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Subject: Pros and cons of posting all rules of a game in progress on BGG? rss

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ElKitch Tasso
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Currently I am working on a wargame. First prototype is finished, we did some playtesting and some new rules have replaced old ones. Time for more testing!

However, it would also be nice to get feedback from other designers, hear what they like and dislike. So Im toying with the idea of putting the whole rulebook here on BGG (have to translate it from dutch to english first, though..).

Is there any risk in that? I know I like it when others share the stuff they are working on, yet putting the entire rulebook of my little baby on the internet is a bit scary.

Any pros and cons? Have you done that with a game in progress?

Thanks!
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Matthew Rogers
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Yes, it is scary. And yes I'm doing it right now.

The feedback will be critical (probably in more ways than one) and it will make your game better. There are very few instances of anyone having anything stolen from them by doing this... all of us have our own projects we're working on and we lack your vision for your game, so even complete rules means stealing the game would be extraordinarily difficult, very likely to backfire and generally not worth doing.
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Nate K
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I love posting up in-progress rules! I can get immediate feedback on what is clear or unclear, what seems fun or boring, what works or does not work, etc. And no one is really going to be interested in stealing your ideas unless your ideas have already made money, so I wouldn't sweat that too much.
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B C Z
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Pros: People who are interested will help.
Cons: People who are interested will help.

I've been reviewing ZedTurtle's Abbey game because it interests me and he's taken some hard hits so far, so you're kind of baring your soul a bit.

If you want that kind of feedback, take it, it's worth it.

However, it is absolutely key that you maintain your vision as Designer through the process, and find people who respect that vision. I've given a Designer a mathematical proof showing that their game was fundamentally broken (discovered on my third play test) and he'd already gotten into some really nice prototype production boards for play testing.

More eyes is better, but it is something else for you to manage.
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Matthew Rogers
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byronczimmer wrote:
...and he's taken some hard hits so far, so you're kind of baring your soul a bit.


Nothing that wasn't warranted (game-wise), I tell new face-to-face playtesters: "I went to school for graphic design, and as part of that, I had to stand in front of a group of thirty people while they critiqued my self-portrait. I'm fine with criticism."

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However, it is absolutely key that you maintain your vision as Designer through the process, and find people who respect that vision...

More eyes is better, but it is something else for you to manage.


Agreed with this as well, don't be afraid of telling people "thanks for the help, but I don't see the game going in that direction."
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Freelance Police
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Well, at least you're not paranoid someone's gonna steal your game. Bonus points for you! laugh

Only thing to "worry" about is that your playtesters are going to forget which rules made it and which were changed if they make comments about the game after it gets released. Their first impressions will be based on playtest rules. OTOH, many game companies have changed their rules after releasing the game, so I don't think this really matters.

Plus, by discussing the playtest publicly, you're promoting the game. If you're thinking about KS or outside funding, better start thinking marketing yesterday.
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David Gregg
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It's what I did for Chainmaster, which ultimately led to its discovery by AEG and eventually became Nightfall, so share away!
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ElKitch Tasso
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Got a thick skin and usually I can tell when somsone criticizes me or my things in a constructive way or just to pick on me. Got to get things straight and translate the whole thing and then I'll post it. Thanks for convincing me
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Joe McDaid
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If you don't do it now, it's going to hurt more when you do it later I find. If I didn't get some vitriolic reports on my games, chances are I would have never made them into the better versions that they are.

It takes someone saying, 'this game sucks for this very specific reason,' to make a designer really think about certain things. As the designer, you are free to disagree. But one bad comment from someone who cares about your success is better than 100 angry ones from mad customers who rate your game a 4 and tell everyone how crappy it is after they've already bought it.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Ok. Pros:
You get feedback and blind playtesters. A must for any game.
People can point out spelling and rules errors that are easily missed.
People can point out where rules are too vague, etc.

Ok. Cons:
If you are planning to try and sell your game to a company, keep in mind that posting it near complete or more often complete on the BGG, or the net iteself anywhere will open some doors and lock a few others. Several companies refuse any game posted to the net. Usually the bigger ones, but a few smaller companies have that as a rule too. Other companies actively look for games posted on the net. And we are talking completed games, not the WIPs.
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Scott Leibbrandt
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Omega2064 wrote:

Ok. Cons:
If you are planning to try and sell your game to a company, keep in mind that posting it near complete or more often complete on the BGG, or the net iteself anywhere will open some doors and lock a few others. Several companies refuse any game posted to the net. Usually the bigger ones, but a few smaller companies have that as a rule too. Other companies actively look for games posted on the net. And we are talking completed games, not the WIPs.


Really!? That's news to me! Which companies have you encountered that have such a policy?
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John "Omega" Williams
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At least a dozen now. Some have it in their submission guidelines too.
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David Sevier
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Omega2064 wrote:
At least a dozen now. Some have it in their submission guidelines too.


Is there a list of them somewhere? That could be really useful information.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Not that I know of. I ran into the ones I have so far by asking about submissions.

