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Subject: New designer - how do I start? rss

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Okay, so I'm in the beginning stages of designing my first game, and starting to feel a tiny bit overwhelmed if I'm honest.

I'm not looking to get published or anything like that, just planning to release it as PnP really.

I've written the first draft of the rules, and I'm currently in the process of pulling together simple graphics for the board and components. Eventually I'll probably illustrate it myself - I'm not brilliant at drawing but I do a lot of artistic stuff so I reckon I could create something acceptable.

That's pretty much it at the moment. I'm wondering what the next step is - I guess make a prototype and playtest with friends? The game's very simple and basically only needs a a board and a set of 5 identical tokens for each player plus a few other tokens so that would be easy. At what stage should I consider asking for playtesters here on the Geek?

I'm actually worried that the game's too simple, but presumably that's not such a bad thing at this stage - I guess I can add complexity later if it needs it...

The game's called Pests! and players each control a small population of a particular type of vermin (rats, fleas, cockroaches, flies, pigeons, spiders, flies, etc) infesting rooms of a house. Each turn they breed one new pest in a room where there's at least two of their pests (unless all their pest tokens are already on the board), and move one pest to a different room. After everyone's had a turn, any rooms with more than the threshold number of pests gets fumigated - the creatures in it are killed and the room is off-limits for the rest of the game. Once there's only one room left, the person with the most creatures left on the board wins.

I'd love to hear what you think!
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Nate K
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Sounds like a careful balancing act--get enough creatures onto the board to strategically take over rooms, but without getting all your rooms fumigated away. Could be fun. I'd suggesting posting up your rules draft and the components when they're ready. The community here is fantastic; I'm sure you'll get plenty of useful feedback to improve the game.
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S. O.
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I'm actually worried that the game's too simple, but presumably that's not such a bad thing at this stage - I guess I can add complexity later if it needs it...


Yeah I think this will come up after just 1 - 3 plays. Still, the game theme is kinda cute despite the apocalyptic survival type nature of it, ala Supernova or Escape Atlantis. Still, a key difference is that you have to make an aggressive move to trigger a fumigation event, reminiscent of Icehouse's Homeworlds.

I thought about it a little bit and realized that the hardest part of this will be designing a board that allows enough moves. The house must not have a "central room" where if it gets fumigated, everything is cut off. This would result in a boring stalemate or a very quick end where, since no meaningful moves are possible, you would probably just count the remaining pests and declare the winner right there and then.

There can be a little creative freedom where the paths between rooms dont need to be only doorways. There can be windows, ventilation ducts, and just plain holes leading to other holes - a pest ridden home is likely to be older and not exactly in perfect repair.

Perhaps there could be an exterior like "the lawn", or a few exteriors like a front and back yard seperated by a fence & gate, or an eavestrough that cannot be fumigated and allows access to a fair number of rooms, but these exteriors do not count towards victory.

Multiple floors like upstairs, basement, and attic or even rooftop are also possible, but I'm going to assume you will stick to just a plain two dimensional map for the beginning.

Another thought, and this is crucial - The threshold of pests in one room to trigger fumigation must be carefully balanced for every possible number of players, assuming a constant board size/configuration. It might be necessary to have more than one house/board for higher or lower number of players, or else stalemates may occur with insufficient pest density.

I'm assuming turn order is just round-robin, with the "first move" not being important so that in the end there's either a stalemate, or not, and it is deterministic and fair.

Thumbs up for not having randomization and dice! As a result this game has some competitive, chess-like potential.
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Rob Ryan
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"...I'm actually worried that the game's too simple, but presumably that's not such a bad thing at this stage - I guess I can add complexity later if it needs it..."


Don't think of it as adding complexity, think of it as selling "expansions...." whistle

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kurthl33t wrote:
Sounds like a careful balancing act--get enough creatures onto the board to strategically take over rooms, but without getting all your rooms fumigated away. Could be fun. I'd suggesting posting up your rules draft and the components when they're ready. The community here is fantastic; I'm sure you'll get plenty of useful feedback to improve the game.


