Author Archives: Tiffany

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Book Collectors

Category : Uncategorized

Today was the publishing of Book Collectors!

You can find it on the Game Crafter. It’s a game about book collecting and trading. These are actual, valuable books that would be of interest to those who are bibliophiles, or book collectors. Those who enjoy books or set collection games will enjoy it immensely. The component I enjoy the most is the trading aspect. You have to be smart about trading something for another. Get what will help your collection, without allowing your opponent to win. But if you never trade at all, you are less likely to win! It’s definitely got that piece of strategy in it.

I consider this a “soft publish” because I want to make it available to the public but didn’t do any heavy promotion with it. I plan to do significantly more, but as games complete, I just want them published and made known on any level possible. I’ll flesh out my plans for this game, but did not want to keep it waiting on the shelf until then. I’m excited to have it out there, my third completed, published game!


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Kickstarter Success!

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Battle Gnomes was a success – we funded and are eagerly looking forward to getting the backers their specialty items. Some items will never be seen after the first production run, making them special for the backers. That’s great though, I think the backers deserve that. These are the folks who supported me the most and each person there has a special place in my heart. I’m very moved by the support I’ve received, by people who are excited about the game and those who are excited to see me living this dream.

I also was impressed and pleased with the number of people who publicized the Kickstarter and the game during and before the Kickstarter. I’m grateful to that. I’ve regularly had people ask me about the game success as a result of the Kickstarter. I’m glad I got the backers and was funded successfully, essentially being able to fund the initial production run. Another important thing that I gained from this was promotion of the game so that people later on will have heard of it. It has happened every time I’ve gone to a social gathering, gaming event, or party. Various people know about it and have questions. That’s going to be so helpful moving forward.

Right now is production time – and I appreciate all the support received from people on Battle Gnomes. It was an excellent learning experience, and opportunity for Branum Games. 🙂


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Nocturnes Published!

Category : Uncategorized

We have published our spooky, Halloween thematic game, Nocturnes!

It is a game about going insane (or rather, trying to avoid it). Good news though, you can drive your friends insane with terrifying nightmares! Or at least, that’s part of the goal. Because it is so applicable to the dark, scary themes of Halloween, I wanted to make sure it is available during the month of October!

It can be purchased at the Game Crafter! In 2017 I plan to have physical copies for people to purchase. For now, this is the fastest and most efficient method of getting the game to those eagerly awaiting it. We hope you all enjoy it, and we’ll be finishing up a couple other games for this year. Keep following and you will see!


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Nocturnes

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This is an interruption of Battle Gnomes the Kickstarter!

We are publishing the game Nocturnes. Now, we decided after the first two weeks of the Kickstarter to publish it through the Game Crafter INSTEAD of doing another Kickstarter, which at first glance may not make perfect sense. But let me explain.

I wanted it to be available for October of this year for Halloween. Also, the next best time for a Kickstarter is in the spring. I may not proceed with Kickstarters for each of my games. I plan to make the available on the Game Crafter and then mass publish so I can have them for events I am a part of. With a Kickstarter, etiquette says you should not provide the item (or game) to the public until getting all rewards to the public. I’d rather not hold out on other games like I had to do for Battle Gnomes. Kickstarter is not always, and not often the right choice.

For my first game it was perfect! It provided promotion for the game and the company. Moving forward I may try other avenues of promotion, and am still thrilled to have a successful Kickstarter completed. That’s my reasoning for not pushing the remaining games through via Kickstarter. That said, Nocturnes will be published for the public to purchase and play on October 1st! Just in time for the Halloween season!


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Kickstarter Progress

Category : Uncategorized

We are officially on Week 2 of the Kickstarter!

We’re currently 96% funded. I have finished the updates for submitting to manufacturing and have got no new suggestions yet from the backers about changes. I am going to restrict one of the levels; I should have done that pre-launch by limiting the number allowed, but changes were made just before the launch and it’s a little daunting to keep track of everything. Fortunately, I didn’t cause any errors that weren’t fixable with a clarification update and those were very few.

Since the launch, I’ve been reminded that there are other things on my plate. Other games and events coming up to plan for. I put forward a lot of publicity prior to the launch so I am mostly letting it run its course. I couldn’t do that without the help of Denise MacIntyre, my Social Media Manager. I still respond to direct questions and promo it a little bit each day but feel I’ve exhausted most places to promote to. I still have people who share on different media sites, and a few unexpected reviews/mentions on news sources, which is pretty exciting for us.

I’m eager for the Kickstarter to be done and the games in my possession to send out to people. Once it’s done too I can send to reviewers for “published” game reviews, which seem easier by far than pre-published games are. That’d be nice. That’s what’s up so far, I’ll keep folks posted.


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One Week to Kickstarter!

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One Week Countdown

Promotion
We’re now at 6 days away from the Kickstarter launch. I’ve submitted some edits to the game, but every time I work on it I think of the amount of time spent on promoting the game, running demo events, and setting up the Kickstarter. I’ve spent so much time and energy on those things when the focus is this game I’ve created and want people to like. Now, I’m working to make sure people like the Kickstarter. I know this route is better for me than any other, but I do want to talk about how nuanced it is even if it isn’t as layered as some other methods of getting a product out.

It’s like I’ve setup a party inside of a house, but to get people in the house I have to get the word out about a party they may like. Then I need to provide them clear directions. Once they decide to go, there needs to be exterior décor so they want to enter the house when they show up. Then I have to make the foyer attractive and appealing so they stay and enjoy the food. And as a host, I want to make everyone feels welcomed. There are so many layers! Here, please be interested in this thing I’m doing. Interested? Great! Now that you’re interested, I’m going to route you over to this crowdfunding page (Kickstarter) that lets you support this thing being made! If I got you to go to Kickstarter, I hope you’ll read through mine. Now, last step, please pick a reward you like so I can potentially reward you for financially supporting my game startup. Yay!

Self-Publishing
I can see why self-publishing is such a challenge, because other than promotion of getting the game out there, I’m also balancing the manufacturing and shipping costs. I’m terrified I’m missing something, and sure that I am. But right now I feel like I’ve made the best possible decisions and just have to see who backs what reward and from where. That’s a huge part of it. Some places and rewards I would wind up making a few dollars to help fill in the gaping hole I’ve created so far working on all of this. Other places and rewards just break even, but I accept that because I want to get this out to the public and feel like that’s the bigger goal, and helps more with the bigger picture.

Further, I have a couple of approaches for after the Kickstarter completes but a lot hinges on the success of the Kickstarter. It’s also really hard to look that far in the future when I have so many pressing little things to monitor. A few people are able to assist me, and that’s great. At least on rough days I have that feeling of comradery. As I was saying though, my next steps are flexible depending on how this run goes. People need to like it, then I want to do a big run and have to see how many games I have afterward. Then I may go back to evaluating the manufacturing method depending, again, on how this goes large scale for this project. I can’t even think about this really for a little while longer. I have options, but just have to see where things are.

Personal
I feel like I am running behind on things but according to each “countdown til your launch” blog, I’m doing pretty well. One problem is that I’m losing energy. I can’t seem to sleep so great this week, probably the anxiety and my head space. I need to sleep and take care of myself, especially for when we launch. I also feel like I’m moving slowly. Digital images for promotion can take hours, along with emails and research. When you don’t see tangible results of the time you’ve spent doing something, it’s pretty disheartening and you have to remind yourself that not all progress can be readily quantified. I did go ahead and get someone to do Infographic headings and stretch goals for my Kickstarter instead of aiming to do it myself. Too often I try to do things myself and it takes longer than it needs to. However, there is of course the issue of cost for work. You just have to balance out what you crucially need to look nice, if you can realistically do it, and if you can pay someone else to do it instead. Do the things you can do, outsource the things you just can’t or the things you can’t do well that are critical to the project.

That’s essentially where I’m at right now; promoting, finalizing manufacturing costs, and sprucing up the Kickstarter page. I’m only partially looking to the future because there are so many variables right now I would be jumping the gun to make any assumptions about where things are gonna go. I’m optimistic but am going to put all of those thoughts aside. At least until we fund, then maybe I’ll look into those things again further. 6 days until go time; after that, we’ll just have to see what happens.


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GenCon 2016!

