Jun 25, 2008

Origins Looming

This morning I leave for Origins. While I look forward to playing new games and spending time with my friends, this trip has a singular purpose. I have scheduled meetings with two publishers so far, and will try and get meetings with more by just walking the exhibit hall.

I have brought two prototypes with me: Titans of Industry and Privateering.
The latest version of Titans of Industry looks spectacular. I have tremendous respect for the artistic skills of a friend of mine whom I commissioned to do the artwork for this game, Dan Glaser. It is astonishing what this guy can do with a couple of hundred pixels. In fact, here is a sample:

I'd like to thank Dan and another friend, Jon, for the help they gave me in preparing my pitch. I am not a person who is naturally good at making something sound interesting. These guys have far more ability than I at crafting both a visual and a verbal message that is effective.

Last night I practiced my pitch on another couple of friends. They said that the concept of the game interested them, but that they didn't really understand how a player's turn worked. I am really glad that the concept seemed interesting to them. If a person (publisher) doesn't like the concept, then he or she will tune out the rest and stare at his or her watch. However, it is good to know that I need to be more careful about explaining how a player interacts with the mechanisms I have set up.

I still have to put together a rulebook for Titans. Thankfully, my friend Doug is the one who will be doing the driving to Columbus today, which will give me time to write up the rulebook during the eight-hour car ride. I hate making rulebooks. As I've related previously, it does not come naturally to me. Recently, I had to rewrite the rulebook for the Star Trek CCG. It hadn't been updated in about five years, and the supplemental rules documents published since then were becoming unwieldy. The new version I wrote is undergoing review and I'll post a link to it when it is published.

The Privateering prototype is in a far less developed state, graphically, than Titans. However, its rules are "finished". There really is nothing else I would want tacked on to this game, as I want to keep it in the "light-weight" category and it is already approaching the border of "medium-weight". Because the physical, graphical, aspect of Privateering is not very polished, I'll only be showing it to a single publisher. This is because I have somewhat of a relationship with this publisher already, and I don't think that he would judge the game or my skills based of the lack of graphical pizzazz. I cannot assume the same about other publishers.

I must say, I am really very proud of Titans of Industry. When I compare it to my previous games, they look comically simplistic next to Titans. That isn't to say that Titans just has more rules. It has more dimensions. There are multiple strategies available, and players are forced to weave between them to avoid being left behind. I believe that, even if this weren't my personal design, I would still love this game.

I think this prototype is really a milestone in my development as a board game designer. Now I just have to hope that some publisher sees in this game what I do.

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