Yeah, that was the idea, balancing your moves so you can breed, but not breeding so much that you set off the "pest detector". Also allowing for suicidal aggression - sacrificing one of your guys to get a room full of your opponents fumigated. I'm expecting a little Diplomacy-esque alliance-forming backstabbyness as well. devil

Hopefully I'll have time to work on components over the next few days. Thanks for your comment!
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Tank7 wrote:
Quote:
I'm actually worried that the game's too simple, but presumably that's not such a bad thing at this stage - I guess I can add complexity later if it needs it...


Yeah I think this will come up after just 1 - 3 plays. Still, the game theme is kinda cute despite the apocalyptic survival type nature of it, ala Supernova or Escape Atlantis. Still, a key difference is that you have to make an aggressive move to trigger a fumigation event, reminiscent of Icehouse's Homeworlds.


I figured that it would be better to start simple and get the game hammered down as much as I can so everything's solid before adding in other stuff bit by bit - lets me get my eye in, so to speak. I'll check out those games you mentioned, since I haven't played any of them. I can see parallels with Lifeboats and some aspects of American Megafauna myself (both great games).

Tank7 wrote:
I thought about it a little bit and realized that the hardest part of this will be designing a board that allows enough moves. The house must not have a "central room" where if it gets fumigated, everything is cut off. This would result in a boring stalemate or a very quick end where, since no meaningful moves are possible, you would probably just count the remaining pests and declare the winner right there and then.

There can be a little creative freedom where the paths between rooms dont need to be only doorways. There can be windows, ventilation ducts, and just plain holes leading to other holes - a pest ridden home is likely to be older and not exactly in perfect repair.


Good point. I hadn't considered movement in such a detailed way - my idea was simply to let creatures move to any room without worrying about paths, or distance, or whatever, mostly to avoid your "no meaningful moves left" scenario. Pretty abstract.

That said, there's definitely merit in the idea of having to take particular routes, and I'll have a think about how I could incorporate something like that. I like the idea that a section of the house could become isolated - it allows nasty tactical stuff like trapping your opponent in there.

Tank7 wrote:
Perhaps there could be an exterior like "the lawn", or a few exteriors like a front and back yard seperated by a fence & gate, or an eavestrough that cannot be fumigated and allows access to a fair number of rooms, but these exteriors do not count towards victory.

Multiple floors like upstairs, basement, and attic or even rooftop are also possible, but I'm going to assume you will stick to just a plain two dimensional map for the beginning.


More stuff to consider. Access routes that don't count as "rooms" is a fun idea.

The board that's in my head is a vertical cutaway, with a number of room spaces equal to the number of tokens each player gets (currently 5 but very much subject to change - 5 seemed like a good number to start with).

Tank7 wrote:

Another thought, and this is crucial - The threshold of pests in one room to trigger fumigation must be carefully balanced for every possible number of players, assuming a constant board size/configuration. It might be necessary to have more than one house/board for higher or lower number of players, or else stalemates may occur with insufficient pest density.


I'd figured that the trigger threshold would be pretty much "more pests than players = death". So for a 5 player game, 6 pests per room would mean fumigation. It's definitely need testing but hopefully that should scale for different player numbers. Doesn't make any kind of thematic sense, but that stuff's for later.

Tank7 wrote:
I'm assuming turn order is just round-robin, with the "first move" not being important so that in the end there's either a stalemate, or not, and it is deterministic and fair.


I'm considering this. Turn order will likely be very important, with an advantage for the last player. I currently plan on testing a few different ways to determine who goes first:
* Simple round-robin, with player 1 going first one turn, player 2 the nest, then player 3, etc.
* Player with the least pests goes first (with play either continuing in the usual order, or in order of number of creatures.
* Player with the most pests goes last (similar to the above).

