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Subject: That Cowboy Guy Games - Where's My Luggage? rss

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John Gibson
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Hi All,

I just completed my first YouTube demo for one of my boardgame prototypes: Where's My Luggage?

It is a suitcase matching game using passenger cards, luggage tiles and a battery powered, rotating luggage carousel. I am planning to start researching game publishers that would be interested in this type of family game. The rotating luggage carousel is a great gimmick in my opinion. Please check it out and leave your comments. I would really like to get the opinions of people who don’t personally know me.

YouTube location of my video:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ThatCowboyGuyGames

My Game Design Journal:
http://thatcowboyguy.blogspot.com/2011/11/wheres-my-luggage-....

My Website:
http://www.ThatCowboyGuy.com

Thanks in advance for all your feedback!

That Cowboy Guy
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John Gibson
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Here are some interesting features of my game:

• It is language independent. The passenger cards and the luggage tiles do not have any words on them, only pictures. This means it could packaged up like Dixit, which has the rulebook in eight languages, was well as on the box. I could see this game being played in Germany, Japan and South America with few production changes.

• This game allows children to play with adults on equal footing. Since selecting the right tile is based mostly on luck and speed, a child could easily beat an adult playing this game.

• The battery powered, rotating luggage carousel is pretty darn cool!cool

• With the exception of the previously mentioned luggage carousel, this game should have relatively low production costs: 30 cards, 36 cardboard tiles, 4 pawns and a small scoreboard. The mechanism that causes the carousel to rotate is pretty cheap. I have seen them on the Internet for as low as $3.00 each, so imagine the wholesale cost if you were buying the components in bulk.

Thoughts? meeple
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Mike Kollross
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With the carousel Hasbro might be interested. They are always looking for an electronic-y gimmick/hook.
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Nick Hayes
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I agree with Mike, you'd have a better chance shopping this around to Mattel or Hasbro. Market it as a kids/preschool feature game, though. It's definitely not for adults, but mom could play it with the kids.
 
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John Gibson
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Thanks for the feedback, Mike and Nick.

Hasbro, Mattel or Milton Bradley? Of the Big Three, which one would be the best to approach first?

I am also seriously considering going with a German or another European publisher first since they seem to be more “Game cultured” and therefore my game could reach a larger audience.
 
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John Gibson
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Here's a tweet I just got from Twitter that made me laugh!

@ThatCowboyGuy So I just started watching your "Where's my Luggage" vid. I'm worried you may be too much of a badass to design board games.

 
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John Gibson
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Here is some feedback I got on my blog and my response:

Grant said...
This was a cool, thorough video. It was easy to figure out how the game works and what the various components are.

This game reminds me of Bananagrams, which is similarly frantic and fairly random in nature. What is your target audience? I think children would appreciate this, but I'm not sure I'd break this out for a group (typically my go to games are Apples to Apples and Dixit).

Something that would make this more exciting for me would be a way to interact with my players. Can I give one of them a bad luggage? Can we trade? Do I have a special ability I can use to check more than one luggage, but it comes with a downside? I think you need one or two little tweaks to really make this stand out.

Right now you have memory game, super quick and fast -- what's that third element that makes you stand out? That makes a publisher say "holy smokes we need to publish THIS."

As a final note, I'm super impressed with your battery operated carousel. I'd probably end up setting my house on fire.

8 November 2011 08:57
That Cowboy Guy said...
Thanks for the feedback, Grant! Here is the biggest challenge to adding interaction between players: If 4 people were playing, it would be extremely difficult—if not impossible—to interact with the player sitting across from you. You could give bad luggage to the player on either side of you, but not across from you.

I did come up with a list of special character cards that could do something similar to what you were suggesting:

The Thief: He can keep any suitcase he finds that matches his suitcase, but if he finds lost luggage, then he got caught.

The Pilot: He never loses luggage. If he finds a lost luggage tile, he simply puts it back and keeps on playing.

The VIP: They can keep on trying to find their luggage until they find it.
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Andreas Pelikan
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gedin wrote:
I'm worried you may be too much of a badass to design board games.


On a serious note, he's right. Well, I don't know whether you're badass, but the video is not suitable as a submission pitch. I bet the 'Not a real company name' joke is the moment someone in the conference will shout "Next!". Once you're ready for submission, keep it short and concise.

Ready for submission? When watching you guys play, it looks more like work rather than fun. While there are moments of joy and grief, you're too busy with your next luggage. You don't have time to express your feelings. All is wrapped into the single final moment, where one is happy and all others envy him.

