Playtesting & Video

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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.


2017 – Our Plans!

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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!


Guest Blog: My 2016 Experience with BG

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Branum Games is an amazing company to work for.  In the past year I have helped test games, given input on production, and attended many conventions.  The company has also helped me to travel.  I have also learned some of the inner workings of a game company.

Prior to working with Branum Games, I had never been to a convention.  This past year has been amazing for me as I have been to three with the company!  I have met many amazing people and introduced them to the amazing games that have been produced.  It is an amazing feeling to see someone enjoy a game that you helped bring to fruition.

As for production, I have been able to voice my opinions and help with advice on art.  Branum Games has a dedicated site where all of the testers, game masters, and other designated support staff can view and give their opinions on games, art, rules, etc.  It has been nice to know that my opinions are heard and seeing little pieces of games and being able to say “That part there was me!”.

As a person with a disability, I am homebound most of the time.  Branum Games has given me the opportunity to get out more often.  Plus, some of the time it is on trips to places and events that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about or gone to!  As I continue to work with the company, I hope to learn of other events and get the opportunity to attend them while supporting these amazing games!

This past year, on a personal level, was hectic.  Working with Branum Games has been a great source of pride and a stress reliever.  The people I have worked with and have met are amazing and fun!  I hope to continue working with this company for many years to come!

  • Branum Games Head GM Corey Stillwell

Guest Blog: Holiday Party Review

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The first annual Branum Games Holiday Party was held on December 12th. It was hosted at The Spaghetti Factory in Chandler, AZ and brought together the founder, GM’s, game reviewers, and artists, most of whom hadn’t met previously. I didn’t really know what to expect because this was the first Branum Games Holiday Party, and I’d never attended a company holiday party before. We were given gifts from Tiffany, the founder, and I ate the chocolate that very night.

We also got to see for the first time the prototype of Dungeon Break, the new game being released this year. Everyone was excited to see it and seemed pleased with the result. I was especially excited because it’s Branum Games’ first board game. Battle Gnomes, Book Collectors, and Parks are all card games, and Nocturnes is a tile game, so I was pleased to see the expansion into another type of tabletop game.

I enjoyed chatting with friends and making new ones with the artists and game reviewers I hadn’t previously met. It’s a strange experience to meet a person you’ve only seen on YouTube. The Chews Smart guys were very nice as were their wives and we shared a few laughs. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I look forward to working with the team in 2017.

  • Denise MacIntyre

Parks! Published!

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I published parks on this date because it is complete except for a few graphic art design details, and I made the promise to publish a copy on this date. I plan to update the graphic design but I am not yet sure how I want it to look.

I am occasionally considered stubborn for doing the things I say I will do, but I am determined to be reliable in that way. I did complete 4 attractive, playable games in 2016 and that is really cool. I’ll work to improve each of them over time but Parks is the only one that I currently see needs any kind of real attention.

I was asked why I didn’t do a Kickstarter for Parks and Book Collectors. Honestly, I love these little games but I know they really will have a niche following rather than what I see as a widespread one. Even though, among players Book Collectors has found a shocking following. Still, if I can just publish and produce the games I will. Kickstarter will be more beneficial for games requiring larger components or that will have a larger target audience when entering the market. That way I can get the funds necessary for a mass production.

Parks is just really fun to watch kids play. I mean, I will play and enjoy it. But watching little ones play it and look at the cards with such interest is a delight. I hope to get it around to schools and perhaps children centers eventually. That would be very cool.


Sale for Supporters!

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THIS WEEK ONLY! SALE FOR BATTLE GNOMES SUPPORTERS!

We have a sale available for anyone who uses a promotional code for the company of one of our backers!

Quickie Tie-Down Enterprises, LLC

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KLDT Products is offering an exclusive discount to fans of Branum Games!  Through December 4th, enter the Promo Code “Gnomes10” at checkout to get 10% off your total purchase!  Complete product list is available here: https://goo.gl/nghwAz
For more information on the products, please see www.quickietiedown.com and www.cargonets.com

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Book Collectors

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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!


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. 🙂


Nocturnes Published!

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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!


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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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!