This is the third in a series about a board game I developed for my girlfriend. Part 1. Part 2.
I described what I wanted the game to include in a previous post. One of those things was references to things Sophie and I liked to talk about, and at the time I was developing the game, there was a certain political figure looming large. What better inspiration for my game’s antagonist?
I decided that my villain was a usurper who had gained control of Queen’s Landing and made lives hell for those in the regions around it. Players take control of a character (read about them here) and head for the centre of the board, where the once-proud city stands. The characters have an uneasy alliance though, and can’t resist screwing each other over as they make their way to the capital to dethrone the mad man at its middle. The characters were each given their own back stories and motivations for taking down the tyrant.
A few other political figures and events also made an appearance, but the setting is whimsical enough that it doesn’t feel burdened by it (as we often are in life!). The mood is further lightened by a few pop-culture references and the weird kind of glee you get out of messing up your friends’ plans to win.
Once I’d concocted that story, the rules and gameplay fell into place very quickly and tied the whole thing together. I’ll go into that in more detail in the next blog post, so please follow my page to ensure you don’t miss it.
You know what helps people test read a book? Giving them a book.
Now, that might sound weird, but one comment I kept getting from my test readers was that In The Black Blood would be a lot easier to read if it was in book form, rather than reams of loose A4 sheets. When you think about it, that makes perfect sense. Some of my test readers won’t have proof-read a book before, they aren’t professional editors, and a stack of paper looks a lot more like work than it does a fun romp through post-apocalyptic England. Plus, it’s going to end up in book form so why not give them something as close to the end product as you can get. Odds are the cover will end up looking different, but I thought I’d give it a go.
I set about trying to find out how to make a short print-run of books. I only wanted five for my next batch of readers, which left me with two potential providers: Blurb.com and Book Printing UK. I started with Blurb, but their pricing wasn’t quite as good and their book making app seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, so I went with Book Printing UK. It turned out to be an excellent choice!
Customer service was great and I’m super happy with the end result. Even my hastily thrown together cover design has come out looking excellent. Not only that, but its worked well with my test readers too. Previous readers had taken quite a while to go through the book, but three of my readers got it back to me within three weeks after I gave them a physical copy and liked it.
Not only that, but it’s bloody awesome to hold your novel in your hands in book-form; something that many of us aspiring novelists might never get to do.
Blog Post +2
Gig + 15
CIM Assignment Finished (!!!) +30 (seriously, it’s taken ages)
Those of you that have been reading my blog for a while might have noticed that I’ve mentioned a “secret project” on a few occasions. Well, it’s time for the big reveal!
I MADE A BOARD GAME!
It was my girlfriend’s birthday back in November. We’re both fans of board games and visit cafés like Thirsty Meeples in Oxford every so often to try out new things (Read Sophie’s post about it here), so it seemed like a good idea to MAKE a board game especially for her. I had no idea where to start, but I wagered that beginning with the board itself couldn’t be a bad idea.
I came up with the idea of creating five distinct “regions”. At this stage, I had a rough idea of what shape I wanted the game to take: I knew that it had to involve rolling a die to move, that it would involve drawing cards that would affect other players, that it would have references to things that Sophie and I liked or talked about, and that it would have a fantasy theme. With that in mind, I went out to Sainsbury’s and bought some crayons and coloured pencils, then took up drawing for an hour at a time on my lunch breaks.
The five regions developed quickly, and I soon had:
Plunder Bay (Pirate Themed)
Quinzel Cemetery (Swamp/Cemetery Themed)
Immortal Mountain (Mountain/Mine Themed)
Wild Woods (Enchanted Woods Themed)
Queen’s Landing (Medieval City Themed – No prizes for guessing the reference here!)
Once all five had been drawn, I scanned them into my computer and stitched them together in Photoshop, leaving me with an almost-finished game board. All of the gameplay elements were missing, but I had a base to work from; a base that I was incredibly happy with! Next I had to develop a story, but more on that next time. Follow The Points Project for more!
Are any of you prolific board game players? What do you like to play?
For the first few months of the Points Project, I gave myself points for spending time on productive things and completing projects, and took away points based on time and money spent on recreation. You know what breaks a system like that? Buying a house.
It broke the points system AND the blog!
But, that’s all said and done now, and I’ll be back blogging again from here on out. I’m already learning things about being a homeowner. For example, I’ve come to appreciate days when I don’t get post, because letters are now a sign of people wanting money. Also, you don’t realise how little furniture you own until you move out of your parents’ house. It was a good 6 weeks before I had sofas, and I still have to sit on the floor to use my “desktop” (hah!) computer.
Needless to say, the house purchase won’t be making an appearance in the points tally, otherwise I’d be in figurative debt for literal decades, but I’ve added “house homing” to my list of creative projects now. It’ll pop up every now and again, sandwiched in between my usual nonsense, though I’m not about to turn this into an interior design blog; my taste is awful and I have no desire to make you vomit from your eyes.
With all of that said, I’m zeroing out the points tally. Time to begin afresh!