I started the game for the contest and brought it to Protospiel. I wanted to get some feedback about the game and to get some exposure on it to hopefully get more votes in the contest if people enjoyed it. I got great feedback and a lot of people enjoyed the game. It didn't have much for art but the mechanics were working well enough for it to be enjoyable. I made some changes at Protospiel and left with a better game. Jason from Grey Gnome had play tested it and liked it enough to eventually approach me about it. After the event I added slightly better art and entered it into the contest. I only used free art I found and modified it to look a little better. It wasn't great but it added a little more to the game.
I made it through the first round of voting and was able to be a semi-finalist. I landed in the middle of the pack with only 40 points for votes. I was just happy to see people besides me had voted for it. It wasn't lot of votes but it was enough to get me into the semi-finals.
It looks like Gamer's Remorse went through all the games that made it through to the semi-finals. It looks like they judged the rules and the artwork on the page but not the page itself. I think this helped me because I didn't do a great job with the page. I thought my rules were lacking a little flavor but fortunately the game sounded good enough to get their attention.
I was 6th out the 7 finalists. They called my game a "diamond in the rough." I was flattered with that comment. I knew it was enjoyable but was pretty rough looking. I liked the look and the rules of the other games and was happy and surprised to have made it to the finals. I saw that the top 5 games were going to be reviewed so I was just hoping to land high enough to get a review done.
Slowly, Gamer's Remorse was releasing videos of the finalist. I was constantly looking to see if my game had been reviewed and counted how many were left to go. Finally, I saw it. My game was shown on their page with a link to the review. I immediately watched it and then watched it again. It was my first review. I nervously waited until the score popped up. I get an 8/10. I was ecstatic. That score sounded good enough to me. I thought they did an excellent job of explaining the rules too. I was going to incorporate their explanation into my written rules for how simply they explained it. I was nervous maybe I didn't write the rules clear enough and it might be played wrong. They played it correctly and it sounded like they enjoyed it.
While anxiously waiting to hear who the winner of the contest was, I got a Facebook message from Jason at Grey Gnome Games asking what my plans were for the game. I explained that I was just trying to make fun games and had plans of finding a publisher or possible self publishing it. He asked for a prototype and I sent one on its way. A few days later after he had time to look it over he sent me an offer to publish the game. This is where I screamed like a little girl at a Justin Bieber concert. My first opportunity to get a game published! I had a conversation about the contract and made sure of how things would work and then signed it. He sent over some art for a new prototype which looked a thousand times better than the art I had. I signed the game and less than a day later it had much better art; I could have fainted like a gussied up Southern Belle from the excitement.
I decided to go with Grey Gnome Games because I liked their previous games and it looked like they have a great track record with the games they sign. Jason was very open and seems easy to work with. I think he is just as enthusiastic about making this game as I am. I am happy to be working with Grey Gnome Games.
I was fortunate enough to not have to pitch a game to a publisher. I think taking my game out and play testing definitely helped getting it exposed. It also helps with networking and getting to meet people and publishers who would want to play it. The feedback is great too and helps shape a game from good to great. I would suggest any play testing conventions to any other designers out there. The more people you know and the more people who have played your game, the better.
Watch for the Kickstarter of Siege of Sunfall next Spring!
If you have any questions about my experience or anything else, you can reach me by email, Twitter, a comment here or on Facebook.
Play games. Always.
P.S. Still waiting to hear who the winners are of The Game Crafter Contest.