Getting started - Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery
When we first started thinking about what our game would be like we were playing Kingdom Builder a LOT. We could not get enough of it. But, we also knew of several other great games we drew inspiration from. We ended up finding aspects of each of these games to inspire how we build ours.
INSPIRATION OF MECHANICS - Earth. Wind. Fire. Water.
We knew we wanted hex tiles and we knew they needed unique properties. BUT, we needed something to suggest what properties to assign each type of tile. So, we started with the basic properties of our world. Then we assigned an action to each. Earth=starting; Wind=Adding; Fire=Attack; Water=Moving
MAKING IT REAL - OUR FIRST PROTOTYPE
Once we had an idea, we had to play with it. So, Jason created some simple icons to represent Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and a board to play on. Eventually we added a few more kinds of tiles and houses to assign ownership. It didn't look like much. But we started to have fun playing it.
PICK A THEME - WHAT IS THE STORY?
We knew pretty quickly that Earth/Wind/Fire wasn't going to be the thematic basis for the game. So, we were forced to explore how we could apply the existing tile attributes to a new theme. We worked through several: building cities; starting a cult; a race to populate the moon; and high school cliques. In the end, we played it safe and went "medieval on it's ass."
NEXT GENERATION - OUR SECOND PROTOTYPE
This time we stepped it up a notch. Jason's family was out of town for a long weekend without him. So he spent a solid 48 hours designing and building tiles, a board, and a scoring mechanism based on the medieval theme.
PLAY TESTING - Family and Friends
When we felt comfortable enough to invite folks besides our wives to play, we used neighbors and extended family members. After each game we made notes to tinker and modify as needed. Things had to change after Griff's sister-in-law soundly beat us 3 times in a row. She commented, "Either I have beginners luck, or something isn't right."
GETTING CLOSER - 3rd Major Prototype
Although we liked several of the medieval characters, we weren't totally satisfied. Jason's wife was unimpressed by the theme and in the end we felt it was a bit of a cop-out. Medieval themes were just too common. So, we returned to another story that we explored earlier and abandoned: viruses and germs. New tiles and a board were made.
STRANGER DANGER - Inagural CinCityCon
It was fun playing with our family and friends, but they wouldn't tell us what we wanted to hear. They were too nice. We had to get some strangers to give us feedback at our first GameCon. Read about Jason's experience in our Blog.
RENAME - Why didn't we See that?
It only took Griff's 9 year old son 10 seconds to notice. For our new friends at CinCityCon it was even less. The original name of our virus themed game was "Virogen" (combination of Virus and Pathogen.) But, Jason decided to get cute with the logo. What do you read?
VERSION 3.7.2 - Modifying Brilliance
We are now in the middle of editing and changing some very basic rules in prep for our next Play-Test date at DayCon in February. We have noticed some things ourselves, but we hope a blind play test shows us more. Come back and check out what we learn after our next GameCon.
Living on the edge - Getting Closer
There is nothing better than watching strangers play and enjoy a game you have created. Both Jason and Griff had a blast, learned a lot and made some great connections. Most folks played at least 2 games, some stuck around for 4. We modified some rules on the fly and think we are getting pretty close. We even got our first 2 "pre-orders" from the crowd. Thanks DayCon. We will be back.