This section is a continuing, open discussion about the company Opie Games and the game publishing industry. If any information is more than a temporal interlude, I will try to codify my thoughts in the Design Notebook. Although this forum is intended to be short form, I don't want to be restricted to Twitter-length, so I will link some entries through Twitter that fit the limitations and hopefully get comments there.
The one statement that covers my 2017 goals for Opie Games is, “Get back in the game.” Starting in March of 2015 and continuing through about September of 2016, I had significant “distractions” from doing anything related to Opie Games; a flooded house that needed repairs, the culmination of a huge 3-year project at work, and other significant obligations pulled me away from this pursuit. Hopefully, 2017 is a year of change in a positive sense and I can get back to my preoccupation with game design and back on a blogging routine.
Having just completed the analysis on game quality data to compare Kickstarter published games to the general population of games, some interesting data regarding the general quality of games over time also became available. While the data is available, let’s take a quick look at the quality of Hobby Games over time.
The data presented here was collected from on Board Game Geek using the Advanced Search feature. Please refer to the original article (Kickstarter: A Source for Quality Games?) for the qualifications to this data.
Previously I reported on some statistics for excellent games that have been published through Kickstarter and how Kickstarter has provided the opportunity for some new designers and publishers to launch successful game development companies. (Game Designers: Impressive First Impressions). One of the comments/criticisms that the article received was the common refrain, “Sure there are some Kickstarter successes, but just not many of them.”
Not one to stand by while anecdotes and opinion are used to substantiate claims, I dug into the Board Game Geek ratings for Kickstarted games compared to all games published in the years 2010-2014.
I was listening to a recent podcast… Gino of the Talking Tinkerbots podcast mentioned his frustration with the caveat, or even caution, applied by reviewers about games or Kickstarter projects by first-time designers. The discussion caused me to think about some of the successes and failures of first-timers and to do a little research that might prove interesting. I understand the concern related to “unproven” designers or publishers, but appreciate the perspective that I think Gino was applying.
Not that this article is intended to be a logical argument, but in logical argumentation the problem Gino has pointed out is known as a Genetic Fallacy. Something is bad/good because of its origin.
It would be too easy to focus on the negative here: First-timer Kickstarters that funded but ultimately failed and games that didn’t meet gamer expectations, etc. or to defend first-timers by focusing on “known” designers and publishers failing on the same criteria. The fact is, examples of both are plentiful – I regretfully have some of each (first-timers and known designer/publishers) in my game collection as evidence.
Instead, I want to:
Take a positive approach to first-timers and provide a few examples of “Impressive First Impressions.”
Provide a few examples of the games by established designers that were their first or early designs.
Of the game design and development resources I have highlighted so far, this is the first that is a person rather than a brand. This is done with no intended slight to those highlighted previously; there are real people behind each one of them and in all cases a very small number of people (usually 2-4) behind each. What makes this case special is when I set out to write up this mention, I was at a loss to describe it in any way other than as Jamey himself.
The easiest statement about what Opie Games has planned for 2015 is, “more of what we did in 2014.” Obviously, generally I would like to do everything better, too. A few, more exact, 2015 objectives are:
Although I was working on my current game designs much earlier and planning for my foray into the industry, I essentially started Opie Games in January 2014 so it seems natural (in addition to the new year) to review what has been accomplished through Opie Games in 2014 now. As identified on the About page, “Opie Games is the home of table top game designs and musings by John Parker and links to resources that may be helpful to the beginning designer or the person with an affinity toward table top games. Hopefully, you find the content here interesting.”
It is important for me and for Opie Games to be a supporter of the table top gaming community and we are always looking for opportunities. I don’t want to create a long list of goals for 2015, but have a few that are worth noting with some activities or approaches that will help me achieve them:
I started 2014 with the intent to get more involved in the card and board gaming community and to try to provide some value to it. Hopefully I have made at least a start in that direction and some minor accomplishments. So, what did I do in 2014 to advance the hobby?