Stonemaier Games Design Day 2015
Wow, what a weekend! Saturday we enjoyed what I have dubbed the most passionate day in gaming. It was a bit overwhelming actually.
Stonemaier Games graciously hosted a design day for budding game designers and game aficionados and it was EPIC. Why? Well, even when you go to a con you are surrounded by fellow geeks – but these geeks were MY geeks. To be in a room FILLED with people who love games like I love games is tremendous. Truly tremendous. I met so many folks who love the minutia of board games, who get excited about mechanics, who love ALL types of games. I can’t say enough about how wonderful the attendees were!
So I ran my game 21 times. 21! Twenty-one. In the first session (!) my last (knock-on-wood) balancing hurdle was solved, and by an off-handed remark. The kind that makes you literally smack your head and exclaim, “Well, duh.” Boom. Done. I’ll get into the nitty gritty of how Shogunate faired at DD in my next post, but for now let’s talk about prototypes!
There were all manner of prototypes there. All with different themes, levels of art and craftsmanship. Collectively, DG played 6 prototypes and had a blast. A few of the games were nearly production ready and will be picked up by us as soon as they are released. Some needed work, so we worked on them. There was furious note taking, brainstorming, and theme rejiggering going on at nearly every session. All the hard work put into these games is a legendary feat. The level of creativity and generosity in the room was just breathtaking.
Friends are great, but where playtesting really bears fruit is with a group of generous, like-minded strangers. The thoughtfulness and intuition displayed by the playtesters was AMAZING. These weren’t “I don’t like it” or “it’s too slow” type commenters, oh no! What designers got were in-depth conversations on what SPECIFIC changes might make the game better, whole paragraphs of non-judgmental and truly helpful suggestions and advice.
Once again, thanks to Stonemaier Games for a truly worthwhile and enjoyable weekend. In one day we shaved a month off our design time for Shogunate. More than that, the day went smoothly, everything was communicated well, and the space was perfect. The new friends and sound advice are the best part! Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this possible. Well done!