Train of Thought is the #4 best game this year!

OK, maybe a bit misleading – but it is true…if your name is Joseph Peterson at least. Joseph created a top 100 list of the games he’s played this year and Train of Thought is his #4 favourite game! It’s great to see that this game is still entertaining some folks out there! Thanks for playing Joseph! Everyone else can still pick this game up from Amazon (for just $10!) or their friendly local board game store!

Here’s what Joseph had to say:

Train of Thought is a party word game in which players take turns trying to get opponents to guess a particular word. They’re limited however to being able to give only a 3 word clue – and one of those words must be from a prior answer. For each clue given, each player may make 1 guess. If none are correct, the clue-giver creates another clue, using one of the guesses and up to 2 other words.

When the word is correctly guessed, the guessing player and the clue giver each get one point, and the clue giver draws a new card and continues making clues, trying to get as many as they can in 2 minutes!

This one is a laugh riot! There are so many stories I could tell about this one, but my favorite has to be during these clues: “Horse but smaller” “PONY!” “Pony but smaller” “CHILD?” “No not child”. We had to stop the timer because we lost it. This is hands-down my favorite party game that I’ve ever played and one that I can only imagine will see more and more playtime as the years go by.

-Jay Cormier

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Train of Thought Experiment on Twitter

Jay and I still love Train of Thought after all these years and we’ve been using Twitter a lot lately, so it just seemed like a natural fit!  We’re going to do a little experiment and try to run a Train of Thought game (kinda) on Twitter next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. EST.  If things go well, we’ll make it “a thing”.

The goal will be slightly modified in that the Conductor (me for the first one), will be trying to get the team (all y’all out there in the Twitterverse) to get to 10 josh-train of thoughtDestinations in 10 minutes.  Can we do it?  YES WE CAN!

The Tweet format will be important for game flow:

<round number> <Guess> <hashtag>

e.g. 1 starfish #ToT

Got it?  Good!

Now review the rules, follow me on Twitter @SenFoongLim and hop on board this crazy train!

ALL ABOARD!

~Sen-Foong

Reviews of all of our games keep coming in!

Reviews seem to be popping up all the time for one of our games so we thought we’d share wheat people are saying about all the Bamboozle Brother games recently. Check out these great comments! Really makes me happy to see so many people enjoying the game we’re making! Thanks for the kind words everyone!

ThisTown-logoThis Town Ain’t Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us

  • Recommendation: Yes! Games won’t take longer than 15 minutes, max, if that. For what it is, it is an excellent little game. If you were panning for gold, this game would be a real gem. – Kevin Garnica
  • A really fun tile laying microgame. Plays fast and has interesting moments. I really liked how you score points based on how many symbols your OPPONENTS have in the same town. Very creative. Worth checking out. – Andrew Bellavie
  • This is an EXTREMELY good/fun game for the price. Impressed with the “bones” of this one.- Xenothon Stelnicki
  • Great lunch time game and filler. Simple rules and plays well at all player numbers. Can add multiples of the game to make the game longer. – Pat Gagnon

butwaitboxBut Wait There’s More

  • Once you’ve had a taste of “But Wait, There’s More!” you’ll never want to go back to the relatively lacklustre fun of games like Apples to Apples and Snake Oil again. The genius of this game lies in the fun of the pitch – you have a little bit to go on from your hand of attributes & some randomness when you draw from the deck, and it’s all 100% hilarious and fun. Best of all, everyone gets a pitch for the item each round and then everyone votes on what they thought was the best pitch – a nice touch to make sure everyone’s participating and having fun. Highly recommended! – Nicole Hoye
  • One of the very few party games I enjoy – at all. And it’s freaking hilarious. – Sean Ross
  • Can’t wait! I love this game!!! I laugh until I cry every single time I play…- Tim Sowers
  • Played this Saturday night at Gen Con with a full table of 10. One of the best gaming experiences we had all weekend. We fit in two complete games in under an hour (and that included the time it took to learn the rules) and everyone had a great time. This was an easy buy and I’d have bought the game on the spot were it ready. – gescott01

Tortuga-BoxTortuga

  • Tried this at GenCon 2014 and really enjoyed it. – Arthur Rutyna
  • This one was a very fun time for us. Sure, there’s not a lot of strategy going on here but, the mechanics make for an enjoyable game. I like how the treasures move from the island to Tortuga throughout the game depending on how many crew members or boats you have available to you. We were a little confused at first but, really got into the swing of things and enjoyed ourselves. The best part to me were that the scores were super close, with the winner only winning by one point and the loser only losing by three. As I said, this is a very fun game! – Joseph Peterson

The new cover will now feature the Game of the Year stamp from Dice Hate Me!

