Prototyping Community: A Brief Interview With Cory Goff
One of my favorite things about being part of the gaming community, is getting to playtest games in their early stages. There is nothing more exciting than watching as the idea for a game unfolds, and then getting to provide feedback to make the game the best it can be. As a playtester, this has often been an incredibly fun and enriching experience, but I have always wondered what it was like to be on the other side of the table, as the designer. It can’t be easy sharing your ideas, and opening yourself and your game to criticism, but it can also be an incredibly insightful and productive learning experience.
For this week’s Tuesday spotlight, I wanted to do a little something extra and give a peek at the designer’s side of the prototyping experience. As luck would have it, the designer of 7 & 7, Cory Goff, and I are both members of theSUPguild. For those who aren’t familiar, theSUPguild is a free prototyping/playtesting group, based out of FL, that anyone can join. It’s a great community to share your game, go to playtesting events, and get help from playtesters and other designers. Thanks to our connections through SUP, I was able to get a hold of Cory, and he was awesome enough to answer a few of my questions.
What made you join Sup Guild?
Cory: As a game designer, it was a no-brainer. Why not join theSUPguild? There are no negatives in doing so.
– It’s a great way to get improvement ideas
– Meet new and interesting people who share a common interest in gaming
– A great way to get constructive feedback
– Test your game in different ways
– Get an early peek at up-and-coming games
– It’s free
How was your overall prototyping experience? Specifically, what was it like with SUP?
Cory: My overall prototyping experience was wonderful. Each and every one of the staff members were super friendly. They treated me like a guest in their own home. None of the testers sugar-coated feedback and that’s what I wanted. I’m looking forward to doing it again in the future!
Do you think having a strong prototyping community is important, and why? Does it only benefit designers, or do you think it is just as important for players?
Cory: A strong prototyping community is very important. The individuals you have in your life may not be the best choice for testing. You want those who are going to take your game seriously early on. Having a group to test your prototype will also speed up your chances of getting to that polished game sooner. Of course the prototype community benefits designers, but it’s just as important for players. We all want to be a part of something. When that something is a hobby, it’s an even greater experience. To be tester is like watching a niece/nephew grow up. A prototype player’s involvement can help nourish that growth.
What was your favorite part of the prototyping process?
Cory: As silly as it may sound, my favorite part of the prototyping experience was watching testers play a game made of pieces of paper with writing on it. It had no artwork, the wording may have been incorrect, and not everything about the game was finalized, but there were people who were still willing to play it.
What was your favorite part of the design process?
Cory: My favorite part of the design process was coming up with ideas for the art. I love using my imagination. It’s a great feeling seeing it come to life. An even better feeling when people love the art.
What inspired you to create 7 & 7?
Cory: My inspiration for 7 & 7 actually came from the film Se7en, starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. I figured most things have an opposite, so I researched the opposite of the 7 deadly sins. After learning of the virtues, I thought that it would make a great theme for a game.
And that was my brief interview! Special thanks to Cory, for answering all of my questions. Now let’s dig into 7 & 7!
Are You Sinful? Or Are You Virtuous?
Most people are familiar with the seven deadly sins. They have been featured in movies, art, and a long time ago, there was a even a website where you could download sin themed items or your Sims. The seven virtues, on the other hand, aren’t as immersed in popular culture as their sinful counterparts. I think it’s because they come off as steeped in religion, or lacking in fun. Perhaps that is why the sins get all the air time. What I like about 7 & 7, is that it mixes things up. Instead of presenting players with just one side, it gives them both Good and Evil. And what’s better, is that players get to choose what side best suits their play style and strategy.
7 & 7 will accommodate 2 to 5 players and plays in 15 to 20 minutes. The goal of the game is to get a complete set of either sins or virtues. You do this by playing cards and using their abilities to your advantage. Most cards are dual faction– they have a sin and a virtue side. There are also three types of wildcards, as well as converter cards.
At the beginning of the game, each player is dealt 5 cards face down. Players may have a maximum of 7 cards in hand at any time. During a turn players may play a card, performing its active side ability, then draw a card. Players may also choose to draw three cards from the draw pile instead of playing a card on their turn. From there, play continues clockwise, until one player as gotten a full set of sins or virtues in their play area. Game end can also be triggered if the draw pile runs out. The winner is then determined by which player was the closest to completing their set.
