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Joined: 04/28/2016

Hello internets! I am Sam.

I am a game designer in Michigan ("The Wisconsin of Eastern Time") who as a day job is lucky enough to attend a great many conference calls. My game design background (such as it is) is actually in digital games -I've released a few mobile games and desktop games each- but I wanted to branch out into analog space and I recently overcame two design hurdles on board game concepts that had been percolating in the background. (I also overuse parenthetical asides.)

I am currently working on a two player abstract strategy game (Which I *assume* all but guarantees that it will be a smash hit financial success, right? Right, guys? Guys? Why is everyone slowly backing away?) and word game, as well as some VR-facing games in the Cardboard/Mobile space.

Please feel free and/or encouraged to ask me about:
•game theory
•statistics & randomness
•Unity (the game engine)
•the best book to read in October

Also: I have Tabletop Simulator, so if anyone needs playtesters and are using that as a framework (which I cannot recommend enough) and likes really specific feedback, ping me.

Also Also: I am new here, so please don't be offended if I fail to answer a "PM" (as the kids call it) or something because it's likely that I simply failed to set up notifications correctly.

Also Also Also: I have a toddler, so don't be offended if I fail to respond immediately for that reason either.

Ok goodbye now.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Welcome to the

Welcome to the ranks.

Speaking of abstract games, Santorini seems to be doing fine. I'll admit it's more of an exception though.

polyobsessive's picture
Joined: 12/11/2015
Nowt wrong with abstracts

Yep, while abstract games don't often penetrate the hobby market, there are notable successes. I mean, if you can design the next Qwirkle or Ingenious, you'll do fine! :)

Welcome aboard, Sam!

Joined: 02/05/2016
TTS playtesters

Hi there,
I have my game on TTS and I'm currently looking for playtesters. There is a group of us who get together to playtest on TTS. If you could join us, that would be great.

I have a session set up for tomorrow morning, Australian time, 10:01 am. That's one minute past midnight GMT, Sat morning.

During the week, I can do other times, like midnight Australian time.

Joined: 07/03/2013
Good to have you here

Glad to see more new faces.

Regarding two-player games - there's actually a definite market segment for them. One example of this market is folks who want to play with a spouse/significant other when their kids are too young to participate. Others simply don't have a big gaming group, or are looking to build one.

You've probably seen the games on Board Game Geek that are highly-rated for two players, including the likes of Twilight Struggle, with its goliath 4-hour playing time, mammoth complexity, and sprawling board. However, while I do enjoy the game, this is an exception, not the rule. BGG isn't a good representation of sales; rather, it's a representation of the preferences of a group of highly-dedicated gamers who prefer highly complex, longer games. Those games aren't all that popular once you get outside of that community, however, and I can never seem to get Twilight Struggle to the table.

Two player games do best (and get played more often) when they can be played as filler games, with a maximum play time of 30-45 minutes, and a relatively low level of complexity, so that it can be taught quickly. If you design along those lines, you'll probably do just fine!

Joined: 04/28/2016
@elkolbold, polyobsessive --

@elkolbold, polyobsessive -- Thanks! Though based on my experience with digital games, I'm adopting the attitude that simply releasing the game I am proud of needs to be the enough to justify the work of creating it, and any profit is icing.

@ruy343 -- I definitely agree there's some market, but the market is not so big (nor is my presence in it) that I am going to make the mistake of assuming I am *owed* any sales. The game I am working on is about the level of chess (my rough estimate put the number of possible moves on a given turn somewhere in between chess and go, from a branching complexity perspective) and can pivot *extremely* quickly if a player overextends. In testing so far, the games usually end very quickly if there's an early, overly optimistic mistake, or after 45-60 minutes for players who are familiar with the nuances and play conservatively.

@arcuate -- I will attempt to PM you (no promises it will work, as an IT person I am terrible at using technology on the user level) but please feel free to PM me details/etc. I think I can scrounge about 2 hours at that time. If that's not enough feel free to send rules/whatever and I will send feedback and learn them for the next time you are running a test.

Joined: 02/05/2016
Thanks WTFork

Thanks for all the feedback I received in private communication, and hope to see you around on TTS again!

Tedthebug's picture
Joined: 01/17/2016

I'm just starting in the analog game world as well, I've been learning digital game design the last few years & decided paper prototyping was the way to go. That naturally branched into board games :)

My first game, unpublished, is a 2-player abstract as well but it comes in at about 20mins per game. There has been one exception at 1.5hrs but I put that down to the players as they spent an inordinate amount of time making each move. I personally find it easier to design without a theme & while I'm still learning 2-player games are way easier to balance. I've found that a lot of the design competitions are good for getting the brain going in new directions & checking the submissions that come out of those competitions is really enlightening as well.

Good luck!

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