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I dare you to read my Rules!!

Your time is extremely valuable...Thank you!!!! Please make any comments you feel are appropriate concerning the Rules, Art, Theme, Concept and anything else you have in mind...in what ever detail. If I can return the favor and review your project please PM me. Note: Check page numbers as you read the rules!!

Very Respectfully Evan

Game Board
Game Rules
Naughty or Nice Cards

Comments

Jay103 wrote:evansmind244

Jay103 wrote:
evansmind244 wrote:
-The Listed Doubles is for the 3 Miracle Board spaces. I don’t actually know the Odds of rolling a Miracle.

You're rolling 2 dice. It's 1/36.
Fertessa wrote:
As for the blurriness, there is no reason a designer should send you a low resolution image.

It's more obvious on the cards. They're high resolution, but the red/green background is a super-low-quality JPG, and when the "speech" icon is included, it's a super-low-resolution graphic. Those will NOT look printed.

I can't see why a designer would be using JPGs at all. They should be CMYK TIFF for commercial printing (in a CMYK PDF file), or PNG for the web. Lossless. I can say that I've received all sorts of graphics from my artists (tiles, cards, bits of cards, characters, box art, Kickstarter headings, etc), and none of them were in a lossy format.

I didn't even want to mention the cards or the fact that each card is the size of a page instead of fitting 6 or 9 cards to a sheet. But you're right. It's an excellent example of the stretched or badly resized images, as the center of the card is high resolution and crisp.

Fertessa wrote:I didn't even

Fertessa wrote:
I didn't even want to mention the cards or the fact that each card is the size of a page instead of fitting 6 or 9 cards to a sheet.

For web/distribution purposes, definitely. Though for my own cards, with my manufacturer, I had to provide each card as a separate PDF. YMMV.

I've avoided jumping in to this one but ..

I have to agree with what's all being said above by Fertessa, Jay103 and QuestCCG.

Hyperbole and off topic banter aside; your stated goals (in this thread) don't seem to match what is present in your rules. The rules and board show a game about buying and receiving the most gifts/cash possible; full stop.

The rules are not nearly as clear as they can be.

There are "mechanics" that are absolutely not pertinent to the stated end goal of the game (or that are not even 'mechanics' at all but rather side events). While I applaud your desire to instill family traditions and non-commercial holiday spirit through the journals and carol singing and so on, it's got nothing to do with the games stated goal itself. If none of that provides an end game bonus, it's not really a game component and certainly not a mechanic.

I know you're very passionate about this project but it is certainly not a Monopoly slayer (as I would hope you jokingly stated earlier) and is very much a niche within a niche within a niche.

You say you've been play testing this for 4 years. I have no doubt you have, however, I find many people state they've play tested for X years when in reality it is their friends and family have played. How many complete strangers have played this game? How many complete strangers have played it without you providing any advice or input? What kind of feedback have you gotten from those people?

Fertessa wrote:I didn't even

Fertessa wrote:
I didn't even want to mention the cards or the fact that each card is the size of a page instead of fitting 6 or 9 cards to a sheet. But you're right. It's an excellent example of the stretched or badly resized images, as the center of the card is high resolution and crisp.

A clear example in the rulebook is page 5. There are a number of images there. 6 are crisp, and 3 (maybe 4) are poor JPGs.

Normally...

When Game Designers from BGDF offer ADVICE ... and it's CONSTRUCTIVE criticism ... The "receiver" of said advice is to read the advice, process it and "shut $#"! This is not a debate. We are not here to debate the validity or game-worthiness of your game. You're not going to win ANYTHING by having the most "valid" arguments. On the contrary, it seems like you are totally missing the point... Because all your replies are rhetorical.

Like I said in one of my comments, @Evan is just going to be defensive and add a response that is a "Back at you" question or response.

Now I get it. You don't understand what this forum is for. You don't see what now 4 BGDF Designers are trying to say with the "extras" that you feel will create Christmas Traditions.

And adding to that I agree with Jay when he said something like: "It's not up to a Board Game to tell me what Christmas Traditions I should or should not adopt..." I'll leave it at that...

And I am QUITTING adding comments to this thread because it's obvious that you A> Don't understand what all the Designers are saying B> Your responses are all rhetoric C> You're not looking for honest advice and finally D> You consider your game finished and are not open to making changes.

Why have you come to us asking for our HONEST opinions ... when all you want is to debunk them???

Jay103

Thanks for continuing to help me out. I appreciate you.
I will own all the art, but I'm not sure why he's mixing and stretching images. I do request that he make the images as small as possible because sometimes I'm connected to very very slow internet.
I have greatly slowed down play-testing because the Art has been in process for a year now. I still have several prototypes but they don't reflect the finalized components. I thought the Art would take a few months, but now its been a year and we're still not done. I'm desperate to get some prototypes for the Holiday Season.

Jay103

Thank You.

Fertessa

Around 200 people have played the game, but blind playtesters are in the realm of maybe 25. I have done most of the testing sitting there watching trying not to answer questions that come up. I didn't ask really anyone who played if they would buy the game...but I have a growing list of people who ask about when it will be released.

To manufacture 500 games I'm looking at $17-$19 per unit. 2000 units I'm down to $9-$11 each. Print on demand quote was around $40-$50 per unit. If I can regain some confidence in my game I will likely start with $500 and sell for $25 each from a website.
My Graphic Designer is www.boardgamedesigns.com I went with him because he's a one stop shop...and money isn't really my sticking point. I signed a contract with him November of last year. I expected to be done with Art around June of this year... it sounds like this is actually a blessing for me though as I'll need to go back to the drawing board and really assess the game.

I Will Never Grow Up

As I read through this blog for the 5th time I see that Fertessa read the rules out of page order. I realize the mistake I made posting rules in that format.

