Friday, December 28, 2018

Constant Progress

I have read and heard that no game is ever truly complete, it just gets created at a point in time when the designer/producer are satisfied that they have a product that delivers the gaming experience they wanted to share.
There are always new images, designs, components, and mechanics that can be introduced to improve or alter the game.  In Legends of Novus the possibilities are endless as to what could change to improve the interface and player experience, such as:
  • Adding Minatures vs Standees
  • Adding Dials vs token tracking for combat/XP
  • Making Character Sheets out of material other than paper
  • Making Coins out of plastic vs cardboard (or even metal)
  • Changing the size of cards smaller for less table space impact
  • and many, many more..
Since I am completing LoN as the only designer for FunDaMental Games, I have to decide which improvements or changes are worth doing, and which are not.  The reasons to make these decisions have to be considered for various reasons, a short list of those are:
  • Cost of Components (affects publisher and consumer)
  • Weight of Components (increases shipping fees)
  • Impact to game play (more/less complex, is it necessary, etc)
  • Physical considerations (ie Mini Cards hard to hold compared to poker cards), etc.
  • Cost of Art for new pieces/components
  • and again, many, many more.
Working with the talented artist, Andrea Butera, has been very beneficial for graphic design, and new art content.  With his support there are many changes that will be implemented, and all with the intent improving the visual and physical interactions with components.  Each of the considerations above were thought out and the decision to change has been determined to improve the game.

See below for some new art / images for coins and standees, excited to see these new options for the game!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

New Prototypes

The GameCrafter version 2 prototypes arrived on Monday and I am loving the new look to the cards.  The board also looked much more presentable with the white text/black dropshadow.
After creating new character sheets/rules/location guides at staples it is now time to send out prototypes to previewers/reviewers!

As of right now there will be one copy going the The Bearded Meeple, in London, Ontario, Canada and another copy going to We're Not Wizards over in Scotland.

The hope is that these couple of avid game players may enjoy their initial plays of Legends of Novus, and be willing to give it a positive video to help raise awareness for the game pre-KS and during KS.
Here is a screen shots of the newest game:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Making Links

One of the common things I see in every successful KS campaign is having links to external information.
There is only so many images and words that you can (or want) to put directly on your KS page.  Much of the info you provide most people may just skim over or click out of anyhow, so don't waste their time making a mile long KS page if you can leave some of it out via linked images/pdfs/videos.

For Legends of Novus I really want to share as much as I can about the backstories of the characters, the creatures, and the locations.  If I put all of that into the KS campaign it would be massive, and tough to digest for those who just want to read how to play it.

So that's where links come in.  Using my website as a holding station for all of the documents I want to refer to, I was able to create images that were uniform in size and font for the KS for each character, quest creature, and region of Novus.  But I did not include any story in there, just a note that says you can click on them to learn more.  This is a strategy I saw used to good effect in the KS game "Unbroken", so thank you to Artem for that useful trick ( I am sure others have used it also, but this one stood out to me).
When someone clicks on the image or word (basically anywhere on the embedded jpeg) there is a link to a PDF that is saved on my games website.  This PDF shows the character sheet/story, quest card/story, and location story for the applicable links.

I hope that those who really want to read about the world I've created spend a few minutes reading those.  But for those that don't, at least they still see the art and names of those places and will understand some time and thought have gone into the world design.

If you aren't sure how to do these things feel free to reach out, I would be happy to help you do the same!

Here is an example of some of the Quest Creature link jpegs, and the direct link to Osira story:

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

What Versions to Include

Variety is the spice of life, and Options generally increases potential interest in gaming groups and across different types of people.
Deciding what type of play styles are available in your game could help reach people beyond your initial idea, and encourage you to make parts of your game slightly different in a good way.

For me that decision came when trying to figure out if Legends of Novus should be just a multiplayer competitive game, or if other play styles should be included.  After thinking about the way the game plays, and how it could be altered, I felt it could be adapted.  So then I had to look at the Pros and Cons..

- More modes means more accessibility to players, be it solo, duel, or up to five players.
- Easier to share/advertise the game across different FB sites, IG, and Reddit.  IE you cannot try to share your 2-5 player game to a solo boardgame group, or a competitive game to a Co-op group.
- Easier to get people to playtest, as some groups will only playtest certain styles of games.
- Ability to produce game cards specific to styles of play (add/remove during game setup)

- More rules are required to be printed in the rulebook, which creates additional pages (adding to cost of production and weight of shipping, even if it is minor).
- Cost of additional games cards, if created.
- Requires more playtesting than just one version.  Each version will have unique rule sets that have to be tested to see if the game is still playable in that format.
- People may interpret the game as going in too many directions, not focused enough on one game style.

There are easily more factors to add to the above lists, but the ones above are the core ones that come to mind when making the decision.  I am going to forge ahead with the four versions and see how it is accepted on FB and on KS early next year.  If it receives too much negative criticism then it will be a lesson learned and a change to make prior to a relaunch.

