Weekly[ish] Update – Nov 9, 2012

This week, I have a serious drive to finish something. I’ve worked on Sock Monster stuff more than anything else of my own, but I’ve also spent some time playtesting games from others. On the surface, testing someone else’s game is not productive for me… after all, I’m not working on my own projects if I’m helping others… but really, the dialog that this creates helps me maintain my creativity.

Also, I’m really looking to re-name Sock Monster. I have exactly zero ideas, so if you have some, please share!!!

Sock Monster

So, Sock Monster is once again my focus. I’m almost ready to start sharing this game for playtesting… almost. I’ve asked people to have at the rules and help me make them good. I started updating the graphics there and soon I’ll be finishing up the component production. This way I can get some playtest sets in the hands of others and let them tear the game apart. I need that. If you want to help with the rules, I’ve shared them on Google Docs. Please read and comment!

My daughters helped me work on drawing him this week. We had an evening together and I asked them to talk to me about what they thought the Sock Monster would look like. Aleena, my oldest, came up with this:

Aleena's Sock Monster

We tweaked things a little, took some input from little sister, and came up with a ‘final’ version together! I love working with them… including them in the design. Most times, they don’t help me with the actual game design, but they love helping me with the graphic design!

Sock Monster

My biggest issue right now is how to prototype the game. The board is big. Really big. Nine poker cards, side by side, with a bit of space in between, means my board needs to be about 27″ long! That’s huge and way beyond the scope of trying to do this with a standard Game Crafter template and is also difficult for home Print and Play. This is a hang-up for me. Making pretty prototypes is something that we all like to do… and using The Game Crafter is one way of achieving that goal.

So, what are my options?

A) I can keep the game the way it is and produce a three piece board that the player will need to assemble. Seems OKAY, but not ideal.

B) I could reduce it to about 18″ if I cut it back to seven cards and thus fit it on a standard mat or even one of their quad-fold boards… but this is a bigger problem.

The game originally started with a seven space board. It works this way, it’s enjoyable but it’s not ideal. Adding two spaces allowed me to play with the mechanics a bit and add in more strategy without additional complexity. So, really, solution B is a compromise for the sake of production. That sucks. I don’t like making compromises, but I try not to do things dramatically outside the norm. For instance, if you weren’t aware, when ordering cards from The Game Crafter, you buy a sheet. Poker cards are printed eighteen cards to a sheet, so if your game has a four card deck, or an eighteen card deck, you are paying the same price… there is, then, some compromise in design to try and keep the game within that framework… a multiple of eighteen.

So, do I go back to a seven card board and re-work things a bit to bring the functionality of the nine card setup? I could make adjustments that attempt to replicate the added strategy of nine spaces over seven. I think I could even like it… but secretly, I would not like myself for it. Regardless, both solutions require extra work from home Print and Players… there’s just no way to make it work on a single sheet.

I’m thinking of all these things on speculation alone. I don’t even think I’m going to Game Crafter this game for production. I just want a way to make nice prototypes for publishers and maybe a few dedicated followers that would like to pick up a copy. Why do I worry about these things then? Because who knows. Maybe I’ll get a few rejections from publishers and decide to turn to crowd sourced funding (Kickstarter.) Maybe I’ll attempt a self production. Maybe a smaller publisher will pick it up and ask for component reduction…

Who knows? But for now, I’m not going there. I will make the game the way I want to play it and if it comes down to it, I’ll make changes later to fit some sort of production model. It’s the only way I will really be able to live with myself.

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