Tuesday, January 22, 2013

In the field.

I decided to go out and do some research-type stuff.  I found a relatively new games store in town so I thought I'd go in and ask them a few questions.

The store is called Worthy Gaming and from what I gather, it used to be a professional painting service - a place for people to bring their various tabletop armies and have them painted very, very well.  In the past few months, they decided to take a leap and become an independent gaming store.  It's nice to have because it's not a Games Workshop.  GW is good and all, but as with most retail stores, it's very much in your face sales.  I'm familiar with it all because I work in retail myself, but it's just a bit too much.  If I wanted paint, I'd buy paint.  If I needed brushes, I'd buy brushes.  I realise it's all part of what they have to do in order to get their figure to where they need to be, but it's all in the delivery.  I went in a while ago to buy a model.  I knew which model it was but had to turn down several other (more expensive) models before getting to the one I wanted.  Each model came with lines such as "This one and this one will make a very unique piece in your army if you mix and match the bits," and "From your description, I'd say this is the one you're really after."  Fair enough to the former.  No it's not to the latter.  I just wanted to buy my little toy and get out and play with it.

Worthy Gaming, on the other hand, is an independent retailer.  They hold a range of games from the better known Warhammer to the maybe lesser known Malifaux and Infinity.  They also have a good few card games, too.  Because they have such a range, they are not very forceful with their sales.  They'll talk about the good points and bad points about your choices (if you ask for it) but they'll otherwise trust that you're going to be buying the things that you really need.  And that you'll come back for other things as and when you need them.

That's a completely different post about customer service and returning customers vs selling things now, but I really haven't got the time to be doing that.

I digress.

I went to Worthy Gaming with a big list of questions regarding art style, model quality, ease of play.  Basic questions and questions that were predictably paired - "Based on the models alone, which game would attract you most?"  Followed by "Based on the models alone, which game would least attract you?"  Basic questions, but things that I really needed to know in regards to the direction of my design.

I asked them which games they found easier to pick up, which games they found more suited to them in terms of rules and play, their preferred art direction, the best game for models.  Then I was asking them about the layout of the card games they hold.  Which ones were the easiest to play and why, which layout they preferred and why.

It was a really great experience and I learnt a fair bit.  I can use this to help direct my project by seeing what layout I should have the cards created with and the overall mechanics of the game.

Now, though, it's back to good old Maya and the hope that I can make something aesthetically pleasing but also usable.


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