Hello all! This month we’re participating in the Children’s Museum of NH VIRTUAL NH MAKER & FOOD FEST (https://www.childrens-museum.org/things-to-do/events/nh-maker-food-fest) and we thought it would be appropriate to create a little development blog about one of our latest projects, MECHROMANCERS.
MECHROMANCERS started as a desire to marry two television shows from our lead designer’s childhood, Medabots and Shaman King. This marriage took the form of robots powered by spirits that a Mechromancer (the player) summons into them to help them fight other Mechromancers. First lets think about how that core concept could be executed mechanically.
So, for us it really helps to build out a prototype to help envision what the final product may look like. There are usually a couple iterations, but that first piece to help physically picture what something looks like really stokes the fires and fuels the design process through the next iteration. In this case, designing a bot part and mocking up a Spirit Overlay really helped seal the game in reality.
The next step was to start building out the rest of the game, building that first prototype and determining what the “engine” looked like. In the case of MECHROMANCERS, we were very fortunate to be reached out to by a publisher very early on to help sort of guide the development of the game. When you are first starting out, there are plenty of amazing groups on social media (on FaceBook: Board Game Design Lab, TGC Designer Discussion, and many more) full of talented, experienced designers and artists that would be more than willing to give feedback, design advice, maybe even playtest your game!
After we had the physical prototype made (by hand in this case), it was time to playtest…
After that comes more playtesting, taking notes, more playtesting, taking notes, more playtesting, over and over again, streamlining the game, cleaning the engine and “hugging” the parts of your game that make it unique. Look to other games for inspiration, for examples, but don’t get so bogged down in reference that you end up making a game that already exists. Don’t forget to keep coming back to the thing that sets your game apart.
Playtesting during a pandemic is extremely daunting. The whole point of playtesting is to stress test your game engine, and getting as many points of view as you can during this time is really beneficial, and thankfully there are platforms like Tabletop Simulator (available on Steam) or Tabletopia (https://tabletopia.com/) can be used to facilitate virtual playtesting.
MECHROMANCERS is still under development, but we’re making great strides, and cant wait to share this game with you all soon! Stay posted for more updates, we have quite a few things in the works right now. If you have questions, comments, or are looking for input on a design or honestly just trying to figure out how to get started please reach out to us! We’re excited to share our journey with you, and hope you’ll do the same with us! Thanks for stopping by!
For our contribution to the Maker Fest we have a number of hand painted pieces that we are putting up for sale, you will find a selection of them listed here on our site: https://witchwaygames.wordpress.com/art-for-sale/
-The Witchway Games family