The last two should level the playing field a bit, but of course might not actually be necessary. I definitely want to avoid advantaging the leader, since that's much less fun for all the other players.[/q]

Tank7 wrote:
Thumbs up for not having randomization and dice! As a result this game has some competitive, chess-like potential.


You know, I actually like randomisation and dice, but I do prefer games that are more "thinky". (Weirdly though, I don't like chess and I'm very bad at it.) With Pests! I want to create something where you get screwed over by the players, rather than the dice/cards/whatever.

Thank you for your comment! You've given me a lot to think about which will absolutely make this a better game.

Edited to fix quoting failure.
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Rob Ryan wrote:
"...I'm actually worried that the game's too simple, but presumably that's not such a bad thing at this stage - I guess I can add complexity later if it needs it..."


Don't think of it as adding complexity, think of it as selling "expansions...." whistle



Love it!

Honestly I think that since I have absolutely zero design experience in anything other than my usual creative process as a mixed-media jewellery artist, I really need to do this in chunks. Getting the base right and then slotting in other bits later when I have more idea what I'm doing is the way forward.

One of the things I love about PnP games is that the designers often seem to create expansions and add in new stuff (or allow other people to do so). That would be a nice thing to aim towards.
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Robert Corrina
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hey Anna, welcome to the darkside.

silverleaf79 wrote:
make a prototype and playtest with friends?


I hope this isn't too abrupt, but getting crushed by actual criticism is very important in the development of any game or any designer.

If there is a local game group, see if you can become a member.

After a relationship is established see if they will playtest your game one night. Acquaintances and strangers (but serious gamers) will give you actual feedback that, while painful to hear will accelerate your understanding. Hopefully you will crash and burn. (just remembered to throw out the feedback of the most patronizing participant as well as the feedback from the most nerd-raged participant)

That is a playtest.

Or, if you just want your friends to pat you on the head and tell you how creative you are for the 100th time, that's fine too.

I sincerely wish good luck unto you.
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Matt Green
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silverleaf79 wrote:
any rooms with more than the threshold number of pests gets fumigated - the creatures in it are killed and the room is off-limits for the rest of the game.


devil I know it's a fun P+P game but fumigating rooms doesn't happen much any more. Some US states still use fumigants on that sort of scale and some parts of Asia too, but it's a rarity in Europe these days now that most of the fumigants have been deemed too dangerous to be used outside of closed bubbles or specialist chambers. Another reason fumigation would be unlikely to be used on a single room is the key mechanic of the game- pests would spread to other rooms.

Fumigation is a great fit for the game though. As a thought, and it's from a guy that knows too much about pest control, the place where fumigation is still used as a main source of pest control is in container shipping. Containers are all neatly stacked and biocontrol agencies can be quick to act on containers that show signs of infestation. The other great thing about container shipping from a game point of view is that they are often as not black boxes- you don't know what's inside until you open them. A container full of tobacco would, for example, mean that a cigarette beetles would breed massively, whereas other insects wouldn't survive in it at all, spiders would eat the tobacco beetles, and rats wouldn't be bothered.

I'm not trying to dissuade you, it's trivial stuff, it just made me think.
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Kim Williams
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When you're ready to add more complexity (and if indeed the game needs it) what about variable player powers? The different pests you mentioned immediately seemed ripe for such treatment e.g some could breed more easily, some could access rooms through tiny vents due to their size, some could travel more quickly, some could be harder to kill etc. Obviously balancing this would be a challenge, but I think it would add to the theme.

Anyway, I think your game sounds really interesting as it stands, well done!
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Rob Harris
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It sounds like you have got a great idea for a game. As you said yourself, the next stage is to playtest your design and see how it works. As soon as you set it in front of others you will see it in a completely different light.

If you are ever in London you are more than welcome to join us at the Playtest meetup group. We meet the third Sunday of each month and play each other's prototypes and give feedback. Everyone is welcome to come along.
We are at: www.meetup.com/Playtest (and we've just started a guild here on BGG as well: www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/1398).

