Monthly Archives: March 2016

Social media

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March 28th. Yesterday I was able to meet with two successful game designers, Ian and Patricia Stedman from Magic Meeple Games. They were kind enough to provide lots of advice and support for what I’m doing. I’ve been able to meet with a handful of people in the community these last several months and am constantly impressed at how generous people can be with what they know, helping others along the way.

Today feels big for me. I’m creating an event for people to check out Branum Games at Phoenix Comicon and promoting on social media the page(s) created. People can get a taste of what’s to come, along with an awareness of this website. It’s intimidating to put oneself out there, to create something and say “Hey all, what do you think?” In some ways it’s easier to create the product than to put yourself out there so others can be aware of it. Alright then, just gotta do it.

The progression of prototypes

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March 21 2016

I went back to read my blog and noticed some holes on the timeline. I want to fill in some blanks on the game process regarding the prototypes. First, the prototype is just a nice version of something already made. The game creation portion for these games was completed last year. The last 2-3 months was all about pulling the art together, the graphics, and only the occasional game edit. Sometimes edits are made in submitting for a prototype either to fit the look of it better or because you catch something you had missed before.

So the timeline of the last two months. In February I was waiting on artwork for multiple games and felt like my hands were tied. Even though rules and items were constructed, I needed the final artwork to proceed. The one game I did have all the images for was Book Collectors. Book Collectors was the first game I did the design for and submitted for a prototype. It wound up being fun despite how tedious it was. I found out afterward that I had taken the long way to complete multiple tasks in my learning. Oh well. It was submitted to the Game Crafter on February 7th and I got the prototype back on February 22nd.

Right after the submission of one, I got to working on the next. Next up, I decided to tackle Nocturnes. It was the first game I had completed, at least the rules and cards/tiles anyway. I had been working with someone on the graphics, but knew that doing it myself would take less time than going back and forth with another. I just needed to learn how to actually accomplish what I wanted. This game took about two weeks to complete the designs. I already had some things in mind, so that helped, but I spent a lot of time on figuring out how to lay out the artwork and then making minor adjustments. Nocturnes was submitted for a prototype on February 19th and I got it back on March 5th.

Parks was next because I had all the artwork for it. I actually did the artwork myself  because it is a very “child at heart” kind of game so it doesn’t have to look too impressive. Though, I wound up being thrilled with the results. It took me six weeks between December and January, and countless redos to get and edit the 65 images I needed. I learned how to draw for this game. I also kept thinking I was done, but then changing and improving a piece. Anyway, I submitted that one on February 28th and got it back on March 12th.

And onto this week! Next was Battle Gnomes, and you all saw some of that process. Parks came in right around when my artist for Battle Gnomes was finishing up. While waiting on Parks I began the card layouts for the artwork so I could just plug it in once I got it. Beyond the graphic art, I spent a lot more time reviewing the specific text and rules for Battle Gnomes. I don’t know when I’ll get Dungeon Break submitted, but it will be some time before Phoenix Comicon, so I can show it to people there. I’ll probably get a prototype back for that one in May. For the next few months the main focus is on Battle Gnomes now that it’s completed.

As you can see, 2016 has been very productive so far.

Battle Gnomes is submitted!

Category : Uncategorized

March 19th


Listening to Billy Joel’s Piano Man as I submit my Battle Gnomes prototype. Of course I think “this is a blogging moment.” I’m so excited and relieved to finally submit it after all the delays. There are several parties tonight, but I’m not feeling like going out. I know I need to go and actually socialize with people soon. Social media is great for providing that social window so I can feel like I’m in touch with what’s happening from my office, but it’s not the same as face to face human contact. Everything I do has taken so much longer than the time I give myself to do it, but I think it keeps me working faster. Things would take longer if I let them. The motivation to write more is lost now, since I now just want to go rest a bit.

The good luck holiday

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March 17th


It’s St. Patrick’s Day and that’s cool. It doesn’t really feel like a holiday and I’m definitely more interested on what I’m doing. I haven’t submitted Battle Gnomes for a prototype yet, so that’s my main focus today. I have everything done but now it’s time to do another read through on all the rules and cards. I always find something that could be worded just a little bit cleaner or funnier. I know I could just submit it and play around with any changes later, but I want to get it as strong as I can before submission. I want the prototype to be solid so the feedback I get from people is not cluttered with tiny errors. I want to reduce the number of those occurrences so people can just focus on game play.


The result of being particular is that I’m working on this today, almost a week after my first anticipated submission date. I was upset about it at first, but now I’m resigned to submitting a better product to show people and garner support for it. I’m still excited for post submission. At that point, I wait for it to arrive and begin promotion of the game online. The game promotion will be something different. I’ve worked on several different pieces these last six months: game construction, artwork, editing, and graphic design. I look forward to doing something new and changing it up a bit. I’m intimidated by the marketing angle a bit, but I think once I get going it’ll feel comfortable.

