10 Jun

Designing product

Often when we design new board games we get carried away by our most creative part and end up making great games (and sometimes also great games) that bump into the economic reality: a difficult viability.

To avoid this situation, we must bear in mind that we are designing a product, an experience that must have a quality-experience-price ratio that fits within the expectations of our target audience.

Board games are a product

The table games sector is the third by weight by sales volume in the world of non-digital entertainment (games and physical toys). Below is a graph of the 2019 yearbook of the Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers.

In this graph we can see that billing in table games is the third source of income for its members, behind only dolls and childcare toys, with an annual turnover of more than 100 million euros. We must bear in mind that in this association there are only large publishers, so to this 100 million we should add all the turnover of medium-sized, small and independent publications, which may be more than double.

Looking at these figures we can see that we are in a market with a significant level of consumption, which also continues to trend upward in a market that still has a long way to mature in our country. There are niches where much remains to be done and when we design a board game that we aspire to publish, we should keep in mind our target audience and their viability.

Creativism Vs Constructionism

The creative author has great ideas that he tries to turn into reality, and the constructive author is a mercenary of creation. Study the needs or opportunities to be covered and create a game, a theme, mechanics ... an "Ad hoc" experience that fits that need, both playfully and financially.

We cannot say that one path is better than the other, normally great works come from creativity, but we must be aware of the path we have chosen so as not to take unpleasant surprises when trying to produce the game.

Cost control

Follow the path you follow, try to keep a strict control of the costs of your project from the beginning so that you do not have to waste hours and hours of work discarding options, mechanics or components that you had worked a lot on.

If you also intend to present your game to a publisher, it will have many more points to be selected if this budget adjustment work has been well done, since megaprojects are also difficult to finance for small or medium publishers. Normally, only large or large crowdfunding campaigns (sometimes both) manage to carry out these games loaded with components, miniatures, plates and die plates and two kilos of cards. Sometimes, less is more.

The professionalization of our sector

The world of table games is still a young sector in Spain, with just 20 or 30 years of history, and which is starting to take a good journey from a few years to this part with more and more authors, titles and publishers. We still have a long way to go in internationalization and dissemination. Today reports continue to be published in the mainstream media recommending games from the 90s, as if for them the world of table games has not passed into the XNUMXst century. If it will be for good new games ...

There are still few people in Spain who can say that they earn a living thanks to board games, but the professionalization of our sector is evolving at a good pace, with an increasing demand for authors, designers, illustrators, editors, translators, trainers. , facilitators, etc.

National production and implementation in different sectors such as gamification in companies, learning based on games in classrooms and groups, or games as educational material, as an instrument of therapy, as a means of socialization or simply as advertising, are helping increase that demand for professionals.

Conclusion

Board games increasingly need good professionals willing to create good products that meet market needs, demands and opportunities. These will come from the recreational world, but also from the world of design, mathematics, education or business.

It is probably only a matter of time before being a board game designer is another profession in the job market or even some type of university specialization. Time to time.

Meanwhile, those of us who are part of it must continue working to increasingly professionalize the sector and ensure that board games occupy those small places they deserve in all areas of our society and of our daily lives. Much remains to be done, and it will be an exciting way to go.

28 May

# Games Without Plastic Contest

At Troquel Games we want completely remove single-use plastics from our production line.
We believe that plastic should be a tool with many uses and a long life. This is why we defend its use in unlimited life components such as dice, arrows, markers, tokens, laminated boards, boxes, etc. Those things that they should never end up in the trash. But not its use as packaging waste.
The market demands external protection for new games that serve as a seal, anti-humidity and anti-scratch. That is why we have decided to turn to you, the hive mind, to find a solution among all.
We start a ideas competition In which you can present yourself individually as a private or as a group (association, class, school, etc.).
The deadline for submission of ideas is will close on June 30, 2020. During the month of July we will select the best original, viable and sustainable alternative to heat shrink plastic that new board games have on the outside and we will publish the decision on this blog.
You can send your proposal to info@eltroquel.es with the matter # GamesWithoutPlastic indicating your data, contact details and your proposal in the form of an outline, photos, video or whatever you prefer. All proposals have to fulfill the following premises:

1.- They must protect the product from moisture and scratches as much as possible.

