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Subject: Kickstarter Project Feedback rss

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Mike Perez
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I recently launched my very first Kickstarter campaign, as well as my first serious attempt at game designing (a prototype board game named “Citizen”), and didn't have a very impressive start. I ended up cancelling about 1 week in, due to an abysmal initial momentum, and overwhelming weaknesses brought to light that needed fixing ASAP.

Some of the initial roadblocks that really hindered us from the beginning included:

1. A relatively large funding goal
2. Including add-ons as extra pledge levels (a novice mistake, but one made from never having experimented with add-ons in other campaigns. This one REALLY confused backers!)
3. Failing to get valuable feedback before launching (and instead, having to make changes on the fly, while live)
4. Adding international shipping AFTER the launch (and after pledge levels could be altered to show international shipping was available)
5. Failing to include a How-To-Play video, and taking for granted the complication of the rules

There were many more mistakes committed...In hindsight, these mistakes should have been obvious, but experience is the best teacher, and I believe this hands-on lesson will prepare us for our relaunch and future projects. There's quite a lot of ground to cover in a Kickstarter launch, and no amount of research could teach me what one week of an actual Kickstarter launch, and backers' reactions did.

In preparation for a relaunch, I would like to gain some insight into what still needs fixing, and in what ways we can better serve our backers. I feel as if this game has some potential, but would like to get some feedback from the experts and hardcore gamers...This preview link will take you to our relaunch project, where hopefully, you can take some time and offer your earnest opinions, suggestions, and questions on any aspect of the game or presentation:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1529132069/2062914015?re...
?token=0e11f32b

(for some reason BGG won't show the last part of the link if I add it all together, so I had to separate it)

Please note that some links are not functional yet, and there are still some discrepancies between information that has not been revised from our previous launch (such as stretch goal costs).

Some changes that are yet to be implemented, but will be shortly:

1. Pictures for the bios in the “Who We Are” section
2. Fully functional website & rulebook links, as well as quotes where the quote markers currently are
3. Revised Add-On art
4. Updated Stretch Goal amounts (based on new funding goal)
5. Endorsement quotes in the video intro, in order to help you understand the game better

Please be open with your criticisms and comments. Your feedback will be invaluable in helping us reach success a second time around, as well as expanding our knowledge and understanding of crowdfunding and the tabletop industry. Thanks ahead of time, and hopefully someone else can also learn something from our efforts!

Thanks!
Mike

P.S. If you'd like to check out our first launch, follow the link here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1529132069/citizen-the-a...
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Paul DeStefano
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
ezkogames wrote:
I would like to gain some insight into what still needs fixing,


See this:

Quote:
my first serious attempt at game designing (a prototype board game named “Citizen”),


Welcome to the sentence that will cause 90%+ readers to simply close the window.

Prototype?

First attempt?

Both are damning and will guarantee no cash from many, many people.

And that typo thing Apotheos points out.

That's a whole lot of strikes before the ball is even pitched.
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Wesley Jones
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
This has 8 pages of advice. Many posts won't apply to you but many will (if you can stand to pick out the pertinent posts among 8 pages).

This seems to also have some good advice.
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Keith Sink
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
First of all, these are my impressions. I'm not trying to discourage you, just point out the things that irk me the moment I go to your page.

The narration on the video is broken up with hisses and non-hissing(during the 1st five minutes or so). I assume the microphone is being turned on and off which really annoyed me. The narrator sounded kind of board. Most people are more energetic and happy sounding. Also, later in the video the volume level changes. I would work on the video.

The video seems kind of confusing to me. I (like many other people) don't have enough of an attention span to really stick with the rules.

For me personally, I'm not seeing enough finished art. To me it's closer to a prototype than a finished game. A red flag for me not to support the game. Of course that is a catch 22, so I sympathize.

The board appears too busy for me and the pieces are not impressive (again I know it's a prototype, but I'm thinking from the standpoint of a supporter).

About the Kickstarter page...
I don't like the font and the color scheme doesn't appeal to me. Red and black is always a turn off.