-Did you read the rules pg 1,2,3 etc?
-In this game, do you think that the side events should go?
-Do you think its possible to use these side events, even though they provide no bonus to win, to add to the player experience of this game?
-Are you saying that this game doesn't have mass market appeal and instead only has a small niche market?
-I would say somewhere in the realm of 100 players with no advice or input. Their advice and input has been overwhelmingly that the Rules are difficult to understand and that the game is fun, and thoughtful. I've had blind playtesters send me the game back with no feedback before. Many times I had to answer questions about how the gifts work, how the stores work and how charity works but once they were clear on the rules overwhelming that the game is simple and fun. I have never had negative feedback on the conflict of the Theme with the extras by playtesters that make up the group of non hobbyists. Many people on this forum maybe 25, including Coalition Games when they reviewed my game brought up this conflict.
I have been ignoring this advice because for many play-testers these extras are why they like the game.

questccg wrote:When Game

questccg wrote:
When Game Designers from BGDF offer ADVICE ... and it's CONSTRUCTIVE criticism ... The "receiver" of said advice is to read the advice, process it and "shut $#"! This is not a debate. We are not here to debate the validity or game-worthiness of your game. You're not going to win ANYTHING by having the most "valid" arguments. On the contrary, it seems like you are totally missing the point... Because all your replies are rhetorical.

Like I said in one of my comments, @Evan is just going to be defensive and add a response that is a "Back at you" question or response.

Now I get it. You don't understand what this forum is for. You don't see what now 4 BGDF Designers are trying to say with the "extras" that you feel will create Christmas Traditions.

And adding to that I agree with Jay when he said something like: "It's not up to a Board Game to tell me what Christmas Traditions I should or should not adopt..." I'll leave it at that...

And I am QUITTING adding comments to this thread because it's obvious that you A> Don't understand what all the Designers are saying B> Your responses are all rhetoric C> You're not looking for honest advice and finally D> You consider your game finished and are not open to making changes.

Why have you come to us asking for our HONEST opinions ... when all you want is to debunk them???

Questccg, I don't really feel its fair to stop allowing comments on this thread because I'm defending my design. I am trying to get to a place of understanding. The more context I can give a fellow designer the better I feel the outcome of their feedback will be.
From people here on this website I have learned that play-testing is the foundation. If I have a group of people who have played the game and counter the opinion of the 4 game designers here. What am I should I do with that information? I have also learned that a game will never be perfect and at some point you'll have to either shelve it or sell it. I felt my game was finished because I'm at that point.
I don't necessarily want your opinion, I want your knowledge and wisdom to help me succeed with my game design. Which BTW you have given me. Thank You!
I still don't understand why having extra's is such a bad concept? I am trying to get out of my own perspective, I am trying understand why a game shouldn't have extra's that don't effect the score. Why can't a game have extra's? Why not attempt to spark family's into creative thinking about their family traditions?
What is the result of shutting off my comments off?

evansmind244 wrote:As I read

evansmind244 wrote:
As I read through this blog for the 5th time I see that Fertessa read the rules out of page order. I realize the mistake I made posting rules in that format.

-Did you read the rules pg 1,2,3 etc?
-In this game, do you think that the side events should go?
-Do you think its possible to use these side events, even though they provide no bonus to win, to add to the player experience of this game?
-Are you saying that this game doesn't have mass market appeal and instead only has a small niche market?
-I would say somewhere in the realm of 100 players with no advice or input. Their advice and input has been overwhelmingly that the Rules are difficult to understand and that the game is fun, and thoughtful. I've had blind playtesters send me the game back with no feedback before. Many times I had to answer questions about how the gifts work, how the stores work and how charity works but once they were clear on the rules overwhelming that the game is simple and fun. I have never had negative feedback on the conflict of the Theme with the extras by playtesters that make up the group of non hobbyists. Many people on this forum maybe 25, including Coalition Games when they reviewed my game brought up this conflict.
I have been ignoring this advice because for many play-testers these extras are why they like the game.

Hey Evan,

I read your rules in the correct order. After skimming the comments, I saw they were listed in an atypical way, so I made sure to follow them by page number. (1, 2, 3, 4, etc)

For the side events, personally they don't appeal to me. I think that you can definitely have the journal or invoke speeches/discussions, but I feel like they could be incorporated in your design better.

If the board allows you to be naughty or nice, then why not let players who take the naughty track earn points celebrating the materialism of Christmas, but players who take the nice track earn points off of the wholesome aspects of Christmas, like the caroling or speech-making?

Or instead of forcing all players to do these things, have only the winner do them, or have these things mark when players move from the circular track to the calendar track. These ideas aren't horrible or anything, but the way they're implemented feels forced and false. If it stays as it is, then yes, it feels like a product for a very niche market.

And if alot of your playtesters are telling you the rules are hard to understand, then that is a problem. If you hired a guy who writes rulebooks for a living, but he wasn't able to convey the rules in a way that people could understand them, I suggest consulting with another rulebook editor/writer.

Personally, I'm not a fan of alot of one-stop shops, because it leaves alot of room for a lack of quality. If you're waiting a year for graphics and testing for four years, then take the time to shop for the individual services you need. Compare people, and ask around on design forums to see if other people have used the people you're researching.

Just clicking on the link you gave, I knew by looking at the home page that that is not a company I would ever trust to do my graphic design.Their page is too busy. The font is unnecessarily large. If you look at the boardgame examples they show, they're all in different sizes. The wording of the site indicates that English is not their native language also. The games I see linked are from failed Kickstarters or just don't have any presence online. There are alot of red flags.

I recommend looking on BGG for a designer/artist to bring your game to life. Please please please do not print off 500 games with this company. Cheaper does not necessarily mean better, and I'm very wary of the quality of their physical products when they can't even provide acceptable digital assets. Even if you take nothing else from this forum, please do not continue to do business with this company.

Finally, don't give up on your design. Just give up on your stubborness. If you've waited this long, it won't hurt to make an experimental design changing some things up. Test your game without the graphics. That's how hobbyists get their prototypes tested. Maybe it'll be terrible after making some changes, but maybe it'll be more interesting too. These changes aren't going to be immediate fixes, but they can lead you down the path to a more solid game. Just explore the advice you've been given, and after some months, if you don't see a positive change, then return to what you started with.

