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Anonymous

Exciting News!

With the release of Politics just around the corner,
we're offering you a chance to RESERVE your copy of
Politics the Board Game.

With Politics in it's manufacturing stage, and the
demand already being high, we're offering our friends
the opportunity to RESERVE a copy of Politics. This
reservation is at no cost to you. Simply visit our
website, click on "order" and fill out the reservation
information. Once Politics is ready to go, we will send
you an email with a limited time offer to purchase the
copy of Politics we have reserved for you. You won't
have to worry about long shipment times or sell outs.
You will have your copy of Politics already reserved
for you and awaiting your purchase.

So, click today, and reserve your copy of Politics the
board game!

www.politicstheboardgame.com/order.html

FastLearner
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Just Marketing

Are you interested in discussing the path your game took from design to self publishing? If not then that's fine but I'll be removing this post as it has nothing to do with this site.

If you are interested then that would be really great! How long ago did you come up with the idea? Why did you choose the "roll and move" mechanism for the main game? What kind of market research did you do on figuring out who to market the game to and why they might like it?

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Absolutely!

Although, I am not the inventor... my best friend is.

He made the original game in 1980, and had always used it merely to entertain friends and family. Last year, I convinced him to move forward with it. We got a graphic artist on board and eventually made some prototypes with a local printer. We did many "game parties" and invited first only friends and family that hadn't played in a while or at all... then it grew to include some "focus group" game parties to work out any mechanical bugs and see if we thought this game was what it was cracked up to be. We had players ranging from 6 (the game will produce a winner eventually) to 67. Everyone loved it! We gave them feedback sheets to analyze their game experience anonymously, and we used all the feedback we got.

So, we ended up thinking that we would attend a "Game Inventor's Forum" (I won't name names). It was educational, but bottom line in the toy industry seemed to be no new people and no political themed games period. Although no one was offering licensing off the bat, we received alot of encouragement to go forward with self production. So, here we go!

As for the "roll and move" mechanism, it's what works best. It's a much more complex game than your average "roll and move" and truly, that doesn't reflect the game mechanics too much.

Take a look at the rules and you'll see what I mean. It's a NEW, innovative game unlike anything else out there.

If you have any other questions, let me know... I'd be happy to answer them if I can!

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Just Marketing

JustJenn wrote:

So, we ended up thinking that we would attend a "Game Inventor's Forum" (I won't name names). It was educational, but bottom line in the toy industry seemed to be no new people and no political themed games period. Although no one was offering licensing off the bat, we received alot of encouragement to go forward with self production. So, here we go!

Good luck with your project!

Quote:

As for the "roll and move" mechanism, it's what works best. It's a much more complex game than your average "roll and move" and truly, that doesn't reflect the game mechanics too much. Take a look at the rules and you'll see what I mean. It's a NEW, innovative game unlike anything else out there.

I haven't read the full rules, but from what I understand, it does seem like the game is basically "roll and move" in the sense that what happens to a player is largely determined not by their own creative control of the game, but rather by what spaces they happen to land on. You seem to disagree with this assessment; could you be more specific about what you feel is "innovative" about the game? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just think that while it has some novelties (the different tracks for the different offices, eg), there is an awful lot of die rolling-based movement (elections, for example -- decided by who reaches the end of a track first). I'm also concerned that there seem to be a lot of rules and specifics that will be difficult to internalize (you need X Stars and Y dollars to run for Z office, with X,Y and Z different for every office) and that this may be too much complexity for a family game.

I'm sure the game has great atmosphere and is fun to play, but for myself (and probably for Fast Learner as well), I prefer games where my destiny is shaped more by my decisions than by the hand of fate. Luckily, I think I'm in the minority in the US, and with the election coming up, your game should sell just fine, if you can market it well.

I personally would be very interested to hear more as the process goes on. How did you go about getting the game produced? Where are you selling you? How is it doing? These kinds of things would be very interesting to members of this group who are considering self-publishing.

Good luck!

-Jeff

Dralius
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Just Marketing

I am not entirely sure what you mean by

Quote:
We had players ranging from 6 (the game will produce a winner eventually) to 67.

The game will produce a winner eventualy :?: Who long does the game take? Also 6 seems quite young for a game with such complex rules. What is the recommended age for your game and how did you decide on it?

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Quote:
I haven't read the full rules, but from what I understand, it does seem like the game is basically "roll and move" in the sense that what happens to a player is largely determined not by their own creative control of the game, but rather by what spaces they happen to land on. You seem to disagree with this assessment; could you be more specific about what you feel is "innovative" about the game? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just think that while it has some novelties (the different tracks for the different offices, eg), there is an awful lot of die rolling-based movement (elections, for example -- decided by who reaches the end of a track first). I'm also concerned that there seem to be a lot of rules and specifics that will be difficult to internalize (you need X Stars and Y dollars to run for Z office, with X,Y and Z different for every office) and that this may be too much complexity for a family game.

The strategy lies within your ability to "run for office." Having played this many, many times and trying to play as different "types" of players I can tell you that the strategy in which you play makes all the difference in the world. Each individual office mechanically offers you different rewards, so to speak. For instance, if it's popularity you're looking for, then the Presidential office is not for you, whereas the Secretary of State may be a better option. There is also a guide right your score sheet, so there's no need to internalize any of that other information. It's this element that makes it a good family game. It IS easy to learn, easy to follow, yet the more strategic player would also find it to be a fun and challenging game. There is an amount of interaction BETWEEN players that make this out of the norm for your average "family" game. When was the last time your family sat down to play a good, FUN game of... Scrabble? :roll:

Quote:
I'm sure the game has great atmosphere and is fun to play, but for myself (and probably for Fast Learner as well), I prefer games where my destiny is shaped more by my decisions than by the hand of fate. Luckily, I think I'm in the minority in the US, and with the election coming up, your game should sell just fine, if you can market it well.

I won't sit here and say the roll of the dice doesn't affect the game. I'm not much of a game of chance gamer myself. So, yes, the fact that you roll and move surely affects your destiny in the game to a point, however, because the inventor is also like us, this game has the possibility for much more strategic depth. I agree that we are the minority in the US, and that because this game can be played by the "roll and move" no strategy game players out there, I agree that it should do fine, but let's not be mistaken that this is ultimately a gamers game.

Quote:

I personally would be very interested to hear more as the process goes on. How did you go about getting the game produced? Where are you selling you? How is it doing? These kinds of things would be very interesting to members of this group who are considering self-publishing.

Currently, in the "reservation" stage as our game is in manufacturing, after about two weeks we have reservations for about 2500 games. A good portion of those are limited edition games. These are hand signed and numbered, and are limited to 2004 copies.

I appreciate all the questions, anything else, let me know.

To further prove my point, email me an address where I can send you a game. I'll get it to you as soon as we have them back from the manufacturer. You play it, I know you'll love it... then you can post your feedback for me here. Deal?

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Dralius wrote:
I am not entirely sure what you mean by

Quote:
We had players ranging from 6 (the game will produce a winner eventually) to 67.

The game will produce a winner eventualy :?: Who long does the game take? Also 6 seems quite young for a game with such complex rules. What is the recommended age for your game and how did you decide on it?

We had players as young as six playing the game... their parents had brought them last minute, so they played. I was shocked that they got the concept of what they were to be doing, but they did. We went with 8 as the minimum age. As a whole, the 8 year olds, although none would sit and read the rules (except for the special spaces section as needed) with adult supervision they understood the concepts and some even recognized and implemented some strategy. So, because of this, we chose the age.

Again, the rules SEEM complex, but if you had the board in front of you, you'd realize they aren't so. We have fooled with the idea of breaking the rules apart (somewhat like Settlers of Catan) and now I'm thinking perhaps we should have!

