Category Archives: Gaming

Thoughts on Publishing – Phalanx Release Day!

Today, Phalanx has been published! Okay, technically we published it late last night, but we debuted the game today at the Old Drum Days Festival. There, we revealed the board edition, along with the cloth bag edition and wooden board edition. We also had paperback copies of Magic’s Stealing available for sale, had a copy of Battle Decks on hand to show, and Syerra, one of our beta-testers, had a few pieces of her artwork available. We got to demo Phalanx for several of the fair-goers who visited our booth, and we had a lot of fun.

Old Drum Days Festival 2016 - Isaac and Stephanie

Old Drum Days Festival 2016 -The Booth

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And now, Phalanx!

Phalanx - Wooden Edition

Throughout ancient history, the phalanx was one of the most formidable troop formations, famously used in war by the ancient Greeks. In this formation, soldiers interlocked their shields, forming an impenetrable barrier while thrusting long spears at their enemies.

In the game Phalanx, use movement cards to advance your troops, land on your opponent’s pieces to remove them from the game, and get four or more of your own pieces in a row to form your own formidable phalanx, which is immune to frontal assaults.

But be cautious—your opponent can still attack your flanks, or even attack from behind and break your phalanx.

Phalanx is the game that captures the strategic play of chess, the piece-turning excitement of Tetris , and the luck of the draw. With these elements, move your pieces and form your own formidable phalanx to capture your opponent’s city-state!

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Click here to learn more about the game.

Buy the board edition!

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The board game edition is available online ($27.99), the cloth bag edition is available locally in red, cream, and green colors ($25.00), and the wooden edition is also available locally ($75.00).

Isaac and I are debating whether or not to offer the bags and wooden editions online, though we would have to ship them ourselves. We may consider options for doing that (such as through Etsy) in the future.

Anyway, have a look, and I hope you enjoyed this post. 😀

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Fifteen of Magic’s Stealing

Today I’m reading chapter fifteen of Magic’s Stealing. Also, we’re going to have a booth at the upcoming Old Drum Festival in Warrensburg, MO (April, 9th)! We’re going to be debuting our Phalanx game there, which we will be selling game bags (see the video for an example!) and the wooden board versions, along with copies of Magic’s Stealing.

Like our Facebook page if you want to hear all the latest updates. 🙂

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post (Stealth Con and Battle Decks Release)

Just a quick video blog post today. Isaac and I had an awesome time at Stealth Con, and in the blog post I go into a bit of detail regarding our upcoming plans. 😀

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Infinitas Publishing:

Buy the game!

Deluxe Edition:
Basic Edition:

Free Trial Version:

Like us on Facebook:
Check out our Twitter:

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Battle Decks – Release Weekend!

Hello everybody… I know I’ve been silent on this blog for the past week. But there’s a special reason. Isaac and I have finally released Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel!

We’re still working on the final touches for the online printout of the trial version, but the basic and deluxe editions are now online for sale! 😀

You can download a PDF of the rules, glossary, and printable tokens at our Infinitas Publishing web site.

There are two versions available.

The basic edition has only the cards and a two-page sheet of rules. (We suggest downloading the PDF of rules for larger text and pictures). The deluxe edition has the cards, a shiny rules booklet, two six-sided dice, counter tokens, and a mini poster (Technically, the basic edition also comes with the mini poster, at least for the time being).

Basic Edition


Buy Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel – Basic Edition!

 Deluxe Edition


Buy Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel – Deluxe Edition!

Last week, Isaac and I have created an Infinitas Publishing Facebook page. Feel free to like the page to keep up-to-date with various announcements. 🙂

And lastly, episode four of The Multiverse Chronicles, where Trish confronts a rampaging pterosaur, is now up.

Next week, I plan to do a video blog post about our experiences at Stealth Con, and then I’ll get back to my usual schedule of doing a reading, a post about writing/gaming/publishing, and uploading one episode of Multiverse a week. 🙂

Enjoy, and if you know of anyone who might be interested in the game or blog series, please share! 😀

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post (Battle Decks Announcement)

No reading from Magic’s Stealing today, however, I’ve got exciting announcements regarding the release dates for Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel and The Multiverse Chronicles. 😀

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.


