Recommend
10 
 Thumb up
 Hide
65 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Am I Missing Something? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sure, everyone has a game to hawk these days. We've been around the block playing a bunch of other people's games and now we want to make our own. I'm sure that I'm not the only person here that is excited about the games they are developing, but I may be behind the curve on figuring out how to generate interest and garner a collection of people willing to play test the design.

I've tried to design games that are not quite like any others that I've played. I have borrowed some mechanisms here and there, but overall the design work is at least 65-70% my own. What I am wondering is: am I missing out by not creating another Space/Zombie/Pirate/Fill-in-the-blank-overdone-theme game? I try to design games in relatively unexplored spaces. The pharmaceutical industry being relatively untouched seemed like an easy target as the focus is not just running a standard business and managing cash, but also managing your R&D and keeping the FDA off your back. Perhaps it's not sexy enough of a theme, though. While it is in the play testing phase, I have uploaded all of my content here on BGG for people to download and try out, but with very limited success. My other game, National Park, has has a bit more activity in the files section, but I have yet to get a single grain of feedback that I requested from play testers.

I'm pretty new to designing games, so I'm just learning the ropes, but any input that you more experienced folks have would be greatly appreciated. How do you generate a buzz about your game? How do you get people to not only download your material, but also provide feedback on game play? I am very serious about wanting to publish my designs after I polish them up a bit, but I know that getting the game play tested (a lot!) is a major part of the process. I'm just not sure how to get over that hurdle.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and ideas.

4 
 Thumb up
0.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cory J
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe you're right about the theme, I don't think I would want to play a game about the pharmaceutical industry, probably wouldn't matter how good the game mechanics are. But National Parks seems a bit more interesting. I'll look at it later when I'm at home and see what's up.

I'm kind of dreading this part of my own game designs. I have been told I don't deal the best with rejection, and I feel that my games are good, but I don't want anyone else to tell me otherwise. Maybe I'll put them up someday, but I am unsure how to deal with getting people for the playtests and such, just as you are.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Jolly
United Kingdom
Bourne
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Brian!

FWIW:

Not sure if you are missing anything, but I guess it might depend on how much money you want to make. People will pay for a weak game on a theme they like, but not for a weak game on a less popular theme. The same may be true for the investment of their time to help you out.

If you have a great game, it may do well despite its theme - I am thinking Power Grid, or Agricola for example or almost any train game (careful Matt, your prejudices are showing whistle - I am not a fan of train games and abhor Agricola, but many don't).

I am afraid I don't have time (or a printer!) to download material to test it, but there are lots of others who do, so you need to make them aware of how and where to find your game. Giving an idea of what gaming "itch" you are trying to scratch might help. Simple "not space/zombies/pirates/etc" doesn't explain much.

Your big pharma game sounds interesting; is it intended to be another pure factory type game (by which I mean you are honestly trying to put together a working company) or is it more cynical taking into account things like http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Pharma-companies-mislead-patient... for example? I would be more interested in the latter than the former!

Cheers, and good luck!

Matt
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Cheng
Hong Kong
Ma On Shan
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
May I ask you a question, Brian? How many PNP games you have downloaded from BGG, made it, played it, then wrote a feedback to the designer?
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe McDaid
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
Any time I think 'Pharma Game' I invision Dr. Mario or Trauma Center (Wii game).

So the theme of pills busting viruses or doctors doing medical stuff isn't as big of a turn off as you might think as long as it's not too preechy or serious. If it's a game meant to make me learn about all the different drugs out there, then there's a lot less interest.

The other thing might just be the Saturation of people looking to design vs. the amount of people willing to help playtest designs. In these casses it really is a good idea to mingle with other designers who need help with their games in turn helping out yours. Basically you can't be greedy about the design process, if you want people to play your game, you need to be willing to play theirs.

I joined a playtest group a few months back and I've gotten more feed back on my games in one night than I could wrap my head around that evening, and I gave some people some really good idea's for their games that either revolutionized them or solved the problem they were having trouble with. Game design is about doing both, and the more you give, the more you'll get.

