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Going Back, Moving forward

Over the past 8 years that I have been seriously pursuing a career in game design I have found publishers for my abstract , family, children’s, party, and euro style games. What’s funny is I haven’t done one of my favorite types, the Dungeon Crawl. Back in the 80’s my friends and I played any we could find being DnD fiends. I still enjoy them today but rarely get to play one.

After all these years I’m finally getting around to it, but not just one, I am doing two at the same time. Why two? Coincidently there are two reasons for this.

Reason One

About a year ago I was working on a game based on the book Spear of Seth by Rene Daniel. The game was a rather abstract co-op game with players collecting cards to perform feats based on events in the story which is a Jules Vern sort of adventure. The object was to complete all the story elements in any order to make a complete story line within a time limit. Just as I was getting the bugs worked out Rene’s publisher went under and we put the project on indefinite hold since we had no one to pay for the production.

Rene has since self published it.


And contacted me to see if I was still interested, which I am. The thing is neither of us has the money to do any sort of real production so we are left with PoD production or micro funding. I would prefer a traditionally published final product that could be distributed through normal channels. This makes Kickstarter the best option. One of the things about using this kind of funding is how important the presentation is. A good one gets you funding a bad one doesn’t. I thought about making a demo video for the game and it dawned on me that it’s not going to be easy to pitch it in its current form. Instead we need a game that people can grasp from a quick overview; something that say adventure like a dungeon crawl. The story is full of ruins, caverns, monsters, etc so we have all the classic elements for it. So while Rene literally draws me a map of his world I'm brain storming mechanics. It will still be a Co-Op with a time limiter but otherwise everything else will be changed. I have a week of from work for the holidays so I’m hoping to have a testable prototype ready by the New Year.

Reason Two

Back in July I was contacted by startup game publisher in my area about coming to Protospiel so they could shop for designs for their new digital board game system. I provided them a list of prototypes that were being tested that weekend based on the preregistration information that was submitted by the designers. It turns out this company is looking to sell to the mass market so it’s not surprising that most of what they saw didn’t interest them since they tend to be Eurocentric designs many of which are too long and heavy for the general public’s taste. I was a little surprised when the owner asked to see my game Lady Bug Trifecta and after playing though a round was very interested. LBT is primary a wagering game with a cute theme, and light strategy. Fine for the family market. It also has lady bugs which are part of the company’s logo so they liked that too.

Ok, Ok, I’m getting to the dungeon crawl part. I have been working with them to port it to a digital version and have had several meetings so far. This has gotten be a foot in the door and after discussing the systems capabilities so to know what I can and can’t do for the LBT conversion I realized that the system is perfect for doing an expandable dungeon crawl board game. I mentioned the idea and they are intrigued with the possibility. Since the potential scope of it is so large I’m working on a base system to demonstrate how game play will work as well as a presentation of different scales this could be taken to rather than just showing it as full blown. This will give them small, medium, and large versions to consider rather than throwing the full blown game system in their lap which they might see as being beyond their ability to do at this time. This too im hoping to have ready in January.

It will be a working holiday for me but im looking forward to it.

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blog | by Dr. Radut