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Design in Detail: Being Your Own D and D Department

Having selected a prototype (see Design in Detail: Prototype Selection) its time to get alpha playtesting. For me this consists of two stages, closed alpha and open alpha. Closed alpha is where I sit around playing my game against myself, usually entirely in my head, writing and re-writing it until its very basic mechanics work. This stage has two purposes. Firstly, while the open alpha will only involve close, trusted friends that's still no reason to waste their valuable time. So you should use closed alpha testing to ensure that there's something worth presenting to them. Until you design and produce your prototype and push the cardboard around the table you'll probably find a few parts o

CE Marking in Boardgames Advice: False Loopholes and Mistakes

This article is intended as a continuation of my blog "CE Marking in Boardgames Advice", where I go into the process of achieving CE marking in some detail. As a short overview the CE mark is a European Union safety mark which can be placed on products prior to sale to the public to show that they are safe for use. It takes the form of a "CE" on products and stands for European Conformity ( specifically Conformité Européenne). I've noticed on various boardgame based forums and groups people asking if they can avoid CE marking and what loopholes to use when doing so. Worse, I've seen replies coming in that state avoiding marking is in some way desirable. I'm going to address a couple of the c

Kickstarting The Easy Way: Road Map To Success

To make it again clear by "success" here I mean "a position to launch your self-designed game without bankrupting yourself". My original intention with SSO was to design, print and launch it from my own pocket, selling it via a website and conventions. I was some way into the process when a designer friend convinced me to launch a Kickstarter. Despite that I don't believe I would have done a great deal differently apart from spend a little more money, which I don't think I would have needed to, on the Kickstarter campaign. I would strongly recommend launching a Kickstarter, there is little to lose by doing so, I run my Kickstarter during the final stages of production such that running it di

Design In Detail: Prototype Selection

Once an idea has passed basic examination and made it onto the list it is usually allowed to settle for a few weeks at least but most for far longer. Every few months I select one of the ideas on the list and start working it up into a basic prototype. Step one of this process for me is always roughing out the general rules on paper. This first version of the rules always needs re-writing before the prototype is finished but it has a few purposes. Firstly it allows me to see if the idea fragment deserves to be built into a full game, some turn out to be bad ideas and get dumped at this point and some are only a section of a game not yet ready to be fully realised. Secondly, at this point I c

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