Good luck with your design.

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Alex Weldon
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It sounds like you've got the right attitude and are avoiding the two biggest traps of newbie designers:

1) Thinking you're going to get your first design published, and
2) Trying something complicated.

I'd say that even thinking about making something PnP-worthy on your first attempt is ambitious. Just don't invest too much time in the art, and don't be discouraged if no one plays it, or you put it up on BGG and it gets bad ratings. It's not like you can just pick up a paintbrush and say "I think I'll be a painter!" and make something gallery-quality on your first attempt, and the same applies to game design. If you can manage to make something your friends think is cool, that's a success for your first foray.

----

Regarding complexity, "I can add complexity later," is the only really wrong-headed thing I saw in your post.

Designers, whether they are game designers, graphic designers, fashion designers, etc. aren't in the business of adding complexity. At least, they shouldn't be, though there are certainly a lot who somehow manage to make a living doing it wrong.

Design is about subtracting, not adding. You start with complexity, and design your way to simplicity. You start with an idea, brainstorm all the complexity you can - a sort of wish list of things that "wouldn't it be cool if you could..."

And then you cut. You eliminate the weakest ideas entirely, and then you find ways to combine other ideas into one. Maybe your game's currency can also be its action points. Maybe that deck of cards you use for Thing A can have little icons or numbers added in the corners and do double duty instead of the dice you had planned for Thing B. Maybe you don't need a turn track, maybe players' diminishing hand size can be your game timer. Etc. etc.

That said, for your first game, there's nothing wrong with starting with a simple idea and keeping it simple. Just don't start with a simple idea and try to make it complex by adding stuff. That's how you end up with a trainwreck of a game that you will only convince people to play if it has zombies. shake
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whistleblower wrote:
If you are ever in London you are more than welcome to join us at the Playtest meetup group. We meet the third Sunday of each month and play each other's prototypes and give feedback. Everyone is welcome to come along.
We are at: www.meetup.com/Playtest (and we've just started a guild here on BGG as well: www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/1398).

The Playtest meetup group is invaluable for getting a design tested. Highly recommended.
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I like the idea you have, what about instead of a static vertical board you have each room as a seperate tile that can be built by the players. Perhaps each tile has an ability instead of the different insects, one room my be very breeding friendly whilst another is much harder to migrate into etc.

Each player gets a hand of tiles (or the rooms could be on cards instead) and can play one on thier turn that needs to be adjacent to the cards already on the table. you could have a standard "central card" that the cards get laid next to, it could be something like house vent or chimney, a sort of central spawning area that can't be fumigated (could be the cards ability)

Have something like each player can eith play a room or breed, either way they are then allowed to make a migration move, this could allow the play to inhabit the new room first and not get bumped out to early or something. Just a thought.

Good Luck!
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mgreen02 wrote:
silverleaf79 wrote:
any rooms with more than the threshold number of pests gets fumigated - the creatures in it are killed and the room is off-limits for the rest of the game.


devil I know it's a fun P+P game but fumigating rooms doesn't happen much any more. Some US states still use fumigants on that sort of scale and some parts of Asia too, but it's a rarity in Europe these days now that most of the fumigants have been deemed too dangerous to be used outside of closed bubbles or specialist chambers. Another reason fumigation would be unlikely to be used on a single room is the key mechanic of the game- pests would spread to other rooms.


Replace "room" with "apartment" and you're good to go At least here in Sweden we do fumigate (albeit with chemicals that disperse in short order, say 1-3 days) but then the fumigation is of the entire apartment/house.

As for the designing: realize that your first playtest will be disaster. Realize that this doesn't matter; it's part of the trade. Keep thinking, keep designing and developing, keep playtesting and in the end your game will get as good as it can. Then decide whether it's worth doing something with.