Category : Uncategorized

I got home from GenCon last night. It is definitely the biggest gaming event I have ever attended! I went about ten years ago, and it has only gotten larger! This time, I went with Justin Pottenger as support. We took a late Wednesday night flight which arrived the next morning. We showed up at around 10:30am, about an hour after opening ceremony and it was already crazy. People had filled the streets, and the parking lots. So we ended up parking about a 15 minute walk away. It was a nice walk since the weather beat Phoenix in August hands down. After the time it took to get the badges, we were able to look around a bit.

Thursday we were committed to First Exposure, an area that allows people with unreleased games to show them to playtesters and get feedback. Our first session began at 2pm and I was already exhausted from lack of sleep on the plane. I’m sure he was tired too, but Justin took the lead for me on running the game, but before you know it we were both laughing and wide awake. We had a great group of playtesters who enjoyed the game and I had a great second wind watching them get a kick out of the cards. The interactions were fun and it reminded me how much I enjoy doing this. Each following game was a lot the same, players enjoyed the humor and there were always engaging build up battles. We were done with that around 8pm on Thursday, after which we got food and headed to the hotel because we wanted to be up nice and early Friday.

Friday was a big day for panels. We showed up in the morning and made it our whole day, to learn as much as possible. I went to six, with about half hour to hour long breaks in between. I wanted information on Kickstarters, legal advice for game company owners, diversity in gaming, and more. We had a break between the final panel and more First Exposure that evening. We were done with game demos around midnight, and I got some interesting feedback. I was both happy and sad about that. Happy that it yielded results, and I realized a couple more things I need to adjust with the game, but sad because of course you just want the game to be done already. I’m not the only one who feels that way, when there’s a creative project, it would be great if you could just call it done, but this is going to be an ongoing thing indefinitely. Still, I got great feedback and am happy for that. Since it was past midnight, we went back to the hotel after grabbing some grub.

We weren’t scheduled in First Exposure for Saturday or Sunday, so we changed it up a bit. The Exhibitor Hall was open from 10am-6pm, and we were in there the entire time except for when we grabbed food. The reason for this was to walk through and talk to the game designers, publishers, podcasters, and anyone of interest. We spent 6+ hours doing this, and still had about a third of the space left to go. There were so many conversations that were great to have with people. I felt like that combined with the panels armed me with about as much information as I could stand. After it closed, we grabbed food, hit up an 8pm panel, and explored the rest of the event. Learning and interacting for so long took a toll though, and I was exhausted. I remember the days of after hours socializing and had friends at the event, but I couldn’t muster enough energy to go socialize with my Phoenix friends.  Instead we determined we could see them after the event.

Sunday was our last and final day. There were two panels we wanted to hit, along with the rest of the Exhibitor Hall. One of the panels was on funding options for game companies, and the other was for diversity in gaming, at 10am and 11am. By noon we were heading back to the Exhibitor Hall, exhausted but determined and as refreshed as a person can be on day four of a con. We took about 3 more hours to explore the remaining space, which was interesting because I got to see several people I know. Rob and Aubrey Hicks are friends that went with me to GenCon 10 years ago, and now have a booth there after successfully kickstarting their game Goblins Breakfast! They were great and super high energy. I also made it to the 7th Sea booth. I got to say hello to John Wick and Ben Woerner which is nice, and they were quite busy with the success of 7th Sea. There were many others I got to see throughout the event.

It was around 3pm when we were done going through the hall, and were pretty much wiped out. So, we got some lunch, and made our way to the canal to check out some local sites. I think it’s good to check out an area when traveling if possible. The city was very cool and I enjoyed the restaurants. If you make it to this event, I recommend Palomino and Yardhouse as restaurants to check out. They were my favorite two. The latter is a little more expensive.

And that was our trip! Our flight arrived home around 10pm and we decompressed GenCon is great, if you’re a gamer I feel like it’s a must take trip at some point.

http://www.gencon.com/


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Game Depot – Guest Blog

Category : Uncategorized

Denise MacIntyre

I ran the Game Depot gaming event for Tiffany Branum because she was out of town. Ran meaning that I asked other GMs to show up and help play games.  I also picked up the game and swag supplies (buttons and lip balm) and set up the table.