Filed under Business Ventures, Gaming, Uncategorized, Writing

Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Eleven of Magic’s Stealing

Today I’m reading chapter eleven of Magic’s Stealing. Plus, I talk about the Goodreads giveaway that recently ended, promo cards for Infinitas Publishing, and show off a couple trial cards from Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel. Enjoy! 🙂

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten


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Thoughts on Publishing – Pricing an Indie Card Game

Isaac and I have been working on our upcoming card game, Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel, and we had a gaming-experienced friend come by a few days ago to test the game. He gave us a lot of great advice that we’re now looking into implementing. Our date of release may have been pushed to a later date now, but we should have a better game for it.

In the meantime, Isaac and I have been thinking about how to price Battle Decks, as well as how to make it available to the largest number of people (and still make at least a small profit).

Currently, we’re printing Battle Decks through The Game Crafter, a print-on-demand company for tabletop games.

The downside with any version of print-on-demand is the cost. For books, this has become increasingly better over the past several years, and it is now reasonably possible to be competitive with traditionally published books). For tabletop games… they could use a bit more work.

But here’s the problem. Since a customer typically only buys one game at a time, the cost per game is relatively high (at least compared to what you would find in stores). This can be offset by purchasing a large number of games in bulk, but for a small business, this quickly adds up.

Take, for instance, our current version of Battle Decks with all its bells and whistles (four glossy rules pages, a pair of dice, 108 tokens, 126 cards, and the box). The base cost for buying just one game is $28.00, not including shipping. Once you add the cheapest shipping–short of will call (sorry, we’re not traveling to Wisconsin to pick up a box)–we’re looking at $36.00 per game. That goes down to $26.50 per game if we buy ten games at once, but when we add shipping, the price comes to $303.00, or roughly $30.00 a box.

(Note: Shipping costs may vary by location.)

Say we chose to purchase ten boxes at $30.00 a box. We still want to make a profit. If we sell them ourselves, we could offer them for $40.00 a piece and make $10.00 per game, minus sales tax if we factor tax into that cost. However If we take it to a store and ask them to sell it, they’re going to want a wholesale discount. I expect stores want at least a 35% discount off the retail price, and the one store I’ve spoken to thus far preferred a 50% discount off the retail price. Which means that, if we sold our game at $40.00, we’d be selling the game to 35% stores at 26.00 (we lose $4.00 per box), or at $20.00 to 50% stores (we lose $10.00 per box), which basically means that price isn’t feasible.

So, if we push the price of the game up to $50.00, the 35% store wants the game for  $32.50 (we make $2.50 per box), and the 50% store wants the game for $25.00 (we lose $5.00 per box).

However, now we risk pricing the game too high for potential players to take the risk on a new game.

Now, keep in mind that I haven’t done nearly as much research on what stores want in regards to purchasing indie games as I have with books,  so it may be that they want a lower discount. But given that many stores offer discounts to their customers (such as a 10% student or military discount), and they also want to make money (make sense, since they need money to stay in business), and indie games don’t usually have the name recognition that traditionally published games do to help keep those games selling, rather than sitting on the shelves, untouched, I expect that stores will want a decent-sized discount. (Note: See the comments below for input regarding wholesale discount ranges from an experienced seller. According to him, 50% is much less likely to be the norm than a 35% or smaller discount).

I’ll be doing more research in the form of talking directly to stores in the future, once we have more funding available to do a bulk purchase.

In the meantime, yikes.

Our best bet of keeping the game somewhat affordable and still making a small profit is to sell online. However, we’re still looking at a roughly $35.00 to $40.00 game, plus the cost of shipping.

So how do we make the game more accessible?

There’s a few possible options that I’ve found thus far.


While browsing The Game Crafter website, Isaac and I noticed that a few games (card games, in particular), had print-and-play editions. With a little more research, and I discovered that Cards Against Humanity has a free print-and-play edition as well as their regular edition.

Basically, a customer pays a small fee (.99 cents to a few dollars) to purchase a PDF file with all the cards ready to print. They print the cards, cut them out, and read any rules that come with the game. They can start playing almost instantly. No shipping time, and low cost.

The downside is the lack of quality control. If a player’s printer renders cards dark or blurry, it may turn other players away from the game. Or maybe the cards aren’t printed on card stock, and shuffling is therefore terrible. (Cards Against Humanity gets around this by putting a set of instructions at the front of their PDF with suggestions on how to print quality cards).

The other downside is that if your game has a lot of cards, and the player uses their own printer, they may end up using a lot of ink.

