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Question: Amateur Design Blog + Company

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TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012

I've got a question for anyone who wants to share their two cents, but first here's a brief background.

I am an amateur board game designer, have never published a game, and have had a Work In Progress for the past 2 years. The game is prototyped, plenty of self playtesting and playtesting with close friends, and I have recently started sending out [handmade] prototypes to friends for blind playtesting. I've gotten relatively positive responses (ie there's solid potential and interesting decisions but it needs balance). My goal is to self-publish, start a company, and commence a Kickstarter campaign for crowd funding and publicity by the end of next year.

An idea I've recently had would be to start a blog as an amateur designer where I could hopefully motivate other amateur designers by sharing my experiences, my progress, and ask about theirs.

So my question is this: Would you all think it advantageous to start the company prior to starting the blog?

The reasons why I would are:
-Having an established company would motivate me to finish the game sooner than later.
-Although it would surely be minor, it would help begin branding.

The reasons why I wouldn't are:
-Would it seem pretentious to start a company before the game is finished?
-I'd be paying for and dealing with all other logistical requirements of having a company well in advance of practically needing to having the company established. (Although I don't know if this would be a significant burden.)

Anyways, any suggestions, tips, or opinions would be greatly appreciated.

questccg
questccg's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2011
My take

I think "designer blogs" are more meant like a sounding board... You express the ideas you have and instead of "fearing" people who might be wanting to "steal that great idea", you open up to the World and share your thoughts/ideas.

I do this via my BGDF Blog.

Why? Because by sharing ideas, you can inspire others to think up their OWN ideas. And (to me) it's far more interesting telling you what the latest happenings are on one of my WIP that to discuss "abstract mechanics" or "how to balance your game via mathematics"...

I'll leave those discussions to the people with more skills, knowledge and deeper abilities in things like mechanics or mathematics.

Now - getting back to your "blog idea".

Since you have not published anything - all you have are experiences that are "leading" you to a possible crowdfunding campaign. If you sold your blog as being "this is HOW I will do it...", then you are sharing your IDEAS about how you plan to take your game from unknown game - to the next big thing.

You are not an "expert" on anything.

So virtually all it means is that "your" blog can be, at best, a DESIGNER Blog.

Which is not a bad thing... Some people like to follow what others are up to. Just to see what they may be working on next. A designer blog doesn't mean it's only about a single game. As designers we often work on many game ideas at the same time (or in a sort of concurrent fashion).

People who like your content will read it. If it's not popular, well then you will be able to infer interest...

Personally I don't blog for interest... Sometimes my own blog post help ME further along in the process when the design has changed so much that my earlier ideas no longer fit (and/or maybe one gem might exist that I can salvage...)

As far as blogs go, James Mathe has a great collection of advice. Jamey Stegmeir is another... Because these people bring CREDIBILITY to the table. 1.8M for Scythe and James has done everything "under the sun" when it comes to Board Game Design...

Keep it low keyed. Just post what's going on and try to stick to a DESIGNER blog which may interest some people... not everyone...

TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012
Far from an expert

Oh, I completely agree with you. I am FAR from an expert. In fact, I wouldn't even call it a designer blog; that might presume I've actually designed (and published) a game.

My idea would be to present it as an amateur design blog, emphasis on the "amateur."

You make solid points. A key reason for the blog is to provide myself accountability and motivation. Just as your blog helps you keep your game in perspective, my blog will provide me accountability and drive to complete my game.

To also encourage readers, I do also want the blog to motivate other amateur designers, to show that they CAN design their game. To show them everyone has their own struggles, but with a little willpower and guidance, they can finish it. So it won't be a blog from a designer that seems to be unachievable, but something relatable; from one amateur to another.

While I appreciate your thoughts (and even asked for it), do you have thoughts on my original question?

I will eventually start a company (obviously necessary, to produce and sell a produce). However, I'm considering starting it now, which would be approximately 12-16 months prior to when it really needs established. Is that a good or bad idea, and why?

questccg
questccg's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Your OP.

TwentyPercent wrote:
I will eventually start a company (obviously necessary, to produce and sell a produce). However, I'm considering starting it now, which would be approximately 12-16 months prior to when it really needs established. Is that a good or bad idea, and why?

The only bad part is accounting. I'm in Canada and you need to file quaterly tax reports in additional to filing annual taxes. I used to "dream" about owning a company and working on all kinds of "projects", etc. I have found the REALITY behind running a company to be "tedious", "repetitive" and "fastidious".

If you have an accountant - you will spend money paying him for services.

The reality of a business is NOBODY cares except YOU. Unless you find a PARTNER, that I would highly suggest. Running a company alone - will probably not lead you to success... Having a partner is a good idea, to balance your weaknesses.

In response to your OP.

mcobb83
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Joined: 06/07/2016
I am in your same situation:

I am in your same situation: my first project has been agressively play tested, and the play test audience is expanding dramatically over the next 2 weeks. The art for my game is being composed at this moment (I post many if the details in my blog on bgdf) and we are looking at heading to crowd funding september/October-ish.

That being said, I have no intention of creating a company, since I have in the past rum a company and found it to be nothing but paper work and bollocks. Should my game turn into something more than a couple hundred dollars here and there in income I would have to go company.

In your case I do not see that it matters one way or the other if you are a company when you start blogging. If branding is your concern, then it's easy enough to put up a blog post informing the world about your new company and brand. If you feel like branding will help your blog draw potential customers in, then go for it. As it is, I would leave it until you absolutely need a company.

ElKobold
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Joined: 04/10/2015
Ok, so some advises:1) Do

Ok, so some advises:

1) Do not rush it. Read everything you can about running a KS before you start spending money or bothering with paperwork. Crowdfunding might look easier than it actually is. It's not. Trust me :) I've learned it the hard way.
I would start here http://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter/.

2) I would keep working on the game until the point where it's not "relatively positive responses", rather "overwhelmingly positive responses". Don't forget, friends and family are likely to tell you that your game is better than it is. Take it to a convention. Do some blind tests with people who don't know you. Post in on bgdf - people here might give you some feedback.

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