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Subject: Best way of getting feedback; Forum or Blog? rss

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Jon Gane
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Hey BGG team,

Long time lurker here, just starting to get involved with the community. I've been sticking to the BGG shadows for about ten months now. I'm sure someone else here has asked this question before. Anyway, that's enough rambling. (Get on with it, Jon)

Just like everyone else here...I've been developing a board game for the past year or slightly more. I was wondering where I might get the most feedback from. I sort of want to do an episodic thing, where I just talk about what I am up to and how things are changing with the game. And, hopefully, I can get a bit of feedback about the whole process from the gurus and pro/ams around this space.

I realize a blog sounds ideal for this, and I imagine everyone here is going to tell me to do a blog. But, I have this weird feeling that if I do a blog, I need to update it regularly to keep people engaged. Where as, if I just throw down in the forums every so often, I might still get some exposure. And, I also won't feel guilty when I don't update it for a very long time. Which is very possible...

To start things off, I thought I might tell about my first foray into design.

I played a lot of board/card games as a kid growing up in Canada. As usual, they were the standard terrible ones. Lots of Risk and Monopoly, but also some that I still think fondly of looking back, like Stratego. After becoming a Geologist, and working in the industry for a while, I thought, why not make a geology/exploration focused boardgame, it can't be that hard... So I started without looking into the progression of boardgame design since I was a kid, I jumped straight into it. I had no idea about BGG at the time.

My initial prototype involved a modular field of hexes, there were 6 different types of hexes. Each type of hex had a number 1-6 associated with it. After the board was set up, a ~6*6 grid of hexes, the players would take turns establishing where there base would be. Players would then take turns building roads or mines on each of there turns based on how much money they had. On each turn, players would roll a die, if they had a mine on the corresponding number that was rolled, they would make a profit. If multiple hexes of the same type were touching each other, that they controlled, they would make a greater profit. First to finish 5 mines of at least 4 different types wins. Sounds great, right!

I was excited about it, while back in Canada (2009ish) I showed one of my good friends my design. The first thing he said was "have you ever heard of settlers?"

I replied "No, should I have."

Good friend "we should play a game."

It was a blast, I loved it.

And that was the end of that prototype... I was disheartened. I gave it up until about this time last year. But I was reintroduced into the eurogame scene, and haven't looked back.

Anyways, I hope someone has enjoyed my tale. Feel free to comment.

Cheers

Jon








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Nate K
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Blogs aren't quite as visible on BGG. A lot of people check the design forums regularly but few people browse for new blogs. What you might want to try is posting in the design forums and then linking back to your blog--that would drive readership to your blog a bit more than just posting and waiting for people to come to you. Our good buddy and talented designer Michele Esmanech does this.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Design Forum. WIP it.
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Chris Lesinski
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Another option would be to start an email list. There's less pressure to keep it "updated" like a blog because there's no expectation for people to check anything -- you just email out when you have an update or want feedback.

If that doesn't interest you, I'd say stick with the forum as a simple solution until you've got a feel for how often you're posting and what you need. If you've got momentum and want to post more, you can always start a blog from there.
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W Scott Grant
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I started my blog, http://indysligo.weebly.com 3 months ago and I have received a total of 6 comments... and 4 of them were on the very first post.

My goal is to update twice a week, a few times I've only updated once per week.

I've seen traffic as high as 75-80 unique hits, but it seems most are willing to read, but few are willing to comment.

Despite this, I plan to keep the blog going. I still have games in various stages of development I haven't talked about, and I'm thinking I want to use the blog for other discussions (still gaming related) as well.

If nothing else, it gives me an internet presence outside of the more common social media outlets.
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Carlo
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I think there are upsides to both, and it depends what you want to get out of the process.

I like a blog because it helps me brainstorm and focus my design thoughts into something I can put to electronic paper. If people read it - great! If people comment - even better! The number of unique visitors fluctuates based on my posting frequency, since I think if your blog has been "silent" for a while then Google lowers it's ranking in their search results.

If you just want feedback I'd say posting in the Design Forum here is the easiest to begin with. Something descriptive, with pictures and a prototype if possible will normally generate at least a half dozen responses.

Once you take off running with a game you can get it added to the database here and do discussions on it's forum, or create a dedicated blog for it, or whatever else. But to begin with just a simple thread in the design forum will help garner some visibility and feedback.

EDIT: Also your geology games sounds like fun. Don't be discouraged just because an idea has been done before, especially if you're not trying to sell the game, but are just playing it with friends.
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Kim Brebach
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I'm in a similar position. Designer diary vs blog vs WIP thread here.

Can anyone suggest guidelines for doing a good WIP thread? Apart from having an interesting game that people want to get updates about, how can you best keep people engaged?

My game is in an advanced state with some new publisher backing so I'm also thinking ahead to the kickstarter phase...

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Jiří Petruželka
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I just skimmed the blog, my feedback:

I'd really improve visuals and UX.

1) The index page is simply confusing, if you're planning to have it empty so far, just redirect to blog.

2) Seeing the contents does not really invite me to reading. There is A LOT OF texts and blogposts. Without images, rich structuring etc. I can't see starting with it unless I'm already deeply hooked. I can see it easier for a subscriber that only reads 1 article at a time, but for a newcomer it's slightly overwhelming.

Font is small-ish, some colors have low contrast. I'd increase fontsize, slightly width, line-height, lighten background. And please use (sub)headers inside an article, bolds and stuff.

3) Also a pagination should be clearer and be both on top and bottom. I would be really glad for some list of articles other than achiving per month.

4) Important is to have an obvious way to filter posts only about your game. It seems you talk about some others, leaves me confused if it's actually what I think it is. Headers don't help much, first header is now Galactic Trader and I don't know if that is your game or not. I had to skim like 7 paragraphs before I understood it probably actually talks about your game. This is why we were told in school that there should be some introduction, that will tell reader what is it about.
Is the blog about your specific WIP game or many of your games? I'm not sure now

Examples
As a positive example I'd state David Sirlin's articles. He also has a blog, but I like his article format better: http://www.sirlin.net/article-archive/

As a positive example with focus on visuals I'd say one of David Grudl's blogs: http://phpfashion.com/php-5-4-ma-nepouzitelny-typ-callable [CZ, translatable]
Another one, Ben Marshalkowski's: http://marshalkowski.com/blog/writing-rules-part-i-time-trap...

Edit: Please don't view this negatively. After re-reading this post can probably seem as coming pretty strong, that was not my intention. I also think the writing is good, it's just the visuals and usability and amount of content that keeps me away. Best of luck with blog and your game!
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Nate K
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kbrebach wrote:

Can anyone suggest guidelines for doing a good WIP thread? Apart from having an interesting game that people want to get updates about, how can you best keep people engaged?




Ask specific questions about things. "Is the card's cost prominent enough with this layout?" "Does this rule make sense with this wording?"

Give specific examples of your concerns or of things you have decided to tweak.

Respond as promptly as you can to everyone else's posts. Be gracious and friendly.

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