Showing posts from December, 2014

Smart Play Games 2014 Sales by Country and US State

As the year draws to a close, I'm planning actual paid advertising for Smart Play Games in 2015. One thing I learned from my time in the ad world is that it's very easy to spend a lot of money in an unreceptive market. So I needed some data to find out where I should be sending my directed advertising, particularly any promoted tweets. Thankfully, DriveThruCards was kind enough to provide a big sales report that included country and state for each of my sales up to mid-December of this year. That should be plenty of time to measure sales for each region and perhaps give me some insights as to where I should spend my ad budget. Below are interactive pie charts and maps where you can see sales by country and by state. Sales by Country USA being the top seller is no surprise. The expense of shipping internationally is the biggest barrier to the POD model's global reach. That being the case, I'm surprised to see Australia beat out the UK for international sal

New Game Icons and CCG Templates, thanks to Patreon Backers

This weekend Patreon backers got a double - whammy of goodies. First up, a new set of icons inspired by Love Letter and the Dominion core set. This includes some more specialist actions like "trash a card" or "buy a card" which is distinct from "gain a card." Tricky stuff. I included the Dominion example above for some context of where I drew inspiration for each icon. That was also an opportunity to suggest how you might use language-neutral typography to represent things like "You may trash up to four icons" or "If opponent plays an attack card, you may cancel it." The second update went out exclusively to $20 backers. It's a vector CCG frame in InDesign readymade for DataMerge. Because it's vector, it should be pretty easy for you to customize to your liking without losing any resolution. Get both goodies on my Patreon here: Tabletop Game Icons inspired by Dominion and Love Letter Vector CCG Card Frame Hope y

Empathy Triumphant in Legend of Korra

Wow. How about that Legend of Korra finale? Normally I don't talk about anything besides game design and the business of tabletop game production on this blog. However, one of my core tenets for the past few years is finding non-violent themes for otherwise competitive games. More than that, finding non-violent themes that are better matches for their mechanisms than a traditional war/combat trope. In this, I think my modest creative goals are similar to what the folks behind Korra achieved in the finale. For what is definitely an action -oriented cartoon, Avatar: the Last Airbender , and Legend of Korra in particular, have often shown the consequences of violence. On the subject of violence, three big themes clicked in the finale. (Legend of Korra spoilers follow, hence the non-spoiler image up top...) Violence as Vulnerability The big giant glowing Avatar State is when the Avatar is most powerful, but also most vulnerable. The whole thousand-year-long cycle of Av

SkillShare Coming Next Month: Graphic Design for Collectible Card Games

Hearthstone Cards ( Source ) Good news, graphic designers! Next month, I'm releasing new Skillshare course on laying out cards for a collectible card game. This series of videos focuses on how to make the borders, backgrounds, high-def graphics, and variable text of a typical CCG. I'll be dissecting the graphic design from popular games and breaking down how to get the same effects from Photoshop and InDesign. It'll be fun! Look for more in coming weeks.

Announcement: Smart Play Games Seeks New Card Games for POD Publishing

People of Earth! Smart Play Games now seeks small card games to license for print-on-demand publication. This is a weird idea, so check out the FAQ below! What's all this then? After a successful run of self-published games on the print-on-demand site DriveThruCards, Smart Play Games wants to help other designers try this fast, low-risk publishing option. In time, we want to make print-on-demand a viable "farm league" funneling high-quality, customer-vetted products to traditional publishers. What is Print-on-Demand? To the customer , it's just like ordering any other tabletop game online. Presently, the one difference is that Smart Play Games' preferred printer DriveThruCards does not offer custom printed tuckboxes, but that will be added in coming months. To the designer , it means faster releases, aimed directly at an engaged and connected audience. It's also an opportunity to test out niche game ideas that might not be viable in traditional p

Chalk Board Game Reviews - Belle of the Ball

The kind folks at Chalk Board Game Reviews did a full fancy-dress review of Belle of the Ball! This was just delightful. :D Excellent work, everyone!