Belfort

  • Had low expectations due to its fantasy setting, but it is surprising fun game to play. Another one where I feel every game I have played was time well spent. It has become a staple in my top 10. Expansion(s) have only enhanced it. – Bob Nash
  • Belfort is a very good worker placement game. I like how the points are score in this game. The guilds available being different each game adds a lot of replay value. The production of this game is one of the best that I have seen. The rules, the boards, the player aid, the cards and ressources (each with a different shape) are all great. – Dominic Morier
  • The theme and mechanics combine for a really good game. – James Hatfield
  • What a wonderful worker placement. It has lot going on, but it all seems to blend together seamlessly. The card drafting and area control are not to be overlooked. Overall, one of the best WP games I have ever played. – Brian Thomson

Bex-coverBelfort: The Expansion Expansion

  • This is my all time favorite so its a Always Wanna Play List for me – Adrian C
  • Great expansion for Belfort. When I buy this, I don’t see myself playing without the expansion anymore. – Miguel García

 

 

Train of Thought box artTrain of Thought 

  • This is such a great idea, having players guess a word but by only being able to speak 3 words and with having to incorporate the previous answer to explain the next. We loved this and for any fans of party word games, this is a winner. – Joseph Peterson

We want your board game design stories!

whatsyourstoryWelcome to 2014! We’ve been working at designing board games for over 6 years now, and we’ve been writing about how to get published on this site for over 3 years. The goal of this site was to be very transparent and show people how we came to get our board games published. At the time we only had Belfort and Train of Thought being published but now we have six more games coming out this year! While we still have stories and lessons left to tell as we continue to learn new things about getting published, what we’d love to do now is to hear from other designers.

We’re introducing a new segment on our blog called: What’s Your Story?

We’ve already had one guest blogger, Patrick Lysaght, tell us a couple stories about following some of the steps outlined on this site (Pitching at Origins Part 1 and Part 2), and now we’d like to hear from you! Have you used any of the steps outlined in this blog? Have you found success – or even met up with some challenges? Do you have:

  • a story about how you pitched your game to a publisher, or
  • a story about how you make prototypes, or
  • a story about how you play test your games, or
  • a story about contract negotiation, or
  • a story about how you self-published, or
  • a story about how you used Kickstarter, or
  • any story about the design process?

Contact me and we’ll work together to get your story told: jay <at> bamboozlebrothers.com

-Jay Cormier

Train of Thought on the cheap – and another positive review of Belfort!

Tasty Minstrel Games is having a Black Friday sale, which ends Monday at midnight EST, and they’re offering up Train of Thought for 50% off! That’s $9.95 instead of $19.95! Go grab a copy, if you haven’t done so already. My apologies to all the Canadians out there who want to take advantage of this deal because there’s a $30 shipping fee to Canada…boo! But for you Americans out there – gobble that up!

Also, Daryl Andrews has written a positive review of Belfort over at Games for All. Gamesforall.ca is a new online board game retailer for Canadians! Check out their selection as it’s growing every day and it’s way cheaper than buying from an American website (from a shipping perspective, as we all learned in the first paragraph above!).

-Jay Cormier

Train of Thought and Belfort Get the Nod.

Since 2006, http://www.boardgamegeek.com has been hosting the annual Golden Geek Awards.  It is a highly coveted award in the boardgaming community, because it represents the voice of the people, not a panel of celebrity judges or industry big wigs.  It’s the very same gamers who play the games in question that get to vote and have their say on what games were at the top of the heap each year.

The list of the nominees and the links to vote are here.  And while I will say that it is really and truly a great honour just to be nominated, I’m hopeful that both Belfort and Train of Thought make a run for the title in their respective categories.

Belfort has been nominated in the following categories:

Artwork and Presentation
Strategy Game

 

 

Train of Thought box artTrain of Thought has been nominated in one:

Party Game

 

 

If you are a fan of either, or both game, and feel that it deserves a shot at the award, please vote.  You can rank each game in each category, with 1 being the highest and 10 being the lowest ranking.

Thanks to our collaborators (Seth Jaffee, Josh Cappel, and Gavan Brown) and our publisher, Tasty Minstrel Games.  And a huge thanks to everyone who got the games this far in the race; now it’s time to bring home the gold!

~ Sen-Foong Lim

 

 

Step 33: Promoting your game

So the art is done and the game has been sent to the printers, now you can sit back and let the money roll in right? Nope – not yet! In an older post we talked about how with book authors they are expected to promote their book, while in the board game world there isn’t the same expectation. That might be true, but I think it’s safe to assume you’re as interested as the publisher is in ensuring your game is a success!

There are many things you can do to help promote your game. Let’s take a look at some examples, though this list is certainly not exhaustive.

