During my 2016 residency and workshops at the Denver Public Library’s IdeaLAB I discovered and utilized a whole host of resources both on line as well as out in the real world along with some very helpful books. The first workshop I hosted had really been intended as a game building session but I quickly realized that the people who’d come to the event already had fleshed out games of their own and were looking for other tools to test drive, refine and market games. Luckily I had some places to send them and in this post I’d like to expand and elaborate on those.
There was a companion Facebook page for the residency which acted as a forum for discussion as well. On Pinterest there was a board created “Get Your Game On” which is a huge selection of games, images and resources which inspired me during the residency, a disclaimer on this one, there is a lot to dig through and it was something originally created for personal use so there may be some off topic links included.
I did take advantage of 3D printer at the ideaLAB. My design skills aren’t the greatest though and I definitely made use of the huge library of projects listed on Thingaverse. One designer who came to my first workshop had a game board laser cut from this site https://www.ponoko.com/ One of these days I’m hoping to design a game with a fabric play mat and carrying pouch Spoonflower is a super cool website which will print your designs on a variety of fabrics and even wallpaper.
Play testing your game and hashing things out with other developers and players is the most valuable tool you’ve got and there are lots of ways you can connect with players. The Colorado Independent Game Designers CIGDA are on Meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/Colorado-Independent-Game-Developers-Association-ICGA/ While many folks in the group worked in video games some of them have experience in board game design and are very excited to share ideas. The Longmont maker space Tinkermill has a game development forum every Saturday at 6pm. Another great way to test drive your game is to join up with one of the board game groups around the Denver metro area- a number of them are listed here as well as a yahoo discussion group.
There are two larger game cons in Denver Genghiscon and the Conclave of Gamers additionally DU just hosted their first indie game expo which I’m hoping they’ll repeat again next year… http://duarcade.cs.du.edu/
If you’ve gotten your game past the prototype phase and you’re ready to print something professional looking the website Game Crafter is an amazing place to check out, you can upload your own design images for boards and cards and order playing pieces as well. My favorite aspect of the site is the opportunity to print on demand so you can have as many copies of the game as you’d like, they’ll even sell your game via their site for a cut and if you’ve got a kickstarter campaign going they’ll support that as well.
Kickstarter really deserves it’s own blog post, beyond helping you fund your game project it is a powerful advertising tool and method for getting your game out there in front of players and publishers. Quartz ran an interesting blurb on this recently,
“The “games” category on the crowd-funding platform has attracted $495 million since Kickstarter’s inception in 2009, making it the richest segment of the site.”