The game is designed as such that even without that element of strategy, the game WILL produce a winner eventually, meaning that eventually someone will attain the required amount of money and popularity points to win the game. I've never witnessed a game comprised entirely of 8 year olds, so I can't tell you specifically how long that would take. One of our group was comprised primarily of families of four, with the average age of children to be 10 and 12. These games ran just over an hour for the most part. I have been in games that ran about 2 and a half hours... that's with six players. :? That's too long for me, but there are some that didn't seem to mind. So, I would say that on average, for a 3 or 4 player game you're looking at a time commitment of about an hour and a half. We've implemented the "short game" which is made pretty simple by decreasing the amount of popularity and money needed to win.

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Quote:

I'm sure the game has great atmosphere and is fun to play, but for myself (and probably for Fast Learner as well), I prefer games where my destiny is shaped more by my decisions than by the hand of fate.

Like what? Can you give me some examples of what kind of games appeal to you? :D

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Just Marketing

I'm happy to keep the discussion going, but I don't want it to seem that I'm knocking your friends' game; but since you came into a "game designers'" group, I hope you feel that game design questions and criticisms are fair game...

Quote:

The strategy lies within your ability to "run for office."

Ok, that's fine. But it seems to me that you can only run for office if you've had the good fortune to land on enough Star spaces and have collected enough money to be in position to run. And therein lies my objection to the "roll and move" effect -- what strategic planning there might be seems to be swamped by "lucky" effects based on which spaces you happen to land on.

Quote:

Having played this many, many times and trying to play as different "types" of players I can tell you that the strategy in which you play makes all the difference in the world. Each individual office mechanically offers you different rewards, so to speak. For instance, if it's popularity you're looking for, then the Presidential office is not for you, whereas the Secretary of State may be a better option.

Ok, I didn't appreciate this point. Is it the case, then, that the board spaces in the "president track" are generally about getting "Commodity X" and the spaces in the "secretary of state" track are about getting "Commodity Y"? That, I agree, creates a decision point, but since there are only two commodities in the game (money and power) I wonder how much you can really differentiate the tracks. If I were designing the game, I'd make it about risk/reward -- the President can potentially gain a lot, but he can potentially lose a lot as well. Does it work something like this?

Quote:

There is also a guide right your score sheet, so there's no need to internalize any of that other information. It's this element that makes it a good family game. It IS easy to learn, easy to follow, yet the more strategic player would also find it to be a fun and challenging game. There is an amount of interaction BETWEEN players that make this out of the norm for your average "family" game.

Well, first off, I'm definitely not an advocate for "average" family games (Monopoly, Sorry, etc). But I can think of a lot of games with a lot of interaction. Where does the interaction come from in your game? It seems to me that it's only about contesting an election, and then it's just "roll the die and see who gets to the end of the track first", isn't it? What other sources of player interaction are there? (and I'm not talking so much about the proposed meta-game of calling each other by their office, which is a cute idea but isn't really "player interaction" in the conventional sense. "Player interaction", I think, is more about your moves affecting the standing or decisions of other players in the game. That's not the same as "interactivity")

Quote:

When was the last time your family sat down to play a good, FUN game of... Scrabble? :roll:

Actually, I think this probably happens more than you might think. Scrabble is a fantastic game for what it is. I don't personally love the game, but I enjoy playing from time to time. I think it has WAY more interaction than your game.

Quote:

I won't sit here and say the roll of the dice doesn't affect the game. I'm not much of a game of chance gamer myself. So, yes, the fact that you roll and move surely affects your destiny in the game to a point, however, because the inventor is also like us, this game has the possibility for much more strategic depth. I agree that we are the minority in the US, and that because this game can be played by the "roll and move" no strategy game players out there, I agree that it should do fine, but let's not be mistaken that this is ultimately a gamers game.

I'm sorry, but this is just not true. Euphrat and Tigris, Puerto Rico, El Grande, are "gamer's games". This is not a "gamers' game". When you say it permits strategic play, I'll buy that, but there's no way that hard core gamers would flock to play this game -- and that's ok. A game doesn't need to appeal to "hard core gamers" to be good or fun. But let's at least be honest about what it is and isn't.

I'm interested in what other kinds of games you like, because you say that "we" are in the minority (of people who like real games). It seems you know me better than I thought! (kidding). In all seriousness, the games I like a lot are games like Puerto Rico, New England, Web of Power, Lord of the Rings (by Reiner Knizia), Carcassonne, Acquire -- games that have simple, punchy rules and lots of agonizing decisions that are shaped more by the players than by the game system. I guess Lord of the Rings is the exception that proves the rule, because it more than the others has a strong luck element, yet this is mitigated by the fact that players have various ways of coping with "unlucky" events. In fact, all of these games have random elements, but what sets them apart is that the random elements are more of a subtle addition to the game that keeps it from stagnating from game to game.

I'm curious, how many of those (or other comparable games) have you played? Do you like them? This isn't the Inquisition or anything, just trying to get a gauge of where you're at. When you say you like "gamer's games", I wonder if you mean abstracts, or wargames, or German games, or traditional American games. Coming from the perspective of someone who primarily likes and plays German games, I don't think your game is what you say it is, and I'm wondering if it's because I just don't know enough about your game (by virtue of not having played it) to really understand it, or if you haven't played enough other games (and other kinds of games) to see the game through the same lens that I currently see it (as a somewhat gussied-up luck-heavy roll and move game).
Again, I could be very wrong here, but knowing where you're coming from would help me to know!

To me, I'd be more interested in a game that at each space (or card draw, or whatever) gave you a choice, and your choice affected your standing in some way. I think the "popularity system" is too simplistic, yet it need not be much more complicated. I think American politics, for example, is crudely explicable in terms of 2 categories: social and economic. A person can be "conservative" or "liberal" with respect to either of these, leading to 4 possible "bins" that you would like to gain support in. Then, for example, maybe you land on a space that says "Gun control lobbyists want you to act on their legislation. Will you?" If you choose 'yes', maybe you get X campaign dollars and get +2 "Social liberal" but if you choose "no" you get -4 "Social Liberal". Or something like that. It could even be done in the construct that you've already got. But what it feels like to me is that I'll just move my piece and do what the game tells me to do, but not have much say in that. For example, maybe I land on the space (which I actually saw on the board), "you take a mistress." That's dumb -- I don't want to take a mistress, not even in game terms; it serves no political purpose. So for the sake of simulation (because many politicians do take mistresses), you've added a silly and superfluous element that involves no player decisions and has a completely abstract effect on the game. If you want to talk about simulation, how about coming up with a way for players to have to "cover up" their personal indiscretions (could be done with a die roll effect, I'm sure...)

I guess it's too late for all this since you're already shipping the game. And it sounds like you did your homework, since you playtested a lot. I don't know...

Quote:

Currently, in the "reservation" stage as our game is in manufacturing, after about two weeks we have reservations for about 2500 games. A good portion of those are limited edition games. These are hand signed and numbered, and are limited to 2004 copies.

Is this how many games you've had printed, or have you actually gotten 2500 orders for games already? I'd be quite literally shocked if the latter was true, and very, very impressed!

Quote:

To further prove my point, email me an address where I can send you a game. I'll get it to you as soon as we have them back from the manufacturer. You play it, I know you'll love it... then you can post your feedback for me here. Deal?

