Monday, March 16

Action Stations! Action Stations!

Set condition one throughout the fleet!

Sorry for the lack of blogging in the last couple of weeks, I've been exceptionally busy. On the home front, we're buying a new house down South and I've been in discussions with my doctors about changing my MS treatment.

On the work front, I've been very busy with Sumeria and some playtesting. After complaining last week that I was suffering from a lack of playtesters down South I finally got around to asking some of my new gaming buddies if they'd be interested in doing some playtesting for me, and they are :-) Even better news is that a couple of them a free during the day on a Tuesday so I can get some playtesting done in 'work time' rather than giving up another evening during the week - time when I can hang out with The Wife. Unfortunately, this Tuesday is a no-go since I have to go into hospital for the MRI test I was promised a couple of weeks ago, along with some blood tests. But soon!

I've decided to step up my blind playtesting. Sumeria was the first time I did 'proper' blind playtesting where I got some random people who I had no previous contact with to play a game completely from the rules. I got five people (and their respective gaming buddies) involved, two in the US, two in the UK and one in Europe. All good so far. What I probably did wrong was leaving it so late. By the time the blind playtesting started, I was already signed up to publish the game and had only a couple of months to deal with any feedback. The feedback has been really good and very useful and I think the game has improved as a result of it.

I'm now looking for blind playtesters for another game. This is one I've not yet signed, so I'm using the blind playtesting to inform my signing decision, not just to improve the rulebook and tweak the rules. I'll post another thread asking for volunteers shortly. In the meantime, I've got the prototype copies printed, I just need to cut out the cards and round the corners, ready for sending off to the playtesters.

I've also started the Sumeria layout - constructing the art from the designer into a finished product. I really enjoy this work, but it's pretty time-consuming. The first thing I did was the rules. I had some rules that were written and had some rough diagrams in, the next step was to add the background image and get images of the components into the diagrams. The images needed to be cropped to remove the bleed around the components and then downsampled to an appropriate size. I added some simple effects (a dark outer glow) to the components so they stood out from the background of the rulebook. The 'finished' rulebook has been out to my playtesters for comments and I've made a few minor tweaks based upon their feedback. I hope to post the rules to my website and BoardGameGeek fairly shortly. Then I need to create a translation grid and send that off to Michael so he can start translating the rules into German (Sumeria, like It's Alive! will have English and German rules in the box).

After the rules, I laid out the art for the tiles and counters onto the punchboards. For this I need to combine the tile and counter art into three sheets (with a front and back for each). I need to ensure the front art and back art match and line up and that the distance between each component is sufficient for the cutting process. I've printed out my own copy too, which I'll glue onto board and cut out for my prototype copy. I want a prototype with finished art ready to take to games clubs and conventions so I can start building some buzz. I'll need this copy for sending to the 'UK Game of the Year' judges in May too.

All I've got left to do now is the game board and the box, despite having to place my order this week, the manufacturers don't need this artwork for six weeks or so, which makes it slightly less urgent!

It feels good to be really busy again :-).


Anonymous said...

Hi Jackson,

Love your blog. It gives a nice insight in game publishing and life in general.
I just read the rules of Sumeria and remember the blog about why the game is no longer a 2-player game. Excellent and honest to do so. Still I am very anxious about what the 2-player rules looked like. Is there any chance in publishing them in any form: to give players (like me) some insight in the decision. Or give players the chance to decide for themself. I remember Kosmos publishing a game for 3-4 players as noted on the box, in the rules and in the PR. At the end of the rules there was still a hint on how a 2-player game could be played with a note why it is not officialy.
That can also be done on your own site or BGG. Is it a idea?

Greetings, Olavf

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Olav,

I intend to post the 2-player rules on BGG as an unofficial variant.