Just a quick update today.
I'm thinking of entering 2 contests on BoardGameGeek. The 2016 2 Player PnP (Print and Play) is taking submissions until May 5th and the 2016 Solitaire Print and Play contest that starts May 29th.
Print and Play means creating a PDF of the rules and any printable components and leaving the game pieces up to the player. Most PnPs are offered free because of this, but it could be a good way to build a community around the game and garner support for the finished product if/when it launches. It's an interesting and a little scary decision to leave your game open like that, but I think the benefits of community building outweigh the risks of potential lost sales. Free publicity is a good thing and building a reputation before an official launch is a fantastic opportunity.
I think Zookeeper can be modified to be a 2 player only game and keep the bluffing, deception, and second guessing element that I like about the game. In fact, it may work much better as a 2 player only game. It would really be a battle of wits to face off against just 1 person and the game would lose a lot of the randomness that occurs at higher player counts. It obviously limits the market though. Something to think about!
Solitaire games are an unusual beast. A lot of what makes playing a game fun is the people you play with and solitaire games completely eliminate that. Solo games also run the risk of getting stale or repetitive since you are playing against a fixed game system rather than other players. There are also passionate solo gamers and I can see the appeal from their side as well. Sometimes I just want to relax after a long day with a quick game but I don't always have someone to join me. I usually set up a two player game for Castles of Burgundy (a personal top 10) and unwind but having a dedicated solo game with a good set of decisions and a fun theme could take over!
I have an idea for a solo game based off some arcade game concepts that needs some fleshing out and I think this contest is the perfect place to test my skills.
I'm going to do it! It's the sort of jolt I need to continue working through mind blocks. Working under a deadline and having an established community weigh in with feedback, excitement, or disdain, will be invaluable.
Wish me luck!