As they say, nothing's ever free..:3
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Heya Brian,

From what I get from your thread is this: (im sorry if I misinterpreted)

1. Hey guys, I'm upset that no one wants to playtest my game
2. Am I doing ok?
3. Should I have made "Zombie Wars Crap Assault 12" instead? They seem to be getting interest

If this is what is at the heart of it all:

1. Getting playtesters is damned hard. I'm sorry if this next bit is offensive to anyone, but it really helped me come to terms, the honest truth of it is that no one cares about your game. (Im sorry to be so blunt and crude about it). Know that no one cares about your game, or ANYONE elses game. With what's called "Anchoring" setting in thanks to our human brains, any "Pnp" or any "playtest request" is as good as the next pnp or playtest. So this basically means people will not playtest your game as much as people will not playtest anyones game, however awesome it might be. You either need to work very very hard to get some playtesters, find people who just love playtestin' or pay some people (in currency, or any other resource: I find pizza and beer works well, some have a very good response on "Ill playtest yours, you playtest mine" as well)

2. Yes you are doing very very well, the fact that you even asked such a question shows us that you are really thinking about your game AND the wider meta situation that you find yourselves in, you are doing a lot better than many other people by simply asking this question

3. Hell no should you have made anything other than what you did. I think your game has a cracking theme. I did my degree in Biomedical Science and "Pharamaceutical industry" was one of my "Hey, I should make a game about this..." games for a long while, I'm happy that you are already on your quest and I think it's an awesome theme. I would heartily encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, keep trying out new themes, keep vereing away from standardized themes and being novel and innovative. From what you have said here, and your previous posting history, I officially declare that you are doing a damned fine job my friend Keep at it!

Hope i've helped,

sam
21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any circus monkey can design a board game.

A good playtester is worth his or her weight in gold.

A talented game developer (who functions more or less like the editor of a book) can make a huge difference in the quality of a game.



Good Luck!
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
qiagen wrote:
...you can bring the prototype to them directly, cutting out 90% of their effort instantly.


An excellent point.

Printing up a few prototype copies of your game and MAILING them to a select group of playtesters might produce good results. The response I received after shipping out 100+ crude playtest versions of Civil War Express was better than expected.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Schroeder
United States
Lewiston
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I commend the OP for considering making a game that's not an Ameritrash theme.

Unfortunately it seems the past couple of years, your game will only be successfull, and I'm sure blindly and hastily purchased if the game is called...

Waring summoner mage factions whom fight off other summoning mages and lets throw in ninja zombies for good measure.

And the game also has to have loosely illustrated and cartoonish artwork.

That's the key to a successful game nowadays! J/k...yet I'm not completely Joking.

It just seems to be the recurring theme the past year or so. I personally miss more of the euro ish themes of the first half of the 2000s. Give me more trains!
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cory J
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mike6423 wrote:
I commend the OP for considering making a game that's not an Ameritrash theme.

Unfortunately it seems the past couple of years, your game will only be successfull, and I'm sure blindly and hastily purchased if the game is called...

Waring summoner mage factions whom fight off other summoning mages and lets throw in ninja zombies for good measure.

And the game also has to have loosely illustrated and cartoonish artwork.

That's the key to a successful game nowadays! J/k...yet I'm not completely Joking.

It just seems to be the recurring theme the past year or so. I personally miss more of the euro ish themes of the first half of the 2000s. Give me more trains!


Actually, do you mind if I use that title for a game I have in mind??
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Schroeder
United States
Lewiston
New York
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Amyrin wrote:
mike6423 wrote:
I commend the OP for considering making a game that's not an Ameritrash theme.

Unfortunately it seems the past couple of years, your game will only be successfull, and I'm sure blindly and hastily purchased if the game is called...

Waring summoner mage factions whom fight off other summoning mages and lets throw in ninja zombies for good measure.

And the game also has to have loosely illustrated and cartoonish artwork.

That's the key to a successful game nowadays! J/k...yet I'm not completely Joking.