There is one picture you have where it's a very low close look at the board. I LIKE THIS PICTURE.

On the bios, don't tell me how old you are. I don't care. But I do care if you've been developing games for x amount of years or if you have a passion for certain types of games. Maybe I do as well and you've now sold me on it.

I wish you the very best on your game and I'm sure you'll be able to pull this off with some hard work.
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Andreas Krüger
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
Geosphere wrote:

Prototype?

First attempt?


Yes, if you want to convince the Geeks you need to tell us about your playtests (you did blind playtests with strangers, right?) and/ or get some reviews in.

Spend some time with the community here, share your design process with us and build relations. This game has potential to get some buzz here, make use of it.

You may also decide that the Geeks are not your audience. Then you must define who your audience is and cater your campaign to them.
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Andreas Krüger
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
ezkogames wrote:


(for some reason BGG won't show the last part of the link if I add it all together, so I had to separate it)



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URL_shortening

You will paste your URL ever so often, so make use of a link shortener.
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Celina
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
You may also want to fix the title of your post here, since it has a typo.

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mike
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Re: Kickstarter Projecr Feedback
This has nothing to do with the game itself, but in your profile listing yourself as CEO frankly is a bit amateurish, that and the fact your website doesn’t work.

If you’re a one person operation, you’re not a CEO. Owner is fine, Founder ok maybe if you’re borrowing from the start-up kiddies, but not CEO

“A chief executive officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking corporate officer (executive) or administrator in charge of total management of an organization. An individual appointed as a CEO of a corporation, company, organization, or agency typically reports to the board of directors.”


Got a small business, a sole proprietorship, or an LLC? Call yourself whatever you want -- president, owner, partner -- but you're not a CEO.

To me as a backer this screams amateur hour and that you really haven’t done any research on the table top game industry.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ok, now on to the project page

Bio
No facebook, twitter or any social media links? If you don’t have these how do you expect to promote the game or the campaign?
Website is down?

At least you have backed a couple projects, so that’s fine.

The bio itself, writing about yourself in the 3rd person? Really?
This is YOUR profile talk about yourself, you know in the first person. I am doing this because, I designed this game for blah, blah, here’s why I am using Kickstarter to launch this project


The game itself
This is going to be completely brutal because you can completely tell this is your first game and not anywhere near ready to bring to market

“Total Mess”

Seriously what is the concept here? You’re throwing out the term Urban simulation, then talking about Urban Warfare, but you have businessmen as a character

I mean it looks like you decided to clip pieces of grand theft auto and monopoly and then make a love child

Look at your intro

“Citizen: The American Dream is the game of urban warfare inspired by the mechanics of traditional American board games. With an average game time of 1-2 hours, 2-6 players ruthlessly compete to collect the most manpower, firepower, real estate, and money needed to eliminate the opposition and conquer the city.”


I don’t know too many traditional American board games that would inspire me to think of urban warfare.

That’s the first problem, the 2nd is what the heck does real estate have to do with urban warfare?

Urban Warfare would either be a military conflict in an urban area or if a gang, or cartel took over a section of town and decided to wage war with the local police and swat teams. If you’re heading down that road fine, but businessmen and politics wouldn’t play into that. Maybe corrupt politicians but that’s a game in itself.

I am a bit surprised with the 30K goal that would be enough money to produce the base game with that many pieces and cards and $50 price doesn’t seem to fit either.

Have you gotten actual quotes from a manufacturer on this? Or this a guess?

I’d leave out the stretch goals the way you have them

And you talk about facebook and twitter but where are the links in your profile???? Everything needs to match up. If you have something on the page text like a link it should go in the bio as well.

Why are you talking about expansions and deluxe editions before you barely say anything about the base game at all?


