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Axis Mundi Introduction and Playthrough Video - Feedback Wanted

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peterthull
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Hi! I’d love some feedback on the design of my board game: Axis Mundi.

It’s a 3-player competitive game of tactics, movement, and otherworldly powers, set on a rotating island with a transformative secret.

Its main game mechanisms are grid movement, hand management, and action selection, with the victory condition being that of a race.

Please visit:
https://www.betterliferesources.com/axismundi
to check out the ‘Introduction and Playthrough Video’. Please note that it is quite lengthy.

I am looking for feedback on the game's design. What do you think are its strengths and weaknesses? Do you think it is compelling enough?

I would also like to know your thoughts on the video itself. Were the rules explained clearly? Did the video play without any hiccups? Were you entertained by it or did you find it boring?

Thanks for your time.

let-off studios
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Too Long

I consider myself a rather patient person, but I would never sit through a prototype explanation video that's nearly 4 hours long.

Who is the intended audience for this video?

How long does it take to play a typical game?

The prototype looks beautiful (the rotating board in particular looks fantastic), but personally I couldn't devote the time or energy to seeing the video all the way through. I would consider this a tremendous barrier to entry for anyone.

ceethreepio
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I think you need to sell it better

Hi,

It's going to be very hard to answer your questions about the rules because no-one has that much time to go through the video and understand everything, because it appears the rules have merged into the play through...

You've set yourself too many objectives and tried to cram the answer them all them in a single video. My suggestion? You need several videos.

A 30 second sales video
----------------------
What's the game? Why do I care? Why is it fun? I can watch this and get a high level overview for it, and begin to imagine how it will play.

2min rules overview
--------------
3 players, spinny island, demonic powers, etc. How do I win? How do I lose? How can I humiliate and crush my friends? What's the same, what's different? If it's completely different am I going to spend 4 hours learning it?

25 min detailed rules overview
-------------------------------
This should cover the actual rules. I wouldn't bother filming the board for this. This is more a diagramed approach, with animations.

3 hour Playthrough
-------------
Get real people and get them playing! Show us (and your potential purchasers) that you are having fun! And then overlay what's happening on the video so we can see the 'hidden' information.

That's my 2 pence (UK :D)

Nick

peterthull
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thanks...

Yeah, you guys are right. Thanks for the feedback.

evansmind244
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Sell Sheet

Google "How to make a sell sheet" Stephen Key with inventRight. I believe this is a very powerful tool board game designers need to master. It will help with everything to do with marketing, finding publishers, and distributors. The key of the sell sheet is the one line benefit statement. Imagine putting that entire 3.5 hour video into ONE SENTENCE. That is where your mind should be focused. Once you hook possible customers, distributors, or a publisher then they ask you for more information on your Game. The big difference is getting them to say, "Wow that sounds interesting, I need to know more about that".
That's my Hay-penny of value for you!! Good work getting to where you are. I have developed so much respect for game designers, and any innovative person that actually gets a product to the light of day.....profitable or not!!

questccg
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My suggestions are

ceethreepio wrote:
A 30 second sales video

I would suggest making the "Sales Video" about 60 seconds (1 minute). I know people might say lower ... but 60 seconds is the maximum. It should cover everything like "Who you are", "Who is making this game", "Tease the rest like a movie preview (short and sweet, with some mystery..." You've got to get people's attention and say: "Wow, that sounds cool... I want to know MORE!" And voila you are set!

ceethreepio wrote:
2min rules overview

Then I would make a Kickstarter "Intro Video" about 120 seconds (2 minutes). This should be more like an extended version of the 60 second "Sales Video", in it you answer all the basic questions just like the "30 second version" ... but you might actually show some "Sample Gameplay" or some "Sample Cards" or some "Sample Artwork", etc. Sort of like "Show-Off" your game and... of course leave some room for mystery... Again people saying: "Wow, that looks very interesting... Let me Google for MORE!"

ceethreepio wrote:
25 min detailed rules overview

Instead I would go with a 15-20 minutes detailed rules overview. You can get these done by a THIRD PARTY: "Lance Myxter" (The Undead Viking) or "Board To Death" (TV/video reviews). Both are a great source to make a more detailed preview video.