Prototype submission

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March 13th


This will be the fourth time I’ve submitted a game for a prototype and I’m noticing that each time I get nauseated from anxiety. Once the submission is in I feel good, but the hours leading up to submission, when I’m combing through the details, I feel major anxiety. I go back through several times and decide what last minute improvements to make, while determining what decisions to wait on.


Right now, I’m finalizing my submission for Battle Gnomes, the game I consider to be the most important to me at this time. I’m glad I did the other submissions first so that I’m familiar with the process, and the anxiety has gone down since previous submissions. After I submit for the prototype, I plan on making people aware of the game in every way possible. I think people will love it, and I think it has the most widespread appeal.

Nocturnes and Battle Gnomes

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March 12th


I played a few games of Nocturnes with friends the other day. There was a lot of laughing and it was fun. For such a dark game, it had surprisingly funny moments throughout. It’s great seeing people’s reaction to the description of the game and to the game itself.


This week, since getting the Nocturnes prototype back, I’ve been trying to finish up the graphics for a Battle Gnomes prototype submission. That’s the one I’m going to Kickstart first. Someone asked me yesterday how the games were going and commented they hadn’t heard much in a while. It’s true, until I get the prototypes back I’m not being as vocal about the games as I could be. I just want to be prepared, and I want to have answers to questions and the ability to fully commit to social media about the games. Once I submit for Battle Gnomes, that’s four submitted prototypes and I’ll feel better about being more vocal and making others aware of the details of these games.


Time is flying intimidatingly fast. I spend a lot of time focused on details. I’ll show someone two different looks and they may not actually notice any difference at all, but I do. I hope that it’s just a perfectionist thing that leads to positive results rather than an obsessive compulsion to have an exact look that is just unnecessarily time-consuming. Time will tell the value of being so scrutinizing.

Starting a blog and the Nocturnes prototype has arrived

Category : Uncategorized

March 5, 2016


Day 196. Sort of, not really. That’s how long ago I quit my job to make games. I’ve been wanting to make them for years and had put together different ideas. In the last year, I got  serious about it. Initially it was considered more as a cute idea by people who knew me rather than a legitimate business goal. No one was surprised that I wanted to make games. But people who knew me were eventually surprised when I made the jump from comfortably employed at my long-time job to frantically and uncertainly unemployed/self-employed.

I’ve kept friends appraised of the process along the way. One suggested a blog about the process because of thoughts and experiences I’ve had along the way. The biggest change is that now work 7 days a week instead of 5. Even though I can sleep in if I choose, I often spend more hours a day working than at my 8-5 job. I’ve gone through some interesting experiences working with others, some good and some as learning experiences. Game creation is complex, and the most fun part. The cards have to be balanced so no player wants to throw the table over in frustration. The artwork should be there. That’s been one of the most challenging parts of this process, the artwork. I am getting ahead of myself but the idea is that you can’t just be a good gamer or have a good idea. You can expect to learn a lot of new skills or at least improve your current ones.

Alright, so, I plan to talk about things as I go moving forward, and today I should mention that I got a game in the mail just a few hours ago, the prototype for Nocturnes. It’s the second game prototype from the Game Crafter I have received so far. Of course I’m excited about it, really excited, and nervous. That can be overshadowed by being determined and always thinking about the next step. I pulled out the box and…. It looks good! Really good. I’m looking over it for everything that I can improve on visually and fortunately, at this time, there doesn’t seem to be a whole that needs work. I play tested this particular game A LOT with pieces of printed paper, mostly with black and white images; this is definitely an improvement. I know people order prototypes with just the basic information but I wanted mine to be game-ready with little to no changes necessary. I know it will change over time, but I want to like it in its original form. That’s me though.

It’s interesting because this particular game is about nightmares, and I actually don’t like scary things. I tend to avoid anything horror related, so having it be the first game I threw myself into was unexpected. I think because it needed a lot more technical work than the others so I really delved into it. Once I got going, I wanted to see it done. I’m happy with the results. I think it rides a line between being dark and being interesting. The tiles are, ideally, a conversation piece for players. What scares them and what doesn’t, how a dream could unfold like it does in the game, and so on. Certainly those are meta-game thoughts I’d like to see from other players, but we’ll see how that goes.

I feel like I’ve already said a lot for one blog and don’t want to overdo it. That said, I know things will pick up and start moving quickly over the next few months for me and my games. I’ll post again in a few days about other updates and steps in the process.

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Battle Gnomes

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