3 Game Production Resources

A quick post today with some links to resources for producing a physical game.  Having started making a card game, which has the potential to be a physical game, it would most likely be a good idea to have some resources around for physical production.  Maybe my game will never make it that far, but maybe yours will.

Game Crafter
This company can help you produce your game.  Or they have resources for prototyping.  Buy a la cart bits to build your own.

Game Salute
A small company in NH which helps wrangle the psychical goods from Kickstarter campaigns.  They help produce and distribute card and board game supplies.  Almost a publisher, but not quite.

Board Game Geek
More links to all kinds of supplies and resources for board and card game publication.

Play Test Round 1

The Design of my card game is going well.  This week the call volume is high which means time to buckle down at the day job.  Working on this is going to get put on hold.  Lunch breaks are 30 minutes, and I’m picking up extra hours.  No downtime to spend working on Dormouse Games, let alone a personal side project like this.  But over the past couple weeks some play tests were done, and some lessons learned.

Previously I had locked down the card list.  But then decided not to make all of the building cards.  In retrospect this was a good idea.  Of the game concepts the ‘blueprints’, aka building deck, seems to be working out the least well.  Keep that in mind if you’re play testing as well.

The initial play was by myself and produced a ton of edge cases, and specific thoughts on the rules.  Unfortunately I did not record them adequately.  So take this as a lesson, and dont make the same mistake.  When play testing, either by yourself, or with others, make sure to have a way to record the specifics of what you want to change.

That being said, the biggest change to make is to the worker deck.  The way the cards are constructed at present, card draw is SUPER easy.  Playing cards is SUPER difficult.  You can get a ton of cards into your hand, but getting them back out is a bottleneck.  This is very frustrating.

There are two adjustments that come to mind.  The ‘higher level’ workers, the ones which cost salt to play, will get decreased card counts going forward.  This will change the chance the regular workers are drawn. Drawing those cards early sucks because salt has a lower draw rate.  These cards tend to just sit in your hand. Additionally cards like Logger, are going to lose the ‘draw again’ mechanic.  Which is going to be replaced with ‘play one’ instead.  This will prevent the build up of additional cards and make them come out of the hand easier.

There is tons of polish left, and lots to do, and these are just the macro changes.  There will be plenty of time later for the specific polish and edge cases.  Right now the Buildings deck needs a lot of work.  Although I’m not sure what exactly will change.

I accidentally a…

So I accidentally made a card game prototype recently.  My assigned task was to work on the GDD for Steam Scouts: Alchemy.  Which I did work on (GDD’s are never finished).  However, inspiration does not follow the plan.  The prototype is a castle building, tactics card game.  After playing a lot of Disruptor Beams great Game of Thrones: Ascent, the card game came to me. I wanted to play stone block cards and build castles a bit quicker.

 Although the paper prototype is a playable card game, it would make a much better electronic CCG.  The deck of cards consists of 300+ cards for two players which are sorted into four piles.  In today’s environment of Dominion and Ascension a 300 card count boxed card game is not very daunting.  But for two players who want a quick game…  That’s a lot of logistical issues.

An encounter with Joshua AC Newman inspired me to give it away and see what happens.  The Card list and rules will be free, but you have to actually hand make your own cards (no mass production please).  I’m going to slowly pursue testing, feedback, and later stages of game development.  The goal is to enjoy the process of creating, testing, and releasing a card game.  This is really my attempt to test the ideas which Amanda Palmer so frequently espouses, and for which Josh  is also extremely enthusiastic.  For me it’s an attempt to unlearn my business degree, and rebuild it.  Call it an experiment in deprogramming.  I’m going to make a thing, put my heart and soul into it (enjoy every minute of its creation for its own sake) and then set it loose in the world and see what happens.

This game is being created for fun, the point of which is the process more than the product.  While this game shouldn’t take off the learning has been valuable and enjoyable.  It will be a hobby and a labor of love.  If I get a few people that want to play a couple rounds with me, it will be a success.  Maybe it will take off.  Maybe I can make a full art electronic version.  Maybe even a boxed card version.  If people really like it, who knows?

What would it feel like to sit down at a table at Pax East and play a couple rounds with complete strangers?  Playing my own card game… At a convention.  Positive or negative feedback, that would feel awesome.  But doubly so if people were passionate about it.

One bit of the game design that I really need your help with is naming the game.  What should I call it?

3 online games that turn CCG’s upside down.

With Hearthstone coming soon to slay all other CCG’s, deck construction games are a bit of a blast from the past. Magic: The Gathering has defined what deck constructions is and should be for so many years, that thinking in different mechanics is a bit hard to do. Wizards of the Coast has almost 50% of the market share of CCG‘s. Yu-Gi-o has another 20%. Pokemon has about 10% and World of Warcraft around 5%.

What is the current state of online deck building and collectible card games? Here are a few that I’ve played online. These games are popular, but do they really push the bounds of electronics CCGs?  Let’s find out.

Clash of the Dragons
Representative of classic CCG online, Clash of the Dragons has a map, a story, you move around the game board and collect cards by defeating AI.  With of course the obligatory PVP mode. It represents the best of Kongregate, and one of the better free to play games.  The story mode drags a bit. Playing against humans might be more interesting, but gathering the cards needed (via story mode) takes a while.  Unless you pay.

Although not strictly speaking a collectible card game, SolForge has come out of the deck building card games like Ascension. Which is literally true as they are made by the same company.  This game hews more closely to the concept of ‘a card’. At Pax East 2013 the game played as though you have cards in front of you. However the cards themselves can change over time. They upgrade in ways that traditional card board cards cannot.

High Grounds
An interesting thing happens when you move from the table top to the computer. You start to question what it means to be a ‘card’ anymore.  Does it have to be square? What are the stats?  www.Highgroundsgame.com recently released by SpryFox, makers of the amazing Triple Town, is an interesting game which challenges what a ‘deck building’ game is.

The ultimate problem with collectible card games basically stems from their collectible nature. Online people have short attention spans. Some players don’t want to slog through hours of story line to develop a good deck as in Clash of the Dragons. And some players don’t want to pay for cards. It’s a tricky balance. Of the three Highgrounds seems to strike that balance really well.

Now take a look at my card game.