Better get to playtesting these different styles some more!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

New GIF Making

In this fantastic game design hobby I now invest so much time into, its always fun to learn new skills or tricks.
Today was no exception.  I was worried when I saw a few game KS pages that people had some crazy time on their hands and some mad skills to make GIFs look like videos.  Cards flying back and forth, images swirling around the screen.  It was baffling to me how they made this happen.
Then I discovered that there are video to GIF converters!  I mean, that is so much easier than trying to take fifty shots with slightly different images to create the perception of animation.  With a video to GIF conversion it just basically freeze frames to do it all for you.
There is even a website that automates the process, I was thrilled to see it!
Now I have not tested it with long videos, but the image below is a simple example of an After Effects MP4 I put together quickly just to flip a card from a deck.  Its not perfect, but the concept is there.

The website is  If you are looking for an animation solution for a KS image this might be it...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

First KS Backer Fulfillment

The day has come, all of the decks/games ordered by backers for Duel of the Dragons arrived to my doorstep.
With this being a very minor campaign, IE only 82 backers and of those only 60 pledged for a physical product, the easiest method was to package/ship personally.
The decks came from DriveThru Cards, as did the tuckboxes.  The special Holographic cards were ordered separately from, as DTC does not offer special finishes such as holographics.
The arrival of the decks, on Fri Nov 23rd, means that I had time to package them and prepare to ship them out on Mon Nov 26th, and hopefully live up to my timeline of getting the product to the backers before Dec 25th 2018.
I am looking forward to getting these sent out, and hopefully hearing back from fellow gamers about their thoughts on the game and perhaps some pics and gameplay reviews (above and beyond the playtests done for it).
No matter what comes of the decks, and the future of Duel of the Dragons, it has provided FunDaMental Games with the credit of a backed/funded KS project that communicated well to backers, responded to all questions, and delivered the promised product within the timeline given.  When it comes to promoting a future game, those three things will be a critical discussion point and help develop a stronger trust as it is not a game from a "First Time Creator".

A special thanks to all of those who did a Print and Play, and those who backed this game without playing it.  It was a great learning experience from many aspects, such as KS, Social Media, Advertising, Manufacturing, and Shipping.  I would highly recommend anyone trying to get into the boardgame development and fulfillment hobby / business to start with a very small project with this in order to gain some of this experience.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Plotting LoN KS Video

Planning for a KS video is a critical part of a campaign's impulse backers.
There will be many people who don't even watch the video and decide whether or not to back, but there is a always a chance that a few hundred backers won't even read the campaign page if the KS video does not look properly done or have key information in it.

For Duel of the Dragons I completed the video myself.  It is very amateurish, the timing was not great, and the special effects were jarring in some cases.  The voice over was done voluntarily by a game designer peer, which I am thankful for but was still not right for the game now that I look back on it.

So for Legends of Novus I need to spend money on someone with more time and talent than I have in the video/animation field.  I have decided to go with someone very local, only about an hour and fifteen minutes away, called Onewolf.  They have some great videos online, have created several KS videos that have had successful campaigns, and the main contact is a fellow game designer who created Tiny Ninjas (funded for $40k earlier this year).

My job is to create the story board and script, then work with them on seeing how it flows, providing images they can manipulate to seem like animations, and hopefully tack on a live video snippet near the end about my part in the project and enthusiasm for the game.

I have a good feeling about this decision, costly as it may be, as it could sway a hundred backers to choose to support this game, and by having another hundred backers just from the video those backers give reason for other people to think twice about the campaign and say … hey, that game has over 200 backers, maybe I should check it out also.

The expense will be incorporated into the costs of the game, much like any other production cost, so provided the game does fund this will be covered by the low profit lines of the game.

Here is a brief video using After Effects that I used to create my video storyboard, and I look forward to seeing Onewolf make it fifty times better over the coming months!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tabletop Simulator Revisited

After spending several weeks redoing every single card in Legends of Novus, as well as the game board and a complete retype/graphics change of the rules I figured it was time to reinvest in the digital world of tabletop gaming again.
The benefits of a digital boardgame are numerous, just a few examples are:
  • The ability to change values/images on cards at any time with no expense.
  • Ability to utilize pawns/tokens to decide if they actually work with the game or not (and counters, and trackers).
  • Ability to resize different pieces, such as the Quest Creature tiles, to see what looks good and is playable in a virtual space.
  • Ability to play with people across the globe.
  • Ability to let others playtest without mailing components out or needing them to print and play it.
  • Ability to create and develop Solo Mode without having to set up your personal prototype each time.
  • Ability to record gameplay without worrying about camera position, lighting, sound, etc.
  • And many, many more.
So it is live again, and I've put out some video examples and began seeking feedback from game testers to see if anyone felt like looking at it.  Hoping a few people take interest as it can truly help work out issues and problems that I have not foreseen, or have not experienced in live playtesting yet.

Below is a sample PNG that is used to layer over the card file prior to uploading to TTS.  Intriguing process, and does not work in CMYK so all images must be RGB (at least it crashed for me every time I tried CMYK).

