Thoughts of a small publisher - Value Add Games

We are a small publishing company from Slovenia. We primarily focus on family and smaller board games in which we are always trying to add some additional value. We also make custom board games for corporate clients, which make great business gifts. We have our own team of game designers, graphic designers and illustrators. This allows us to have complete control of the game design process from the start to the very finish. With this blog, we plan to share our experiences we have picked up in board game and graphic designing, illustrating and publishing. We hope that both newcomers and experts in the industry will find this blog informative and interesting.

Archive for Fire brigade

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Adapting for the market

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When you work on a game whose theme is based on anything pre-existing, we believe it is very important not only to study that theme but also to study the target demographic, who will be interested in the game based on its theme. We believe it is especially important what they deem important about the theme.
The experience we will talk about in this blog is based on our development of one of our games – Fire brigade.

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When we started with the development of Fire brigade, our goal was to create a game for people who are interested in firefighting and to educate board game enthusiasts about fire safety and firefighting equipment. After creating a suitable prototype we started commissioning art for the game. Our artist took a lot of inspiration from firefighters and fire trucks that you usually see in movies. So a lot of the art was originally based on firefighters that we usually see in the movie.

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Original box art and fire fighting equipment, based on a common firefighter visuals

Encounter with the firefighters

After we had made a prototype with art, we took the game to local firefighters and showed it to them. We wanted to make sure the game was a good representation of how firefighters work, so we put a lot of work into it to represent realistic firefighters as closely as possible. To make sure we got everything right we went right to the source. We mainly wanted feedback on the mechanics that try to represent some of the decisions firefighters have to make and information presented in the game like additional informational text on the Event cards.

They were really happy with the game when we presented it to them.They saw it as an excellent opportunity to use the game to promote firefighting to the youth. Everything seemed fine to them, except for one thing. The firefighters took us outside and brought out all of their trucks to show us that Slovenian firefighting equipment looked different from the equipment that was on our art. They really wanted the game to represent local firefighters since they believe that is how the game will attract the locals the most.

They had us take pictures of the firetrucks and their equipment and then went back to work. We had to redraw trucks and equipment not just on the game box, but also on all of the cards that contain any fire fighting equipment.

After the game was released, the firefighters bought a number of copies. This was quite reassuring, since it let us know that the game had accurate information, otherwise it would have been endorsed in such a way.

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New box art and fire fighting equipment, based on Slovene fire fighters

Final thoughts

This was a very interesting experience for us. In our day to day lives we are surrounded by so much art from different cultures and nations that it is easy not to notice what is directly before our eyes. Even though firetrucks drive past us so often we never stopped to pay attention to how much they differ from those that we see in movies.

What we have learned from all of this is that even if we are to work on a theme that seems very common, we should still consult the experts on the field and get their confirmation if we are on point. Because if we are to attract a certain demographic, we must submerge ourselves in that theme in order to get everything right to the very detail. Because it is the details that make the players fall in love with the game.

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Fri Aug 27, 2021 5:00 pm
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