My First Published Game
by Rob Cramer
I never thought that I would design a game. When I first got into the hobby a few years ago, I was just happy that designers had broken through the monotony of Monopoly to create fun and different games. It was a brand new world that I was a part of, but I was only on one side of it. Playing new games opened my eyes to new ways games could work, like learning new colors after seeing in black and white, but that didn’t make me want to paint. But as dramatic as that sounds, games soon changed my life: last year, I designed a game.
It took me a few years to get to the point that I jumped into game design. My first steps were to just play games, as many as I could get my hands on. My collection slowly grew from just a few wedding presents and thrift store finds to an actively curated library. There are still numerous touchstone games I haven’t played, but I try to at least make myself familiar with them and how they work. My main gaming partner is my wife, so I’ll probably never play a game like Battlestar Galactica, but I think it’s still important to know it’s impact on the industry.
Prototype of Turbo Drift
But the step that pushed me over the edge to design a game was a contest ran by Greater Than Games last year. It was a call for dexterity designs and there were promises of fame (publishing) and fortune (a small cash prize). My wife was working in Switzerland over the summer, so to retain my sanity, I needed a project. The prospect of extra game money was honestly the bigger pull and the thought of actually getting published was the farthest thing from my mind. But I enjoyed the design process of finding problems and working out ways to solve them. My game Pizza Pronto didn’t win, but every game I’ve designed since then has been as a response to a contest.
Contests let you get feedback from people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. They are a huge resource to get a lot of eyes on your game and to help refine it. Contests have their own communities revolving around them since many designers share their submissions with others. It’s fun to see who is entering and what they are bringing to the table. It’s a great way to meet other designers and to learn from them the tricks of the trade.
That lead me to Button Shy’s Wallet Game Contest and the birth of Turbo Drift. It was another contest, but receiving rules questions from Jason made me feel like this was going to be different. And then to my utter joy, Turbo Drift was a runner-up. My game was going to be published.
Turbo Drift will be on Kickstarter January 3, 2017.
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