First, sorry this post is so far from the last one. Anyone familiar with project management knows that during a project cycle, the majority of the work is completed during the middle of the project. This fact gives me some hope and warm fuzzies that there is a light at the end of the tunnel this game might be a release candidate very soon!
So, at this point all the work that I can do has been done. The game mechanics feel solid. I have made a slight change to the endgame, that I want to put in front of my tester-bros to evaluate. I do want to do a "real people" field trial with my friends and see what they think of the game; I did some tests very very early on with my friends and family, but the game has come a long way since then.
I'm curious how "real people" will find my game. I've tried to keep the game elegant and simple, yet maintain depth. It gets really easy to fall down the rabbit hole and create one off rules and special scenarios, but keeping everything tight is the challenge of the designer.
Anyways, like I said, I'd done all I can with the game. The areas that I need help are in the art design and the manufacturing.
I've enlisted a couple people to help me make the game look good. First was a getting a font that set the visual style I was trying to establish. Very early on I found a nice font called billy by Claire Joines (clairejoines.com). She graciously let me alter the font for the game, and credit where credit is due the font is wonderful; my goal with the font is to invite the player in to write on it, and make it their game. Similarly I wanted the artwork in the game to reinforce this, but also appeal to the player and signal want the cards are intended to do.
Truth be told I have agonized over the art for a while.
The first iteration of the game, I was happy with the game not having any artwork at all. The more I played it however, not having any symbols or signaling for what the cards were for slowed down the game, and just looked like I was ripping off the Cards Against Humanity design style (or lack of one?)
Initially I just reached out to everyone I knew who could draw and asked them to help me, not really knowing what I wanted. Turns out this is a terrible strategy, because if you don't know what you want there is a very slim chance someone else will be able to give it to you. A friend of mine did some initial sketches based on some doodles of mine, and they were good but didn't really hit the mark, though she did come up with a great idea that is now the games logo. Props Beth!
Next, I taught myself how to draw again and work with graphic design software. I did a lot in high school with multimedia and drawing, but it turns out there hasn't been a quantum leap in graphics software in 15 or so years. I'm proficient, but by no means good =) The artwork I made got me through the testing phase, and it was passable to at least signal to players and not turn them away from the game. I've been using this art for about 6 months.
Now was the hard part. I know my limitations and I know that my artistic abilities wont cut it in the tabletop world out there, especially if I am going to get this project funded. You have to put your best foot forward. No matter how much personality you have, or how plucky your spunk, you gotta have that shelf appeal. I could just write on the box "It may not look like much, but I promise this game is fun!" Maybe if I had some clout, I could pull that off.
You can see all my angst, and why there was a disconnect between what I have and what I wanted, and being incapable of bridging that gap myself. I talked to some of my twitter buddies and asked around if anyone was looking for a side project. Lucky for me I found someone who basically came to my rescue. Velladonna (https://twitter.com/VelDraws) helped me out and drew some great artwork that really help fit the theme of House Rules. She da bomb!
So here's the new stuff:
Basically, fears assuaged. These look so good!
So with that, it feels like the puzzle is coming together. I have been getting production quotes together at this point and am pretty much ready to start tackling the last step in becoming a self published game designer: convincing people to give me their money :s
Next stop: Kickstarter!