We’re only 12 days in to the 54-Card Game Design Contest and we’re already at 16 entries! So far they run the gamut: solo games, 4-8 player games, eurogames, “take that” games, games with awesome original art & graphic design, games that use a standard deck of playing cards. The team and I are working our way through the rules & cards of all of the “Component Ready” games and quite a few of them have gotten some great feedback in the less than two weeks they’ve been open to the public.
I’m continually amazed by the BGG community! Everyone is contributing to other designs in the contest. Whether it’s providing feedback on the rules, walkthroughs of how their plays went, ideas on how to improve/tweak/balance games, or graphic design & art suggestions, people just want to help make great games. I’m happy that we went this route to find games to publish – even if we don’t publish every single one, I’m confident that the feedback designers get on their games will help improve them and get them signed with other publishers.
Speaking of signing games… I think we’re dangerously close to signing our first game! One of the submissions we received was actually in a BGG design contest earlier this year (I won’t name any names since nothing is official yet…) I remember seeing the design during the contest and it seemed interesting but I didn’t get a chance to play it then. The contest was wrapping up right around the time Lorelai was born. So when it came in I started digging around on the design forums and looking into it. At first it seemed clever so I watched the playthrough video for it. Then I actually tried the game out (print & play files were available). And then I played it again. And again. And then I had Mike (one of the co-founders of SRG) play it. He was able to confirm my suspicion – the game was fantastic! We’re getting it in front of the rest of the team as soon as possible but I think this one is a keeper.
It’s exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time! We’re going to find a game that we love, make a commitment to publishing it, and do everything we can to get it out to the community. Hopefully we can do the game justice and put together something that the designer and the team can be proud of. I’m nervous, but I’m also confident that we can make it happen.
You should start seeing some more blog posts coming over the next few months. I plan on testing out contest entries as they become component ready so I’ll put some of my thoughts here. I’m sure the rest of the team will have inputs as well. Plus, if/when we sign a game we’ll update everyone and keep you in on the process of publishing.
I like to think that most of the time I’m a patient person. But when I step back I realize that it’s a constant struggle for me. Sometimes I’m too quick to anger when my kids do something they shouldn’t, even though I’ve told them multiple times to not do it. At work, I’ve caught myself getting frustrated when someone doesn’t reply to a message I sent a few minutes ago (I know you’re at your desk, answer my question!!!).
I’ve also noticed my impatience on the hand full of game designs I’ve worked on. I get an idea in my head for a game concept, spend a bunch of time putting together a nice prototype, and get it to the table expecting it to work like a charm before the first playtest. I’m even trying to price out the manufacturing costs, shipping costs, and potential backer levels! And within the first 5 minutes of the very first playtest it’s broken. I want it to work! Why isn’t already done!?!
I’ve been consuming lots of game design media & content and it’s become much clearer that you can’t afford to be impatient when it comes to design. Playtesting constantly, iterating and reiterating, tweaking, getting feedback – these all take time. With so many great games coming to the market today, you have to do the work to ensure that your game is worth it. And the only way to do that is to be patient. You have to understand that 99% of the time a design just won’t work the first time. Or the second. But gradually, through an actual design process you can start to see progress. And that progress is what takes a game from an idea to something playable to something good to something great.
As a new publisher, I’ve found that patience is still important and still a challenge. We’re running our contest on BoardGameGeek starting on December 1st. Why isn’t December 1st yet!?!? I want to see some awesome designs that we fall in love with and just have to publish. Some of the submissions we’ve received through the site have been interesting enough to seek out more info. And with those as well, we have to be patient. We want to find the best designs out there and make them products. But we can’t publish them all and we have to be selective. And this is even more critical for us starting out since we can’t afford any misses in our first few published games.
Again, patience is the best and patience is the worst. 🙂 Until next time!
This weekend the guys got together to hold the first official Board Meeting of Side Room Games. Most of our planning efforts have been through email and messaging so we thought it made sense to get together to discuss business. And… Mike just got Gloomhaven in the mail so it made sense to get some “research” in and start a campaign. 😁
On the Gloomhaven side, that game is a magnificent beast! Without question the biggest board games I’ve ever seen. We started off watching the extremely helpful how to play videos on the Cephalofair website; if you’re about to start a campaign I’d highly recommend checking them out. I went with the Brute for our party and my inexperience as a “tank” in an adventuring party was quickly discovered. Opening the door to the second room and seeing 6 baddies I just assumed I could jump in and start crushing dudes. I was immediately met with volley of arrows from the 3 archers in the back of the room, turning me into a meat pincushion. After losing me so early in the scenario, the rest of the party was slowly overcome and we failed miserably.
You would think such a rough loss would poorly color my judging of the game, but it didn’t. I loved it! I loved the fact that your decisions mattered and if you did dumb stuff you were going to pay for it. I loved the need for general planning on how to approach new rooms and villains. I loved the fact that the hidden goals and motives allow you to grow & mold a character into more than just stats & cards. And the story that gets told through the components as well as the gameplay was very cool. We’re itching to get a second crack at the first scenario; hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.
On the business side, we’re still feeling out what the core responsibilities are going to be for the founders. I have ideas on where folks fit, but we’ll be working out a partnership agreement soon to formalize the roles and officially forming an LLC. Be on the lookout for future posts on how to do this, as well as any how-to’s/issues we ran into.
We also had an initial handful of submissions for game designs. A few of them seem promising so we’ve reached out to the designers to get more info and some video pitches with more details on how the game flows.
And finally, lots of questions on the 54-Card Design Contest that kicks off on December 1st. Check it out on BGG if you’re interested in entering a design, playtesting and providing feedback, or just seeing what happens. I know we’re stoked for it and I can’t wait to see what folks come up with.
Welcome to Side Room Games! It’s almost like we’re professionals… We have a website, a blog, email addresses, and a Facebook page. Pretty exciting stuff!
We have big plans for 2018 so I wanted to start a blog to track our progress from start up to publishing our first game. I plan on using the blog to let everyone know how things are progressing for us, what we learn through this process, and what colossal mistakes to avoid (we’ll try to keep that one to a minimum). Hopefully folks find it useful, or at the very least entertaining. 🙂
In case you weren’t aware, we’ll be running a contest on boardgamegeek.com for a 54 card game design. You can check out all of the details here. We’re also accepting design submissions so if you have anything check out our Submissions page. If you have any questions send us an email or hit us up on our Facebook page.