I appreciate the offer, but I don't think I'll take you up on it at this time. My point wasn't that the game isn't fun -- I'm sure it's a great time to play. But since we're a game design group, we tend to analyze things from a game design standpoint, and unless there's something big that I'm missing, I think it's probably possible to have a decent idea of what a game is all about just from looking at the components and rules. That's not to say you can understand the "fun factor" or appreciate all the nuances without playing, but more to say that based on what I can see, it looks like you roll the die, move your piece, and do what the space says. The "creative control" comes, I guess, in setting yourself up to be in one track or another based on some set of criteria, but once you're in that track, you're just rolling and moving. It doesn't sound like something that excites me from a game design standpoint, but from a gameplay standpoint, again, I'm sure it's been enjoyable for the test groups and hope it will sell well for you.

Who knows...maybe I'll buy the game myself at some point just to try it out.

Again, best of luck with your project, and sorry if I come across as being on a "high horse" or something. I am by no means saying your game isn't fun or isn't worthwhile, just that it isn't what I look for in a game, based on what I can tell.

-Jeff

Torrent
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Just Marketing

The one thing that struck me when I looked at the picture and rules is this is 'Careers-lite'. Careers was a game out of the olden days (being any time before I was born), that was abotu going through various professions to gain Money, Happy, and Fame. It had also a way of pickign up cards that would let you move a specific number of spaces instead of a die roll. Actually a lot of tactical/strategic decisions for such an old game.

Without playing I can't say anythign else about Politics, but 'Careers' is definately what it reminds me of. See the BGG link http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1475 for a better description.

Also see
'Die Macher' for a more complex Political system, with some of the elements jwarrend mentions above. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1

Politics (1952) for possible name conflicts http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/5713

All I offer is info and links, take it or leave it as you will.

SVan
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Joined: 10/02/2008
Just Marketing

Looks similar to the game of the Life to me, which can be a good waste of time if you have nothing else to play and don't want the hassle to teach your friends anything too complex. I do think that it could be quite popular with the American public if marketed right, but not a game that would appeal to anyone wanting some or a lot of strategy.

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Quote:
I'm happy to keep the discussion going, but I don't want it to seem that I'm knocking your friends' game; but since you came into a "game designers'" group, I hope you feel that game design questions and criticisms are fair game...

No problem at all. I appreciate the feedback and criticism.

Quote:
Ok, that's fine. But it seems to me that you can only run for office if you've had the good fortune to land on enough Star spaces and have collected enough money to be in position to run. And therein lies my objection to the "roll and move" effect -- what strategic planning there might be seems to be swamped by "lucky" effects based on which spaces you happen to land on.

To a point, yes. Although, because the game is well balanced in it's mechanics, players are kept fairly even throughout the first portion of the game, thus creating an environment where strategy comes into play. Will you run for Mayor or wait for a higher office?

Quote:
Ok, I didn't appreciate this point. Is it the case, then, that the board spaces in the "president track" are generally about getting "Commodity X" and the spaces in the "secretary of state" track are about getting "Commodity Y"? That, I agree, creates a decision point, but since there are only two commodities in the game (money and power) I wonder how much you can really differentiate the tracks. If I were designing the game, I'd make it about risk/reward -- the President can potentially gain a lot, but he can potentially lose a lot as well. Does it work something like this?

Bingo! It is VERY much about risk/reward. The Presidential track for instance, is probably the most laden with the risk/reward element. Bear in mind, that there are also appointments to offices, as well as the potential for impeachment (although, you wouldn't like this as it's a roll of the dice... after play testing this worked the best for all age groups) where a Vice President would elevate to the Presidency.

Quote:
Well, first off, I'm definitely not an advocate for "average" family games (Monopoly, Sorry, etc). But I can think of a lot of games with a lot of interaction. Where does the interaction come from in your game? It seems to me that it's only about contesting an election, and then it's just "roll the die and see who gets to the end of the track first", isn't it? What other sources of player interaction are there? (and I'm not talking so much about the proposed meta-game of calling each other by their office, which is a cute idea but isn't really "player interaction" in the conventional sense. "Player interaction", I think, is more about your moves affecting the standing or decisions of other players in the game. That's not the same as "interactivity")

I'm sorry, but this is just not true. Euphrat and Tigris, Puerto Rico, El Grande, are "gamer's games". This is not a "gamers' game". When you say it permits strategic play, I'll buy that, but there's no way that hard core gamers would flock to play this game -- and that's ok. A game doesn't need to appeal to "hard core gamers" to be good or fun. But let's at least be honest about what it is and isn't.

So, what's the best type of game FOR an average family? There aren't many out there that are NEW and different. Most "average family games" lack something... dependant upon your point of view. That's what we strove for to do with Politics. For once, you can have a game to play on Thanksgiving or whatever that the WHOLE family will enjoy. Not just little Joey whose favorite game is Gooey Louie, but Grandma too. We need to get away from comparing this to other games out there... of any genre, because it mixes everything together to cross every genre and make it playable for everyone. No, this likely isn't the game you'll take to your 'Puerto Rico' game club and think that everyone will be willing to put down their D&D books for a go at Politics, but those same players, can take this game home to their wives and kids and enjoy a game with them.

Quote:
Actually, I think this probably happens more than you might think. Scrabble is a fantastic game for what it is. I don't personally love the game, but I enjoy playing from time to time. I think it has WAY more interaction than your game.

I wouldn't say this is a fair statement with you having never played the game. :wink:

Quote:
I'm interested in what other kinds of games you like, because you say that "we" are in the minority (of people who like real games). It seems you know me better than I thought! (kidding). In all seriousness, the games I like a lot are games like Puerto Rico, New England, Web of Power, Lord of the Rings (by Reiner Knizia), Carcassonne, Acquire -- games that have simple, punchy rules and lots of agonizing decisions that are shaped more by the players than by the game system. I guess Lord of the Rings is the exception that proves the rule, because it more than the others has a strong luck element, yet this is mitigated by the fact that players have various ways of coping with "unlucky" events. In fact, all of these games have random elements, but what sets them apart is that the random elements are more of a subtle addition to the game that keeps it from stagnating from game to game.

I'm curious, how many of those (or other comparable games) have you played? Do you like them? This isn't the Inquisition or anything, just trying to get a gauge of where you're at. When you say you like "gamer's games", I wonder if you mean abstracts, or wargames, or German games, or traditional American games. Coming from the perspective of someone who primarily likes and plays German games, I don't think your game is what you say it is, and I'm wondering if it's because I just don't know enough about your game (by virtue of not having played it) to really understand it, or if you haven't played enough other games (and other kinds of games) to see the game through the same lens that I currently see it (as a somewhat gussied-up luck-heavy roll and move game).
Again, I could be very wrong here, but knowing where you're coming from would help me to know!

I surely don't know you, however, from the "feel" of your posts, I could tell that you were more a German game player than... let's say, a Monopoly player. I like Puerto Rico as well, Settlers of Catan and the expansions, El Grande, Carcassonne, although most of the German games I have the opportunity to play are the two player card games. Unfortunately my schedule allows me little time to play games as much as I like, and the two player games fit well into my schedule. I have a nine year old son that likes games like these as well as like Risk and Stratego, so I play those often as well.

Quote:

To me, I'd be more interested in a game that at each space (or card draw, or whatever) gave you a choice, and your choice affected your standing in some way. I think the "popularity system" is too simplistic, yet it need not be much more complicated. I think American politics, for example, is crudely explicable in terms of 2 categories: social and economic. A person can be "conservative" or "liberal" with respect to either of these, leading to 4 possible "bins" that you would like to gain support in. Then, for example, maybe you land on a space that says "Gun control lobbyists want you to act on their legislation. Will you?" If you choose 'yes', maybe you get X campaign dollars and get +2 "Social liberal" but if you choose "no" you get -4 "Social Liberal". Or something like that. It could even be done in the construct that you've already got. But what it feels like to me is that I'll just move my piece and do what the game tells me to do, but not have much say in that. For example, maybe I land on the space (which I actually saw on the board), "you take a mistress." That's dumb -- I don't want to take a mistress, not even in game terms; it serves no political purpose. So for the sake of simulation (because many politicians do take mistresses), you've added a silly and superfluous element that involves no player decisions and has a completely abstract effect on the game. If you want to talk about simulation, how about coming up with a way for players to have to "cover up" their personal indiscretions (could be done with a die roll effect, I'm sure...)

