In last week's article, I talked about what is involved in designing a game. Now I want to continue the story of how a board game is made with the development stage, where a working game is polished to make it sparkle and shine. This step in the process can be informal and something a game designer does themselves as part of making their passion project a reality, or it can be handed over to a dedicated person, which is usually the case if a game is handed over to a publisher.
Msample wrote: A developer can make or break a game . At least on the wargame side of things, I think the lack of decent developers is the single biggest bottleneck in the game creation pipeline. There is no shortage of would be designers. and you can usually get people to playtest. But without a good, objective developer with some decent product management skills, it all goes to shit. I don't think they get nearly enough credit . I tried getting a developer line added to the entries on BGG but it fell on deaf ears. With very few exceptions, I don't trust any game with either a blank developer credit or one where the designer also served as developer.
Absolutely positively agree with every aspect of what is written here. The equivalent of a film without a director.
On a couple of occasions my group has played Kickstarter games that had an edge, had interesting play, and really made it feel like we were going somewhere cool. Then some strange thing would happen and the entire game would just fall off the table in a heap. We were stuck wondering how on Earth THAT was allowed to happen. A game called To Serve Man did that to us.
Game developers provide an important sanity check to the designer's desires, and I've heard two or three designers more or less admit that their developer had saved their bacon.