer.
- Completed alpha testing.
- Been mailed out in several beta-test kits, for testers in other cities to get a crack at it.
The biggest lesson of the past month has been how a prototype made for alpha testing may be a death march to reproduce in volume for beta testing. The final alpha-test version of Lyssan was made with all laser-cut tiles and counters, hand colored counters and cards, a board glued together from 41 pieces, and 90 cards sleeved with the latest printout of their game text so they can be changed as needed. Building a copy of the alpha-test kit from scratch took days and a considerable volume of art & game supplies. Even after bringing in friends to help copy it for beta test kits, scaling from making one copy to making twenty of this version would take an army.
So as we rush to make beta kits for distant playtesters, the methods change. Hand colored tiles are replaced by block printed ones. The next board may be silk screened instead of glued together. While the rules stay the same, most of the games props change. The upside of all this is that it's another step in the direction of making beautiful artisanal game sets possible. There's something beautiful about the thought of making a deluxe handcrafted copy of the game, long after it's being mass produced.