ondayWhile at Connecticon, I had a chance to talk with Jim Courtney of One Day Games. I’ve actually sat and played some of Jim’s prototypes in previous years, and this year he’s published his first game, Yo Momma Fight.

Alright! Let’s get this started with the basic questions:
1. Tell me a little about yourself 2. Tell me a little about One Day Games

1. Let’s see, I’m 33 years old, and have lived in Connecticut all of my life. I’ve been dabbling with game design since making play-by-email type wargames in high school, but didn’t make any “real” games until 2007. I’ve been on the staff of ConnectiCon since 2006. I’m pretty much a geek of all types (boardgaming, sci-fi, anime, videogaming, etc.) Gaming is the only area I’ve taken steps into making some kind of career out of, though I spend almost as much time writing and illustrating various comics, stories, and such that I’d like to publish at some point.

2. After a few years of making more and more playable games and testing them with friends and at conventions, I started looking into publishing some of them. I went with One Day Games as a company name, both because “one day they’ll be published” and because several of them went from initial idea to playable copy within the space of a day. In the past year I began the process of establishing ODG as a company and recently published one of my oldest and most popular games, “Yo Momma Fight!”, through thegamecrafter.com. In the next few months I’m planning to release my other games that’ve passed testing through TGC as well. Though I never really design with thoughts like “Can I sell this?” or “What market does this cover?” in mind, I think it won’t be long before I have something available for any gamer’s tastes.

Where do you get a majority of your inspiration from? When do you seem to come up with your best ideas?
Somewhere in the infinitely vast and diverse breadth of existence, there is a dimension of pure madness and nonsense. My neurologist has yet to find anything, but I’m convinced there’s a wormhole from that dimension that exits somewhere in my brain.
< Ideas I get for games come from a variety of sources. Sometimes I find items that seem like they could be components, and form the idea around them. Sometimes the idea forms around a game mechanic, or around a theme. Pretty much anything I watch, play, or read gives me at least one idea. I think once you start designing enough, you tend to involuntarily deconstruct things you encounter into their fundamental patterns and see the potential games lying therein.
It never fails that ideas, for games or otherwise, come to me either in the shower or when I’ve gone to bed but haven’t fallen asleep yet. Basically any time in which I can’t easily write the idea down. I often wonder if those ideas would stop coming if I got something glow-in-the-dark and waterproof that I could write on.
Some ideas also like to crop up when I’m trying to get work done on an older one. Then I’m torn on whether to keep working on the current idea, lest it never get done, or to work on the new one while it’s fresh and has the benefit of my full enthusiasm. The latter option usually wins, though I do come back around to every incomplete project eventually.
Before moving onto your first release, let’s talk about what you’ve got in the pipeline. Anything promising that’s close to release?
I’m redoing the artwork for my next most popular game, a western quickdraw game called “Blink And You’re Dead”, in which your character’s life flashes before his eyes, and each memory you play adds to abilities that determine your survival in the endgame. Once the art’s adjusted for the new format I’ll be publishing it via The Game Crafter.
My other ready-to-publish games only have minor tasks to complete before release. “Suicide Squirrels”, a game that is somewhat like Stratego with exploding rodents, just requires finding a way to make it with TGC’s components and printing sizes. “¡Nunca Más!”, a floating-control game of trying to maintain a psychiatric patient’s insanity, could be published very easy, it just hasn’t been a priority for me as a much newer game that hasn’t had the years of enthusiasm from testers that those others have. I’m also working with Jeff Sylvan of Apocoplay to make Suicide Squirrels available for online play.
Three other games that I may release soon are “Avarice” (one of my oldest, an homage to crime and espionage films), “Frankenzombie Hospital Wars” (in which rival hospitals attack each other with monsters made from the parts of patients they failed to save), and “Grave Robber Run” (a grave robbing game that requires collecting the most loot while avoiding unearthed zombies and vampires). They all had excellent testing feedback at ConnectiCon 2013, and hopefully only need a final round of testing.
There are several others I’m very excited about, including several made specifically for TGC as part of their contests, but as with the other 400-something complete designs I’m sitting on, they all require testing or creating a lot of (time-consuming) components/artwork.
Speaking of testing. How much did you do for your first published game, Yo Momma Fight?
Haha, far too much. It’s one of the few I’ve made that never had any bugs: it worked perfectly from the beginning, and other than it’s appearance, the game as it is now is identical to the way it was when I made it over 5 years ago. Everything’s a learning experience, though. I now know to “pass” a game after a certain amount of bug-free testing, or to do methodical, structured testing. Yo Momma Fight has over fifty people credited as playtesters. Some of that is the product of open testing, however, testing the game at parties and conventions rather than with a regular group or two of players. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, or that their repeated verification that the game works wasn’t valuable and appreciated, but it makes for a very long list in the back of the rules.
OK. Now tell me about the game!
It’s my second oldest completed game, but the first I’ve published. The gameplay is fast and simple, revolving around playing matching halves of Yo Momma jokes together, like “Yo Momma so fat…” and “..she got kicked out of Waist Watchers and sent to Waist Finders.”, though they’re all color coded to avoid any confusion. Successfully playing such a pair burns the chosen opponent on that type of insult (fat, ugly, old, poor, and stupid), and each type has an ability associated with it (like Fat allowing a hand size of 6 instead of 5), which is lost once burned. You lose if you’re burned on all five types. There are a few other elements to contend with, like cards that counter insults or that add additional effects to them, and endings that work for multiple beginnings.
The game supports two to five players, though I’m putting the finishing touches on “Yo Momma Fight! Blacktop Edition” (the currently available game is the Concrete Edition)… both are the same game, just with different insults (to keep things fresh), and both decks can be combined to support a game of up to ten players.
You’re publishing through The Game Crafter. Is there any chance of a Kickstarter for a self-published version in the future? Possibly shopping it to places like Game Salute?

The Game Crafter makes sense financially right now, but I’m still considering those other options for the future. They’re definitely top options for games that I can’t produce with TGC, like ones that require custom components or unusual print dimensions, and also a possibility for games that are proving popular. As for Yo Momma Fight, I’ll likely stick with TGC unless the demand for it ends up justifying producing it in large quantities. It’s a slightly more expensive game than I intended, but one of the few drawbacks of printing on demand is that you don’t save money by producing in bulk.
I’m actually considering crowdsourcing on a non-project-oriented site like FundAnything or GoFundMe to raise money for things like a drawing tablet or better graphics software, with commissioned artwork as incentives. Yo Momma Fight originally had no artwork, and the final version required less than a dozen pieces. Most of my designs require many more, some in the hundreds, so taking steps that help me to expedite the process and allow me to create higher quality images will make producing those games much easier.
Before we wrap this up. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers? Preferably in Haiku format?

Buy all of my games
Many tell me they are fun
If not blame Robert