Welcome to the dark side of gaming! It's way more fun here

EDIT: don't forget your solo playtests where you try the game by playing all sides yourself. That way you don't use up your friends patience with prototypes that are too obviously broken.
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lupine wrote:
hey Anna, welcome to the darkside.

silverleaf79 wrote:
make a prototype and playtest with friends?


I hope this isn't too abrupt, but getting crushed by actual criticism is very important in the development of any game or any designer.

If there is a local game group, see if you can become a member.

After a relationship is established see if they will playtest your game one night. Acquaintances and strangers (but serious gamers) will give you actual feedback that, while painful to hear will accelerate your understanding. Hopefully you will crash and burn. (just remembered to throw out the feedback of the most patronizing participant as well as the feedback from the most nerd-raged participant)

That is a playtest.

Or, if you just want your friends to pat you on the head and tell you how creative you are for the 100th time, that's fine too.

I sincerely wish good luck unto you.


No, abrupt is good, thank you. I actually run an RPG group and we do play boardgames fairly regularly, and they're used to me bringing new games and asking them for feedback (not my games, you understand). When I said "playtesting with friends" what I actually meant was "playtesting with my group, probably without actually telling them that I'm the designer" - it had never occurred to me to ask non-gaming friends to test at this stage. (On a side note, this is a good lesson to learn about writing rules to mean what you actually mean!)

I'd thought that my gamer group would be useful to find out all the massive errors I'm sure I have at the moment. I reckon they could be impartial-ish since they show no signs of signs of trying to spare me feelings otherwise! And then strangers, of course.

I absolutely want to avoid head-patting at all costs. Sure I'm happy to hear positives, but I know that for me the focus should be on the inevitable negatives, because they will help me to make a better game. Thanks for your help!
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michael brown
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This sounds like it would make a really cool game.

PTW
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mgreen02 wrote:
silverleaf79 wrote:
any rooms with more than the threshold number of pests gets fumigated - the creatures in it are killed and the room is off-limits for the rest of the game.


devil I know it's a fun P+P game but fumigating rooms doesn't happen much any more. Some US states still use fumigants on that sort of scale and some parts of Asia too, but it's a rarity in Europe these days now that most of the fumigants have been deemed too dangerous to be used outside of closed bubbles or specialist chambers. Another reason fumigation would be unlikely to be used on a single room is the key mechanic of the game- pests would spread to other rooms.

Fumigation is a great fit for the game though. As a thought, and it's from a guy that knows too much about pest control, the place where fumigation is still used as a main source of pest control is in container shipping. Containers are all neatly stacked and biocontrol agencies can be quick to act on containers that show signs of infestation. The other great thing about container shipping from a game point of view is that they are often as not black boxes- you don't know what's inside until you open them. A container full of tobacco would, for example, mean that a cigarette beetles would breed massively, whereas other insects wouldn't survive in it at all, spiders would eat the tobacco beetles, and rats wouldn't be bothered.

I'm not trying to dissuade you, it's trivial stuff, it just made me think.


Well I have to admit I know very little about pest control, only what I read on the Wikipedia page recently! I've never known anyone here in the UK who's had any kind of house pest control done other than baiting/trapping rats and mice and spraying flies/wasps, which people tend to do themselves anyway.

I guess thematically it would fit to have the humans of the house simply kill off the pests when they see them, lacking the knowledge to realise that there may be pests in other rooms as well. I seem to have a memory of reading in a novel once about a "bug bomb" that basically fumigated one room so I've probably been influenced by that. The whole thing doesn't make logical sense, but then games often don't!

The shipping containers idea is interesting - there must be a game there! I like the idea of not knowing if your shipment is completely ruined until you open it.

Thank you for the help!
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entwife wrote:
When you're ready to add more complexity (and if indeed the game needs it) what about variable player powers? The different pests you mentioned immediately seemed ripe for such treatment e.g some could breed more easily, some could access rooms through tiny vents due to their size, some could travel more quickly, some could be harder to kill etc. Obviously balancing this would be a challenge, but I think it would add to the theme.