I agree that this would be an awesome way to play the game. Perhaps some future expansion card decks for the game or something. But, truly, it would eliminate alot of the younger players of the game. Who makes games for them anymore anyway? An executive at that forum I spoke of earlier.. an executive for a VERY LARGE American company said to us that they don't make games anymore that take longer than 15 minuted to play, unless it's an extension of a current line. Those aren't the kinds of games I want MY son playing! He went on to say that he's especially interested in games where electronically driven things, let's say... a giant, would mechanically knock over player pieces. Again, no thought provoking games coming from these big companies.

Quote:
Is this how many games you've had printed, or have you actually gotten 2500 orders for games already? I'd be quite literally shocked if the latter was true, and very, very impressed!

No, our first run of the game, we're producing 5,000. Currently, as of this morning, we have "reservations" for 2371. So, I guess I was off a little. :lol:

Quote:
I appreciate the offer, but I don't think I'll take you up on it at this time. My point wasn't that the game isn't fun -- I'm sure it's a great time to play. But since we're a game design group, we tend to analyze things from a game design standpoint, and unless there's something big that I'm missing, I think it's probably possible to have a decent idea of what a game is all about just from looking at the components and rules. That's not to say you can understand the "fun factor" or appreciate all the nuances without playing, but more to say that based on what I can see, it looks like you roll the die, move your piece, and do what the space says. The "creative control" comes, I guess, in setting yourself up to be in one track or another based on some set of criteria, but once you're in that track, you're just rolling and moving. It doesn't sound like something that excites me from a game design standpoint, but from a gameplay standpoint, again, I'm sure it's been enjoyable for the test groups and hope it will sell well for you.

Well, should you change your mind, let me know. :)

Quote:
Again, best of luck with your project, and sorry if I come across as being on a "high horse" or something. I am by no means saying your game isn't fun or isn't worthwhile, just that it isn't what I look for in a game, based on what I can tell.

And that's absolutely fine. :)

Let me know what products you've seen through production, I'd be fascinated to hear a success story!

Anonymous
Just Marketing

I'm not so sure about the "Life" comment. I guess at a glance it may look that way. You're right though in the fact that it's not very complex to learn.

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Quote:
For example, maybe I land on the space (which I actually saw on the board), "you take a mistress." That's dumb -- I don't want to take a mistress, not even in game terms; it serves no political purpose.

There's no space with that wording.

FastLearner
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Thanks, Jenn, for being so open and willing to answer questions!

-- Matthew

Anonymous
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No Problem! :wink:

Scurra
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Torrent wrote:
The one thing that struck me when I looked at the picture and rules is this is 'Careers-lite'. Careers was a game out of the olden days (being any time before I was born), that was abotu going through various professions to gain Money, Happy, and Fame. It had also a way of pickign up cards that would let you move a specific number of spaces instead of a die roll. Actually a lot of tactical/strategic decisions for such an old game.

And player choice too, since you established your own goals, which then determined what you did in the game.
But yes, that was the first game that came into my mind too. This seems to have some of the interesting elements - the side-tracks that have larger rewards etc., but as you say, it seems to be missing the "movement" cards.
I've referenced Careers somewhere else in the forums (but you don't appear to be able to search them, so I can't find it!) because it is still a hugely underrated game.

jwarrend
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JustJenn wrote:
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For example, maybe I land on the space (which I actually saw on the board), "you take a mistress." That's dumb -- I don't want to take a mistress, not even in game terms; it serves no political purpose.

There's no space with that wording.

My mistake -- the actual wording is "You have a secret lover."

jwarrend
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JustJenn wrote:

To a point, yes. Although, because the game is well balanced in it's mechanics, players are kept fairly even throughout the first portion of the game, thus creating an environment where strategy comes into play. Will you run for Mayor or wait for a higher office?

I'm not sure we're using "mechanics" in the same way. To me, mechanics are specific implementations of game design concepts. So, "roll-and-move" is a mechanic; "trick-taking" is a mechanic. Do you mean that the spaces on the main track are "balanced" such that no one will run away with the game from an early point?

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Bingo! It is VERY much about risk/reward. The Presidential track for instance, is probably the most laden with the risk/reward element. Bear in mind, that there are also appointments to offices, as well as the potential for impeachment (although, you wouldn't like this as it's a roll of the dice... after play testing this worked the best for all age groups)

Don't be so sure! For what it's worth, my favorite game is Axis and Allies. I don't mind die-rolling, but I like "intelligent" die rolling; I think randomization can be a design crutch when a better system could emerge. Take impeachment, for example; maybe all the other players should have to "vote" on whether the player is impeached, and the player can try to "grease their palms" to save his bacon. Just a silly idea, but there may be ways to implement this without resorting to a luck of the dice effect. However, a die roll may indeed be appropriate for the effect you're trying to model.

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So, what's the best type of game FOR an average family? There aren't many out there that are NEW and different. Most "average family games" lack something... dependant upon your point of view.

Quite so, but you need to be careful here, because you're assuming your conclusion. If you start with the premise "this game is new and innovative", it's not hard to get from there to "this is the best game for an average family", yet you of course need to demonstrate the former.

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That's what we strove for to do with Politics. For once, you can have a game to play on Thanksgiving or whatever that the WHOLE family will enjoy. Not just little Joey whose favorite game is Gooey Louie, but Grandma too. We need to get away from comparing this to other games out there... of any genre, because it mixes everything together to cross every genre and make it playable for everyone. No, this likely isn't the game you'll take to your 'Puerto Rico' game club and think that everyone will be willing to put down their D&D books for a go at Politics, but those same players, can take this game home to their wives and kids and enjoy a game with them.

I suppose you have a point here, that a game the whole family can play and enjoy is a good thing. I'm concerned that there is a lot of reading, which would make the game more difficult for the younger players than a lot of other games out there. I think what you've really hit on with a "game that everyone can enjoy" is not so much the game as the theme -- everyone can relate to it. Carcassonne, eg, is a game that is perfectly fun for a wide age range. I was at a store playing with my 2 year old daughter the other day (well, playing with the pieces anyway!) and at the next table was a 70 year old woman. So it isn't that the game isn't accessible, it's that it's not something that interests most people. The reason people don't want to play games, I think, is more cultural than game-based. But I agree, if you have a theme that can get people interested and involved, that would be a great thing!

Yet, you continue to say "this game is NEW and INNOVATIVE!" which sounds to me like you're selling something, and I guess you are. Could you identify specifically what you feel is new and innovative about the game? Again, not trying to be a jerk, I just want your take on where the game diverges from what else is out there. You've already indicated some awareness of the "larger world" of gaming, so you must have thought about it...

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Actually, I think this probably happens more than you might think. Scrabble is a fantastic game for what it is. I don't personally love the game, but I enjoy playing from time to time. I think it has WAY more interaction than your game.