1)     Designer Diaries: Many gamers love to read about how a game came to fruition. Write up your story of how it came to be published. Remember that most people probably haven’t played the game when they read your designer diaries, so don’t refer too much to rules that they won’t understand. Once you’ve completed writing them, ask your publisher if they would like to have it or if they’d prefer if you distributed it. If you’re on your own, no worries, that’s what www.boardgamegeek.com is for! Post it in the forum or ask Eric Martin if he’d be interested in sharing it in the News section. Once it’s posted then get your friends and family to head on over to read it and give it some thumbs to get it started. (thumbs are the equivalent of the ‘Like’ button of Facebook). Here’s the Designer Diary for Train of Thought and here’s the Designer Diary for Belfort. For Belfort we decided to mix it up and instead of just talk about the history of how it came to be, we interviewed all the people responsible for bringing the game to fruition: The playtesters, the developer, the artist and the printers!

2)     Leaking art: work with your publisher before leaking any art as they might have a proper marketing plan on how to release it. Again, use bgg.com and get those thumbs going again. If you get enough attention then it will make it to the front page of bgg.com in the images section. We had our artist Josh make up some fun promo images using the art from the game!

3)     Blog: Blog about your experiences with game design. It’s one of the reasons I started this blog. Many blogs are devoted to how to make your blog successful so I won’t go into that detail here. Rest assured that pretty much any press is good press! We even did a video ‘interview’ describing the history of Belfort!

4)     Leaking the rules: Somewhere within the last month before your game is released to the public you should get your publisher to leak the rules online. This could either be on their website or on bgg.com. Then do whatever you can to promote that the rules are available. You know – Twitter, Facebook – the usual suspects.

5)     Local PR: There are a few things you can do locally.

  1. First is to ensure your local game stores are aware that the game is coming. If the publisher has created a sales sheet for your game, print them out and give one to each game store in your neck of the woods. If one doesn’t exist then ask the publisher if you can make one on your own using art from the game. Generally any publisher will be happy for any extra promotion that you can do. A sales sheet is similar to the sales sheet we talked about in Step 14, but it’s for a different audience! The audience for this sales sheet is for retailers and customers! It will have art of the finished box and hopefully a picture of the game in progress with many of the components. There should be a short description and enough flavour text to get people intrigued.
  2. You can also make a press release and send it to your local TV, Radio and Print establishments. If you spin it as a ‘local citizen achieves dream’ or something like that, then you stand a good chance at getting some media attention. If you do get any media attention, then ensure you forward it to the publisher. If it’s appropriate then they can add it to their website. I’ll devote another post on how to write up a good press release.
  3. Once the game is out, the PR doesn’t stop. It’s up to you to go to as many game stores as you can and show the owners how your game plays. Hopefully they’re carrying your game (remind them that since you’re local, there will be more demand here), and now that you’ve given them a tutorial, or even played the game with them, then they’re much more likely to recommend it to others (assuming they like it!). There’s a store in my city of Vancouver that I showed how to play Train of Thought and they liked it so much that they recommend it to a lot of customers and it ended up being one of their best sellers last year!
  4. Organize ‘Meet the Designer’ days at your local stores. Much like an author will do a reading or a signing at book stores, you can do the same things at game stores. Help them advertise it however you can – possibly be including it in your press release. These can be a great way to show your game to people.

Train of Thought6)     Conventions: If the publisher is going to a convention and you can afford it, then ask if you can come too (heck, first ask if they’d like to pay for your flight or hotel!). I can’t imagine a publisher turning down having a designer at their booth helping promote their game. I attended BGG.con when Train of Thought was released and spent most of my time at the Tasty Minstrel booth showing people how to play the game all week. It paid off because Train of Thought ended up being the second highest rated game at the convention!

7)     Reviews: The publisher should be responsible for sending out review copies, but there’s nothing stopping you from helping in whatever way you can. I’ve sent one of my own copies to a reviewer in order to get a timely review. We’ve also sent review requests that we get (since we’re the designers, some reviewers contact us) to the publisher.  Once you do get a review, assuming it’s positive, then do whatever you can to promote that review! Post it on your blog; send it to your publisher so they can post it on their site; link to it on BGG.com.

8)     Awards: Again, this is up to the publisher to submit the game for various awards. You can help by listing awards for which you think you have a better chance at winning and forwarding them to your publisher. We were fortunate enough to win the Dice Hate Me Game of the Year award and now that victory is on the front of the box for the second printing!

9)     Above and beyond: Sen and I will always go above and beyond expectations when trying to promote our own games. For Train of Thought we filmed a 45 second video that gives a nice overview of how the game is played. We got some actor friends, and some videographers and shot and edited the video, then Sen added the music since he’s talented that way!

For Belfort we did a different type of video and enlisted the assistance of one of our friends to help us animate it.

