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Abstract Games» Forums » General

Subject: Now that my game is published on GameCrafter, I seek review and comments rss

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Wyrdin Whrainan
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Hi to all interested and curious users:

I recently published a game called Give&Take using the GameCrafter.com facility. I am pleased to have put my game up into a public domain so quickly.

I am quite new to this brave new world of game production.

I would be most pleased if others would take a look at what I have published at GameCrafter.com and make general or specific comments critiques or provide reviews ... there or here.

So, this is an appeal for communication and dialogue. I believe I have created a beautiful abstract game, in terms of its conception and game mechanics, even if not in terms of visual, artistic appeal for first impressions. The game's name is "Give&Take" and it is listed with GameCrafter.com under Essentuum Games. Please give it "a look" and see what you think.

My situation is as follows: I am 60 years of age and have been unemployed since March 2009, with practically no viable good jobs presently themselves in my professsional field of Architecture. Thus, I have gotten it in my head to try this entrepreneurial notion of producing this game, an idea I have worked with for over 25 years in my leisure time as Architect during much better economic times.

I am thus taking a shot at this and would greatly appreciate any communication, advice, etc. ... even reviews and purchases of my game "GIVE&TAKE' available at GameCrafter.com ... I am such a noob at this endeavor and I could sure use any help with pursuing this entrepreneurial endeavor.

With sincerity,

Wyrdin (my pseudonym)

 
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David Molnar
United States
Ridgewood
New Jersey
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Welcome to BoardGameGeek.

I hope you enjoy the Abstract Games subforum; I think you have found the appropriate place for this post. It's hard to say too much without seeing the rules, but here is some constructive criticism:

* game design - especially abstract game design - is a hobby, not an entrepreneurial endeavor. Virtually nobody makes money out of it; get that thought out of your head and just enjoy the ride.

* there are already four games in the database at this site called Give & Take, and from what I can tell none of them are yours. I'd suggest (a) picking a different name, and (b) creating a page for your game at this site - publication by the game crafter is certainly sufficient to "qualify" for an entry. That way, people can post comments/reviews/photos for your game in a single place.

* from your gamecrafter page, it appears that you are offering seven sets of rules for your game. I wouldn't consider 7 sets of rules a bonus; I'd consider it an obstacle to playing. I have a lot of games on my shelf, and one is more likely to come off the shelf if I don't have to first decide what I'm going to do with it. Kris Burm usually publishes three versions of his games, but for starters he's Kris freakin' Burm, and three is still considerably less than seven.

Would like to hear more about your game. What can you compare it to besides Nim?

David
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Karl von Laudermann
United States
Unspecified
Massachusetts
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I went to GameCrafter.com, and it seems to be a portal site. Could you post a link to the relevant page?
 
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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Surheim
Germany
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karlvonl wrote:
I went to GameCrafter.com, and it seems to be a portal site. Could you post a link to the relevant page?


https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/give-take
 
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Michael Howe
United States
Cromwell
Connecticut
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I'm not generally a fan of NIM-like games, and I don't think they're very popular in general, but it's impossible to say much about your game without access to the actual rules. Making them available should help you, not hurt you, since playing the game apparently requires special sets of tiles anyway. And you definitely need to find a new name. Give and Take to me is a game by the great Sid Sackson. And I agree with others that you should design and sell abstract games if it satisfies you but the chances you will be able to making a living doing it are tiny.
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Nick Bentley
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Madison
Wisconsin
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I agree that trying to profit from an abstract game is mostly a fool's errand, but it has been done successfully on rare occasions, so it's worth discussing how it's been done. Here's my opinion, based on the research I did when I was considering the possibility of commercializing (a possibility I ultimately rejected):

First, be absolutely sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that your game has the following properties:

1. Short, very intuitive rules.
2. Short game play (no more than 30 minutes)
3. Some novel, very attractive components, or unusual, striking mechanism.
4. It makes an very good impression on the first few plays to almost everyone who plays it.

To my mind, once you have these things in place, you're about 15% of the way there. The rest is all aggressive, savvy business stuff. This is something that not many people here can help with.

If I were you, I'd talk to people familiar with the strategies behind the following games:

Blokus
Hive
Ingenious
Pentago

...and try to figure out what they did to break through. Focus especially on distribution. If you can a get a good distribution deal with a national chain, you're much closer to success. But the fight for shelf space is beyond bloody, so good luck.

These are pretty much the only abstract games which have made it into ubiquitous distribution in the US in the last decade (by that I mean you can find them at big box stores in almost every city now). I'm guessing that these are the only games which make even close to enough money in the US to be worth anything to their rights-holders - because board games have low profit-margins, you have to sell high volume to make anything.

Notes:

1. Hundreds and hundreds of abstract games are invented every year, many with some kind of commercialization effort, and yet only 4 appear to be commercially successful in the U.S. in this last decade. That should give you some idea of what you're up against.