2.- They must be transparent or semi-translucent so that the product inside can be easily seen.

3.- It must be a scalable solution that allows its implementation on the production line.

4.- It must not exceed a maximum cost of € 1 per item.
The selected proposal will win a prize of € 500 distributed in € 300 in cash and € 200 in games from our catalog.
Please help us spread this contest. Participate, share and spread the word of mouth. Make your class, your children's class, the Ampa, the school, your players association, group of friends, etc. participate with you in this contest 😉
We all think more and better!
15 May

Safe games against the Covid-19

Everything indicates that the Covid-19 is here to stay a good season and we must all adapt our way of life to this reality. This includes our leisure. From the way we go to a bar, to the way we play a game with friends.

As game developers and publishers we must take this reality into account, so it is a good idea, if possible, to adapt or design our games in such a way that they prevent contagion between players.

Here are some of our recommendations as producers and editors:

  1. It incorporates the figure of the game director.
    You must be the only person with permission to touch common components such as the board, tokens on the board, consult the manual or the like. It must also be responsible for its correct and sufficient storage and disinfection.

  2. One deck of cards per player.
    Create game dynamics and rules that allow you to have an individual deck of cards for each player, and that these do not have to be exchanged or mixed between players during the game.

  3. Individual player tokens.
    It can help that each player has a game token with the most important data, counters, a summary of rules or turns, etc. It will make the gaming experience more immersive, taking into account that they will not be able to physically access a common board.

  4. Dice no interchangeable.
    If your game uses generic dice put dice for all players. If you use more expensive custom dice, make them only rollable by the game director.

  5. Encourage verbal interaction.
    We need to socialize, and if we are going to be two meters from each other while playing, the ideal is that the game encourages us to talk, negotiate, cooperate, compete or interact as much as possible between players. Don't let it become an individualistic experience.

  6. Large designs in common components.
    Since players will be at awkward distances from the center of the table, prepare your game layouts so that letters, numbers, icons, symbols, etc. can be easily read, seen, or distinguished. on components, cards, chips or boards that the game director controls in the center of the table. They need to feel comfortable without having to strain their eyes, get up, or get closer.

  7. Waterproofed components.
    Design or budget the production of your game so that both the box, the boards, chips, tokens, etc. are laminated or laminated as far as possible to be able to be disinfected with a hydroalcoholic solution. Try using generic card sizes so standard sleeves can be placed or give the sleeves directly with your game. It will make the production more expensive, but the investment will be worth it even if the PVP of your game goes up a little.

  8. Forbidden to break the physical distance.
    Avoid the mechanics or components that need handover or physical contact between players, or those that require competitive speed on an object. If you incorporate something similar, perhaps having to tap your table area or a pat may be sufficient.

  9. Play on webcam.
    Give it imagination. If you make your game playable via webcam, even if each player needs a copy of it, you will not only be opening a huge fan, but you will also be multiplying the number of copies sold.

  10. Let them know that your game is special.
    Communicate, mark and distinguish your game so that people can easily see that it is adapted to physical distance. Put a stamp like the one we put in the box (you can use this if you want, feel free) and announce it as such in your presentations, social networks, crowdfunding campaigns or similar.

Designing games adapted to physical distancing (misnamed social distancing) will not only open up endless possibilities, but will also allow you to design new original mechanics that will position you prominently in the market in the coming months / years.

If you want to study possibilities, do not hesitate to contact Troquel Games so that we can help you with our knowledge of materials, budgets and optimization, to ensure that your game is adapted to the times we have had to live.

We wish you the best of luck in your future projects and that your imagination illuminates you to surprise us all with innovative games 😀

You can freely download, use, copy, modify and distribute both the ideas and methods presented in this article, as well as the image of the blue seal on these lines. Also for commercial purposes.

14 May

Playing in the de-escalation

In the coming weeks / months we will return, in stages and with more or less ups and downs, to gradually increase social contact. The time will come when we can satisfy our desire to resume our games with friends.