Handy Tool for Board Game and Card Game Graphic Designers: Icomoon

One of the most perplexing challenges of tabletop graphic design is how to design a whole deck of cards with variable text, stats, images, and borders. Fortunately, DataMerge makes that much easier as I describe in my SkillShare course . But there are some advanced problems that still pop up even when you've mastered DataMerge: Namely, inserting icons into any part of the text. I discussed one method of doing this a few weeks ago , but that relied on using a pre-existing dingbats font for your icons and making bizarro GREP styles. As of that post, I hadn't found a reliable and easy to use font creator that flowed seamlessly from Illustrator to TrueType to InDesign. Well, I'm happy to say Icomoon is the app I've always wanted . You can upload your own SVG vector files, assign keywords to them as ligatures, and save them as TrueType fonts. When you type your keywords with this font, it's automatically replaced with the icon you've chosen. All you need to d

Excelente! Suspense and Light Rail in are a hit in Brazil!

A few months ago, Brazilian publisher Funbox Jogos licensed Light Rail as Metrocity and Suspense as Emboscada . They had a Black Friday sale to launch both products and it's safe to call them both a smash hit. Within 24 hours, nearly a fifth of both print runs were sold out! That's a hell of a start for any product launch. Check out these preview videos for Metrocity and Emboscada (Portuguese).

Language-Neutralizing Tabletop Games on Patreon

My next batch of icons on Patreon will be something a little different. I'm trying to make language-neutral icons for existing games, the first set being Love Letter and Dominion. Fortunately, some of the basic concepts in these games have already been covered in past icons. Basic actions like "discard from hand" are well handled. I won't just copy-paste those files with new names. For the rest of the icons, things are a bit tricky. In some cases, cards' effects are simple enough that I can make one icon for them, just as I have for the past several batches. That is, each file is a generic standalone icon. If your game has some complex effects, you can put those simple icons together, like letters from an alphabet. In other cases, like Dominion, the effects have multiple steps and so are somewhat outside the scope of the existing icons. I can make files for each card, which would necessarily mean some repeating iconography (+1 action, for example). Or I

Questions about CCG design (Something From Nothing: Nov 30)

This weekend I was on Something From Nothing talking about my first foray into the realm of CCG design, or as I more often call it "cards with words," or "cards with effects." Chevee Dodd had lots of really good advice for how to model the kart racing theme of A La Kart. In response, I had rambling, ambiguous answers to his questions. Oh my god, I just would not shut up. Not my best showing. :P

Arf! now on DriveThruCards

Almost every Saturday morning, I volunteer at the local animal shelter socializing puppies and then tweet updates about each one. Part of this #pupdate is noting which puppies would be best in a family with lots of activity or other special conditions. I've been doing the #pupdate for over a year now and since the beginning, folks have asked if I'd do a game about it. Well, here we go! I'm happy to announce Arf! the game of picky puppies. Players are volunteers at an animal adoption fair, trying to offer puppies different homes that meet their very specific demands. Some puppies want lots of room, others want lots of food, some want only love and don't care about room or food. Picky picky! Arf! is now available on DriveThruCards ! Remember, you have to place your order before December 8 to be sure to get it before xmas!

November 2014 Sales Report

Each month I make public my sales numbers for my print-on-demand card games. No sense burying the lede here, November was an awesome month for Smart Play Games ! To the numbers! 11-2014 2x Arf! (preview copies) 1x Bird Bucks +1 35x Kigi   +30 21x Koi Pond: A Coy Card Game -1 6x Koi Pond: Four Walls (Promo Card 2) -2 6x Koi Pond: Four Winds (Promo Card 1) -2 10x Koi Pond: Moon Temple +2 17x Light Rail +1 10x Monsoon Market -2 4x Nine Lives Card Game +3 3x Penny Farthing Catapult +0 7x Regime +7 3x Solar Senate -5 31x Suspense: the Card Game +16 1x Ten Pen +0 107 Total Sold $1,301.89 Gross Sales $361.80 Earnings Grand Totals for 2014 (to date) 1564 Products Sold $10,924.16 Gross Sales $3,170.55 Earnings Sales were up for many products after a brief post-convention lull. We exceeded July's numbers and fell just short of the August spike from just before GenCon/Pax/Essen. Holiday shopping began in earnest well before