Sorry it's been such a quiet week here at Creation and Play. Mainly due to a very busy week in the real world. Why so busy? A number of things, all conspiring together to rob you of my virtual company!
First up, I've received a promising prototype which I'm sending out for blind playtesting to a bunch of gamers from around the world. I've only been sent a single prototype, so this means I've got to knock up a bunch of copies to send out. To do this I've had to do several steps, to ensure that the copies I send out at least meet my submission guidelines for prototypes. I've ordered some greyboard (I think it's called chipboard in the US), and made some simple tray and lid boxes out of it. I've not bothered labelling them, but they are the right size - i,e. the size the game would be if I published it. I've ordered the wooden pieces from SpielMaterial.de, then counted them up and bagged them ready to go, I've been to the local toy shop to buy a metric ton of dice (my usual dice supplier Plastics for Games have a £50 minimum order. There's still a bunch of stuff left to do: I need to do the art for the board and the cards, and run my take on the rules by the designer (once I've added some of the prototype art into them for diagram purposes. This is a fairly expensive process (it'll end up costing over £100 once you include the materials and postage), but I need to do this for games before I sign them. I did it a bit late for Sumeria, I'd already signed the design, and had the feedback from blind playtesting been terrible (it wasn't fortunately!), I'd have been stuffed since the art and manufacturing was already in train. The advantage of doing it earlier is that you get longer for the feedback, and more time to respond it, plus if the game tanks, you're not signed up to anything and can cut your losses. The disadvantage is that you end up spending this money for more games, some of which you'll end up dropping and hence will never get a chance to recoup the cost of playtesting. With any luck I'll get the prototypes finished by the middle of next week, and then I can get them in the post.
One of the advantages of re-doing the prototypes is it gives me a chance to check out a few ideas. I get to put the game in a box that is the size I'm intending to use (the same size as Carpe Astra and Sumeria for the moment). I get to re-size components (e.g. boards, cards) to sizes that fit the box or that are ideal for production. In addition, I can to try some layout ideas: what happens if I put that here, or use that iconography? The art will be pretty rough, but you can still get an idea about things from a rough draft.
This time, I can pimp the prototypes a little, since I was sent a box of spares by the Sumeria manufacturers. They were limited in what they could assemble due to a shortfall in the wooden pieces. As a result they had spare punchboards, cloth bags, boards and inserts. As a result I've given each of the prototypes an insert and I'll use the spare Sumeria boards as a substrate for the prototype boards (I'll just glue the prototype art on top).
In addition to the prototypes, I've also been working on some stuff (and the furniture) for my Essen stand. And to top it all, it's a busy week for gaming :-)
Yesterday, Tim, one of my oldest friends (and co-incidently one half of the Best Man double act at my wedding), came round for a day of gaming. We christened my copy of the new version of Space Hulk, and played a few Eurogames, including Sumeria. I had a terrible day (I'm blaming waking up at 5:50am), winning only 2 games of Space Hulk out of eleven games in total. He even beat me twice at Sumeria (a rare event :-) ). The new Space Hulk is lavishly produced (if ever there was a good advert for the economies of scale -Space Hulk is rumoured to be a print run of 70,000+ copies), the board sections are embossed with details, the counters are prolific and on very thick stock (3mm?) and the minis are extremely detailed - if overdone in the posture department. Tim loved Sumeria too, which was cool. Tomorrow (and hopefully Monday) are playtesting days, and I'm at an all day games day on Saturday.
It feels great to be really busy again (the Summer was pretty quiet), but there's so much to do!