I gave a presentation of Virtue Cards today to a local store owner about potentially carrying copies in his store.

The meeting went really well, and the store owner was gracious and helpful, but at some point he had to address a glaring fact that would prevent him from carrying it:

Virtue Cards is a “religious game” (his words, not mine).

In several conversations now, there has been an unspoken/implied indication that if I were to make the game “less religious”, there might be a broader market.

No doubt this is the case…but this is not something I am willing to compromise on. The premise and the entire system rely on a Christian world-view, indeed Christ is the very center of the entire enterprise.

If this principle prevents sales….so be it.

 
 
I figured going in that promoting the game was going to be the hardest part...and boy was I right.

I am not a huge fan of self-promotion to begin with, and definitely not given to hitting my friends with requests for money,etc.  But, the quickest and most effective way to start to get some exposure is to ask them to spread the word.

I'm using Facebook and email to friends and acquaintances as my primary means of advertising.

Also sending emails to various sites/blogs that I think may be interested in posting a link back.
 

Video

11/09/2010

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It seemed to me that a promotional video clip on the IndieGoGo site was a pretty important part of promoting the game....so I've spent a few days making a PowerPoint, converting it to video, capturing some footage of my boys playing with the prototype cards, and putting everything together in a nice (short) clip.

Strangely, the hardest part was getting the audio right...which I never did.  Lots of hiss on the line....oh well.

Check it out here:
 

Traction

10/19/2010

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Well, I'm getting a little traction with the indiegogo site.  Just friends and family so far.  I'll be cranking up the promotion machine here in a couple of days.  I am fighting the urge to be uptight about this process....I really want to have a story to tell when it is all over.  (hopefully a good story!)

 

Launch

10/13/2010

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Based on my new found inspiration from the principles in Rework, I'm launching. Now.

Polished the TCG page, slung together an official website, picked IndieGoGo over Kickstarter and set up a project, created a Facebook page....(and most importantly) hooked 'em all up together!

The clock is ticking....let's see where things go.
 

Rework

10/10/2010

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No, I'm not reworking the game...

"Rework" is the name of a great book I recently listened to.  It's sort of a manifesto for for the new way of doing business.  It has been incredibly inspirational and I can truly say this is one of the first business books I've felt an instant connection with.

Here are some of my notes that I have made that I'm using as a constant reminder.  Keep in mind that each of these is packed with meaning...

  • be a starter
  • scratch your own itch
  • actually start making something
  • no time is no excuse
  • draw a line in the stand
  • keep low mass
  • embrace constraints
  • start at the epicenter
  • details come later
  • making decisions is making progress
  • stick to the essentials
  • throw less at the problem
  • focus on the constants
  • content matters more than tools
  • sell your byproducts
  • launch now, extras latter
  • remove abstraction
  • constantly assess value of everything
  • get into the alone zone
  • good enough is fine (judo solutions)
  • quick wins build momentum
  • know when to quit
  • break the big things into small things
  • keep goals small
  • be influenced, but don't imitate
  • put "you" in your product
  • underdo your competition
  • say "no" more often
 
 
After getting everything uploaded I decided to make a few more tweaks. 

I figured out that TCG (now no longer affiliated with Superior POD) prints in sheets of 16.  So with only 52 cards in the deck, I had 12 cards to play with.  I decided to create some "support" cards that may come in handy for game design.

Also, changed the background image, fixed the game cover image, and updated the rules.

Finally, I decided to go ahead and publish the current version...more as a motivator than anything else.

Putting in my order today...
 
 
Wow, another month has gone by...(!)

The "plain generic" version of the Virtue Cards deck is complete, uploaded, and ready to be ordered.  The Game Crafter's recently moved their facility, so they are back-ordered.  I'll probably have to wait a couple of weeks to get the order.

Assuming the quality is good, I'll place a few more orders to have some play-test sets.

Must - keep - moving - forward......
 
 
It's been a little over a month since the last blog post.  In that time I've changed jobs (my "real" job as a software engineer), but I've also continued to work on Virtue Cards in my spare time.

Based on some of the issues I was having with card quality, and the fact that adding heraldic images to the cards was taking up most of the design time...I decided to produce a deck of "generic" versions of the cards.

This will give me a good baseline to use for playtesting.  I can always work on the themes later.

I have finally a full set of cards!
 
 
Tavis over at TGC has been really helpful trying to help me diagnose the problem with the prototype cards I received from them...but I'm still not sure we've got an answer.

He's saying it is image quality issues but I'm not convinced.

I've been thinking about the artistic style of the cards and have decided that for the prototype/play test versions, it might be better to go with a more plain style anyway.  Really, I envision the cards ultimately being produced in many different styles...so for this first run I could go with a plain vanilla version.

Hopefully, cutting down on the image complexity will help me figure out if it really is an image quality issue.