Fertessa wrote:evansmind244

Fertessa wrote:
evansmind244 wrote:
As I read through this blog for the 5th time I see that Fertessa read the rules out of page order. I realize the mistake I made posting rules in that format.

-Did you read the rules pg 1,2,3 etc?
-In this game, do you think that the side events should go?
-Do you think its possible to use these side events, even though they provide no bonus to win, to add to the player experience of this game?
-Are you saying that this game doesn't have mass market appeal and instead only has a small niche market?
-I would say somewhere in the realm of 100 players with no advice or input. Their advice and input has been overwhelmingly that the Rules are difficult to understand and that the game is fun, and thoughtful. I've had blind playtesters send me the game back with no feedback before. Many times I had to answer questions about how the gifts work, how the stores work and how charity works but once they were clear on the rules overwhelming that the game is simple and fun. I have never had negative feedback on the conflict of the Theme with the extras by playtesters that make up the group of non hobbyists. Many people on this forum maybe 25, including Coalition Games when they reviewed my game brought up this conflict.
I have been ignoring this advice because for many play-testers these extras are why they like the game.

Hey Evan,

I read your rules in the correct order. After skimming the comments, I saw they were listed in an atypical way, so I made sure to follow them by page number. (1, 2, 3, 4, etc)

For the side events, personally they don't appeal to me. I think that you can definitely have the journal or invoke speeches/discussions, but I feel like they could be incorporated in your design better.

If the board allows you to be naughty or nice, then why not let players who take the naughty track earn points celebrating the materialism of Christmas, but players who take the nice track earn points off of the wholesome aspects of Christmas, like the caroling or speech-making?

Or instead of forcing all players to do these things, have only the winner do them, or have these things mark when players move from the circular track to the calendar track. These ideas aren't horrible or anything, but the way they're implemented feels forced and false. If it stays as it is, then yes, it feels like a product for a very niche market.

And if alot of your playtesters are telling you the rules are hard to understand, then that is a problem. If you hired a guy who writes rulebooks for a living, but he wasn't able to convey the rules in a way that people could understand them, I suggest consulting with another rulebook editor/writer.

Personally, I'm not a fan of alot of one-stop shops, because it leaves alot of room for a lack of quality. If you're waiting a year for graphics and testing for four years, then take the time to shop for the individual services you need. Compare people, and ask around on design forums to see if other people have used the people you're researching.

Just clicking on the link you gave, I knew by looking at the home page that that is not a company I would ever trust to do my graphic design.Their page is too busy. The font is unnecessarily large. If you look at the boardgame examples they show, they're all in different sizes. The wording of the site indicates that English is not their native language also. The games I see linked are from failed Kickstarters or just don't have any presence online. There are alot of red flags.

I recommend looking on BGG for a designer/artist to bring your game to life. Please please please do not print off 500 games with this company. Cheaper does not necessarily mean better, and I'm very wary of the quality of their physical products when they can't even provide acceptable digital assets. Even if you take nothing else from this forum, please do not continue to do business with this company.

Finally, don't give up on your design. Just give up on your stubborness. If you've waited this long, it won't hurt to make an experimental design changing some things up. Test your game without the graphics. That's how hobbyists get their prototypes tested. Maybe it'll be terrible after making some changes, but maybe it'll be more interesting too. These changes aren't going to be immediate fixes, but they can lead you down the path to a more solid game. Just explore the advice you've been given, and after some months, if you don't see a positive change, then return to what you started with.

Hi Evan,

Remember me? :)

Just as I described your game as "well intentioned", this advice is also well intentioned and I'd just like to echo it wholeheartedly.

Btw, as far as integrating these extras into the actual fibre of the gameplay, how about something like:

At certain times parts of journals get read out and players have to guess who wrote them. That could be quite fun, especially if you decided to try to write your journal in the style of your cousin (for example) to fool everyone. Players get something (money?) for guessing correctly.

Things like that might make the game hang together. People will be doing the same tasks that you'd like the, to do, but there's a sor of in-game purpose, rather than the...[proud of the phrase I'm going to use now!]...didactic meta-game (!!!) you have at present. :)

As an aside, Monopoly was originally intended to have a didactic meta-game game. It was to teach people about the viciousness of capitalism. But people decided they didn't care about the lesson and just enjoyed the viciousness! :) And then as a further irony, the present owners of the game have gone on to monopolise the format.

Anyway, integrating the 'extra' activities with the main frame of the gameplay will give people a reason to keep playing, even after they have got the point you want them to get. I mean, if the lesson to be learned is basically that the families activities are what makes Christmas wonderful and the money/gifts part is ultimately less fulfilling, people might AGREE and not want to play the game again, which can't be a good outcome.

I'll give one more shot at

I'll give one more shot at this question:

Quote:
I still don't understand why having extra's is such a bad concept?

Because now you're selling two things. One is a game that is 100% about materialism.

This is directly from your rules:

Quote:
Debits: Subtract your debits from your credits to find the value of your Christmas...

The player with the most valuable Christmas wins the game.

As I said, pure materialism. The value of Christmas is the cash value of gifts you manage to acquire. The "Charity" space is part of this game, btw, because it DOES affect game outcome; however, it really isn't charity -- it's a random drawing with the word "charity" on it.

Then you have a second thing you're selling, which is trying to get people to talk about nice stuff, etc.

That second thing is not a game, and doesn't tie into the game you're providing as the first thing, except that it's a different aspect of Christmas. So when I play the Christmas Materialism Game, it might be a lot of fun, but playing involves making decisions to win. I would never put money into Charity voluntarily. That makes zero sense with your rules. There is literally no benefit to me or possible trade-off that would ever make that a good idea.

If a "traditional" Christmas was something important to me (i.e. family and charity and whatnot, over materialism), I would AVOID this game, fun though it might be, because materialism is the whole point of the game. I wouldn't say, well, hey, it's materialistic, but it also tells me to sing a carol at the end and talk about where I'd like to vacation, so let's give it a shot.