I wouldn't say this is a fair statement with you having never played the game. :wink:

I think we are talking about two different things then. I'm talking about player interaction within the game (ie, "By moving here, I can prevent Joe from doing X") whereas I think you're talking about meta-game interaction (ie, Joe whines about me preventing him from doing X). So, by my definition, Scrabble and Monopoly are highly interactive, because both allow you to directly affect the other players (by blocking spaces, or by building hotels) whereas Life is not very interactive. I don't see any game-based interaction in your game (other than the meta game of calling people by their titles.) Is there any that I'm missing?

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No, our first run of the game, we're producing 5,000. Currently, as of this morning, we have "reservations" for 2371. So, I guess I was off a little. :lol:

Wow, I'm really impressed! I'm sure there are some in the group who are considering self-publishing who'd love to know what marketing channels you used to sell so many copies. That's really outstanding, I think!

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Let me know what products you've seen through production, I'd be fascinated to hear a success story!

I'm sure there are some success stories on this group, but I certainly don't have one! Primarily for lack of trying -- I don't have much interest in self-publishing a game at this time, and haven't come up with anything that's "done" enough to submit to publishers. Maybe one of those will change at some point, and we can talk shop!

Good luck, once again.

-Jeff

Brykovian
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jwarrend wrote:
JustJenn wrote:
No, our first run of the game, we're producing 5,000. Currently, as of this morning, we have "reservations" for 2371. So, I guess I was off a little. :lol:

Wow, I'm really impressed! I'm sure there are some in the group who are considering self-publishing who'd love to know what marketing channels you used to sell so many copies. That's really outstanding, I think!

I for one *would* like to hear how you were able to get that many pre-orders. I'm assuming that you've been advertising in some channels that I'm just missing, because this is the first I've heard of this game.

And for each person that actually pre-orders a copy from you, I'd assume that there are X number of other people (100? 1000? 10,000?) that have heard of the game but haven't pre-ordered it.

So ... how'd you do it, Jenn?

-Bryk

Anonymous
Just Marketing

Quote:
I'm not sure we're using "mechanics" in the same way. To me, mechanics are specific implementations of game design concepts. So, "roll-and-move" is a mechanic; "trick-taking" is a mechanic. Do you mean that the spaces on the main track are "balanced" such that no one will run away with the game from an early point?

Ok, so perhaps it's a terminology error. Yes, "balanced." The game is balanced as such that no one will run away with the game from an early point.

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Don't be so sure! For what it's worth, my favorite game is Axis and Allies. I don't mind die-rolling, but I like "intelligent" die rolling; I think randomization can be a design crutch when a better system could emerge. Take impeachment, for example; maybe all the other players should have to "vote" on whether the player is impeached, and the player can try to "grease their palms" to save his bacon. Just a silly idea, but there may be ways to implement this without resorting to a luck of the dice effect. However, a die roll may indeed be appropriate for the effect you're trying to model.

"Intelligient" die rolling. That's funny. So, let's say you're playing this game with perhaps your nieces and nephews. Ranging in age from 9 to 12. The 9 year old is President, and now you get to vote whether to impeach him. The majority vote is impeachment. Now, you have an upset 9 year old that no longer wants to play Politics ever again, let alone another board game. You're right, it's not the appropriate effect we're trying to model.

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Quite so, but you need to be careful here, because you're assuming your conclusion. If you start with the premise "this game is new and innovative", it's not hard to get from there to "this is the best game for an average family", yet you of course need to demonstrate the former.

I know for a fact that this is one of the best new games for a family? How? About 2,000 people telling me so. This is where the focus parties come into play. For once, a mom can enjoy playing a game with their child instead of struggling through another game of "Tumbling Monkeys." She enjoys it, the kids enjoy it. To me, that's new and innovative. For once, a family game that everyone can enjoy. That, of course, doesn't mean that there won't be people out there that aren't going to like the game (you, for instance based on your 15 minutes of reading the rules), however, there are quite a few people in 6 months of "game parties" that LOVE this game.

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I suppose you have a point here, that a game the whole family can play and enjoy is a good thing. I'm concerned that there is a lot of reading, which would make the game more difficult for the younger players than a lot of other games out there. I think what you've really hit on with a "game that everyone can enjoy" is not so much the game as the theme -- everyone can relate to it. Carcassonne, eg, is a game that is perfectly fun for a wide age range. I was at a store playing with my 2 year old daughter the other day (well, playing with the pieces anyway!) and at the next table was a 70 year old woman. So it isn't that the game isn't accessible, it's that it's not something that interests most people. The reason people don't want to play games, I think, is more cultural than game-based. But I agree, if you have a theme that can get people interested and involved, that would be a great thing!

I hardly think 4 pages of rules can be categorized as "a lot of reading." THe rest of the rule book goes over "Special Spaces," etc and does not need to be read prior to playing the game. Again, now I wish we had split it up 'almanac style' so as people wouldn't be so frightened of it. It was never an issue during testing, but apparently here it is.

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I think we are talking about two different things then. I'm talking about player interaction within the game (ie, "By moving here, I can prevent Joe from doing X") whereas I think you're talking about meta-game interaction (ie, Joe whines about me preventing him from doing X). So, by my definition, Scrabble and Monopoly are highly interactive, because both allow you to directly affect the other players (by blocking spaces, or by building hotels) whereas Life is not very interactive. I don't see any game-based interaction in your game (other than the meta game of calling people by their titles.) Is there any that I'm missing?

So, you're playing a game of Politics, and you're in an election. The polls are looking good and you feel as though victory is yours. Until your friend, Billy Joe Bob slaps a card on the table eliminating you from the race. Billy Joe Bob becomes President and you're left in the dust. Perhaps Governor would suit you better anyway. Ohhh, but you can't be Governor because Cindy Sue is hoarding the Governor's office! Looks like you'll have to be Mayor. Are you seeing my point?

Anonymous
Just Marketing

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I for one *would* like to hear how you were able to get that many pre-orders. I'm assuming that you've been advertising in some channels that I'm just missing, because this is the first I've heard of this game.

And for each person that actually pre-orders a copy from you, I'd assume that there are X number of other people (100? 1000? 10,000?) that have heard of the game but haven't pre-ordered it.

So ... how'd you do it, Jenn?

-Bryk

It's actually MUCH simpler than you would think. Charles (the inventor) and I have definitely done this right. We have both been in different fields of work and have utilized quite a bit of networking.

Thus far, however, I will tell you that it had A LOT to do with the "game parties." We rented halls, and the first few were by invitation. These people didn't really even think they were doing us a favor. They were catered, and just a lot of fun all the way around. We'd offer prizes for the people that would be the "first to get to..." and so the entire room was filled with a sense of competition. People that hadn't played board games in years were there, and were enjoying themselves. We had people that didn't even LIKE board games "bidding" to take home prototypes. It was really an amzing thing. From the by invitation parties, we went to a mix of by invitation and bring your friends. Then, began advertising on college campuses. There really IS no better place to get a bunch of people willing to play a game and eat free food. They just began snowballing more and more. At these parties, people were invited to be on our mailing list. It is from those people, and their word of mouth, that we have received so many 'reservations.'

This is something that we will always continue to do. He (Charles) has actually formed a game company, and is looking at licensing a few potentials as well. He has said that as we add more games, he will continue to host these parties. It was his vision, and now I can see why he said it would be the key.

Additionally, we met the head of a game retailer (about 7 stores) and he loved the 'game party' idea. We will be hosting them soon, co-sponsored with this retailer in the Southwest. This will likely take place after our second, and much larger run of games.

We're also set to air on a nationwide radio talk show, by invitation, as soon as the games are back from manufacturing. I'm nervous about this should it produce more volume than we can handle. At this time, we can't handle much. So, we will likely wait for after the second run as well.

And... the primaries! We are working diligently to be present at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. How exciting!