Not sure what outside consultants you're working with but they are giving you bad advice









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Mike Perez
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Well...I can tell that if I need some advice, this is the place to get it! I appreciate everyone's honesty (no matter how brutal). It is sometimes pretty difficult to get someone to tell you the truth to your face...as for the feedback:

1) Prototype Game: The truth is that much of the funding is going to go towards polishing the art. The way it looks right now (as a prototype) is not very attractive, and I don't want anyone to think this is how the game will be delivered. Of course...if I already had a completed game, my philosophy would be that Kickstarter wouldn't be needed, except as a marketing tool for pre-orders, and recouping investments without giving up equity...unfortunately, a prototype is what I have, and I would like Kickstarter's help to make it a real game (ready to go on a store shelf). I'm disappointed if the actual potential of the game is ignored because of this fact, but I suppose at the end of the day, its better to give the people what they want...

2) Game Concept: 80's Gamer, you aren't the first person to be confused by the game concept, but you are the first person to explain where that confusion stems so clearly. It looks like the whole game description has to be revised to offer a clearer understanding of the concept.

"Urban Warfare would either be a military conflict in an urban area or if a gang, or cartel took over a section of town and decided to wage war with the local police and swat teams. If you’re heading down that road fine, but businessmen and politics wouldn’t play into that. Maybe corrupt politicians but that’s a game in itself."

In all actuality I believe you hit the nail on the head with that description, because that is exactly what the game is about. Real estate is how an organization gains power in an area, and gains additional resources to use towards their goals (in the game as well as in real life). The "politics" refer to in-game alliances (which, based on yours and other comments, is clearly over-emphasized and causes confusion). And the businessman, while being less dominant offensively and defensively, is capable of the same level of violence and aggression as the police and criminal. Unrealistic? I'm not wealthy enough to know for sure, but I think the fact that you can choose to use your wealth to dominate the city instead of raw strength adds an interesting option to players.

3) Bio: All your points are valid and will be considered. Thank you for the feedback. In addition, the Facebook and Twitter links do exist, but were just cleared away during the building of the 2nd campaign. They will be back up very soon.

4)Forum Title Typo: I really appreciate you guys forgiving that mistake. Honestly, I would have never clicked on a thread with a typo in the title, but I guess we all make mistakes.

5)Video: I would admit the video can use some improvements in all the areas KeithSink mentioned. I felt so myself, but you are the first person to validate those feelings. They will be worked on.

6)Game Price: These are actual estimates. All pieces will be printed on card stock, which is pretty inexpensive. Although we will raise the cost of the game after the campaign is successful and the game is ready for full scale production, these are the costs we'd like to offer backers for their early support, and I'm willing to temporarily reduce my margin in return for that support.

I appreciate all of the feedback, and I hope it keeps coming! If there is anything in particular you'd like to expand on, feel free to mention it. As of now however, I definitely have a lot to think about.

Thanks again!

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Mike Perez
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Thamos von Nostria, there have been a number of requests for playtest videos and third party reviews. This is something I will be working on for the relaunch...hopefully it will help add the credibility needed to get over the prototype issue. Thanks for your responses!
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Mike Perez
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By the way 80sgamer, I'm not disagreeing with how amateurish it may look, but I just wanted to point out that I am in all legal and technical definitions, a CEO of an incorporated company (with a board of directors I report to, and other execs who report to me). I agree totally with the fact that the "CEO" badge is SUPER annoying, pretentious, and usually false (and it also has no place on a crowdfunding website, unless I was funding a humongous project). I never thought I'd be guilty of this sin, but I guess the pride for my baby got the best of me. I agree with your advice though, and will be removing that title from my bio for the reasons you pointed out. I just don't want you, or anyone else, to think I was fabricating titles and lying in my bio about our corporate status. Also, I am no expert in the tabletop industry by any means, hence I am requesting your advice and the advice of other, more capable men & women. Thanks for the feedback!



