It all started on a rainy day during our 2010 vacation in Quebec’s Laurentians area, Canada. My youngest daughter, she was 5 y.o. at the time, was playing alone with ordinary playing cards: flipping them, talking to the Queen, you know that kind of stuff. Then she came to me saying: « Daddy, come and play with me, I invented a game! »
An idea became a game
She explained to me me the basic rules of what would become « Thieves of Coins ». I grabbed a piece of paper and took notes as she spoke. I questionned some of the rules, helped her to find a purpose for the game. We ended up brainstorming. We found a way to start the game, to distribute the cards, what to do with the play or discard cards, give some special abilities to others and so on. I wrote down a complete set of rules. We played a couple of times and back home again with Grandma and other friends.
A whole year passed! Then, one Friday night, during supper time, I made a joke: « Hey, Imagine if you published your game! » Her eyes started sparkling and she couldn’t finish her meal. We went downstairs and looked on the Internet for a Printing Service, such as lulu.com who can print your book (if you are a writer!).
Finding the right supplier
We stopped at a site called thegamecrafter.com. I must honestly say that it was exactly the kind of services we were looking for. I told my daughter that we would work on the details later on because it was already 10 PM, time for her to go to bed! As she went asleep, I tought to myself: « In what kind of mess I am now? I am not a drawing artist, I am an engineer! »
The next morning, I woke up at 7 and found my daughter in front of the computer, she had been drawing beautiful characters on Powerpoint for more than an hour! I told myself: There is something to do here!
Designing a game
So we sat together the rest of the morning and drew characters, cover, etc. Then we got to the fun part. I explored the Game Crafter web site. Since it was a simple card game, I chose the Poker Size Card and the tuck box Templates. I downloaded the PNG file. I used an open source drawing program called Paint.Net (it’s free and easy to use).
From PowerPoint to Paint.NET, I simply used the copy and paste feature. I use Layers a lot. Layers (in Paint.NET or Adobe Photoshop) allows you to draw on different layers, therefore you can move each object separately, use transparency (or opacity) and apply effects. etc.
The Template is very important. I use a 50% opacity to see my model with the template in the background. That way, I make sure my design fits perfectly in the model!
I wrote the rules using a card template and used the front to write the French version of the rules.
I saved all the files and used The Game Crafter Engine to build my game. It has a very intuitive interface and easy to follow steps to create a game.
Once uploaded, I placed my first order! The toughest part is the waiting. Being in Canada, it looks like it’s a far far away country but what can we do about it! Anyway, I was able to keep track of my order during production time and travel time as well! So it helped.
From dream to reality
Finally, the game arrived and my daughter was very pleased to see that her work, her idea, became a reality. The impact was immediate! Right away, she began a second, a third and a fourth game! Surely, I was there to adjust the rules in the making, to finalize the designs, to write the complete rules but the initial ideas always came from her.
In 2012, we attend a small trade show in Montreal held by Le Cercle des Fermières du Québec (Anjou) where no less than 15 games were sold! We even got the visit of our Federal Deputy for Honoré-Mercier, Ms. Paulina Ayala. We intend to expose this year again!
More games to come
We like the idea so much that we continue our journey! In only 2 years, we have expanded our collection to 8 games including 3 tabletop games. tabletop games take longer to design but offer more possibilities! So our games include more strategy. We now create booklets, boards, sophisticated rules. We even began to create Polymer Clay Pawns. And the more we create, the more fun we have!
Family Game Nights
In our family, Family Game Nights quickly became Family Let’s Create a Game Night!
The Game Crafter
From the Game Crafter Web site:
The Game Crafter (TGC)© is a print-on-demand game publishing service that allows anyone to create, publish, and sell games without going through a traditional game publisher. TGC was created in 2001 by JT Smith, who used the original site to showcase a few games that he had created in his spare time. In 2009, the opportunity to offer TGC as a print-on-demand service for the public was realized when Plain Black Corporation, creators of the open source content management system WebGUI, realized their software contained everything necessary to turn their love of games into a much needed service for game lovers everywhere.
TGC was launched in July 2009, and was an immediate success. TGC currently offers games for sale in a dozen categories, ranging from educational to party games. People from around the world are using TGC to create and publish games for public sale, and for private use with their friends, families, or students. The site provides a number of templates to help game creators design their games, forums for discussion and help, dozens of game pieces to choose from, and a game publishing wizard to walk game creators through the publication process.
Based on site activity in the first week alone, The Game Crafter has already filled a void in the game industry. The Game Crafter continues to actively develop the site to integrate new features for future inclusion. To stay informed about new game releases and TGC appearances at venues near you, become a fan of TGC on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.
This blog post was mentionned on The Game Crafter’s blog on http://news.thegamecrafter.com/post/58334318268/from-dream-to-reality-a-story-of-game-design and on a Game Developper blog, esmayaandme.com : http://esmayaandme.com/father-daughter-team-create-family-card-games-and-were-not-talking-about-ourselves/