I’ve been writing to a lot of reviewers over the past few weeks, to try to make sure that there are some live reviews of Shenanigans when it launches. I’m a big fan of informed choice. As I’m sure you’re already aware, some reviews won’t touch prototypes for games on Kickstarter. I don’t write to reviewers who explicitly state on their sites that they don’t do KS – that’s rude – but I always end up talking to a few who don’t by accident or because the policy change is recent. This time I’ve been asking people why they don’t do Kickstarter, partly out of curiosity but also to improve my own practices so that I don’t contribute to other reviewer’s negative experiences of the platform. I thought that it might be interesting to share some of my results.
Continue reading How not to drive reviewers away from Kickstarter
Shenangians has been an interesting project to work on, because it very explicitly needs to work for players who aren’t generally tabletop gamers. What’s more, while this is usually a difficult group to recruit playtesters from (who’d have suspected a link between being really into games and being willing to volunteer time to their development!) I’ve had access to a steady supply of new players through The People’s Orchestra.
Continue reading Developing Outside the Bubble
Humour is a great tool across the board and game design is no exception. It won’t carry a game on its own, but it can go a long way towards making a good experience great. It’s also a fantastically volatile tool, if it doesn’t work at best it’s a little embarrassing, at worst it’s outright offensive. Doing it badly can utterly sour what might otherwise be an enjoyable experience. Yet trying to get it right is also undeniably attractive, when I found out just how far musicians go in mocking each others foibles my first reaction wasn’t “Better tread carefully and keep that out of the game”. It was “Fantastic, that’s going in!”
Continue reading Rules for Taking the Piss
The majority of games that use decks of cards do not use every card in every game. In a game of Settlers of Catan, the progress deck contains 25 cards, but in the average game only half of that will be used. At the start of each game, as the deck is shuffled, the invisible hand of fate makes decisions like “For this game only, Year of Plenty will not exist”.
Continue reading Set Balance