Monday, July 15, 2019

KS Relaunch Success

I haven't posted since starting the Relaunch, but with all of the time spent sharing/commenting/promoting/etc, its hard to find time to do anything else.
The good news is... the Relaunch exceeded the funding goal, and even exceeded the original campaigns higher funding goal!
One of the best ways to see how a campaign performed is through Kicktraq, or through Bigger Cake (  Have a look if you want to see some details.

I am very thankful for running a shorter campaign, just 17 days, and for all the amazing support of many determined backers in the campaign.
I attribute the improved funding and awareness to the following things:

1- The initial launch provided me with over 400 contacts that regularly use Kickstarter.  By being able to direct message them for the relaunch, this helped make Day 1 very strong (over $10,000 CAD).  A few of those were Superbackers, and regular commenters that encouraged Kicktraq and sharing.

2- More awareness from high profile reviewers (ie Tantrum and DiceTower).  This was a heavy investment, but for this campaign I feel it was worth it.  Perhaps the game would have been fine without Tantrum, but I honestly believe the DT preview video generated a lot of interest.

3- The sharing of the campaign by people I have helped with their games.  Whether it was their rules, their mechanics, or doing videos of their games on TTS, they were very appreciative.  Many of these individuals backed my game, and shared on Twitter and FB and IG.  Their extended reach direct to gamers helped with early and late awareness.

So, how could this info help future game designers?  Pretty simple.  First find a way to get email contacts of people who WANT your kind of game.  Don't buy or spam for contacts, but find ways to genuinely interact with people that like what you have as a them.  Second is to create a budget for marketing beyond just spammy FB posts.   Yes, the posts are high engagement, but the personal touch that professional reviewers can provide is more genuine.  And third, help others often and without expectations of payment.  Don't even mention wanting their help with your KS, leave it to them to say they want to help you, then mention your KS.

Now I am on to assembling useable templates and getting art completed.  The next four months of file prep, and other designs, will be challenging but fulfilling as it helps finalize parts of the game.

I am thoroughly excited about sharing more of Novus with over 600 people, in particular the Art Book and the 5E Adventure PDF.  More story time!

Heres the main ad that was shared in the last half of the campaign, focused on some of the best art in the game and basics to catch a browsers eye.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Relaunch!

It has been a very busy three weeks leading up to the relaunch, and now the KS has been live for 4 days.
Haven't done a Blog post as all time/energy has been channelled into that venture.
Now its at 91% on a decent trend to fund to goal very soon, but a TON of time/effort had to be placed for this.
Some examples, for those that might be interested, include:
  • Helping create TTS games for other developers
  • Creating gameplay videos for other games
  • Rebuilding the KS pages (went through three header styles and multiple layouts to get to where it is now)
  • Order/sent out prototypes to 8 different reviewers
  • Building hype via FB posts, ads, and emails
  • Videos of myself playing/using game and components
  • And so much more.
Long story short, if you plan to launch something that will succeed, it will take a lot of time, a lot of planning, a lot of professionalism, and a lot of social interactions.  Really difficult to succeed without those things, especially if not going to conventions!

Back to the KS feeds.... Strive to find/fund that last 10%!
Here is the latest KS image, and sending FB posts to DnD sites with this:
⚔️If you love DnD, but need something a little lighter for when the group can't get together or just something different and epic, check out this! ⚔️
Some very awesome art commissioned specifically for this game but could very easily adapt to your use in a DnD campaign.  AND... if you do pledge for the game you will get a bonus 5E Adventure written by the games designer!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Joy of Helping Others

Over the past two weeks I decided to step back from focusing on my creations, and instead have been helping others in the hobby.
My Kickstarter launch date is June 25th, and there is still plenty to do, but I wanted to support some cool projects that were either on KS now or will be soon.
No charge, no commitment, just support from a fellow designer.
Some examples I have done include the following:
  • Frequent posts (10+ per day) on FB, and then bits on Twitter and IG.  Just joining in conversations in general game groups, and in design groups.
  • Creating Tabletop Simulator games for upcoming KS.  This included Minotaurus, Dungeon Brawler (funded), the Matching Game (not launched yet), and Legion (not launched yet).  Building their games, and testing them, has been pretty fun and educational for myself.
  • Playthroughs for many new games, including the above, and my favorite was for Untamed and The Goblin King is Angry.  I share these in FB groups to show people some of the cool games being designed by others.
  • Making mini promo videos to post on FB and IG
I can only hope these acts of kindness create some kind of karmic energy down the road, but even if they don't it has still been an educational experience on how to structure rulebooks and game card wording.
Feel free to checkout my videos on YouTube (Wes Woodbury).
Here is one example:

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Power of Reviews

One thing I am working at improving for any future game launches, and for Legends of Novus relaunch, is having as many reviewers/previewers as I can find/afford.
The benefits to these far outweighs the costs, in my opinion anyhow.  I will list some of the pros and cons:

  • Cost of creating prototypes
  • Cost of shipping to reviewers
  • Cost for Paid Reviews (vs unpaid) - often paid reviewers have a much higher audience
  • Time spent to communicate with, and post, for reviewers
  • External viewpoints on your game
  • Additional playtests from experienced gamers
  • Exponential increase in exposure (some reviewers have in excess of 2000 to 5000 regular views on their videos)
  • Being able to stamp their "Brand" name on your KS shows a certain level of personal investment and professionalism to your game
  • Better quality video then most game designers can create on their own
With the relaunch of Novus I will have a chance to see the full impact of more reviewers, and higher profile reviewers (ie Tantrum House playthrough and Dice Tower Preview).  This does not guarantee backers, but it does guarantee exposure for the games visuals and mechanics.
I hope to follow this post up with a success story by July, but nothing is certain of course.

