I work in software engineering and at the end of a project we hold a 'retrospective' to answer three questions:
- What went well, that we would want to do again?
- What went badly, that we would want to avoid next time?
- What else should we do?
Seeing as this was my first NaGa DeMon, my first game I'd designed entirely in the public domain and at the last minute I decided to run TGWAG, there's lots of things that I could look back on and evaluate the performance of. So, without further ado:
What went well?
- I got a lot of page views on the blog. November was my best month by far, outstripping the reddit month (which I honestly though I'd never equal) by 50%
- By posting the rules online I got a lot of useful feedback as the month went on, letting me iterate the rules very quickly
- Several people said they would/had print out a copy
- Someone (thanks, Konrad!) not only solo'd it three or four times, but also played it at least three times with friends, and then sent me very detailed feedback.
- I managed to design a game within a month, from ideas to reasonable game (with room still for improvement of course)
- I iterated the rules six times, made five different prototypes and played Zombology sixteen times in a month!
- Lots of people got involved (possibly due to TGWAG and free PIPs, possibly not)
- I wrote loads of blog posts in November
- I chose a simple, short game to design - something complex and hard to balance would be very difficult to develop in only a month
What went badly?
- I over estimated. I offered five free copies (and for the first three weeks there were only three TGWAG players!) and I set the achievement levels too high (or I was too stingy with my PIP allocation)
- I designed the rewards badly - a free copy of a game you can print out yourself? Pants!
- I decided to fix that by adding exclusive artwork, but far too late in the day - the winners are going to have to wait a month or so for their prizes
- I didn't advertise it very well - just a link from BGG
What else could I do
- Raise awareness about TGWAG earlier to try to drum up some interest - make the prize more enticing and offer fewer of them so there's a sense of competition
- Find out better ways to publicise it, beforehand and during the game.
- Try to attend more sessions to try it with more people - I missed one of the two Newcastle Playtest sessions in November and both of the Newcastle Gamers sessions :(
Overall, I felt it was a great success. I took a game (not Vacuum!) that I had an idea for and turned it into a playable game in only a month! Is it the best game ever? No, of course not. Is there room for improvement? Definitely. I'll continuing designing this in addition to Vacuum, and hopefully it'll get better and better. I definitely want to do NaGa DeMon again next year.
In other news, I've had another idea, which initially I considered for NaGa DeMon next year, but I think I'll get cracking on it shortly. It's a two-player game about St. George and the Dragon. :)