Skip to Content

Hello from Australia! New designer of medium weight games

2 replies [Last post]
Bored Games Lab
Bored Games Lab's picture
Joined: 05/02/2022

Hi everyone! I'm a new designer from Australia. Looking forward to learning from you all, especially fellow Australians considering we have some unique challenges here (no major local manufacturers, high cost of shipping, no major conventions/events).

I design medium weight games that are in that sweet spot where there's enough depth and theme to satisfy an experienced gamer whilst still being accessible enough to new or non-gamers. The reason I've fallen into this area is because of my long history of trying to get my girlfriend (now wife) into gaming!

If you're interested in following my journey, I'm also writing about the entire process and am committed to full transparency. I'll be writing in detail about the go to market, specific numbers, finances, marketing, etc. and how it all works.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I read the content on your website...

And from what I read, it serves to illustrate that designing a Board or Card Game is an "iterative" process. That is very true. One thing that I wanted to add is that in "general" most games peak at 90% completion... Usually the last 10% is too costly and involving to make a "perfect" game (if that really exists).

Sure the games are FUN and have nice art and generally feel like they are made of quality materials (which BTW is often true)... But most don't reach 100% of the game being completely finished. That last 10% may be a limited amount of "blind playtesting" or last minute design decisions which have not be as thoroughly tested as the rest of the game.

I must admit that even with TradeWorlds, in one the samples, I spotted some card errors and made edits. That was for trying to insure 100% correctness in the content of the cards. The game went through some last-minute blind playtesting due to a lack of resources and available time from our regular playtesters. But we did get some suggestions and even implemented one idea...

I would say that TradeWorlds is about 95% completed (in terms of overall completion). What we could have had was more blind playtesting in the end... But we didn't have sufficient resources to do the last leg and we did have an independent group review our design and game which led to some *new* ideas in the end...

So I would recommend adding that most games hit the 90% to 95% completion because the last 10% to 5% is too demanding in trying to make the game "perfect".


Note #1: As being an "iterative" process, you are always doing edits and playtesting solo and then you like get the game to your playtesting group and have them force you to remove elements, change others and generally "improve" the overall design and solidity of the game. I'd say that most iteration is between the designer and their prototype.

So in your diagram to be more "correct", I would say something like:

(Concept -> Design) x 20 -> (Design -> Prototype) x 10 -> (Prototype -> Playtesting) x 100 -> ...

The idea being that usually the CONCEPT requires a lot of thought. Making prototypes is usually a more limited effort because you've work HARD on the design itself and then between the prototypes and playtesting that another very involving stage because there is "Unit Testing" (By the Designer or Developer) and then there is "Functional Testing" (By a Playtest Group) and then there is "Blind Testing" (which is done with another Playtest Group which have never seen or played your game before)...

So usually once you have the initial prototype, there are usually a few iterations on the prototype, but rule refining and game play reassessment is usually done between Unit and Functional Testing. Making the game an overall better design through the input of the playtesters.

In any event, I think you have captured the MOST important point: designing games is NOT a linear process, indeed it is VERY iterative!

Note #2: And why I wanted to say that the LAST 10% to 5% is difficult to accomplish ... Because usually "Blind Playtesting" requires a Group of gamers who have NEVER seen or played your game. So the problem lies in finding various "groups" that have never had the chance to TRY your game. And once one group plays like a few times, that group is "compromised".

Why? Because they can no longer "Blind Playtest" because they have already been EXPOSED to the rules and the game. Sure these "groups" can help bring out new ideas ... But in general, you'll need to find ANOTHER group for another "Blind" session with another group that hasn't played.

So it's TOUGH to go from one group to another unless you have a lot of contact with Gaming Groups in your local area and you actually DO the "leg work" to make contact, establish a playtest date and go do the Blind Playtest...

That's a harder gig and solidifying the design towards the end of it's design cycle (just before going to market) is well... challenging! But I agree with you assessment that the process is not linear.

Also just before going to MARKET, a Publisher may choose to EDIT the game and make changes that require testing anew. Making the Layout of the cards different, designing new logos, perfecting the look of the cards, etc. So there may be a loop back just before the "Market" and the "Design"...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Also ...

You may want to coordinate with your LOCAL "Comic Conference" to have a board game hall or area ... Reserved for a couple of different groups of people.

1. A set of tables for Local Designers to showcase their games and prototypes. For some free playtesting and more exposure for their games.

2. A set of tables for Gamers to PLAY published (commercial) games within the conference. Sort of like a "break" to sit down and have some fun.

Point #2 means that you need people who bring in a bunch of games (collection) and have no problem sharing them with the public. I've seen #2 done and there were a TON of people who enjoy COMICS and CONVENTIONS who also ENJOY Board or Card Games too!

Another tip is that you might want to organize this for a local venue in your area! I mean I know @HPS74 (Hamish Sterling) who created "Pocket Sports" also lives in Australia and it seems like he had no difficulties bringing his own creations to market. So I'm sure there MUST be a venue that you are probably not aware of ... Like I said, look for LOCAL "Comic Cons" to see if they are willing to set-up a Board Game Hall. Sure you can maybe charge for tables like $50 bucks per table and that can offset the cost of printing badges for the designers, the time to setup tables and chairs thanks to volunteers, etc...

With these 2 Groups you can usually fill in your reserved AREA for Board Games.

I've done this personally 3 times for TradeWorlds and each time the game was a HUGE Hit! The players loved trying something *NEW* and unreleased (at that time).

Note #1: I was NOT the "Event Organizer", I just purchased a table from the people who were running the conference. I've gotten complimentary tables and I've also paid for tables too... It depends on the venue and how popular it is. For Otakuthon, an anime conference, I got a FREE table to playtest and demonstrate TradeWorlds. I think the 1st Year at Comic Con I also got a FREE table, but the cost of a table went from $50 to over $100 ... They ask now $450 for Artists and $900 for other vendors (the booths).

The Board Game Hall was a separate area managed by another group of people. But they always tried to make it affordable for designers... It's a two-way street: you attract more people and you also benefit from their playtesting.

So FREE is good too... You might want to check if you could get FREE access to a venue in your area. I'm positive there MUST be something... Australia is not so remote that there are no CONS...

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut