Jorge Zhang

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Why you should submit to the Board Game Workshop Design Contest

Hey everyone! I’ve been working on Lord of Colors in my spare time for a while now, and since I don’t currently have any long term plans with it, I figured I’d submit it to a contest to see how it does. I’m very interested to see what people have to say about the game based on their first impressions. I submitted my video to the 2019 Board Game Workshop Design Contest

A photo of a playtest

Why you should submit a game

It costs a negligible amount ($5, or $1/month if you subscribe to the Patreon). You also get something really invaluable: feedback. One of the misconceptions I had when getting into designing board games was that everyone would want to play my game. That’s simply not true. Especially as an unknown designer, you often times have to rely on friends or spending a ton of money and time to attend conventions/meetups.

Also, this contest addresses a large problem in other contests in a very unique way. The judges can choose which projects they want to judge, and are encouraged to judge games that they are intrigued by from a short description of the game. This means that a judge who loves highly strategical games is not going to have to judge a dice chucker, or vice-versa. I also enjoy the fact that they are very transparent about the criteria and how your game is scored. It gets scored in each of 5 categories from 1-5, and this is totaled to get a score out of 25. The criteria are as follows:

  • Innovation: Does the game do something new or combine things into a new and unique experience?
  • Elegance: Does the game flow smoothly and not get in the way of the fun?
  • Excitement: How excited are you to play the game?
  • Presentation: Was the information presented clearly?
  • Overall: How much do you like the game overall?

To be fair, these would mostly be impressions and the judges would not actually play my game. I’m not holding my breath, but if Lord of Colors makes it to round 2 and then round 3, I will send in a prototype for it to be played by the judges. They only select 20 games to get to round 2, and so it would probably be pretty difficult to get past to round 3.

How to submit a game

You need 3 things:

  1. 500 character (or less) description of the game.
  2. A 2 minute (or less) video of the game
  3. About $5

After paying, you’ll get a link to the spreadsheet for submitting your game.

Lord of Colors

2 minute overview

I filmed about 10 minutes of content, so cutting it down to under 2 minutes was very challenging. I was looking around for examples on how to do this, but because Lord of Colors has some fairly complex rules it didn’t seem possible to fit it all into such a short period of time. I then remembered this youtube channel called 3 Minute Board Games, where the entire channel is about explaining board games in 3 minutes. They were even able to explain games like Gloomhaven, so I decided to borrow their format for this video.

I learned a few things between this contest and the last contest I entered, the Cardboard Edison competition. Namely, I tried a few things differently:

  1. More enthusiasm. I was practically yelling into the microphone in this video, whereas in my Daggers High video my voice was pretty bland.
  2. Music. I don’t actually think it is a huge factor, but it definitely helps get through the video.
  3. A clear overview. I go over player count, time, and the theme right at the start so the viewer knows what to expect in this video. I didn’t do a great job with this in the Daggers High video.

I’m interested to see how these potentially change how well Lord of Colors does in the contest compared to how Daggers High did in the Cardboard Edison contest. Another big element that could affect the judging is the fact that the two games are very different from each-other. I would have submitted Daggers High, but I’m planning on Kickstarting it before the judging would be over, which is not allowed by the contest rules.

Have a game you are planning to submit? What did you think of the Lord of Colors overview video? Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!

© 2020 Jorge Zhang