Well, today’s a bit exciting.
When we set up Needy Cat we knew we were going to be designing tabletop games, but we really wanted to do more. One of the things we love about analogue game design is how accessible it is; if you like games, and you want to design one... well, there's not much stopping you. It's not like designing a computer game, where there's a minimum level of technical know-how required, or many other hobbies where you have to spend ages figuring out what you're doing before it starts to feel satisfying. Point is, all it takes to design a tabletop game is the will to do it and, as a minimum, a few scraps of paper.
Thing is, a lot of people who want to design games just don't realise that this is all it takes.
Sorry, bit of a rambly tangent there - but the thing is, when we started up Needy Cat, we knew we wanted to do something to help people find their happy place in the middle of that Venn diagram, because we love it when people find out they can make games. We can't affect the left-hand circle, but we can definitely make the right-hand one bigger!
With that in mind, after several months of contemplation, planning and nervous paranoia (why on earth would anyone listen to us??), we decided to take the plunge and plan a series of three one-day courses that can help people get started with designing games. We designed them to be completely standalone, for people who just want help with a certain part, but they also follow a logical order, so people can theoretically use the three courses to take a game from first prototype to finished product.
We ran the first course back in May, and it was a roaring success. It was all about starting your game - getting ideas out of your head and onto the table, overcoming the barriers that get in the way, and realising that there's so much stuff you don't need to worry about at first. The next one in a couple of weeks' time is all about testing and refining your game, from presenting it to playtesters to making use of feedback and learning when enough is enough. The third course, in July, is about "finishing" your game - sourcing art, working with freelance editors and designers, methods of production, selling your game and all that kind of thing.
Thanks to Andy from Blackjack Legacy, these courses are all being filmed - and we’re making them available to our $5 a month Patreon backers, as a thank you for their support. They’ll get a link to the full playlist of videos - around two hours of material, covering:
Who we are and our background in tabletop games design
Three ruinous myths about tabletop game design
Our process for designing games
Generating inspiration and doing great research
Taking your first steps and creating a "test build"
Tips for prototyping (at any stage)
Also, for all our backers, we’re providing:
A pdf of the Course 1 presentation.
A reading list full of useful links.
A set of card and dice templates.
Finally, for everyone else - even those who don’t support us on Patreon - we’re making one segment of the course freely available! In fact, here it is: Three Ruinous Myths about Tabletop Game Design! These are three things that (in our opinion) get in the way of people making games.
We’re thrilled with how this course went, and we can’t wait to get onto the next two! If you’d like to attend these courses in person (including length Q&A sessions, practical exercises under our supervision and a frankly awesome lunch), we’ve recently announced a second run of the sessions, from September to November. You’ll find more details on our Events page.
We hope to see you there. In the meantime, check out our videos and let us know what you think in the comments!