Matthew Hocker - Coo’ Games

Today we had a chat with Matthew about game design & his latest game “Bittersweet”, now live on Kickstarter

Matthew Hocker

“Get your rulebook in front of as many people as possible!! If you don't know people, find them!”

Mathew Hocker is the creator of “Composition” as well as “Bittersweet” which is on kickstarter right now. As a moderator on the

Break my Game discord, Mathew is one of the first game designers to have a real impact on me right at the beginning of my own journey when I was so naive and so impressionable. Mathew immediately stood out to me for going above and beyond in his quest for universal inclusiveness as well as his ability to provide concise criticism in a positive way. He is a big part of why Break My Games is my favorite discord group to play-test with. (did I mention they host scheduled play-testing sessions 7 days a week!) He also played a big role in helping me overcome some of my early obstacles. I have learned a lot from Mathew already and I am sure you will too.

How and why did your game design journey begin?

About 5 years ago I became interested in word games to the point that I was buying any I could find! I was eventually making house rules and re balancing certain word games and played certain ones like “Paperback” almost daily. Even more wild, I started attending Scrabble tournaments when they were available! I became invested in the idea of making my own word game, and began researching how to do just that.

What are you working on right now?
I'm wrapping up the solo mode for BitterSweet and managing a Kickstarter campaign! Outside of that I'm actively play-testing a cooperative deck builder about dogs going on an adventure and a super weird but fun modular/rondel inspired game involving frogs.

If you could go back. What is one piece of advice you would give to yourself?

Get your rulebook in front of as many people as possible!! If you don't know people, find them!

How do you prefer to playtest, what platforms do you use?

Tabletop Simulator. The ability to iterate is seamless and quick and it has become a powerful tool for managing multiple games at once with ease.

What are your future design goals?

I've had a desire to make a lightweight game with heavy asymmetry. Think ROOT but super quick and simple turns.

What would you say to someone who is considering running their own Kickstarter for the first time.

Like most things, get your pre-launch page in front of as many folks as possible for feedback! Additionally, the first 3 days are most important, so make sure you have a strong call-to-action for folks following you during that time. Finally, failure is perfectly okay and sometimes a boon. A kickstarter that doesn't make it means you likely have a greater pool of folks to support you when you relaunch. This ties back into those first 3 days where, the better your launch is, the better the kickstarter might do!

What has been the most difficult part of game design so far?

Losing conventions this last year due to COVID has been hard for me. As an indie publisher, public playtests offer valuable feedback but also double as a way to gauge interest from your audience and build your audience in general!

Have you ever collaborated with another designer and if so can you comment on that experience.

I haven't done a strict collaboration, but I do a lot of “think tank” sort of conversations with other designers and the ability to bounce ideas back and forth is invaluable!

What area of design do you think you don't spend enough time doing and why?

I need to read more game design books! I also really struggle with more mathy computations and graphic design. Game design really does encourage you to be a jack of all trades!

You can check out Matthews games at Coo’ Games and back “Bittersweet” here.

You can also follow Matthew on Twitter and if you’re a current or aspiring board game designer check out “Break my game”.

Bittersweet is on Kickstarter now!

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