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What do you consider being successful?

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Juzek
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I sometimes feel that just having someone enjoy a game I make as being successful.
Sometimes I think being a full time designer would be successful.
Today, I want my game to be played more hours than I spent making it.

What do you consider "being successful" is?

questccg
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Hmm... Good question!

I used to think having a "Successful Kickstarter" would make me feel as though my game was/is "successful" and then I had one and ultimately realized that while it is a "measure" of success ... Today I dream about having my game on Store Shelves around the Globe. I think that definitely would/could be "successful" because it seems like the last "possible" step for the game (TradeWorlds).

But anything that can make a "re-occurring income" would be more of a "success" and it's not because I am motivated by money, it's because I would like to afford to design 100% of the time and allow my "re-occurring income" to be able to generate enough income that I can live off of designing. This is another level of being "successful".

So I envision games that are very "expandable" that can grow bigger than their initial concept or offer. The challenge is avoiding "pay-to-win" games which mean that as the game matures, the content is NOT driven by spending the most dollars means that you have the best case of winning. This too is a design constraint: expandable but NOT pay-to-win.

Then there are approaching different kinds of "games". Having designed a game "X" (for example a Deck-Builder), I would NOT design another game "X" because I've already create such a game. So just creating a game "X" is some measure of being "successful" too (IMHO). Having very contrasting games seems to me like something that Reiner Knizia would say makes you a better game designer (or perhaps a more "successful" one)...

I believe these are all good ways of qualifying what IS "successful"...

Note #1: And as to your "I want my game to be played more hours than I spent making it." I don't think that would be entirely true for me. It's been like 7 years since TW has been "in-the-making". Although I have demo-ed the game to over 100 people (during that time), I really feel like being able to visit a local store and seeing your own game on shelves... That to me is definitely a "measure" of success.

Like your game being sold in Museums (or at least one in particular). That I believe is a "measure" of being "successful". But we always tend to want to GROW and that means being MORE "successful" than before or currently. So 2, 3, 5 and 10... Museums is one way of looking at ever increasing levels of being "successful"...

Obviously the more you SELL, the more popular your game will become. And that includes all sales channels (Kickstarter, Distribution, Online Retail, etc.)

Note #2: Just taking some Game Ideas and putting them TOGETHER such that you have a FUN Prototype... That to me TOO is being "successful"! You don't know how many times I've iterated with various game concepts. It's a matter of finding something that WORKS! So that too is being "successful" albeit different in that you are bringing your creation into the world... Ready to write a rulebook and do some blind playtesting, etc.

questccg
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NOT being pay-to-win is very IMPORTANT

questccg wrote:
So I envision games that are very "expandable" that can grow bigger than their initial concept or offer. The challenge is avoiding "pay-to-win" games which mean that as the game matures, the content is NOT driven by spending the most dollars means that you have the best case of winning. This too is a design constraint: expandable but NOT pay-to-win.

I just wanted to "touch" on this. While very "expandable" varies per game, the current game that I am focused on is "Monster Keep" (MK). And while this game is NOT pay-to-win, it does support stronger and mightier cards all while managing the pay-to-win "challenge".

In MK, this is mitigated by the "STYLE" stat. Each Monster starts with a level of "Style" and as players add cards to that Monster, his/her "Style" goes UP! Each Monster has a ceiling and floor for that value. So while you can play STRONGER cards, they use up MORE "Style".

So it becomes this whole deal about "Deck-Construction": how do I build the best possible deck with the current pool of cards. Obviously pricing could factor into the equation. It's not because your opponent had purchased card "Z" that he wins the game. No... It will probably HELP him and yeah it could be a pricier purchase too. But there are ways to control the use of such cards (and that is via the "Style" stat).

Jay103
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Hopefully this doesn't sound

Hopefully this doesn't sound like a brag, but I have had a LOT of really nice comments from my customers in the past two months. Photos of people playing with their kids, even.

Now that I just rolled all the money back into a second printing, I don't have any net profits, but it feels successful.

(but get back to me if Tom Vasel rips it apart..)

I Will Never Gr...
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Personally (of course)..

I would measure success as having my game on peoples game tables and not having lost money in doing so as a minimum!

Having said game on game store shelves is a success bonus.
Having accolades from 3rd parties is a success bonus.
Having an income (however small) above and beyond the costs is a success bonus.

Jay103 wrote:
Hopefully this doesn't sound like a brag, but I have had a LOT of really nice comments from my customers in the past two months. Photos of people playing with their kids, even.

Now that I just rolled all the money back into a second printing, I don't have any net profits, but it feels successful.

(but get back to me if Tom Vasel rips it apart..)

Positive comments and photos of people playing your game is awesome! It's something I seem to have a hard time garnering personally .. but it's a great feeling when it does happen!

Also, a second printing = wild success IMHO! Congrats!

Ridethewave
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A few thoughts

What do you consider "being successful" is?

