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EFFWORDS: Scrabble meets Apples to Apples

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hoost
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Hey everyone! I could use some help with a game I'm designing called EFFWORDS. It's like Scrabble, but here's the catch: players can only play fake words that they make up!

Each turn, one player plays a fake word, and the rest of the players have to submit cards with definitions to define the word. The player who submitted the best definition earns points. Check out the rule book to learn to play.

I could use some help and advice in writing some good definitions. If you think of any definitions, post them here! I'll make sure to give you credit in the game!! :)

If you are interested in keeping up with the project, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. You can also post your definitions there as well!

Oh, out of the 400 definitions I’ve written so far, here are some of my favorites:
1. The unlikely, but delicious, combination of french fries and ice cream
2. The stuff mystery meat is made of
3. The monsters under your bed
4. The secrets dolphins tell each other
5. A taco with a vengeance

Soulfinger
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So, it's more like reverse

So, it's more like reverse Balderdash or Apples to Apples. Making up a word and assigning a preset definition just doesn't seem very entertaining though. Part of what makes Balderdash enjoyable is the novelty of discovering abstruse words while deceiving one another with the fabricated definitions. I could see this working out with the Apples to Apples crowd, but the set definitions limit replay value far more than single word bids.

Don't forget to include the Sarah Palin quote somewhere in the instructions: "'Refudiate,' 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!'"

Also, for reference, "but delicious" in #1 is an interjection. You are missing the commas. Periods are not necessary for incomplete sentences.

hoost
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Yes, it's sort of like Apples

Yes, it's sort of like Apples to Apples! So, do you have any suggestions to make the game more entertaining?

Haha that's such a great quote! I'll include it somewhere in the instructions.

Thanks for letting me know about the grammar errors!! I'll fix those right away!

Soulfinger
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hoost wrote:Yes, it's sort of

hoost wrote:
Yes, it's sort of like Apples to Apples! So, do you have any suggestions to make the game more entertaining?

Not really. I suspect that this is because it just isn't my kind of game. However, I can tell you who your target demographics are. You'll want to playtest this with:

-- High school kids
-- Women aged 18-35
-- Pentacostals

Hold your playtest sessions at a Starbucks, approach some youth ministers to see if you can get some youth groups involved. Pentacostals are ideal, because this seems like an all audiences game, and they are generally more sensitive about subject matter. Then again, I don't think all charismatic churches have youth outreach programs, so you may have to go Mormon or 7th Day Adventist depending on what's in your area. They are your litmus test for objectionable material, but also a prime market for family games.

Will female, college-aged casual gamers find it interesting? Would young mothers play it with their children? Is it something that a young woman would break out while hosting a party for coworkers? Games like this tend to have a higher proportion of female players. If you tap that market then you are set.

hoost
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lol ok, I'll try to find some

lol ok, I'll try to find some more people who are sensitive about subject matter and see what they think! It will be nice to test the game out on a different sort of audience. Thanks for the advice!
So far, I've done about five playtests with my friends and family, and I've received some great feedback from them. It seems like a wide range of people enjoy the game, so it has been hard to really narrow down my target demographic!

Soulfinger
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There are plenty of people on

There are plenty of people on this site who are far more experienced than I am at running playtests, but I do believe that your game is similar enough to Apples to Apples to use it as a guideline for finding your market. One thing I look at with that game is how it was rebranded once a major publisher picked it up, what expansions they issued, and what demographic expansions were issued. Keep in mind that major companies spend large amounts of money researching their audiences.

-- Mattel rebranded it as a "Party Box" game, which synchs with what I've seen. No prep time, innocuous presentation, not a lot of thinking at face value, and a level playing field that equalizes outcomes regardless of player skill or background. You could play it at church or at work, unlike Arkham Horror.
-- Next are Junior and Kids editions for 9+ and 7+, which is why I recommend testing with mothers, youth ministers, etc. Kids that young aren't physically buying games with a disposable income like teens do, so you want to see if parents/educators would. If I recall, the stat was something like 87% of parents are involved in their kid's game choices.
-- Then you have demographic editions. The British Isles edition is obvious in that they couldn't tap that market with a game using terms like french fries or apartments. Bible edition indicates that there is a Christian specialty market, which offers an extra revenue stream through Christian bookstores, etc. I was surprised to see not just a Jewish edition but also a Yiddish one (which even a goy like me would want to play). That is targeting 1.4% of the US population -- far less with the Yiddish edition -- so Mattel must have noted a sizable following emerging there.

Overall, you are looking for diversity in your groups, as the merit of a game like this is that a disparate group who'd have a hard time holding a conversation could still enjoy playing this together. Test with women, because they hold a larger share of the market now in no small part due to games like this, and they are sort of the gatekeepers into traditional family market subsets.