So… Isaac and I are thinking this isn’t the best alternative option for Battle Decks.

Card-Only Variety

Another option we’re considering is offering a stripped-down, card-only version of the game. No dice, no tokens, a smaller box, and online PDFs you can download and print at your leisure.

This brings the cost of each box down to roughly $17.00 (plus shipping), and if we wanted to make a $5.00 profit, we could offer the game online for $22.00. Shipping would be anywhere from $3-$9, (not sure, since I couldn’t put an unproofed game in my cart). But it’s considerably more affordable, and suitable for players who have plenty of dice, don’t typically use tokens, and don’t mind printing the rules themselves.

We’re thinking of offering the full edition of Battle Decks, with all the additional pieces, along with the card-only version, which gives players more options in regards to how much they want to spend on the game, and how they want to play the game.

Character Cards Only, and Players Use Free Trial Print Version with Proxy Decks

The final option we have considered is offering a small pack of just character cards. (18 cards in a poker card wrap). Base cost $5.00, plus shipping (probably around $3.00, given the piece of one of our other purchases with a slightly larger tuck box).

The idea behind offering only the characters is so that people who play the trial edition (which is a PDF we plan to release that shows players how to proxy the game using poker decks, and includes a single team for each faction) can enhance their game-play while still using the proxy decks, thus making the game more accessible by offering an even lower cost.

However, this only works if you don’t mind using proxy decks. At the moment, I’m leaning toward offering a card-only variety of the core game, in addition to the full version.

Note: These prices may change over time depending on what is being offered at The Game Crafter. Also, further research is needed to determine what indie games of this particular type would reasonably sell at.

Anyway, those are our current thoughts and theories. We haven’t actually tested selling the game with any of these methods.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂 If you were to buy a new, indie card game, how do you prefer to buy it? What prices do you feel are fair?

Further Reading: – (2011 article, so information may be out of date) One of the people on this webpage make a great point about pricing (indie computer) games based on what platform you’re selling them from. – (2011 article) This article talks about indie (computer) game pricing pressures. It’s a bit off in regards to how books are produced, but the comments do show concern at an expectation for low prices. Those comments also show example of higher-priced (and high-quality) games selling well). (2011 article) – This post details a card game with components, and what pricing various people consider fair for that game – Details on card deck pricing from various printers. (I haven’t read through this yet, but it looks like it has potentially useful information) – Discusses profit difference between core games and expansions.


Filed under Business Ventures, Gaming

Thoughts on Gaming – How Online Pet Sim Sites Helped Me Develop as an Author and a Book Cover Designer

My husband recently picked up a free app on his tablet: SimCity BuildIt. It’s a rather addicting game where you build a city by collecting resources from a factory, make various commodities and goods, and then use those goods to upgrade houses or sell on the global market. If you sell the goods, you make simoleons, the game’s currency. Needless to say, Isaac and I managed to work out a system (at least while I’m waiting for my seasonal day job to start back up), where Isaac manages the actual city stuff before and after he does his article-writing job, and I manage the game’s resources and make in-game money. Our city has grown quite well, and I’ve enjoyed playing with the ‘global market’ aspect, in which you figure out what items sell best, how many to sell at one time, and which items are worth the time it takes to make.

All of this got me thinking about how various different games have helped me further my writing and book cover design work, along with marketing.

For example, website design. When my husband and I sat down to create our website for Infinitas Publishing, it reminded me a lot of my time running a Petz fan website, my time playing online, text-based RPGs, and the time I took a class on Dreamweaver in college.

Let’s break these down.

Petz was a PC game ranging from version 1-5, which was actually two separate games: Catz and Dogz. If you bought both, your petz could interact. P.F. Magic (the company that developed the game) encouraged fan sites. A whole community sprang up from this, where fans created elaborate websites where other players could adopt petz, show petz, earn awards for having an awesome looking site, play mini games of ‘find-it’ across the site by looking for a specific images (usually one of the petz or toyz), or download custom content. Most ‘kennelz’ had an about page, an adopt page, and a linkz page (‘S’ was commonly replaced with ‘Z’ if it came at the end of the word, a reference to the name of the game), along with whatever else the site owner wanted to take care of.

