Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Game Design Consultant for Hire

I received the following email:
I found your name searching for a board game designer in Israel. My kids and I are working on a board game that is probably not ready to be evaluated. I wanted to know how much you would charge to sit down with me to discuss the development process ahead of us and get your recommendations on the best way to proceed.
I've reviewed many games, and I've told people what I thought of their designs, but I hadn't actually thought of myself as a game design consultant for hire. Still, we both figured that my advise was probably worth something.

I wasn't expecting much. On the other hand, the fact that this guy was interested in getting professional advice before investing time and money in developing the game was a sign that, at least, he didn't have self-aggrandizing stars in his eyes, like so many other wannabee designers do.

It turned out to be not a bad idea. Not my type of game (it's a party game), but it looked like it had potential: flexible, funny, engaging, pretty simple, sort of different but not too different from other games.

His big problem was his layering of overly complex wording in places where simplicity was called for, and overly complex components where frugality was called for. He already knew this, but apparently he needed to hear me confirm it. He was also as interested in the marketing aspects as he was in the game itself.

I suggested ways to simplify the components and rules, told him to stop thinking about the markets and expansion possibilities until he had a successful design, and told him to pick one audience and redevelop the game along these lines. If he makes progress while I'm away, I'll be doing more work with him after I come back.

I'm charging per hour. And if I end up making more detailed suggestions, I'll ask for design credit.


Mikko said...

Now that's a rare beast: a home-made board game designer with some sense! Congrats to him and nice job for you.

Porter said...

Neat opportunity, best of luck to the both of you.