Board Gaming, Game Design

First World Problems

Dixit, a gorgeous card game

To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing.  ~Eva Young

This past weekend I picked up Dixit, Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion and Lords of Waterdeep.I’m excited to give them a spin,

but it’s not happening anytime soon with my other gaming responsibilities. Gaming Responsibilities. It’s simultaneously absurd and incredible that I live a life where I get to put those two words together in a serious capacity.

Cards Against Humanity released a reprint and were sold out in less than 24 hours. I guess next time I move faster.

My first foray into professional game design is building steam. I’ve got a number of ideas for follow up games once I’m an international superstar designer, but I have to get past this first hump. A friend and I came up with an initial concept. In typical me fashion, I took it and ran with it, my enthusiasm powering me to churn out a lot of materials. I brought another friend into the fold and our game began to take shape. We’re working out some kinks now and are faced with a few huge decisions. Well, assuming our finished product is half as cool as we like to think that it is. It’s got a lot of great things going for it. There’s nothing else like it. It requires thought and planning. It’s fun. It comes with a built-in audience. Sounds like a home run, huh? Oddly enough, this was all the easy part. Settling on our shoulders now is the reality that we’re a couple of guys with day jobs, outside lives and families and all that accompanies those things. How are we going to spread our vision to the world?

I think back to meeting Tim Fowers and his game Wok Star. He had to put a lot of personal time into the marketing and production of his game. It meant a lot of time on the road away from loved ones. It meant diving head first into production of his game and all that includes, learning about printing costs, production, shipping, etc. Working against the instant gratification fever that has gripped us as a culture. All of this on his own time, ostensibly replacing a day job. None of us are ready to do that. But Tim didn’t live in the age of Kickstarter. Self-publication has never been easier. Now we have to come up with a solid game, a solid copy and then generate enough groundswell to get people interested.

I’ve been invited to bring a prototype of the game to GenCon this year by a couple of publishers. Having never worked with a publisher, I can’t really speak to the experience outside of basic sense. I would think that (again, assuming that the game is everything we think it is) the publishers would decide whether or not to buy the game. We’d get a payout of some kind and an agreement to a portion of the sales, designer credit, and most importantly, our game would have production and marketing handled. Those would cease to be our responsibility. No art. No production costs. No customer service. No dealing with printing and/or shipping errors. It’s your problem now.

But when we started this endeavor, Kickstarter wasn’t around. The DIY appeal is still there, to be ultimately responsible for your own success, but with the added bonus of not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Other people will volunteer baskets, eggs and other things that lend to this metaphor. When the dust settles, if we’ve done our job right, we have all the money we need to professionally produce the game. The work is ours, but so is the glory and excitement. Thrill of victory, agony of defeat, all that jazz.

Call me a control freak, but the more I think about it, the more my gut tells me that Kickstarter is the way to go. A lot to think about.

This post also serves to apologize for the lack of regular updates here, and also to extend that apology to the future, where my free time to indulge in the blog is not what I want it to be. The good news here, is that without saying too much, one of the reasons for this is that I’ll be busy writing other things, which is pretty exciting to me, and as soon as I have the ability, I’ll shed more light on that. I’ll still be working on my games, and I’ll still want to get the feedback from my loyal THREE fans.  Stay tuned for more excitement. At some point.

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6 thoughts on “First World Problems

  1. Exciting news, I am happy for you. Keep working at it. You may have seen this already, but it was something I came across over at BGDF about the “true, hidden costs” of Kickstarter campaigns. Hope there is something of interest there. Always better to go into something like that with total awareness of costs/benefits.

    http://www.bgdf.com/node/6219

    Looking forward to seeing more outa you. Hopefully the kids and I will be hitting GenCon ourselves, so I will look you up there.

    1. Bill, it would be great to see you. I’ll be working with AEG’s demo team again, so feel free to seek me out. I’ll probably be in the game hall more than the dealer’s room. Thanks!

  2. Considering major game design companies like Steve Jackson games are using kickstarter for their games, I’d say the whole “kickstart my game” craze is for real.

  3. Seeing as its been over a month, have you been able to crack open lords of waterdeep? Ive heard really good things about it and am thinking of picking it up.

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