New Auction Available - Be A Featured Designer at Gen Con

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You can hang out at The Game Crafter community booth and pitch your games to all walkers by at Gen Con 2014. We’ll also push people your way. If you want to get your name out there or promote an upcoming Kickstarter, this is amazing opportunity.

If you win this auction we’ll give you a table and four chairs at our booth from 10am to 2pm on Friday at Gen Con 2014. We’ll also push passers by to your table, and you’ll be mentioned in many of our Gen Con blog posts. The auction ends Friday, June 26 at noon.

Click here to visit the auction and place your bid!

NOTE: Badge to enter the convention is sold separately, this is just to be a guest exhibitor at our booth.

Race to Earth 2: The Strategic Space Board Game

by Popcorn Sunshine Games

Blast off on the race to reach Earth 2 in this easy to learn and strategic space themed board game for 2-6 players.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_m9SmwyXAs
Race to earth 2 is on kickstarter puppet clip by - Crazy Joe

Key Design Features:
- Engaging space theme, Race to the finish objective, Simple roll and move gameplay, (Take That) Card play mechanics, Strategic decision making, Unique gravitational pull feature, and an Opportunity to learn some astronomy and use simple mathematics.

Support Race to Earth 2 on Kickstarter Today! 

Is my game good to kickstart?

Before you do anything else, understand that not every game is a good project for a Kickstarter. And if this is your first or second campaign, even less games are a good fit. 

Appeal and Audience

In order to be successful on a crowd funding campaign, your game must either have broad appeal, or niche appeal. For example, games with pretty art and a Tolkien-ish fantasy theme will appeal to a great many people. 

However, it can work just as well if it targets a niche as long as that niche is large enough. For example, if you design a game about teaching people Japanese, like Bernhard Hamaker did with Japanese: The Game, then you’re targeting a very small subset of the population that want to learn Japanese. However, that subset is quite motivated to learn, which means they’re willing to put some money behind that effort. 

Despite the success of Japanese: The Game, educational games are generally a quite tough sell in any market, and Kickstarter is no exception. There are many reasons for this, but chief among them is that educational games are almost never any fun. In order to entertain you often have to tread far away from the detail and minutia involved in learning. This is why educational television is filled with reality shows and historical dramas that are only tangentially related to education. 

Costs vs Potential Backers

If a game is very large, or needs a lot of custom miniatures, or tons of expensive artwork then those things can very easily push it out of the realm of possibility. Backers don’t just flock to your game just because you happen to run a Kickstarter. Your initial backers will come from your friends, family, and social networks (both online and offline). If you need $30,000 worth of art just to make the game work, then you’ve likely priced yourself out of what you can realistically achieve in your first campaign. The smaller funding goal you can make on your first campaign the better chance of success, because you will not have nearly as many backers on your first campaign as you do on subsequent campaigns in most situations.

Custom Plastic / Wood / Metal

If your game needs custom plastic, wood, or metal bits then that is almost always a death knell to a first-time campaign. The reason is that the cost of moulds and tooling for those pieces is relatively high. For example, one mould by a Chinese manufacturer will likely run you $5,000. That $5,000 doesn’t get you any components, it’s just the cost of the tool that is needed to make the component. So that means you’ll need to raise $5,500 worth of funding (due to Kickstarter / Credit Card fees) to NOT send your customers a single game. 

There are of course exceptions to this. Sometimes the bits are so cool that lots of people will back the project because they think the custom miniatures are ridiculously cool. The question you need to ask yourself is “Do I want to risk the success of my campaign on custom bits?”

Move Forward Criteria

Generally speaking smaller card, tile, or board games with fewer components are best for an initial campaign. You should do your best to have stellar artwork that appeals to people on a primal level. Your game should either appeal to a huge audience, or a niche audience that you already belong to and can motivate to purchase easily.

In our next article we’ll talk about whether you are ready to be a kickstarter campaigner. Stay tuned.

How To Run A Kickstarter

Starting today we’re going to start a new series on our blog called “How To Run A  Kickstarter”. This will eventually be the basis of a guide we publish for those of you who want to run a Kickstarter through The Game Crafter, but just aren’t quite sure how to go about it. Some of the topics we plan to cover are as follows:

  • Is my game good to kickstart? 
  • Am I ready to run a campaign?
  • Do The Math
  • Plan Your Stretch Goals
  • Set a Funding Goal
  • Pre-Promotion
  • Pledge Levels
  • Build Your Kickstarter Page
  • Do The Math Again
  • Prelaunch Checklist
  • Launching Your Campaign
  • The First 72 hours
  • Promoting Your Campaign
  • Dealing With Trolls (And Gollums) 
  • The Last 72 hours
  • Surveys
  • Fulfillment
  • Customer Service
  • Future Campaigns

We, by no means, have all the answers. Nor does anyone really. Our goal is to present you with the knowledge we have earned through running our past three crowd funding campaigns, and helping a few dozen other people fulfill theirs. Stay tuned for the first article in a few hours. This is going to be a wild ride. Oh, and feel free to ask questions along the way!

The Flux Capacity Challenge Winner

Hello Game Crafter Community!

First and foremost, I would like to take a moment to thank all of the participants in this contest.  It was a first for us and initially I was a bit nervous to see what would come of the submissions, but I was quickly surprised and impressed at how great the designs were, how nice a lot of the artwork was and of course appreciated the incredible amount of work that went into each and every game we got to check out.  Next I would like to offer a congratulations to Daniel Schroeder for coming in first place after the scoring.  His game design (Jotunn) was very well developed, had great artwork and presentation and had one of the clearest rulesets overall (something we certainly appreciated during the play tests). We are looking forward to continue the development and production of this game with Daniel.  To all of the other participants, keep up the great work and your involvement in The Game Crafter community and I’m looking forward to seeing some great designs in the future.

Looking forward to the next contest, 

Josh

Final Scoring Spreadsheet

We thought this was a very interesting article about board game design and we appreciated seeing several references to The Game Crafter! :)

Click here to read the full article

Only a few hours left to back The Captain Is Dead, Turbulence, and Scarborough Fair. Get all three games shipped to your door for the low price of only $99.

When a game is broken, improving it is easy - you swap out bits that don’t work and stick in other mechanics, and see if it gets better. But when a game works, finding what you can adjust to make it better is nowhere near as simple.
Sebastian Bleasdale (via cardboardedison)
The key to a fun game is interesting meaningful decisions. If you’re making the same decision all the time, you work out the best answer, so to keep things interesting, you generally want a constantly changing situation. And the best way to do that is through interaction with other players.
Sebastian Bleasdale (via cardboardedison)
If lots of players do something wrong in a game, like consistently misinterpreting how a particular mechanic works, then you either have to spend a lot of effort making it really obvious what they should be doing (by producing reminder cards or lots of rules examples), or you can change the game so that what they were doing is correct. The latter course of action is usually better - fighting human nature is not easy.
Sebastian Bleasdale (via cardboardedison)
You need to make sure that you have built in “days off” from the [Kickstarter] project. If you work for 23 days straight, you’ll go insane.
Doug Levandowski (@meltdowngames)
If you don’t like making your work more marketable, you’re not a designer, you’re an artist.
Rob Daviau (@robdaviaugamer)

Post by: Grant Rodiek

I’ve been doing a lot of things lately that have made me a better designer, but they aren’t exactly designing games per se. It’s more appropriate to refer to them as design exercises. In the same way I go to the gym to build physical muscle, I enjoy exercises to strengthen my creative muscles. This seemed like a good topic for a blog post.

In no particular order, here are some exercises that help sharpen my skills as a designer.

Click here to read the full article

Mega Game