migraine

Keeping the peace

designer migraineThis is a post about your two best friends when it comes to actually making your game. Yes I am talking about mr Designer and mr Manufacturer. You’d think that since everyone is on the same team here things would be hunky dory between those two.  After all mr designer makes your product look good, and mr manufacturer well he actually makes the thing, so it is no longer stuck in the limbo of concept-land. Since mr manufacturer actually makes mr designers ideas materialize you’d thing that mr designer loves mr manufacturer. No…they hate each other…keep them separated…Have you seen the photos of cute cat and cute dog cuddling along…well they are not true…dog makes a move on the cat seconds after the photo is taken.

We are at a stage in our project now where our lovely most talented goddess of graphic design has got everything tied down and it all looks nice and impressive… so as natural progression goes we are approaching manufacturers to see how much it will actually cost to make our glorious game.

First point of conflict is that after receiving a couple of quotes you’ll have to convince your graphic designer that fold out shapes using spot uv and ultra rare specialist paper handmade by virgins in the amazon rain-forests using ecofriendly zero carbon state of the art inks is out of the question, as most manufacturers when you inform them of your budget want to print your game on loo paper.

 

Since printing on loo paper is not an option try to keep things simple at first… get to a game of acceptable quality and you build from there on. Oh wait I forgot here you have an issue with mr manufacturer…They don’t like changes, even the smallest change in your games configuration bears a huge impact on your games price.

cmyk

Another think that I have noticed is that you are going to have as many different game configurations as the manufacturers you approach. Each one makes his own box sizes, card sizes, pawn sizes etc, so it is my advice to find one that you can work with and stick with them….I nearly gave my graphic designer a cardiac when I told her that I was considering to go from bridge size to tarot size on my cards. No don’t worry Chiara bridge size is good I love bridge size bridge size is our friend….

This is my piece of wisdom for today…they say opposites attract so maybe my Manufacturer will get to be best friends my Designer and they can have long conversations about color palettes. Who knows?

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.

zombie fight or flight

Third Backing Weekend: Results and thoughts!

With 59 votes Zombie Fight or Flight is the big winner of our third Backing Weekend.

zombie fight or flight

The process:

This week we promoted the poll only to our facebook page and to the STARTUP Board & Card Design facebook group. We also tweeted @nadanull_games a few times about the process.

We notified all creators (again we knew no one in person, neither did they know about the voting).

The poll had an immediate reaction, as the winning game got over 20 votes in the very first hours.

The thoughts:

Again we can’t overstate how important a role social media play when running a crowdfunding campaign: Even if you think that you have planned every possibility and every aspect of the process, maybe a stranger shows up out of nowhere and puts your game in a poll! Being alert is crucial in supporting your work in every possible channel.

Thanks to all participants and to our growing audience. We wish the best to all four wonderful projects towards their funding goal.

See you next backing weekend! 😉

kickstarter I am a backer badge

Backing Weekends 3

Here we are another Friday evening, looking forward to supporting a fresh game on Kickstarter! Let’s have a look on this week’s menu!

backer2

 

necronomicorp

 

-NecronomiCORP – The office survival horror game.

Old Ones in an office? Cool! Great illustration, very high tower, we like!

 

 

 

 

zombie fight or flight

 

-Zombie Fight or Flight

We are feeling zombified this week! Add some drinking and custom ceramic jars in the recipe, and you’ve got us!

 

 

 

cave people

 

-Cave People – The Card Game

Me find food…me evolve…me like honest video…me give monies to flipflop wearing caveperson.

 

 

 

 

pompeii wrath of vesuvius

 

-Pompeii: Wrath of Vesuvius

Secure your financial stronghold on Pompeii before the volcano goes boom. …We support!

 

 

 

 

 

So who is going to be the winner this week? You choose.

VOTE HERE

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!

 

berghain

Second Backing Weekend: Results and thoughts!

This weeks’ backing weekends drew to a close. With 34 votes Berghain was a clear winner.

succesful backing

The process:

Similar to last week we put up an event on our facebook page and spread the word as much as possible throughout the weekend by posting in relevant  facebook groups, tweeting around the competition and posting in our timeline.

The thoughts:

This week’s poll made me think about the importance of social media when running a Kickstarter campaign. It is vastly important to be alert and ready to motivate your audience 24/7 during your campaign. No matter how good your project is you must make sure people know about it and what better way of doing that than a strong presence in all the social media channels. You as the creator know who your target audience is, so let them know that you are here.

Thanks to all participants and may all 4 wonderful projects get to their funding goal.

See you next backing weekend! 😉