Monthly Archives: January 2017

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Playtesting & Video

Category : Uncategorized

About a week ago I had a videographer, Jeremiah, record a playtesting session for the game Dungeon Break. We did this at the home of the Head GM, Corey Stillwell. Despite some technical difficulties, it should be good on the video side. Regardless, it was a good experience for the playtest itself. I’m hopeful it will be an available video to put on the Branum Games channel of YouTube. It’s been brought to our attention several times that recording the experiences and process would be beneficial for us and others. Jeremiah also took some time before and after the playtesting to talk to team members individually about their experiences with the group. I’m glad about that; it’s a super tight nit group. Though honestly, this company experience has brought everyone closer. We mostly all friends before, and now we’re much closer than generic friend status and have begun to spend the holidays together. It’s been a good two years.

So, the focus of the video was the playtest. My playtest team got to check out the game and provide feedback about what worked or didn’t. They seemed to have a lot of fun figuring out the game and discussing how to make it better. I enjoy getting feedback from my team members. They have a lot of good input. It’s an initial playtest, of course. Once the more obvious things get cleaned up regarding the game, the easy things to spot, then we clear up the minor discrepancies. And when it isn’t obvious to us, we bring it to the public and they will have a chance to find something our team missed.

I know also that they like to be heard. Their feedback can be found in any of the games. Suggestions they’ve made, and issues they’ve noted that I wound up ironing out based on their findings. They are invaluable as my first line of defense for the games to be smooth. I try to encourage any thoughts that come up. Tim Aldridge is one of my GMs, and I enjoy how often he has a thought or suggestion. I appreciate that about him. That day, several folks were on point for providing feedback. It was a fun day of figuring out the game, and eating Corey’s food. He makes amazing food for us when we go there often.

Anyhow, for each of the games, of course extensive playtesting is necessary. I usually have these guys test it out multiple times, and in multiple revisions, then I bring it to new audiences to find new things that can be made better. These folks really are my “first line of defense.” If it doesn’t get through them smoothly, it doesn’t get to a larger playtest audience. The first six months of doing all this I was mostly working alone. It was when I started seeing who would be interested in running games about a year and a half ago that a team started to form. In preparing for the convention, they also became a critical part of the game construction process. Even though I was determined to be independent and pursue Branum Games as effectively as possible solo if necessary, being part of a team has been more rewarding and fun than I anticipated. I’ve loved having a group to rely on and enjoy things with.


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2017 – Our Plans!

Category : Uncategorized

I have been evaluating plans for 2017.

Last year was very exciting, and I’m thinking this one will be just as exciting if not more. Here I have provided several of the current goals and plans for this year. I hope supporters will stick with us as we try to make this a long-lasting game company.

  • Let’s start with old business. I  have my attention still on getting the Kickstarter backers their Battle Gnomes game copies before working on getting it into a main distribution channel. It is still in manufacturing mode, and once that is completed, I will send copies to various reviewers to gain traction. I will bring copies to Phoenix Comicon and other events, but the goal is to get the game attention and into stores.
  • Regarding the other 3 games that were published in 2016, my goal is to get them into distribution as possible. Each one (Nocturnes, Book Collectors, and Parks) has a potentially different audience, and I will get them in front of those audiences for promotional purposes. With Battle Gnomes in stores, I may have better chances of getting another game in once Gnomes sells well.
  • A Kickstarter for the game House Monsters will happen after backers of Battle Gnomes get their games. Hopefully we can complete the Kickstarter by May.
  • Prototype games. We have 2 other games in prototype stages: Dungeon Break and Steam Masters. We are still evaluating if we want to release them either through crowdfunding or other channels. These need to be playtested further, completed, and reviewed before proceeding.
  • Promotion and brand awareness. I do want people to be aware of both the company and the games. I am going to increase awareness with videos about our game creation and playtesting process. I will also be doing this by getting games to reviewers and blog sites.
  • GM and support expansion. I would like more GMs, and not necessarily just in Arizona. I can send gamers copies of the game to demo locally, either at their stores or local gaming events. I’ll be reaching out to those who have shown that kind of an interest and setting up methods of organizing a GM group structure beyond the group I currently work with.
  • Limited events for myself. I will be at Phoenix Comicon and a few other events, but maybe not as many, and not until I have more product. We learned last year that attending events was great for info gathering, but it’s an expensive hobby. We’ll keep people posted on what we do attend this year, though it will likely be much more exciting a calendar in the years to come.

Those are our big plans for 2017! Please stick with us and support us. I believe if this year goes as well as planned, the company should be around for some time. Thanks!


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THE GAMES

Battle Gnomes

Check out these battling Gnomes here!

Book Collectors

Collect the most impressive assortment of books among your friends here!

Dungeon Break!

Escapees must avoid getting thrown back into the dungeon! Check out how here!

Nocturnes

Be ready to experience your greatest fears here!

Parks

Create the best theme park ever right here!