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Creating a Community

Trying to become a visible and active member of such an incredible community as the hobby tabletop gaming community is a bit intimidating to a newcomer.
There are some very clearly known names in the industry, particularly the social aspect of the world, that I am seeing.  Some names include...

Jamie Steigmaier
James Mathe
Daniel Zayas
Tom Vasal

But there are so many out there and I have no idea how many games they have made or what their full impact on the community has been.
What I do know is that if I plan to gain some awareness and followers I need to do my part to keep interacting with others without a goal to gain their business.  Its about creating trust, friendship, and understanding that I am here to help them enjoy the hobby and develop their games as well.
Recently I have been playing prototype games of other designers for fun (examples are Necromagis and H.E.R.O.  by Chris Miles and G. Wesley Cone respectively).  Their games were simple to play as they are just card games, but it still took time, energy, and some money for printing to do this.
Giving them feedback and suggestions hopefully will help improve their future games.

I have also participated in a few rules review exchanges.  Basically I post my rules for anyone interested to review and critique, and in return I promise to read their rules and do the same.  This was pretty challenging the last time as six people read my rules front to back, which means I had to read six peoples rules and do likewise.  This is a hard thing to do when you really just want to focus on completing your own game.  But it was important, as their feedback did help me improve my game so I needed to reciprocate.  One rules review I did took over an hour!

And most recently, as a way to carve my own name and involvement into the gaming community and promote my favourite types of settings and games, I have created a new free for all facebook group called Fantasy Tabletop Companions.  It is a group that is just there to talk about our favorite fantasy games, share stories and ideas, and allow others to promote their prototype games and kickstarters to fantasy fans.

After two days the group has 80 members, and I hope that will continue to grow over the rest of the year so I can learn and see more from the great members that have joined.  There is the potential that it will create an active audience for some fantasy games I plan on brining to life in the coming years, but the goal is not to push that on the group daily.

Hope it grows into a large group of fantasy superfans!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Player Aids

When it comes to making a game easy to play it is always best to either play in the mindset of a new player, or play with a group of new players without instructing them on how to play your game.

With Legends of Novus I had thought I had my Location resource guide was setup well to understand where to go without too much difficulty.  Turns out I was wrong.  Issues found were:
  • Only one guide, but four players.  Frustrating to wait to learn where to go.
  • Have to flip through 8 pages to see where to go, time consuming.
  • Hard to see where I get bonuses to XP, or earn extra rewards, etc.
Based on this I figured another Player Aid was in order... a mini legend for each player to understand how to navigate the map of Novus.
So I've designed a very simple, but handy, reference card for each player to use if they like

Hope it helps solve the concerns below...

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Box Art Opinions

When I began in Game Design I knew that designing the right types of components, having the right amount of players/game time, and having fun and interesting mechanics would be critical to the games success.
What I didn't plan on was how many thoughts and opinions are out there in regards to the actual game box.  When you think about it this is the one thing people can look at in the stores, should your product be sold in a game store.  The cover has to be eye catching, intriguing, and make a player who likes your genre want to grab it, look at it in closer detail, and most importantly, make them want to flip it over to see the back.
The back has to be the equivalent of an excellent sales sheet.  It needs to show the theme, it needs to highlight core mechanics, it should have a great visual of what makes your game special and different, and a list of contents can help as well.
The tough part about both of these is that players also want to read as little as possible.  Time is precious and images speak much louder than words.
I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out what piece of art looks the best on a box, best represents the fantasy setting, and will make people really want to pick it up and look at it (or in the case of online it needs to make them want to click for more information).  At one point I had considered the Dragon art, but that seemed to cliche' and overdone in this type of game.
For the back it takes even more time and consideration, and I'm pretty sure I need to start from scratch to make it work properly.
I write this post just to let game designers know that what you think might be a simple copy/past of an image and a logo may actually take you several hours of work, and several re-dos to best market online and in physical stores.
I have used Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to get some gamer insight for this topic, and each time there are multiple opinions and suggestions.
A few that have stuck out are:

  • One large image is best, if you try to make a collage of images or scattered images the feedback is not good.  If you have an artist create a piece that is an intentional combination of people/creatures that is fine, but it should be one piece of art (not a photoshop mash up).
  • The name of the game should stand out very clear, and somewhat centered on the box.
  • Your name, artist name, and company name are not required on the box cover.  If you can make it work then great but don't let it be more important than the game you are trying to market.
  • List of contents on back of box, with a visual of full game laid out on a table for player perspective.
  • Brief backstory of the game world (if any).
  • Clarification of why your game stands out and is different from other the tens of thousands of games in existence.
Good luck when you design your game box images, when its complete it does feel like a milestone has been achieved!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Re-revised Card Designs

After multiple posts through IG, FB, Twitter, and Reddit I have redesigned the Creature cards for Legends of Novus several times.  Each iteration in time consuming to edit/change the cards, even though most share the base template it still requires effort to tweak text size, icons, and image sizes.