I got started in the petz community by adopting petz. Most sites would have an adoption form where you would give your (online) name, your email, name of the pet you wanted to adopt, and state why you wanted that pet. There was usually a code word to insert in the form so they would know you had read their rules. Sometimes you would get the pet (and it was awesome when you did), and sometimes you didn’t. The more popular sites might have several people vying for the same, adorable, pixelated bits of code.

In a similar vein, you could sign up for a site review so that the owner would look at your site, rate it and give you feedback, and hopefully include a link to your site on their review list. Other players who browsed the original site would see the link and click on it… thus bringing you potential ‘business’ in the form of show entries and adopted petz.

How does this relate to writing?

Well, when I started looking at review sites to get a feel for what to expect when sending out review copies of my books, I realized the process was similar. You have to find blogging sites where the site owner hosts reviews. You’ve got to see what criteria the site owner has, then write to them with the reasons why you think they might like your book.

In terms of ‘adoption,’ you want readers to go to your book page, like what they see, then go buy the book.

Anyway, I also mentioned that online text RPGs helped me in setting up the website. Aside from helping me improve my writing, many of the RPGs were hosted by the same site. Basically, the host site used templates. Once you figured out how to use the template, you could easily design an RPG forum, even with restrictions. This came in handy when creating the main site (and in creating a WordPress blog) because I was familiar with the concept, if not how Zoho (the host Isaac and I use for Infinitas Publishing) specifically worked.

My Dreamweaver class came in handy because it taught me the basics of CSS (I already knew basic HTML from my days of running a petz site). Knowing those basics allowed me to do minor alterations to the template so that the site looked more like how Isaac and I wanted it to look.

But having a functional website wasn’t the only thing online games taught me.

I spent several years playing Furry Paws, an online dog-showing simulation. In the game, you have in-game currency, but you also have FPP, which is usually purchased with real money, then used to buy an upgraded account. I was a teenager when I played the game, and I couldn’t funnel real money into an online game. So I created art (various tags for the players on the forums) who would pay me in-game currency, which could then be exchanged for FPP via other players, then be used to buy an upgraded account.

Players also wanted shiny photomanipulations for their show dogs, so I learned to blend images (my first step in learning the skills needed for book cover design) along with learning the basic rules behind creative commons and royalty free licences in terms of personal use for a game. (We couldn’t just grab any old image. I sometimes question if our understanding of those rules might still have been a tad bit off, but we tried our best to keep the use of the images legal).

I also learned, however, the importance of not spamming.

While I usually didn’t fall for this tactic, I joined a horse showing sim on a whim. But unlike Furry Paws, which had regulated forums, the horse site had a relatively unregulated chat room as a means for advertising your in-game sales. As such, about the only way to get your advertisement viewed was to button-mash the enter button with your message and see a whole stream of your ad go up at once (before quickly vanishing due to the next button-masher).

The whole process was ineffective, and I felt scummy afterwards (though that might have had something to do with being home with a fever that day). I didn’t play that game very long, but I did see the value in not spamming, and only ‘bumping’ threads once. On Furry Paws, if you had a strong advertisement or product, other people would comment, and that would keep your thread active.

This was useful background when learning to use Twitter, especially #Pitmad. Pitmad is a pitch contest for writers interested in finding an agent or publisher for their finished manuscript. However, it has a limit of two tweets per hour, per manuscript, because you could otherwise spam the board and make it hard for all the entries to be seen. It’s hard enough as it is.

I recently followed an author on Twitter who posted some really useful links. However, I’ve been considering unfollowing them because they post a couple times an hour, every hour, making it difficult for me to see anything else in my feed. And they’re reposting the same information. I don’t mind if the information is new, but after I’ve seen it a couple time, I want it to cycle through. Maybe once in the evening, once in the morning, but not every hour. I’ve found Twitter Lists, which helps me sort through tweets, but be careful that you don’t end up spamming your followers.

Finally, I wanted to mention fan art. In particular, music videos. While I don’t have any of mine up anymore, at one point I’d made several Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic music videos. Unfortunately, Youtube didn’t like me using popular music, so I took them down (another learning experience regarding copyright law… even though I was trying for fair use). Working on fan videos taught me how to do basic video edits, which I suspect may come in handy when I go to create a book trailer.

There’s plenty more examples that could be made, and plenty of other games I played (Power Pets, Mweor), but that’s all for now. The main point I wanted to make was that because I wanted an in-game commodity, I learned valuable skills that I still use today.

