eschaton - help with game?

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shades of eternity
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eschaton - help with game?

Post by shades of eternity »

This might be more appropriate under shameless plugs, but posting here mainly to see what happens.

I got this friend whom created and fine tuned this game

It's called Eschaton and it's a transhuman space politics game and powered by the apocalypse engine.

Here is a link.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uqT ... AEtik/edit

here's his contact info
https://twitter.com/RPGloryZen

It's been kinda been in production limbo for years and with our group usually degenerates it into space fiasco (although it might have been myself picking the faction rocket robin hood).

I'd like to get people outside our usual stomping grounds give it a try and send feedback to the writer.

my real question is how do you help somebody get their game done.

He's been sitting on the game for years and after my own experience of taking forever to get my game done, I'd like to help where I can beyond game testing, but obviously there's a line.

Any ideas of how to help?

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Emmett
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by Emmett »

I suppose it would be important to see what their answer to a few questions would be.
Where would you like to see this game go?
What's preventing you from getting there?

It's possible that they don't want to do anything more with the game, as in they made it for their own enjoyment. Maybe they don't have the time to keep developing it? Maybe they don't know how to take the next step?

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chrismmp
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by chrismmp »

What needs to be finished as far as the game is concerned?

shades of eternity
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by shades of eternity »

As far as I can tell, the game plays well enough in its current state.

You'll have to ask the original creator that question.

As somebody who has done his own pet project, I think he's stuck in the limbo stage where he's not sure what to do next with it and mostly wants people to see if we are suffering from tunnelvision and to give it an honest critique.

I can give my own two cents if you like.

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RobAbrazado
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by RobAbrazado »

This sounds more like a conversation to have with your friend, then! All the questions asked so far have been good questions to ask, but I think one of @Emmett's suggestions was right on; there's a kind of Rule Zero in effect here: see if they want the help at all! :)

Or even better, they can come join the Forums if they're looking for outside opinions! :D
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RPGlory
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by RPGlory »

Hi, first off I want to thank Shades of Eternity for asking about and promoting The Eschaton on my behalf. While I'm not necessarily looking to make it a commercial success, I would love to get the game played by more than just a handful of people, which in turn probably means some form of publication. I'm not exactly sure what steps to take next. In theory there are only a few odds and ends to finish up.

It's definitely in a playable state for me to run it. But I've never had anyone else read the game and try running it. So I don't know if there is anything that hasn't been explained well enough. And I suspect feedback from outside playtesters would point to other changes that should be made.

Should I just submit it to publishers in its current state and hope for the best? Once I finish the odds and ends but before playtesting by others? Is there a trick I'm missing to get it playtested?

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Emmett
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by Emmett »

Getting playtesters is tough. There are ways to do it though. That may not be the way to go at first though. Quite a few designers I know will put their game up for proofreading. This is easier for designers to do because they can do it solo. I've done it for a number of people. What you're looking for is 1, their reaction to the material 2, look for spelling mistakes 3, for them to point out if they get confused by the text.

If a proofreader is excited by your book they might run a game of it. Now they're playtesters. I've done this for games that tickled my fancy but game time is usually precious so designers usually want to play their own stuff.

Like playtesters, remember that proofreaders are excellent at identifying problems but poor at solving them. They can offer suggestions but usually you'll still need to find your own way of solving them. Suggestions can be helpful in figuring out what you don't want at times when a reader offers a suggestion and you mentally reject it, it often clarifies the direction you want to go.

I imagine this is your first game? If so, having other people critique it is going to be a bit painful. Trust me though it's worthwhile and you'll get used to it. Things that bother you at first become welcome later because it's all going to make your game better. Every time someone points out a spelling error, it stings a bit but if the person proofreading has done any writing, they're not judging you. They know they've had just as many spelling errors. Some relatively successful designers have put their books out in design circles for proofreading.

Maybe you could submit the game directly to a publisher? I've heard of this working for people and it being a pbta game, it has the potential to be accepted. I've never gone that route so I can't say how to do it other than to ask. I imagine it helps if the game has been proofread and playtested though.

If you want to publish it yourself I can give you pointers.