The store hours are 10-7 on Saturdays, but we were scheduled 11-6 for their “Let’s Play More Games” event.  I got there about 10:30 to set up and was almost immediately asked about each of the games: the premise, how many people it’s for, and the optimum number of players for each game.  Once set up, our table had people playing at least one game pretty much the entire time.  Battle Gnomes was expectedly very popular, and we ran at least two games each of Nocturnes, Parks, and Book Collectors.  I took pictures throughout the day whenever I got a chance and posted them to our Twitter and Instagram accounts and in our Facebook event page.  If you’re not following us on social media, you’re missing out!

The people seemed to really enjoy the games.  They gave us feedback on the games and occasionally hilarious commentary.  Two quotes in particular stood out for me, and they’re both related to Nocturnes.  When setting up the game, one player wearing all black with black nail polish chose the black game marker because “It’s black like my soul.”  Also when the “Burning Alive” tile was placed another player commented that it reminded him of Mary Winchester from the tv show Supernatural.  Both of these made the table laugh and I’m glad they enjoyed the macabre humor in the game.

Overall it was a great experience.  The store owners, Dave and Patty, were very friendly and accommodating.  Patty wore one of our buttons and kept bringing people to our tables to play the games!  She was a great promoter for us throughout the day and I’d love to go back there and do this again sometime.


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I read a book

Category : Uncategorized

So lately, a lot of what I’ve been doing includes research. That’s been for the last year, but it just occurred to me that I have no idea how many hundreds of articles I’ve read and videos I’ve seen so far. I still glean new things, so that’s important.

Since the updates from the last blog, I took a trip to Louisiana that was fairly time-consuming. In my spare time, I did manage to read a book that prompted a lot of ideas and plans. I brainstormed a couple dozen pages of new material that I plan to incorporate in what I do. Some of it was evaluating the themes I want for my games. There were several things that I think are crucial to games. Just an example,  creating a compelling theme is crucial in my opinion. Otherwise, it’s just “here’s a card with a number, and it overrides your card with a number.” Although that’s what is happening, with a theme players can think critically while enjoying themselves, rather than feeling like they’re taking a test.

The book itself had several holes in it, typos, and concepts I didn’t entirely agree with. I kept reading and being frustrated with the repetition of the author, almost putting the book down, but then I would come across a piece that stimulated a useful thought process in me. It’s interesting how that worked out so I just kept reading. But yes, read a book, wrote down ideas. Have done things since returning to Phoenix, mostly following up with people and solidifying Kickstarter plans.


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Sweeping changes

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Sometimes in my games I have to make sweeping changes. It’s tricky to do too much at once because any one thing that gets modified requires the remaining components to still be consistent and work with that card or rule. Avoiding contradictory cards/rules is one of the more challenging pieces of designing the game elements. Still, I can’t just change one thing at a time and get a prototype back because cost wise, it’s more efficient to get as many things done at once so you don’t have to go back for more changes later. The end result is you have to be pretty certain about your game updates and make sure to also modify corresponding rules/cards that are impacted by the changes.

One huge game change is a rule decision about the action cards. I decided to be more particular about how people can use them.  When designing games, I don’t want to run the decisions of players too much or limit what they can do. However, it can create confusion when there aren’t enough guidelines. Even if it is all laid out in the rules, without being specific enough about how to use cards and limiting what can be done, players may disagree on game play and that’s not fun in a game.

With that, I decided to limit Action cards to just be played on one’s turn. Before, it was also on another player’s turn. I was going for players being able to help each other out. However, from the events, a major piece of feedback was that not everyone enjoyed the amount of assistance that could be provided during battle. So to balance the confusion of how/when to use action cards and the abundance of help one could give another player, action cards have to be played on one’s own turn and only battle items can be used to assist another player. So only one of the two types of cards can now be used to assist other players, making it less of a situation where one player wins for another. It feels like a better balance to me.

So, speaking of sweeping changes, in this round here are some others: One-time Use cards moving forward will be referred to Battle Items. 1 action card was moved to yard items, 3 action cards moved to battle items, 4 battle items were moved to action cards, and 1 yard item was moved to battle items, and 1 attachment was modified based on the changes. Several other cards were modified slightly to adjust to these changes. Instead of 6 there are now 5 thrown items, but the same number of each type of item (attachment/action/battle/yard). I essentially played Jenga with the cards to make them fit more efficiently, to give it the most organized structure where I hadn’t before.

Also, the game name will change and that will be announced soon. I’m not quite ready for that yet.


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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!