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Subject: Is my agrochemical theme too specific? rss

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Micah Burks
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Game: "Agrochem" or maybe "Micro-Nutrients"? I guess we should know by now.
Type: Economic Strategy

Current Idea: Each play runs a chemical plant (including a production area, storage space, and a laboratory), to make specific fertilizers (not to be confused with manure) such as Zinc Chloride, Copper EDTA, and Potassium Chloride.
EDIT:
Basically, you buy stuff at varying prices, then put the individual ingrediants together in different combinations and sell at a variable price. The game ends at a VP goal based on research and expansion, and there are public objectives you can claim to take the victory at the end. See pics below!

Background: My wife and I have designed a game based mostly on the mechanics and visuals, and while I feel like we have found an interesting niche,

Concern: some people feel that our theme is "too nerdy for most people, and not nerdy enough for nerds."

I would greatly appreciate feedback, and would love to share more about the game with any curious cats!

[i]EDIT:[/i}
Player cards (about the size of the building on the board)


Game Board with production areas and reactors
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Pete Belli
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Any topic can be turned into a game; the trick is entertaining (or educating) the customer.

If your game has any educational value a person or group will secure a government grant (or something) to acquire it.

Quote:
My wife and I have designed a game


Obviously, you and your spouse have great chemistry...
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K S
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Hi. Assuming it was a good game, that theme would be precisely nerdy enough for me.
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Julian Wasson
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Seems cool to me.

My stance is generally that it's better to have an offbeat niche theme then be yet another trading in the mediterranean or zombie game.

But the important part is are you passionate about it? Because if you are, that'll come through in the game.
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Level 3 Tunt
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Despite being a terrific source of game themes, science-based games have almost universally flopped with the overall niche gaming community. Probably because valence electrons don't have faces, elf ears, or tiny bows and arrows. However, I've seen a few science games that have done reasonably well with non-gamers - specifically with teachers, parents, and scientists. For that market though you can't get too complicated/fiddly. Hobby board gamers are about the only segment of the population willing to put up with 10,000 tiny wooden cubes and resources that turn into gems that group for banners that equate to coins that convert to points but ONLY if you have more purple gems than elder god blueberries.

You might start down the rabbit trail of looking at the "Customers who bought this item also bought" links from any of the Genius Games.

https://smile.amazon.com/Genius-Games/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_1021...

Looking at those did remind me that Evolution managed to break the stereotype, but that's probably because people can easily imagine a vole wearing a tiny robe and casting a spell.

*edit* In case my snide anti-fantasy comments got off track, my main point was that science-based games are effectively abstract games no matter how much detail you add and hobby gamers don't tend to seek those out. Even The Manhattan Project had to add little generic people to make it feel like you weren't just "doing science" but instead were controlling little scientists.
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Steven Davies
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MicahMicahMicah wrote:
Game: "Agrochem" or maybe "Micro-Nutrients"? I guess we should know by now.
Type: Economic Strategy

Current Idea: Each play runs a chemical plant (including a production area, storage space, and a laboratory), to make specific fertilizers (not to be confused with manure) such as Zinc Chloride, Copper EDTA, and Potassium Chloride.

Background: My wife and I have designed a game based mostly on the mechanics and visuals, and while I feel like we have found an interesting niche,

Concern: some people feel that our theme is "too nerdy for most people, and not nerdy enough for nerds."

I would greatly appreciate feedback, and would love to share more about the game with any curious cats!


Id be interested in trying a print and play of this. As for nerdiness, Terraforming Mars is fairly sciency, ergo nerdy, but that doesn't matter because the game is fun to play and the specifics on the cards make it simple to understand what each card does, the nerdy aspect is just fluff. As long as your game is fun to play and easy to understand, the nerdy stuff is just fluff that creates a stronger thematic sense to the overall experience.
 
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Micah Burks
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
Seems cool to me.

My stance is generally that it's better to have an offbeat niche theme then be yet another trading in the mediterranean or zombie game.

But the important part is are you passionate about it? Because if you are, that'll come through in the game.