Keep in mind that your family and friends don't constitute a "wide range of people." My wife had to remind me of this in the past. She pointed out that my friends and family all share the same socioeconomic background, same general level of education, and that I was taking for granted an above average level of intelligence and problem solving when using them to test something. I should have been recruiting players from the city bus. People gravitate toward like, so it requires a conscious effort on the part of a designer to find playtesters with different life experiences, outlooks, and class standing than their own. I'm sure that Fantasy Flight could release the new X-COM game confident in it selling just based on the 18-35 white male, white collar crowd, but a game like yours casts a far wider net. A party game can really take off, but it needs far more work when it comes to marketing and design to find traction and staying power.

hoost
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Wow, this is all really great

Wow, this is all really great information and advice! I appreciate that you took so much time to type this out! I'll keep all this in mind as I continue playtesting the game and engaging with people.

Thanks!! :)

hoost
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I appreciate all the help

I appreciate all the help I've gotten on the BGDF forum. With the advice I've received here, I was finally able to launch the Kickstarter for the game!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/effwords/effwords-the-game-of-effed...

We're so proud of how this turned out! We'd love to hear your feedback on the artwork and the video!

chris_mancini
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I have to say I really

I have to say I really enjoyed the video! Especially the part where the guy pushes the wig and gavel onto the next player..."Yes...YAAAAAAASSSSS!!!" He's pretty much the best. Good luck with the campaign!

hoost
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Thanks so much!! Haha! Yeah

Thanks so much!!
Haha! Yeah that's my friend Andrew. He's pretty much hilarious. And that's his actual personality! That moment was totally unscripted lol

Soulfinger
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It's a good rough draft for a

It's a good rough draft for a KS and kudos to your graphic designer, but it is missing a lot (which may be addressed in the video, but I never watch KS videos):

For starters, what the hell comes with the game? I tried to catch a glimpse of the contents as they flashed by in the animated GIF of the rulebook, but there is no breakdown listed. Buyers have to work way to hard to learn what you are selling. Since it's like Scrabble, I'd expect letter tiles and what-not, but frankly, there's nothing about your pitch that instills confidence that you can deliver a quality product with cards and tiles for $25. The sparse presentation should make backers very anxious about what the final product would look like.

You do a fine job of establishing that you are a funny guy, but there just isn't anything in your pitch that would suggest you can run a business. Even the header for your pie chart turns your money management into a joke. The best comparable KS projects that I've seen balance humor with sincerity. The photo you selected for your bio, for example, may seem lighthearted to you, but it suggests immaturity to people like me. Instead of looking for serious credentials in your bio, it had me checking instead to make sure that you graduated high school.

Having made-up endorsements isn't very compelling when you are competing against so many games with genuine ones. The fake endorsements draw attention to the fact that you don't have those real ones, not even from some Internet blogger or the guy you mention from Bananagrams. It makes it seem like you are compensating for having failed to generate positive buzz ahead of time. Even within the college-age/hipster demographic you seem to be targeting, there are some people who are going to be turned off by the image you used for the Dutty Moonshine plug. Not too big of a deal, in and of itself, but I can think of a few friends who'd find the objectification of woman the deciding factor in whether or not to pledge.

I don't mean to be overly harsh. The visual elements really look good, which underscores everything that is blatantly missing. I did end up skimming through your video, so I can also suggest that the plea from the creator may fit better at the start. Most KS projects I've seen have the gameplay video embedded in the description somewhere, typically accompanied by some text or images to provide further details.

hoost
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Got it! All good advice! I'll

Got it! All good advice! I'll make some changes.

I appreciate the honest feedback!

hoost
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Ok, I have addressed many of

Ok, I have addressed many of your concerns. Thanks again for the honest feedback!

Soulfinger wrote:
For starters, what the hell comes with the game?

This should now be clear! I also included JPEG images of the rule book.

Soulfinger wrote:
...there's nothing about your pitch that instills confidence that you can deliver a quality product with cards and tiles for $25. The sparse presentation should make backers very anxious about what the final product would look like.

I hope I have done a better job of instilling this confidence now! I made changes to the the text and the structure of the page to reduce some anxiety.

Soulfinger wrote:
You do a fine job of establishing that you are a funny guy, but there just isn't anything in your pitch that would suggest you can run a business. Even the header for your pie chart turns your money management into a joke. The best comparable KS projects that I've seen balance humor with sincerity. The photo you selected for your bio, for example, may seem lighthearted to you, but it suggests immaturity to people like me. Instead of looking for serious credentials in your bio, it had me checking instead to make sure that you graduated high school.

I hope I have done a better job of this as well! I changed the bio image, but I left the image in the CREATEAM section the same. I like the fact that it shows my fun side because most of the time I'm very serious and intense. I also talk a little more about my experience, and I provide a link to my LinkedIn profile. Finally, I talk more about the roles of some of my friends who have helped a tremendous amount with the business side of the game.

Soulfinger wrote:
Having made-up endorsements isn't very compelling when you are competing against so many games with genuine ones. The fake endorsements draw attention to the fact that you don't have those real ones, not even from some Internet blogger or the guy you mention from Bananagrams. It makes it seem like you are compensating for having failed to generate positive buzz ahead of time.

