The Mayday Games Blog

Development Notes: Hold Your Breath

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Hello friends, Daniel Peterson here, Lead Developer for Mayday Games. The last six weeks of my life have been overwhelming. Death of a family dog that we had for over 10 years, a new dog. My Mother passed away and our son got married last Friday. We have endured the pain of loss and death, we have experienced great joy as our family has grown bigger. This has been my first holiday season at Mayday Games. I also manage the warehouse and I have had many long days of shipping these past few weeks. We have shipped the Black Friday Sale items, and we are still working on getting all the Kickstarter projects shipped out; Hold Your Breath, Chopstick Dexterity Mega Challlenge 3000, Coconuts Duo and now Dead Man's Draw. Viceroy, well Viceroy has been an amazing experience for us at Mayday Games. I wish I could thank all 5,887 backers personally. Because 5,887 people have put enough trust in Mayday Games, Viceroy will be published in English! Thank you all! I'm exhausted, but I am excited about the new games coming soon. It has been a reflective time for me and I have reconnected with many old friends in my life. I have also been reflecting on my experiences at Mayday Games. I got involved with Mayday Games because I am friends with Ryan Bruns. We would often play games at my house during his lunch break. At times he could not play games because he had to meet with some one to play demos for Mayday Games. I offered to play test for him and help him out with these demos, so we could get back to playing games on a regular basis. I am one of those people that learn best from reading the rule book. Ryan would ask me to read rule books of games that Mayday Games was either publishing or reviewing to publish. At this point I didn't care if Mayday Games valued my opinion or not. I would give my opinion and advice and recommend what I would do different and let Mayday Games determine if my feedback was valuable or not. One of the first games that I ever worked on was Hold Your Breath. Ryan Bruns asked me to review the rules. The feedback regarding the first draft, was generally about how the game was being presented. I learned a few things from being a musician, one of those things was to never lose an opportunity to tell someone the name of your band. I was surprised that in the Hold Your Breath rule book they wanted to call the game HYB instead of Hold Your Breath. I stressed the marketing and promotion opportunities to say Hold Your Breath over and over instead of HYB. I also recommended an Anchor Token to keep track of the lowest depth before players swam back to the surface. In my mind I pictured an 8mm wooden cube that matched the players meeple. The final product has an amazing wood cut token that looks like an anchor. My only contact with Mayday Games at this time was Ryan Bruns, I have not met Seth Hiatt yet and I did not know much about Mayday Games or their operation details or what was going on in the company. I was asked to review Hold Your Breath rule book again. It was improved but still not good in my opinion. I offered to rewrite the rule book. Ryan introduced me to Christopher Urinko one of the designer of Hold Your Breath. It took a few days to write the rule book. Christopher Urinko was excellent he answered all my questions and helped me learn the fine details of his game. I was proud of that rule book at the time, but as I look back at it now, it was not a good rule book. It was too wordy, redundant and had many other flaws. While I was writing the rule book I had a difficult time describing to players where to put their meeples during set up. "Place your pirate meeple near the top of the board but not on the board." I realized that if I create a Surface space on the game board, it would be much easier to explain the set up of Hold Your Breath. What I did not know is that the graphic designer was just days away from sending the files to the factory. The graphic designer already had a predetermined space and the rule book I submitted was severely chopped up and edited. I was not happy with the end result and I insisted that my name is not on the credits because I knew it could be better than it was. A year has come and gone. I'm glad that they did not publish the rule book for Hold Your Breath that I originally wrote. It had many flaws. I'm glad that some of my suggestions were added, the Anchor Token and the Surface Space. I'm glad that the graphic designer added parts of my rule book to the final rule book. Yes, the rule book could be better, but I think it is sufficient for players to learn how to play Hold Your Breath. The graphic designer did not remove my name from the credits. Most of all I'm glad that I got to work with Chrisopther Urinko and Daniel Jenkins. Hold Your Breath is a fun little game. I'm so grateful that I had the experience of working with creative people on this project. I would never be able to come up with a game as good as Hold Your Breath. I'm not nearly as creative as the designers that I get to work with. Hold Your Breath will always have a special place in my heart, it is the first game I had the privilege to work on. Daniel Peterson


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