Also, another angle, is that Politics is Made in the US. We could have gotten a MUCH, MUCH less expensive quote in China, but that just seemed wrong to make a game of American politics in China. :? I don't know that has much to do with anything, but people appreciate seeing that.

jwarrend
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Just Marketing

Maybe we should stop...you're starting to get defensive, and I feel that it's probably my tone that is putting you in that posture. Again, my apologies. I am by no means attacking you personally, I'm just applying the same critical scrutiny that I and others on this group bring to all games. As I think I've said repeatedly, this of course says nothing about whether the game is fun or not to play, and that, of course, is what really matters. And what's most essential from a design standpoint is the game matches up with the player experience you're trying to create. I think you've accomplished that commendably, but approaching the game from my jaded "gamer's" perspective is another matter. I am sorry if I've offended you.

JustJenn wrote:

Ok, so perhaps it's a terminology error. Yes, "balanced." The game is balanced as such that no one will run away with the game from an early point.

Probably not a terminology error so much as a communication error on both of our parts. My point was just that as far as I can tell, there's only one "mechanic" in the game -- move your piece and do what the board says. If that mechanic is "balanced" great. Just a minor quibble over terms, I guess.

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Don't be so sure! For what it's worth, my favorite game is Axis and Allies. I don't mind die-rolling, but I like "intelligent" die rolling; I think randomization can be a design crutch when a better system could emerge. Take impeachment, for example; maybe all the other players should have to "vote" on whether the player is impeached, and the player can try to "grease their palms" to save his bacon. Just a silly idea, but there may be ways to implement this without resorting to a luck of the dice effect. However, a die roll may indeed be appropriate for the effect you're trying to model.

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"Intelligient" die rolling. That's funny.

Well, try and understand what I'm actually saying. First off, at a minimum, die rolling is inherently probabilistic, and so for a game to be "fair", it has to either allow for lots of die rolls such that they even out, or allow for players to choose actions based on the probability of something happening. A good example of the former is Settlers, which has lots of die rolls, but because there are so many, generally you'd expect that most of the numbers will be sampled probabilistically. A good example of the latter is Lord of the Rings -- the die roll is always bad, but you have some idea what the chances are of a "really bad" result. (For example, if Sauron is 2 spaces away from a player, there's only a 1 in 6 chance the player will be "captured", thus it may be worth risking whereas if Sauron is one space away, there's a 4 in 6 chance...)

By "intelligent", I simply mean that probability can be taken into account in decision making. (ie, "what are my chances of this die roll going the way I want it to?") I think in your game, since you have to roll the die for everything, the only way for luck to even out is to have about 1/2 the spaces be "good" and half be "bad", or whatever.

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So, let's say you're playing this game with perhaps your nieces and nephews. Ranging in age from 9 to 12. The 9 year old is President, and now you get to vote whether to impeach him. The majority vote is impeachment. Now, you have an upset 9 year old that no longer wants to play Politics ever again, let alone another board game. You're right, it's not the appropriate effect we're trying to model.

Not surprising, given that I spent about 1 second coming up with it! My point is more that there might be other ways than a die roll to achieve the effect you want. Or maybe a die roll is perfect for what you want. It doesn't sound like you considered alternatives. No big deal. But don't assume that I hate die rolling in all forms. In some games, it's brilliantly done, but only when players are choosing to "take their chances". When it's forced on them, or when a wild variety of things can happen, it's usually not as satisfying.

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Quite so, but you need to be careful here, because you're assuming your conclusion. If you start with the premise "this game is new and innovative", it's not hard to get from there to "this is the best game for an average family", yet you of course need to demonstrate the former.

I know for a fact that this is one of the best new games for a family? How? About 2,000 people telling me so. This is where the focus parties come into play. For once, a mom can enjoy playing a game with their child instead of struggling through another game of "Tumbling Monkeys." She enjoys it, the kids enjoy it. To me, that's new and innovative. For once, a family game that everyone can enjoy.

Then indeed, you've assumed your conclusion. You're defining "new and innovative" in terms of whether people like the game, then using the fact that people like the game to justify your opinion that the game is new and innovative. To me, "new and innovative" is more in reference to other games rather than whether people liked it or not. If "tumbling monkeys" is their only frame of reference, it sounds like your testers wouldn't know either way whether the game was innovative or not.

I definitely agree that it would be great for parents and kids to have games that they both enjoy playing. But I don't think Politics is the only or even necessarily the best for that. Check out Sarah Samuelson's posts at the spielfrieks group, she has 3 kids, all of whom game. She would actually be a good person for you to contact, being the owner of gamesurplus.com. If THOSE kids, who are steeped in German gaming, find the game new and innovative, then I'll indeed concede your point. I'd equally concede it if you tell me what you think is innovative about the game!

BTW, I continue to be shocked by your numbers. 2,000 playtesters? Who are these people? Where are you finding them? This is absolutely amazing. I can't believe how much market research you guys have done! Sadly, I'm not sure how much game design research you've done. How many of those 2000, for example, were "gamers" like you and the designer? What was their reception of the game? What didn't they like about it?

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That, of course, doesn't mean that there won't be people out there that aren't going to like the game (you, for instance based on your 15 minutes of reading the rules),

That's not fair at all. If you didn't want criticism or comments on your rules, you shouldn't have come to a game design group with a sales pitch. I have been very careful to say that I know nothing about the game atmosphere itself, that it might be quite fun to play, that I genuinely hope it does well. What I continue to dispute is your claim that (a) it's new and innovative and (b) it appeals to gamers. Heck, I'm a potential buyer, and in a demographic you claim to be reaching with the game. What about your game haven't I seen before? (specifically) What about it makes the game great for gamers? (and not just the "you can play with your wife", a valid point but not a selling one for me, having other games that my wife and I enjoy...)

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however, there are quite a few people in 6 months of "game parties" that LOVE this game.

I have absolutely no doubt that this is completely true. I'd bet that the majority of America would like your game way more than anything I've designed! (and note that I'm not on some high horse and saying my games are "better" or "elite" something, I just think that they provide a different kind of play experience than yours and that the experience my games provide is more enjoyable to me than what I think your game provides. So please don't misunderstand me here...)

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I hardly think 4 pages of rules can be categorized as "a lot of reading." THe rest of the rule book goes over "Special Spaces," etc and does not need to be read prior to playing the game. Again, now I wish we had split it up 'almanac style' so as people wouldn't be so frightened of it. It was never an issue during testing, but apparently here it is.

No, the "reading" I spoke of is that every space you land on has text. That may be difficult for the younger crowd. (though maybe not for 8 and up, I guess. But you said it was playable for 6 year olds and I bet they'd have trouble with all the words).

Also, the "secret lover" thing gives me some concerns about the suitability for kids. How much content is there about the sordid details of politics and political issues?

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So, you're playing a game of Politics, and you're in an election. The polls are looking good and you feel as though victory is yours. Until your friend, Billy Joe Bob slaps a card on the table eliminating you from the race. Billy Joe Bob becomes President and you're left in the dust. Perhaps Governor would suit you better anyway. Ohhh, but you can't be Governor because Cindy Sue is hoarding the Governor's office! Looks like you'll have to be Mayor. Are you seeing my point?

Yes, but only because you're just beginning to make it! What I've been asking all along is where the interaction comes from. You give an example of "take that!" card play, which does indeed create in-game player interaction. Unfortunately, that mechanic has its own attendant design flaws, but since you're already selling the game anyway, no need to belabor my design critique...

