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©2019 by To the Death! Games & Pastimes. 

  • Dakota Winslow

The End of an Era: How to move forward when you are already further than you ever thought you'd get

The Mort-A-Mania Print-n-Play Free Open Beta is entering into the home stretch. We are finalizing card names, setting rules into stone, and more or less wrapping up development. At every event we attend, the game gets more followers and a stronger response. The constructive criticisms we got that helped get the game to where it is now have tapered off, and our most frequent question now is, "When is it for sale?" (Actually, its "How much damage is that total?", but we are gamers, not mathematicians.) To put it succinctly, the game is mechanically done.

This, of course, is a very important stage of development; it is the part where we switch from developers to marketers, and change our focus from creating a game to selling it. We have to think about building a crowdfunding base. We have to plan a schedule of cons, meetups, and demo days to get the word out. We have to commission a lot of art, both for the game itself and for promotional materials. And, unlike most of our work prior to this, we have absolutely zero experience in the field.

Michael, Thomas, and myself, the three guys that compose To the Death! Games & Pastimes, have a lot of experience with games. Video games, role-playing games, board games - between the three of us, we have literally thousands of hours spent in-game. We know games. But web marketing? Not so much. Game demo video creation? Not really. The event circuit? Still pretty new to us. In short, we are now leaving familiar territory to venture into the vast unknown, a place where many have gone before us and few have succeeded. It is safe to say we are more than a little apprehensive.

This far in, the only danger is stopping. It can be very easy to look at what what we have done and say, "Wow! We have accomplished a lot, but we should take a break." We do this because we are tired, or because the fun part is over, or because we don't know what to do next. But, if we stop now, the game will never come to fruition. If we put it aside, even for a month, it will lose steam and never become what it was always destined to be. We have to push forward, even if we have absolutely no idea what we are doing or how to do it. Even if we have never done it before.

But there is good news for us yet -- we live in the information age. We don't have to go it alone. We have access to thousands of blog posts, web articles, and advice threads written by good people who have already traversed the treacherous trail and want to shed the shining light of experience on our path. Dozens of individually successful content creators, all helping to foster the community that, ultimately, gave them their success in the first place. With the combined power of their collected wisdom, we can move forward confidently in territory we have never before encountered.

This post, then, is dedicated to everyone in our shoes. Everyone who decided to go all the way with a project, even if it took them far beyond the limit of their experience and their comfort zone. If we can do it, so can you -- because if you are reading this, you are already halfway there! You are reading the blog of a tiny game company! Keep researching. Keep learning everything there is to know about the process. And most importantly, keep moving forward, even if you are further than you ever thought you would get.

And to everyone else, have no fear -- Mort-A-Mania is coming soon.

--Dakota Winslow