How to design a board game
Designing a board game needs patience, experience and passion. It’s a rather complicated process, but very worthwhile.
The first thing you need to do in your game project is to figure out what your project will be. You can get great inspiration from a game you already play and enjoy and try to add or remove major game element. At this step, new perspective is crucial, so you should look at the existing elements much more critically.
Also, you can start with a real world theme or system you like, and build the board game around that. If you already have a specific theme in mind, it’s easier to determine what sort of gameplay you want. You would be clearer about how the players will be interacting with each other. If you got stuck in new elements, you can get clues from reference books, movies and other materials to get inspired.
Once you settled on your theme, you need to think what your game is about and how to play it. The ideas that first come to your mind may be rough, you can write them down and then think more to refine it.
After you understand what your game is about and how’s it played, you can make all the content. If you are developing the games like chess or checkers, it’ll come down to balancing and finalization of rules and pieces. On the other hand, if you are developing a content-heavy game like the movie game, this stage will require a lot of time and effort setting on what to base your content on.
To organize your game’s interactions, you need to make a list of all the potential interactions you come up with while working. It’s very important to iterate the rule set and don’t rush to finish it. It’s gonna take a while. Once you nail down the game mechanics, you need to understand game, make it look pretty and perfect it.
Designing and building your prototype is next step. Your prototype doesn’t need to look pretty. Remember your game may need major revisions, or get scrapped entirely. Therefore, it’s not necessary to take a long time to get them beautifully made. As long as it can be tested, it’s OK.
After your prototype is built, you are ready to move on the most crucial stage of development——play testing. The best way to run the playtest is to give the players the rule book and see how much trouble they have figuring everything out. It’s important to record your playtest sessions. Recording the session gives you a concrete record of everything happened, then you can take notes of what modifications you need to make. The next thing is to do an end-of-the-game questionnaire or discussion with players. You goal is to get a better understanding of everything that happened in the playtest stage. The final thing is to find a reliable board game publisher to bring your creativity into reality.
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