Thoughts on Print and Play Games
Whilst waiting for the delivery of SSO I started getting into Print and Play games and to say right off, I am immensely impressed. If this blog is about anything (I'm told its good if they appear to be about something) its to suggest to everyone reading it to pick up at least one Print and Play game. I stuck a couple of games up recently that could generously be described as "low ink" as free content on the Man O' Kent Games website, I've since come to believe that those games represent an attempt to fill a niche that might not exist anymore. They're fine as games (In/Deduction, Scissor Fight! and Silent Crash) and have at least as much depth and game play value as some full price games but they are essentially a single concept lacking a home that were built into a simple game and given out free. My reason for doing this comes mostly from growing up as a gamer in the '80s when you PBMed, poured your own models in the garage and bought retail games that looked half as good as most modern Print and Plays.
When I start designing a game I'm never sure what it'll turn out to be but generally they fall into boardgame, miniatures game or partial game. Boardgames are anything that require too much specialist stuff to expect people to make and have a strong enough core to be worth putting the months of work needed to publish into, I know what to do with them. Miniatures games are those that benefit too much from player freedom to be boxed up and don't have enough components to justify doing so, I know what to do with them. Some partial games can be formulated into a set of rules for commonly occurring components which I can do simply and give away freely. The last category of game needs specialist components but not enough to justify a full print run which are why I've started looking into Print and Play gaming.
I'm not an artist, as will be attested to by anyone who has looked at my concept art galleries, which can be an issue when trying to create Print and Play games. I hire artists when working on game which will get enough of a release to recoup the costs and may justify a Print and Play of a Kickstarter. It seems that the majority of modern Print and Plays fall into the category of either contest entry, Kickstarter promotion or creative commons re-skin. There are excellent examples of each (I suggest Marquis or Secret Voldemort for two) which have driven me to try and up my personal Print and Play game, hopefully at least a little bit over my next few projects. I'll be adding my thoughts on Print and Plays I've managed to get on the table to the review blog (along with pictures of my crafting efforts).
I'll be looking increasingly into this corner of the hobby over the coming months and blogs, and would be interested in any recommendations. For now, grab a rotary cutter, some card and a can of spray adhesive and get downloading, there's nothing to lose and you won't regret it.