A fleeting mental image of combat medics criss-crossing a battlefield picking up wounded soldiers; the urgency and the humanity of it drew me in. It was December 2019, it was cold outside, and I was looking for a creative outlet. That's how Medic! got its start.
Over the next week I wrote the first draft of the rules and cards. As a fan of Euro-style cooperative games, that's the mold in which the game began to take shape. While I've read a number of recommendations that say the artwork doesn't matter early on and all the focus should be on play testing the mechanics - and in general, I agree - I wanted at least some art to help with quick card identification and to give the game a more invested feel from the outset. I decided to go with silhouettes because they provide great visual information without presupposing the style of the game art to come.
The first game board was nothing more than printed hexes and counters glued to a piece of cardboard. For pieces I scrounged up meeple and dice from other games, though I didn't have a d10 so I purchase one from the local game store here in Alexandria. And then the solo play testing began. I quickly adjusted a number of rules, which I'll go over in a future post, and as the game took shape and felt like it had potential, I began to consider next steps including looking at game conferences. That's how I found Protospiel Minnesota.
Protospiel MN, like other Protospiels, is a game conference entirely focused on play testing prototypes. It's a game designer's paradise. Even though Medic! was still in its infancy and the conference was just a couple weeks away (January 24 - 26), I knew a) I needed to get better plugged in to the board game design scene and b) I would benefit from a deadline. I signed up as a designer and got busy making the game playable! I don't regret my decision. Protospiel provided a welcoming community, the opportunity to test other people's games, play testing for Medic!, and wonderfully constructive feedback. The overall positive reception of the game gave me the impetus to move forward. When the last group to play - who had just lost the game - said they'd enjoy playing again sometime to see if they could win, I realized Medic! might just have a future.
There's a long way to go and the Protospiel audience is unique in that they expect the games they play there to be rough. There's a good deal of distance between a positive reception at Protospiel and a viable, crowd-fundable board game. And that's what this development journal is about: the journey from idea to, hopefully, a successful crowd-funding campaign.
If you'd like to keep up with Medic! development and be notified when it launches on Kickstarter, sign up for the mailing list on the home page. I personally disdain a noisy inbox, so I'll be measured in the e-mails I send. I promise!