There are indications that we will have a pandemic for a while, so we will have to get used to acquiring a series of habits that help us maintain a safe physical distance, perhaps misnamed social distance, that prevents possible contagion.

Board games, due to their physical component in which several people interact with components that we touch with our hands, are a possible focus of propagation. To avoid problems we must take precautionary measures that can allow us to play safely.

Next we are going to introduce you some of our ideas for those games that you already have, which in any case can always be improved with all those that occur to you. We are working on ideas so that authors and editors can design your new games adapted to the covid-19, but that will be discussed in a future article.

  1. Wear face masks, gloves, and face shields.
    It is a basic measure of protection, which will help you share the same physical space more safely. If you can not wear masks at least the face screen will prevent you from sharing unwanted particles.

  2. Do not touch your face with your hands.
    Do not touch your face with your hands, do not touch your face with your hands, do not touch your face with your hands ... got the message, no? 😀

  3. Play at a big table.
    This will allow you to maintain the necessary physical distance between 1 and 2 meters. Always try to keep this safe distance, it is not worth getting excited and careless with this.

  4. Try to bring your own components.
    As far as possible, be prepared with those components that are frequently and exclusively used by each player such as dice, counters, pencil, rubber, paper, whiteboard marker, etc. It is not a bad idea, if you have several copies of the game, that each one carry their own.

  5. Waterproof your game.
    Card sleeves, transparent plastic sheets on the board, zip pouches for small boards ... the most handyman you can dare to varnish certain cardboard components such as tokens, die cuts, etc. This will allow you to use disinfecting sprays, cloths, disinfecting wipes, etc., between game and game or during it.

  6. Use the figure of the Game Director.
    As in the role, it is a good idea that there is a game director, a single person touches most of the game's components, tiles, board, tiles, etc. That is in charge of making the movements following the instructions of others. Ideally, you should be the owner of the game, in such a way that, as far as possible, you are the only one who manipulates it. Getting a telescopic rake like the ones used by dealers in casinos will help you a lot when dealing cards and components, keeping your distance.

  7. Support you in Apps, online platforms or digital tools.
    Although you are physically together, which is something that we would not change for any online platform, we can rely on some of them to use certain components for which we cannot find a safe way to use in their physical version. It's time to add a little ingenuity and imagination.

  8. Play in ventilated places.
    More than ever playing outdoors is a good idea. Garden, terrace, park, green area, large room ...

  9. For now avoid those games that do not allow you to keep your distance.
    If it is necessary to agree to changes in the rules of the game that can help you, but if it is not possible, there is a great offer of good games on the market, surely if you look in your toy library you will find good options. There are games, which by their rules or nature, it would be impossible to maintain all these precautions. You have to play, not play it.

  10. Be responsible and demanding.
    If any player does not meet the security minimums, demand it. And if necessary, get up from the table and leave the game. As much as friendship and trust unites you, the virus does not know about these things and any of us can be a carrier without knowing it.

You will see that there are certain easy things and others more difficult to fulfill. Cards are a weak point in all this, because they are shuffled in the deck, they are distributed, they are held in the hand, and they can be passed from player to player. So take extreme precautions with the use of gloves, face shield and card sleeves is if possible the most important actions. Disinfect them whenever possible.

We wish you much encouragement in all this process, we ask you for a lot of responsibility, remember that all this is just ideas and recommendations and that in any case may not be enough. Improve them in everything you can think of and share your ideas with the rest of the community.

That you enjoy the reunion, even if it is a little more aseptic than usual, will be great, for sure.
To play!

13 May

How to publish your board game in times of crisis

The Covid-19 has brought us a health crisis unprecedented worldwide, but it is possible that it will also lead us to an economic crisis to which today's society he had never faced, especially due to the great uncertainty what causes. The globalization has taken a serious cold and this leaves the table games sector in a situation ibitch.

The actual situation

The sudden confinement due to the coronavirus has brought us to a halt in the retail market, and board games, although to a lesser extent than other sectors, have also been seriously affected. Let's go on to analyze the most relevant points:

  1. The massive closure of retail establishments (specialty stores, department stores, etc.) has paralyzed the gaming distribution sector.