And you DON'T need any "exhaustive" playthrus. Nobody is going to watch them. I find it hard enough to listen to a 40 minute podcast. 4 hours is way too much ... And I get it, you want to show off your passion and "baby". There are better ways to INTEREST gamers in to backing or wanting to know MORE about your game ... Than a super LOOOONNNGG video.

TBH I was bored after 30 seconds. So IF I were a potential customer, you would have lost me... (Not that I am...) We're all just trying to help you out.

Cheers!

peterthull
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thank you all

Thank all of you for the great suggestions. In retrospect I should have asked for this advice before I produced this video, but, live and learn.

ceethreepio
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I disagree ... :)

questccg wrote:
I would suggest making the "Sales Video" about 60 seconds (1 minute). I know people might say lower ... but 60 seconds is the maximum. It should cover everything like "Who you are", "Who is making this game", "Tease the rest like a movie preview (short and sweet, with some mystery..." You've got to get people's attention and say: "Wow, that sounds cool... I want to know MORE!" And voila you are set!

I respectfully, but totally disagree with this :)

Imagine a 30 or 60 second sales video for Pandemic, 7 Wonders, or Ticket to Ride. Do you think the designers of these games feature in that video? Do you think they 'tease' anything? Absolutely not ... they've got 30-60 seconds of the most value thing in the world - your attention.

"Diseases have broken out all over the world! You and your friends are disease control specialists! Work together to travel the world, cure outbreaks, and search for the cures to the diseases! Save the world before it's too late! But watch out for Epidemics that could destroy civilisation!". Boom, we are done, that's your 30 seconds over.

Awesome. Now that's a game I'm interested in...

questccg
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Enigmatic TBH

ceethreepio wrote:
I respectfully, but totally disagree with this :)...

You're entitled to your opinion (respectfully). But from watching his VIDEO his game looks "more like a mystery"... Why are there several levels and why do they rotate?! After watching "X" minutes of the video... Can you answer those two (2) questions??

If the answer is NO... Well then he's already got his HOOK. The game in itself seems like a bit of an "enigma". The board seems to be more "abstract" and lends well to "mystery", "puzzle-ish" gameplay and "unpredictable" twists and turns (See that... PUN intended!)

That's why I wouldn't spill all the beans in a sales or intro video.

ceethreepio wrote:
Imagine a 30 or 60 second sales video for Pandemic, 7 Wonders, or Ticket to Ride.

Each game respectfully deserves it's own video. Not all games are the same. IMHO I've already explained how I see his game. To me it should be something "enigmatic". And that's just my opinion based on what @Peter has shown in his video...

Cheers!

peterthull
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Re-framing the discussion...

Ok, so I get that the video is too long to casually watch in its entirety. But I had an idea that would be helpful to me and maybe a bit of fun for you guys.

Can you watch the video from the beginning, up until the first thing that you dislike about it, whether that be something about the video, something about the game, or something about yours truly. And then tell me about it.

In other words: ROAST MY VIDEO. Hopefully some of it will be constructive criticism, but be as harsh as you want. Don’t worry (or be disappointed by the fact that): I won’t get mad at you for whatever you say.

I’ll start:

The sound quality of the music is crap in some places and the rules goofs I made are quite embarrassing considering I am the designer and all!

Let the roast begin! https://www.betterliferesources.com/axismundi/

questccg
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I made it to 2:30 and then lost interest...

Sorry I don't have anything to ROAST ... But that's about the time I got bored and lost interest. Nothing worst than watching "Some Dude" present his game with which he will conquer the world with... (LOL)

But I'm feeling "extra nice" today ... and have a suggestion:

Could you make the "white" area between the layers BLACK??? That would go a long way in making the layers seem more "seamless". The bright white is a pure contrast and it "breaks up" the different layers. IMHO I think making it BLACK would make the board look more "polished"!

