I've been interviewed by numerous people about design, and my least favorite recurring question is "How do you design: theme versus mechanism?" Frankly, I think it's a silly question, one that completely sidesteps the nuance of design, but is also misleading that those are the choices for designers to pursue.
I have to be honest - I think more people should self-publish their games. Not because you have the skills, or the time, or because it's profitable. None of that. But, because it's thrilling, satisfying, a constant learning experience, and hard.
I just returned from two weeks in Stockholm and Copenhagen. Most of the first week was spent at a leadership conference for my company. As you might expect, I cannot really discuss the specifics of the conference as it went deeply into secret projects, corporate strategy, and so forth.
I love graphic design. It is one of the skills I've taught myself on my tabletop journey, and it's one of the most important ones. Many designers are content to write in pencil on index cards, but I personally cannot do that, for a few reasons.
A week or so ago I wrote a highly depressing article about tips for folks who want to be a publisher, largely fueled by anecdotes of my failures. A few months before that, I wrote an analysis of 2016, which gets more into the nuts and bolts of the failure.
As I watch my little company enter its final death heaves, I want to write some advice for folks who want to pursue this themselves. "But Grant," you ask. "Why should we listen to a failure?" Well, I can save you some time, because I learned many lessons.
I was just on a walk and I began thinking about the three types of sessions I have developing my game. Two of these are obvious, but one isn't, so I thought it might be useful to others to discuss how I go about developing games.
You can read the rules for Solstice here. You can watch a still mostly accurate rules video here. You can download a Print and Play with all changes here.
The first testing wave of Solstice has been going for a month now, and a lot of small changes are going to be incorporated into the design to make it stronger.
My development partner and life troll, Joshua Buergel, finally played Martian Empire this weekend. This means he's able to chime in on the game and help as a developer. Woo! Some good things came about, including the fact that his group didn't hate it, one clearly grasped the Dune vibe, and had some bones to pick.
This is the second entry in the 54 Card Guild, a loosely guided course for designers new and old interested in crafting a game consisting of at most 54 cards and nothing else. If you'd like to read the first post, check here.