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Game branding/setting

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zobmie
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hey everyone, I've had a problem as of late. Me and my friend have come up with a fairly original game mechanic for a CCG. The game mechanic allows fast paced one on one combat that really simulates a martial arts fight. We have worked and tweaked the mechanic to perfection and it is fair, balanced, and miraculously, it actually feels like you are in a martial arts fight.

We only have one problem. I'm pretty sure that there has been a martial arts game before, and there is one currently out that is getting licensing from all the major console fighting games (soul caliber, mortal kombat, etc.) So how do you distinguish something like this that is already on the market? What do we do for characters, setting, and the look of the game to draw attention. If we do something original, it may not be noticed, no matter how good it is. If we seek licencing, we could gaurantee an audience, but it's not likely we would be able to afford expensive licencing fees.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
andy

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Game branding/setting

I guess it's going to be tough to compete with an established game with good licences.

I would try getting one good licence myself (how about a Kill Bill licence?, Wouldn't that be cool?). Maybe you can figure one movie or one vintage videogame or something that could be a good licence to get and you manage to get a reasonable licence.

The other way I can think of competing is having great graphics, specially if you competition's graphics aren't that good (which I hope). Many people would simply buy the game that looks best at first sight. If your game plays nice, that first leverage might be all you need to succedd. Once people buy your game for the looks, they'll discover it plays well too, and keep buying.

Be very carefull with pricing. You will probably need to focus just on covering the production cost at first, so you can sell at a similar price than your established competitor (they will most likely be on bigger printing runs, so they'll have an advantadge). But don't set your price too low, maybe just a notch below theirs.

My last advice: look for some niche market. Try to avoid direct competition against a stronger (market-wise) established game. It's very hard to beat them, but you can probably reach a more specific audience. You say your game feels pretty real, maybe you can promote it through martial arts associations or academies or something like that. Reach a different audience. They might not even be regular gamers. It might be people who like martial arts.

Seo

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Game branding/setting

zobmie wrote:
Me and my friend have come up with a fairly original game mechanic for a CCG. The game mechanic allows fast paced one on one combat that really simulates a martial arts fight. We have worked and tweaked the mechanic to perfection and it is fair, balanced, and miraculously, it actually feels like you are in a martial arts fight.

Congrats! Designing a game that plays well and is fun is a good accomplishment!

Quote:

We only have one problem. I'm pretty sure that there has been a martial arts game before,

I suspect there are probably several. There's "Shadowfist" by Z-Man games and there's "Yu-Gi-Oh" (which probably isn't strictly martial arts but I think it has some similar concepts), and probably a few others besides.

Quote:
So how do you distinguish something like this that is already on the market?

I'm going to answer a question that you didn't actually ask, but it's one you perhaps haven't considered. Have you ever thought of just being satisfied with having creating a working game, printing off a dozen sets for you and your friends, and then being able to play the fun game that you've created?

After all, you acknowledge that selling the game is going to be a challenge, and it's a certainty that it's going to cost you a lot of money. What is your bigger reason for seeking to have the game published? Because at the end of the day, if you've got a game that you can play and enjoy with your friends, maybe that's good enough.

To answer your question, the route I would go is to remove the CCG aspect and make your game self-contained. In doing so, you may have a hope of getting it looked at by a publisher, and then they're the ones who have to figure out how to sell it.

Another option might be to web-publish the game, and allow people to download your game for free. Again, you won't make money this way, but it will get your game some exposure and if it builds enough steam, a publisher might take a look and decide to give the game a shot.

Good luck!

-Jeff

Carlos
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Joined: 08/01/2009
Game branding/setting

At GenCon last year, I bought a Kung-Fu Fighting, a non-collectible card game from Slugfest games ( http://slugfestgames.com/products/cards/kungFF.html ). It's fun, fast, simple, and even a little silly. Their take on it was that they were trying to recreate some of the campy fun of the Kung Fu Movies of the 70s, and I think they did a fair-to-middilin' job. You might take a page from them: they didn't use a license, but instead game up with a genre that fit well with the tone of the game.

They have a similiar game called En Garde (not to be confused with Knizia's game of the same name) that has a Three Musketeers feel to it. Again, they went for a genre. That might be a better way for you to go. Is your game more like a Bruce Lee movie, or a Chuck Norris movie? Is it more like Bloodsport (I'm pretty sure "Kumite" must be taken as a CCG name, but if it isn't...) or "Any Which Way But Loose"? Remember, you're not going for the exact license, but the genre of the license.

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
lol Any Which Way But Loose

ha ha ha ha ha

(it's actually Every Which Way But Loose, but still, LOL) Haven't thought about that movie in years! Can't imagine anyone creating a CCG based on it, though "Right Turn, Clyde", could be a killer finishing move!

~Josh

Carlos
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Joined: 08/01/2009
Re: lol Any Which Way But Loose

OutsideLime wrote:
(it's actually Every Which Way But Loose, but still, LOL)

Right! I get that title confused with "Any Which Way You Can" which was ... the sequal?