TBH I think it would make the game look "more professional". If you can't do it for the prototype, that's fine ... But when you get the game made professionally (manufactured), I would ensure then that the layers look as "seamless" as possible.

I don't know how to play (and it does interest me ... because the board is NOT so typical). But you've only got 2:30 to WOW me into thinking THIS is the game that I NEED to play!

And BTW you are on the "good path" when you ask the question: "Why should players play Axis Mundi instead of another game?" Make that your 60 second EXPLANATION of "why"... And you'll for sure have a video which offers something for the viewer to "ponder".

Cheers @Peter!

Tim Edwards
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Hi Peter, 2 things spring to

Hi Peter,

2 things spring to mind.

The opening sequence goes on for too long. The first shot is cool but lasts too long at 15 seconds. Then it takes 15 seconds for the name of the game to zoom into view, which is not a very entertaining thing to watch. Then there's a GOOD fast montage of images, but immediately I'm staring at the name of the game again for about 10 seconds. Probably the whole sequence shouldn't be more than 15 seconds in total.

I'd also cut to the chase quicker in terms of what the game is actually about. You mention the book that inspired it - but then go on to talk about some specific features of the game without saying anything about the theme of the book or what aspect of it the game represents. Somewhere you mention it's a race. I need more about that earlier. If I haven't read the book (I haven't) I feel like I'm missing something important. Is it snakes and ladders in space, or a dungeon-y version of hare and tortoise? Is it a brain burner or a push-my-luck heart stopper?

Your passion for the game comes over and I don't think you need a polished product with amazing editing and effects, but tightening these two areas would, I believe, make people significantly more likely to watch on.

I hope that's useful.

peterthull
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responses to questccg's various points...

@ questccg:

That you lost interest at 2:30 is valuable information to me so thank you for sharing that. In that section of the video I explain the unique aspects of the game to answer the question, “Why would you want to play Axis Mundi”. I could see how someone could consider this part boring – the actual gameplay is where the action is. However, as you elsewhere praise me for addressing this very topic, it seems like a bit of cognitive dissonance to me.

I think the area probably would have looked better in black, like you said. But yeah, what I have is just a "function over form" prototype. In the highly unlikely event that the game is ever produced commercially, I have a few different ideas for the space, but that is a bridge I'll cross when if and when I get to it. Right now I am more interested in refining the game’s gameplay than its aesthetics. I should have stated that up front.

Regarding your comments: "nothing worse than watching some dude present his game..." I find that to be an odd sentiment on a site called Board Game Designers Forum. “…conquer the world…” No delusions of grandeur here. Quite the opposite, in fact. The game “looks like a mystery” and an “enigma”. Things that aren’t understood due to ignorance of the facts are often given an incorrect meaning. Coincidently, that is an underlying theme of Axis Mundi. However, I don't want this thread to derail to a discussion about these topics.

To be clear: my goal for sharing the video was not to "WOW" anybody, or sell anybody anything. It wasn't to get Kickstarter backers, or Game Crafter orders. It isn't a marketing video. I wanted to present my prototype to game designers, for game design feedback. My core rule book is 20 pages. With the backstory and all the other stuff, it adds up to 40 pages. Some people don't like to read, and "a picture is worth a thousand words", so I made as entertaining a video as I possibly could to show the rules and the game in action. I will concede that its length is intimidating. But, to state the obvious, anyone can watch as much or as little of it as they want. Again, that is not what this thread is about. It is about critiquing my game’s gameplay.

If you change your mind and decide to partake in that endeavor, I welcome your further comments. If you would like to continue into these side topics, however, I feel that the proper venue for that would be private messages, as public ones would derail the thread. No offense on my part is intended to you in this or any other matter.

Thanks questccg. I appreciate your comments, especially the ones about marketing. They gave me a lot to think about for the future.

peterthull
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thanks

@Tim Edwards Valid points.

I didn’t want to go into the book – I felt it was unnecessary - but I guess I should have mentioned that you don’t need to have read the book to continue watching and that it will all be explained in a few seconds. The novel’s basic plot is the setup for the game’s backstory, which I summarize at 3:45.

Thank you for your suggestions.

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