Anyway, thanks again for your discussion of the game. I respect that you've put so much work into the game, and have tested it so extensively. And I'm still blown away by the sales figures. Who are you selling the game to? Where is it being sold? I do wish you success, as I think that an accessible and fun game about politics could be a cool thing. The only lament I might have is that your game is perhaps more about entertainment when it could be cool as a pedagogical device to teach the younger crowd about how the government works. But since that didn't seem to be your intent in the design, I could hardly criticize you for that. I just think that at some point, it would be cool to see a game that did that and yet wasn't just a "US history trivia game" or some such.

Again, my best wishes with your project.

-Jeff

Dralius
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Just Marketing

I hate to change the subject just when a fight is about to break out :twisted: but rather than hashing over what a great game is made of i would rather hear about the marketing that is being employed.

How have you drawn attention to your game to get the 1200+ orders?

phpbbadmin
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Apples to Apples?

I think that the game Politics would be considered new and innovative when it was set before the average american who grew up playing games like monopoly and life. However, *most* of the users of the BGDF tend to lean towards newer games; games like settlers, D&D,Cosmic Encounter, Magic the gathering, mageknight, etc. When I compare these set of games with my limited understanding of Politics, I would have to agree and say that there was nothing new or innovative about it.

HOWEVER, if you consider that the target audience might be or is your average american, then the statement could be considered true. Of the standard set of board games available to the general American public, there is no representation for the theme of Politics, at least that I know of. There is no wrong or right here. It's entirely subjective.

Jenn, I'm curious as to your process of taking pre-orders. Do you require people to prepay for the game? Have you done any estimation of how many people might actually back out of their preorder? My only concern might be that a large sum of people might change their minds. Time is your biggest enemy. As the time between taking the preorder and shipping the product grows, more and more people might decide they don't want the game. Life situations change, people forget why they wanted it in the first place, etc.

My theory on your success for sales has to be your marketing strategy. You guys went all out marketing to anyone and everyone, which fits nicely with the target audience of 'average american'. You dreamed big. I think that's one of the reasons 'german style' games aren't big in the US. People assume that the average american won't be interested in their game, so they don't even bother targetting that market, prefering instead to stick to customers at game stores and convention goers. There some sort of unspoken rule that says average americans only want to play monopoly like games. I think once this misconception is shattered, the flood gates will open for designer games in the American market.

-Darke

Anonymous
Re: Apples to Apples?

Darkehorse wrote:
I think that the game Politics would be considered new and innovative when it was set before the average american who grew up playing games like monopoly and life. However, *most* of the users of the BGDF tend to lean towards newer games; games like settlers, D&D,Cosmic Encounter, Magic the gathering, mageknight, etc. When I compare these set of games with my limited understanding of Politics, I would have to agree and say that there was nothing new or innovative about it.

HOWEVER, if you consider that the target audience might be or is your average american, then the statement could be considered true. Of the standard set of board games available to the general American public, there is no representation for the theme of Politics, at least that I know of. There is no wrong or right here. It's entirely subjective.

I agree... it is completely subjective.

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Jenn, I'm curious as to your process of taking pre-orders. Do you require people to prepay for the game? Have you done any estimation of how many people might actually back out of their preorder? My only concern might be that a large sum of people might change their minds. Time is your biggest enemy. As the time between taking the preorder and shipping the product grows, more and more people might decide they don't want the game. Life situations change, people forget why they wanted it in the first place, etc.

We have not required people to prepay for the game. We didn't want to do that IN CASE manufacturing got "glitchy." The manufacturer warned us of this possibility when it comes to a first run of a game. We realize that there will always be people that back out of the game, but we're going into it with an attitude if they do, they do. With an initial run of 5,000 and even if only 1,000 people live up to their preorder, we're still in much better shape than we had anticipated. We do have our sights set high, so 4,000 games would just give us more ability to do the things we want to do. We're trying to keep positive no matter what happens. Having more games on hand would allow us to do more "game parties" throughout the Northwest, then with the game retailer in the Southwest. Those are things that if this run sells out quickly (which is a good thing :) ) we wouldn't be able to do until after a second, larger run.

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My theory on your success for sales has to be your marketing strategy. You guys went all out marketing to anyone and everyone, which fits nicely with the target audience of 'average american'. You dreamed big. I think that's one of the reasons 'german style' games aren't big in the US. People assume that the average american won't be interested in their game, so they don't even bother targetting that market, prefering instead to stick to customers at game stores and convention goers. There some sort of unspoken rule that says average americans only want to play monopoly like games. I think once this misconception is shattered, the flood gates will open for designer games in the American market.

I agree. After many of those game parties, there were people that approached me that don't play games because they think everything is Monopoly, Life and Uno. I was always quick to write down game suggestions for them. Most of which, were German games. When we were at that Game Inventor's Forum (again, no names) I spoke with the head of a... German game company. And, although it's one of the largest distributors to the United States, and mostly educational games, he eluded (I'm trying to be so careful!) that the US audience just wouldn't appreciate German games. I guess we'll never know, because no one has the guts to do it... and do it BIG. Hopefully, as this game, and the other two set to release after Politics, the company will have a name for itself and be able to get more... "German-type games" into the US. Only, they'll be American games. :D

Anonymous
Just Marketing

jwarrend wrote:
Maybe we should stop...you're starting to get defensive, and I feel that it's probably my tone that is putting you in that posture. Again, my apologies. I am by no means attacking you personally, I'm just applying the same critical scrutiny that I and others on this group bring to all games. As I think I've said repeatedly, this of course says nothing about whether the game is fun or not to play, and that, of course, is what really matters. And what's most essential from a design standpoint is the game matches up with the player experience you're trying to create. I think you've accomplished that commendably, but approaching the game from my jaded "gamer's" perspective is another matter. I am sorry if I've offended you.

Firstly, let ME apologize. This is surely no excuse, but yesterday was "one of those days," anything that could go wrong, did.

So, we'll agree to disagree. You say the design isn't what it could be, and I say it's exactly what it should be for the audience we're targeting. There. I feel better. Hehehe. :D

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BTW, I continue to be shocked by your numbers. 2,000 playtesters? Who are these people? Where are you finding them? This is absolutely amazing. I can't believe how much market research you guys have done! Sadly, I'm not sure how much game design research you've done. How many of those 2000, for example, were "gamers" like you and the designer? What was their reception of the game? What didn't they like about it?

I can't give you a percentage of "gamers." I'm just not really sure. One group of 6 in particular comes to mind. They were members of a gaming group and were reluctant to play. It wasn't long at all before they were into the game. They were VERY serious about it, and one was even getting a little pissy about this other player's actions. In the end, they all enjoyed themselves, and said that they WOULD like to play again. Their only suggestion was to add more of a role-playing element. Well, that was a good suggestion, but not the feel that we wanted for the game.

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No, the "reading" I spoke of is that every space you land on has text. That may be difficult for the younger crowd. (though maybe not for 8 and up, I guess. But you said it was playable for 6 year olds and I bet they'd have trouble with all the words).

A few six year olds played the game, however, that doesn't change that the listed age bracket are for 8 and up. In those situations, I'm sure the parents helped a bit with the text. If an eight year old would have an issue reading the text on the board, perhaps they should brush up on their phonics a bit a pick a different game. :D

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Also, the "secret lover" thing gives me some concerns about the suitability for kids. How much content is there about the sordid details of politics and political issues?

Hmm, there's a reference to "Your brother made a beer." And, the "secret lover" one, and the last would be "vacationing on a nude beach." I as a parent don't see anything wring with any of those references, however, I'm sure that's subjective as well.

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Apples to Apples?

JustJenn wrote:
And, although it's one of the largest distributors to the United States, and mostly educational games, he eluded (I'm trying to be so careful!) that the US audience just wouldn't appreciate German games. I guess we'll never know, because no one has the guts to do it... and do it BIG.