Also I worked with another friend of mine and we wrote a 10 page comic book set in the world of Belfort. We’ve paid an artist out of our own pocket to professionally illustrate it.

Of course, we got permission to do all of this from the publisher first! As you can see there are many ways in which you can help promote your game, and why wouldn’t you?! It might not be a strength of yours (heck, you’re a game designer not a marketing major, right?), but it can only help you to learn about some of the things you can do to increase the potential of your game becoming a hit!

So that brings us to the last step in this blog! That doesn’t mean we’re done though. We’ll be adding more stories and lessons we learn along the way, which will probably mean tweaking or adding some steps here and there. We haven’t even talked about Kickstarter yet, and with a new game of ours hitting Kickstarter soon – I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from that! And who knows, maybe we’ll actually self-publish a game or two in the future! Thanks for reading so far!

-Jay Cormier

Bamboozle Brother Update and More Love for Belfort AND Train of Thought!

It’s been a fun couple of weeks for the Bamboozle Brothers. Let’s review what we can. I do like to be as transparent as possible, but I also don’t want to put the cart before the horse and speak about something before there is a signed contract.

  1. At The Gathering, Filosofia expressed interest in publishing EIEI-O but with a different title. We’re still awaiting final word and a contract on this one.
  2. I showed our game, But Wait There’s More at the Gathering and a publisher has expressed interest in publishing it! We’ve been emailing back and forth contract-type requests with percentage breakdowns for royalties, so this one is looking pretty promising. We’re expecting an actual contract within a week or two.
  3. A publisher emailed us that they would like to publish Swashbucklers, but since the time we gave it to them and now, Swashbucklers has undergone a few tweaks that has made the game even better. The publisher has yet to play the new tweaks and so we’re still waiting for a contract from them as well.
  4. Akrotiri is getting some love from a publisher, and we’re close to getting a contract on this one as well. The caveat to this one is that the publisher wants to publish it as a 2-player only game. Sen and I talked about it and decided that we were ok with this. Since it is a tile laying game that can be prone to analysis paralysis when played by the wrong players, they wanted to put the game in the best possible spotlight, and a 2-player only game was the way to do it. We should hear back from them within a week or two on their final decision.
  5. Belfort second printing is due to hit shores this month along with a small promo package of 3 new guilds (sold separately). After being hard to find for a few months, it will be great to see this back on the shelves.
  6. Sen and I have finished the Belfort Expansion! It is now in the hands of the developer and will soon be heading to the wonderfully talented Josh Cappel to make some more of his lovely art! We’re ridiculously excited for our very first expansion!
  7. We are working with a German publisher to bring Belfort to Germany! Contracts are currently being figured out to have a German language version of the game. That will be very cool to see.
  8. We did get a few rejections recently. Hans Im Gluck decided to pass on Bermuda Triangle – but provided us some great feedback that was specific to the game. This showed us that they played the game and that for the reasons they stated decided it was not a game for them at this time. Sen and I will re-evaluate the game to see if we want to listen to their feedback and change it – or submit it to another publisher who might be more open to the concept.
  9. Clunatics and Lost for Words were ‘kind of’ rejected by Pegasus Spiele. I say ‘kind of’ because they said they didn’t have enough time to localize (translate everything to German) to play the prototype. They said if we did then they’d be happy to test it. We decided to ask for it back from them for the time being and see if we can figure out a way to localize it. Either that – or submit it to another publisher that isn’t concerned about localization.
  10. We got a new written review for Belfort from Shut Up & Sit Down
  11. We got a new video rules review for Train of Thought from the Marbles Store.
  12. We got a great new video review of Train of Thought from Board to Death where they rated it a 9 out of 10!

So it’s been a fun few weeks for Sen and I! We will keep you all posted on what’s what. Once contracts are signed then we can give you the scoop on who’s publishing what. We still have a few more steps to go on our master series as well!

-Jay Cormier

Major Fun Award for Train of Thought

Train of Thought box artTrain of Thought has been awarded the Major Fun award from Majorfun.com! You can read the full review of the game here.

Here is the criteria they have for awarding the Major Fun award:

  • clear and comprehensive rules that can be read in 5-15 minutes
  • played in under an hour
  • fun enough to play over and over again
  • suitable for a wide audience
  • easy to store
  • made to last
  • uniquely fun
  • tend to make people laugh
  • deep enough to withstand a lot of changes

It’s nice to see Train of Thought still being appreciated by new gamers!!

-Jay Cormier

Train of Thought Up For Prestigious Award!

Just got word that Train of Thought is up for the Best Party Game of last year according to a group of 40 prominent podcasters and bloggers that has selected the best games and expansions released in the year 2011.

Watch the games being announced here:

and stay tuned as the winners will be announced during the Dice Tower Convention on July 6th, 2012.

Fingers crossed!

~ Sen-Foong Lim