571 Game Labs History
The Makers of Killing Vector, Occupatio & Narthex, 571 Game Labs was carved out of Runes Media in February of 2011. Its purpose was creating cutting edge Game Designs for the Modern Gamer.
Flashback to the early 1980s and that’s where the story begins. Game Designers David Schick & Dave Krabal hadn’t met just yet, but they both had quite the vigor for Gaming. By the mid-’80s, Video Games started to erode the Market for Role Playing Games and Boardgames in general.
By the time the two had met in the late ’80s, the Market had been all but destroyed by the Videogame revolution. However, that did not stop the pair from playing many of the great titles from all the great game publishers during the next ten years. Developing a bond for Gaming and the lifestyle that surrounded it. They played many titles that would eventually, all but extinct, if it was not for the rabid fans of Gaming that preserved the spirit of the past time.
The Lab is both a physical place and a metaphoric place. The 571 Game Lab Team was in the metaphoric Lab for many years prior to it’s inception in 2011. Runes Media was instrumental to the early development of 571 Game Labs and continues to be a valued strategic partner.
The Tin Soldier was an iconic game, and hobby shop started in the 1970s in Dayton, Ohio. Over the years it was a hub of game activity in the region and fostered the beginnings of many game developers, sculptors, and rules designers.
The store closed down in 1999 after the owner died. Being an avid gamer and patron of the store since his childhood, Dave Krabal decided to re-open the Tin Soldier in a different location but maintain the focus of the original store; Role Playing Games, Miniature Games, and Board Games
Eventually, the economy and changing demographics forced Dave to close the Tin Soldier, but he does remain active in the game industry as a consultant, painter, and sculptor. Dave Krabal’s area of interest was mainly historical miniature gaming and rules development until 2014 when 571 Game Labs asked him to help design upcoming game titles.
The 571 Game Lab Team was working in retail during the 1990’s and going to college at Wright State University. They started working at Major Video in the early 90’s, that would eventually become Blockbuster Video. They played all of the videogames they could play. Fringe benefits that included unlimited free rentals to employees was fully taken advantage during that time. The list of great console and tabletop gaming was still expanding.
In mid-2006, Runes Media was formed as a Creative Digital Agency serving Central US and West Coast Clients with New Media Services. The main emphasis, at the time, was working with Entertainment Industry based Clients. Over time, Runes Media has served many Clients over a broad spectrum of industries. In 2009, with the further evolution of Runes Media, had brought us to the Gaming Market and led us to explore the possibility of publishing Game titles. During the collection and analyzation of the data, led us to believe that this Market was primed for new and innovative thinking. Runes Media’s ‘571 Game Labs’ was sanctioned to start developing Games in early 2011. It began work on, the yet to be released, first Game Title that is based on Pre-Apocalyptic Warfare and is still currently under development.
The Company went through a restructuring effort during early 2011, adding a Creative Services Division to complete internal Media Projects for the Company in addition to the Services offered to our external Clients. During this process, it was the birth of 571 Game Labs, a division of Runes Media. In late 2014, Dave Krabal was tapped to work on the upcoming Game Projects as Director of Game Development. The future was now coming into focus.
By mid-2011, 571 Game Labs had started work on its first Game Title. It was a Pre-Apocalyptic Warfare Board Game that is still in development and yet to be released. While the initial factors that had formed 571 Game Labs had become less relevant at that time, and a new set of priorities had emerged. The life-blood of a Great Game Company is the number of titles they have in their library. After three years of development, we had no progress in the number of completed Game Titles. We had a ‘log-jam’ of ideas during this era that was lacking guidance. We initiated a response to this challenge by adding a Director of Game Development.
In late 2014, Dave Krabal took over the Game Development Projects and started the systematic reworking of our existing Development Catalog. New measures took place, and revised workflows presented a torrent of new ‘workable’ Game Concepts. The result was the immediate rise of Killing Vector and Occupatio.
KILLING VECTOR: Shortly after bringing Dave Krabal to the Team, the Game Development Team garnered several new Game Concepts. One of those initial Concepts was Killing Vector. In mid-2015, a concept of a Spacetime Game was floated with the designers. The Concept had coalesced into the Game we know it as in late November 2015. The crew started on narrowing out the Game design and working on the Gameplan of multiple Game levels early on in 2016. The Design Team worked throughout the Summer of 2016 refining the Characters, Factions, Skills & Weapons of the Game, to make the most of the robust multi-dimensional playfield.
