Reflection Pond Print-and-Play

Try my new game Reflection Pond.

All you need is a printer and a pair of scissors – then let me know how trash it is!

Also, use random.org as your 25-sided die.

Pieces and Rules.

>:)

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Reflection Pond

Over the past couple months, I’ve gotten myself into a rut with my game Dog Swap. I decided to put it on hold and work on another gamed called Reflection Pond.

Reflection Pond is a 2-player micro-strategy game. Each player moves their frog around a 4×4 grid of lily pads. The first player to collect their five flies wins the game.

The catch?

Imagine there is a mirror between the two ponds. Every time your frog moves, your opponent frog moves in the same direction. Your frog moved closer to the “mirror”? – so did your opponent’s.

Check out my work in progress post on Board Game Geek to learn more about the rules. I hope to develop more of this idea over the next couple weeks!

https://boardgamegeek.com/article/24021104#24021104

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The Evolution of My Logo

I tasked my artist Nick to create a Logo for my company, Pet Alligator Games. I think it’s important to make the company look professional and interesting; a logo is a great way to start. Also, I still haven’t finalized all the components to Dog Swap yet, but I was eager to get some cool art in the meantime. Nick’s done plenty of logo art before so I knew I would get something great.

My idea was to get an illustration of a gator acting like a dog. Here are the preliminary sketches I was given. PastedGraphic-6.png

I liked things from both of these sketches. I preferred the pose of the gator that looks like a begging puppy. But I liked the typeface of the other logo and the 3/4 angle of the gator head. I also liked the gator with his mouth open and with a collar and tag. The aspects I liked were put together in this second black and white sketch (below).

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Nick cleaned it up (below), added color and changed some of the font to make it look less dense. I loved the flip of the tail he added. I also suggested the lettering be sized down a bit so that it doesn’t overwhelm the gator.

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At this stage it was still a drawing. The last step was to vectorize it. Also, I asked to add pupils to the gator. Below is the final version of my logo. I’m so incredibly happy with the product and I look forward to using it often!

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Playtesting Dog Swap

On Sunday, I attended a gaming convention in Maryland called Congress of Gamers. It was a local event hosting around 300 attendees. What was really great about it though, was that an entire room was dedicated to playtesting unpublished games. I was lucky enough to secure a table to demo Dog Swap!

Here’s me and a few gamers testing out a 5-player game of Dog Swap.

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The games went really well. I got some great feedback that I will definitely be implementing in the next versions of the game.

It was also fun to playtest some other designers’ games!

You can keep up with Cattle Car (A strategy game about herding and selling cows) by following @drwictz and Convince Me (A party game about convincing players to do silly things) by following @catpitch on Twitter!

 

Making My Game (Part 4: The Artist)

Welcome back! In the last post, I talked about the process in which I formed Pet Alligator Games. Today, I’d like to share the artist I hired to create the illustrations for Dog Swap. I’ve been in contact with him for a little over a month and I’m extremely excited to put some real art into my game.

Hiring an artist for your game (or whatever product) can be pretty tricky. You want to find someone who offers fair rates (yes, you must pay your artist!) and quality products. Some good places to search are deviantart.com, conceptart.org, and on Board Game Geek. There are tons of freelance artists on those sites who do all kinds of styles and sizes. Send them a quick message briefing them on your project, pay range and what kind of art you’re looking for.

But, an artist is different than a graphic designer. The artist will create the illustrations and the graphic designer will arrange the elements for your cards, box cover, rule book, and create logos if necessary. I was lucky enough to find someone who does both!

Meet Nick Avallone – he’s worked on many board and card games so he knows the market, how to communicate with the manufacturer, and is extremely communicative and insightful. At the bottom of this page is a link to his blog where you can browse through his gallery. Here is one of my favorite’s of his. giantawakens2_final

So once you have an artist, now what? There is no need to commission all your work right away! I asked Nick for one card illustration. We talked about what style he would draw in, and any other ideas I had for the piece. I commissioned a Great Dane and here was the result. greatdane_minicardprint

I absolutely love it. I wanted a simple cartoonish (yet still anatomically correct) look for the dog. The graphic design for the card is just a mock-up, something he threw together and not the final design. For Dog Swap, I need eight dog illustrations (eight breeds), so I will be commissioning the next dog soon. I’ve also asked Nick to start working on a logo for Pet Alligator Games and I hope to have something soon to share.

Have a great weekend! What do you think of the Great Dane?

Nick’s blog: http://angryfungus.com/gallery.html

 

Making My Game (Part 3)

So it’s been a month or so since my last post. I’ve been pretty busy with the game and I think I’ve made some great progress.

Here is what I’ve been up to and I’m excited to share what’s been going on:

  1. Formed an LLC
  2. Hired an Artist
  3. Created Version 6 of my game (Now titled Dog Swap)

 

Last Month, I visited the County Clerk and formed my company: Pet Alligator Games.  If you are looking to form a business, I recommend this article

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/form-llc-how-to-organize-llc-30287.html

There are a few different kinds of businesses you could form. I chose an LLC because a company (rather than a sole proprietorship) gives me some benefits such as a more official look, separates my person from the business and allows me to add members in the future. Forming an LLC is also relatively cheap (in comparison to a corporation)

Here’s the process I went through to form a business in Virginia.