If I wanted to sing carols and talk about vacations, I can do that without this game. Or I could find/make a game that was ABOUT that, like QuestCCG (and I) suggested earlier in this thread.

If I wanted to focus on the Meaning of Christmas, I could play Parcheesi and every time someone rolled a 6 twice in a row, they sing a carol, and every time someone gets sent back, the sender has to tell them something they like about them. Then there's NICE messages and no materialism in the first place. I don't need to buy your game for that...

As one final note, I asked way at the top whether someone would play this game more than once (in the same year, anyway). You basically said of course they would. But in your "speech" stuff, you have things like "say where you'd like to take these people on vacation." I could hit that square twice in the same GAME, which is already silly ("Um, yeah, I still want to take you to Disney World."). Then to play it again and say that AGAIN? Sure, maybe "part 1", the game part, is fun twice. But "part 2" the not-game stuff, couldn't possibly be.

Also, why are you shipping this with books of carols? That seems completely unnecessary. Carols Not Included. The only place the game even mentions caroling is to sing a carol when the game ends.

You should probably buy

You should probably buy holidayfevergame.com if you're planning to put that right into your rulebook.

fertessa

fertessa wrote:

If the board allows you to be naughty or nice, then why not let players who take the naughty track earn points celebrating the materialism of Christmas, but players who take the nice track earn points off of the wholesome aspects of Christmas, like the caroling or speech-making?

My objection here is that if I make the extras have value toward wining the game then I take away the genuineness of these extra's. If a player writes something in their journal to increase their score its not genuine. If I write something kind in my journal about my wife, and she see's it the next night, or the next year, or 5 years from now...that will create a genuine special moment that won't be as easy to forget as who won the game last night!!

I'm suggesting idea's...journal, carols, speeches but the families that this sort of thing appeals too will create their own way to use these extras. I haven't seen play-testers feel forced into this. I've seen play-testers come up with idea's that they would do with their families.

fertessa wrote:

And if alot of your playtesters are telling you the rules are hard to understand, then that is a problem. If you hired a guy who writes rulebooks for a living, but he wasn't able to convey the rules in a way that people could understand them, I suggest consulting with another rulebook editor/writer.

Haven't play-tested with new rules. Several people have read them, including everyone here, but I'm working on that.
I'm going to make lots of changes, and you are right, along with everyone here, that my stubbornness has become a burden. I did almost get kicked off this blog:) Thanks questccg for giving me a second chance!
This whole graphic designer thing has really wreaked my week. I'm probably going to be 4k into it before I get everything he's already done, assuming what he's done is quality work and the next Graphic Designer can salvage some of it.... and now I have to find someone new.
You can imagine my heart when people commented that I should probably hire a graphic designer if I want to sell this game!!! Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for the time you have given to me and Holiday Fever. I appreciate it.

Tim Edwards wrote: At certain

Tim Edwards wrote:

At certain times parts of journals get read out and players have to guess who wrote them. That could be quite fun, especially if you decided to try to write your journal in the style of your cousin (for example) to fool everyone. Players get something (money?) for guessing correctly.

that could be a quite fun game by its self.

I want to stay away from rewarding the extra's, but I'm going back to the drawing board and putting it back to bones and see what I can get done trying a few things in play-tests.

It goes back to the philosophy of the game for me. If I force these extra's then families will be turning family traditions into a materialistic mechanic of the game. How can I better understand why I can't have extra's that have no effect on the outcome of the game? Can it be explained in a different way. I'm a little slow in many ways!!

I had to look up the term 'didactic meta-game'

Quote:

Anyway, integrating the 'extra' activities with the main frame of the gameplay will give people a reason to keep playing, even after they have got the point you want them to get. I mean, if the lesson to be learned is basically that the families activities are what makes Christmas wonderful and the money/gifts part is ultimately less fulfilling, people might AGREE and not want to play the game again, which can't be a good outcome.

That is a good point. I don't think that there will ever be a shortage of people who want to win games, but as far as integrating the extra's I'm still a little lost on how to balance that, not force it and keep them from becoming materialistic.

Thank you so much for your comments and perspective.

jay103 wrote: Then you

jay103 wrote:

Then you have a second thing you're selling, which is trying to get people to talk about nice stuff, etc.

That second thing is not a game, and doesn't tie into the game you're providing as the first thing, except that it's a different aspect of Christmas. So when I play the Christmas Materialism Game, it might be a lot of fun, but playing involves making decisions to win. I would never put money into Charity voluntarily. That makes zero sense with your rules. There is literally no benefit to me or possible trade-off that would ever make that a good idea

I think you've helped me solve the Charity situation. Thank you for your help with that. Not changing the rules I'm changing the name.
Example: charity donation is something like 'tax exempt donation'. charity pot becomes something like 'Donation Box' and charity award becomes 'benevolence fund'.

Quote:
Christmas Materialism Game, it might be a lot of fun, but playing involves making decisions to win. I would never put money into Charity voluntarily. That makes zero sense with your rules. There is literally no benefit to me or possible trade-off that would ever make that a good idea

You have over looked that if you Do Not donate to charity then the player who landed on charity donation can move forward and take the 'charity award'.
At times players decide to allow a player to move forward to receive charity award and other times players donate to stop that player from receiving charity.
There is difference between donating to charity because you want a tax exemption vs anonymously paying for someone's dinner.
Saying you would never voluntarily donate to charity is unlikely because I know you want to win and the time will come when your donation will prevent someone from receiving the Pot and possibly beating you. Players would definitely notice that you did that, and maybe someone would say something to you like 'jay your too materialistic' and you might love that...while your friend or wife might love that they got to tell you that.

Thank you for the Family Vacation thought. I may need to change that. I haven't ever had a complaint about it, but I think your right!! I was thinking maybe 'Family Counsel, write your counsel to your family in your journal' or something along those lines.