By early 2017, the publishing process had begun, and steps were taken to move Killing Vector from Alpha testing to Beta testing. Most of 2017, the Design Team & Production Team shared notes on getting the maximum exposure for this groundbreaking Board Game. After a Creative realignment in mid-2017, we were in the final production stage of Killing Vector and were getting ready to get it to market by the first quarter of 2018. Killing Vector was officially released for retail purchase on March 28th, 2018.
THE GAME LAB: July 2018, the need for a location for the Gamarisi UX Conference was needed. The Centerville Game Lab was used in July 2018 to host the 1st Gamarisi UX Conference.
Three Game Titles were in development during the 2018 Gamarisi UX Conference. Occupatio went from Alpha to Beta to Pre-Production within a few months. Additionally, the Feudal Japanese Game and Island Game Titles were fast laned and will be in production within the coming months.
Occupatio benefited most from the confluence of Designers that participated in the Gamarisi UX Conference. It will be the 2nd Game Title from 571 Game Labs to be released in Summer 2019.
2018 GAMARISI UX CONFERENCE: Right after the release of Killing Vector, the game development team was preparing for our upcoming 1st Gamarisi UX Conference in the Summer of 2018. The Conference was meant to bring all our Game Designers from around the country together to advance our Projects and our Products. GAMes Are RISIng!
Beginning on June 24th, 2018, the Design Team & Production Team gathered for the 1st Gamarisi UX Conference in Centerville, Ohio. The connection between our designers and consumers during the 2018 Gamarisi UX Conference was very beneficial.
Albeit it was a closed-door event, the synergy that developed during 1st Gamarisi UX Conference brought immense Game Evolution to our ‘working’ Game Library. The Occupatio Card Game saw significant advances during the Conference and will be released Summer 2019.
OCCUPATIO: The Game concept dates back to late 2016. It was one of the first Game concepts that new Game Development Team worked on. The pre-development stage, in early 2017, went faster than anticipated by the Team. Going into the Summer of 2018, the Game had already reached Alpha Stage in Development.
By the end of the 1st Gamarisi UX Conference, Occupatio had propelled passed the Beta Stage and into Pre-Production Stage by September 2018. Final Production Stage began in early 2019 in at the Portland Design Studio and is currently on schedule. Occupatio will be available for retail purchase on July 28th, 2019.
2019 GAMARISI UX CONFERENCE: For 2019, the Conference’s format was altered to present our Products straight to the Consumer audience and open to the general public. In addition to bringing the general public into the Conference, we intend to make it a platform for other Indie-Game Manufacturers to showcase their Products to an extended audience.
The User Experience (UX) is central everything we do, and we design it into every Game we make. We are excited that we expanded the reach of the Gamarisi UX Conference this year.
The 2019 Gamarisi UX Conference will be held in Beavercreek, Ohio on August 24th, 2019. Last years Game UX Conference was a great success. We are looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, August 24th from 1 pm to 5 pm for the 2019 Gamarisi UX Conference.
2020 GAMARISI UX CONFERENCE: We were proud to host our 3rd annual Game User Experience Conference for 2020. For 2020, in light of events, 2020’s Gamarisi UX Conference was a virtual event that was held on September 20th, 2020. Last years Game UX Conference was a great success. Thanks to all that participated!
NARTHEX CARD GAME: NARTHEX was first developed during the 2018 Gamarisi UX Conference. Following the initial development, the designers were looking to add additional features to enhance game play. Several features were added to the game design by mid 2019. Facing many types of development challenges upfront was built into the process of designing a Cognitive Agility Game.
Narthex appeared at the 2019 Gamarisi UX Conference Beta Testing Forum. Our Designers, along with Industry Insiders, refined the game play during the 2019 Gamarisi Beta Testing sequence. Leading to additional features that brought the game to where it is today. Many of those ended up in the final game design.
We thank everybody who help us with NARTHEX at the 2018 & 2019 Gamarisi UX Conferences. In addtion, we would like to thank all the folks that contributed to NARTHEX directly and indirectly. NARTHEX was released for retail purchase on October 31st, 2020.
Director of Game Dev
Senior Game Tester