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Design of resource management-related board games

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A passion, an idea, a project...

It was a very cold and icy winter’s morning, and I had nothing better to do than to surf the web and shop on Kickstarter. But I wasn’t just any old shopper; an IT professional, with a passion for managing, planning and coordinating resources, I scanned these campaigns with a critical eye, thinking about what I would change if they were mine. And that’s when I had my lightbulb moment: why don’t I design my own game and launch it on Kickstarter!

This idea hadn’t come out of nowhere; I’ve always been passionate about games, as my family and close friends can attest. Be they jigsaw puzzles, board games or card games, not a day passes that I’m not playing something. As well, I’ve long had the dream of being my own boss and having my own company, but up to now I’ve never found the right project.

So, where to start? The obvious answer is to play to my strengths. So let’s look at my strengths: I work in IT, specifically delivering major projects for a bank. I manage people, projects and especially ensure that everything gets done as per the schedule. We haven’t seen IT be the subject of many board games. So, how do I distill all of this to create a management-focused board game? I bring together all of my knowledge and dive right in! With the barest of ideas in mind, I’m already looking to build a prototype, as close as possible to the final product. I collect wooden pieces, dice, wood for the game boards, cardboard and paper for the cards, and carefully build up my game. I make so much progress that I decide to set myself what seems like a reachable goal: an official launch in 6 months!

Is this really realistic? According to my calculations – and my Gantt chart – it’s a bit ambitious, but I’m determined to give it a go and to work as hard as possible; in any case, what else is there to do in winter! But I won’t be working at this alone. Firstly, I need to find an illustrator; after an extensive search, I found the right person to make my idea a concrete reality. I also hire my good friend Valérie to help me with all manner of research: looking for components, printers, contacts… there’s lots to do!

Now that my prototype is ready, time to try it out. What better way than have my good friends try it and set me straight on my game : iteration after iteration, comments, changes to the prototype, design changes, more comments, more changes to the prototype, more design changes and finally, the mechanics of my game are set!

But everything has a price, and when I start to add up the cost in time, work and money to produce and market the game, the mountain to climb seems enormous. Time for a reality check: is this really the project for me? I seek out advice and support online and, most definitely, spend a lot of time thinking things through, giving me a lot of sleepless nights. My head says that I won’t make it, but my heart still believes it can be done. The solution, the path to be taken, is in the end extremely simple: take things 1 at a time. Forget setting arbitrary deadlines, it’ll take as long as it takes! My dream is becoming a reality, this isn’t the time to give up!

The weeks and months pass, and on top of setting up my company and creating my first game, my time is filled with everyday life: family, outings, dinner with friends, travel, the unexpected, my job which occupies all the time left over to work on my project. Come September, and time to refocus on my project. I’m totally pumped and have regained the motivation I had at the beginning of the year! The design is nearly complete, the to-do list is getting shorter and shorter… The big moment is approaching!

Of course, I couldn’t have gotten to this point without the help of many over this long journey. A big thank you goes to Valérie, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am! Many have given their contribution in the form of their comments; thank you to all who contributed to the tests, with special thanks going to Jan-Sébastien, Guy-André, Émilie and Ghislain, who gave of their time as if it was their own project… it was great! I also have a treasure of an illustrator, Simon, who has been patient with me and has greatly supported me through my multiple changes. And of course none of this would be possible without the infinite support of my girlfriend Sia. A thousand thank yous! I love you :)

So, the launch on Kickstarter is finally set for this fall. Website, marketing, PR, all my efforts are focused on the launch! Meanwhile, my head is already filled with ideas for other games. You haven’t heard the last from me about my projects … :)

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