Co-inventors Boyi Yuan and David Lewis, pitching their board game, Can't Stop Shopping ("in progress," they say) recently started offering copies of their working prototypes for auciton on eBay, one auction at a time.
"It's like advance promotion, practically giving it away," says David. "But we're getting it out there. Heck some new products are handed out for free. We have avoided that route -- so far."
First buyer came from Baltimore. Other bids hail from the eastern section of the country. "No surprise to me," said David. "I've come to view east coasters as more amenable to board games. S.F. Bay Area gamers came be outright snotty to the idea of rolling dice."
Now, Cant Stop Shopping may face its biggest test so far, when and if it is played by an eBayer who purchased the most recently copy put up for bid.
David and Boyi are aiming to further fine-tune the game. "We have no idea how far it may go," says David. "You've got to subject a new game to different players."
A significant advance to how the game is played came after Alex Yaeger, of Mayfair games, who
responded favorably to the e-mail pitch he allows inventors without agents to make. He, too, expressed a concern over "the level of randomness" he sensed in the game, merely based upon a simple pitch.
"He was encouraging," says David. "He shared his qualms, though did not offer any speidific ideas for revsions."
Yuan and Lewis dug in and came up with a game-changing componenet, whic they call ACT-ON Coupons. This gives the player an option at each turn. He can either roll the dice or play a coupon.
"More action to the brain," says Boyi.
The ACT-ONs preiscribe many actions that give players numerous options at each turn for not just advancing their gorals but visiting others with harsh set backs.
They also encourage players to hamm it u-p.
The two inventors realize that, ultimately, mobile versions of even board games are whether the future lies.
But first, they want to make the game as engaging as they can.
"We may re-approach Mr. Yaeger," said David. "He encouraged us, and indicated an openness."