It just seems to be the recurring theme the past year or so. I personally miss more of the euro ish themes of the first half of the 2000s. Give me more trains!


Actually, do you mind if I use that title for a game I have in mind??


Be my guest lol
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Amyrin wrote:
Maybe you're right about the theme, I don't think I would want to play a game about the pharmaceutical industry, probably wouldn't matter how good the game mechanics are. But National Parks seems a bit more interesting. I'll look at it later when I'm at home and see what's up.

I'm kind of dreading this part of my own game designs. I have been told I don't deal the best with rejection, and I feel that my games are good, but I don't want anyone else to tell me otherwise. Maybe I'll put them up someday, but I am unsure how to deal with getting people for the playtests and such, just as you are.


Cory,

I appreciate you taking a look at my design, and I would be happy to do the same for you when you are ready to take that step. I believe in reciprocating with others who enjoy game design as much, and as passionately, as I do. I am part of a game designer's guild here in St. Louis, and that has been tremendously helpful so far in my design of Big Pharma. It has undergone numerous revisions and updates, but all for the betterment of the game and the player. I'm certainly not done making changes, but the core of the game is fairly well established. I recommend that you start or join a guild in your area. It makes an excellent skunkworks for design ideas and spit-balling.

As for your fears, don't be afraid of the criticism. It is one of your best tools in making a great game. Putting your ideas out there for the world to tear apart is hard, but the feedback (if you're willing to listen to it) can be invaluable. Some people are a bit more harsh than others in how they express their opinions, but it doesn't make their viewpoint any less valid. Also, understand that people come with different tastes and different ideas of what they want to see in a game. What one person hates, another may love; so I wouldn't totally re-vamp a game without a diversity of opinion. Good luck to you! I look forward to giving one of your games a try in the future.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
matt.jolly wrote:
Hi Brian!

FWIW:

Not sure if you are missing anything, but I guess it might depend on how much money you want to make. People will pay for a weak game on a theme they like, but not for a weak game on a less popular theme. The same may be true for the investment of their time to help you out.

If you have a great game, it may do well despite its theme - I am thinking Power Grid, or Agricola for example or almost any train game (careful Matt, your prejudices are showing whistle - I am not a fan of train games and abhor Agricola, but many don't).

I am afraid I don't have time (or a printer!) to download material to test it, but there are lots of others who do, so you need to make them aware of how and where to find your game. Giving an idea of what gaming "itch" you are trying to scratch might help. Simple "not space/zombies/pirates/etc" doesn't explain much.

Your big pharma game sounds interesting; is it intended to be another pure factory type game (by which I mean you are honestly trying to put together a working company) or is it more cynical taking into account things like http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Pharma-companies-mislead-patient... for example? I would be more interested in the latter than the former!

Cheers, and good luck!

Matt


Thanks for that, Matt. I knew at the outset that Big Pharma would not be a game for every one, the same with National Park. Big Pharma is more of a simulation (not so much an education) of building a pharma company from the ground up. It's not really a tongue-in-cheek take on the industry. I designed Big Pharma as an economic game that is about 50% different from other economic games that I have played. You're still in it to make money, but balancing competing interests and managing risk feels a lot different in this game than in other games I have played, and that is what I was going for. National Park is a bit different, in that it does have a more humorous side in the form of unruly visitors who trash your park.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ultracheng wrote:
May I ask you a question, Brian? How many PNP games you have downloaded from BGG, made it, played it, then wrote a feedback to the designer?


Hi David,

This is a fair question, and to date the answer is zero. I have played many prototypes of other designers, but have not printed from here and played them. I am certainly willing to reciprocate testing and design ideas; but, admittedly, my focus has been on getting my designs played.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jmzero wrote:
I'm interested in game design, and I've printed and played a reasonable number of games to "explore the space" a bit. For every game I've printed and played, there's 10 others I've downloaded and deleted.

