Friday, October 28, 2011

The Essen Aftermath

So Essen has come and gone. And I didn't get to go--but enough whining! Kingdom of Solomon had a very nice debut. From the pictures and personal accounts it looked like the demo table saw non-stop action (and with people waiting). Sales were acceptable-to-good, and the game made #15 on the Medium Traffic column of GeekBuzz! Not too shabby with all the fierce competition and fatter marketing budgets at the show.

The next stage involves snagging some reviews followed by US distribution. The boat will soon be on it's way, so we're looking at only a few short weeks before the first US copies make it over--including mine! Kickstarters will be first in line once our ship comes in. If you got a copy at Essen, we need you to rate it and maybe write a brief review or session report on BGG. Every little bit helps!

One final note today. The final version seems to contain only 10 of the 16 Temple Tokens that ideally should be in there. They did put in 16 white cubes (Temple Blocks) to track the progress of the Temple, but we don't have 16 of the tokens (featuring the High Priest). This really does not affect the game much at all--many games will not even require all 16 tokens, as players often chose the VPs over the token. Even so, we apologize for this oversight. See the ongoing BGG thread for more info.

Since it will be impossible for us to provide extras at this time, this leaves you with a few options. You can simply limit the tokens to 10. Or you can use tokens from another game, pennies, etc. Or you can print a few more using this high-res official PDF. My preference and intention was and is to make 16 tokens available. Again, we are very sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thanks for your continuing interest in Kingdom of Solomon! We are looking forward to introducing more and more gamers to this great new experience. And look for even more new-game-related news coming in the next few months!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Game Design

Minion Games is reporting significant sales of Kingdom of Solomon at Essen. Woo-hoo! Looks like the booth is getting a lot of traffic. FYI, KoS should be in the USA at the end of November/beginning of December, just in time for a certain major holiday . . . All this brings to my mind the wild ride often involved in game design.

At the start, excitement is high--you've just had an amazing flash of brilliance! Then comes the first prototype. Blah--it doesn't really work. But there's still something there . . .

Next you work and work to smooth rough edges and get the game into a somewhat playable state. Finally, you can play the game from start to finish! Now the real playtesting begins.

People give you "constructive" criticism. Yuck. Like bad-tasting medicine, it must be endured for healthy design. And your game gets better. Now to find a publisher.

It's a good game, but no one has time or money to publish. So you try harder and finally get a bite. Hooray! If it's a smaller company, get ready for even more work--endless editing and revising. And it takes much longer than you think--seriously, when will the art be done!?!?

By the time all this is finished you are almost tired of looking at your game (almost). You start thinking that people don't care about your game or it's not as cool as the other new games (really people just don't know about your game--very different). But the game is published! People actually buy it! Happy times are here again!

Now you have to keep marketing and doing demos for people--more work, but it's cool. And so there it is, some days are good some are long and tedious. But if you keep working, one day you look up and it turns out you've come a long way--and that feels awesome!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Inspiring Reads

I've just finished several really great leadership and entrepreneur books. If you have any desire whatsoever to create products (games?) and/or start a business or even get a promotion, you should check some of these out.

The first was Good To Great by Jim Collins. This one is a little old (pre-2001), but still contains many timeless truths.

Next was EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey. I'm a huge Dave Ramsey fan, and this book did not disappoint. It walks you through how to set up a business and lead with integrity and passion. Lots of great ideas even if you don't want to be a CEO.

Finally, I just finished The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini. This book encourages you to pursue a better life with the hours you normally spend watching American Idol and playing Minecraft (I only do one of those activities, BTW). He outlines several different ways to super-charge your income potential.

One very clever bit of advice from this book: how to get necessary services to move your business venture forward but without shelling out lots of money up front. Pagliarini gives the example of needing a new website. You find a great company, but they will charge you $5,000 to build the site. So instead of paying this large amount, you offer them $500 now plus 25% of all ad revenue up to the $18,000 level. This is worth exactly $4,500--the balance of the service. But then you also offer 15% of all ad revenue up to the $168,000, 10% up to $618,000, 5% up to $2,418,000, and 1% up to $15M. The deal is capped at this point.

What this means is that this web company gets $500 now, a great chance at getting all their money, plus a decent chance to make lots more. And a small chance to make a small fortune (possibly around $300K). You can see how this sort of thinking could be applied to all sorts of other business arrangements, both to hire new partners and to do work for others.

So what are your dreams? Turn those dreams into goals and get moving today!