The carol books will be included because people need to sing carols, and I can imagine most people don't have good carol books in their home.
2 naughty-or-nice cards ask for a carol and then at the end of the game. My wife's aunt made the rule to sing a carol when a 3 is rolled.
I don't know...I think the Carol books are a selling point, at least if you hate my Materialistic game you still get some sweet carol books out of the whole deal. Its sort of charitable to have those in the game box!!
Thanks for all your feedback Jay103. I didn't deserve your comments after I basically called you a Jerk, but I appreciate all the time you've taken to help explain thing to me. I really am listening, and I'm really going to get back to the drawing board.

evansmind244 wrote:I don't

evansmind244 wrote:
I don't know...I think the Carol books are a selling point, at least if you hate my Materialistic game you still get some sweet carol books out of the whole deal. Its sort of charitable to have those in the game box!!

You could include a T-shirt, and then if we hate the game, at least we get a sweet T-shirt. Or candy.

Carols aren't part of the game. They're barely even part of the not-game stuff, like the journals are. Anyone who would want to sing a carol as part of this already has caroling books, or would sing something they know by heart. I think the number of people who would (1) buy this game, (2) want to sing a carol, (3) not have caroling books already, and (4) would use your book to sing something they didn't know anyway is (5) vanishingly small.

Here's a (passingly similar) poorly done Kickstarter that came to mind..

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1560395177/road-to-heaventm-board-g...

It's a Christian game for serious Christians, and it comes with a full-size bible. There is literally nobody who would ever buy that game who didn't already have several bibles sitting around.

evansmind244 wrote:Tim

evansmind244 wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:

At certain times parts of journals get read out and players have to guess who wrote them. That could be quite fun, especially if you decided to try to write your journal in the style of your cousin (for example) to fool everyone. Players get something (money?) for guessing correctly.

that could be a quite fun game by its self.

I want to stay away from rewarding the extra's, but I'm going back to the drawing board and putting it back to bones and see what I can get done trying a few things in play-tests.

It goes back to the philosophy of the game for me. If I force these extra's then families will be turning family traditions into a materialistic mechanic of the game. How can I better understand why I can't have extra's that have no effect on the outcome of the game? Can it be explained in a different way. I'm a little slow in many ways!!

I had to look up the term 'didactic meta-game'

Quote:

Anyway, integrating the 'extra' activities with the main frame of the gameplay will give people a reason to keep playing, even after they have got the point you want them to get. I mean, if the lesson to be learned is basically that the families activities are what makes Christmas wonderful and the money/gifts part is ultimately less fulfilling, people might AGREE and not want to play the game again, which can't be a good outcome.

That is a good point. I don't think that there will ever be a shortage of people who want to win games, but as far as integrating the extra's I'm still a little lost on how to balance that, not force it and keep them from becoming materialistic.

Thank you so much for your comments and perspective.

The problem with not rewarding "extras" is that they remain totally incidental to the game and give rise to the question which everyone here has been asking, "Why are we doing this?"

The answer to that question can't be "Because it's nice" or "Because it will become a good family tradition", since those activities would be equally nice/ traditional if they weren't tacked onto the game.

If the extra's are actually the main point of the game - as I infer they are - then the GAME itself is really an unnecessary extra - even a distraction from the more meaningful activities you have lined up for people.

The question then is "Why are we playing the game?"

Do you see what I mean? Either the game is important or it isn't. If the game is important, the extras aren't. If the game isn't important, then why don't we just cut to the chase and draw Christmas trees?

There's a similar tension with this "Charity" idea. As I understand it, you give people the choice of donating to charity, an altruistic act since it hinders your chance of "winning" the game. However, you hope that people actually won't care about winning the game so giving to charity, in this context stops being a nice thing to do. It's just a pointless thing to do. No-one benefits because no-one wants money, because the real point of the game isn't winning, it's the extras!... :)

Genuine charity could only be possible is the giver and receiver BOTH actually have some emotional investment in winning. The giver decides to sacrifice some of his enjoyment to enhance someone else.

In your game, who enjoys receiving the money? You hope NOBODY, because you want them to realise that the money isn't important - thus the charity (giving and receiving isn't important - and in fact the whole game isn't important...)

Ya dig?! :D

Tim Edwards

Tim Edwards wrote:
evansmind244 wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:

At certain times parts of journals get read out and players have to guess who wrote them. That could be quite fun, especially if you decided to try to write your journal in the style of your cousin (for example) to fool everyone. Players get something (money?) for guessing correctly.

that could be a quite fun game by its self.

I want to stay away from rewarding the extra's, but I'm going back to the drawing board and putting it back to bones and see what I can get done trying a few things in play-tests.

It goes back to the philosophy of the game for me. If I force these extra's then families will be turning family traditions into a materialistic mechanic of the game. How can I better understand why I can't have extra's that have no effect on the outcome of the game? Can it be explained in a different way. I'm a little slow in many ways!!

I had to look up the term 'didactic meta-game'

Quote:

Anyway, integrating the 'extra' activities with the main frame of the gameplay will give people a reason to keep playing, even after they have got the point you want them to get. I mean, if the lesson to be learned is basically that the families activities are what makes Christmas wonderful and the money/gifts part is ultimately less fulfilling, people might AGREE and not want to play the game again, which can't be a good outcome.

That is a good point. I don't think that there will ever be a shortage of people who want to win games, but as far as integrating the extra's I'm still a little lost on how to balance that, not force it and keep them from becoming materialistic.

Thank you so much for your comments and perspective.

The problem with not rewarding "extras" is that they remain totally incidental to the game and give rise to the question which everyone here has been asking, "Why are we doing this?"

The answer to that question can't be "Because it's nice" or "Because it will become a good family tradition", since those activities would be equally nice/ traditional if they weren't tacked onto the game.

If the extra's are actually the main point of the game - as I infer they are - then the GAME itself is really an unnecessary extra - even a distraction from the more meaningful activities you have lined up for people.

The question then is "Why are we playing the game?"

Do you see what I mean? Either the game is important or it isn't. If the game is important, the extras aren't. If the game isn't important, then why don't we just cut to the chase and draw Christmas trees?

