Episode #78: Reasons to Theme Your Prototype

(link for direct download of podcast episode)

We go over the top 5 reasons to theme your prototype and some discussion around them. If you want to have them spoiled, here are some of our notes on each one:

5) Theme makes it easier to learn your game. It drive cohesion, direction, and rules comprehension.

4) Some publishers really care about theme (like Brian) so you’ll get more opportunities if your game has one. You’ll get in the door. Theme sells better than math. Games are an experience, and theme tells your story.

3) A themed games is more interesting to players so you’ll get more playtesters. It shows your playtesters that you respect their time and level of enjoyment.

2) Save the publisher time by showing them it is complete. A game with no theme isn’t done yet and they would usually not do that work if they can avoid it. Once you’re in the door, you’re more likely to stay there.

1) Theme is part of the design. Why are we even talking about them as if they are independent parts?

 

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Episode #74: Rules for Writing Rules

Listen Here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP074.mp3

Learn all about Jeremy’s “7 Rules for Writing Rules” and what Richard and Brian think about them. We actually disagree on this on more than most episodes!

  1. Force yourself to write your rules right away and have them ready for your first playtest with real people.
  2. Start strong. Tell a story as you give the theme.
  3. Use software to maintain your rules and keep them always up-to-date.
  4. Add notes to add diagrams later.
  5. Put a component list at the end of the rules use a component diagram with labels.
  6. Use 2nd person to specify “you”.
  7. Use white space and formatted lists.

Gen Con Designer Events and Metatopia with Double Exposure’s Vincent Salzillo

Brian had the pleasure of interviewing Vincent Salzillo, President of Double Exposure, Inc. His company organizes Gen Con events such as First Exposure Playtest Hall and the new First Encounter Designer Showcase (publisher speed dating) events. They also organize conventions such as DEXCON, DREAMATION, and METATOPIA. Plus they run the Envoy programs. It’s a lot! This is what we cover in 30 minutes:

  • METATOPIA – A convention for game designers.
  • First Exposure Playtest Hall – A Gen Con event for playtesting your game.
  • First Encounter Designer Showcase – A Gen Con event where you pitch your game to publishers, in a format similar to “publisher speed dating”.

Resources

 

 

Game Design and Publishing Panel at Gen Con 2016

At Gen Con 2016, we were on a panel to talk about lots of publishing topics. These were the folks on the panel:

  • JT Smith of The Game Crafter
  • Zachary Strebeck, the Game Lawyer
  • Jeremy Commandeur, Game Designer
  • Brian Henk of Overworld Games
  • things like:

Here are some topics we discussed:

  • Forming your business
  • Game manufacturing options (US, Europe, China, etc.)
  • Different ways to sell your game
  • Traditional and alternative distribution models
  • Game awards and contests
  • What should you do yourself? What should you pay others to do?
  • Game publishing contract royalties

Audio/Podcast: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP044.mp3

References

Hosting a Convention

Join us for a discussion on the tools you need to host your own game design convention, such as:

  • Start small
    • Monthly meet-ups
    • Prototype night
  • Location
    • Mom & Pop Restaurant
    • Game Store
  • Getting Published Designers
  • Travel and Experience
  • Supporting and Nurturing Designers
  • Getting Playtesters
  • Publishers at Conventions
  • First-time Designers at Conventions
  • Untested Games at Conventions

Audio Version: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP041.mp3

Top 10 Mistakes New Designers Make (Publisher Perspective)

Brian makes a list of the top 10 mistakes new designers make from the perspective of a publisher and we all debate about it. This covers things like the design decisions that will make a game harder to sell. Jeremy will share his list from a designer perspective in the next episode!

Audio/Podcast: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/BGBP036.mp3

Manufacturing Quality

Today we talk about manufacturing quality. Here are some of the topics:

  • Print-on-Demand Quality
  • CMYK & RGB Issues
  • Defects and Limitations
  • When are defects worth the risk?
  • Which manufacturer should publishers choose?
  • How to gauge quality
  • Quality for repetitive use
  • Does the manufacturer influence a purchase?

Podcast: http://traffic.libsyn.com/theforbiddenlimb/FLP031.mp3