Thursday, September 25, 2014

Game Design Panel, SLC Comic Con

The panel members were mostly publishers, and this was partly from the perspective "how to make it something a publisher will want" rather than "how to make it fun" or "a good simulation" or such.

The most difficult lesson is to learn when your pet mechanic doesn't work. If thirty playtesters don't like the mechanic, you need to let it go.

Or possibly the most difficult part is getting the game from "head" to "journal" to "prototype". You have to stay with it though the iterations and redesigns until you get someting that works.

Playtesters are essential, but they are bad at analyzing and expressing the problems with play. If they tell you that there's something wrong with a game, they're always right; but when they tell you how to fix it, they're usually wrong.

Reward, but don't over-reward, getting ahead. For example, getting ahead on one track to victory may close off other tracks; if you're a victorious conquerer, that may mean other nations are less likely to ally with you,

Think about the visuals, If you do cards, people are going to fan them, and there are a couple different ways they might do that. Pay attention to the layout on the card so the information they need is visible when they have the cards in their hand and can't see the whole card.

Use icons instead of text, to make localization easier. (However, if you need a separate QRS to tell what the icons are, you've gone overboard).

Key factors when submitting to a publisher are:
--make sure it fits our line, theme, and box size.
--make sure the component cost matches the play value. We can't sell a fifteen-minute party game that costs sixty bucks. And we'll also have a hard time with a single pack of cards that turns into a 3 hour epic--because the gameplay does not match the customer's expectations.
--does it have meaningful decisions for the players?
--what makes it stand out? This can be a thematic hook or an interesting mechanic.
--make your submission as complete as you can, without spending a lot on the art.

Whittle down the components to reduce the manufacturing cost.

How to get noticed: win (or place) in a design competition, or create a popular print & play game.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Gaming Quote

Someone made a remark to the effect that the half orc barbarian probably smelled bad. The barbarian said "You never smell yourself when you're covered in someone else's blood."