Even most of the ones I've printed have been horrible games, and very few have I actually tried with other people. Most of them clearly haven't been solo playtested enough to clear out big problems and many have serious rule issues or degenerate strategies that should have been caught. Few have significant effort to make the game easy to try. Very few have interesting ideas or new mechanics that work.

When I have given honest feedback (either after play, or just from looking at a design), I've very seldom got the sense that the designer is honestly listening.

Anyway, I think a large part of the answer to "why does nobody playtest my P&P game?" is that those of us who have previously had inclination to do so have been burned too many times (or have, at very least, not found it to be a positive experience). Unless someone makes a fairly convincing case for a game (focusing on what is different about the game, not a narrative sales blurb), I'm very unlikely to bother.


Dave,

Thanks for your reply. I assure you that I am looking for honest feedback. I do not shy away from criticism, but I also do not shy away from saying "no" to an idea if I do not feel that it is in the best interest of the game overall. I think one of the hallmarks of a good designer is the ability to sift the advice/opinions of others to keep the good and reject the bad. This should always be done by giving respect and appreciation to those who take the time to look over your designs. They aren't being paid and they certainly don't owe you anything.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Galaad Maal
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with producing prototypes and mailing them to people. For my part, I would be happy to playtest games, but don't have the resources to pnp to a reasonable quality myself.

Also, as a secondary, knowing someone thinks their game is good enough to make a prototype for you to test does make it stand out above the crowd - if you're that convinced I'm going to want to play it, I'm much more likely to bite.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Brian.

I am a developer, designer and playtester.

I've worked on games as diverse as the CCG Corunea and the expansions for Star Trek: Fleet Captains. I've done work for Wizkids, Hasbro and others.

I have worked on games that will never be released, and truly big name games.

I downloaded your National Park PDF.

This is not ready to be seen by the public yet.

For one, it isn't even spell checked. I'm assuming the graphics are beta test only. They are not functional for gaming, particularly some of the weird typefaces used on the maps.

It requires hiking trail/canoe route pieces. It gives no indication of what that means and they are not in the printout. From a game play graphic, it looks like maybe sticks. If so - what size?

Confustion really starts on page 2:
Forrest supports 3, 3 and 3 improvements (may also support 1 if 2 is already there). Fish improvement level may not exceed Water improvement level.


What is an improvement and what the heck are all of those colored numbers?

OK, there's a key at the bottom. I have no idea what improvements are yet, but apparently they come in grades. Is a level determined by a total number of cubes?

later:
Quote:
A maximum of three improvements are allowed per terrain (three at level 1, one at level 2 and one at level 1, or one at level 3) plus one hiking trail/canoe path.


While just a moment ago, you said it supported
Quote:
3, 3 and 3.


That's and AND, not an OR.

Do you mean three levels per type or three different types or three total levels or what?

This could EASILY be cured by having the spaces on the board having little areas for how many of what go there. Unfortunately, currently the spaces are pretty tiny for that.

Quote:
Terrain may also be changed into campgrounds, docks, learning centers and conservation stations.


Are these not improvements? What are they?

Now there's a line that says:
Quote:
Distance between spaces is
always measured by orthogonal moves, never diagonal.


Spaces? Distance? Nothing mentioning either has come up yet and here we have an exception to a rule not introduced.

The way levels are presented on the map as differing gradients is very un-intuitive.

Lakes have levels? Maybe depths? Or does it not have to due with a physical elevation and more with something else?

Throughout the rules, it is presented as if someone has already played the game.

There's IP, DP and VP. VP is NOT victory points...

Quote:
Level 0 (unimproved)/1/2/3 subtracts 1/2/3/4 Unruly Tourist DPs each round.


There has to be a better solution. Maybe unimproved IS level 1 already and 3 improvements becomes a level 4.

The too many uses of Level is not great.

I can't fathom trying to learn this game from these rules.

Overall, you need to have someone pick this apart before showing it to the public.
14 
 Thumb up
0.30
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
jmzero wrote:
OK, I've had a look at National Park.

