First of all I would like to introduce myself, my name is Ivan Ristov and I founded a board game publishing company Devanchi Games 2 years ago. Some of you if not most of you will think 2 years is just a long time to develop a product and that is true. However, there is a lot more in running a publishing company then just developing a product. You need to manage the whole process from start to finish and that means a lot of sleepless nights of plotting and scheming. But before you start burning that midnight oil there are couple of things that you should do to ease your pain sort of speak.
- Gain skill in Adobe illustrator, Photoshop or other design tool: The most important thing that you should do is learn how to draw simple objects in adobe Photoshop or illustrator. Not because you can develop the skill to design the game yourself oh no leave that part to the professionals, but having basic knowledge helps you communicate your wishes better and also gives you another perspective on game design more refined and more true to your abilities. In other words what can and what can’t be done. Don’t get me wrong anything is possible in these days. There are people who can really make your dreams come true. However they also charge mucho dineros, lot’s of buckozoids and unless you are Richie Rich you probably will not be able to afford their services. But this does not mean that you should quit altogether too. Just know your limits.
- Search, play and contribute to other games: Although you will think “well that’s easy I’ve being doing this anyway.” Well it is not quite the same when you are designing a game yourself. First of all you will tend to notice a lot of things like who is the artist? who is the publisher? is it on KS or not? how is it doing? and a lot more. When contributing either by commenting on the social media or contacting the company directly you might get lucky and learn something new. Something that you did not knew but it is very important for your progress.
- Contact other people from the industry: Hey you have a YouTube channel right? Let me tell you about my Kickstarter 🙂 . Presently this is a common meme because sadly a lot of people do not make the effort of contacting other people from the industry. They just paste their KS link and hope that someone will click it and get hooked on the game. This is wrong, for multiple reasons. First it makes you look like a chat bot spreading spam. Second some people might think that it is some sort of a trick or scheme, and god knows there have been lots of these all over the web. Finally you are not getting anything back. Even if some people decide to support you, still you are getting far less then you should. There are lots of experienced publishers, designers and reviewers that you should be learning from not trying to get their 40$. Trust me they’ve seen a lot of better projects then yours and are not easily hooked.
- Join support groups Once you have done all things from above you are ready to join the various groups in the community in which you can share your more delicate questions and get response from the community. Just be sure to read the rules first and ask questions related to the group. Once I posted a topic to a wrong group and wondered what’s the deal why is no one answering me, so know the rules. Besides posting your questions you can also learn a lot of things by reading the comments of different people. Sometimes if not most of the times the main post is not that important to you but the conversation in the comments it sure is, so be aware of that.
- Watch game reviews or playthroughs This is one of the most important steps towards developing your game design skill. Firstly it allows you see how players react to different elements and mechanics of a game. Secondly you will learn the lingo that people use to describe the same elements for example what is worker-placement game? what is deck builder? and so on. Finally you might get inspiration boost some element or artwork might inspire you to design something similar, but that does not mean that you should just copy the whole thing and rebrand people tend notice these things and makes your game look like a bad copy of the original.
All in all the best asset in game design is your patience. Remember slow and steady wins the race. Always double check if not triple check everything. There is an old saying the master tailor measures 10 times and only cuts once. Be like the master tailor and you will design a great game.