I believe, after about 10-12 revisions since the game started, I may have found a design I want to stick with.  The main issue this creates is that the rest of the cards are in a different style, not as focused on the art as it is on the text/values of the cards.
This will take some time playing around with to see what the best way to manage this is.  Do I redesign ALL the cards, are have the two different graphic styles?

I think putting out more posts with concept ideas is the best way to figure this out.  So many great gamers and designers/publishers out there that seem happy to give their valuable opinions.  Their responses may require me to redesign those cards as well, but everything is worth it to deliver a game people enjoy looking at and interacting with.

Here is the latest version, and most likely final, for Creatures...

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Waiting Game

I'm not sure if there is anything more frustrating in game creation than waiting for approvals and shipments from manufacturers.
I have been stuck waiting to see the final card products from DTC before ordering the 60 decks required to fulfill all KS orders, and it feels like it takes forever!
As soon as that comes in then Duel of the Dragons will be submitted, with hopes of receiving all decks by mid November.
The funding from KS appeared in my bank yesterday so the process only too about 16 days from end of funding to receiving the funds, not bad!

Now the final decision to ship out games in bubble envelopes flat packed will come to the test soon.  Really depends on how the Post Office will feel about its weight and how it is described.  The tests I had done pre-KS had the costs between 3-5 dollars, but the post office may challenge that based on the inner contents.

In the meantime, I am working on KS pages and new card graphics for LoN to give it a more Artsy vibe to the game (instead of the structured/boxed look originally used).  This new look is getting much better feedback from groups/individuals, so will likely stick with this one.

Also trying to grow the FB group to exceed 100 members.  It is a challenge as people generally don't want to add yet another group to their updates/pages, but I am hoping the content of my posts shows enough to grab fantasy lovers attention and want to join and see more.

A good chat with Panda Games took place on Thursday as well, helped clarify questions I had on costs, timelines, fulfillment minimums, etc.  Decided from that convo alone that miniatures are too pricey to venture into with in my first few games...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Spellbook'd PnP Testing

During a long drive to and from the relatives this Thanksgiving I had a lot of windshield time to think about gaming.  I thought a lot about the Kickstarter I am currently manufacturing, its an exciting process but a lot of waiting in between submissions, proofs, and later the final products.  Thought a lot about my big game, Legends of Novus, as well but not much I could do about it on the drives.
So that left imagining up a new game...
That's where Spellbook'd was derived from.  I had the initial concept a few months ago but left it as a thought in the notes app of my iPhone.  Now it is becoming reality with card ideas, mechanics, and even a printout of some basic cards.
I've now playtested it about a dozen times and found most of it works out well, had a few wording issues and two spells to adjust, but otherwise it seems to be playing as expected.
Now it needs some outsider influence, some experienced PnP gamers are willing to give it a try so I am excited to see what they think of the initial game and where it goes from here.

Meanwhile, need to go back and finish up the Creature cards of Legends of Novus, build up new videos, and began the future Kickstarter page in preparation for early next year.  A call is planned with a mass manufacturer to see how costs and files are needed (postponed from last week).  That can really help with the planning piece too.

Here is a simple logo thrown together to identify the Spellbook'd game.  It will change for sure, but for now it helps to share an image and title with people that might be interested in it..

Monday, October 8, 2018

KS Fulfillment Begins and Planning for LoN next year

It has only been 12 days since my first KS ended, and funds have not been sent to my account yet but I have promised my backers a short turnaround for delivery (to have in time for Christmas).  Backers have been very positive and responsive to surveys and emails, which makes my role as a game fulfiller quite a bit easier.
Duel of the Dragons is quite a small game and is very easy to modify card images/graphics at the printers demand.  I have probably adjusted files at least ten times in the past three weeks based on manufacturer needs as well as personal edits.  I can picture this being very frustrating if this were a larger game with multiple non-card components (such as Legends of Novus).
For this very reason I plan to have conversations with a mass producer this week to discuss exactly what file types/sizes/timelines they would have in order to manufacture Legends of Novus in the most efficient manner they can, with as little editing as possible next year.
I am very excited to bring that project to life, but am also trying to balance my time with completing Duel of the Dragons, and even devoting time to yet another game creation based on some inspiration I had recently.
I did not want to get started on another project, but once it got in my head I was afraid to ignore it and let the inspiration dissipate.  It would be a card based game again, this time with player tiles, gemstones, and tokens as components.  It would take longer to play the DotD, but less time and less complications with creation than LoN.
I actually spent two nights over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend designing prototype cards on InDesign, printed them, and used a paper cutter to get them to size.  Playtested two games so far and will be working out some kinks, then will reach out to fans of Print and Plays to see if they want to give the game a whirl.
Later this week LoN will get creature file updates, and I will be revisiting the game board design to allow less "dead" space on board and be easier for players to navigate.