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RobAbrazado
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by RobAbrazado »

Firstly, let me just say that coincidentally, today's episode of Bonus Experience is about exactly this topic: how to playtest! So that might be worth checking out. :) https://misdirectedmark.com/2019/09/23/ ... ca-hammer/

Secondly, in more general terms, I think it's important to identify your goal. You said that commercial success wasn't necessarily it, so with that in mind, I'd hold off on approaching publishers, because commercial success would certainly be their goal. ;) That said, there's no harm in pitching to publishers, certainly, and an interested publisher would be able to offer playtest support if they're interested in publishing the game.

But assuming you'd want to get playtesting going on your own, it looks like you've already got enough to do that. The document linked in the OP is basically a playtestable manuscript. I would (a) attach a version number to it and (b) PDF it. If you want to get really fancy, I'd say set up an itch.io page or get set up on DriveThru (less good for playtest versions, in my opinion), and if you want to get even fancier, set up a website, which will make it easier for people to find you and get in touch with feedback. Once you've got all that, you can go surprisingly far putting out a call for playtesters on social media.

So that was a bit disorganized, what I just said. Here is what I would do if it were me:
  1. Decide how you would like to receive feedback (Email, Google survey, whatever) and make sure you have the appropriate channels ready for that.
  2. Write a page that describes the game, that it's in playtest, how to get in touch with you to give feedback, optionally what kind of feedback you're looking for (or not looking for), and optionally maybe an end date for receiving feedback.
  3. Add the above page, plus a version number, to your existing doc, turn it into a PDF, and presto: you have a playtest doc.
  4. Host the PDF somewhere for people to donwload. In descending order of preference, for me it would be (1) a branded website, like a website dedicated to Eschaton, (2) an itch.io page, (3) on DriveThruRPG, (4) a file sharing link like Google Drive or DropBox or something.
  5. Start asking on social media for people interested in checking out the doc and doing a blind playtest. Also if you let interested parties (like us) know that the call is out, it'll cast a pretty wide net. (Note that you don't necessarily need to link to the document in this wide net; it can be a thing like "If you're interested, let me know!" and you can decide how to distribute the document if that's what you'd prefer to do.)
Lastly, what's most important is that there's no one correct way to do this, no tricks, no special moves. I'm sure as more people reply to this thread there will be a lot more advice and different ways to go about this, but ultimately you'll have to decide for yourself where you want to go with this next and how to get there.

I'm happy you joined us here! I hope we can be a good resource for you.
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Emmett
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by Emmett »

I have a little quibble with Rob's order of hosting preference. A website is fine and gives you a lot of space to talk and explain ideas for the game but because itch.io has a community built in, it's easier to get that community to traffic to your itch page. There's also some expectation that the game is a work in progress.

I keep saying I should open an itch account but I haven't yet so I can't actually speak to the difference but I do know the difficulty of getting traffic to a website.

In the end, do one of those.

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RobAbrazado
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Re: eschaton - help with game?

Post by RobAbrazado »

I'll revise part of what I said earlier; I was tricked by Google's web interface to the doc and didn't initially realize how much of it there is! It's also possible that you might want to make a dedicated playtest doc that is shorter; that often helps when trying to get playtesters. But it's totally optional. If you're not in it specifically for rules playtesting and you're really more "field testing" the writing, then trimming down the doc isn't the move. Just saying...it's a lot for someone new to take in, which I didn't realize at first!

Secondly, I forgot to mention this earlier, but another great resource is Metatopia! That convention is geared specifically for playtesting. It's mostly meant for designers to test their own games, true, but there are often setups where a game is playtested there by someone other than the game writer. In addition, I know for a fact that some people bring games to test specifically what you're talking about: whether the game is clear to someone new running it. I know this because I sat in such a playtest! @dnaphil was there, too; he got handed the rules and ran a session right there.

So if you're a convention-goer, that's a good one, maybe the best one, for a designer to hit who's developing a game. If you're not a convention-goer, it's a convention that's a byword for playtesting, so getting someone to take your game there would be a valuable goal. The convention's in November, and I think it's too late now to add a game to the schedule for this year. But it's a great resource for playtesting, no doubt.
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