You have no images on the game's main page. This would normally stop me by itself. I like to see what a game looks like; it's a very quick way to get a sense of how much effort has been put in, what kind of game it is, and how hard it would be to print and play. Put some images up.


I have come to realize this myself in the last couple days. I think you are right and that it would be helpful to get some pictures up there. Thanks!

jmzero wrote:
I downloaded the PDF. It's rife with spelling and grammar mistakes. The pieces are unattractive; the "Forrest" pieces are green squares with a gradient. You have white text on beige tiles. It's ugly, but more importantly it's unreadable. If you have to use those colors, at least put a black border around your letters. There's tons of text errors in the rules. You cut and paste the rules from "Meteor" into "Hail Storm", but forgot to change the word "Meteor" in the other description.


Admittedly, I am not adept at writing rules to games, especially complex ones. I do appreciate your feedback here, and I will double-back to look at what you are referring to. I may ask you for some follow-up, if you are willing, to help ferret out all of the errors that you are referring to. I will certainly do my best to address what I can find prior to approaching you about it in the future.

As for the colors and pieces: I am have no claim to be an artist and my only design tool right now is MS word blush. The colors for the terrain spaces are just placeholders for now and I do have plans to upgrade the images to actual illustrations of forest, hills, etc. Regrettably, I am not an artist to any degree and will have to find a way to paint these myself or borrow pictures from the internet. In terms of a prototype, though, the artwork was the last thing I was worried about. Should I take more interest in illustration for something something in the prototype stage? The pieces, if it ever makes it to production, would hopefully be different. I would like to have little picnic tables for campground levels, meeples for the trail guide and park ranger, and thematic tokens for the different levels of animal, fish, plant and water improvements. For now, I was trying to go with components that most players actually have in other games of their collection, or can be inexpensively ordered from sites like The Game Crafter. Again, this game is not "finished" but rather a prototype that is being put through the paces. I have tried to make that clear in other threads I have posted about the game, but admittedly, I have not made that statement here.

As far as the text, I completely agree with you. I will work on a way to make these more readable and functional. I have learned a great deal from some fellow designers in the area in the last several months about visual representation and have started incorporating those ideas into Big Pharma, but have not gone back to apply them to National Park yet. My first goal is to get Big Pharma to a state where it is easy to print and play, as this has been the game that I have put the most effort into recently.

jmzero wrote:
Have you printed this and cut it out? I'm asking this seriously, because the print sheets are not laid out reasonably for someone to print and cut. You have square tokens that aren't together on the sheet; this means it'll take 4 times as long to cut these out. There's a background color on the entire document - it's going to take half an ink cartridge to print this. You're not respecting the time or resources of the person you want to try this game.


Yep, I sure have, and I have played it numerous times (more than the recorded play count suggests). I see your point about background color and I will correct that. I will also look to find a way to make the pieces easier to cut out. I appreciate your suggestion, as I designed the pieces to be cut out in such a way that a bad cut on one piece would not negatively affect another, but I see your point about the extra time involved. Honestly, it didn't take me that long to do, but people are different and a negative first impression would be hard to overcome. What do you suggest to make it better?

jmzero wrote:
Game stuff: there is way too many destruction options to have them all available like that, and the rules are pointlessly fiddly and specific. It's a balance nightmare, and if you magically did balance them right then it's an a analysis nightmare. One of the options requires you to reference a table in the manual to find out what random effect you had, and the list of results is spread over two pages. You've added confusion and fiddliness for pretty much no interesting value.

If you want all those destruction options, maybe make them cards (and make their effects simple enough that they fit on cards). Now your manual is half the length, players have a reasonable set of options to evaluate per turn, and the game has more variety from turn to turn and game to game.

Mechanic change suggestion: Have a pool of disasters revealed each round, with "magnitude" numbers on them. At the end of the round, the player with the biggest DP (or whatever) gets the worst one, and it goes from there. Or something.


