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Posted on Aug 24, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

CrossCut Games Interview

By James Lombardi

ACG: How crucial has being able to get out to Conventions and get public play testers been in the development process for Galactic Emperor?

Adam: Play testing is all-important. The play testing we do spirals out from close folks – friends, family, local game groups – out to larger groups – smaller conventions, game stores – and then out to very large groups such as national conventions like Origins and GenCon. But all testing is crucial to a good game. The local testing we do – it’s tough because they have to put up with all the bad ideas! Politician in our game has changed many times always due to play testing and one time, it was this kind of complex voting scheme. It just didn’t work at all, but our poor local play tests had to put up with it. But without that testing, you just can’t tell by looking at the idea on paper. Some things sound better than they play.

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ACG: What are some of the key challenges producing a board game as an independent developer?

Adam: Probably the biggest challenge is figuring out how to get it all done. There’s a ton of details involved that go way beyond a good idea and a prototype. And then there are so many details to going from concept to final product in stores – things like professional artwork, manufacturing negotiations, distribution contracts and wrangling, sales and marketing – even things like having to get a UPC barcode on the box. And trying to juggle all of the business parts with the creative parts – it’s really a huge challenge. Any of these moving parts can destroy any other part. Great product, bad manufacturing – you’re done. Great manufacturing, no distribution – you’re done. And being an Indie, you don’t have any of this done for you unless you get picked up by some larger publishers – which some might argue makes you not really a true Indie any longer.

ACG: As you hopefully near the end of the development cycle for Galactic Emperor and get it pushed out to a manufacturer, what advice can you give to an aspiring board game creator?

Adam: You need to get into the board game scene with both feet – find the web sites that fit you, listen to the pod casts, play lots of games, and find communities to work with. Don’t give up, but listen to feedback! If someone says some part of your game stinks – it probably does. Each play tester represents thousands of others. But balance that with a clear vision of what you want the game to be because you simply can’t implement every suggestion.

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