That'a what I was thinking, but in my case, the suggestions have been to make it another farming or baking game.
 
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Micah Burks
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Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
Despite being a terrific source of game themes, science-based games have almost universally flopped with the overall niche gaming community. Probably because valence electrons don't have faces, elf ears, or tiny bows and arrows. However, I've seen a few science games that have done reasonably well with non-gamers - specifically with teachers, parents, and scientists. For that market though you can't get too complicated/fiddly. Hobby board gamers are about the only segment of the population willing to put up with 10,000 tiny wooden cubes and resources that turn into gems that group for banners that equate to coins that convert to points but ONLY if you have more purple gems than elder god blueberries.


Thanks for the feedback!
I should add that the emphasis of this game is the industrial side, and the "research" is light enough that you don't even have to know that "Cu" is copper to play, so the gameplay is as accessible as Bootleggers or Power Grid.
 
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Micah Burks
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Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Id be interested in trying a print and play of this. As for nerdiness, Terraforming Mars is fairly sciency, ergo nerdy, but that doesn't matter because the game is fun to play and the specifics on the cards make it simple to understand what each card does, the nerdy aspect is just fluff. As long as your game is fun to play and easy to understand, the nerdy stuff is just fluff that creates a stronger thematic sense to the overall experience.


Hey that's a good idea! I could probably distill the mechanics into a lighter PnP version, but I hadn't given much thought to that yet... We have been refining the full big box tabletop version to launch on KS hopefully, but especially if that doesn't take off we'll have to PnP the game!

(Also, thanks for the feedback on nerd fluff!)
 
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James Clarke
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MicahMicahMicah wrote:
Game: "Agrochem" or maybe "Micro-Nutrients"? I guess we should know by now.
Type: Economic Strategy

Current Idea: Each play runs a chemical plant (including a production area, storage space, and a laboratory), to make specific fertilizers (not to be confused with manure) such as Zinc Chloride, Copper EDTA, and Potassium Chloride.

Perhaps you're not giving us the whole picture, but making fertilisers and storing them does seem to be rather narrow in scope. How do you win the game, is success judged only by the economics/efficiency of the manufacturing operation?

For me, a game about fertilisers should also explore how they perform in the field. I'm imagining rival farmers concocting weird and wonderful recipes in their sheds and growing all sorts of weird and wonderful crops.

Maybe though, you're looking for a realistic sim. In which case, my thoughts are nothing like what you have in mind.

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Leo Zappa
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Can there be explosions?

Can ninjas steal chemicals?

How about industrial espionage?


...you'll have to excuse me, I'm an AT player...
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Bleicher
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Cosmonaut Zero wrote:
My stance is generally that it's better to have an offbeat niche theme then be yet another trading in the mediterranean or zombie game.


THIS. New, curious and non-obvious themes are always a plus to me.
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Bleicher
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Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
Despite being a terrific source of game themes, science-based games have almost universally flopped with the overall niche gaming community. Probably because valence electrons don't have faces, elf ears, or tiny bows and arrows.


Exceptions do exist - think of, for example, Compounded, which is at least as "nerdy" as the OP's idea and is barely outside the BGG top 1000.
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André Heines
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Do you want the theme to be a realistic state of the art sim of ordinary companies, or shall it be a little more "visionary"? I don't no much about fertilizers, just what they're good for.

Let me tell you, why I'm asking. If it's just about business, the game might not shine so much. If, on the other hand, the games has some kind of educational aspect to it, it might draw more attention. If e.g. sustainable fertilizers are rewarded with more points than those ruining the soil on the long run, people might be interested more.

I know that this is a political issue, and some people dislike the moral pointing finger. So, just my thoughts, but your game.
 
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André Heines
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Can there be explosions?

Can ninjas steal chemicals?

How about industrial espionage?


...you'll have to excuse me, I'm an AT player...


I'm glad you didn't mention zombifying fertilizers ... zombie
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James Clarke
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Rukus wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
Can there be explosions?

Can ninjas steal chemicals?

How about industrial espionage?


...you'll have to excuse me, I'm an AT player...