Until then...

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Always Busy!

It has been over three weeks since I posted an entry here, and trust me it is not due to having nothing worthwhile to share...
As I continue to prepare Legends of Novus for its relaunch in June, it seems there is never enough time to do everything I would like to do for it.
Some of the things I've been working on include:
  • Review/update of Rulebook with newest icons/etc, done.
  • Boardgame reviews to demonstrate my involvement in the hobby and my thoughts on non-fantasy games, 4 youtube videos so far.
  • Entry into a boardgame design contest using Spellbook'd.
  • Developing a companion app for Novus (free to game backers).
  • Developing 5E content from Novus world, including creature sheets and an adventure module.
  • New component video and solo playthrough video using new prototype.
  • Daily involvement on boardgame sites/chats.
  • Listening to game development podcasts.
That's just some of it... even managed to create a digital version of a deckbuilder I would like to make after Novus, calling it PlaYer Character right now.

For any aspiring game designers out there, my words of advice for this entry are...
Force time into your day, EVERY day, to create something on your game design journey.  I have used pen/paper, my laptop, my cellphone, sent emails to myself, taken photos with markups, anything to make sure I am finding ways to design daily to stay on track and develop skills.

Here is a screenshot of PlaYer Character:

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Print & Play by AdMagic

Recently I decided to choose a different manufacturer to create the new prototypes of Legends of Novus (for the DiceTower and Tantrum videos for KS relaunch).
I decided to move away from GameCrafter for this version for a couple of reasons:

1 - I believe it is good to experiment with different servers, and different productions.  This helps me understand differences in quality, and in tech requirements to provide files to manufacturers.  I can tell you the difference in how I submit files to PnP is much different than GC, but with some similarities.

2 - When canvassing the gaming community, PnP comes up often as a game creation tool of choice.  So as much as I enjoyed the prototypes I have done with Gamecrafter (and cards from DTC), I wanted to see what people liked more about PnP.

3 - Time... It turns out PnP had a faster turnaround time from file submission to getting your game.  For the Gamecrafter I waited about a month for my copy, with few emails/confirmations.  With PnP I had a few file check emails sent to me... by humans... and was able to correct some issues before the final print.  This showed me great customer service, and the time from production to getting my game was only 2 weeks.

Do I still like the GameCrafter?  Yes, absolutely.  They can deliver a pretty solid product with what you need.  Do I prefer PnP?  I would say yes, I believe the file creation system is simpler (for how I run my programs anyhow), and the color quality I have gotten back has been better from PnP.

Just thought I would share.  Regardless, both are expensive, but the cost is worth the feeling of getting something you created in a near final form.  I truly recommend trying this if you have a game you feel is near its final stages, that you want to playtest more formally in game clubs or such.

If you have any questions about the process just let me know, would be happy to share my experience with you.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Bringing back a Prototype for a Contest

The Board Game Design Lab is running their second game design contest, and I thought it would be a good idea to enter it again.
Last year I entered Legends of Novus, however I was very much a rookie in graphic design and game design.  I am certainly no expert now, but I feel a lot has been learned this past year and figure now is as good a time as any to test that theory.
I cannot run Novus in the contest, as I plan to make it available to the public through the KS relaunch in June (and believe it will succeed this time).  But there is a game I have prototyped and tested many times that I think is worth entering into the contest...
The description I put in the rules, just in MS word, were as follows:

Take on the role of an aspiring Wizard in an Academy of Magic. Each Wizard is
building up their skills to win an upcoming contest of their skills, judged by the Council of
Archmages. Study the different schools of magic, redeem your knowledge for Magems,
and partake in a Spell Battle in your effort to become the victor of the contest!
Spellbook’d is a card drafting and dueling game involving three different game
rounds to gather cards, spells, and points to win the game. After the three different
rounds of play the Wizard with the most Spell Points is declared the winner.
2-3 players (expandable to 6 players if printed twice)
30-45 minutes playtime
Ages 12+

I enjoyed playing this every time I had the chance, and am excited to put some energy into something other than Legends of Novus.  As amazing as I feel Novus is, it can be tough to dedicate hours each and every night to a single title.  It is important to still develop Novus, as the relaunch deserves the support, but I will still take some time for Spellbook'd as well to see how it can perform.

If you are designing games I would recommend you always have a few titles in the works. One should be your primary focus, but have others in different stages so that when you want to design, and need something different, you have options to play with.

Here is an early sellsheet, still working on it, for the contest.