Actually, I think we do know. The litmus test was the Lord of the Rings board game, which Hasbro released in the US, and which was timed at Christmas and just around the time when the new movies were set to start coming out. It was sold in major stores -- Target, Walmart, etc.

The result? Well, I couldn't give you exact figures, but we do know that the game isn't being sold in Target anymore, and isn't being sold by Hasbro. Why not? My guess would have to be that it just wasn't selling in the numbers that these companies are used to.

And if you can't sell a good game like that, with gorgeous production, a reasonable price ($30 at Target when it was there), at Christmas, with a major-movie tie-in, well...I think you have your answer.

It's kind of a shame, but not really. Personally, I much prefer the more "organic" approach that game-playing is getting. The fact that new companies other than Rio Grande are springing up and selling English-language games has to be a good indication that the hobby is growing in America, and that's what we want. When you get explosive growth, things go south in a hurry.

Consider, for example, difference between the bands "Spin Doctors" and "Phish", both of whom started to get popular at roughly the same time. Spin Doctors got a couple of songs on the radio, and BOOM, they got huge, but it was all a flash in the pan. Phish built a fan base slowly and steadily, and today they're one of the biggest concert draws around.

It's a crude analogy, but we want the same thing for our hobby. We want people to be converted slowly and steadily, because these games are fun to play, and not because it's the "in" thing to do or the product of the moment at Target. Sure, I think seeing Settlers on the shelf at Toys R Us would be cool, but I personally don't think the country is ready for it yet. There will come a time, I think, when there will be a legitimate demand for a product of that caliber (not that I'm a huge Settlers fan by any means), and when that happens, we'll see it on the shelves. But I don't agree with you and Darke that it's just for lack of trying. I just really don't think the country is ready yet.

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Hopefully, as this game, and the other two set to release after Politics, the company will have a name for itself and be able to get more... "German-type games" into the US. Only, they'll be American games.

Hey, that would really be a great thing! And I think having an American game company committed to making great new games is a great thing. I guess I'm just saying that if you sell all 5000 of your games, that will already be a great success for you! By all means think big, but don't be so set on thinking big that you fail to appreciate the remarkable success you've already had. 2500 preorders puts you in pretty rare company already. Be pleased with that accomplishment, even if you're not fully satisfied yet!

-Jeff

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Just Marketing

JustJenn wrote:

So, we'll agree to disagree. You say the design isn't what it could be, and I say it's exactly what it should be for the audience we're targeting.

Oh, I don't disagree with that at all. As I said, the crucial criterion for whether a game is good or not is "player experience". I think you've made a game that matches well with the player experience you're trying to create. It may not be the kind of experience I'm looking for, but I don't believe that I represent your "main audience" anyway. And of course, your game should be evaluated in terms of the experience it purports to provide. cf our discussion about "Mystery of the Abbey", where some feel the game is fundamentally flawed and others feel that the game is geared towards a specific play style and experience.

Quote:

Hmm, there's a reference to "Your brother made a beer." And, the "secret lover" one, and the last would be "vacationing on a nude beach." I as a parent don't see anything wring with any of those references, however, I'm sure that's subjective as well.

I guess it depends. I wouldn't be at all thrilled about the "secret lover" for a 6 year old, and even an 8 year old is close. But I don't think it would be anything an 8 year old in our society hasn't heard of.

BTW, I understand that the box is printed as "for 8+", but when it comes to games, I generally assume that this is more based on complexity than content. Thus, if I was the parent of a "smart" 6 year old who was already adept at, say, Carcassonne, I might think, 'well, this game is for 8+, so he can probably handle it', and would thus be unhappy if "innappropriate content" was an ingredient of the age range. I understand that in our society, there's little in your game that would be objectionable to the average 8yo, however, my concern is that we shelter our kids perhaps too little. At each of the two Lord of the Rings movies, I've seen children who were considerably younger than 13. And every Disney movie I've seen with the exception of Cinderalla has some scene of violence or death (how many have parents who die?) that make them completely unsuitable for my young children. You don't need to respond to this, because it's more a soapbox comment about society in general than a specific objection to your game, I just want you to know where I'm coming from and why even a space like "you have a secret lover" is problematic for me. I suspect it wouldn't be for most buyers.

I also saw one card that said (paraphrase) "Your brother is governor, therefore, you get to demand a recount". Things like that are sort of close to the line for me, because I don't particularly want the designer preaching his politics to me, the game player. I will grant that this was pretty mild, however, I hope that you either don't have anything more overt than this, or that you at least are balanced in your jokes that are based loosely in reality. (like a "you invented the Internet" space or something...) Although, probably offending no one's political party would be better than offending everyone's. But that's just my opinion...

-Jeff

Anonymous
Just Marketing

jwarrend wrote:
I also saw one card that said (paraphrase) "Your brother is governor, therefore, you get to demand a recount". Things like that are sort of close to the line for me, because I don't particularly want the designer preaching his politics to me, the game player. I will grant that this was pretty mild, however, I hope that you either don't have anything more overt than this, or that you at least are balanced in your jokes that are based loosely in reality. (like a "you invented the Internet" space or something...) Although, probably offending no one's political party would be better than offending everyone's. But that's just my opinion...

-Jeff

AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaah. Jeff, politicians are hilarious and politics in general IS funny. It is balanced in it's offensiveness (although this seems a harsh term) of both parties.. and even a few third party jokes. Like Ross Perot ISN'T funny! The inventor is a great lover of ALL politics, but realizes that it IS funny, and that other people think it is too. I would say the recount card is a harsh as it gets. Or perhaps, "The peanut farmer bit doesn't work twice," that's pretty harsh too, but, it's a GAME, it's all in fun! Lighten up a little! :D

(Note that I'm saying all of this in a light hearted manner, and am in no way trying to be argumentative.)

jwarrend
Offline
Joined: 08/03/2008
Just Marketing

JustJenn wrote:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaah. Jeff, politicians are hilarious and politics in general IS funny. It is balanced in it's offensiveness (although this seems a harsh term) of both parties.. and even a few third party jokes. Like Ross Perot ISN'T funny! The inventor is a great lover of ALL politics, but realizes that it IS funny, and that other people think it is too. I would say the recount card is a harsh as it gets. Or perhaps, "The peanut farmer bit doesn't work twice," that's pretty harsh too, but, it's a GAME, it's all in fun! Lighten up a little! :D

Well, hey, I enjoy a good laugh as much as the next guy, but I think that when you overtly poke fun of specific people or viewpoints, you run the risk of offending people in a way that isn't always "just good fun", and I don't think you can use the hand-wave "it's just a game", because obviously we all draw the line somewhere (ie, I'm sure I could think of a game theme that you would be offended by, and I wouldn't have to try all that hard...). Of course, not having seen all the spaces on the board or all of the cards, I couldn't really comment, and I'm sure you have some good zingers in there. But to me, I think if a game is meant to be funny, the danger is always that you're necessarily getting the designers' sense of humor. An example of a game that I find hilarious is Apples to Apples, which doesn't contain a single joke per se and yet, is always a riot to play specifically because it pulls on the sense of humor of the players themselves. Granted, something like this couldn't be done in your game, I guess I'm just saying that humor is as subjective as anything else. For example, I don't find the "peanut farmer" joke very funny. I don't find it offensive, either, but the point is, you don't want to rely on humor as the sole ingredient to give your game staying power. At any rate, it doesn't seem like you've done that here, at least not based on the spaces one can see on the background of the board on your site.

And incidentally, I don't know if I'd say that politics is funny so much as that politics is a joke!

-Jeff

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