  2. The strong demand for home entertainment has made online sales have risen, but in any case estas Sales have not offset the closing of distribution in physical stores.

  3. The closure of physical stores has also caused a decline in sales at publishers, which jeopardize their annual accounts for a few months of difficult results and a short-term market with damaged purchasing power.

  4. The amount of time at home and the proliferation of digital culture has promoted the use of digital tabletop platforms and PnP games, and the inability to physically play with friends is changing the habits of fans.

  5. Most publishers have canceled or delayed their publications this year due to confinement and falling sales, as well as the difficulty of being able to produce cheaply in delocalized markets due to global confinement and closure of borders and international transport. .

From these five points it is not difficult to clarify that many companies in the sector (stores, publishers, distributors, manufacturers, etc.) will have a difficult few months with strong treasury tensions. The lack of purchasing power of consumers and the lack of new titles will significantly lower sales in the coming months.

The Post Covid-19 Consumer

The University School of Commerce and Distribution (ESCODI) has recently carried out a survey led by professor in Consumer Psychology Alberto Vinyals, whose conclusion has been that 75% of the participants assure that they want consumerism to be reduced and more than 60% they are rethinking their needs.

Although online sales of board games have risen due to confinement and the temporary closure of stores sphysicalIn this same survey, 42% of the participants assure that they will buy less online when the health alert ends and only 17% affirm that they will buy more through digital platforms than they did before confinement. Professor Vinyals interprets these data as one of the consumer's need to rediscover the most social part of his consumption.

Physical stores, when they can open, are likely to have a rebound in cteeth looking for a more humane experience, close and with greater added value, but it is likely that their compulsive or seasonal sales will be reduced. This type of consumption trends are being included in a current that is beginning to be known as post-materialism.

Cshare so much time at home is attracting new players, since the coexisting family environment is for now the only one that can share un board game traditional, so regular players are atdragging more familiar to this hobby.

Another point in favor of the future of games in the medium term is the fact that the children of the house need new leisure experiences in anspace reduced how is the house. Every more and more families areare interesting for starting or expanding your playroom at home, especially for the little ones. Muy good news for a leisure thatis increasingly booming.

Creatives don't hold back their creativity

Despite the slowdown, we all know that the minds of creatives do not stop, and less when you have so much time at home to be able to dedicate to your creations. That is why, although the publishing sector is or is going to go through a predictable crisis, the creativity sector is booming with many very good and interesting projects wanting to come to light.

It is likely that never before have there been so many games in the creative chamber of our country, waiting for their turn to come to light and be published.

The authors of board games they will see as in the next months will be difficult I'll findditorials willings or with the ability to publish mmany news games. Most publishers get it now try to pull stock, recoup investment and minimize risks in a market with a lot of uncertainty.

Lthe importance of the “evergreen”

In marketing, the term evergreen refers to those timeless titles that manage to last over time, without becoming obsolete, generating constant sales over the years. Reissue after reissue these games become classics that always sell and therefore safe values ​​for publishers who were lucky enough to bet on them.

Not all publishers have an evergreen in their catalog, and even less those with more than one. Most of the editorial sales are novelties that they sell for the fact of being, but they become part of our most cornered toy library as soon as we have other novelties that call us more.

Evergreen also have the power to be the preferred purchase for those new players who come into the world and are advised by the most experienced, or have heard other people talk about the most famous board games. In difficult times having this type of titles in catalog is a sure value that they continue to provide their publishers with constant and more or less fixed sales and predeemable. Definitely a great oxygen balloon.

The opportunity of the editorial moment

If you are not one of the lucky publishers with classics in their catalog, you surely need apostar for sales of news. How No. seize a moment A) Yes? Less plocations, mmore authors creating good games and more and more players demanding leisure at home.

Everything seems to indicate that it is time to get news, get ready a the Christmas campaign, a new course with kids with more time at home, a summer without too many trips ... but limited investment capacity and the need to minimize risks can limit our possibilities. Come on a give a series of keys to overcome this barrier:

  1. This is not the time for big investments, minimize risk. Bet on more or less simple production games, with low investment requirements and with popular final prices that bring your product closer to the widest possible audience. There are very good games that do not need a large display of media.