I agree. These have been removed.
Unfortunately, all of the reviewers I contacted were unwilling to review a party game. I have been talking, however, to a really great person from Across the Board Games (http://www.acrosstheboardgames.net/) who seems excited about EFFWORDS! She will include our game in the July 2015 Kickstarter updates article.
Despite the lack of reviews, we have generated quite a bit of buzz! We currently have over 26,000 likes on Facebook, and I consider that a big accomplishment!
I am still actively working on getting reviews, so hopefully I will be able to get a few good ones. If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Soulfinger wrote:
Even within the college-age/hipster demographic you seem to be targeting, there are some people who are going to be turned off by the image you used for the Dutty Moonshine plug. Not too big of a deal, in and of itself, but I can think of a few friends who'd find the objectification of woman the deciding factor in whether or not to pledge.

I agree. I also felt a little uncomfortable about including that. But I included the song because it was so generous of Dutty Moonshine to let me use their music for free! I just wanted to pay them back by promoting their music. Unfortunately, the music happened to have that image, and I should not have included it. My mistake!

Soulfinger wrote:
I did end up skimming through your video, so I can also suggest that the plea from the creator may fit better at the start. Most KS projects I've seen have the gameplay video embedded in the description somewhere, typically accompanied by some text or images to provide further details.

This is the only point that I will disagree on. For a party game like this, I think the layout I chose works much better. Talking at the end of the video also works much better with the overall style of the video and the Kickstarter.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful and honest feedback! I really appreciate it!
Hopefully you are now confident enough in me and the project to potentially make a pledge! It would really mean a lot to have the support of someone as thoughtful, honest, and straightforward as you!

wombat929
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Shipping

It would also be good to include a discussion of how you'll be handling overseas shipping for people who don't get in on the free international shipping gravy train. (Also, have you priced that carefully? It seems to be a major stumbling block for many companies.)

Soulfinger
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wombat929 wrote:It would also

wombat929 wrote:
It would also be good to include a discussion of how you'll be handling overseas shipping for people who don't get in on the free international shipping gravy train. (Also, have you priced that carefully? It seems to be a major stumbling block for many companies.)

Very true! As an example, sending 8 ounces in to England via USPS uninsured First Class ranges from $9 to $12, depending on if it is packaged in a non-rigid envelope with less than 1/4" thickness or a box. That, plus the cost of packaging, eats up half the price of your game. Then, you have to factor in how many will be lost in transit, which is especially a concern with countries like Italy. In my experience, international delivery has been extremely reliable, with many delays but only maybe 1-in-100 packages ever truly lost, but you still want to have your contingency plan prepared for how you'll deal with customers, domestic and abroad, who report that they haven't received their merchandise within a reasonable time frame.

I hope the changes work out for you. Nice to see the contents listed and the pledge levels clearly laid out. Hopefully, that resolves the issue of someone having to verify in the comments section that they are receiving a physical copy of the game. Best of luck, and keep in mind that plenty of KS projects stumble their first time around but perform successfully on their second outing with a leaner model and refined presentation.

hoost
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wombat929 wrote:It would also

wombat929 wrote:
It would also be good to include a discussion of how you'll be handling overseas shipping for people who don't get in on the free international shipping gravy train. (Also, have you priced that carefully? It seems to be a major stumbling block for many companies.)

That's an excellent idea! I will include a short discussion about shipping. Yes, we spent a lot of time deciding on the right price for the game. It was tricky, but we are confident landed on the right number. We are offering free shipping to the first 50 backers at the CHUBBLBUBS and PUBIDDITIONS levels. After that, we add on a bit for shipping.

Soulfinger wrote:
Very true! As an example, sending 8 ounces in to England via USPS uninsured First Class ranges from $9 to $12, depending on if it is packaged in a non-rigid envelope with less than 1/4" thickness or a box. That, plus the cost of packaging, eats up half the price of your game. Then, you have to factor in how many will be lost in transit, which is especially a concern with countries like Italy. In my experience, international delivery has been extremely reliable, with many delays but only maybe 1-in-100 packages ever truly lost, but you still want to have your contingency plan prepared for how you'll deal with customers, domestic and abroad, who report that they haven't received their merchandise within a reasonable time frame.

Yes, shipping definitely eats up a huge portion of the price! We don't know the exact weight of the game yet, but we estimate that it will be between 2 and 3 pounds with all the packing materials added in. I have done some international shipping, so I know how frustrating it can be. We've been looking into the fulfillment company, Ship Naked, to handle the shipping. They seem to offer fair prices, and they have a lot of experience with international shipping.

Soulfinger wrote:
I hope the changes work out for you. Nice to see the contents listed and the pledge levels clearly laid out. Hopefully, that resolves the issue of someone having to verify in the comments section that they are receiving a physical copy of the game. Best of luck, and keep in mind that plenty of KS projects stumble their first time around but perform successfully on their second outing with a leaner model and refined presentation.

Thank you! We are already seeing more pledges coming in!
Yes, this has been a really great experience so far, and I've learned so much.

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