I’ve been working on the final card templates for No Honor Among Thieves. It’s been a long road getting to this point, but I think we’ve finally reached what the cards in the printed game are going to look like. Below you can see both a Character and a Defense. The interactions of these two types of cards form the core of the gameplay, so I wanted to be sure the design for each was as intuitive and readable as possible. After feedback from people who played with my first printed prototype I’ve redesigned all the icons to be larger and more readable, with brighter colors and cleaner lines, and reworded the text on every card that has it to be more clear. Shout out to Jason Greeno for putting together stylish vector graphics for me from my basic icon designs.
Also, as mentioned previously, a few of my cards now have art on them. Which is so exciting you guys.
The next major step in preparation for the imminent Kickstarter is going to be less design and more marketing related, which is something that I have neglected until now. I’m going to keep working on the final version of the game–ironing out a few minor things in a few more playtests, designing the components and editing and revising the rules to make them as clear as possible–but at the same time I need to actually start talking to people about the game, and figuring out how to let people who haven’t actually sat down and played it with me at conventions or game nights know that it might be something they’d enjoy. It’s a good game, at this point: I just need to let people know about it in a way that doesn’t look like me bragging about my own work. You’d think I’d be better at this sort of thing, considering my day job is working for a marketing agency, but my record of only posting once a month to this blog (if that!) tends to suggest otherwise.
Fortunately, I have the Kickstarter Lessons series by Jeremy Stegmaier to turn to for advice. I doubt I have enough time in the day to follow all of his suggestions–from everything he does to promote and work on his games, I suspect Stegmaier may be a machine that does not require food or sleep–but there are one or two big things he says that make good sense and can be done relatively easily. One of his earliest and most often repeated lessons stands out in particular in my mind, that being his suggestion to contact bloggers and reviewers ahead of time to see if they want to write about or review the game so that people have something aside from my admittedly biased word to go off of when they decide if No Honor Among Thieves is worth their time.
Once that’s done, we’ll be in the home stretch, and we’ll finally get to see if this crowdfunding dream will get off the ground or not.
Here’s my full to-do list for the rest of this little project:
- Finish designing a nice preproduction version of the game and get a few copies manufactured, likely by The Game Crafter.
- Contact game critics and bloggers asking if they would like to receive one of said preproduction copies, in exchange for an honest review to be posted during the run of the Kickstarter. From blind playtests and reactions by people who don’t know me and have no skin in the game if they offend me, I think these will likely be positive.
- Film the Kickstarter video and set up the Kickstarter page. Spend a long time with my microphone trying to not talk in that voice that untrained speakers always fall into when they’re reading a script. Spend even longer rubbing my beard and trying to decide which frame to cut every shot so that the narration flows well.
- Finish talks with the manufacturer to see how much punch-out coins would cost vs. nice plastic, glass or metal coins. That should give me a good idea of how much I need to ask for in a Kickstarter. At the moment, numbers are looking around thirty grand.
- Continue playing the game, trying to blind playtest as much as possible so that the rules people are looking at are as clear and understandable as can be. I’ve been considering hiring an editor to run through them before sending out review copies, but I kind of spent all of my free money on art for the cards and the new logo, so I’m not sure if that’s going to be able to happen or not.
- And finally, actually run the Kickstarter. At this point that’s likely going to happen during the summer, despite my hopes to have it run during the spring. C’est la vie, I suppose.
As part of my campaign to start talking about the game more and not just sit quietly at my computer drawing up templates or repeatedly editing fragments of sentences for clarity in the rule document, I’m going to try to start posting on the blog more often. Maybe at some point I’ll even figure out how to write at times other than 1AM on a work night. The future is bright, and anything is possible.