Thank you for this suggestion. I've been wrestling with how to make this less heavy in the rules, making less downtime in the game and make it a bit more interesting. I will look into this and see what I can come up with. Right now, I'm thinking of drawing 5 cards per round. each card with a single event and DP cost. Players must spend their DPs on the cards (in the order drawn) and complete the associated action until they can no longer complete a drawn event or until the events for that round are exhausted. Any left over points for that player are stored up until the next round and no additional cards from the current round would affect them. The only negative here, that I can see, is that this decreases player interaction in the game. I will think about and test some different ideas with this.


jmzero wrote:
Speaking of which, your game is sorely lacking in interesting interaction. The only thing that will change from game to game (given the same maps) is the color race. Otherwise, you could play it solitaire and map out your best build order (maximizing VP and minimizing your disaster exposure) without it mattering that there isn't other players. Your building path is deterministic and non-interactive; the "best disaster to play" is mostly invariant with other player's game states.

To shake this up, perhaps have competition for available improvements too? Consider trying Dungeon Lords for ideas on how this might work.


Having played the game several times, I'll respectfully disagree with you here. It's actually not deterministic at all and very much depends on what your opponent is doing. There is no minimizing disaster exposure. If you spend your improvement points, you generate nature's fury points. If you don't, or if you have more visitors than your campgrounds can hold, then you generate unruly visitors. you can buy a bunch of visitor centers and conservation stations to mitigate effects, but you will do so at the expense of generating additional improvement points and visitors in subsequent rounds and you will lose the game. (We've tested it). There has to be a balance and so far the balance works fairly well. I'm not saying it doesn't need tweaking, but you currently cannot circumvent a potential problem by playing a particular strategy.

jmzero wrote:
Your rules in general are too scattered, and they're littered with flavor/detail stuff that is indistinguishable from the underlying rules. I've played a LOT of games, and after a quick read of your rules I should have a much better idea of how to play than I do.


I know that this is so, but have struggled with ideas on how best to re-organize them. Other than what you mentioned above, do you have any further suggestions?

jmzero wrote:
The strongest feature I see about this design is that it could allow for simultaneous play with some tweaking. Simultaneous play is good, and the overall game could end up feeling kind of like Galaxy Trucker (which would be a good thing).


As I was finishing the initial design, I saw this possibility too. I wouldn't want it to feel like you were playing Galaxy Trucker, but I did want it to be similar in terms of building an engine and them letting your opponents tear it apart. If I go with a card deck for events, it will not be opponents, but rather the game itself. This is not necessarily bad, but, I'm not really trying to re-theme a game. I'm trying to create a new one that does similar things in a unique way. As stated previously, I will look into this design perspective and do some testing on it to see how it plays out. If it feels too much like GT, then I'll probably scrap the idea and come at it from a different angle.

jmzero wrote:
As it stands, though, I can't imagine printing this out. You need to put in some more effort before I think you can expect people to put in the significant effort that would be required to print and test this game. I'm sorry if the above stuff is mostly negative. To be clear and honest, I actually just finished a pass where I made it much less negative than it was... this design needs a lot of work.


Thanks for your honest opinion. Indeed, hearing only criticism is hard, so it is always good to hear what you did right as well as what you did wrong. Thanks again for taking a look, and be sure that your advice has not fallen on deaf ears.

5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cogentesque wrote:
Heya Brian,

From what I get from your thread is this: (im sorry if I misinterpreted)

1. Hey guys, I'm upset that no one wants to playtest my game
2. Am I doing ok?
3. Should I have made "Zombie Wars Crap Assault 12" instead? They seem to be getting interest

If this is what is at the heart of it all:

1. Getting playtesters is damned hard. I'm sorry if this next bit is offensive to anyone, but it really helped me come to terms, the honest truth of it is that no one cares about your game. (Im sorry to be so blunt and crude about it). Know that no one cares about your game, or ANYONE elses game. With what's called "Anchoring" setting in thanks to our human brains, any "Pnp" or any "playtest request" is as good as the next pnp or playtest. So this basically means people will not playtest your game as much as people will not playtest anyones game, however awesome it might be. You either need to work very very hard to get some playtesters, find people who just love playtestin' or pay some people (in currency, or any other resource: I find pizza and beer works well, some have a very good response on "Ill playtest yours, you playtest mine" as well)


