Like many of you, I am a Mexican Train fan and love to play dominoes with my friends. My wife and I get together every Friday night with a few couples to socialize and enjoy the games. I should mention we are both retired and we also like to play card games like Hand and Foot from time to time.
One day my wife said to me "I wish we had something other than Mexican Train and Chickenfoot to play."
So with a mission in mind, I started writing down my thoughts on how to make a Domino game that would present a challenge and could be shortened or extended to accommodate early or late evenings as needed.
Given my passion for playing cards as well as dominoes and my desire to come up with a board game that could be played like Monopoly, the idea of being able to draw and discard tiles had began forming in my mind.
Since I was playing a game which has some properties like Monopoly, a board game, and of course Dominoes, like Mexican Train. I decided on calling the game "Board Dominoes".
As my thoughts came together, I began putting them down in a rule booklet and continued refining it each day.
I started out by designing an online version of the game since my background was in game design before I retired. This would become the first version of my online game.
With the online game completed, I began thinking about producing a physical game board.
The first prototypes were cut on a CNC machine using MDF. While this material is not practical for manufacture and bulk production, it would allow me to test the game rules as I observe their reactions of the players and revise the game throughout its development.
With the prototypes built and a set of rules in hand to begin testing, my wife and I and a few family members got together for the maiden trial.
The first game was a disaster for my son. He never got to start his train because he could not draw the starting double domino that my rules had specified.
And so it went, I would tweak the rules, invite friends over, observe the action and identify problem areas, rewrite and do it again until the game was refined and running smoothly.
Before long, my friends were anxiously awaiting an invitation to play again. It had become addicting.
Seeing the success of my game come to life, the idea began forming to see if I could publish the game and bring it to market.
My prototype was too heavy and costly to ship, so I needed to start over from scratch if I were to make the game available in any quantity.
But after many hours of researching game production and the caveats, I eventually found a game publisher and started creating the graphics for all of the parts I would need in a boxed game.
After contacting one of my business associates and close friend Phil Kimmel at Laser Magic in Apopka, Florida about making some plastic dominoes for me, he convinced me I should not include dominoes in the game since many people would already have sets of dominoes, but he showed me a new printing machine he was using in his business to print collegiate logos on almost any material. He explained that he could print my board graphics on white vinyl Naugahyde and create a first of its kind in board games. Instead of a hard fold out chip board, this board would be soft, light weight, flexible, and roll up for storage in a mailing tube, saving me money on shipping costs.
I provided Phil with the required graphic files and some prototypes were printed on the new material.
The new material was found to have additional advantages over traditional game boards in that the vinyl material tends to help keep the dominoes from sliding in the event a board was bumped and another benefit was that it would not scratch surfaces it is placed on.
After the first boards were printed and I went to pick them up, suggestions were made that my graphics might be a bit bland. He was being polite, but I had to agree. I would have to work on that. His suggestion was to make it more worldly... use a map or something similar for the background. The new artwork was completed and reviewed with friends and family.
Replacing the background was simple enough and I realized this process would afford me a way to customize the board for those who would be willing to pay for a specialty game.
I will let my backers tell me what ideas they have and the final production run may well change before we're through with this project.
So while my goal is still to produce a boxed game, complete with printed Chance Cards, Privacy Screens, Direction Tokens, and have it all packaged with the complete set of rules in its own graphic covered box, I now had the added capability to produce the game in different sizes to accommodate the various sizes of dominoes already on the market.
My board game would only contain the pieces needed to be used with an existing set of dominoes that most domino players would already have anyway.
But most game companies want you to purchase your game or parts in huge quantities which at this stage of the game is not feasible.
That is where this kickstarter project comes into play. In order to get the game off the ground and get it known, I need to be able to get the word out. By raising capital, I can start putting these into the hands of schools, clubs, churches, and other places where it will be seen and gain recognition.
I have already gotten requests from school teachers who have seen the game posted on Facebook, and think it will be a great teaching tool, so I would like to provide as many as I can to places like these.
Everyone I have invited over to play has wanted a game to take home with them, so I am confident the game will be a big hit with those who are already playing Domino games like Mexican Train and Chickenfoot.
So I am willing to provide my supporters with slightly stripped down versions of my game to get them into the hands of people like myself who like to play Mexican Train and other domino games. You will still be able to play with all the features that the production games will incorporate, but in some cases you may have to print some of the components on paper using your own printer or access an online web page during game play.
I consider word of mouth advertising the best way to get people interested, so kickstarter will help me achieve two of my goals, funding to get the project off the ground, and word of mouth advertising from those who have had the opportunity to play it.
The stripped down versions will not have the optional chance cards, direction token, or the player privacy screens packaged in them and a mailing tube will be substituted for a fancy color graphic retail box, but the basic game still can be played without those components. And if you're willing to print some of the parts on your own printer, I have templates to help with that and you will get access to online chance cards, scoring, and other options to make the game even more enjoyable.
The important thing for me is to be able to introduce my concepts to the gaming community and provide hours of fun for those like minded individuals, as well as stimulate the minds of those who play the game.
My primary goal is to obtain enough raw material to create at least 200 of these games and have them available in time for Christmas this year.
Even in smaller bulk quantities, it still costs over $20 for the raw material for one game and that does not include shipping costs.
The more money I can raise, the more places I can get them into the hands of people who will want to play this very exciting game of skill and chance. And I am convinced that once the game is played, others will want their own copy.
You can help me accomplish my two goals. A small donation will be rewarded with an opportunity to obtain and play my game and see for yourself why this game is so much fun to play. By spreading the news, your word of mouth advertising will continue to grow my business and allow me to produce more games like this and provide hours of fun for other domino affeciendoes.
I have setup a website at http://flashsolutions.us/BoardDominoes with a blog to keep my backers up to date as this project moves forward. Be sure to stop by and check it out. Here you will also find a members only section for my backers which will contain free uploads of my online board game and other items related to the physical game.
To view a 10 minute demonstration of the online game, please watch the youtube video below:
Risks and challenges
The challenges for me that lie ahead are primarily in obtaining raw materials needed for the game production, printing and cutting of the various pieces used in game play and getting the vinyl pre cut to sizes that fit the printing machines, and then trimming the pieces to exact size after they have been printed.
I will be doing this from a small shop at my home with the help from my wife, so we need to keep the initial production count low until we can afford to farm out the work to a bigger game company, so the challenge here for us is the amount of time it will require to pull all of this together while we communicate with our backers etc.
The graphics for all of the elements have already been completed and sent out to be proofed. Most of the other pieces used in the game can be produced by a game manufacturer and in order to keep the cost down, must be ordered in larger quantities, hence the need for this kickstarter.
Although I will be at the mercy of the two companies who will be printing the materials and the lead times they will need as well as any priorities of their own, I don't anticipate this becoming a problem.
I believe the worst case scenario is that I would not be able meet the Christmas deadline and have to delay shipment till after Christmas.
Should either of my suppliers not be able to meet their commitments, however, there are many others who I can contact to get the job done. I have the capacity to print and cut everything except the vinyl. If I had to, I could produce the chipboard versions myself, but I don't believe that will be necessary.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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