There's a similar tension with this "Charity" idea. As I understand it, you give people the choice of donating to charity, an altruistic act since it hinders your chance of "winning" the game. However, you hope that people actually won't care about winning the game so giving to charity, in this context stops being a nice thing to do. It's just a pointless thing to do. No-one benefits because no-one wants money, because the real point of the game isn't winning, it's the extras!... :)

Genuine charity could only be possible is the giver and receiver BOTH actually have some emotional investment in winning. The giver decides to sacrifice some of his enjoyment to enhance someone else.

In your game, who enjoys receiving the money? You hope NOBODY, because you want them to realise that the money isn't important - thus the charity (giving and receiving isn't important - and in fact the whole game isn't important...)

Ya dig?! :D

But if you're determined to put these IMPORTANT extras into some kind of game framework, then why not use something like Game of the Goose, pure roll and move with no distractions? You roll, move, perform an extra. That's ok because there's no gameplay to require justification.

Spin the Bottle isn't a game I had the chance to play much, but I can see its appeal. Imagine what a miserable party it would be where someone added a load of rules and Monopoly money to it - and then said "The aim of the game is to realise that the money isn't important. It's the kissing!"

Tim Edwards wrote:Spin the

Tim Edwards wrote:
Spin the Bottle isn't a game I had the chance to play much, but I can see its appeal. Imagine what a miserable party it would be where someone added a load of rules and Monopoly money to it - and then said "The aim of the game is to realise that the money isn't important. It's the kissing!"

Or even worse, they said, "the kissing isn't important, it's the money!"

evansmind244 wrote:fertessa

evansmind244 wrote:
fertessa wrote:

If the board allows you to be naughty or nice, then why not let players who take the naughty track earn points celebrating the materialism of Christmas, but players who take the nice track earn points off of the wholesome aspects of Christmas, like the caroling or speech-making?

My objection here is that if I make the extras have value toward wining the game then I take away the genuineness of these extra's. If a player writes something in their journal to increase their score its not genuine. If I write something kind in my journal about my wife, and she see's it the next night, or the next year, or 5 years from now...that will create a genuine special moment that won't be as easy to forget as who won the game last night!!

I'm suggesting idea's...journal, carols, speeches but the families that this sort of thing appeals too will create their own way to use these extras. I haven't seen play-testers feel forced into this. I've seen play-testers come up with idea's that they would do with their families.

fertessa wrote:

And if alot of your playtesters are telling you the rules are hard to understand, then that is a problem. If you hired a guy who writes rulebooks for a living, but he wasn't able to convey the rules in a way that people could understand them, I suggest consulting with another rulebook editor/writer.

Haven't play-tested with new rules. Several people have read them, including everyone here, but I'm working on that.
I'm going to make lots of changes, and you are right, along with everyone here, that my stubbornness has become a burden. I did almost get kicked off this blog:) Thanks questccg for giving me a second chance!
This whole graphic designer thing has really wreaked my week. I'm probably going to be 4k into it before I get everything he's already done, assuming what he's done is quality work and the next Graphic Designer can salvage some of it.... and now I have to find someone new.
You can imagine my heart when people commented that I should probably hire a graphic designer if I want to sell this game!!! Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you for the time you have given to me and Holiday Fever. I appreciate it.

If you have mechanics which force players to do the extra stuff like singing a carol or writing in the journal, then you have already removed the sincerity. In the scenario I gave, players make the choice to be naughty or nice. If they get rewarded by going on either track, then there is nothing forcing them to do the nice bit, and there is nothing which makes doing the nice bit more appealing. In that way, it is more sincere, because they chose not to play the game selfishly. Rewarding it just makes it a valid mechanic in the game.

As for the designer, why would you continue to give them more money? I can tell you right now that the only thing a new designer will salvage is using your current graphics as a visual starting point for what kind of layout you want. If the designer you're currently working with is kind enough to give you all of the assets they used (the individual files for every icon/image) then the new designer could use those, but that's about it.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but at least from my experience, I would start from scratch if a client came to me with your assets. Unless you signed a contract with this company, I would greatly consider asking for a partial refund or just end the job before you have to pay anymore money. I know it had to be a shock to your heart, and I'm sorry that this advice is coming so late in the process.

I'm just concerned that you will see this process through when you have every right to stop it. Unless you signed some sort of contract forcing you see this through (which you shouldn't) then don't. Ask them for the full quality files you already paid for, and move on.

And before you find the next artist, please research on BGG or BGDF the appropriate price range a game like yours should expect, because 4k sounds ridiculous. I would expect a card game with unique art on every card to run that high, but not a game with one board, one rulebook, and one card template.

Regarding what Jay said, I completely agree. You don't need the carol books. The people who would actually want to sing carols when a game tells them to would already have carols they know by heart.(Or they would make up carols which would be even more fun). The carol book would just add to you production and shipping cost.

As for how to make you understand why extras aren't necessarily a good thing, maybe this example will help?

If you go somewhere to eat, and it happens to be karaoke night, maybe you love it, hate it, or you're neutral to it. Maybe you came for the food or maybe you came for the karaoke? But now imagine that the karaoke is interactive and the people with the mic come up to your table multiple times to get you to sing their song. Even IF I came to the restaurant knowing it's karaoke night and wanting to sing a song, this interactive karaoke is something extra that I don't want.

Relating to your game, maybe I feel like playing a game, or maybe I feel like being all warm and fuzzy for Christmas. Even IF I'm on board with doing both, I'm not signing up for forced, extra interaction.

Jay103

Jay103 wrote:
You should probably buy holidayfevergame.com if you're planning to put that right into your rulebook.

Thank you for reminding me. I should have bought that over a year ago!! Appreciate you.

Jay103

I see your point on this!! Thank You

Tim Edwards wrote: The

Tim Edwards wrote:

The problem with not rewarding "extras" is that they remain totally incidental to the game and give rise to the question which everyone here has been asking, "Why are we doing this?"The answer to that question can't be "Because it's nice" or "Because it will become a good family tradition", since those activities would be equally nice/ traditional if they weren't tacked onto the game.

