The Dark Imp Blog

2023 Roundup

2023 Roundup

In traditional style, in this post I’m reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the next.Top highlights from 2023 Winning the inaugural Hasbro Women Innovators of Play challenge.  Signing 8 games to publishers: Laurence King Publishing x 2, Ginger Fox x 2,...

Dealing with rejection

Dealing with rejection

If you’re not getting rejections, you’re not pitching. Even if your game is the most innovative and brilliant design the world has ever seen, You will still get rejections. Here are a non-exhaustive list of reasons why publishers might reject your game (that’s nothing...

Can icons make or break your game?

Can icons make or break your game?

Icons wield incredible power in communicating complex messages about your game. By principle, the simpler your icon, the better. But achieving this can be a challenging task – especially if your game incorporates complex mechanisms. Just like the messages in games...

21 ways to make the most of playtesting

21 ways to make the most of playtesting

Playtesting can be difficult to arrange, so when you manage to get a prototype in front of people, how do you make the most of the opportunity? Here are 21 tips to help you prepare for your next playtest (featuring photos from recent playtests):1. Define your aim for...

Collector

Collector

Collector is a strategic pen and paper game for 2 players by Walter Joris. How to Play Draw a 6 x 6 grid on a piece of paper and randomly decide which player will start. Each player will need a different colour pen. On your turn, mark one box with a dot of your...

Are you a scuba diver or a snorkeller?

Are you a scuba diver or a snorkeller?

When listening to an interview with Obi Felton, who used to work at Google X, she described the moment when someone said to her: “You are just in the wrong job for you because there’s some people who are scuba divers, they love to go deep, and there’s some people who...

When to abandon a game you’ve designed

When to abandon a game you’ve designed

Not every game you make will be brilliant. But as designers, we are very invested in our own work and often find it hard to be objective. After pouring time and energy into a game design, it’s hard to say goodbye. So when is the right time to permanently abandon a...

Aggression: A pencil & paper area control game

Aggression: A pencil & paper area control game

Area control is one of my favourite board game mechanics. I love the visual spacial nature of these strategy games. From classics like El Grande and Carcassone to Through the Desert, Iwari and Imhotep, I can’t get enough of them. The most well known example is...

Making board game prototypes

Making board game prototypes

At any one time, I’m working on lots of games. At the time of writing, I have 5 in early design stages, 7 that are somewhere in the development-playtesting cycle and 30+ that I’m actively pitching. (I also have around 50 abandoned games that made it past initial...

Creating Language Independent Rules

Creating Language Independent Rules

I recently set myself the challenge of designing a game that could be taught entirely with language independent rules. I dived in with overconfidence, thinking I’d be done by lunchtime.  I settled on the game quickly - a simple roll & write. The game should be...

Why you shouldn’t avoid playtesting

Why you shouldn’t avoid playtesting

Love it or hate it, playtesting is an absolutely vital part of game development.  It’s tempting to sit in your room, polishing a game and trying to solve all the problems (and potential problems) before you ever put it in front of someone. But this is crazy. Games are...

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 3: The Follow Up)

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 3: The Follow Up)

This is the final part of a three-part blog. In Part 1: Before the Pitch, I talked about how to prepare for a big pitching event like Mojo Pitch. And in Part 2: The Pitch, I cover the pitch itself. You might find it useful to read those posts before this. Follow up...