Hi Sam,

Thanks for replying. I'm not upset that no one is playtesting my game. I'm just looking to figure out what I need to do to generate enough interest that people are willing to take a chance on one of my designs. These games are not finished. They are definitely in the early stages of design, with Big Pharma being a bit farther ahead in terms of polish. I definitely do want feedback on what I need to do better. As I said, I am just starting this quest, so I am looking for advice from the more experienced designers out there. I am definitely willing to reciprocate the effort with others who are looking for playtesters.

Cogentesque wrote:
2. Yes you are doing very very well, the fact that you even asked such a question shows us that you are really thinking about your game AND the wider meta situation that you find yourselves in, you are doing a lot better than many other people by simply asking this question


Thank you very much for the words of encouragement. Criticism, by it's nature, often feels very negative, and sometimes can be hard to take. I don't mind hearing it, but I do appreciate also hearing about what people like about a design, so I can see not only what I got wrong, but also what I got right.

Cogentesque wrote:
3. Hell no should you have made anything other than what you did. I think your game has a cracking theme. I did my degree in Biomedical Science and "Pharamaceutical industry" was one of my "Hey, I should make a game about this..." games for a long while, I'm happy that you are already on your quest and I think it's an awesome theme. I would heartily encourage you to keep doing what you are doing, keep trying out new themes, keep vereing away from standardized themes and being novel and innovative. From what you have said here, and your previous posting history, I officially declare that you are doing a damned fine job my friend Keep at it!

Hope i've helped,

sam


Thanks, Sam. I knew I would have a niche audience for this, but I am glad that someone in that audience does appreciate where I am trying to go with this, and that I am not entirely on the wrong track.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
qiagen wrote:
I agree that the internet is probably not the best source of play-testers.

It's a great way of soliciting feedback on a single idea (e.g. I found this problem with my game...any thoughts?). For play-testing though, you have to find someone excited enough about your game to not only take the time to learn the rules and construct the game, but to convince others to play it.

And then you need to find a lot of people like that.

It's a lot easier in the real world: as Sam says, you can bribe them with pizza (incentive) and you can bring the prototype to them directly, cutting out 90% of their effort instantly.



Hi Duncan,

I am finding this to be true as well, but it is very hard to find others willing to test your designs. I appreciate the problem, though. They don't know me. I don't have a reputation as a designer. The theme of my games is definitely not mainstream. Why should they bother? That's the question I'm trying to figure out how to answer. How do I make this worth their while? Pizza and Beer works for the locals, but I would like to expand my horizons.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
qiagen wrote:
One of the companies in 'Big Pharma' is called 'Splice O' Life' - 'Gremlins 2' reference or coincidence?

On skimming through the rules, my concern for 'Big Pharma' is that it seems awfully dry, more akin to a simulation than a game. That might not be a bad thing (it puts me in mind of 'Pandemic'), but it wouldn't be something that I'd rush out to buy. I can worry about things like this at work instead.

This is my long-winded way of saying that if you took your game and pasted on some slapstick humour (in a similar manner to the lab parody of Gremlins 2), I would be far more interested.

*Edited for clarification*


Yep, it is more of a simulation/economic game and not designed to be slap-stick. There are some event cards that are funny but that's more the exception than the rule. I was actually trying to avoid slapstick here, but you are the second person who recommended that route. I can't bring myself to do it, though. I work in the industry and I see how badly Pharma companies are misrepresented in our society as greedy corporations who care nothing for the patients. That couldn't be farther from the truth, in most cases, but a business is still a business and if you don't make a profit, you don't survive.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:
qiagen wrote:
...you can bring the prototype to them directly, cutting out 90% of their effort instantly.


An excellent point.

Printing up a few prototype copies of your game and MAILING them to a select group of playtesters might produce good results. The response I received after shipping out 100+ crude playtest versions of Civil War Express was better than expected.


