Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yoggity Reader Mail

Reader Daniel writes the following about my recent post on Yoggity:
So have you decided how to tackle the judges' "ruling" (or maybe input should be a better word)? I am thinking you can go three ways: either add more strategy to the game, accept the rulings and maybe re-theme it as a kids game or ignore them because they are wrong and do not know better. But then comes the funny part if you choose door number three.
Why do you think the judges left out a big part of the strategy in the game? Did they miss it or did they not play the whole game? Or do they not think what you refer to as strategy is some mundane thing a 3 year old can do?
I would love to hear what you plan on doing with the judges feedback and whats your next step. 
Daniel sets up three possibilities:
  • Add more strategy - I've considered this; I really like how the game plays now, but I understand that some folks (particularly boardgame enthusiasts) might want there to be a bit more depth. One potential weakness for the game (that doesn't seem to affect how much fun it is for me, but might for some) is that there's no overarching plotline to the game - you're doing mostly the same kind of thing in the last few turns as you are in the first few, although obviously a bunch of the scoring has already been decided by the end, and people have collected different resources and cards. It's possible that I could come up with some kind of plotline this way - something that builds up over time, that might solve both potential problems - complexity and plotting.
  • Re-theme as a kids' game - Maybe a possibility, but I'm not sure it's a good one, for several reasons. One is that although the gameplay itself is pretty simple, being good at the game requires making complex strategic decisions about resource use and deal-making. So, younger kids might miss out on the part that makes the game the most fun. Another reason not to do this is that the market niche I'm looking at is probably boardgame enthusiasts - they're more likely to buy a fairly obscure game from a small publisher, I think, and I'm not so likely to get the widespread play I'd need to attract a kid-based audience. A kid-oriented game wouldn't sell well to this crowd. On the flip side, if I self-publish, I'm hoping to market the game also to my former Snood customers, and for those folks, a family-friendly game (which Yoggity certainly is) that's marketed that way would maybe be more appealing. So, I don't know what to do along these lines. My idea of a great game is one that both grown-ups and kids can play and want to play - it's simple enough to understand that kids can handle it, but fun enough and complex enough that adults enjoy it and would play by themselves. Checkers isn't quite at this level, although there are certainly grown-up checkers enthusiasts. Monopoly has become nearly exclusively child-oriented, but I think played by the proper rules, it's a fine game for adults.
  • Ignore the judges - that's very tempting, but I don't know that it's a good idea. On one hand, it sounds like they didn't play the game the way it was supposed to be played, so any advice they give is not necessarily useful. On the other hand, they read my rules and chose to play that way, so either they didn't get it, or I didn't make it clear enough that trading makes the game much more fun and more complex for multiple players, and making good trades is the best strategy to win overall. My suspicion is that I could easily rewrite parts of the rules (maybe add a "strategy" section) that point out the benefits of trading in order to highlight that. I think that's maybe my best option now.

As to what they were thinking, I can't really speak to that; they obviously enjoyed the game, or they wouldn't have ranked it as highly as they did. I wish they'd tried the trading, and I need to get people to want to.

Thanks for the feedback - I have lots to think about here.


  1. Hello again! =)

    I have not read anny rules for yogety, I have just seen the picturs you have posted here on youre blog. So the trading part is the part where the strategy come in to play in your game if understod it correctly.

    Is it simular trading to the trading in settlers? If so I would have to dissagree with you. In settlers trading do not act as a strategy in that game onley as a ontreraction.

    Also the judges who found the game to "light" might refer to the amount of strategy compared to the playtime. Atleast this is how compare diferent games.

    Also I would like to coment an your coment about re-theming the game. What you perseve as funn might not be what some one els find funn. So younger kids might find somthing completly difrent funn about the game. But if your looking on self publishing then I can understand that you would not want to re-theeme it as a kids game. A lot harder to sell kids games as a new company...

    Well I am looking forward to hereing what you ar planing to do about the game, even if it is nothing ^^

    Best regards

  2. The trading in Yoggity is more central to the game than in Settlers, I think. You can easily go through Settlers without trading anything with somebody else because you have ports and other options for trade.

    I agree that kids enjoy many games at a simpler level (e.g. Monopoly) without grasping the more complex strategies. Yoggity would totally work that way; kids would easily understand what to do. As I said above, though, I think targeting kids specifically might limit my audience in ways I don't want to do, and it would deny the game to an audience (adults who like less hardcore complex games) that would enjoy it.