Hard to believe I have been working on game design for over 7 months now!  Such an interesting and fun hobby, not just for designing but also for playing.  In fact, just got Castles of Burgundy as a Birthday gift a few days ago and spent 4 hours playing it to see what the experience was all about and why it is so highly ranked.  I enjoyed the game, albeit a bit long to play, and am sure after a few more plays I will glean some great game design insight from it!

Time to devout some more time back to Novus though, as I would like to spend a substantial amount of time making a Playthrough video, an animated Kickstarter video using real game artwork, and gather feedback and adjust the game if needed based on blind playtests planned for this month.

Here is a screenshot of the latest game prototype, tentatively named Spellbook'd.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

First Kickstarter Post Synopsis

     I am extremely happy to report that my first KS, through FunDaMental Games, became successfully funded far beyond my expectations!  There was a strong initial support, funding in the first 2.5 days of the launch, then a lull for a few days, then a gradual climb upwards from there.
     By the end of the KS it was 260% funded to the $500 goal, with one stretch goal achieved.  Considering I have never promoted or sold a game to the public before, and this is a first creation on KS, this felt like an accomplishment to be proud of.
     I learned a few lessons from this KS, both before the launch, during the campaign, and now some post launch thoughts.  Here are a few I can share with you:
  • The video is crucial, and I don't think I put enough time or energy into it.  Also I did not add a personal touch, which could have been something as simple as 10 seconds of me introducing FunDaMental games.  Of the 215 people that played the video only 21% of people completed it, which meant it may not have been compelling/interesting enough.  That would equate to 46 backers if only full video watchers backed the game, so at least the video was not the sole selling point, but it was important and I would like to improve on this for the next game (while staying within the time limit).
  • Having a physical copy of Pledge rewards would make it a much more visual experience to promote those pledge levels.  I had offered holographic cards based on research and videos I had watched of the card making company, but I hadn't actually ordered the product until a week before launching the KS.  This meant that the cards didn't arrive until the night before my KS ended.  I think the holographic cards actually encouraged a lot of last minute backers due to the video posting of them, and this really should have been included from the start of the campaign as a key visual selling point.
  • Ship wherever you can, and advertise this well!  I limited shipping to US/Canada for free, and options for four other countries in the pledge details.  At least five backers mentioned this limitation for them, which means likely 25 more just didn't bother with the campaign since they could not back it at a physical level anyway.  Figure out logistics and other shipment costs as early as you can, and make it an option (even if it is very expensive), then anyone could back the game if they chose to pay those shipping fees.
  • If you are going to run a Facebook Ad or other Ad process you will want to have it reviewed/planned for at least a week out.  I ended up with a credit to do an add on Facebook, but didn't request it until the day before the campaign ended.  They did not review the request in time to advertise, so I ended up not advertising on any paid channels.  If this were completed it may have resulted in more backers near the end of the project.
  • Checking for backers and pledge increases is addictive... find your zen and try to avoid looking at the app every five minutes.  Plan to look for funding updates and backer q's every two hours, and use your time more effectively.
  • The Backer reports are pretty useful to look at and can help push your campaign/game event  to be more enticing to others.
Those are just a few to share first hand.  Thanks for reading!
Successfully raised CA$ 1,302 with 82 backers 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

FallCon, my first Gaming Convention

So today I had the opportunity to attend my first Game Convention, and although it was a small one compared to the huge cons I see on the many game sites out there, it was still a great chance to interact with gamers and designers in Alberta.
I started the morning by playing a fantasy dice game already in publication, called Dice Throne, by Roxley Games.  Had never heard of it and was invited to try it, it was a fun and fast battle game loosely based on a Yahtzee dice roll with some major add-ons...
Dice Throne is an accessible and strategic dice dueling game where players choose their Hero and square off against their opponents in an intense head-to-head or team battle.

After that I checked out quite a few other games already in play, then played an unpublished game called Borders of Kanta, a hex laying area control game by a game designer from Edmonton.   Had some good discussion with the designer Lorne, and was able to see the kind of quality that Print and Play company does for game production.
Also met the designer of Tiny Ninjas, a guy named Ryan who lives not too far away from me.  He had a great campaign with over $30k on his KS.  His game was manufactured with LongPack games and seemed to look pretty good as well.

I set up and ran my table for four hours, getting in two productive playtests and some discussion with passers by.  Everyone that came by was interactive and friendly, so a very good experience overall.  I was able to see where game time could be sped up by starting the game off in a later state (a common recommendation you see on game design sites anyhow), and will be adjusting the game to reflect characters being in a stronger position as the game begins.

After the demo I was able to meet a few game store owners and hand out a few more business cards to raise awareness for FunDaMental Games.  The environment is very difficult to actually sell a rookie product since there is so much established product available, but was still great to network and see visually a ton of the great games I don't own that people always talk about.
Examples include Scythe, Sagrada, Santorini, Twilight Emperium, and many more.