2. The way you've presented your game suggests, as you've indicated, that you have much to learn about public relations and marketing for games. First, I can't see the components. There are no photographs of them! There should be big, super-professional drool-worthy photographs of top-shelf components. Second, I have no access to the rules, and there's no "hook" which tells me in one sentence what makes this game unique and better than every other game. Your game could be amazing but I'd never know it by the way you've presented it here.

3. It's possible that, if you were to include worldwide distribution, that the Gipf games should als be included in the list above; I just don't know enough about Gipf sales to be confident including them here.

4. A game doesn't have to be perfect from a design point of view to be commercially successful, so long as it has the properties listed above. Pentago turns out to be a pretty ho-hum unoriginal game after you've played it a few times, and Hive and Blokus arguably also have design problems, but of a kind that simply don't matter to the commercial market. So put all your focus on the properties listed above. An even better example, from the 80s and 90s, is Abalone, which turned out to be downright broken but was a blockbuster nonetheless.

5. For non name-brand game designers, it takes years to go from invention to commercial success. So you should be ready for a long hard slog.

6. Bonus tip #1 - create and aggressively market an iOS version

7. Bonus tip #2 - get it implemented at online game portals so people can try before buying.

8. Bonus tip #3 - take the thing to game cons and sell like hell. Also, enter it in game design contests. If it wins, it's a great credential.

9. Bonus tip #4 - I would test many names and this is how I'd do it: I'd create a bunch of web pages for the game, which are identical,except in each the game has a different name. Then I'd set aside maybe around $1000 and create Google Adwords ads to the different pages, where each ad has the game's "hook" (whatever that ends up being), and lists the game under a different name. Whichever ad performs best, that's the name you choose. This is how savvy internet people choose book titles, among other things, and it works.

Selling abstract games is apparently one of the most challenging ways you could try to make money, and it's important you know what you're up against.
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Wyrdin Whrainan
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Thanks for your comments and suggestions. I do understand that my game idea is a hobby -- something difficult to get others to playtest and review. My job hunting at this time has produced woefully little and it was an experiment to see what might happen. I also see that others have suggested to post rules and I see that is a great suggestion. It has been less than 24 hours since I did my original post and I am definitely a noob at all of this. My understanding was that the rules of my game are available as free downloads on thegamecrafter.com site, yet I can see that having them here on this site would be good. Name change is good idea too -- in fact I saw late last night that four other games have a similar name. Further, I definitely understand why anyone would have a reluctance to look at a game seriously when the word NIM is mentioned. That abstract games in general can be a turn off for many gamers is something I am aware of -- causing me all these years while pursuing the idea to also be wary, treating it as my hobby.

Things are changing rapidly in my life and I will continue as I can with dealing with this production and requests for reviews, etc. of my game that has now begun.

Please know that I do apprectiate the time and suggestions that have so quickly occurred since my original post.

Sincerely,

Wyrdin (my psuedonym)
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Wyrdin Whrainan
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While I was making my 2nd post in response to the replies that saw occurred milomilo122 posted. Many good comments there.

I need to take some time to study the comments thus far provided. All these comments is far more than I expected when I went to bed last night.

Just so you know, my life situation is radically changing today (I put the game together with thegamecrafter.com over the past 2 weeks with the plan to start this change when it was published)and over the next week. I have several LONG road trips that begins this afternoon to change my life circumstances, giving my dire necessity of somehow finding work that can bring income of most any sort since I have been unemployed for over two years, even if it is not in the field of architecture and merely a minimum wage job of some type. I have to get re-settled with family and ccontinue my job search.

When resettled and/or as time permits, I will pursue this hobby as may be possible during my leisure time. Right now, I have to get the car packed and get out of here to do what is important.

Thanks again, all.

Wyrdin
 
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Wyrdin Whrainan
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Oh, as far as the suggestion for a concise set of rules -- I too have thought that may be the best course of action for pursing this. I consider that a very good suggestion. For that I would probably boil it down for the format of Wild Play Rules in the "Ultimate" Essentuum format (as I had called it, in the rules I published on thegamecrafter.com)... that is what gets the game further away from what people consider to be (non-interesting, even boring) NIM.

Photos: (Yes indeed)-- My intention is to provide photos of the physical product and to update that on thegamecrafter.com -- at this time, I am waiting for the mail delivery of my physical board game that they are producing. When a game is deemed ready to go with their site, you have to buy at least one copy of your game to be allowed to publish to the shop front where it is listed for the public and as for sale and shipping to the purchaser. I am thus waiting for my copy (its first ever sale) to arrive at the location where I am traveling to, today. I am also having them ship the game product to my father, where I will be traveling to later next week.

Even though this has been an experiment, I am serious about it as a hobby and will continue to work with it to improve it.

Well, I have to get on with my pack up and road trip. I certainly did not imagine I would be making so many additional posts at this time. I'll be in touch ... eventually; but got to go. Take care for now.

Wyrdin
 
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Rick Nordal
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia, Canada
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The name of your game should have a logo.

A good logo has commercial value.

This is one way of helping you sell your game.

--------------------

Rick Nordal
 
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