  2. Minimize your investment everything possible. Ouror world It is full of multipotential people capable of developing a game, testing it, debugging it, making their protos at home and testing them with their own, editing it and there are even people capable of illustrating it, preparing it for printing y translate it if necessary. There are somebThey have their own videos, tutorials, reviews and even have their own podcast. We are surrounded by incredible people, multipotentials that are worth their weight in gold.
    If you are a multipotential creative, congratulations, your level of editorial sovereignty and business resiliencel puts you in an important position of advantage andn the market. If you are not, nor do you have such a person in your team, you are taking time to incorporate it, it will be your best investment in years and more in the current times.

  3. Minimize your roll. We could include this section perhaps in the first, even in the second, but due to its importance it deserves its own section. Do not make copies of your game as if there was no tomorrow, the margin of sale sometimes is not everything, and nots good make 2000 copies of your game to become your new sofa. Bet on a short run, test your product on the market and if it goes well, you will have time to reprint and thus be able to invest knowing that you will recover your dinero in a reasonable time.

  4. Bet on the Minimum Viable Product (better known by MVP in its acronym in English) as a rule of thumb when developing your game. Standardizes everything possible andn components, cut everything that is superfluous or not necessary (be careful, do not overdo it, there are things that although they are not aesthetically functional they contribute a lot), minimize the economic and ecological impact of su production and brings a product to the market with a high recreational value, a great value of social and environmental responsibility andl lowest possible price. No you don't need a huge box ni boards ggiants with muchs folds and two million custom tokens, tokens and dice. Perhaps with a more modest box, including cardboard, a contained board, cubes or tokens on standard plates and generic dice, your game is also a great game and costs a quarter.

  5. Si your liquidity is not enough, finance your publication. You have several ways: get a minimum print run of 50 units and if you like to do a pre-sale campaign later, bet directly on a crowdfunding, sponsors, take a small loan and risk controlled amounts or, if you are someone with experience putting your games on the market, bet on negotiating a deferred payment for production knowing that you will know howplace it short term for gspawn the sales you need and so face the payments. Entrepreneurship is taking risks, and in the business world of publishing and desktop publishing we know it every time we decide to bet on a new game. Fortunately, unlike other products, board games do not have an expiration date and you will always have new opportunities with the same product.

Troquel Games support

Everything tofinalized In this article, Troquel Games has led us to make a series of far-reaching decisions in our company. Changes in the production line, in the working methods, in the business philosophies and in the relationships with clients, suppliers and collaborating companies in order to be able to support our sector in ehese moments tan difficult.

That is why, as of May 1, 2020, El Troquel disappears as a craft workshop and Troquel Games takes over as a more industrialized and specialized production. Thanks to all the experience accumulated during all these years and all los cambios made, right now we can offer you a series of advantages that can help you publish your game even in the most ccomplicated:

  1. Our minimum print run is 50 units at industrial production price and with a free quality confirmation prototype.

  2. We give you our best price from the first moment, that's why from 50 to 1000 units you will always have the same production price, the best qWhat can we offer youregardless of the units you needeif you decide to do.

  3. We advise you, we accompany you and we help you to ensure that your project succeeds. We put all our experience and our strategic position consolidated during these years, at your disposal so that you have the best support.

  4. We finance your production in case you need it. If you are a professional in our sector with a proven solvency knowing how to place your games on the market, we finance your production in comfortable terms of up to 6 months without interest. We risk you because we believe in you.

  5. We help you sell your games putting at your disposal our online store, payment gateways and logistics. Further, we take over the warranty of our products at no cost to you.

For all this, and despite the current situation, Publishing a board game has never been easier In our country. With the best quality, the lowest risk, all the professional support of a company committed to our sector, our society, our team and you.

Get in touch with us if you want to publish your game and we will help you in every possible way to draw up the best plan for your project.

E-mail: info@eltroquel.es

Telephone (ESP): (+34) 981 045 048

Phone (ENG): (+34) 697 483 354

Schedule: Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 15 p.m.

EnglishSpanish