PITCH OR PUBLISH

A great article by Jasmine Davis of the League of Gamemakers. It outlines the pro’s and con’s of self-publishing a game versus pitching a game to a publisher. This decision can be overwhelming but it is an important one to make because as the article describes doing both normally ends in indecision and in stagnating a project.

STARTING A GAME

This is the start of my game making process: sketches and notes. Once I figure out the basic game flow I start fleshing out card stats, player turns, etc. Then I go back over my notes again and again: slowly tweaking the game as it all comes together. This process takes place over the course of a few months ending with the first alpha print out. The brainstorm phase is my favorite part of the game designing process.

BOARD GAME ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

I came across a great article written by Tom Jolly from The League of Game Makers (@leagueGM) the other day. The article was written about different ways of executing Artificial Intelligence in board games. Some of the more basic ways I’ve seen AI used are drawing from an exclusive deck of actions cards or rolling a custom dice.  Depending on the depth of the game more variation for AI may be required: for instance if the AI need to make moves/actions based on the players decisions in the game. I would highly recommend this article for game designers, very good read. PHOTO: leagueofgamemakers.com

TYPOGRAPHY TIPS

James Van Niekirk creator of @MinionsofMordak, wrote a very good article on basic design principals for laying out text in games. Text is the key element in most games and can cause a lot of unneeded clutter and confusion if handled improperly. I recommend the article for any starting out in the board game industry.

KEYMASTER GAMES

I’d like to shine a spotlight on one of my favorite game companies in the industry right now :@KeymasterGames. Keymaster Game has created  titles such as CAMPY CREATURES and most recently SPACE PARK. The thing I admire most about them is their design work. The founders have graphic design backgrounds which comes out in the projects they create. Keymaster Games works with clean design that one normally sees with executive branding or high end product design. The accompanied illustrations are always colourful, vibrant and sharp. Check out their catalog of titles here.

FIGURE PROTOTYPING

Armies of Primus features many figures, nearly 150. The original plan for the game was to make a print & play paper miniature game, as I am obsessed with a bunch of Patreon artists who are creating them mainly for Role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The figures I created for my beta game were created by spraying Rustoleum NeverWet on cheap colour print outs from my local office store. You can use pretty much any acrylic spray fixative available at any craft/hardware store. For the bases I purchased a bunch online from LITKO Game Accessories (@litkoga)  that are designed for flat paper miniatures. After the figures are printed and sprayed you just glue, fold, cut  and color the white edges with a black marker for a final polish. In the end you’ve got a pretty nice result.

DICE PROTOTYPING

For Armies of Primus I needed some custom dice for attacking and defending. When I was starting out I simply used standard d6’s from the dollar store and provided players with a roll chart. Using a roll chart was useful when fixing the die face balancing before I committed to a final layout and design. After I was sure of the balance, I printed black and white symbols onto mailing labels and cut them by hand. As an added protection I spray lacquered the stickers with some Rustoleum NeverWet spray. It was a bit of work but in the end, the beta dice work great and are much easier to use than a roll chart.

GAME ECONOMY

I’ve been vigorously play testing an upcoming title, it is currently in it’s beta stage, and one of the biggest challenges I am facing is game economy. Right now I’m trying to find that sweet spot between giving the player too much currency (in this game: Mana) and not enough. The game takes a little too long for a player to gain enough Mana and make a significant amount of in-game purchases. The end goal is to make each player feel like they get a lot done in a turn, and not that they are infinitely waiting on Mana to generate.

Colton Balske