It’s a new year, and I haven’t written much here yet to kick off 2016. The last one was written by Zach, our resident game designer, and I hope you all enjoyed a moment to hear from him (even though I told him he was writing to other game creators and not the general public). We had a little lull in game testing for a week or two, but this last weekend The Heist was played 3 days in a row. It also made its first game night appearance! Oh man, it is starting to sound like our child/baby that we’re bringing around and showing people! But it kind of feels like it, so oh well. I guess that’s what it means to be proud of any creation.
Friday, my sister Ariel brought it to a game night she attended and a few new people were introduced to the game. Then on Saturday, Zach was in his element when he got to talk to a guy who works for a game manufacturer. Zach had a lot of questions answered and got to check out some product elements for what he might choose when he has it professionally made. On Sunday, we had our marriage mentors come over for lunch, and then spent most of the time talking about the game. They even helped us by reading the updated instructions to help us see there were still some tweaks needed but it was more understandable. Then Sunday afternoon, Zach went to St Paul to a friend’s with access to a studio. He sprayed the boxes he made with some acrylic spray to help make it more durable. We are getting great responses on his game box! When he went to our friend’s apartment, another guy had come over and thought it was a game sold in stores. Zach played with the guys and they enjoyed it.
While we continue to get really good feedback, Zach is still waiting to for some upcoming conventions before he starts selling and garnering support for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign (plug for those of you who haven’t signed up to our email list yet – we have 50 but need 500!). This coming weekend (Jan 29-31), Zach is going to Protospielin St Paul, where people come to share their prototypes. Then manufacturers, publishers, and game players all come to check out what’s newly entering the market. We are hopeful to get some feedback here to know our next steps. Next, he is scheduled to go to Con of the North from Feb 12-14 in Minneapolis. Here people come to request a table and bring a game of their choice, and other people sign up to play the game they brought. Many of these games are games sold in the market, but prototypes are welcome too. Maybe we’ll see you there?!?
After 4 months of working on The Heist every single day and 3 months after the creation of the blog, I (Zach) thought I should write my first post. I have learned a lot about board games over the past 1/4 year. I had no idea about so many things that went into the design of a new game. Today we are going to learn about designing a box (well, maybe, many of you reading this might be checking out here).
Every game needs a box. Boxes come in different sizes, shapes, thicknesses, and styles. The past two weeks I have been steadily working on designing a box that will hopefully make consumers want to grab The Heist when they see it on a shelf. I went with a traditional design where there is a top half and a bottom half. The top half covers the bottom when it is put together. The size is smaller than the usual big box, but the game is compact, so it’s a good fit.
What I didn’t realize at first was that each half of the box is designed separately. There are also 5 sides to each half (front face, and 4 sides). Each of these sides must be facing the correct way as the box is designed. After blankly staring at a photoshop document for what felt like hours, I decided I would have to design each side by itself in one document, and then slowly combine the parts into one. Trying to visualize 5 parts coming together at once was just too much of a headache.
After the box “wrap” is designed it must be printed, and then wrapped (glued) to a perfectly sized piece of cardboard (which is another adventure by itself ). In the end you are left with a newly created box to hold all the pieces!
Oh yeah…make sure you make the bottom half of the box is adequately smaller than the top half. Whoops. Looks like I have to assemble another one…
The Heist is becoming a normal name and topic of conversation in our house these days. I guess that happens when you start becoming an entrepreneur of sorts. It is like you’re selling yourself and your brand everywhere you go. But now after being in our 30s and married, at least we have something more interesting to answer the question “so what is new with you?” when making small talk. Zach and I both aren’t preferable to the small talk arena anyway, so this helps to give us something to share and explain with acquaintances and friends.
On New Years Day, we added some more testers to our group. Zach’s brother and two high school friends played for the first time. They were intrigued and hooked right away, and it was interesting to watch a friend of Zach’s have the same initial start that Zach did and think too far ahead in his strategy. He would try new tactics and quickly learn he needed to be more agile and ready to change his strategy. This friend also knew Zach really well, as they had spent countless hours creating a Word game app for Android phones. Their business was called ZubaWing, and they created an app called FastWord, in case you want to check it out.
Lately the focus has been on investigating the process to produce, sell, and distribute the game. Zach has spent long hours researching and reading different avenues. They all take a lot of work, which wasn’t too much of a surprise. However looking ahead at the work it would take was sometimes depressing. I found I was having to be the cheerleader and help Zach keep believing when he was not doing as much of the “fun” part of creating pieces or design.
Fortunately, he got some good news this week. He visited a game store manager we met a couple weeks ago, and he showed him the prototype. The manager spoke highly about it, and gave Zach some helpful feedback. One piece of feedback was that after all the work Zach has done designing everything, and it looks good, he shouldn’t try a publisher first. Instead, he suggested Zach try the kickstarter route and get a company to manufacture the game for us to sell on our own.
To do a kickstarter campaign, we have learned that you need a “following” ready to help you build momentum on the day you start the campaign. So since we have all of you readers of our blog, we’d like to invite you to sign up to our email list. There is no obligation to give us money at any point, but it will give you visibility for progress we make along the way. If you’d like to stay informed, sign up for our Kicskstarter email list HERE.