The con was a perfect break-in experience to the Con world, looking forward to the next opportunity to do it again!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Legends of Novus Ad Poster

Just a quick post to share a poster that will be used to showcase the amazing art for Legends of Novus...
Will be using at FallCon, in posts/ads, and as a visual cover for a future project for a 5E book for Legends of Novus (late next year)…

Kickstarter Update

It has been a busy week, but exciting as well!
     Duel of the Dragons has exceeded its modest funding goal of $500 on the third day of KS (of a 14 day campaign timeframe).  This was primarily done through unknown gamers, with some support from a few friends and family members.
     Launching the KS was a little intimidating, particularly when looking at some of the amazing projects others have launched and how much they were able to raise (and their preparations with reviewers and playthrough videos also).  I feel a fairly competent campaign was created and presented to potential backers, with each of the essentials for a successful KS being present to some extent.
     I launched the campaign on a Friday, which is not generally suggested (Tue/Wed/Thu are preferred), but that was my best timeframe around my day job and other life events.
     I have learned a lot about the KS program, and the behind the scenes data and discussions that can take place once you have launched  I have also learned a lot about the pressure to keep a campaign growing, and how challenging it can be to find ways to promote a game without delving into "spamming" or unapproved ads (on FB or other groups).
     Once it is all over I will discuss the process in an essay/review of some kind and post a link to it in this blog.  Might be a while due to needing to work on final revisions of the game, manufacturing submissions, and discussions with backers as well.
     The next week will continue to be full of FB/IG/Twitter ads/discussions, and the important FallCon event to demo Legends of Novus (and discuss/promote Duel of the Dragons).  It will be a great chance to meet gamers and designers in a local environment!

Friday, September 14, 2018

The day has come! First KS is live...

It will be a busy day to share and promote FunDaMental Games first KS.
I am sure it will be a day full of learning as well.  I will do my best to track the pros and cons of my approach to this campaign and share the journey in a separate post.
Until then I need to stay active across the different media channels and be available to answer comments/questions in the posts.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


Trying to increase exposure to your games, and your game company, can be very challenging in a digital world so full of options to the gamers of the world.  In many posts and articles I have read about mailing lists, as I talked about last post when I started a mailchimp account.
Its one thing to make an email subscription list, its another thing to have people actually want to join it.  People need a reason to look at your games, and a reason to join yet another email subscription.  It is up to the game designer / publisher to create that incentive.
One popular incentive is to have a giveaway that will interest your target audience, in my case that would be fellow game designers and game players.  I decided to purchase a few extra copies of my upcoming cardgame Kickstarter and offer one as a giveaway prize to a random email subscriber of mine.
This helps drive traffic to the email subscription while also advertising the KS and the game.  One lucky subscriber will also win the game, getting it out into another random gamers hands.  After promoting this giveaway on Instagram, FB, and Twitter it helped bring about 40 new email subscribers to my account.  While this is a small number, it is a start and creates a base group to share news/updates every couple of weeks about what my company is working on for game design and future production.
As the list builds I will provide an update on this post for those that are interested.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


As usual, I have been listening to podcasts and watching youtube videos about game design in my spare moments, and a common suggestion is to have an email subscription option for your game/company.
The most common recommendation is to use MailChimp, which is free to sign up and use until you have more than 2,000 subscribers (which is a huge number to hit, so not much of a danger there until you are in the big leagues).
I decided to give it a try today, so I have created my account and shared the link to join on FB and through an email to previous playtesters.  I have also created a button link on my company website that allows site browsers to just click to get the subscription option (another common suggestion).
Should this work well it allows a direct connection to people who have chosen to be linked to my company and games, rather than just trying to email people I think are interested.
I will try to remember to do a follow up to this note in a few weeks to see if the subscription option generates any interest (particularly after FallCon event).
Here is the link FYI
Sign up for our mailing list to keep in touch:
Thanks for reading...

Monday, September 3, 2018

Novus Playtest Kit

The time has come to ship out a playtest kit of Legends of Novus to playtesters and reviewers that have taken an interest to the game.
First I am sending the kit to GameSmiths Playtesting group, a pay to play group that I used back in April of this year.  The reason I am using them again is the content they provide is fantastic, detailed, visual, and fun.  It is in the form of three youtube videos (Rules review, Gameplay, and Design Feedback).
Once they have played the game it will then be shipped off to a few different hardcore gamers/groups to test out.  I hope to get their feedback through some messenger chat, and maybe a Google Survey as well for some specific questions.
Right now the game, in my humble opinion, is fun, challenging, and balanced enough to allow exciting games for players.  This round the continent shipping and playing will help see if the game is broken in some significant way that I have not yet discovered.

Hope it goes well!  But even more importantly, I hope it finds the flaws that need correcting before making plans for a major KS launch and production!

Friday, August 31, 2018

The first public Legends of Novus

I had the opportunity to meet with an individual today who wanted an early copy of LoN to use as a gift exchange with someone in Denmark.
I love the concept of a blind gift exchange to send something to someone elsewhere on the globe, and was very glad that I was asked to help this person with a one of a kind gift to send.
They won't get it for quite  some time, but when they do it will help with the chance for a truly random blind playtest/review from the recipient.