So if you play online games and have learned skills to make that game a more enjoyable experience, you might consider whether you could use those skills in marketing your books, using social media, or creating promotions. You might be surprised what you come up with.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you ever benefited from skills that you learned in a game?

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Thoughts on Writing – The Little Details Count

My husband, Isaac, enjoys creating houses on the XBOX 360 Sims 3 game, and since my parents are coming up to visit, he decided to create a model of my parent’s house. He created the general layout, placed the furniture, and after fussing with the game to find the proper sized lot so he could include the backyard, he handed the controller over to me so I could add in the little details. Funny thing… I hadn’t realized how many “decorations” this game has. I added a boom box on an end table in the corner of the dining room. I added the chair that sits beside the hallway. I added a shelf-organizer-thing over where the piano should be (no piano, though), and a little phone on the table beside my grandma’s chair. Then I added a couple paintings (posters) for my room, appropriate colored walls, and a clock above the bay window… and a lot of other little things to make the Sims house look more real.

The end result was uncanny. Depending on the camera angle and the placement in the room, the model house actually looked like my parent’s house.

Those little details made it feel real.

A little detail, carefully slipped into a story, can make a world of difference.

Details enhance the world, make readers feel like they are actually there, and reveal the tone of the novel. A lot of my favorites books and movies pay careful attention to detail across various senses. The background detail in the Babylon 5 TV series, particularly whenever they went into seedy areas on the station, always captured my attention. The last time I watched Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on a large screen TV, I was captivated by the snakes and vines in the swamps of Dagobah. Rebekkah Ford’s Beyond the Eyes series always made me feel like I was in a forest, or at a loud dance club, wherever the character happened to be.

Often, you only need a few carefully placed details to inspire a full scene in the reader’s mind.

Take a look at this paragraph from The Multiverse Chronicles draft:

Ten minutes later, the cart topped a hill and revealed a large military camp in the close distance. Trish eyed the rows upon rows of canvas tents, men marching in formation, and packs of wolves running attack drills on wooden manikins.

Of course the reader will see what is directly mentioned within the text.

But what else do they imagine? What else do they see? What do they feel? Do they feel like they’ve been traveling a ways? Do they hear the muffled din of people and wolves interacting, despite not being told how they sound?

Coupled with the rest of the story, a reader’s mind might add other details which were never explicitly mentioned, based on previous experiences with the words involved and the various connotations those words carry.

That’s why choosing to slip in a detail here and there, relevant to the action but never fully stopping the story, can offer a strong boost to your world building. Some stories will use more details than others, but you can choose when you want the reader to “stop and smell the roses” by letting the character say more about the world around them.

Take a look at this section from the intro of Magic’s Stealing:

Toranih kicked off the covers, knife in hand, and hopped out of bed. She waited, just in case the shadow returned, then walked to her dresser, picked up the crystal, and carefully raised the light again.


The dresser was pristine, with only an oil lamp sitting in the dustless corner. A small oak chest at the foot of her bed remained locked with steel. Heavy brocade curtains obscured the window.


No sign of intruders.


So why couldn’t she shake the feeling that someone had been watching her?

We linger on the details of the room as she surveys her surroundings, tension mounting because she thinks someone is there. But how different might it be if she paid only a little attention to these things?

Toranih kicked off the covers, knife in hand, and hopped out of bed. She waited, just in case the shadow returned, then walked to her dresser, picked up the crystal, and carefully raised the light again.


No sign of intruders.


So why couldn’t she shake the feeling that someone had been watching her?

Without the line detailing what she sees (thus “showing” that there are no intruders), we feel like she’s not really putting any effort into her search. She turns on the light, sees no one is there, thinks something’s odd, but moves along. Having extra details, as in the first example, show that she’s not just shrugging her shoulders at the notion. She really is concerned.

However, if you want to do a slow build-up, you might have a character notice something is odd but not pay much attention to why. Then, as they become more and more concerned, they notice more details, which may or may not truly be ominous.

Going back to that Sims house that Isaac created, the downside of that house was that the model wasn’t quite right. There weren’t stairs where there should be. The swings overlooked a creepy ocean instead of another house. The back room looked similar, but not the same. The windows didn’t fit memory, and he used a white bookshelf instead of a bunch of clear storage tubs in the corner for old toys.

As cool as the Sims house was, I didn’t want to look at it from certain angles too long because the house was unsettling.

