I Have a Board Game Idea: Now What? Part 47: Why I Wish I’d Started With a Smaller Game

Welcome back! I’m sorry for missing last week, but I was under the weather and also had sick kids, so didn’t find time to get a post written. It’s good to be back on track.

Over the last few years, as I have been working on The Hackers Guild, I’ve been contemplating designing a kids game. The idea first started when my wife suggested that I design a game our kids could help playtest after having to keep the kids away from the table while I was playtesting The Hackers Guild. Now that I’ve started working on what I’m currently calling The Great Lunch Swap, part of me wishes that I had started with a smaller game. For this week’s post I’m going to look at the reasons why.

Generally, smaller games are less expensive to design, prototype, ship and manufacture

A smaller game is cheaper in pretty much every facet of game design. While I haven’t gotten an official quote for The Great Lunch Swap yet, based on what I’ve seen from The Hackers Guild I could probably get it manufactured for between 3 and 4 USD. That is considerably less than the about 9 USD that it looks like The Hackers Guild is going to end up costing.

Due to their reduced cost, smaller games require lower funding goals on Kickstarter making a successful first campaign more likely

One of the biggest hurdles a new designer has when launching their first Kickstarter is the fact that they are an unknown. They haven’t had a chance to prove that they can stick with a project from start to finish and deliver the promised rewards. Running a smaller campaign first gives you a chance to succeed and establish your credibility, making running a successful campaign for your bigger game more likely to succeed.

It can be easier to find playtesters for a smaller game

Having a smaller, less intimidating game when you’re looking for playtesters can make a big difference on the likelihood that the players will stick it out for the duration of the playtest, especially when the majority of your gaming is done with children under the age of eight.

It can be easier to drop the game if the idea is no good with a smaller game

As a designer, you might find it easier to scrap an idea if you haven’t spent hours and hours working on it. You will also find it easier and faster to get a prototype made, which will help in figuring out if the idea is any good or not.

That is about it for this week. If you are interested in reading more about the pros and cons of smaller vs bigger games, check out Jamey Stegmaier’s post on the topic. Until next time, happy designing.

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