So I took What We Found There to a couple conventions recently – namely LeiriaCon and RobbCon – and was able to play the game a few times with knowledgeable people and get some good feedback. From this, I think it has been progressing nicely.
The main things I was struggling with were twofold. One was that, in an overarching sense, the basic loop of the game felt a little basic. Collect resources and turn them in for points. In terms of a Euro game, it’s about as basic as you can get, especially for a worker placement game.
So I’ve been working on this “big box” expansion to Gloomhaven for a long time. I remember writing a post in November 2016 about spending a National Novel Writing month working on the story for it. That was quite a while ago.
I’ve also pined year after year that I wasn’t getting enough time to work on it. Conventions, business-related things – something always seems to get in the way. I’m no longer toiling away in a vacuum. There are lots of external forces to contend with.
I think any game designer will tell you that the most useful thing you can do when you first start designing a game is to get it to the table and start playing it. You can stare at spreadsheets and brainstorm documents forever, but until you actually experience the game in action, it will be incredibly hard to figure out what works and doesn’t work about it.
So, with that in mind, I took my initial concepts for What We Found There and set about making a basic prototype, and the most intensive part of this was making all the cards.
Right, well, first I want to thank everyone who responded to last week’s post. I was pleasantly surprised by not only the support, but all the good ideas people had for the What We Found There project. It made me feel like I made the right choice, talking openly about my design project, so, in the spirit of that, let’s keep going!
This was once a different space. One where I wrote freely about everything that was going on around here without fear that it would unwittingly become part of the board game news cycle. Not that I have anything wrong with the board game news cycle. It tells people about important stuff, and back then, I wasn’t doing anything anyone would have considered important.
So let’s say you make a game. Let’s call it “Forge War.” You make this game, and a lot of people really like it, but a lot of other people really don’t. And while it pushes some boundaries, ultimately, it is considered to be just another Kickstarter game, and it is forgotten. Not by everyone, of course. It still has fans, don’t get me wrong, but it sits in the 800s on BoardGameGeeks’ rankings, one small game among a sea of them.
So you say to yourself, “I am happy I made that. I learned a lot from the process, and I am proud of it, but if I want to continue doing this for a living, how do I make sure my next project doesn’t suffer the same fate? I need to make something so monumental and epic, that it could never be lost among that sea.” And then you make that ridiculous, monumental game. Let’s call it “Gloomhaven.”(more…)