This game is super simple to learn and to play. From all of the reviews I’ve read so far, this seems to be the consensus. Plus, I watched a short video going over game play, and I feel like I know the game well enough already to teach just from that. You can watch that video here, or check it out on the 7 & 7 Kickstarter campaign page.
What’s In The Box
A copy of 7 & 7 will include:
- 77 cards (11 unique cards, 7 copies of each)
- Telescoping game box
If you’d like to take an early look at the rulebook, you can check out the PDF here.
There is a nice range of levels for this campaign and nothing is too pricey either. The pledge levels range from $1 to $77 USD.
The two lowest levels are pretty standard for most game campaigns. You can simply pledge $1 to show your support, or as a step up from that, you can pledge $5, which will get you a high-resolution print & play. As much as I would prefer people backing to get a physical copy of a game, pledging for a really nice PNP is always an option I am in favor of. PNPs can be fun to make, and as far as PNPs go, this one would be a relatively easy endeavor.
If you want just a standard copy of the game you can pledge $18, and for $7 more you can get a signed copy. For $25, that’s a pretty good deal. Plus every pledge of $18 or over will get you all unlocked stretch goals as well. At $55 they are offering a collector’s edition, that will feature a special box cover and all of the cards will have an impression effect. If you’d like to see what those cards will look like, you can check that out here. It’s a pretty neat concept and will add some uniqueness to your copy.
The $65 level will get you 4 copies of the standard game. This is a good option for game stores, or for someone looking to give a game as a holiday gift this year. You can also save some money on shipping with this level. If you add up to 8 more copies of the game, at $12 each, you won’t have to pay any additional shipping costs. The last level will get you two signed copies of the game: one standard copy and one collector’s edition copy. You can get this for a pledge $77.
The goal for the campaign is $9000, and currently, there are three available stretch goals:
300 Backers: This will unlock the Capricious promo card.
$10,000: This will unlock jumbo reference cards.
$14, 500: This will unlock the upgraded game box.
Times Infinity Games
Times Infinity is an Orlando based game company run by Cory Goff and Alexandra Locklear. Their goal is to “bring comedy and fun to card gaming.”
I haven’t had a chance to work with Alexandra yet, but Cory has been just so helpful. Having Facebook messaged him out of the blue, I was pleasantly surprised by his warm response. Being new to blogging and networking in the game industry can be tough, and it is always nice when people are welcoming and are willing to help out. Cory took time out of his schedule to answer my questions and has been quick to respond to any clarifications I have needed.
I feel like in the future, anyone looking to work with Times Infinity will have a great experience, and I think the same will go for anyone who buys their games as well.
I think that this is going to be a good staple game for anyone’s collection. The game has seen a lot of solid playtesting, which I think is one of the most important things a game can have on its checklist. Unfortunately, there are a lot of games that just miss the mark, because they weren’t playtested enough, or the rules weren’t honed or edited enough. I think 7 & 7 will be able to avoid those downfalls.
The rulebook is polished, easy to read, and is filled with notes to help clarify specific aspects of the game. The last few pages of the rulebook also include a detailed look at all of the sins and virtues in the game, and it creates a really nice reference for players to look at. However, I do wish that reference cards were a standard feature in the game. The stretch goal for the reference cards is definitely achievable, so that solves that issue. I also like that there are some variant rules included as well. It gives the game some good alternatives to standard play. The team variant idea is something I’d really like to try out.
The art is another solid selling point. Each sin and virtue has a character that represents it. I love how well the characters take on the attributes of the sins and virtues they represent. They are well drawn, adorable and just plain cool. They would also do really well on a t-shirt or stickers. Just sayin’.
Overall, I think this is going to be one of those great games that will find its niche in between the larger, heavier games. The guys over at Just Got Played did a really nice review of the game, and Patrick Siebert referred to it as his, “…Love Letter killer.” I’m definitely inclined to agree with that. Not that I have any great dislike for Love Letter, but unless you have the re-themed sets, the game is kind of overdone at this point. A lot of really great quick games have been coming out lately, and I think 7 & 7 has earned its place on that list.
As I am writing this, the campaign is more than halfway funded and there are 15 days left to go. If you’d like to keep informed about the game and it’s progress, you can follow it them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Have any playtesting/prototyping experiences you’d like to share? Please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!