At the suggestion of one of my awesome blog followers (thanks Bethany!), I have decided to create a board game about walking across America. I have been busy the last few days with creation of game mechanics, rules, cards, game design, and whatnot. I suspect this project will take me a couple of weeks just to create a basic prototype. Then it will be on to play testing! After play-testing it a few times with different groups (I’m a member of several board gaming meetup groups, which helps. Wait–should I be admitting that? Yes, I’m a geek…), I’ll be ready to come up with final designs. I’m hoping this process won’t take more than a month.
After the game is designed, I’ll be publishing it. I have already been scoping out game companies that do not require minimum orders to publish. The downside is that this makes each game more expensive to publish, but the upside is that I don’t have to come up with a ton of scratch to buy a whole bunch of games that may or may not sell, and then get stuck with using my bedroom as a warehouse. I figure I should start small; if people seem to like the game, I can then look to publish in larger batches at cheaper prices (and pass the savings on to the buyers, of course!).
I’m excited about the prospects and I’m having fun with this. I asked Willow if she would like to help me design some of the cards and whatnot, and she was super excited about that. She’s a very creative person, so I don’t doubt some of her ideas will show up in the finished product.
As I’m designing this, I’m trying to figure out what age bracket I want to reach for the game. If I choose an older age bracket, I can have a little more non-pc funny type stuff in there, i.e. “Old timer calls you a commie hippie, lose one good will token” and “get rolled by a pack of frat boys, lose all your money and one life token”. If I aim it more for all ages, I could have more educational stuff in there and make the game more valuable for parents and teachers. However, it may not be as funny (or fun?) and I’m worried it would come across as just an educational game about geography, which is not really my intent. You cannot possibly walk across America without learning something about the country, but I don’t think most people who try to actually do the walk start the walk because that is their goal. How do I explain this? Ummm. People who actually do the walk aren’t walking to learn geography. Yes, they probably learn a lot about it along the way, but the biggest lessons they learn have nothing to do with geography. So designing a game that expresses that is tricky. I’m trying to figure out the happy medium. I think play-testing with a variety of real people will help answer some of these questions. For all I know, I’m probably over-thinking it, which is something I’m guilty of doing a lot.
Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on my progress.