It depends.... at what point of view/state of mind you are approaching the question from...
Is bgd a pastime to you or a full/part time career?

Currently bgd is a pastime to me.

Different answers for people could be

Has it cost me money...yes...unsuccessful
Will I ever make money from it....probably not.....unsuccessful
Have I been wasting valuable time.....yes.....unsuccessful

On the other hand...

Have I enjoyed spending my time being creative...Yes...success
Am I still enthusiastic about it and have a creative urge....yes....success
Do I believe that if I ever finish the project that some other people will enjoy playing it...yes...success
Does whiling away a few hours doing this hurt anyone?...no...success
When I finally lie on my death bed will the thought of me having spent some time creating this game make me smile....yes....success

Of course if your answers are unsuccessful then you could chose to ask yourself a different question.....like

Does it really matter to me if I have the thought that I am unsuccessful?

For I am far more than a thought... I am a creative being.:-)

John

questccg
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Right mindset

Ridethewave wrote:
What do you consider "being successful" is?...

Have I enjoyed spending my time being creative...Yes...success
Am I still enthusiastic about it and have a creative urge....yes....success
Do I believe that if I ever finish the project that some other people will enjoy playing it...yes...success
Does whiling away a few hours doing this hurt anyone?...no...success
When I finally lie on my death bed will the thought of me having spent some time creating this game make me smile....yes....success...

Nice way of putting it. Welcome to BGDF.com... Hope you enjoy your stay!

Ridethewave
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Thankyou

Thankyou for your kind words

Rick-Holzgrafe
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I suppose I can chime in

I suppose I can chime in on this. But I don't see "successful" as a single I-made-it or I-failed, yes-or-no thing. There are levels and degrees.

I was "successful" the first time I created a game that I, and others who didn't know me, liked to play. That felt great! (But that was ten years ago, and the game is still unpublished!)

I was "successful" the first time I signed a contract and got something published. That felt great! (But it was for an expansion to somebody else's design, not really a game of my own.)

I was "successful" the first time a stand-alone game that I designed was published. That felt great! (But that's only happened once. I'd really like to do it again.)

I believe I have made more money from designing games than I have spent in doing so. I suppose that's also a measure of success. (But the amount of money I've spent on just buying and playing games is way more than that.)

But I think the bottom line for me is to enjoy the process. I know I'm never going to make any significant money, nor become famous, by designing games. That makes it a hobby, and the point of having a hobby is to have fun. I do have fun!

let-off studios
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"True" Success

I remember a time here at BGDF (do I sound that old?!?!?) when there were some hard-line "game designers" that posted frequently here, who argued that you couldn't call yourself a game designer "until you had something professionally published." That seems unnecessary to me to hold such a criteria, because I don't see the point of it. Of course, I just might hold that opinion simply because the games I've made aren't on a store shelf, they're in a classroom (or a virtual classroom, recently).

It's almost like there's a spectrum, and I see the point behind both Ridethewave and Rick-Holzgrafe's perspective. Personally I'd side with them, in that "success" is measured as part of a personal journey. It seems to me that success is most effective when it's considered on a project-by-project basis.

I wonder if there's a "professional game designer" who's ever argued that they've "made it," and they're a qualified success, in their field.

On the other hand, I also see the merit behind a "Coffee is for Closers" kind of mindset. "You're not a success until you've been able to do X, Y, and Z."

I think all these criteria are based on value systems, and fortunately the state of game design and publishing is such that individuals are finding fewer barriers to find success on their own terms, whether it's tinkering at home, or using services like The Game Crafter, or finally swimming round in a gigantic, personal vault of cash like Richard Garfield.

Lots of technology lowers the bar for entry, and also allows for lots of individual measures of success. There seems to be plenty of room for all of it.

Ridethewave
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Personal Journey

let-off studios wrote:
It's almost like there's a spectrum, and I see the point behind both Ridethewave and Rick-Holzgrafe's perspective. Personally I'd side with them, in that "success" is measured as part of a personal journey.others see them as successful or not...

Exactly.

For some, who care not about whether others see them as successful or not, or even care themselves whether they are successful or not.

They just enjoy being creative.

They have taken another step on their personal Journey

Hopefully One day....
.

Jay103
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let-off studios wrote:I

let-off studios wrote:
I remember a time here at BGDF (do I sound that old?!?!?) when there were some hard-line "game designers" that posted frequently here, who argued that you couldn't call yourself a game designer "until you had something professionally published." That seems unnecessary to me to hold such a criteria, because I don't see the point of it.

Yeah, that's before my time I think, but it's silly.

You can't call yourself an artist until you've sold a painting?
You can't call yourself a musician unless you have a paid gig?
You can't call yourself an athlete unless you draw a salary from a team?

Sure, you're not a PROFESSIONAL game designer if you haven't either gotten paid by someone or published something and offered it for sale. But any other distinction (a) serves no purpose other than to exclude, and (b) simply isn't correct in the first place.

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