Special abilities may be a spice, but be careful that additional rules really add additional fun. I can see an effect on trash-talk (shuddup, you nothing, I'm the VIP ...), but no real other benefit right now.

Please do play-test with kids, and watch their body-language. While it may be fun for adults, the primary target audience (as the marketing guys will see it) are kids, and you'll have to cater them. A boy snarling at his triumphing sister will look much more convincing than four well-behaved cowboy-guys.

The 'Lost luggage' tile is something I don't like as it is. In chaotic mode, who checks that I won't put it back (other than my well-behaved cowboy-guy's conscience)? What if those suit-cases are empty (instead of the frowny), and I 'may' keep it if I want, but it's only 1/2 point. Or maybe some suit-cases are randomly 'lost' (removed from play), and taking the empty one is a gamble: If my suitcase was really lost, the empty one scores 2, otherwise it scores -1.

Have a look at Zig-Zag, Mondo, Schwarz Rot Gelb and other grabbing games. Find the strong point of your game, and emphasize on it.

Just my two Euro-cents
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John Gibson
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Puschl wrote:
The 'Lost luggage' tile is something I don't like as it is. In chaotic mode, who checks that I won't put it back (other than my well-behaved cowboy-guy's conscience)? What if those suit-cases are empty (instead of the frowny), and I 'may' keep it if I want, but it's only 1/2 point. Or maybe some suit-cases are randomly 'lost' (removed from play), and taking the empty one is a gamble: If my suitcase was really lost, the empty one scores 2, otherwise it scores -1.

Have a look at Zig-Zag, Mondo, Schwarz Rot Gelb and other grabbing games. Find the strong point of your game, and emphasize on it.

Just my two Euro-cents


Hi Andreas,

Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. Your suggestion made me think of something else: What if instead of a frowny-face "Lost" suitcase, there was a empty "Wild Card" suitcase? In this scenario a matching suitcase is worth 1 point, but the wild card suitcase can be applied to any passenger--as long as the outside matches (plaid-to-plaid)--and is worth 2 points. So findig an empty suitcase could be very exciting.

Now it might be hard to make it fit theme-wise...but it is a thought.
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Andreas Pelikan
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gedin wrote:
In this scenario a matching suitcase is worth 1 point, but the wild card suitcase can be applied to any passenger--as long as the outside matches (plaid-to-plaid)--and is worth 2 points. So findig an empty suitcase could be very exciting.

Sounds interesting. Without complicating the rules, it adds a nice dilemma: If I find my own suitcase, do I keep it for a guaranteed 1 point, or do I put it back and keep on looking for the valuable wild-card? But I guess one bird in the hand is worth two in the bush ...

gedin wrote:
Now it might be hard to make it fit theme-wise...but it is a thought.

Maybe it's not empty, but instead is full of left socks. Everybody has lost dozens of left socks over time, and everybody has lost a suitcase eventually, so a suitcase full of left socks is likely to be your own long lost possession miraculously reappearing
 
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Nick Hayes
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gedin wrote:
Hasbro, Mattel or Milton Bradley? Of the Big Three, which one would be the best to approach first?

Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers were bought by Hasbro a long time ago. Right now the top three US mass market board game publishers are Hasbro, Mattel, and Spin Master, in that order. Your task isn't who to contact first, but how to contact them. These companies don't generally accept unsolicited inventions, so you'll have to figure out how to get your game to them in the first place.
 
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John Gibson
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[q="PuschlPlease do play-test with kids, and watch their body-language. While it may be fun for adults, the primary target audience (as the marketing guys will see it) are kids, and you'll have to cater them. A boy snarling at his triumphing sister will look much more convincing than four well-behaved cowboy-guys.[/q]

I am planning to make a video on Sunday of some kids playing the game for the first time. I am also going to make a shorter version of the demo--about 2 minutes--that will include the footage of the kids playing.
 
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John Gibson
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[q="Black CanyonYour task isn't who to contact first, but how to contact them. These companies don't generally accept unsolicited inventions, so you'll have to figure out how to get your game to them in the first place.[/q]

I might have an in...we will see... whistle
 
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Yours Truly,
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Waiting at a crowded baggage terminal a couple days ago, I remembered this game design. Definitely a unique theme cool Stuck in my head after 5 years, not bad...
 
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Hmmm, I came up with a luggage carousel game in around 2014 but my WIP thread seems to have been deleted from BGG. Lucky I kept an offline copy. I guess game designers look at the same processes in life and think up games based around them.
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