Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jump Gate review and the complexity of newfangled technology

Matt Worden is (at least superficially) like me - he's designed a number of computer games, is also into designing board games, and has published some of them through TheGameCrafter.

He recently had a pretty positive review from Tom Vasel via the Dice Tower podcast, which I'm sure is fun for Matt.  The game looks fun, and the review is thorough. As a guy who's publishing, at least initially, through TGC, It's interesting to me how Vasel critiques the components.  It's definitely true that the pawns and chips are generic at TGC, although Matt made use of the fact that TGC offers a bunch of different spaceship models, so his game happens to have a thematic link with the generic components.  But the cards from TGC are actually pretty great, and the little boards that Matt uses are thin but functional.  Also, the artwork for Matt's game is far, far above the average TGC game, definitely commercial quality.  The packaging (small white corrugated box, crumpled rules) that TGC offers are definitely not up to the standards of traditionally-published games, and that's tough - the game inside might be terrific, but the packaging isn't up to that level.  It shouldn't matter if the game is fun and the parts work, but with quality expectations high it's hard to compete when you're doing small print runs or print-on-demand.

It's also interesting to me that this whole process is so new-media - a guy designs a game, publishes it via a web-interface on a POD site, gets it reviewed by an avid and knowledgeable though non-professional critic, who posts it for free to be seen worldwide on a video sharing site.  This is not a process which would have even been imaginable in 1995, and now it just seems commonplace.

And here I am blogging about it.  We've come a long way in a short time, even if we don't realize it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nice write-up, Dave ... have you heard the latest cool news about "Jump Gate"? GAMES Magazine's 2011 Traditional Game of the Year!!

    (Yeah ... *that* GAMES Magazine! ;-D) Somehow, I no longer think that just publishing through TGC will be enough for this particular game in the near future ... we'll see.

    btw -- I'm posting this news here before I'm even posting it on my own site ... I still need to get a copy of the mag in my own hands -- *then* I'll do an offical announcement on my site.

    Take care!
    -Matt Worden