Thoughts by Bez

I am a full-time designer/artist/self-publisher and I am available for freelance work. I go to cons as a trader and help run the all-day Friday playtest sessions in London. I left my last 'real' job in 2014. I was getting benefits for a few years. I'm currently writing sporadically, but getting back into the habit of daily posts. If you have any questions/topics you'd like me to address, send me a geekmail and I'll probably address the topic within a week.
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Sharing info (keeping a game under wraps)

Bez Shahriari
United Kingdom
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There is one (exactly one) game that I'd rather not share with you.

Rob Daviau said on a podcast that Risk Legacy was something he kept under wraps, but nothing else was in that same category for him.

I'm not saying that my idea will be anywhere near as influential as the notion of permanent modifications and secret contents. I just think that mine is a cool idea and I'd like to be the one to bring it to the world. I want that love and attention.

Anything else I will happily tell you about.

If I share a PnP and then someone else releases that as a published game (changing graphics/content enough to be legal), I can clearly point to my PnP and tell people how terrible this hypothetical publisher is. Same deal when I playtest publicly. I will almost always allow photos. Yes, I like the attention of the camera, but I also think that it's practically safeguarding against exact copies.

If you want to improve your game, you need to playtest with designers and non-designers. (Nearly) no-one will steal your idea. I'm not going to say it hasn't happened, but the risk of not playtesting is greater.

Not playtesting your game means that it is never good. It is never publishable. It is never a finished thing you can share with the world.

What do you even want to achieve? Do you yearn for credit? For adoration? Money? Or are you happy to just make things?

If you want credit/fame, then getting a following and sharing your process will do you more good.

If something is worth money, then a publisher would probably rather give you a % cut than have the fallout of copying your idea.

People might easily be inspired by your thing. Designers can't help that. It's a blurry line and it can be very difficult to not want to take an element and play with that concept yourself. In London, there are 2 mechanisms that I've seen repeated in 4 or 5 unpublished designs, each one riffing off of each other. There is acknowledgement and respect, but elements will be copied.

Sometimes you need to be quiet. Working for ACG, I've been asked to not talk about a thing that might be coming out in 2020. There is no sense in getting hype for something so far away, when the publisher has many other games to be released in the interim. Of course, I also want to talk about A game, wherein you blether[...] as often as possible, so that people are actually excited to talk frantically and play with language in a new way when I'm finally putting it on KS in a couple of years or so.

Everyone needs to follow their own path.

And I"m not going to tell you that 'no-one will steal your idea.' Anything is possible.

But by keeping it a secret, you may be taking even more of a risk.
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