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.
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Example of playtesting one of the final versions of rules and what went wrong

Value Add Games
Slovenia
Ljubljana
Ljubljana
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In a previous post we talked about playtesting the rules. One of the important stages of playtesting is making sure that the final rules with graphic design have everything they need. In this post we go through an example of one of the things that almost went wrong when preparing the rules for one of our games, and how playtesting helped us discover it in time to correct it.

Share with us in the comments if you have similar anecdotes

TILES, TILES, WHERE ARE YOU TILES?

In the WolfWalkers - The Board Game players have to place stacks of tiles on each space on the board according to the area (grey area represents Town and green area represents Forest). The text stated that “Evenly distribute the tiles according to the area.” In the last iteration of prototype rules (shown below) this instruction worked well since the image showed stacks of tiles on each space. Playtesters positioned the tiles on each space correctly.

From gallery of ValueAddGames

Prototype version of the rules


When we did the graphic design of the rules we checked it multiple times and thought that everything is ok now (image below). To make sure that everything is clear, we did blind playtesting with players who did not play the game before. One of the groups said that the game works strangely and when going through it step by step, we figured out that the problem lay in the setup. They placed only one tile on each space. When asking them why they did so, they explained that the image showed only one tile on each space (instead of a stack of tiles). With the instruction image that did not clearly show stacks of tiles, and instructions text only instructing players to divide the tiles, instead of telling them how many tiles to place, the players set up the game wrong and the game became unplayable.

From gallery of ValueAddGames

Rules with graphic design


To make sure that players will place the tiles correctly, we changed the image to represent stacks of tiles. We added a clarification regarding the number of tiles in each stack to the written rules too: “Place two town tiles face down in each town area and four forest tiles face down in each forest area as shown on the left.” We learned a valuable lesson that day - something that works in a prototype does not necessarily work when designed and that it is important to playtest at every stage of the development.

From gallery of ValueAddGames

Rules with corrected graphic design and updated instructions


CONCLUSION

When designing a game the rules can seem very clear to us since we know every detail of the game. So it is even more beneficial when someone else looks at it with a fresh perspective without knowing anything about it and plays the game next to us, to see if something was misunderstood. Luckily there are a lot of people who are eager to playtest games and give their precious feedback

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Value Add Games
More about us: https://valueaddgames.com/en/
Our shop: https://shop.valueaddgames.com/en/
WolfWalkers Games and Puzzles Landing page: https://valueaddgames.com/wolfwalkers/
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