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Austin Andersen
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Do you have a rulebook available for people to review? How were the responses to your game so far? Did anyone other than family or friends play test your game? I wish you the best of luck. I think you should play test your game as much as possible before kick starting it so that it is the best possible version of your game that is being kickstarted.
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Jacq L
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My thoughts, in no particular order, only as a potential backer (my username on KS is the same as it is here) and not a person with any experience in game design:

- Is this Monopoly with drug dealers?
- It's not clear if the deluxe version contains 484 or 275 pieces.
- Your prototype bits make it look like those 275 "building pieces" are just that - pieces, where the roof is considered a seperate "piece" than the walls.
- This is doubley disturbing by the fact your prototype only shows something like 15 buildings. Why would I need 209 buildings if only 15 or so are in play?
- I do not want to fold and tape 209 pieces of paper together.
- I'm not American. Why should I want to play this game, with it's star spangled game box and "American dream" subtitle?
- Your website's been disabled. If you can't keep up with that why should I expect you to make the game?
- I don't think you own the copyright on all that footage used in your opening video.
- Ditto the photos on the box. Do you own those?
- I only watched 45 seconds of the opening video because it didn't tell me anything.
- Paper money. Ew.
- The gameplay video also suffers from a big pile of "too boring" at the beginning, but I persevered for 7 minutes.
- Lady police officers don't generally walk around in belly shirts.
- Watching the gameplay video... the board seems WAY too big. How many turns is it supposed to take to get across the board, if you have to stop at all the real estate and can only move 6 or less spaces per turn? With 6 players?
- Your gameplay video lost me when it started talking about sabotage. Why not throw up an actual "Let's Play" so I can get a feel of how the game actually plays, with all the rules included and the beginning not omitted? It looks like you skipped over the "boring bits" - but I don't want to play a game with boring bits!
- How the heck is solo play supposed to work?
- the board itself has too much going on. I don't care that I have a "candy green impala" or whatever that rich dudes car was, if it doesn't have any effect on the game. Adding 50 "named" locations to that baord will make it even worse.
- Your early bird special is for a PnP. And it's pretty expensive for a PnP. Blah.

Bottom line... it doesn't look any fun. It's not explained as if it's fun, it doesn't show people having fun playing it, no reviewer thinks it's fun (there are no reviewers at all, in fact!)
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Roger Hicks
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Here's what I noticed after a quick look-over:

1) Your top pledge should really be $1, not $5. Make it as easy as possible for someone to pledge because it ups your backer count, subscribes them to updates, and extends your potential social reach.

2) Your second pledge level (or third, see below) should be the base level: one copy of the game without any extra bells & whistles (except stretch goals). Having it as the second pledge level makes it easy to find.

3) Consider the two functions of a Print & Play (PnP) - the first is to allow potential backers to "try before they buy" - similar to test-driving a car. If this is your intent I recommend you give it away for free or at the $1 pledge level. The second function is a production quality PnP replacement for folks who would rather build their own copy of your game then get the manufactured one. You don't have to offer one of these but if you do it becomes your second pledge level (between the $1 and the base game level).

4) Gamers hate paper money. Consider cardboard tokens, poker chips, or just about anything else.

5) Your most tweets / status updates promotion will just lead to a lot of spam and probably only make people annoyed about your game. Instead award a free copy to a random person who shares about your game with the chosen hashtag.

Good luck!
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Mike Perez
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@Bbblasterfire A rulebook will be available for backers to scrutinize. I have two markers in the preview where I plan on making a link available for download. Also, I agree with the fact that more playtesting needs to be done, especially blind playtests. After a handful of revisions and local tests, I will be submitting the game to several reputable reviewers, not only to get even more feedback, but so that you guys can get their opinions as well.

@Jacqland thank you for sharing all your honest thoughts. A ton of feedback to consider, but it is this type of feedback that can dramatically change the game for the better. I never considered that the game theme might be unattractive to international players, that is something to think about.

@Roger also some great points. This is some top notch advice that will help me serve backers and gamers better. Very valuable insight.

Overall, this thread has been immensely helpful, and I want to thank everyone that took the time to offer their opinions and time on the project. It is this type of feedback that can help me turn this project into a game that (hopefully) all of you will enjoy playing. Thanks!

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Joe Mucchiello
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ezkogames wrote:
A rulebook will be available for backers to scrutinize.

This will cut the number of backers you get by 90%. Make the rulebook available too EVERYONE as early as possible.

