At Krellware, we’ve spent the last few months – in the midst of other projects – focusing on getting the Weather Zen™ board game ready for playtests and production. How did we do it? It was simple! We just followed these 3 easy steps:
Step 1: Idea!
Start with a great idea! One with a unique twist! One where weather is a key element in gameplay. Yeah!
Step 2: Create the Game!
Write down all your ideas. Create a paper version of the game. Cut out pieces and bits from that scrap paper in the recycling bin. Prowl the aisles of your favorite craft store, hunting for inspiration in the tons of little inexpensive wooden parts they have.
Grab your markers and stickers and get busy with those little wooden pieces. Hold the vision of the final game in your mind and then get to coloring! Make your designs come to life….ish.
Get together with friends and family and playtest, playtest, playtest! This really helps get a sense of whether the concept and rules work. Play it over and over and over until you suddenly discover that friends and family stop returning your calls and emails. Start showing up at their homes unannounced with your game.
But bring some drinks and chips with you because that’s just polite.
Create spreadsheets and lists of all the items you think you’ll need for the game and all the changes you need to make. Read, read, read about how other people made their games. Buy and play a lot of other games looking for good ideas to trigger better ideas of your own. Watch Tabletop and dream of being featured. Dream of Wil Wheaton himself holding up your game and saying your name!
Shake yourself out of the dream – it’s time to wake up and get to work!
Read more about how other people made their games. Play a few more; go to your local board game Meetup. In the meantime, think about everything you’ll need to make the game: game parts, game design, game mechanics, artwork, playtesting, surveys to gather useful info from playtesting, manufacturers, shipping. Remember why you love games and why you love THIS game.
Get started with prototypes you make yourself from all those pieces you found at your local craft store. Do boatloads of playtests. Make changes to gameplay and design and mechanics. Do more playtests. Do more playtests. Do MORE playtests.
Oh, and did I mention this is NOT your day job? Whew! You need help. Hire an assistant.
Work on your day job while you continue to work with the assistant on the game. Remember why you love games and why you love THIS game. Create a project tracking sheet so you can keep track of who is doing what. Find an artist to do prototype artwork and hammer out a contract and list of assets needed.
Gather all the items for the prototype and get them ready for production. Prepare surveys to gather useful information for playtesting the prototype. Revise and edit websites and social media platforms. Learn about crowdfunding campaigns and how to do them correctly. Learn you probably should have started a year ago but, shoot, you are working on it now so keep plowing ahead. Revel in the joy of seeing a player smile at a playtest. Learn how to not visibly cringe when players give criticism. It’s constructive! It helps!
Keep working! Remember why you started. Keep working! Remember why you love games. Remember why you love THIS game. Remember, remember, remember….
Step 3: Publish and sell the game!
It’s really just that simple.