Monday, May 25, 2009

My Designs at KublaCon 2009

Hammer and Spike suffered a setback recently, when we found a strategy that was successful, simple, and dead boring to play. To fix it I've adjusted the scoring. The bad news is that the scoring is now even more complex, but the good news is that the fix seems to be working. I hosted a four-player game at KublaCon that included a couple of new players and a couple of experienced train gamers, and I liked the way it played out. The winner was JC Lawrence, who also pointed out a problem I hadn't seen before (but which will be easily fixed, I think) and who gave some good feedback and advice.

And there is finally some news about the fate of Spatial Delivery. In our last episode (and the one before that, and the one before that...), the prototype had been sent off to a publisher shortly after winning the KublaCon game design contest in 2008. There followed nearly a full year of dead silence. I restrained myself from attempting to contact the publisher, reasoning that publishers were busy, they'd get to it when they had a chance, and there was no point in making a pest of myself. But this weekend I spoke to a company rep and learned that they'd recently had to fire a clerical worker for incompetence. This worker had made any number of bad-for-business mistakes, and one of them was losing my prototype (along with my contact info, of course). Fortunately the rep I spoke to was the very person who should have received the prototype in the first place. I had just built a new copy and had it with me hoping to play it, but instead I gave it to the rep. He told me it would be played next weekend and that I would hear something back within just a few weeks. So Spatial Delivery is back on track!

Now I just have to hope that the publisher actually likes it. But if they don't, I have a backup opportunity. The KublaCon contest director tells me that she has been talking the game up to a second publisher. I'm going to stick with the first until they make up their minds (at least, if it doesn't take another year for them to do so), but I would be perfectly happy to go with the second publisher if things fall out that way.

The lesson learned is obvious: keep in touch. I still think it's a bad idea to be a pest, but from now on any such publisher who hasn't contacted me within the last three months will hear from me. I don't intend to lose an entire year again.

And now I have two designs being actively evaluated by two publishers, and backup publishers for both. Cross your fingers for me! I'm hoping to have at least one game on its way to market, maybe two, by next year's KublaCon.

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