Quote:
Also, I agree with the fact that more playtesting needs to be done, especially blind playtests. After a handful of revisions and local tests, I will be submitting the game to several reputable reviewers, not only to get even more feedback, but so that you guys can get their opinions as well.

Blind playtesting SHOULD take months (or more for a game with that many components). If you haven't done any blind testing yet you are way too premature with starting a kickstarter for this game.
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Jiří Petruželka
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Ad opening video:

With all honesty I really dislike the opening video. I would imagine its intro to be used in an emotional report about USA's social problems and struggles of people involved. Rather than for an exciting game with your friends, where you are supposed to be a brave cop or cool gang member or respected wealthy man.

It's heavy, melancholic, too serious. Very big minus for the music. Also the sequence of shots is confusing. We have shots of skyscrapers, big city, people in city and suddenly we get inside ghettos people beating each other. Then right after a guy is shooting at us we hear "right before us, the American Dream" ... come on, their dream is not shooting each other, it just can't be this way. Sorry if it sounds offensive, it's nothing against you

On the other hand I actually kinda like the board as it was shown there, beside its size.
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Ed G.
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The game discussed here reminds me of the one discussed here. Although it appears the original post in that thread has been deleted, reading through the comments you can see that the game discussed has a board and mechanisms similar to Monopoly and an "urban" setting.

Derailing this thread, but does anyone else feel that the games are similar? Deja vu? Is this a coincidence that in less than a year's time, there are two (at least) threads posted describing very similar games? Coincidence, some sort of troll, or something else?
 
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Jiří Petruželka
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Not sure why are you asking. Might very well happen. I ran into games or ideas similar as mine all the time. Just check out http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1053432/dag-burn-it-that-was.... And it's a whole year, if you'd have said a week, ok. And GTAV came out recently, thus likely some boardgames will appear too. I don't see any problem with it. As for theme - look how many zombie and Lovecraftian games are being created.
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Jacq L
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Ursus_Major wrote:
The game discussed here reminds me of the one discussed here. Although it appears the original post in that thread has been deleted, reading through the comments you can see that the game discussed has a board and mechanisms similar to Monopoly and an "urban" setting.


The last page quotes the OP. Here's the game:
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Mike Perez
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@jmuchiello thanks for the feedback! Yeah, a lot more testing needs to be done, especially since I am making so many revisions. And rulebooks will be made available to everyone (via two links on the page). I guess I meant to say "potential backers".

@Noxart I will be shooting entirely new videos for the new version of the game. Much more exciting ones. Thanks for the insight!

As for this other game, no I've never heard of it before, and have nothing to do with it...but I think its only natural for people to have ideas about the grittier side of city life. Especially because (in my experience), there hasn't really been a game to dominate that theme. Best version we have is the GTA franchise; is it so bad to want to play a GTA board game? And while I wish I had the ability to create two games at once so I can "troll" BGG, I assure you that my capabilities are far below that! If only you knew how much work and time I've put into ONE game...

I haven't read through that thread yet, but according to the pic Jacq posted, I'm pretty bummed out my game would remind you of that (no offense to those involved in the game). But hey...after re-analyzing the mechanisms, theme and presentation, I can't blame you. I never planned for this game to be as boring as Monopoly however, or as cheesy as Ghettopoly, and have totally reinvented many of the mechanisms in order to make sure you have as much fun playing it as I intended. In addition, I want to make sure this experience is unique and doesn't ring bells of other games while you are playing. These threads will come soon, after some initial playtesting.

Just know that everyone's opinions are being heard, considered...and really are deeply cherished and will be responsible for a major makeover of this game! I hope you will all join me on future discussions about these changes!

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Shaun Taylor
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I don't have anything to add better than the excellent feedback you've already received. Let me say I want your game to be the successful and find its audience, and I believe everyone here wants the same for you. Your willingness to accept the feedback given and take action is commendable, and I look forward to updates on your (successful!) Kickstarter.
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Chris Cisne
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zedward wrote:
I don't have anything to add better than the excellent feedback you've already received. Let me say I want your game to be the successful and find its audience, and I believe everyone here wants the same for you. Your willingness to accept the feedback given and take action is commendable, and I look forward to updates on your (successful!) Kickstarter.


