With the Micro Dojo campaign mostly wrapped up, many people (including myself) have asked what’s next for Prometheus Game Labs?
Before the start of the campaign I had plans that Micro Dojo would be the beginning of a future in game design rather than the ending. Whilst there are a lot of potential avenues to explore, I thought I’d share some of the key areas I’m considering (and you might just see a few hints for future projects in the article).
- Publishing more games
- Publishing games from other designers
- Licensing games to other publishers
- Designing games in partnership
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Publishing more games
Number one on my list is to design and publish more of my own games, as well as add-ons for existing games (first spoiler alert). The micro game format proved to be hugely popular, especially at a time when material and shipping prices are at an all time high. It is a challenge to make sustainable in the long term however, and I plan to produce both small and larger games in future. You can also expect future games to appeal to a similar audience, as my personal preference is for Euro and Worker-Placement style games.
I really like the project dashboards that both Stonemaier Games and Mindclash Games include in their monthly emails, showing how far along their current projects are and what their plans for the future are. Not only is it a nice way to keep backers up to date but it’s also a good way to keep me on track. Announcing plans (and progress) publicly means I can focus on completing the things that need doing, and I have thousands of you to keep me accountable by being able to see where projects are developing or stalling.
This kind of project dashboard is something I plan to incorporate in the monthly newsletter, so keep an eye out for some additional game reveals in next months newsletter:
Publishing games from other designers
Publishing games from other designers is another option for Prometheus Game Labs that allows me to leverage my experience in developing a game and fulfilling a campaign. It also frees up designers to focus their time on creating new designs. Bringing a game to life is hard work, and in the time spent planning and fulfilling the Micro Dojo campaign I likely could have created and tested several new games. Whilst I was certainly thinking of new game concepts and ideas during that period, nearly all of my attention was focused on the campaign which can make for a slow production cycle.
When considering games from other designers, they must fit a similar theme and style or at the very least appeal to fans of existing games. It also has to be a game that I am very excited about, to work as hard (if not harder) as I would to bring a game of my own to life. I see taking on another persons design as a lot of responsibility – their success as a designer rests on the publisher making their design a success after all.
Publishing games from other designers is certainly something that I am open to in future. I’m not actively pursuing it in the short term whilst I focus on launching the next steps of my own games.
Licensing games to other publishers
Licensing games to other publishers is a well-trodden path taken by designers that focus more exclusively on design, but also has a couple of other advantages I can see.
I mentioned above that games published by Prometheus Game Labs would follow a similar style and appeal to a similar audience. Part of the design process involves experimenting with other ideas, genres and mechanics, and I may find some exciting projects that don’t really fit the existing brand. This is where licensing games to publishers that fit their brand can allow us both to be more successful.
Another option, with the quality of Micro Dojo already proven, is producing a larger sized premium edition and utilising an existing publishers reach (both in audience and distribution chains) for a successful partnership. Plus the name Micro Dojo: Macro Edition has a nice ring to it don’t you think?
Designing games in partnership
Arguably a mixture of the previous three options, designing a game in partnership with another person or team is probably the most common approach in board game design.
Though it seemed Micro Dojo was almost an entirely solo endeavour, the Thank You section of the campaign page shows just how many people ended up contributing to it’s success. When you also count the feedback from playtesters, fans, and other designers, even a micro campaign takes inputs from literally hundreds of people.
I’m used to working on my own a lot, but I prefer to have other people to work with (especially when we have differing skillsets). I’m at my best when I’m engaging with people and, if for no other reason than keeping myself healthy and happy, I very much look forward to working with other designers on some future games.
My full time job, for nearly all of my working life, has been as a consultant. Being a consultant, particularly in security, has developed a lot of skills that transfer to board game design – from problem solving to project management. Consulting also lets me do some of the things I really love to do.
I love to share knowledge and to teach. I love to solve problems and create elegant solutions. I also love being able to communicate those ideas and inspire people. Finally, I love to help people create something.
One thing I would have found hugely valuable during the whole campaign for Micro Dojo was an expert in certain areas to check-in with on a regular basis. Whether to answer specific questions, or just as a way to keep things on track and generate new ideas, even a 1 hour session every couple of weeks would have let me focus my efforts in the right places and keep momentum going.
When the time comes to transition to board game design full-time, supporting other projects with consultations (either one-to-sessions, or through a structured toolkit and methodology) is something I plan to add on top of designing and publishing games.
Where Prometheus Game Labs will actually end up going in future could well differ from all of these, as new opportunities come and go, but I hope this post has given you an insight into my intentions. In the short term I’ll be working on more games that fit the existing mould set with Micro Dojo, so keep an eye on the blog and email updates for more announcements (you signed up to the mailing list, right?).