Monday, December 2

NaGa Demon: A Retrospective

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. :)


GamesBook said...

One idea would be for BGG to run a NaGaDeMon thread, and every designer contributes their game to that thread. There could be a vote at the end for different categories of events (and prizes; even if just GG). I'm fairly sure that would also drive traffic to the designer's websites.

PS Please re-instate Google+ comments - this blogger system looks & feels like something from the nineties (and why the h**k do I keep having to "prove" I am not a robot .... sorry, but this a comment-unfriendly blog system!).

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Derek,

I liked the Google+ comments too along with their integration into Google+, but the requirement that you needed to have a Google+ account to comment is too restrictive, so I've had to go back. I don't want to exclude people from commenting.