Hi Pete,

Thanks for your suggestion. I did think about this too. Unfortunately, I find myself a bit too strapped for cash to try to do this. Maybe next year things will be better, and I can try something along those lines.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Homan
United States
O'Fallon
Missouri
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Geosphere wrote:
Hi Brian.

I am a developer, designer and playtester.

I've worked on games as diverse as the CCG Corunea and the expansions for Star Trek: Fleet Captains. I've done work for Wizkids, Hasbro and others.

I have worked on games that will never be released, and truly big name games.

I downloaded your National Park PDF.

This is not ready to be seen by the public yet.

For one, it isn't even spell checked. I'm assuming the graphics are beta test only. They are not functional for gaming, particularly some of the weird typefaces used on the maps.

It requires hiking trail/canoe route pieces. It gives no indication of what that means and they are not in the printout. From a game play graphic, it looks like maybe sticks. If so - what size?

Confustion really starts on page 2:
Forrest supports 3, 3 and 3 improvements (may also support 1 if 2 is already there). Fish improvement level may not exceed Water improvement level.


What is an improvement and what the heck are all of those colored numbers?

OK, there's a key at the bottom. I have no idea what improvements are yet, but apparently they come in grades. Is a level determined by a total number of cubes?

later:
Quote:
A maximum of three improvements are allowed per terrain (three at level 1, one at level 2 and one at level 1, or one at level 3) plus one hiking trail/canoe path.


While just a moment ago, you said it supported
Quote:
3, 3 and 3.


That's and AND, not an OR.

Do you mean three levels per type or three different types or three total levels or what?

This could EASILY be cured by having the spaces on the board having little areas for how many of what go there. Unfortunately, currently the spaces are pretty tiny for that.

Quote:
Terrain may also be changed into campgrounds, docks, learning centers and conservation stations.


Are these not improvements? What are they?

Now there's a line that says:
Quote:
Distance between spaces is
always measured by orthogonal moves, never diagonal.


Spaces? Distance? Nothing mentioning either has come up yet and here we have an exception to a rule not introduced.

The way levels are presented on the map as differing gradients is very un-intuitive.

Lakes have levels? Maybe depths? Or does it not have to due with a physical elevation and more with something else?

Throughout the rules, it is presented as if someone has already played the game.

There's IP, DP and VP. VP is NOT victory points...

Quote:
Level 0 (unimproved)/1/2/3 subtracts 1/2/3/4 Unruly Tourist DPs each round.


There has to be a better solution. Maybe unimproved IS level 1 already and 3 improvements becomes a level 4.

The too many uses of Level is not great.

I can't fathom trying to learn this game from these rules.

Overall, you need to have someone pick this apart before showing it to the public.


Paul,

Thanks for the feedback. I am aware that National Park needs a lot of work. I have had that one on hiatus while working on Big Pharma. The rules, as mentioned earlier, are too unruly . I appreciate your suggestions on what to address. As you have a good deal of experience with this, can you bullet point for me the order in which you would lay out the rules? I'm not expecting you to spend a lot of time on this, but I'm looking more for a jumping off point in terms of putting things in a more logical order and then working on making it more concise.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bmhoman1 wrote:
can you bullet point for me the order in which you would lay out the rules?


First, define EVERYTHING. What it represents and what the game piece is. Like improvements. Are they cubes? Are they numbered cubes or numbers OF cubes.

Then - how to WIN. Over view the game.

Then start getting into the steps of the turn.

And you need to have spaces for improvements on the map spaces. Really. That will clear up a ton of issues.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Westgard
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Geosphere wrote:
bmhoman1 wrote:
can you bullet point for me the order in which you would lay out the rules?


First, define EVERYTHING. What it represents and what the game piece is. Like improvements. Are they cubes? Are they numbered cubes or numbers OF cubes.

Then - how to WIN. Over view the game.

Then start getting into the steps of the turn.


Wow...That really sums up rule book writing pretty well...I actually wish someone like you would outline the general sequence of writing rules in some thread of it's own. Thanks!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.