Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interview with Trevor Cram of Touch Paper Press

12:37 PM by Mike · 0 comments
Trevor Cram, designer and hopefully soon-to-be publisher of Seeking the Gift, was kind enough to give us a little interview about himself, his company, and his games.

Can you tell us a little about how you got into game design?
I started designing games when I was a child.  It was never more than a creative outlet though, as I had no intention of playing them, or showing them to anyone.  There was no motive beyond the joy of creating.  It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I even considered designing professionally.

How did the idea for Seeking the Gift start? Can you walk us through the process from idea to actual game? What was your main objective or goal with the game?

About a year ago I began considering the best subject matter for a religious-themed game.  I wanted it to appeal to more people than such games usually do, and I hoped to use the game as a means of developing local support for our publishing efforts.  I spent time considering this and finally decided that "the 3 Wise Men" was both universally familiar, and contained the correct ingredients for a game. The early concept was a 3 player game with the working title 'We Three.'  However, the more I studied the subject, the more I realized that confining the number of wise men to three was an error, for more reasons than the historical inaccuracy.

The next step was conceptuallizing the presentation, as that too needed to appeal to a larger audience.  It was during our local convention, SaltCON, where I was discussing the idea of the game with other gamers, that I thought of using a rolling scroll as the board.  This was a large motivator for me to finally put pen to paper and bring the game to life.  It wasn't until this point that I finally approached the mechanical nature of the game, but now that I had mapped out a clear idea of who the game was for and what it was supposed to accomplish, I knew exactly which direction to move in; family-friendly, fast-paced, and light european mechanics.

Other than pledging, what can someone do to help you and the Kickstarter campaign be successful?

The best and easiest way to promote an idea is to talk about it, whether face-to-face or through social media.  Any mention on facebook, twitter, blog, etc. is very helpful, and we well know that finding the one right person can lead to much greater outcomes.

Can you tell us about Touch Paper Press, how it came to be, the games you’ve developed, how many people work for Touch Paper Press, etc.?

Touch Paper Press is a two-man show featuring yours truly and the creative genious of Joshua Butterfield.  We met at the BGDG (Board Game Designers Guild of Utah meeting) early last year and decided to collaborate on a game design, which became Ninja Family Picnic. We worked well together, complementing each other's personalities, and the experience was very enjoyable.  I had been looking for a partner to help me form a publishing empire and ultimately take over the world, and Josh fit the bill nicely.

Since combining our powers we've co-designed a handful of games, most of which are waiting on the shelf until we can afford artwork or manufacturing funds.  Some of the more complete games can be found on our website;

Do you collaborate with designers from outside of Touch Paper Press or do you take game design submissions from others?

I have collaborated with one other designer for a board game, but do to time constraints, the project fizzled.  Josh and I are also part of a larger group of collaborators working on a much bigger project *cue mystery sound.*  We aren't in any position to accept submissions, as we still have more games than we can produce, but we hope to get there at some point!

At the moment, what is your favorite game?
This question is always impossible for me...  although I like the way you've worded it.  Truth is, the game I am most attached to, and want to play, is the ones I'm working on.

What do you think would make for the best theme for an LDS game?
Hmmmm... Perhaps something to do with the Displacement / Gathering of a people? :)

Hopefully you enjoyed learning a little more about Trevor and his ventures in game design. Don't forget to look up his Seeking the Gift game on Kickstarter (here). They've only got 10 days to go to reach their goal. Pitch in and give them a hand. It would be great to see this game become a reality! I've added a widget to the blog here so that there is easy access to what is going on with his Kickstarter campaign.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Help Kickstart "Seeking the Gift"

Seeking the Gift is a new game coming this Christmastime from Touch Paper Press (here). The idea is to bring the gifts of the 3 Magi to the Savior. It looks like an interesting, fun, family game.

If you have never heard of Kickstarter (here), then let me explain it a little bit. If you have an idea, a product, whatever it might be, you can get set up on Kickstarter and market your idea, looking for people from around the world to invest in/pledge to you, sometimes referred to as "crowdsourcing." You can set up different levels of pledge, for example, with Seeking the Gift, if someone pledges $34, then they'll receive one copy of the game once it's produced. In addition to levels of pledges, you also set up a money goal and a deadline. If you meet the goal, then the money is transferred; if you don't meet your goal by the deadline, then everyone who pledged keeps their money.

I think that Kickstarter is a very cool way to get your projects off the ground and going. I wish Touch Paper Press a lot of success with their game, Seeking the Gift. If you find the game interesting and would like to contribute, you can pledge on Kickstarter (here).

Here's a video review of the prototype version of the game:

Friday, June 1, 2012

National Game Development Month

The month of June is National Game Development Month!! Here's the general idea from the website (here):

Have you always wanted to make a game?
Do you already make games, but feel stuck in a rut?
Have you tried to make games before, but have no idea where to start?
Do you like the energy of game jams, but want more time to actually finish your work?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should participate in National Game Development Month in June!

We're building a community of game makers who can encourage you to start and help you finish the game that's been dancing in your imagination for years. Come give it a try.

So, by the end of June I am going to have a pretty well finished game, and I'm going to do the best that I can to document the process, even though I am traveling and on vacation. I've always wanted to design a deck-building game (here's an explanation of what that kind of game entails), so that is where I am starting. I'm also pretty excited about The Book of Jer3miah (here) online web series, recently released by Deseret Book on DVD, so I am thinking that will serve as the theme for the game.

The plan right now is to give quick updates via Facebook, with weekly updates popping up here on the blog. I'll do my best to document my thought processes, the methods I use to test the ideas, etc. I am very interested in getting others involved as playtesters, and am not completely opposed to the idea of collaborating with someone on the design itself. That being said, if you have any inkling to contribute, please let me know. I would also love to hear from others who are interested in participating by designing their own games during the National Game Development Month.
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