Eggs in a basket

So I've got several other games I'm working on at the moment. Different types of games from IMDL! One of the things I've heard is that if you're serious about game design, you should try a diversify, so my other efforts have been vastly different, which has been a nice change. Smaller to design, less pieces to create, and quicker to play.

I've went to another design workshop at the weekend. As I've said in the Design blog, they are invaluable for feedback. I tested a couple; The Road Crew which is a light 'take that' game based around roadies at a festival, and an abstract game called Stalagmites.

I've got a tendency to gold plate my prototypes, which one could argue, could be a monumental waste of time, especially if they're rubbish. I didn't do that with Stalagmites. It played well, better than I thought, so now I feel justified buying some game pieces for it.

Seriously, if I won the lottery, I think I'd set up an Australasian center for game parts. They take a bloody age to get here. I've been waiting over 4 weeks for counters and dice to arrive for another game I'm working on.

Back to drawing board...

Designing myself into a corner - Part 2

If I want to self publish the game, I'm going to source these dice from somewhere. The obvious choices are to go to the companies that produce their own.

I contacted Libellud within the last couple of weeks. They've said straight away that they're not available for third parties. Bummed as they're a beautiful design.

Rio Grande have been taken my shopping list of required bits including face artwork, but they've yet to get back to me. That was before GenCon.

So there are 3 avenues open at this point:

  1. Source from the supplier - looking less likely by the day.
  2. Make my own - where to begin with this, I have no idea.
  3. Change the game design to use another mechanic - This is possible but goes against the point of the game.

It's difficult choice. There seems little point working the rest of it until I know I can get the dice. I'll give it another week. Finger's crossed...

Stumbling in the Dark...

Okay, so what do I need to set up a publishing machine?

  • An awesome name.
  • A cool logo and some willing artist to design it for me. 
  • A limited company using my awesome name.
  • A website.

That's a start. I already had the name in mind. The Motherlode had a nice double meaning, and it was the name me and a few of my friends used in our other creative enterprises. Never with 'Games' slapped at the end of it though.

I also had a logo design, so I scoured Deviant Art for an artist who I liked the look of, and was available. I came across Taylor Schmidt's page. I liked his nice clean style and he did logos which was a bonus.

Just over a week later, he had my idea nailed.

(Incidentally, I asked him if was interested in doing the artwork for IMDL!, but after writing down a 'shopping list' of art required, he said he didn't have the time.)

Choices...

So about a month ago, I found myself at a crossroads. As far as I could see it (and I may be wrong in this assumption), I had 2 options:

  1. Rest on my laurels until next year, make my way to one of the events that Rio Grande (or Asmodee/Libellud) attend, and then go on the charm offensive.
  2. Try and publish this beast myself.

As I'm horribly impatient, option 1 was tough to stomach. Option 2 seemed to be an insurmountable task.

However, the idea of building something for myself was an extremely appealing idea (even if it was daunting). And really, there was nothing to lose in at least trying.

So, the first big question was, where does one start?

Designing myself into a corner and important Lesson #2

As you'll read in the Design Blog, the main component which everything else is built around in IMDL! is the reconfigurable dice. There are not many companies that produce them. Rio Grande (the makers of Rattlebones) and more recently Asmodee/Libellud, who have just released Dice Forge, (very fun game) are the only two I've found. (Not counting the Lego games.) Which means all roads lead to them.

The final event of the year that Rio Grande were attending was Gencon just gone. I found this out about 3 weeks before the event. My very understanding wife said if I needed to go, I should go, but it was the big 50 for GC, and tickets were extremely thin on the ground. Unfortunately it wasn't gong to happen.

So I'm going to have to wait. The next available time will be the middle of next year to have the opportunity to speak to Rio Grande in the flesh.

Which brings me to important lesson number two: Plan ahead. Don't wait until the last minute until you think the game is finished and then expect everybody to queue up to look at it because it isn't going to happen. 

Things I have learnt #1 (of many)

Board game publishers aren't really interested in seeing you game in an email, no matter how funky your sell sheet looks. Generally, they won't even look at a game unless they can see it with their own eyes in person. And the place to do this is at event/convention they're attending. And you need make an appointment with them beforehand. No wandering up to strangers with pieces of folded card. No sir, that is not a good look.

Here in lies my first, and quite large, problem. I live at the bottom of the world, quite some distance away from most major conventions...

I'm probably being quite naive...

14 months in and I think I've got something. The last playtest at the Wellington Designer's Workshop went well, as had the last two run-throughs prior. The players enjoyed it, I gave them the option to dive out half way but they want to keep playing. A good sign. Minor things were raised at the end, more suggestions than issues but, dare i say it, I've got a playable game on my hands.

I had set myself a goal that if the response was positive at the workshop, I'd take it the next, larger, more monumental step, and see if I could actually get IMDL! published.

This blog is to keep a journal of how, when or if it indeed happens.