If the extra's are actually the main point of the game - as I infer they are - then the GAME itself is really an unnecessary extra - even a distraction from the more meaningful activities you have lined up for people.

The question then is "Why are we playing the game?"

I see your point whole heartedly and I want to continue down this line of reasoning because I think is worthy of discussion.

If I ask the same question about singing carols or keeping a family journal not tied to any game...'why are we doing this' you get the same answer. Because we want to, because we enjoy it, because its our family tradition.
Now with those things as incidental parts of the game you get the same answer. Why are we playing this game where you sing carols and keep a journal for no apparent reason'? 'because its fun, because we want too, because its our family tradition.
I just don't see this stuff as incidental. I definitely see that its not a mechanic, but I do see it tying the theme together and making the game come to life. Now the type of people who would enjoy singing carols, keep a journal etc..and have already played the game specifically note these extra's as a reason they love it. The people who played the game who are in the hobbyist or professional game design world hate it and specifically cite the aspects of the game that have no purpose toward winning!!!

How does one reconcile this conundrum? Is my game broken because there are incidental extra's in the game? Can my game still find appeal to a mass market in spite of the question 'why are we doing this'? Is it possible for players to see that the game (how you win) and the extras (have nothing to do with winning) work together harmoniously to create a fun holiday game or must I tie the extra's into the game for players to actually make sense of the game?

Tim Edwards wrote: Spin

Tim Edwards wrote:

Spin the Bottle isn't a game I had the chance to play much, but I can see its appeal. Imagine what a miserable party it would be where someone added a load of rules and Monopoly money to it - and then said "The aim of the game is to realise that the money isn't important. It's the kissing!"

I like your analogy here, and it made me laugh. Thank you. I got a lot of work to do yet.

Fertessa wrote: If you

Fertessa wrote:

If you have mechanics which force players to do the extra stuff like singing a carol or writing in the journal, then you have already removed the sincerity. In the scenario I gave, players make the choice to be naughty or nice. If they get rewarded by going on either track, then there is nothing forcing them to do the nice bit, and there is nothing which makes doing the nice bit more appealing. In that way, it is more sincere, because they chose not to play the game selfishly. Rewarding it just makes it a valid mechanic in the game.

Thank you for the help in moving away from my graphic designer. You have been unbelievably helpful!!!!!

Questions?
1)Are there any examples of games that have mechanics where the reward isn't increase or decrease of players final score? Do you have any examples?
2)The Karaoke example is well taken. But as board game creators shouldn't we make the game for a specific customer base vs trying to appease all possible players?

evansmind244

evansmind244 wrote:

Questions?
1)Are there any examples of games that have mechanics where the reward isn't increase or decrease of players final score? Do you have any examples?

I can't think of any, really. It doesn't have to be something that affects the score directly, but affects SOMETHING that ultimately has a consequence toward winning or losing.

I mean, imagine a Monopoly game where the "Chance" deck just had bible quotes in it. Land on Chance, draw a card, read the bible verse. Just to stick with the Christian theme :)

Now, if you were big on bible verses, you might be cool with doing that, and happy that someone was making a game that catered to your "demo". But after a few games, you'd be reading the same verses over and over, and since there was no point to it other than just reading those verses, even someone who liked that sort of thing would eventually stop. Or maybe they'd even change it to "read a random verse from an actual bible", creating a new tradition as it were, but then, that wouldn't be your game's mechanic any more, and the game becomes incidental to the bible verses. They'd probably notice that they could add that to ANY game, and if they realized there were better things out there than roll-and-move Monopoly, they'd go off and play something else.

evansmind244 wrote:Fertessa

evansmind244 wrote:
Fertessa wrote:

If you have mechanics which force players to do the extra stuff like singing a carol or writing in the journal, then you have already removed the sincerity. In the scenario I gave, players make the choice to be naughty or nice. If they get rewarded by going on either track, then there is nothing forcing them to do the nice bit, and there is nothing which makes doing the nice bit more appealing. In that way, it is more sincere, because they chose not to play the game selfishly. Rewarding it just makes it a valid mechanic in the game.

Thank you for the help in moving away from my graphic designer. You have been unbelievably helpful!!!!!

Questions?
1)Are there any examples of games that have mechanics where the reward isn't increase or decrease of players final score? Do you have any examples?
2)The Karaoke example is well taken. But as board game creators shouldn't we make the game for a specific customer base vs trying to appease all possible players?

1. I can't think of games off the top of my head, but regarding the mechanic, I would say that a reward has to be something the player wants. So if it isn't something which gives the player victory points for endgame, it should be something which helps them gain victory points or some sort of advantage in-game. Like a card that lets them move more spaces, or a bonus of being able to roll twice, or immunity from something in game. It just depends on what all is going on in your game.

2. As game designers, your only responsibility is to yourself. Right now it seems like you're having trouble deciding who your audience is.

If this game is intended for a niche audience who specifically already likes the things you have in your game, then no need to get feedback from designer forums. If you want to sell your game to people outside of that niche however, then you have to consider why other people feel like certain elements of your game are unwanted extras. Making your game appealing to hobby gamers is different from wanting your game to please everybody.

For example, even if a hobby gamer doesn't like a game, they can still say whether a game is solid or not. They would just say, this game's not my style, but it's a functional game that does X, Y, Z. That's what you want. Currently, as a hobbyist, your game doesn't feel fully functional. That fact is independent from whether or not I'd like or play it.

Speaking on the subject of

Speaking on the subject of graphic designers, pick a designer by their work, not their rates. Well, rates too, but after. Find someone whose aesthetic matches what you're looking for, not someone whose website says they can also manufacture a prototype. Because you don't need a one-stop-shop for graphics and manufacturing; those are separate.

When I needed to get some map tiles made, I contacted several tile makers based on looking through drivethruRPG.com. None of them were really available when I needed, and I started looking through fiverr.com, which is a great source for mediocre work done quickly, with the occasional good work as well.

I commissioned three people to make me a map tile (for like $10-25 each, iirc), and found someone who gave me what I was looking for. Commissioned him to make all 24 of my tile graphics. That was all he did for me.. no other art, because that wasn't his area.

