Any Other Name – a tender seedling

Evolution of a concept

As I discussed in my last post, the original concept for this game was just to be a bit silly. I found that I actually really liked it, though, and decided to pursue it and see if it wanted to become one of our games.

The first thing to remove was the reference to “pansies” as a catch-all, because while it’s funny as a family in-joke, the word “pansy” is of course a pejorative. We have no interest in anything that can cause harm, even accidentally, so while I have kept the overall concept (this is not a pansy because…), I have removed it as a central part of the gameplay.

The second thing I needed to incorporate was roses – the quote from which “any other name” comes is of course about roses, so there need to be some in the game, ideally prominently. So I added them as the prizes by which the victory will be calculated.

Before testing the game IRL, I played many versions in my head. I refined it, changed the style of play and the card designs, and of course, I drew. The best way for my brain to work is to distract it, so while the mechanics were running underneath, on the surface, I was drawing. My ideas sometimes don’t survive if I let other people get to them too quickly, or if I force them into physical form too soon – the number of revisions makes me lose interest.

A new art style

I have resisted changing my style for many years – I find that the interference of tools that make the job too easy also take away a lot of what makes art special. Basic digital art in particular is so easy to do with so little skill that I have been loathe to learn the programmes in case they make me lazy, in the same way as typing has ruined my handwriting. I have noticed that happening even just since I moved from paper and scanner to drawing directly on my tablet screen.

An older pen drawing of a dandelion, reworked digitally for The Valley

But as I became familiar with more aspects of game design and the expectations of my contemporaries, I decided that I would make the best of things and teach myself to use Inkscape, GIMP, and a few other applications so that I was able to do more of the technical work myself. I chose Inkscape as the system to use for this project so that I could become more proficient working with vectors, and it has certainly worked out that way – although it has meant some re-work on my earliest pieces…

While my brain was chewing away at the rules and how to make the game work, I have drawn 15 of the first pack of 18 flowers, so I decided it was time to print them out and do a rough play-test. In order to do that, I needed a draft ruleset, so I wrote them up as they currently stood, and we tested them. Although there were some tweaks to be made, overall, they are a good set of rules for a simple family game, so I am pretty happy with them. I will cover them in the next post.

Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

%d bloggers like this: