Both Iconoclasm and Turn of Time have now reached a mature stage.
The 4 player testing is completed and annotated test games have been published to the
Iconoclasm and Turn of Time homepages.
Some additional testing of the 2/3/5 player variants remain but I'm in no hurry to order the prototypes.
Instead, I consider options for exposing the game ideas to other people first:
Presentation of the game concepts at my next game test evening scheduled at 12 October.
Use Kickstarter as a vehicle for community discussions for
Speaking of crowdfunding, Find the Bug! unfortunately failed to fund. It was a gamble to design a game for a
non-gamer community (the testing community), even if several colleagues have shown interest.
Nevertheless, I find consolation in the fact that many people looked at the game at FundedByMe,
The Game Crafter and my own homepage and have learnt many lessons for future crowdfunding.
The most important one is to build a fanbase first, which is what I will do before I launch the
campaign for Iconoclasm (if the game turns out good enough of course).
There are several good sources on how to do this, for example
Stonemaier Games Kickstarter Lessons.
Additional advice are as always welcome!
If you belong to the crowd who liked Find the Bug!, the game is available both at
The Game Crafter and
as a free Excel version at the game homepage.
Week 38, 2014:
Another intensive week is at an end. Iconoclasm had another update whereby spirits are removed at
iconoclasms as well. This, in combination with a forced move rule in the end turn, created a less
chaotic and more predictable (i.e. tactical) game. The rules and annotated games are available at
the Iconoclasm homepage.
My second game in progress, Turn of Time, also has a homepage and is
also available at The Game Crafter.
It still needs some testing to assess the need of a game length limit and come up with good strategic
advice but the rules are very solid so far.
Least but not last, Kickstarter finally opened up for Swedish submissions so perhaps Iconoclasm will
launch a crowdfunding campaign sooner than expected. An alternative is to first publish the game as work
in progress at Boardgamegeek to get feedback. Do you have any preferences for which game that is best
suited for crowdfunding and by what means? Please let me know!
Week 37, 2014:
An intensive week is at an end. The testing of Iconoclasm entered a second level as
I tested and rejected several variants until I was satisfied. The game components have now
been created at The Game Crafter.
The 5th Street Challenge contest proceeded to the semifinals but unfortunately without my games
Bake the Cake! and Find the Treasure!, although they did receive more votes than my previous contest game,
Mare Balticum. A new contest has already been announced, Time Challenge,
and I already have an idea for a game. Initially, I thought of rewriting Iconoclasm with seasons instead of
elements, but the contest cost limit is too low for that game. Instead, I continued with the idea of four
seasons fighting each other by turning time back and forth and Turn of Time was born! It's going to be yet
another abstract game and the initial tests are promising.
Another piece of good news was that my
crowdfunding campaign for Find the Bug! got its first backers. They're most likely too few and too late but
it's nevertheless an improvement compared to my first crowdfunding campaign. I still think testing is too narrow
for a game but perhaps Iconoclasm can attract more backers with good pre-marketing?
Week 36, 2014:
The focus of this week was writing strategies for my old games. In my
testing methodology, I recommended using test documentation for this
purpose, and after having done it myself, I've realized how powerful it is for understanding what
takes place in the player's mind while playing. Even seemingly simple games like the children's games
Bake the Cake! and Find the Treasure! can take advantage of strategic thinking. All the strategies
can be found on the homepage and eventually on Boardgamegeek.
My new game also has a good progress. The rules and game components have been polished and
another test round completed. One complete annotated game is published
here and judging from the test,
this is game full of tactical tricks and sudden turns of events.
I will either order a prototype immediately or wait and see if any
suitable contest for abstract game turns up.
Three other games already participate in contests. The
5th Street Challenge
has started with my games Bake the Cake! and Find the Treasure! However, there are 65 contestants in
total so the competition is fierce. The
18 Card microgame contest has also started with my card game version of Vasa Regalis.
crowdfunding campaign for Find the Bug!, it seems like the concept of a testing game appeals to a
too narrow audience. On the positive side, the campaign has attracted quite a few visitors and I will
build on my experience for my next (?) campaign.
Week 35, 2014: This week's great news is the birth of a new game idea:
I've always wanted to create a purely tactical "battle of the minds" game like chess or go but
never been able to come up with a unique mechanism. Movement mechanisms are already perfected in chess
and area control mechanisms in go. But then I discovered Reiner Knizia's master pieces
Tigris & Euphrates
and Samurai and got more
inspiration. Perfect games can still be made! The missing piece in the puzzle came in a discussion
with another game designer about another game, where the innocent words "cycling gods" were dropped.
All this created a chain reaction that ended up with an Iconoclasm!
After the idea was born, I took the opportunity to apply my
testing methodology by first identifying the game objectives,
then "unit testing" the concepts and mechanisms and
finally "system testing" the entire game. It looked very promising so I proceeded with outlining the
game components and rules.
As always, new games give me thrills and I devote myself fully to Iconoclasm.
However, I also allowed time for my old games and returned to the very first:
Nova Suecia. It was based on the the prisoners' dilemma
mechanism, where the players as governors had to balance between paying tax to the colony and
keeping gold for themselves, but it didn't work very well in the game since players could
pay only for their interests and ignore the rest. A discussion about this with a friend suddenly gave me
the idea of turning the taxation into a take-that mechanism, where a player's tax would have secondary
effects, both positive and negative. The mechanism also removed the need of forts as a tax reward and
made the game $5 cheaper. Nova Suecia may still not be my favorite among my games but it took a huge
step forward and somehow, I think I owe that to my first game.
Week 34, 2014: This week was devoted to game testing, starting with
Find the Bug! at the office together with colleagues from the
software testing team.
I also wrote an article on the subject for later publication on
LinkedIn, Boardgamegeek and test forums.
Unfortunately, the planned weekend testing had to be cancelled due to testers not being able to
come. Another setback was that the
crowdfunding campaign for Find the Bug!, in spite of many visits, is beyond the target. As feared,
a test game may appeal to too few investors, and I have to see it more one of many steps to build a brand.
Instead, I used the free time to lower the prices of Christina Regina
and Vasa Regalis with $5 each. In Christina Regina, I simply removed
the 0 chamber and 4th chamber tiles and in Vasa Regalis, I replaced the cardboard with a mat.
In addition, I did a test of my own of "the perfect game", Tigris & Euphrates,
and also wrote a review. The test passed with a good margin and serves as inspiration to
all those test designers longing to create the perfect game themselves.
Week 33, 2014: Rob Daviau (@robdaviaugamer) said that "if you don't like
making your work more marketable, you're not a designer, you're an artist". Well, this
week has all been about marketing. It started already the Friday before when I submitted
my crowdfunding campaign for Find the Bug! to
FundedByMe. This was followed by a number of activities aimed at creating awareness of the
Nova Suecia Games:
Friday: The Twitter account #NovaSuecia was set up and various game-related twitter accounts followed.
Saturday: The print & play version of Vasa Regalis - the Card Game published. I had thought of turning Vasa Regalis into a card game
before and when I saw a microgame contest for a game
with only 18 cards (!), I couldn't resist the challenge.
In addition to the above, I published all games at Boardgamegeek,
including description, images, weblinks and designer's own review. I also published an article on learning by
gaming at Linkedin and submitted the same to the test community
Testzonen. My intention is to continue publishing articles that
connect my interest in gaming with my profession in testing during the crowdfunding campaign.
Finally, I celebrated the launch of the
campaign with a traditional Swedish "fika" at the office.
Week 32, 2014: The week started great as I unpacked my second delivery from
The Game Crafter.
The first game to unwrap was Find the Bug!. I had been worried
whether the chits would fit on the game board and in the bags but the fit turned out to be just
perfect! My only concern was that the green gem was very dark and may easily be taken for a black
gem. Fortunately, they will only have to be compared with yellow and red gems while the black gems
aren't used until the end of the game. One thing was changed: the fix markers were removed and
placed on the back of the pass markers instead. By that, I could use 1 sheet less and decrease the
cost with $4. (Why didn't I think of that before?)
Next, I unpacked my card games Christina Regina and
Knights & Damosels. Again, I was very happy with the quality and
there was really nothing to complain about. I may consider changing some of the knights' names
(such as Tristram instead of Tristan) and descriptions (such as "son of King Lot" instead of the
Maiden's knight) but nothing else.
After that, it was time to unpack Bake the Cake!. It was meant to
be a colorful game and the colors turned out very well. It may be easier to simply place unused
ingredients in the box rather than stacking them on the table mat (the 6 player game will require
stacks of 12 ingredients each!) but since it's necessary to keep them away from the players, I will
keep the table for now. There is a potential to reduce both the cost and the stack by only having
1 ingredient per player but I fear that the game would be too unflexible by that.
Least but not last came Find the Treasure!. It came with 154
chits and it turned out to be a lot. It took some time to build an island with the chits but the
distinct colors and sturdy material made it fairly easy and I hope that the setup time will be
compensated by the variation offered by a modular map. Another concern had been whether the chits
would be too small and unstable but the completed both looked nice and withstood "table quakes".
The chevrons used as lid markers were slightly bigger than expected but overall I think the "pirate"
feeling is there.
Further images were taken for the shop action shots and all games are now ready for publishing!
Finally, I submitted an application to FundedByMe for Find the Bug!. If approved, I
plan to market it through both game and professional networks.
Week 31, 2014: Proceeding with my different marketing options, I now turned to
Find the Bug!. Find the Bug! is the next game I consider for
crowdfunding (aimed at test communities) and as a pledge level, I would like to offer an
electronical version of the game. The result was Find the Excel Bug!.xlsm.
Find the Excel Bug! replicates all the board game rules in 3 spreadsheets:
1. Game Board is where the testers assign the testers to analysis, test and retest.
This is also where the game is automated through macros:
Start: Clears the board and starts a new game
Analyze: Shows the result of a player's analysis
Close: Shows bugs not found by the players
Retest: Shows the result of the players' retest
2. Score Board is where the players' detailed score is shown. It's used only for the players' reference.
3. System Board is where the game setup is stored. It's used by the game only but if game master leads the game, he or she may refer to it.
Of course, a test game needs to be tested but the draft version is available
Week 30, 2014: After a week's vacation I returned to my games. With the
design phase completed, it was time to look at the
different marketing options. The first task was to create P&P versions of my two card
games, Christina Regina - the Card Game and
Knights & Damosels. Since they are card games only,
I simply inserted all png files in word processing document with fronts at even pages and
backs at odd pages. The idea is to encourage players to test the game and provide feedback.