~Ryan McSwain
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I'm a seminary student, and one of my professors told me that if I could put together a board game with Christian ideas behind it, he would have "no trouble finding a publisher." The guy is well-respected in Christian publishing, and I respect him enough to believe he isn't feeding me a line.

It took me a few months to finally find a theme and mechanics that work together, but I now have a complete, playtested game with several decent prototypes put together.

Now I have a meeting ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!

So I'll be showing my game to a man who is not in a position to make the decision to publish it himself, but who *is* in a position to pass this puppy along with his stamp of approval if he likes it.

Here's my question: What quality does a prototype need to be? Can it look hand-made or does it need to look professionally printed? This gentleman would probably overlook hand-drawn images on the game's tiles, but will whoever he passes it on to think it looks like garbage?

(To clarify, my game is made up of 100 small cards/tiles, four normal-sized cards, and a pawn.)

I could really use some advice, BGG!
 
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Sean Weitner
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I would say, the more it feels like a game, the more it will feel like playing a game its players. And you want as much of that immersion as is reasonable. That said, spending a lot of money on a prototype isn't always very reasonable. Your game is mostly cards, however -- good graphics, heavy coated paper and quality printing are, to me, all affordable, although a week isn't much time.

Who are you pitching this to: a game publisher, a toy manufacturer, a book publisher, a calendar publisher?
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~Ryan McSwain
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I honestly have no idea--as I said, I'm pitching it to a guy with connections to several publishers and companies. I'm going to email him on Monday and ask if there is anything he would like or expect, but I'm flying pretty blind here.

My cards/tiles are currently colored notecards rubber-cemented together and cut into quarters. They look very nice, and work well with the gameplay.

As far as graphics go, only a few of the cards actually need an image, so I am able to hand-draw the pretty simple images onto them.
 
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Sean Weitner
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Remember that board gaming is a very tactile activity. For a successful prototype, 50% of it is looking right and 50% of it is feeling right. But more important than that are well-written rules.
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Boards & Bits
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Spokane Valley
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As good as you can make it. When you think you're done, ask yourself..."Is this the best I can do?"

The better it is, the more likely it is to get published!

Tom
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Brent Lloyd
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League City
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There were some great articles that discussed this very issue on (the now defunct) The Game Journal. One of the fellows writing mentioned that you did'nt want your prototype to look too polished because Publishers will want to make changes and they are less inclined to mark up a nicely done prototype. The important thing is to make sure that when showing off the game...that all the pieces do what they are supposed to do.

Good Luck, and I would be curious to find out how you make out in this venture, let us know.

Peace
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David Whitcher
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The publishers I know are not looking for you to do the artwork for them. What they are interested in is the engine, does it play well & fit the audience they are marketing too.

Spend your effort on writing simple clear rules. If they can’t understand the rules it doesn’t matter how good the game is because they will never play it as intended.
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Derek H
South Africa
Johannesburg
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dralius wrote:
Spend your effort on writing simple clear rules. If they can’t understand the rules it doesn’t matter how good the game is because they will never play it as intended.

All rules should be clear - but not all rules are simple. And yes, they need to understand how to play it (but it should not need to be said that you have already blind play-tested the game and got feedback on this very issue!).
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~Ryan McSwain
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A big thanks for all of your advice! I'll be sure to post as soon as I find out how this pans out.

I figured that rules would be much more important than a production-quality prototype. I'm going with a simple set of colorful graphics printed on business cards.

I have my rules pretty well distilled. The rules themselves are very simple and I included some pictures for the one mechanic that might not be clear to a non-gamer.

I've been working like mad to take care of every single "what if--?" in the rules. There are so many things I would think would be common sense, but I play it with someone and it turns out not to be the case. I was lucky enough to work in one more playtest tonight, and some input was very good (What if this happens?) and some was not as helpful (Maybe if you used an elaborate pulley system instead of a deck of cards?).

Thanks, guys. I knew I could count on you folks at the BGG.
 
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Todd McCorkle
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Anderson
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A game using an elaborate pulley system perked my interest.

Good luck with the pitch! meeple
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Bobby Doran
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Good luck. I can't wait to hear how it went.
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