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Long time game creative hobbyist

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Paul Ott
Joined: 01/22/2018

A little bit about me: 39, married with a toddler, software developer.

Created and ran my first D&D adventure when I was 7. It was awful. I hid a required quest item in a secret compartment of a chest. This frustrated my older brothers when they couldn't find it, and I kept trying to drop hints they should look in the chest over and over.

Made my first board game in 6th grade as extra credit. It was about the European nations creating colonies in America. Mostly luck of the dice if you landed in the right spots as your boat looped around the ocean.

In high school, college, and the years after I got into video games as a hobby, but always dabbling in the creative too: reskinned Doom to use a staff and shoot fireballs and lightning bolts; created two areas for a pk MUD called Carrion Fields; as an Alpha Tester for Guild Wars a few skills I designed and pitched were released in the expansion; tried starting an MMORPG of my own using an engine but bit off far too much.

It was in the process of playtesting the combat for an RPG video game I was trying to make when I decided it might be easier to make it as a boardgame. Not easy, but it may actually be possible to make a top notch product without a huge budget. So for the past five years I have been tinkering with this boardgame.

I'm older. I can't get a regular D&D group in person. It seems like every fantasy board game is either a full campaign with 50+ pages of rules, or has been designed for children in its simplicity. My game combines a hex grid board for freedom of movement (as you might find in later releases of Civilization and some war games), modular random dungeon creation, stats that also double as your health, and special attacks with a hefty depth to them. You can set it up in about 3 minutes (I have video proof), and takes 2.5-4 hours to play to completion.

Lastly, to combat Alpha Player Syndrome, each player has two unique objectives centered around themes like looting, killing, healing, exploring, etc. This determines the winner if they fail to defeat the Final Boss, which happens a majority of the time in playtests. Each player's second unique objective is a big one-time point bonus for bad things happening to the party. There is no set traitor, but rather everyone could be a traitor if they so choose (and usually do when people start dying). This creates a lot of tension, which some people find off putting. It's not a game for everyone.

I'm still playtesting and tweaking, and feel like I could do this forever. Recently at a convention I was told by a young man (maybe 13 years old) that it was the best game he'd ever played. Loved hearing it, but I figure he has not played many games. I'm looking forward to publishing it and taking my lessons learned into the next game.

Aside from final gameplay tweaks, I'm in the process of setting up a convention schedule, pricing manufacturers, and giving consideration as to how market and sell it. If I don't find a publisher I am tentatively considering a Kickstarter in the Fall. Will be at Proto ATL in May if anyone is coming.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
It's not an either-or anymore

Paul Ott wrote:
...If I don't find a publisher I am tentatively considering a Kickstarter in the Fall...

More and more established publishers are weighing in on KS. So your pitch to potential publishers should be something "open to the direction you would like to take with this product and certainly interested in KS in partnership if this is of interest..." ... Something like that.

Try to pitch the KS idea to publishers TOO. If you go it alone, I'll give the advice that's the most current: expect 100-250 backers. If that is enough to fund your game, you're golden. If it is not, well then you will need to re-think your go-to-market strategy.

Because you are largely an unknown, first time creator, that's what you should expect nowadays on KS... We just finished up a KS with Chris Mancini's SCRAMBO that got 190 but just made his $10k Funding Goal. The business of KS is rather a challenge these days. Unless you've got AWESOME art, amazing miniatures and something of an RPG-Board Game, you'll find that you are no Mantic or CMON.

KS is a process, you grow with each product you release (hopefully). So if you do KS, have the right expectations... On the higher-end 450+ backers but that means a brilliant KS with awesome Social Goals and good Stretch Goals too.

Work with those numbers and see what you can realize. Cheers!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I almost forgot...

Welcome to BGDF!

Hope you enjoy your stay however long or short it may be.

Joined: 04/08/2012

Paul welcome to BGDF.

That’s awesome to hear your ideas were added to the Guild Wars Game (s).

For your dnd style campaign game, have you ever heard of tabletopia? You can program your game there and get playtesters , feedback etc.


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