Playing with form factor

When producing our works, a lot of games designers limit their ideas of how a game can be presented.  Most games fall somewhere on the normal book size scales. Sure there are differences, and you get the occasional, slightly funky-sized books, like In a Wicked Age or Annalise.

Form factor can be so much more than that. The original edition of Ribbon Drive was one of the most expensive experiments in terms of how much copies of the game ended up costing, but that DVD case with its CD and Booklet in it, really made the whole game an experience.

I have played around with form factor a lot with my games, I have whole games designed in really weird form factors just waiting for ways to figure out how to print them. But you don’t need to go that far to try out interesting things with the form of you game.

Inspired by Ryan Macklin’s Hit A Dude – which he originally gave out as business cards – I produced a game on a business card, but I took a step further. Using Moo’s ability to produce sets of business cards that had all different backs, I created “High School Drama”. This was a limited 50 card run, every single one has a completely unique character on the back of the game, and I still see people at conventions with their copies in their wallets.

But it didn’t just stop with doing the odd form factor, the fact that these were business cards allowed me to incorporate their intrinsic nature into the rules of the game, and so after completing a game, all of the players swap cards before going their separate ways.

I am doing another experiment again this year for Indiecon to keep up my tradition of raising money for Autistica . It’s slightly less out there, but I think its a fun form factor to produce a game in, and it certainly tested my ability to write the most detailed game I could with very restricted word counts. Hopefully I can sell a few copies to make a lot of money for a charity I really love.

What is it? you ask. Well you will just have to come to Indiecon to find out.

P.S. After Indiecon I will make a PDF of the game available for free on this blog, with a request that people chuck a donation at a charity of their choice if they like it.

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