Now that my first game, Cineplexity, is up on Gone Cardboard to be released this year (hope, hope). I want to write a little journal series about the designer's/author's side of the business from a newcomer's perspective. Certainly having a game published is like a lot of other publishing, but the purchasing group is a lot different. I will not be, however, dishing dirt on anyone in the industry or making anyone look bad. It's not my style.
Now I know all we've invented here is a silly movie party trivia game, and that some Euro-game folks may feel that this is not a true game design, but it is still a game and it is still being published.
But before I get into all of that, something about me.
I was born in 1977 in west central Wisconsin and right from the get-go I loved games. My parents, God bless 'em, had a collection of probably forty games when I was born taht grew as I did. These were mostly the mass marketed games: The Price is Right, Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit. But they also had some old 3M games. My dad was a huge chess player who I have only ever seen beaten by a person once (me, in an incredibly stupid move that just happened to checkmate my dad when he was paying attention elsewhere). My mom was a good sport about all of this as well.
But I was born with horrible handicap that hamstrings many good game designers: I was an only child in a small town. With no brothers and sisters to inflict games on, my experience lagged, until I realized that I could play all of the positions in the game and watch the mechanic unfold. This is why you'll find I hate barter and cajoling type games such as Diplomacy or even Monopoly because there's no way to play them alone in your room.
The other thing that I had that made games come so naturally was my mathematical mind. While I hated math facts, I loved the ideas and principles of mathematics. I spent a lot of my youth trying to fix or improve games because something didn't sit well with mathematically. Monopoly especially got numerous redesigns to make it playable. Nothing made me happier than a new game because a new game meant four or five new games to me.
I've probably designed over 150 games for me and my friends just to amuse us or pass some time until the next thing happened. I've learned a lot from that experience and when we got our game accepted, it felt like a lot of hours from my youth spent inside with no to play finally paid off.
In my next entry, I'll discuss how I met the other two designers and the pre-history of our game.
Thanks for reading,
JonMichael, congratulations on getting one of your designs published! It must be a thrilling time for you right now, waiting for it to come out!
Have you heard of the Board Game Designer's Forum (http://www.bgdf.com)? It would be great if you could share your experiences with us there as well, perhaps even a bit more in depth than you're doing here.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to your next journal entries!