Anyway, I think your game sounds really interesting as it stands, well done!


Thank you! Yes, I'd briefly toyed with the idea of variable powers because as you say, the pests do have different attributes IRL. It's something to experiment with later I think, when the basics of the game are solid. But it would add some replayability since you'd modify your strategy for different pests.
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whistleblower wrote:
It sounds like you have got a great idea for a game. As you said yourself, the next stage is to playtest your design and see how it works. As soon as you set it in front of others you will see it in a completely different light.

If you are ever in London you are more than welcome to join us at the Playtest meetup group. We meet the third Sunday of each month and play each other's prototypes and give feedback. Everyone is welcome to come along.
We are at: www.meetup.com/Playtest (and we've just started a guild here on BGG as well: www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/1398).

Good luck with your design.



Thank you. A playtest group, what a great idea! I'm rarely in London but I'll certainly look you guys up if I'm ever there at the right time.

I am quite excited to see how actual people react to it. Currently I've run the concept past my boyfriend and told you guys about it and that's it, so everything's very new at the moment.
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xopods wrote:
It sounds like you've got the right attitude and are avoiding the two biggest traps of newbie designers:

1) Thinking you're going to get your first design published, and
2) Trying something complicated.

I'd say that even thinking about making something PnP-worthy on your first attempt is ambitious. Just don't invest too much time in the art, and don't be discouraged if no one plays it, or you put it up on BGG and it gets bad ratings. It's not like you can just pick up a paintbrush and say "I think I'll be a painter!" and make something gallery-quality on your first attempt, and the same applies to game design. If you can manage to make something your friends think is cool, that's a success for your first foray.


Honestly, I'm not under any illusions that I have the ability to produce a game that people would want to pay for. If I release it and a couple of people play it and have a good time, I'm happy! If people hate it then at least I will have learned something and gained the experience of making a game.

Artistically I'll be going for something very simple anyway. I probably will spend a lot of time on it though, but that'll be more for me than for the game, because I'll enjoy the process.

xopods wrote:
Regarding complexity, "I can add complexity later," is the only really wrong-headed thing I saw in your post.

Designers, whether they are game designers, graphic designers, fashion designers, etc. aren't in the business of adding complexity. At least, they shouldn't be, though there are certainly a lot who somehow manage to make a living doing it wrong.

Design is about subtracting, not adding. You start with complexity, and design your way to simplicity. You start with an idea, brainstorm all the complexity you can - a sort of wish list of things that "wouldn't it be cool if you could..."

And then you cut. You eliminate the weakest ideas entirely, and then you find ways to combine other ideas into one. Maybe your game's currency can also be its action points. Maybe that deck of cards you use for Thing A can have little icons or numbers added in the corners and do double duty instead of the dice you had planned for Thing B. Maybe you don't need a turn track, maybe players' diminishing hand size can be your game timer. Etc. etc.

That said, for your first game, there's nothing wrong with starting with a simple idea and keeping it simple. Just don't start with a simple idea and try to make it complex by adding stuff. That's how you end up with a trainwreck of a game that you will only convince people to play if it has zombies. shake


I'm trying to approach this in a fairly scientific way. My background is in psychology and biology, and the way I'd approach designing an experiment is to start very simple and make sure everything works properly before adding in another variable.

I'm mostly concerned that that my initial very simple idea might be boring to someone who isn't me, and require a little more complexity to keep people interested. But I guess I'll only know that when it actually hits a gaming table - I don't have any problem with "simple", but "boring" is of course another matter!

Of course you're right, I absolutely need to keep things very simple for my first game - I'd imagined potentially in the future (when I have more experience) adding in an "expansion" which increases the complexity in some way, like variable player powers or similar, to see what happens. Maybe "variety" rather than "complexity" is a better term. If it's crappy, then I can dump it and the base game's still good.