Quote:
Can't imagine anyone creating a CCG based on it, though "Right Turn, Clyde", could be a killer finishing move!

Now that is friggin' funny Josh. :)

And now back to our regularly scheduled thread, already in progress. ;)

zobmie
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game branding/setting

hahahah! talk about derailed! I challenge you to make an any which way but loose game.

anyway...

Seo- I love all your suggestions, especially the idea of appealing to a non-gamer audience. All this info will be amazingly helpful.

Quote:
After all, you acknowledge that selling the game is going to be a challenge, and it's a certainty that it's going to cost you a lot of money. What is your bigger reason for seeking to have the game published? Because at the end of the day, if you've got a game that you can play and enjoy with your friends, maybe that's good enough.

Yes, making a game for friends to play would be fun and exiting, but I really do want to try and push it commercially.

Quote:
To answer your question, the route I would go is to remove the CCG aspect and make your game self-contained. In doing so, you may have a hope of getting it looked at by a publisher, and then they're the ones who have to figure out how to sell it.

The only reason I used the term CCG was to give an idea of the play style of the game... whether or not it would be collectable was still up in the air. In all honesty the game would probably work better if it were not collectable.

Quote:
Another option might be to web-publish the game, and allow people to download your game for free. Again, you won't make money this way, but it will get your game some exposure and if it builds enough steam, a publisher might take a look and decide to give the game a shot.

That is another option we were considering, but in tandem with a commercial release. Not sure on the details of that yet, but we'll see.

Quote:
Is your game more like a Bruce Lee movie, or a Chuck Norris movie? Is it more like Bloodsport (I'm pretty sure "Kumite" must be taken as a CCG name, but if it isn't...) or "Any Which Way But Loose"? Remember, you're not going for the exact license, but the genre of the license.

The feel of the game is more like Hero, Crouching Tiger, or similar films. It is less campy kung-fu and more elegant mythical martial arts combat. The more i think about it the more i want to do an original and in-depth setting, with no licence.

Thanks for the input everyone!

Sen
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Joined: 12/20/2010
Game branding/setting

Aw, until you mentioned Crouching Tiger, etc. I was going to suggest looking into capturing the look and feel of K1, UFC, PrideFC - Mixed Martial Arts fighting.

That's an untapped market with potential globally - especially in Japan and Brazil.

I'm trying to think of other martial arts scenarios.

What about going after a manga/anime license that is particularly similar to your mechanic?

clapjaws
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game branding/setting

How about exploring the Lone Wolf and Cub series? You wouldn't necessarily need to make it as gory/bloody as the series - but its been around for quite awhile, and has been reprinted by Dark Horse in a small book format that's interesting. By this I mean the orignal assassin/samurai books (I'm not familiar enough with the anime-looking version that came later - but that's an idea too).

Sounds like a cool idea - good luck!
Jim

zobmie
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game branding/setting

Sen wrote:
Aw, until you mentioned Crouching Tiger, etc. I was going to suggest looking into capturing the look and feel of K1, UFC, PrideFC - Mixed Martial Arts fighting.

That's an untapped market with potential globally - especially in Japan and Brazil.

I'm trying to think of other martial arts scenarios.

What about going after a manga/anime license that is particularly similar to your mechanic?

The UFC thing would be great because we do plan on having all kinds of different martial arts and fighters going against each other, so it's definitly something we'll have to think about...

...and although lone wolf and cub (and it's pretty decent ripoff blade of the immortal) would be great source material for an amazing game, our game has a focus on unarmed combat. There are weapons, but we balanced it out so that a person with a weapon and one without a weapon would still be solid competitors against each other.

Some more information about the game itself. We basically tried to follow the cinematic flow of a martial arts movie fight. There are really no "turns" you have to earn actions by blocking attacks and counter attacks.

so the players go back and forth, furiously throwing cards on the table till one person blocks or gets a hit in based on what numbers are on thier cards. Then you can play reaction cards based on what happened in the attack sequence.

clapjaws
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game branding/setting

Now that you've described the pace of the game - the first thing that popped into my head was "Jackie Chan" - that guy can fight with/without weapons - and can use mundane objects as weapons. Granted he can be silly too - but the action sequences have always been fun to watch, it would be cool to be able to play that out on the tabletop.

Sen
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Joined: 12/20/2010
Game branding/setting

Have you seen Ong Bak?

Jackie Chan could be a great license. There's a children's cartoon as well as his movies. Granted he's aging fast, but he's still got a huge fan base.

And while he's maybe not flowy like CTHD, he's got moves that'd be interesting to emulate. Especially his prop fighting.

Add in Yeun Bao and Sammo Hung and you've got a recipe for slap happy kung foolery ;D

I'm think the UFC one would be great still.

And your mechanic may still work out. They often call MMA fighting "The Chess of Fight Sports" due to the submission fighting strategies - it's all attack, defend, counter, feint, etc.

Great stuff. If you've never seen some of the lightweight fighters go at it, do yourself a favour and rent a few Pride Bushido DVDs for the lighter weight fighters. The UFC favours heavyweights and they lack the refinement that you may want to emulate in your game.

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