Active Memory – Game Development Plan

place lose win strategyAs I stated in my previous post, I am attempting to develop a board game or tabletop game (not a video game) that I would eventually market to the public.  So far, I have the concept and have even drafted rules for three different ways to play the game (super casual, casual, and competitive).  I have designed “prototype” cards which just means that I used a template to make cards with a few words on them and I have sent the card design to a printer to make three decks of 72 cards each.

So, let’s back up.  Before sending a prototype design to a printer, I used index cards to make a small set of game cards.  I used those cards to test the concept with my daughters.  They enjoyed it and I discovered an additional way to play (super casual) that accommodated my youngest that cannot read yet.  I could see how a super casual style of play would be helpful in different situations, even with people that can read.

Based on the concept test, I modified some of the cards, added some and removed some.  I went online and found a few companies that could make small quantities of a card set for a reasonable price.  The two that seemed to have good prices and a more helpful website were MakePlayingCards.com (MPC) and SuperiorPOD.com.  I chose to go with SuperiorPOD but MPC was essentially the same cost and quality.  Using a template provided by SuperiorPOD (print on demand, if you are wondering), I “designed” the card fronts and backs.  It was a little sloppy because I did it at 1am but I think it will be sufficient for a prototype that we can use.  I expect to receive those cards in about 3 weeks.

Then what?  Once I receive the cards, I will use them to play the game with family and work out any bugs with the rules/instructions.  Also, we will see if the information on the cards is clear or need to be modified.  I would also like to find some other people that could try the game in prototype mode.  But here lies a problem.  Who is my intended audience?

When I first came up with the idea, I was thinking about a fun game that would appeal to kids with a lot of energy but also require them the to use their brains.  My kids (6 and 3 years old) like to play board games but after a short while they are running around when it isn’t their turn.   I thought, why can’t I flip that problem and have them run around when it IS their turn.  So, I definitely had kids in mind for this game.  But, as I have thought about it, I think this game would also appeal to teenagers and young adults as well (and maybe some older adults too).  It could be a party game.

So, for now, I’m approaching it as a Family Game.  If I get some traction in the market, I may offer alternate packs or add-on packs that target different age groups or even different interests (a dance version, for example).  But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As far as the game design goes, after the prototype decks are evaluated, I think it will be time to hire a graphic designer to make them look better and to design the packaging.  I also need to source boxes and game chips.  I have some quotes for printed boxes (I may have jumped the gun a little) and have started looking at sourcing chips.  I still need to buy some chips for the prototype but the final chips need to be of a good quality.  All of that takes money.  Once the card design is complete, I will have to order decks of cards.  But how many?  Of course, the greater the order size, the lower the per piece cost but I also don’t want to order a bunch of stuff for a product nobody wants.

So, in order to raise some money for a better design and to purchase materials and to validate that this game will be something that enough people will be willing to buy, I plan on running a Kickstarter campaign.  I’m still looking into some variables such as how to set the goal (more on that once I’ve done it), come up with some rewards, and pick a start and end date.  Kickstarters seem to work better if there is a video showing how the product is used.  In this case, I plan on using the prototype game sets to make a video.  I have noticed that a lot of the games on Kickstarter seem to have their graphic design finalized before the Kickstarter campaign.  I’m not sure if I will be able to do that but I can see how it would be an advantage.  If I were able to use the color design and any graphics that will be on the cards and/or box on the Kickstarter project page, it would make it more inviting and professional.

I have put together a high-level plan for this project and I will update it as needed and post it on this site.


Task Status
Develop Game Concept Complete
Write rudimentary rules/instructions Complete
Prepare a proof of concept game and test Complete
Identify manufacturer for prototype cards Complete
Design prototype cards Complete
Identify and order game chips In-process
Develop budget to help identify Kickstarter goal In-process
Test prototype Not started
Make adjustments based on prototype testing, if necessary Not started
Build the project in Kickstarter (including a demo video of the game) Not started
Run Kickstarter campaign Not started
If funded, identify and hire a graphic designer for card and packaging design Not started
Prepare updates to Kickstarter supporters Not started
Place orders for games parts (cards, chips, boxes) Not started
Assemble game sets Not started
Fulfill Kickstarter orders and other rewards Not started
Implement ordering ability on website (www.ActiveMemoryGame.com) Not started
Consider selling through Amazon (as FBA) Not started

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