What Shaun said; also, I really like the property pieces on the board, the tacticle element of a game can count for a lot when it comes to Kickstarter.

Despite what some people have said, I think the theme has a lot of potential; being able to play as gangs, politicians or businesses, each of whom is trying to expand turf/influence/premises and dabble in some illegal fighting is a solid idea. Maybe make the way you communicate that idea more focused though: the contrast between the phrases "real estate" and "urban warfare" might confuse the fact that the various factions are trying to get control, by any means.

Also (though this just deals with gangs, and not politicians or businesses), definitely check out City of Remnants - I think you'll find some great inspiration there. (There's a review here to give you a feel of how this game handles urban-warfare-meets-real-estate.)

Good luck!
 
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Ed G.
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ezkogames wrote:

As for this other game, no I've never heard of it before, and have nothing to do with it ... And while I wish I had the ability to create two games at once so I can "troll" BGG, I assure you that my capabilities are far below that!


I wasn't accusing you of trolling nor copying the other game. Simply I (alone, apparently) find it coincidental that two games with mechanics and settings outside of the norm seen here but similar to each other are discussed in a relatively short span of time. My comment was on the coincidence of the events, not on your game.

ezkogames wrote:

... I think its only natural for people to have ideas about the grittier side of city life. Especially because (in my experience), there hasn't really been a game to dominate that theme. Best version we have is the GTA franchise; is it so bad to want to play a GTA board game?


Possibly. It's not for me and I'd wager also not for the majority of the active users of this site based on what I read here. Maybe it's an issue of age and the "GTA" setting is more appealing to those who have played the video games. I have, but I'm either now outside of or only a hair's width inside of the very extreme of the demographic of those games' audience. You're right in that there so far hasn't been a game based seriously on that setting with any amount of success or popularity, and yours may be the first. However, that may be due to the gritty, urban setting being unappealing to not only regulars of this site but those who participate in the hobby but not in this site. By that I mean that games discussed here often have settings that are neutral at best (farming) and for which any gritty realistic details have been abstracted (building railways) to the point of being inconsequential in the game. This may be for two reasons: To allow the players to escape whatever grit they experience as part of their lives and to make the games as appealing to as wide an audience as possible while leaving the least risk to some sort of objection or distaste. For any GTA-style game to be truly gritty, it will have to feature some of the details of that romanticized world and thereby open itself (and publisher, designer, and fans) up to risk of objection. Otherwise, if the setting is abstracted to avoid objection, it will simply have as little affect on gameplay as those of any other game and lose the differentiation from other games brought by that theme.

ezkogames wrote:

In addition, I want to make sure this experience is unique and doesn't ring bells of other games while you are playing.


That is a high and admirable goal! Good luck in meeting it.
 
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Mike Perez
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Thanks Zedward! Criticism of this caliber is always a bitter pill to swallow (in this case a box of pills to swallow), but I can say that this feedback has helped me tremendously. I'm glad I decided to use this forum, and you can expect to see me around for a while. I appreciate the kind words!

@Breothain thanks for the positive feedback! The theme is an expression of a pretty insane point in my life, my perspective of power, and the philosophical debates I had with myself as a result. This is the main reason why I'm disappointed many people only see it as a GTA ripoff. However, I understand that it is only the presentation that is unattractive right now. That will change as I learn the tools of the trade...and in the end I plan on sharing with you the experience I first had when the game concept was sparked.

I don't want to jump the gun, but I've already made major changes to the way the game plays, and I'm excited to see everyone's responses. As the gameplay mechanisms are further replaced or refined, the theme has begun to settle nicely, making a description MUCH easier to explain clearly (I've left the original preview mostly as is for the sake of latecomers to this thread).

I looked over the City of Remnants description, and it looks like it is quite strong where my game is still weak. I have a feeling that studying the way this game plays will inspire me to make some more changes in the right direction. It looks like a perfect recommendation, thanks for sharing!
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