1. Don’t remove components early on to save on cost. Yes, you want a streamlined game and you should keep that in mind throughout the development process. And yes, you want to keep costs down, but don’t skimp, especially early on. Your game is going to evolve and change through the playtesting and development phase. You will receive a ton of feedback and ideas of how things can be done. But just like artwork, this should be one of the last steps. (artwork should be the LAST step – although you may want to use clipart when testing with people you don’t know so that they have an easier time imagining the final product). Near the end of the project, look at your components and see if there is a way that they can be used in a less expensive manner. Do you have tokens that different items can be printed on both sides? Can you use cards to select actions other than a dial, without compromising the quality of play?
2. Last minute changes. I read this one a long time ago and then I did it anyway. Big mistake. Something that seems like a good idea may have an unintended consequence. If you don’t play-test it, you won’t know. The change I made right before printing seemed like a really simple adjustment. And then the situation came up where it created a problem. Then the FAQ posting, but how many people see those? AVOID making a last minute un-tested change.
3. Don’t be stuck on how things must be done. Keep an open mind. Listen to your play-testers and consider all of their ideas. You won’t use all of them of course (you won’t use all of yours either). But an idea that you dismiss could evolve into something really cool later on. On the other hand, you also have to stay focused. You will get a lot of information, suggestions and ideas. Some are not going to fit in with the theme or make the game play clunky or whatever. Ultimately, YOU will have to decide what stays and what goes in YOUR game.