Here is a pic of the first game in existence for someone other than me,  exciting moment!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Updating Timelines

It has been some time since I reflected on my game development timelines, so now is the time...

What is done now:
  • Legends of Novus V3 Prototype... The game is fully playable in its current form, but very expensive to order individual units (approx. $80 USD plus shipping).  Next goal for this game (other then constant playtesting as time permits) is to demo it at FallCon on Sep 22nd
  • Duel of the Dragons is basically complete, with some finessing that could be done on Dragon abilities to balance out the power.
  • Both games registered on Boardgame Geek
  • Table booked for FallCon2018
What needs to be done
  • An important thing to work on for Novus is its Solo mode.  It is a proven, growing trend that I would be better able to serve players in if I could make this as an option.
  • Need to complete a How to Play video for Dragons and include in Kickstarter presentation
  • Finish the base video as well, including a brief introduction as myself and the company.
  • Send out personal letters with business cards.  This could be the key to initial backers as a personal touch, with a physical business card provided as well.
  • So much more than just the above, but the list is actually quite long if we actually 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The old fashioned way

Reaching out through social media, email, and video contact are all great methods to gain backers, and proven to work.
Today I made a commitment to send true physical letters to various game store  companies close to home, and some far South as well.  This was to help  get my business cards out to game stores prior to a KS release, and to develop relations and awareness with those businesses.
It is a small gesture, but with the direct letter and the business card included, with mention of why KS is important and how the money would be used, I do think its an important one.

I will send an update once I can determine how many people may have used the litter.  If sending out 40 letters means even 5 of them back the first project, then it is a worthwhile investment on creating and printing the letter.

The letter is below...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Power of a Card

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to order some official business cards.
Originally I was just going to print them with each game order, and have them as poker cards.  Then one night I decided to look at a business card website and discovered a few benefits to purchasing from them.  The reasons are as follows:
  • Cost per card, even with embellishments, turned out to be cheaper than buying from GameCrafter or Drivethru cards.  It was $48 Canadian after taxes and shipping.  The other sites would be that price before shipping.
  • The embellishments allowed me to have a nice sheen on the front and a flat finish on the back.  This was ideal for highlighting my company logo/info while making the back of the card easier to read.
  • Vista had the option for a metallic finish on whatever parts of my card I wanted.  My logo happens to have a sword as a key component of it, which was the perfect place for a metallic finish.  I was very pleased with the finished result, which can be seen in the attached vido.
  • Giving out a business card at a con/event is handy as it actually fits in a wallet, instead of getting tucked into a game box and possibly never seen again.
  • Business cards are more commonly accepted with professionals as well, and is a great way to send out via mail to game companies.  Many business owners keep a business card folder and a poker card would not work there.
I am hoping these help gain some attention and make people look twice at the potential my game, and my company, will offer in the future.  Still a ton of time, labour, and investment will be needed to make this company work, but I am determined to make it a success (even if a minor one)!

Thanks for reading, hope you like the card!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Updated Box Art / Sell Sheet

After some edits and feedback I have updated the Back of the Box image for Legends of Novus.
Now it shows more recent card/gameboard files as well as component counts updated.

Still trying to come up with a slogan that makes people understand the differences in this game vs other fantasy games, something worthy of printing on the front of the box and using as the games "tag line".... really not sure what to go with at this time.

Today the Facebook site just hit 50 Followers!  After 6 months of development, image sharing, playtesting, and learning this is big accomplishment for such a new project.  The power of multiplication may start impacting the site (kind of like Instagram exceeding 300 followers now).  If each of the 50 followers had just one contact join in the next month then the count would exceed 100 (from other new joiners as well).
I am trying to showcase the game concerts and art in FB sites, Twitter, IG, and other avenues and hope this helps grow grow grow the following.

The next step is personal letters with business cards and sample game cards included.  This is a more expensive avenue, but the physical feeling of having a personalized letter, a shiny business card (with metallic sword finish ;), and a few sample game cards could convince game stores / owners to join the group, and may help gain KS backers as well.  So over the next few weeks I plan to create a list of game companies across US and Canada, create some letters, and plan to mail out by mid September asking them to join the FB group and the mailing list.

The game design battle continues!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

After Effects

Just when I thought I had most of what I needed to know under control, recently I discovered After Effects.
A fellow game designer (Chris Miles, Necromagis), showed me his KS video featuring distorted images / animations derived from his personal art for his cards and it looked fantastic.
My plan to keep it really simple was tossed aside, as I realized if I could spend a few days or a week figuring out this program I could truly amp up the KS video for Duel of the Dragons.
Nicula's art for the dragons is pretty awesome, so finding a way to animate them just a bit could gain a few more backers that are into that kind of commercialization.
And its fun to bring art to life!  A little frustrating at first trying figure it out, but still very cool.

I played around with the demon from Legends of Novus to test out some of the capabilities, and it is pretty awesome!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Its almost time to Kickstart!

