Reading the Play

Yesterday morning (in the shower) I conceived a game. That afternoon I conceptualized that game on paper and later that evening I designed that game in Photoshop. I then sent out a call for playtesting, to which I’ve had a few responses. Today, I’ll share a little more about the game, my design philosophy, and my current publishing progress.

“Reading the Play” is a small card game (36 cards total) themed around “The King in Yellow.” The fictional play, not the book by Robert W. Chambers. Players race to assemble lines from the infamous play while dealing with the madness contained within. I designed “Reading the Play” for 3-9 players with (a conceptual) play time of under 30 minutes (I have not played this game myself so I have no metrics of how long it takes to play.)

This is my first effort at agile game design. My goal is to have a very small feedback loop. From concept to design in less than 24 hours, my goal was to get this idea in the hands of players as quickly as possible. This means the game is very rough, and the fun level is still in question. Hopefully through rapid playtesting I can refine my idea and have something out in the market as quick as possible.

Speaking of the market. I designed the cards for Game Crafter. After getting everything uploaded to their site the base cost for 36 cards, one 4 page booklet, and a tuck box was $9.03. Which is a little expensive for such a small game. I went over to DriveThruCards and uploaded my work there. After changing the booklet to 4 cards and dropping the tuckbox DTC came in at a base cost of  $3.40. Add a $1 for a plastic deckbox and you’re looking at under half the cost from Game Crafter.

On top of that, I got an amazingly detailed email from DTC this afternoon talking about my product and giving me some great advice on how to get the best cards possible. Suffice to say, if it the price didn’t win me over this customer service sure as hell did. Of course, I need to redesign my cards a bit, but that’s the price you pay for agile development.

If you’re interested in playtesting, reach out to me at YellowKing@RobJustice.net. I’ll send you a Print & Play PDF so you can make your own cards and test drive this game. My goal is to have my first cycle of playtesting wrapped up in the next week, but this will likely only be the first of several iterations of testing. Even if you can’t take part in this first cycle of playtesting, feel free to still contact me. Of course, please make sure you can play the game at some point soon and are willing to offer informative feedback.

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