Thank you for the input, it's definitely helping!
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Warbringerd wrote:
I like the idea you have, what about instead of a static vertical board you have each room as a seperate tile that can be built by the players. Perhaps each tile has an ability instead of the different insects, one room my be very breeding friendly whilst another is much harder to migrate into etc.

Each player gets a hand of tiles (or the rooms could be on cards instead) and can play one on thier turn that needs to be adjacent to the cards already on the table. you could have a standard "central card" that the cards get laid next to, it could be something like house vent or chimney, a sort of central spawning area that can't be fumigated (could be the cards ability)

Have something like each player can eith play a room or breed, either way they are then allowed to make a migration move, this could allow the play to inhabit the new room first and not get bumped out to early or something. Just a thought.

Good Luck!


The variable board is a fun idea, since it simulates the pests discovering and infesting previously unknown areas of the house. Cool! Something else to consider, thank you!
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filwi wrote:
mgreen02 wrote:
silverleaf79 wrote:
any rooms with more than the threshold number of pests gets fumigated - the creatures in it are killed and the room is off-limits for the rest of the game.


devil I know it's a fun P+P game but fumigating rooms doesn't happen much any more. Some US states still use fumigants on that sort of scale and some parts of Asia too, but it's a rarity in Europe these days now that most of the fumigants have been deemed too dangerous to be used outside of closed bubbles or specialist chambers. Another reason fumigation would be unlikely to be used on a single room is the key mechanic of the game- pests would spread to other rooms.


Replace "room" with "apartment" and you're good to go At least here in Sweden we do fumigate (albeit with chemicals that disperse in short order, say 1-3 days) but then the fumigation is of the entire apartment/house.


It's a good point but I figure that a game where once the pest reach a certain level in the house every single one dies might not be much fun.

filwi wrote:
As for the designing: realize that your first playtest will be disaster. Realize that this doesn't matter; it's part of the trade. Keep thinking, keep designing and developing, keep playtesting and in the end your game will get as good as it can. Then decide whether it's worth doing something with.

Welcome to the dark side of gaming! It's way more fun here

EDIT: don't forget your solo playtests where you try the game by playing all sides yourself. That way you don't use up your friends patience with prototypes that are too obviously broken.


If the first playtest goes well (it won't) then I'll be convinced there's something very wrong! I'll try not to take the inevitable criticism personally, because it's all about making the game better.

Thank you for reminding me about solo playtesting! I hadn't thought of that. I can see how that would be really helpful.
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Walt
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silverleaf79 wrote:
Good point. I hadn't considered movement in such a detailed way - my idea was simply to let creatures move to any room without worrying about paths, or distance, or whatever, mostly to avoid your "no meaningful moves left" scenario. Pretty abstract.

That said, there's definitely merit in the idea of having to take particular routes, and I'll have a think about how I could incorporate something like that. I like the idea that a section of the house could become isolated - it allows nasty tactical stuff like trapping your opponent in there.

I think personalizing the map could help bind the game together: instead of a bunch of bugs, you've got one house. "Bugs in Bugsley Manor!"? Communicating the game concept in the title is a good thing, when possible.

I like the theme. It seems perfect for the Harry Potter age group.

You might consider eradication to only last for a set number of turns. So, when it happens, you put several tokens in the rooms, and take them out one a turn. That means you have more housekeeping each turn, but it allows a player to make a moat around some rooms, reproduce in them, then spread back. Maybe too complex, though.
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Erik Rodriguez
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Sounds like a neat little game.

You've reached the first game design hill - prototyping and playtesting.

A lot of people that come up with game ideas don't ever take the next step because they feel like they have to flesh out the rules more. Don't let this happen to you. It doesn't matter if you don't have all the rules fleshed out yet or don't have any art that you want to use - create a (cheap) prototype. The sooner you get a prototype made the sooner you can start playtesting.

I look forward to reading about your progress.
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