Family Game Night is sacrosanct in the Moreno home. As the family has grown and changed, so have the game nights. When I was a newlywed it was Final Fantasy XI with my wife. When I moved to Texas I hosted Halo parties with my brothers on Wednesday nights. Now the ante is upped with my children with Lego Creationary and similar brain challenging trials. I swear Jack loves to LOSE Jenga.
We learn and grow as life progresses. Games become too familiar, mechanics grow tiresome, and pieces come up missing. So what do you do? Go out and buy a new game? Or make the most of what you have and do something bold?
That’s exactly what I’ve done! This weekend I fell in love with a game called Munchkin. I am certain there are many of you who love the game, too. Long after I packed up the box I found myself brainstorming strategies and thinking of things that would be cool to add to the gameplay. After bouncing ideas off of Dustin, I decided to come up with my own game!
It really is not as difficult as you would think. When you play a game you are really assuming a role and telling a story. Be it a journey, a battle, or gambit, you are telling your side of the story while your opponent tells his. Today we will do just that. You know you have an idea for a movie or a comic book. We all do. Chances are most of us will never do something with it. I challenge you to change that.
STEP 1: BRAINSTORM
Think of your idea. Save the princess. Take over the world. Explore deep space. Marry a merman. What drives your story? Write down a basic overview of how the story goes. Major plot points. A sentence or two for each is all you need. Figure 5-10 bullet points.
STEP 2: MECHANICS
No, not Greasy Joe’s, the guy who says you have unicorns deucing in your manifolds. Game play. Cards. Dice. Plastic pieces. Boards. Is this a game where a player directly responds to the actions of his opponent? Consider something with cards held in your hand. Want to leave it a bit up to chance? Incorporate dice and or a communal draw pile. Don’t be afraid to look to your favourite games for ideas. Just be sure you don’t lift the whole game in the process. You may end up with a lawsuit on your hands.
STEP 3: GAME PLAY
Win the game. Well, sorta. You know your story. You kinda figured what sort of game you want to play. Now determine how one wins the game. Did you run out of cards? Is your life at zero? Did the plumber fall in the lava? Decide what it takes to win the game. This will set the tone for the game play and establish a foundation for strategies.
STEP 4: DETAILS
Flesh it out. Like any good book, the adventure is in the unexpected. Throw a couple of curve balls at your players. You don’t want it to be smooth sailing the whole way through. Think of the game show Survivor. The ultimate equalizer is the puzzle games. Try to add a component to your game that levels the playing field. Get creative. Be brutal.
STEP 5: PROTOTYPE
Create a rudimentary version of it to play at home. Right now my game consists of cards written on pieces of paper and slipped into card sleeves with MTG promo cards providing stability. It is very easy to make adjustments to the game this way.
STEP 6: BETA TEST
Test, test, and test. Then test again. Invite your friends over to learn how to play. Ask them for critiques. Send a version of it home with a friend so she can teach someone else and get a review back from them. The idea is not to convince them that yours is a truly excellent game. You want them to tell you everything they do not like about it. This is the only way to get the bugs worked out. I know this is your baby, but you have to keep an open mind about this.
If you get a great feel for this game, don’t be afraid to get a professional version of it made. There is a company out there called The Game Crafter that does print on demand for tabletop games. Once you have all of your artwork done you can upload it to your TGC account, set the rules, and have one shipped to you. At this time I am in the process of creating a game for them to print for me. It looks like the current version of my game is going to cost me $14.02 to make. Then there is shipping.
If your game turns out to be the bee’s knees then consider publishing. TGC is in the business of printing and selling games. You simply set your markup and keep 70% of the net. It really is amazing and I cannot wait to get my game up on their market place. Once I have completed the process and make my first sale I will write up my experience.
What are your favourite games? Have you created a game? Has it been made professionally? Tell us about it! If you send us a copy we will play the crap out of it and maybe put up a review about it on the website. Let us know if you have gone through the process.