I'm glad you didn't mention zombifying fertilizers ... zombie


That'd be Zombilizers.
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Joe Graham
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If the artwork is good and the names of the cards/pieces are not too complex I think it could be fun. I also think if you can give it a human connection by giving the players fun characters to play as or somehow personifying the different chemicals.
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Level 3 Tunt
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lbleicher wrote:
Rococo_Zephyr wrote:
Despite being a terrific source of game themes, science-based games have almost universally flopped with the overall niche gaming community. Probably because valence electrons don't have faces, elf ears, or tiny bows and arrows.


Exceptions do exist - think of, for example, Compounded, which is at least as "nerdy" as the OP's idea and is barely outside the BGG top 1000.


Oh sure, there are always exceptions. But the odds of "roughly three out of slightly more than a thousand" aren't great if you want success in the gaming community. We're a fickle bunch anyway though - I really believe that if you want commercial success you have to shoot for the non-gamer market. They're buying occupation or education-themed gifts on a regular basis and don't have a lot to choose from, plus they aren't buying a new $50 version of that same gift every month-and-a-half.
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Georg von Lemberg
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Sounds interesting, if you make the game interesting I think people will like it regardless the theme. But the theme itself seems pretty interesting to me. And I am not a chemist or anything like that.
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Pete
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What exactly made the chemical ill-tempered?

Pete (wonders)
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Koen Hendrix
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An important question in all this is, how do you want to publish the game?

If you want to self-publish this game, and you're not quitting your day job, having a unique theme would be a good way to stand out in from the crowd.

But if you're planning to pitch it publishers, you better have a "backup" theme. They are likely to want a more generic theme because they need/want to reach a large segment of the gaming market, and for it to have 'store appeal'.

Maybe you could pitch it with a more generic theme to bigger publishers and pitch the unique theme to small indie publishers... whatever you think fits the individual publisher best, really.

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MicahMicahMicah wrote:
Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Id be interested in trying a print and play of this. As for nerdiness, Terraforming Mars is fairly sciency, ergo nerdy, but that doesn't matter because the game is fun to play and the specifics on the cards make it simple to understand what each card does, the nerdy aspect is just fluff. As long as your game is fun to play and easy to understand, the nerdy stuff is just fluff that creates a stronger thematic sense to the overall experience.


Hey that's a good idea! I could probably distill the mechanics into a lighter PnP version, but I hadn't given much thought to that yet... We have been refining the full big box tabletop version to launch on KS hopefully, but especially if that doesn't take off we'll have to PnP the game!

(Also, thanks for the feedback on nerd fluff!)


If you're Kickstarting this thats awesome, I'll support that, but you need to be prepared. Kickstarter isnt a magic funding machine, it requires work. A new project that has no fanfare about it will likely fail. You need to be ready to spend months promoting your game, building a reputation and some public awareness of your project. That project needs to have been thoroughly tested, which means a PnP version is essential to allow people like us to really test out your game. Do you have an artist and graphic designer in place? Spoken to manufacturers for quotes?

My point is that there is a LOT to do before you forge ahead with your kickstarter campaign and the first step is to let people test your game and provide you with detailed feedback.
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Playit Faster
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Maybe instead of making fertilizers have the players make meth? :-)

More interest because of Breking bad and you still got to keep the chemistry setting.
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Charilaos Bacharis
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Hi very interesting for me (we make specialty fertilizers )

I dont get exactly how it works from the pictures, but I would try a pnp.

Will you be putting any fluctuating raw material prices or perhaps altering market demands? Will it be focused on basic fertilizers or NPK as well? Will it consider formulation type (perhaps a technology you can research to increase price of your products)
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Dan Bradshaw
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desertfox2004 wrote:
Can there be explosions?

Can ninjas steal chemicals?

How about industrial espionage?


...you'll have to excuse me, I'm an AT player...


My thoughts exactly. Perhaps you can develop laser swords to fight your opponent's mutant plants, preferably accompanied by a female elven archer who isn't wearing much clothing.

This probably sounds sarcastic...I assure you it's not.
 
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