You can use this mechanic in stories.

For example, a hero coming home after a long time away may find that things have subtly changed. In a horror story, a picture frame that always sits by a lamp may seem a smidgen too far back. In a desolate future, a character may look out over a ruined landscape, able to see a familiar sight here or there, while the rest is in shambles. What remains in place and what does not can affect the tone of the story. Consider the Statue of Liberty in the Planet of the Apes movie.

A little detail in the right spot can make a world of difference.

This can also be used in game creation.

While I haven’t played the game myself, MatPat’s theories on Five Nights at Freddy’s (a popular jump scare game) often references the little details that make the game creepy, such as the fan on the desk. The detail used in these games gives clues into the world’s backstory, all while adding to the nightmarish atmosphere.

When I first played Portal (a puzzle game), I was alone in my dorm room. The empty quietness of walking through the testing chambers had me super jumpy as I expected a turret to shoot me at every turn. And that game isn’t horror.

If you happen on the one detail that gets under a player’s skin, that one detail will have them on the edge of their seat.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have any favorite details that you’ve read in a book or seen in a movie? 🙂



Filed under Gaming, Writing

Thoughts on Gaming – The Importance of Clear Instructions

Isaac and I recently went to St. Louis to visit friends, and while there, we had them test out our new Battle Decks: Multiverse 1953 game (Thanks, guys!). The goal was to see how easy the rules were to follow without our intervention, as well as to make sure the game played as we intended based on those rules. Think of it kind of like beta-reading… you want to make sure your readers are getting the information and the meaning you intend. Where there is confusion, there is trouble.

It quickly became apparent that our rules could use some tweaking for clarity, namely in the form of pictures and diagrams explaining how to read the cards. The back of the box has a diagram showing the set-up of the game, but that was it. When we offered the diagram found in the trial version of the game, which allows players to play the game with a couple print-outs and two decks of poker cards, we found that the rules were a bit easier to follow. Especially if the player has played similar games, such as Magic: the Gathering or Pokemon. I haven’t played the latter to be able to say how close those rules play, but that was the comparison one of our friends made.

Battle Decks Basic Card Game Setup

The first version of the picture instructions for the trial version of Battle Decks.

As you can see in the picture, it tells what each card is, but not how to read them. Also, from using this picture, we found that it was confusing to have notes on both the opponent’s playing field and your playing field. We’re considering limiting the text to the player’s side of the field, that way players don’t have to feel like they’re reading the cards upside down (especially problematic if the player hasn’t had much sleep).

Isaac and I are also considering creating a diagram of the basic card types to explain how to read each card. For example, we’ll point out the HP, DEF, ATK, and DMG information and what those numbers pertain to, along with where the point cost of a hero card is and where abilities can be found. We’ll add pictures of counter tokens and explain how to use them (something we neglected entirely in the text-based rules).

Beta-testers are important!

We learned from our testing experience that being able to verbally explain the rules made the learning process go much smoother. Players understood the game much faster when we showed them how to play through a round. And once they figured out the rules, we got to see them effectively using abilities (the bodyguard ability in this case) in a way that we rarely used in our own game play. We also found where a certain young dragon character card had a potentially game-breaking trait, which we intend to remove before publishing the final version of Battle Decks.

Though we had entertained the idea before, we now know that a video explaining the rules and showing a round of the game is crucial. With a video, potential players can see how the game is played without having to wade through a lot of text rules… and we can include supplemental videos which explain the different cards’ abilities. Our goal is to make the game easy to understand and play. Otherwise, someone who chooses to give it a try might decide the game is too difficult and set it aside.

For example, when I first tried picking up the Star Wars: Miniatures game with my dad, it took a while to figure out since we didn’t know anyone else who played. We started out with simpler cards and ignored rules that didn’t make sense to us, and eventually, we figured it out. Later, I began playing the game with Isaac and we moved on to more difficult characters with bigger abilities.

We kept this in mind when creating Battle Decks. We included characters who only have a few abilities, along with characters who have several. That way players can ease their way into the game. We’re also considering creating “campaigns” with set characters for each player, or a limited S&R deck to vary game play.

Overall, I’d say this first round of beta-testing was successful, and we have quite a few ideas of how to improve the rules and improve a player’s experience.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂 Have you ever found a game to have really difficult rules to understand? What did you do about it?

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