The most boring part of game design

For me, there are a few really exciting parts of game design, some average parts, and then there is one REALLY boring part. These kind of go in chronological order too.

EXCITING PART
The original idea is my favorite part. The moment you feel it click into place and realize that it all might work out.. is so awesome. It might be a mechanic or theme, or combination of both, but it just feels really good to know that you’re onto something.

The first prototype is a lot of fun too. I use cheap decks of cards, index cards, scraps of paper, or even computer printouts for early versions of games. Playing the game in this form is super important. It looks like crap and the mechanics need to speak for themselves, draw you in, and most of all.. work. I’ve saved most of the early prototypes of my games. Some look exactly like the final games and others are just cards with words. Those are my favorite.

The first playtests are great too. There is a level of excitement in those initial games that’s hard to match. Especially if everything is working out.

It’s all downhill from here.

AVERAGE PART
Creating artwork… more tests… researching materials to try and self produce the game… all of these are necessary steps and aren’t that bad, just a little tedious and frustrating. It’s like a “make it or break it” stage where most of my games are currently sitting. I’d love to continue but I’m not a real artist and I have very little money and very little time to get out and playtest. It’s easy to get stuck here.

But if you can get through all of it, you’ll make it to the worst part of all!!!!!

BORING PART
Typing out the rules to your game.

I hate this part so much. Think about how boring it is to read the rules before playing a game. Writing the rules is 1000X worse. In most cases I’ll have the rules written on various sheets of paper and I’ve also partially forgotten how to play. I’ll sit and stare at the paper until it all makes sense and then slowly type it out. It’s the most boring thing in the world.

That’s where I am with Cafe Catastrophe. I forgot some of the exact rules, but luckily found my notes from last year. I assumed the rules were lost and figured I could rewrite from memory. So glad I didn’t have to do that though, because there was one really fun bonus rule that I completely forgot. It’s not a gamechanger, but it definitely adds a little fun to each round.

As of tonight, I’ve typed up all of the rules. Glad to have that behind me. The next stage is to send the game off to print. I’ll be sending it off within the next few weeks and keep you posted about what happens after that. (SPOILER: it’s the promo stage, which is my weakest area…)

Advertisements

Almost satisfied with Cafe Catastrophe

Cafe Catastrophe is a fun little restaurant management game (doesn’t sound fun) that I’ve been working on for a while now. It’s almost complete. I’ve finished all of the card art and I’m now refreshing myself with the rules. I may or may not have written them out on my old computer. Can’t fully remember, and definitely need to start writing everything down.

But while I wait to see if the rules pop up, I’ve been rewriting what I can remember. I’ve got most of it down, there’s one gamechanger that I’m stuck on. Whether the cards are dealt face down or face up. It changes things drastically and I know that both weren’t considered before. Maybe an alternate set of rules or an all new game.

Anyway, the game will be ordered as soon as I find enough money, and I’ll definitely post more as we get closer to some real news.


Updates

Been working on a few different games recently. I actually found a notepad with some of my first game ideas and drawings, as well as the initial ideas for this website. Looking back at the game ideas, I think I’ve come a long way as a designer. Strategy and mechanics mean so much more to me now than they did before. Players being able to control their actions means much more as well.

The current game I’m working on can go two different ways. Fully controlled by the player, or moves determined by random cards. I’m trying to find the perfect balance between the two. If it’s too random, there is no point to even play. If there is no randomness, the better players will find the fastest path from A to B and the game will be broken. It’s a constant battle in my head and on paper.

I’m looking into options for a physical release of Cafe Catastrophe and Lines of Fire. Those games are both almost complete and ready to go. They’ll cost a little more to produce than the previous games I’ve made, but I’m definitely trying to figure out how to get them produced ASAP.

I’m also working on a game tentatively called Wasteland. I’m trying to capture the feel of map building in games like Sim City, with some bartering and cooperative gameplay thrown in. I want to test this one forever before it’s finished, though.

Finally. we’ve been working on Pixel Lincoln: The Video Game. It all started here a few years ago with the card game. The game is looking awesome, but we made some trading cards of the background characters as a throwback to the old topps trading cards. The characters have some stats on the back, so I will definitely find a way to make these playable. Hopefully next time we print up a card game, I’ll be getting some of these printed up as well. Here are a few. More at http://www.fauxrobo.com