Marc Kaiser
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Dear all,

My son and I are currently alpha-testing our first board game.

The idea is to launch this game somewhen this year e.g. via Kickstarter.
Budget is here, so that is luckily not a starting problem.

Our question is: who do we need and in which order to produce this game (art work, manufacturer, campaign-manager for the kickstarter, fulfillment agent, etc.).

We would love to hear also some suggestions from you on the potential third parties (the theme of the game will be family like, very colorful in the style of Santorini, Unfair).

In which order should we go around to onboard all those third parties.

Thank you already a lot already for helping us on our endeavor!
 
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You should read Jamey Stegmayer's blog. Just google the name. It's the best guide you can find regarding kickstarter and all the processes linked to creating and going live with your game.

If you want to outsource the artwork you need to find the artists, there are plenty here on BGG or you can browse deviant art if you like. Artwork is not cheap...at all. And there's the mix between seriousness and creation power that you are looking for.

Manufacturer and fullfilment agents, this one is relatively easy. There's a bunch of manufacturers out there. Google is your friend

Campaign creation and management - this is where the magic happens, in my humble opinion. If you can't DIY then you need to open wide your eyes when paying for such services. Ask for a plan in advance, set up meetings, discuss the goals and how they will fulfill such goals. I work as a digital marketing manager and I can tell you that there will be many offers hitting your email... try to distinguish the good from the bad. With so many games on the market you need a proper campaign to succeed!

Good luck
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Marc Kaiser
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Thank you for your prompt feedback. Much appreciated!

 
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Rob Harper
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HappyJohn's advice to check out Jamey Stegmaier's blog is very good. You might also want to look at stuff by James Mathe. If you like watching videos, check out Edo Baraf's channel on YouTube, particularly his "Kickstarter Basics" videos, which should give you a good starting point about the things you need to think about. He even did a video about hiring people to help:


Also, don't forget to do playtesting. Far more playtesting (and revision based on the results) than you can possibly imagine. Playtest with as many people as you can, including people both in and out of your target demographic. Then playtest some more. Actively look for ways to break your game and for people who will misinterpret or exploit your rules, and not for people who just say they like your game.

If you playtest enough (note: you can never playtest enough!), you can also use this opportunity to build up the core of a community which you will need if you get as far as running a Kickstarter project.

A good resource on playtesting is John Brieger's blog, which focuses on playtesting. He hasn't posted in a few months, but there is a lot of useful insight and advice there.

Best of luck with your game!

PS. Do more playtesting.

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Rob stressed out the importance of having a finished product first...very very true.

I left out the playtesting phase. I thought that was a basic requirement
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Reiji Kobayashi
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polyobsessive wrote:
PS. Do more playtesting.

Also, don't forget to do lots of blind playtesting with the rulebook. See what mistakes they make. Take note of the rules they argue about. Make revisions to your rulebook, then playtest it some more.

Under no circumstances should you tell them what the rules actually mean. Let them figure it out for themselves.
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Marc Kaiser
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Good point.

I think I will "alpha" test the game first with people familiar to games because right now it is just a pile of paper and some dummy-cards.

When this works I will produce some artworks first and then go into a good/high quality pilot, as I do think that the theme/artwork is part of the players experience too.

The best thing about this process yet: I really appreciate now how much work go into these superb games I recently backed and love to play. Given all this hard work which is required to give me some nice play hours with my family&friends is just crazy and every cent spent on these games is 1000% worth it (actually still too cheap for what we get).
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Rob Harper
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Barandum wrote:
I think I will "alpha" test the game first with people familiar to games because right now it is just a pile of paper and some dummy-cards.


Seems fair.

Quote:
When this works I will produce some artworks first and then go into a good/high quality pilot, as I do think that the theme/artwork is part of the players experience too.


BEWARE!

If your friends and family like the game and haven't found any problems with it, it doesn't mean that the game works. It is well worth testing as widely as you can before you start ploughing money into artwork, as once you have that artwork you will naturally be resistant to throwing away that investment if it turns out that whole parts of the game need to be trashed or changed.

However, yes, the presentation of a game is part of the experience, and it is worth having a nice looking prototype when the gameplay starts settling down. I would recommend searching online for placeholder art that looks approximately like what you want, just to put the idea across while you work. There is a huge amount of artwork out there that you can use legally, royalty free, and it's just a search away. I personally do my best to only use Creative Commons or Public Domain art like this, but loads of other designers just use anything they find that looks right.

Basically, try to avoid spending money until you are certain that everything is ready. Unless, of course, you have spare money that you are happy spending in the knowledge that a load of that spend may be wasted.

As an additional, related point: when you do start spending money, seriously consider hiring a graphic designer as a higher priority than an artist (unless you have the skills yourself). Too many games have good art ruined by terrible graphic design.
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Marc Kaiser
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Thanks, good point about the graphics. I think you should throw more than just some self-cutout paper pieces to people you don't know and are not that much into pilot-testing. It should give a feel of "this is really a game".

polyobsessive wrote:

As an additional, related point: when you do start spending money, seriously consider hiring a graphic designer as a higher priority than an artist (unless you have the skills yourself). Too many games have good art ruined by terrible graphic design.


That was one point I wanted to ask: what is exactly the job of a graphic designer and an artist? The artist is doing just the artwork and the designer the layout, icons, logo, fonts, rulebook?

Thank you!
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Adrian Pillai
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Barandum wrote:
That was one point I wanted to ask: what is exactly the job of a graphic designer and an artist? The artist is doing just the artwork and the designer the layout, icons, logo, fonts, rulebook?

Thank you!


Generally yes, though I do think the importance of a good graphic designer cannot be overstated. (Consider that Kingdomino credited Charlotte Bey for her part in the graphic design on the cover of the rules.) They do everything you mentioned, but can also help dictate the game's color palette and even suggest art styles that they think capture the feel of the game as accurately as possible. A good graphic designer can also help you on your search for the right artist. Still don't just cave to their 'eye', you are the boss, you make the decisions because you pay the bills.

An artist will provide the art you would use in the game - as well as any marketing material (if you so require & commission for). An artist you cultivate a good relationship with can also help on getting your game more known - after all, artists have their own networks of getting their work seen and might even have their own fans - and their excitement in getting their work published most likely will make them push more eyeballs to your KS.
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