Well, I've been working at two games for some time now, as you may see if you go through the chain of Blog posts.
In terms of time, it is actually very short compared to many game designers out there.  I am not sure if I have "put in more time" than any of them, but time is a matter of perception as it is based on productive and useful time.
Either way, it is almost time to Kickstart!  I've got the core design of the KS campaign keyed in now, with some cool images, identified reward tiers, and 4 levels of stretch goals.  In addition are the Gameplay video, the How to Play images, and a why to back entry.
Still need to create the actual Project Video, for that I need to spend some time playing with the photoshop video tool and find a way to make it visually appealing and still describe the game in less than two minutes.

For this game I want to do all of that stuff on my own, both for budgeting reasons and to really immerse myself in understanding how easy/difficult each of the tasks are.  Then when I go to prepare Novus I will know what I feel comfortable and capable of doing myself, and what I will need to reach out to others for.  With Novus, being a higher cost game with more components, it will also have a higher markup and can allow for additional expenses.

The long hours, the endless social media stream reading and participation, the need to remember Instagram posts and FB entries, watching out for BoardGameGeek, and then the designing itself is all very time consuming.  And then finding time to playtest and get others interested as well... so time consuming!

Fair warning to any aspiring game designers out there, you need to LOVE this hobby and this creation in order to keep up with it all!

The pic below is just an insert in the KS campaign story.  Much easier to modify those vs using the KS entry program.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Another travelling adventure, another game idea

In one of the many podcasts I've listened to over the past few months it mentioned how game ideas can come to you completely unexpectedly, when you had not plans or intentions to do so.
Yesterday was the perfect example of that.  For months I have been working on three different game concepts, and a potential RPG world, and that was plenty to keep my mind active and ideas churning out into the laptop and real life.
I don't have the time or ability to work on yet another game idea right now, but for some reason one struck me yesterday while walking along some paths in Radium BC.  The concept itself has been done many times over, but the mechanics and structure of the game I believe would be unique.
I spent an hour or two late into the evening writing thoughts on it into my notes app, not wanting to forget the idea.
So for now it will be put aside, but I think it may have great potential so it is likely something I will come back to after Dragons and Novus are brought to life.

Here is what I had typed into the notes app, just as an example of how suddenly an idea can spring to mind:
Spell book Game, or Duel of the Wizards

A fantasy Deck Building dueling card game

Different spell group cards drafted during Stage 1 of play, players will each draft a 30 Card deck out of the 90 cards in the game

Play out card combinations with the deck you build during Stage 2 of play

The last 30 cards are used for Stage 3, somehow playing differently than stage 2

Stage1 - Studying
Each player gets 10 random cards. They get the chance to look at them, then place face down as the beginning of their spell book.  These cards may help determine what kind of cards or strategy you use to pick your next 20 cards. 
Next 6 cards are laid out in between the 2 players. Players take turns choosing 1 card from the 6 piles (then replace it from the top of the deck) OR drawing a card from top of deck. You may not draw from the deck 2 turns in a row. This happens until each player has 30 total cards in their decks. 
Shuffle the decks and proceed to Stage 2. 

Stage 2 - Spell Duel
Each player draws 6 cards from their drafted decks.
They each choose 3 cards and place them facedown in front of them, then reveal them at the same time. Follow the rules card for how this plays out. The winner of the round takes the three cards and puts them to the side as one Victory Point. 
Then they each draw 3 cards and repeat the process. Once the deck is out of cards play out the remaining cards.
This results in 10 total rounds of spell battle.  It is possible that one player could win the game at this point (if they have more than 10 VPs already then the opponent could not possibly win the game). 

Stage 3 - Endgame 
With the 30 remaining cards from Stage 1 deal 15 to each player. 
Players look at their fifteen cards and sort them into five sets of three cards, setting each face down in front of them.   Line them up with the opponents five sets of cards. 
Flip each set of cards over and compare to the opponents three cards. The winner earns a VP. 

The 5 Fields of Magic are:

Illusion - cloud - Blue
Evocation - fireball - Red
Necromancy - skull - Black
Conjuration - claws - Green
Abjuration- shield - White

Card types:
12x Each of the five Magic School Cards  - Just a symbol for the school of magic, with a 1 or 2 or 3 on it (3 cards are 1, 6 cards are 2, and 3 cards are 3)
1x Each Magic School Card, an ability Card. 
5x Dispel Magic - Wins a round automatically.  If both players have a Dispel they cancel each other out. 
5x Enhancement - Adds +2 to any school of magic. 
5x Knowledge - Worth an extra VP if acquired. 
5x Multiplier - Doubles the value of your cards when played
5x Negate - Removes one of opponents cards from the round, if both players have a Negate they cancel each other out.  A Negate can cancel a Dispel Card.  

Bonus ability Cards
Illusion - Change a Basic Magic Card to symbol of your choice (either player)
Evocation - 
Necromancy - Swap this Card with any Card from the Void
Conjuration - Place on the table, add +1 to your total each turn until they reveal 3 Evocation or Illusion
Abjuration - Place on the table, subtract 1 from opponents total each turn until they reveal