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How do you design?

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ElKobold
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krone9 wrote:For your first

krone9 wrote:

For your first ever game design you picked a $35,000 target campaign with multiple miniatures, vast amounts of card art and a high box price.

That wasn't my "first ever" design. It's just the first one published. I`m designing games as a hobby for 10 years or so.

krone9 wrote:

That would fly in the face of ALL the advice on here (that I've seen) so I'd love to hear about your journey to get there. You've clearly taken some risks and ignored the experts and by the looks of things, come out of it very successfully. Can you share any details? What was your role on this - was the whole team as inexperienced?

I've taken few personal risks (except enormous amounts of time invested). Wolffdesigna is not a one man's show.

All the advise about not taking risks is very true and valid if you're trying to pull it off by yourself, using money from your own pocket.

There's no magic bullet recipe to share, I`m afraid.

krone9
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Thanks guys - went back and

Thanks guys - went back and read all this start to end as there's a few topics emerging.

Here's what I've taken from it so far:

Split out the game design from the marketing track.
This is good advice and in all honesty, I've not done much here yet other than read up, and prep for the Con in June. My only comment for this is that I think sometimes we are very visual creatures and that a single piece of art for a game can really help to understand how interested people are. Showing people a load of handwritten cards, only really gets so much enthusiasm! What I'm trying to do is commission "minimal and reusable art" - so I get "just enough" to fulfil a need, and reuse it where possible. I also try and pick areas where either I'm going to definitely use it, even if the game changes (because I'm a theme-first designer not mechanic-first)

Expect your first few games to be rubbish and be prepared to throw things away
This one is harder for me as there's conflicting advice between "focus on one game" and "churn through as many ideas as possible to get to the good stuff" and "don't present your first ideas to publishers". It also doesn't sit well with my personal approach so I'm mulling it over. Right now I think that all games have problems, some bigger than others, and I work on the ones I have enthusiasm for. If they get very hard, very quickly to resolve then I tend to lose interest and discard. I currently have 9 ideas on the go (and my codesigner has around 4-5 I think) but am only actively working on around 2 at any point.
Questions on this point are : surely focus defeats the ability to churn through your first ideas? I have no intention of waiting 10 years before putting my first KS out (aiming for later this year depending on playtesting/market feedback). Secondly, why not approach publishers - once you've done your full design work - on the game design - if its a bad idea they will shoot it down fast and what better way to learn?

Meet up with other game designers
This was by far the best advice on here. I now attend PlaytestUK meetups and these have been insanely useful in terms of playtesting, design advice etc

I also think my process stages have evolved somewhat in the 2 months since I posted that. If I were to write it again it would be something like:

1. Come up with an idea I like the sound of and think would be fun to play
2. Come up with a core mechanic that supports that theme
3. Iterate in my head/on paper/google doc how that would work and evolve either mechanic or theme based on what I like most about it
4. Write down the game play sequence
5. Get a prototype put together to test myself
6. Commission early stage artwork (carefully to avoid wasted money)
7. Test prototype with other people (friends, other designers)
8. Flesh out artwork further
9. Print test with local printer of key components
10. Prep on TheGameCrafter for a full draft prototype and review cost elements
11. Professional testing

I'll stop there as I haven't gone beyond there yet. Steps 6-10 aren't always in that order and if I were to pursue the publisher route for a game, I would ditch some or all of them except 7 (testing)

Step 11 is an odd one as I'm thinking about it and would like to try it but - not done yet.

radioactivemouse wrote:
However, you'll need to do your own research on this...actually asking me to tell you these things just tells me you're coming at this fairly blind and you might not really know Kickstarter as much as you need.

Really this thread was on Game Design not Kickstarter - I'm not at that point in the process yet. I'm just not posting everything I've read on KS because I don't think I would contribute much (other than regurgitation) until I've actually gone through a campaign myself.

I do know a little about how to run a successful business, including things like product development, quality control, online sales, offshore manufacturing, international fulfilment and distribution etc. But - thats again going off topic.

What I have seen on Kickstarter is that actually I disagree with you - its not always the "amateur looking" game sthat fail, nor the "professional looking" games that succeed. I think it largely depends on community and marketing. The first link you sent is mildly amusing but not really that useful - if you look at each and every one of them, its obvious - even it a blind novice like myself - why they haven't got a single backer. I'm more interested in the games which get 20%-80% funding but fail.

ElKobold
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krone9 wrote:(aiming for

krone9 wrote:
(aiming for later this year depending on playtesting/market feedback)

I believe "rushing it" is somewhere in top3 of self-publishing mistakes made by beginners.

Finish your game first. Then add (at least) half a year to it. That will give you a more realistic launch date.

Also, make sure you watch this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th7azVwzEcA

krone9
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I won't be rushing anything

I won't be rushing anything but thanks for your advice.

I'll watch the video - looks like pretty miserable viewing judging by the comments!

>>edit : Good video with good advice....there's a few others by those guys worth watching

polyobsessive
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Paradox

krone9 wrote:
surely focus defeats the ability to churn through your first ideas?

Yup, that's one of the paradoxes. You don't finish a game unless you focus on it, but you don't build experience without doing a lot of work, and these are almost certainly pulling in different directions. You have to figure out how to reconcile this.

For me, I started off trying to make largish games, made a mess, then spent a couple of years making a large quantity of small games. Some of those small games sucked royally, or just got abandoned. Some of them were pretty OK. A couple I am still tinkering with and they may get pitched. One of them has been signed with a publisher. I learnt a lot from all of them. Now I am working on some bigger games again and making a bit more progress.

krone9 wrote:
Secondly, why not approach publishers - once you've done your full design work - on the game design - if its a bad idea they will shoot it down fast and what better way to learn?

Yup. The main risk you are taking (other than getting a bruised ego) is to your reputation. If you build a rep as someone who keeps pitching inadequately tested or developed games that might damage your chances of being taken seriously later. But if you prepare and are willing to accept criticism with humility, you can learn a lot.

krone9 wrote:
Meet up with other game designers
This was by far the best advice on here. I now attend PlaytestUK meetups and these have been insanely useful in terms of playtesting, design advice etc

Agreed. I started attending Playtest UK meetups most months as of early last year and I have learnt so much from more experienced designers. Those guys are great and have helped me more than I thought possible.

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