One of the most important things that I’ve learned both by reading other people’s blogs and being a part of the board game community, is that even if you think that you are ready you should not launch your product before y0u double-check a few things first. There are plenty blogs out there advising you on what you need to do before you launch so I’m going to stick to few basic and strict truths that you need to hear or read in this case again and again:
Your project is probably mediocre at best ! – But it is ok to start with mediocre project, so lock your spell books and artifacts away hang your wizard’s robe and start working on something you can relate. For me that’s food. I love to cook, and try out new recipes and most importantly eat great quantities of it. So I’ve created a game with that theme but more on that later. Now before you think pfft I’m not really into no-maj stuff, and I have no interest of making games of that kind, well think of this: You are not George R. R. Martin or Tolkien either. My point is in order to build a fantasy world you need to actually build the world. However if you are 100% determined or you really have something unique to go with that theme, build a story first and then try to link a few game mechanisms to it. This will provide the pillars on which you can build your core game mechanic which brings me to the second truth that you need to read.
Your core game mechanic is faulty ! – But it is ok to start with faulty core game mechanic. Wait what?? How can this be?? – you think, if something does not work then you should delete it and start over right?? Well not necessarily. No matter how hard you try at the beginning there will always be that one piece that does not fit and stands out like a torn. Maybe you can’t see it but someone else will. If people you are testing your game with are honest with you there will be comments like: “The turns are too long…” , “End game scoring should happen faster ” , “I simply don’t get this action why we need to do this???” What you can do for the time being is just leave out that part but don’t delete it. If your turns are too long cut some actions make them short, if the end game scoring is too long or not working leave it out just have fun with the game. If someone does not get specific part of the game ask if another person could explain it to them, and observe. If the person explaining it is wrong too then consider changing that part since it is really confusing. Which you guessed it brings me to the next subject.
This is too confusing for me I’ll just launch and hope for the best I’m building a simple game anyway right??? WRONG!!! – Now let’s say you’ve made an effort to read few blogs, know your bearings sort of speak. You’ve read a part of Jamey Stegmaier’s blog, some other part of James Mathe’s blog and suddenly you understand the whole process!! Well good for you, bravo !!! You are not still ready to launch, no matter how small or simple the project is. First you should not launch a project just to test your designer skills. Every project you launch you should believe in 100% . I could not stress enough how important is for you to invest yourself in the project. Some people say that we live in the golden era of information age, so getting your project out there is not a problem at all. But guess what? that is also a great drawback since there are too many projects out there just as good and even better than yours. So why should people invest time and energy in your project when you don’t invest the time yourself. Remember it does not need to be perfect as I mentioned above but work on it whenever you can. Get those creative juices flowing by playing and testing other people’s games too and make your project with passion and love. At the end you will discover a great secret. Your mediocre project has grown into something beautiful and unique. Your core mechanic is not only perfect but flexible so you can add more content later. Finally you are grateful that you did not launched before it’s time and now you can finally do it with a great sense of accomplishment.