SJG and I believe FFG do, Hasbro does, and I wouldnt be surprised if all the big game publishers didnt have a ban on web published games submitted.

The good news is that for every one that locks the door. Theres another that throws wide the door, or at least are keeping an eye out for web published games. I believe D-Day Dice and Robo Derby Express both got picked up that way. Probably many more.
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Nate K
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Omega2064 wrote:


The good news is that for every one that locks the door. Theres another that throws wide the door, or at least are keeping an eye out for web published games. I believe D-Day Dice and Robo Derby Express both got picked up that way. Probably many more.


Nightfall, as well.
 
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Chris Fee
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Omega2064 wrote:
I believe D-Day Dice and Robo Derby Express both got picked up that way. Probably many more.


Robo Derby Express was for a print-and-play design contest. I think D_Day Dice might have been as well. So their development was on the web as well as the playable product.
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Johan Haglert
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I don't see the problem.
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Hilko Drude
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What are you doing!? I don't even know you!
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Omega2064 wrote:
Not that I know of. I ran into the ones I have so far by asking about submissions.

SJG and I believe FFG do, Hasbro does, and I wouldnt be surprised if all the big game publishers didnt have a ban on web published games submitted.



This really puzzles me. When they pick up a game from another publisher (with a sub-licence, for instance), chances are that the other publisher had made the rules accessible before. Why does one thing bother them and the other doesn't?
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John "Omega" Williams
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It does for at least two I looked at who had in the submissions guidelines to the effect of. "Game cannot have been previously posted online or published."

Most just have the "online" part.

One specifically said "not accepted if was posted on BGG." due to BGG's dodgy TOU claiming ownership of anything posted to the site.
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Robert Seater
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Omega2064 wrote:
The good news is that for every one that locks the door. Theres another that throws wide the door, or at least are keeping an eye out for web published games. I believe D-Day Dice and Robo Derby Express both got picked up that way. Probably many more.

Well, I have to put in a plug. Cambridge Games does NOT hold it against you for having successfully published a game on the web. Having a successful PnP is a definite plus when I'm reviewing a game, and it shows that the designer is dedicated to getting real feedback and not designing in a vacuum. In fact, when CGF publishes a game, it leaves any earlier PnP versions up on BGG (for free). If a free PnP version is going to cause serious competition on sales, then we're already in trouble!
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Robert Seater
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The main drawback is confusion about which version is the final/latest/official version. Since you can't upload updates to a file on BGG (and modding of files can be slow), it may be best to just post a link to your own website for a rulebook download. That way, you can update the file whenever you want, and just use BGG for announcements of such updates.
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ElKitch Tasso
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Thanks! That's valuable information!

Print and play wont be possible, as you need a board, units, dice etc. But it would be nice to indeed get out of the vacuum and let others give feedback.

Reading that some (big) publishers wont take it when the rules are out on the internet did change my mind a bit. Not that I am so sure that this game will be published. But my friends ask me when we are going to play again.. so if there is a chance then I should not blow it.
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Clive Lovett
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ElKitch wrote:
Print and play wont be possible, as you need a board, units, dice etc. But it would be nice to indeed get out of the vacuum and let others give feedback.


You would be surprised what can be printed and played...Ground Floor was available as a print and play and it has a large board and many chits...counters and units will be obtained from other games/thrifted games etc. If people want to play then they will print
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John "Omega" Williams
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ElKitch wrote:
Print and play wont be possible, as you need a board, units, dice etc. But it would be nice to indeed get out of the vacuum and let others give feedback.

Reading that some (big) publishers wont take it when the rules are out on the internet did change my mind a bit. Not that I am so sure that this game will be published. But my friends ask me when we are going to play again.. so if there is a chance then I should not blow it.


You sauronreallysauron havent looked at any PnP games have you? whistle

Boards? Check: some so complex its more a hobby than a board Escape from the Haunted Mansion. Most are not quite so elaborate... aheh
Units? Check: I use tri-fold standups for my games as I really like them. Others use flats, some use 3-dimensional slotted units or even complex folded paper units, and the rest use good old counters. Even publishers will.
Dice? Check: if its standard d6s then most anyone has a set or can get them cheap and easy at any dollar store. Custom dice? These can be made too from folded paper, or with stickers and blank dice such as RoboDerby: Express.
Etc? Check and Check: Counters, chits, markers, and all can be made or had easy. Glass beads are in most hobby shops as are wood cubes, also in some department stores you can find glass beads too.

As for big publishers. For many of those the doors are closed no matter. Or the window of opportunity is very small and very specialized. You have better luck with the mid to small level publishers. Theres enough threads around on that problem so hunt one of those up.
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Jonathan Hj.
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I wouldn't personally reveal any actual groundbreaking game mechanics though I just made a thread where i posted about my game without revealing how anything specifically works

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/832161/does-this-sound-like-...

But then again that doesn't actually help much =/
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