Reveal: a Game Design Story
From prototype to publication
Are you a budding designer? Do you have an idea of a game but not sure how what to do about it?
James Smith, the designer of Reveal talks us through the process which charts the development of Reveal from initial idea, to homemade prototype, to the 2017 UKGE, to the Shelves of Smyths Toys.
REVEAL DEVELOPMENT HISTORY TIMELINE
Game designers Bio
My name is James Smith and I am 47 Years old, I am married to Anna and have 3 children Ryan (20), Holly (18) and Millie (9). I live in a small village called Moulton which is in South Lincolnshire. I have worked in the civil Engineering industry my whole career alongside 10 years spent as a retain firefighter and am currently a Commercial Director for a civil engineering company specialising in the construction of large reinforced concrete structures. My experience in relation to board games has always been as a consumer and we, as a family, have always enjoyed the experience of getting around a table with a few nibbles/drinks to play a variety of board games.
Inspiration to create my board game
I seem to remember that the idea originally came to me one Christmas, several years ago, after either watching an old clip or just reminiscing about the old TV show ‘Name That Tune’, where contestants had to name a song just by listening to the initial note or notes. My idea for Reveal was a visual-word version that involved having to guess titles of songs, movies, TV shows and Quotes where the titles/quotes were partially hidden.
Early Development (Dec 2010 to Jan 2015)
I produced two rudimentary prototypes versions the first called Revelations (Dec. 2010) and the second Called Revealations (Dec. 2011) both were entirely handmade using stencils, glue, card, paper and pieces of wood. The second version had a new board layout and scoring system and is almost the same gameplay and scoring system as the final retail version available today.
The third prototype was basically an upgraded version of my second prototype but this time with a professionally made box, board, meeples and tokens, the cards were handmade along with a cardboard ‘revealing’ device.
All three of these early prototypes were play tested by just family and friends.
Later Development (Dec 2016 - June 2017)
Following my Dec 2016 Christmas break I decided that 2017 was going to be the year that I would seriously try and get Reveal(ations) published one way or another.
The next prototype that I produced was designed by me using a freeware graphics design package and manufactured by Board Games Maker in January 2017. This was my first attempt at producing a version that at least started to look like a game that a publisher would be able to take seriously. This version was used for play testing at Airecon 2017, booked through PlaytestUK, and for a play testing event that I organised at my local independent book shop in April 2017. In addition to this I sent a copy to an experienced toy/game playtester and blogger, The Brick Castle, who also offered me some feedback and advice on the game.
UK Games Expo 2017
Following Airecon 2017 and the playtesting event held in April 2017 I took on board all the feedback and with the help of a professional graphics designer I produced my fifth prototype version which I intended to showcase on my 6m2 starter stand at the 2017 UKGE. My 3 days at the UKGE were absolutely fantastic, from the friendliness and helpfulness of the UKGE staff on the Thursday night setup evening, to the press preview on the Friday morning (Emma Kennedy, Tatler Magazines Fun Editor, complimented me on Revealations), to the numerous show visitors who gave the game such a warm reception and finally to all the industry contacts I made who gave me such great advice and support. Reveal(ations) actually had some interest from both HASBRO and John Adams Toys who both thought the basic concept was great.
However a number of other contacts who I met at the show suggested that Paul lamond Games would be a good fit for Revealations. Immediately after the show, and whilst waiting to hear back from HASBRO and John Adams Toys I contacted Paul Lamond Games, sharing with them my board game idea and the great feedback I had received from the visitors at the Expo.
Reveal(ations) publishing deal with Paul Lamond June 2017
Richard Wells, Paul Lamond Games MD quickly got back in contact with me and asked for a meeting which I jumped at straight away. I visited Richard and we discussed the game which he felt would fit ideally within their range and within 2 weeks of the UK Games Expo I signed a publishing deal with Paul Lamond Games.
Reveal Launched at the 2018 UK Toy Fair in London
Following the signing of the publishing deal, Paul Lamond took Revealations through a development process, changing the name to Reveal and making some significant changes to the artwork, the gameplay however remained pretty much as the version shown at the UKGE.
Following the 2018 UK Toy Fair Smyths Toys decided to stock Reveal which went on sale to the general public mid August 2018 after an 8 year journey.