Guest Bio Jeff Tidball
Jeff is an award-winning game writer, designer, and producer, as well as the Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Games. His credits include co-writing (with Will Hindmarch) Eternal Lies for Trail of Cthulhu; designing Pieces of Eight, the Fantasy Flight Games edition of Horus Heresy, and the forthcoming Doctor Who Time Clash card game; and willing into existence (with Kenneth Hite) the social mini-game Band or Album.
The Prosperity Dimension™ 003: Show Notes
Jeff began making money as a gamer in college, and says now it’s easier for students for find mentors in the industry on the Internet. He says they should just start designing games immediately, because there’s no barrier to do this.
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to start (designing games).”
Starting to design games will also let you know if you actually like doing it, and you will receive critical feedback on your potential.
Jeff decided in Grade 7 that he was going to be a game designer. In the late 1990’s, it looked like the end of tabletop games and he looked for jobs that used the same skills as game design, where he could make money.
“Screenwriting seemed like a relatively clear path forward.”
He found that screenwriting was a tough industry to get into, but he credits the experience for teaching him how to pitch an idea very succinctly in a way that peaks interest and makes someone eager to know more.
The most important thing in a pitch is to strip away everything that is not essential to understand the idea and have the discipline not to talk about those things.
Jeff explains that a “log line” is a name for a one-sentence description of a film.
“That’s what I think is key; understanding that very central kernel of whatever it is that you’re trying to present.”
Your log line will be different depending who you’re pitching to and you shouldn’t feel constrained to use the same one every time.
He adds that if you don’t get at least some negative feedback on a first draft of your work, it’s usually a sign that the wrong people are looking at it.
The GUMSHOE System for board games, created by Robin Laws, is based on insight about roleplaying and investigative scenarios and has revolutionized the way games are played. Before its creation, many games had fatal flaws that prevented full enjoyment by the players.
Nicole adds that there are parallels in business, as companies often have a “fatal flaw” that no one is looking at or talking about.
Describing the concept of “gaming” to aliens, or people not familiar with the hobby, would be a difficult one! Most people in the hobby business call them “tabletop games” to distinguish them from apps and console games.
Jeff’s considers his Band or Album game to be a brand new one that is 10 years old. He and his partner used crowdfunding to make sure their production run was the right size.
“You can really make yourself unhappy if you pursue those things whose time is not yet”
Check out Band or Album, Jeff’s slow cook, crowdfunded project discussed on the show at www.bandoralbum.com
Keep the adventure going. Download a free chapter of The Prosperity Dimension at www.scifibiz.com.