Same Coast Designing:
While almost everyone I know is huddled up inside, shivering in a perpetual Ice Age back home in Baltimore, I have traveled 2,670 miles to the other side of the country to enjoy sun, warm weather, and the ability to work with my co-designer face to face.
For those of you who don’t know, the past year has presented many challenges with both of us designing on opposite ends of the country. Relying on video chatting and the Tabletop Simulator on Steam, we have done well to keep the grinding machine moving forward but now is the time to throw some extra coal in the engine. Full steam ahead!
We have spent the majority of the past three days playtesting, and playtesting, and….playtesting. It is our mission to ultimately put solid, finished products in your hands that you will be impressed by. We are working out tweaks right now to get ready for the convention (Orccon 2015) this weekend. If you live on the West Coast, swing by and say hi! Or even better, play our games! This is a rare opportunity to meet both designers.
Last weekend in Baltimore was a little meetup called Unpub5. For those who are unfamiliar with the Unpub, it is a community (mostly with an East Coast presence) created to aid fellow tabletop game designers in playtesting, feedback, and support. This was the first year I have been, and it was a great year to jump onboard. The first time at the Baltimore Convention Center (huge increase in size from previous years) brought in over a 1,500 on Saturday and couple hundred on Sunday. It was a good time to present Proelium, Imaginary Friends, and Covalent Crisis en masse in the Baltimore area. We received a load of great feedback and managed to make some useful changes. Which brings me to my next point……
Finding Interest All Over Again:
So the very first game I worked on designing was Imaginary Friends, over a year and a half ago. But the version that exists today did not exist then. After the first six months of working on the game, I started losing interest. Any game designer will tell you that is never a good sign. The theme was still very fresh and unique but the rules were too complicated; the gameplay too disheveled. Every time I got someone new to try it, the game lost its flavor halfway through explaining how to play it. I expected a first time design to never really be a masterpiece and just basically, for lack of a better term, ‘gave up’.
Two months ago with conventions on the near horizon, I obviously needed to do something with Imaginary Friends. Keeping the artwork and general layout of the cards, I retooled the whole game and turned it into a deck builder but kept the dice rolling mechanics and silly backstabbing elements. I figured this would work well with the theme of the game as well. And everything just clicked. There were some major and minor glitches to work out right away but things happened. Ideas to fix everything came right to me. The game became easier to explain to people; it was fun to play now. I started drawing again and working on new ideas for the game and future expansions. But more important than anything else, I found my interest again. Not just in this game, but designing altogether.
Now onwards and upwards!