pople

Spend some $€£, buy some love?

I grew up with the standard women – targeted consumer philosophy: You can have anything your heart desires, if you can afford to buy it. If you want a perfect body, you can buy the right products (or the right procedures) in order to get it. Or, you can buy a gorgeous pair of high heel shoes that will make you look taller and slimmer. If are not feeling beautiful enough, you can buy a new lipstick, a new dress, a chocolate cake, a new pair of high heel shoes, and you will feel great again. If you feel sad, you can buy well, chocolate and shoes again and you will be happy as a clam!

I do understand that buying new shoes and chocolate is not the ultimate answer to everything especially if you want to publish a board game, but when a friend of mine threw it on the table, my woman’s over consuming brain instantly bit the hook: “You can always buy facebook likes and twitter followers for your page”!

The idea sounds fantastic at first glance! A google search comes up with amazing prices, something like 15$ for 1,000 likes or followers, which is a great deal of course. I am very skeptical when invited to like pages that have less than…don’t know, 180 likes I think…pages with less than 100 likes do not exist in my eyes, something must be wrong with them.… Buying the first 1,000 likes sounds great because it will give my page the initial boost it needs to come to full blown existence! After that it will be easy, people are more likely to trust a page that 1,000 people have already trusted! So, buying the first 1,000 likes is the first step towards building a colossal empire of facebook likes and becoming the female version of Richard Branson….Right?

Well not quite. Firstly after a closer look, you can see that buying followers on twitter is forbidden (check here & here).

purple eggs
zombie twitter followers often look like this in a profile…

Secondly, bots, zombies and fake accounts are very easily detected. And they are kind of funny if you observe them really close. And yes, twitter suspends them frequently. The idea of having a twitter account with fake followers makes me feel embarrassed as I think it leads directly to a complete loss of integrity and reputation in my real audiences’ eyes.  In addition, having an inactive, fake audience gives your page no engagement at all: So what is the deal? Fake followers are not, neither will ever be, your audience. It is a total waste of time, money and integrity. Again, I will give you my verdict as an overconsuming woman, addicted to chocolate and shopping that I am: buying fake followers is like wearing a fake pair of Louboutins: It simply sucks!

Building and audience through communication and supporting community equals to building trust for your brand.

merilyn
fake accounts, spam profiles & likebots often share the same profile pictures…

Building an audience is addictive: First thing I do when I wake up in the morning is to check my nadanull profile. I check in to my personal profile once – twice per day now, cause I really find more interest in my professional one and I love snuffing around with my new *friends*. I kind of know all of them personally now. I know their tastes, their favorite movies, their cats’ names. I visit profiles; I have real interactions, I unfriend people that I don’t like their attitude or posts (offensive sex & drug abuse is a guaranteed delete from my side).

Building a social profile is also schizophrenic: My nadanull profile (created about a month ago) is real, with real pictures of myself, my kitchen table, my cat. I also provide real information: my name, my studies, my work, my universities. I post my favorite songs every day, I post about things that I like; I have real conversations with all these strange new people. I have around 1,000 friends, a number rapidly growing every day. On the other hand, I have my personal profile, the one I use to connect with real people of my real life, which I only know in person. I have this profile for about 7 years. I only have 120 friends. I provide no information about me, nothing at all, I have a blurry profile picture of myself, and, I am there under an alias, cause I do not feel comfortable posting information about myself on social media! Weird, h?

Yes. I do invite people to like my page, especially if they invite me to like theirs too. But I reward them for this precious, unique and organic like by posting interesting and relevant content (something Dark and something Geeky) and, most importantly, by not spamming. I promise that I will offer you something really cool soon, have a little patience..!

Thank you all for your support! <3

 

cat

Prototype update

Today I spend the morning updating my physical prototype, fighting with printers, scissors and glue. I just realized that my printer is out of order for some reason (Daah it’s not the ink… of course I checked the ink!) and I wasted about an hour trying to fix it before I quit.

Although not the final version and not the final art, I try to keep my prototype as much updated as possible so that my playtesters can feel that they are reviewing a game that is soon going to be published to a wide audience and not that they are just helping with a hobby family thing.

After a couple of hours I had to leave the table to stretch for a while, and Lord Byron took the chance to simultaneously bury himself into my game box and his tail into my coffee.

prot1
Lord Byron digesting some prototype game cards. Edgar Alan Poe, David Lynch and some Templars suffered most of the damage.

fine tuning

Game Fine-tuning.

Today I spend about 5 hours fine-tuning the actual game after the latest playtesting.

As it turned out, I need to find a solution for a minor problem on the game board.

The game flow and the mechanics worked great, and finally, I think the instructions also work pretty well.

 

playing a board game

Playtesting day!

No matter what you think, there is only one truth about playtesting: you’ll never have enough!

Up to now I have had several dozens of playtesting rounds, with hundreds of different people, both friends and total strangers. I will share with you some tips from my personal experience:

First of all playtesters make you a huge favor. Do make an effort to make the people that devote time to your project, feel comfortable. Buy them coffee, tea, drinks, food, ice – cream, whatever they prefer, but make sure have what they need around the gaming table. Nobody likes a stingy host!

Be sober. After a long run of having fun and having all these people praising you for your creation, you might get carried away by all those cheers and drink ups. You have to remember: this is not an ordinary day, you have a job to do and you have to do it sober. So moderate your drinking from the very beginning. Sometimes this may be very difficult especially if you have a party game (or – god help- a drinking game), but you will impress no one if all those people that left their jobs to help you develop your game suddenly realize that you are snoring away on the floor!