My primary illustrator I chose because I already knew her work, and I was very fortunate she agreed to work with me. She helped with the box design and all that as well, in the end, and made me a logo too.

I tried to hire a designer off of fiverr to lay out my rulebook, but that didn't go so well.. it was fine, but not what I thought I needed, so I learned how to use Scribus and got some texture and borders from my artist and did it myself :)

Jay103

Jay103 wrote:

I mean, imagine a Monopoly game where the "Chance" deck just had bible quotes in it. Land on Chance, draw a card, read the bible verse. Just to stick with the Christian theme :)

Wow, you have finally brought be into the light. I see now, what you all have been telling me!! I'm a slow learner but thank you for helping me to grasp this concept.
So if I made singing a Carol, maybe a carol card, which gave a player immunity from having their gift stolen by one of the Burglars.....then I have a mechanic which makes sense with the Game & Theme?
Or, made having a Journal entry the requirement for entering into the Month of December....then I make the Journal a mechanic which makes sense with the game and theme?
Or make 3 speeches required to gain enough 'spirit' to sing a carol, which then makes you immune to Burglars. Now the speeches make sense with the game and theme? Am I getting this?

Fertessa

I think part of my issue was thinking of players and people as the same thing. Players want to win a game and gain some advantage in the game. People have all kinds of wants in their life.... but those are separate from their 'wants' in a game they choose to play.
The word 'immunity' helped me to grasp everything you all have been telling me. I couldn't quite see the difference between a mechanic and extra but adding in the word immunity gave me a different perspective. Thank you!!

evansmind244 wrote:I think

evansmind244 wrote:
I think part of my issue was thinking of players and people as the same thing. Players want to win a game and gain some advantage in the game. People have all kinds of wants in their life.... but those are separate from their 'wants' in a game they choose to play.
The word 'immunity' helped me to grasp everything you all have been telling me. I couldn't quite see the difference between a mechanic and extra but adding in the word immunity gave me a different perspective. Thank you!!

I'm glad that immunity was able to unlock that door to a new perspective. I know all too well how difficult it can be to get that door open. And yes, the examples you gave are much better ways to implement the journal-writing and caroling activities. :)

Yes.. I’m not sure those

Yes.. I’m not sure those examples make thematic SENSE (singing protects you from a burglar), but they would tie in the extra activities to the rest of the game.

Jay103 & Fertessa

Can I please get your opinion on my possible solution to turning the Extra's we've been discussing into actual game mechanics.

Solution:
Create a new mechanic in the game called 'Christmas Spirit' represented by a 'Star' icon.
When a speech is given, Journal entry made, or Carol sung the player(s) receive 1 Christmas Spirit. Christmas Spirit eliminates player Debits. 1st Christmas Spirit is tracked by scratching out (erasing) your first debit on your score card, 2nd Christmas Spirit erases your 2nd debit and so on. The more Christmas Spirit earned the less debt a player would owe at Christmas.
What do you think? This would require changing nothing about the game except adding some wording to the rules, and an Icon on the board and Naughty-or-Nice cards.

Thank you for your time.

evansmind244 wrote:Can I

evansmind244 wrote:
Can I please get your opinion on my possible solution to turning the Extra's we've been discussing into actual game mechanics.

Solution:
Create a new mechanic in the game called 'Christmas Spirit' represented by a 'Star' icon.
When a speech is given, Journal entry made, or Carol sung the player(s) receive 1 Christmas Spirit. Christmas Spirit eliminates player Debits. 1st Christmas Spirit is tracked by scratching out (erasing) your first debit on your score card, 2nd Christmas Spirit erases your 2nd debit and so on. The more Christmas Spirit earned the less debt a player would owe at Christmas.
What do you think? This would require changing nothing about the game except adding some wording to the rules, and an Icon on the board and Naughty-or-Nice cards.

Thank you for your time.


That works. I assume you only do the scratching at the very end (otherwise you might not have debts to cancel at that time)

Jay103

Jay103 wrote:

That works. I assume you only do the scratching at the very end (otherwise you might not have debts to cancel at that time)

Yes, good point. Thank you for your time!! Appreciate your feedback. If ever you need a layman's opinion on anything please PM me.

Very Respectfully
Evan

Early rules reader...

Lots of discussion here--little of it actual noise, but it may feel like it. So many good points all at once.

Three suggestions as it seems you're rethinking a great deal:

1. Invest in some informal blind playtesting. Talk to stores, churches with game groups, religious preschools to set it up, buy food, and plan on a donation/player cash payment. Talk as little as possible before hand. Prepare the initial hands yourself.

2. Play every Christmas and Sunday school game you can find. This crowd can help you with mechanics--you're looking for thematic execution: what's genuinely meaningful, what's hopelessly treacly and everything in between.

3. A design manifesto prioritizing your experience. You want to stress the tradition (legacy elements)? The experience of shopping? The extras (caroling etc.)? The competitive nature of the game? Simulating experience of random s^&t potentially ruining your holiday and scrambling to make it decent even if it isn't the best?

Your priority should encompass 70-85% of the design. All else is expendable. There is nothing, nothing, nothing wrong about designing a product about about sharing experiences and wrapping it around a skeleton set of rules. If the experience matters most then focus on that.

Envision your ideal experience. See how close you can come to enabling players to matching that vision--and when they detour like a bad D&D party meme, see what you can learn about what you need to change and what you may need to just accept.

Or not. This is your baby, but you're not mortgaging your family's future on its success in the market.

Pax,
David

Hey Evan, I agree with Jay.

Hey Evan,

I agree with Jay. The change you suggested sounds like a strong place to start. :) Good luck!

David I appreciate your

David I appreciate your feedback. You have been key in the development of my game. Thank you!!

Thank you ALL for posting here and sharing your knowledge and perspective. I'm back to the drawing board and working on the next Prototype so I can get this game on the market this time next year!!! Keep in mind that Roll and Move games are the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very Respectfully
Evan

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