  1. Research: Before going to the courthouse, find what you need to do to form your company. In Virginia, you can create your LLC online for ~$100!
  2. Pick a name: You will need to pick a name that has not been taken. Forming your LLC name is easy: Just use [your name], LLC. For example, my LLC is Benjamin Shever, LLC. The hard part is finding a Trade Name. A Trade Name is like an alias for your company and you have to legally link it to your LLC to do business under it. I picked “Pet Alligator Games.”
  3. After forming my LLC and picking a trade name, I visited the courthouse to file some trade name paperwork, get a business zoning permit and apply for my Employee Identification Number on IRS.gov
  4. Still to do: Register my business in Virginia. Pet Alligator Games (I believe) will have to pay three forms of taxes: County (regarding taxes on the items I buy for my business), state and federal.

The people at the courthouse were extremely helpful and I steps 2 and 3 I accomplished there. It’s not too difficult, but expect to spend 3 hours moving between offices and filing lots of paperwork.

So, welcome to Pet Alligator Games.

 

Making My Game (Part 2)

Welcome back to my series Making My Game where I detail the process in which I’m designing and (hopefully) printing/publishing my board game!

In Part 1, I discussed the concept and some early playtesting of a card game about dogs.

By the way, here’s a photo of my dog, Denny. He’s a 100% Mutt!IMG_1488

He is the inspiration to this doggy theme – since I do walk him every day.

Back to the game:

Last weekend I created Print-and-Play (PnP) version of Adoption (temporary name). And since there are few components to the game, it’s easy to print out and play with family or friends. You can find the PnP here.

I’ve also been reading a lot about board game design and publishing. Right now, I’m focusing on the following:

  • Creating a Better PnP
  • Finding an Artist / Graphic Designer
  • Discovering New Board Game Blogs
  • Learning about Printing / Manufacturing
  • Learning about Legality of Intellectual Property

I hope to find have a better looking PnP by week’s end and also talk to some graphic artists about commissioning their work.

If you have time to try out my PnP game, comment on what you liked and what you didn’t like! Was the game difficult to learn? Were the rules clear? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

“Dog Swap” Print-and-Play

Greetings!

Follow the links below to download the Rules and Pieces to Dog Swap.

Print and cut out the cards. Have fun and thank you!

Note: It is important you cannot see through the cards when holding them in your hand. If you have access to thicker paper, that is recommended. Your local printing store (Staples, OfficeMax, FedEx, etc.) offers extremely cheap deals to print on cardstock.

You will also need 20 small pieces of 5 different colors (4 pieces of each color). You can different sized coins, colored buttons/beads, for example.

Rules

Cards1

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Making My Game (Part 1)

A month ago I began brainstorming ideas for my first board game. I have been a gamer my entire life and to my family I’m known as that guy who always wants to host a game night.

I came up with a concept that is a mix between a hand-management card game and a large board game with tons of moveable pieces. The theme was dog walking – every player was on a mission to become the most successful dog walker in the neighborhood adopting dogs and then walking them for a profit.

My brother and I (pictured below, with my Fiance) spent an entire weekend constructing the game. And if you’re an older brother like I am, you know what it’s like to have a younger brat, I mean brother. It’s like having a dog – if you want them to do a trick you have to give them treats every step of the way or they get bored and leave.

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Anyway, the game was done but it was too late to playtest that night and in the morning I was flying back to Virginia (my family is from Florida).

In the next few weeks, I playtested the game by myself, with Angelica and with a friend who came to visit. During that time, the game changed dramatically. Basically, the entire “board game” part was chucked and I was left with a card game centered around bidding and collecting points. I texted my brother this news and he was shocked to hear that all “his hard work” was trashed. *Rolls eyes*

In the meantime, I was really contemplating on how I would actually sell my game (which didn’t have a name yet) once it was completed. Would I try to contact a big publishing company and blackmail them into adopting my game? I imagined myself calling the toll-free number on KOSMOS’s website and asking for Reiner Knizia himself.

Then I came across this guy – Jamey Stegmaier, a cat lover (pictured below).

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Ya, and he’s also a board game designer who used Kickstarter to publish his own board games – with major success! His website is a trove of information regarding how to enter the gaming world, publishing games and building a community. He also wrote a book about it and I bought it.

As of two weeks, I’ve been learning all about becoming your own game publisher and it’s fascinating. In the meantime, I’m also playtesting my game concept with friends.

Do you have any ideas for board games? Have you thought about constructing it or even publishing? 😮

 

-Beni Shever

 

 

My Very First Post (Turn Back now)

Seriously, if you are reading this, it’s not too late to turn back. How did you get here in the first place – did you click a wrong link?

In any case, welcome to my blog!!1

… *Crickets*

A little bit about myself: My name is Beni Shever, I’m 22 years old and my dream is to design and publish a board game! In the meantime, I live in Virginia and I just recently graduated from the University of Florida (Seminole fans: you suck, but you’re still welcome here… I guess).

Here’s a shot of me and my fiance Angelica who is cooler than I am (she made me write that at knifepoint).

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Seriously, how did you find this place? I feel sorry for you.