Try to have a mixed team of both male and female players. Do not underestimate magic on the table. People often use games subconsciously in order to show off knowledge or skills and gain impressions. Having a mixed team always gives your session an extra something and your players feel super motivated! Trust me, it works!

palying a board game

Have plenty of time in front of you. It is hard to organize a playtesting round, especially if you really need to have one. People will always be late to show up, they will often interrupt the game to answer their phones, to tell you about how awful their day was, about their child getting the chickenpox, they will interrupt the game to tell a childhood story about their beloved nanny that just poped up when you mentioned Freddy Kruger, they will suggest that all of you should make a pause from playing and go to the roof to enjoy the romantic full moon, you will have all kinds of interruptions. Take a big breath, recall any yoga/ Zen techniques you can, relax, be polite, and let everyone enjoy their evening. Besides, try to understand: all of these interruptions occur every time you play a normal game, you just don’t realize them because you are simply playing…now you’re playtesting, but all the others are playing…don’t be a killjoy…be part of the team. Give your players all the time they need. Breath in, breath out.

Have in mind that it may take longer than you initially thought. Never trick your players that “it will take an hour maximum and then we will all go to that party”. No you will not. And your players must know it. The last thing that you want is to keep your dear pleaytesters hostages on the table. Make it clear: the day will be dedicated to the great cause of developing a game. Period. You can leave your other plans for another night.

Take notes during playtesting. Have an organized file that you will record all your thoughts, findings and suggestions. I will make an extended post on it an other day, so I am not getting any deeper at the moment.

Keep evaluation records. Give your players questionnaires to answer. I will also make an extended post on it soon, cause this part is really important.

Give them time to evaluate properly. Answering the questionnaire is not a side dish, it is the juice of all the process. Plan in advance about giving your playtesters what ever they need in order to evaluate correctly. Inform them from the very begging that they will do such a thing, and carry loads of pens with you!

Take photos. Plenty of them, at every possible stage. Even if you don’t know what to do with them at the moment, they will turn really useful sometime in the future.

Listen carefully to your players. Record their suggestions, their opinions, their ideas. Never try to defend your project and talk back to them, instead be polite and respectful, after all you want is critique and not praise. Make sure that they feel comfortable enough to express their real opinion, even if it is hard. Truth is exactly what you want to hear in order to develop a great game!

 

kickstarter I am a backer badge

Backing Weekends 2

Hello people! Friday evening and here we are, digging Kickstarter for cool projects to back on Monday!

Here is what we discovered; give us a hand and help us decide:

Which Kickstarter project shall we back this Weekend?

I AM A BACKER

the damned childrenTHE DAMNED CHILDREN

A 6-18 player card game of lies, deception and trust, based on the classic party game Werewolf.

Aaaaaaawesome Artwork! …  Weird dudes in hats and suspenders …  Seriously guys, great aesthetics! We support!

 

 

 

 

 

createuresCreateures: Flip 5 Game Cards. Draw Art. Critique. Improve.

Createüres is a game that unleashes the artist trapped inside anyone’s head, at any skill level.

We feel so artistic this weekend! What a beautiful game! Thumbs up!

 

 

 

 

nothing to declareNothing To Declare

A card game for 2-6 players. Keep the most ridiculous items hidden, sabotage your rivals and avoid inspections!

All kind of weird stuff packed in a tiny luggage! Sounds fun!!  We like!

 

 

 

berghainBerghain: A Game for 2–6 Players About Getting In

Take control of the door of legendary nightclub Berghain in this fast and fun card game!

A board game on clubbing, techno and gay subculture in Berlin! We never like being turned round at the door anyway!

 

 

 

VOTE HERE

 

 

meter

Size matters?

Things are running pretty fast right now and I have to make final decisions on practical issues, such as box sizing. The tip is to make your game fit in an amazon flat rate box (or squeeze more games in that box). But, you have to plan for extra goodies and stretch goals and t-shirts and all that stuff in advance: If you have extra items to ship, you will have to choose early if you are going to put them inside your core game box, or not! If not, make sure you have sufficient space inside your shipping box.

Your best friend in this endeavor is Usps’s box sizing in this link, and if like me you come from a country where decimals are appreciated  your *BFFEAE* is your conversion  calculator .

*Seriously, people? Inches? INCHES? What’s wrong with the metric systems? Ahhh!*

Anyway, keep in mind that the sizes on the link describe the inside of the box (which helps a lot). Usps has recently added the “board game box” flat rate box, so remember that if you jump into some older game designers forum or post, this small detail will be omitted. Besides that, talk to your manufacturer cause he may have standard box / board / cards etc sizes to provide you with, and adjusting your game to fit into standard sizes will save you a lot of headache and some money.  I think that the Game Crafter is a very handy guide for sizing – even if you don’t intend to work with them for printing, you can always check out their standard sizes – they are widely common between manufacturers (those damn inches again…!).

Further reading here (BGG) and here (BGDF)!

Cheers!

Twitter logo

A descent list of Twitter resources

Today I will share another useful list of recourses; this time Twitter. To make things easier, well, just visit our twitter account (@nadanull_games) and check out the people that we follow. Up to now there are about 540 people of the wider gaming industry; a mixture of all game related things: Game reviewers, magazines, podcasts, publishers, crowdfunding recourses, heavy gamers etc, all updated and active up to now. You may have to dig a bit to find what you are looking for, but we try to keep our list clean and professional, without adding any personal friends and followers. Again I have to say that I tend to exclude heavy RPGs from my researches (not my thing)…Twitter logo

In Addition, check out this topic on BGG,

also this one about gamers to follow,

and this Reddit post.

And of course, try the #boardgames hastag on twitter.

Hope this helped 😉