Reading this article means you are interested in boardgames. My guess is you want to design your own boardgame and that’s awesome. But you have to know that it takes quite some determination, technicalities and failures but it’s not impossible and can be learnt; so let’s get on with it!
First you have to believe in everything. Boardgames are evolving – and the possibilities are limitless. You must say to yourself, ‘my design could be anything’.
There is someone who will adore your boardgame once it is designed so don’t worry about if people would like it just yet.
Second, you need to understand some mechanics of your game. (Mechanics is the term used to describe the way your game is being played). Here are a few you should know:
- Dice rolling: Using die or dices to play your game like the Ludo game or Chiyawa.
- Card Playing: This is when you play your game with card like the monopoly game or Whot
- Area control: This is when you are moving your piece on the board to control territories on the game board like Chess, Gbosi or The Battle of Adrica.
- Quiz: This is when you use questions to play a turn in the game. Example is So You Think you are Nigerian, Shockiloo and You are African when…
- Card building: This is when you play the game by placing card to build something out of it. Am not sure which game is so popular in Nigeria to describe this but you can google Super Rhinos, Hut Alive or Homia to get the picture.
- Trading: This is simply to trade resources with other players or the game. Monopoly and Oyyaa also fits into this category
- Solving questions or challenges: This is when any player gets a pattern or words or answers the game asks. Example of games like that are Scrabble (get the words and win), Ayo or Ncho or Mancala (get 2 or 3 stones in the hole to win).
This is just a few. Remember, the possibility is endless. There are literally more mechanics than listing every one of them beginning with every letter of the English alphabet. Also, always remember that a board game could be made up of a single mechanics or a combination of multiple mechanics.
Third, think about the purpose of the game. Okay, the word ‘purpose’ may sound deep and very serious…well you may want your game to stand for something. What would that be? A story, a tool to learn, a tool to raise awareness?
Think about it, Chess is mostly seen as a strategy game, as that is true, there is also a story telling component. The story of a battle between two kingdoms during the medieval time. How else could a religious clergy fight in a war, or a pawn who cross the enemy line knighted or the Queen craftiness during battle which allows her move around more than anyone on the board, the days of the Knighthood.
Always know the purpose of the game even if your customers do not. In time, they will or so, create their own story.
Make a sketch of your game continuously. Now, this is very important. Make a sketch of your game and always be ready to make additions or subtractions. You do not need to be a professional artist. Chances are you can draw a house or soccer ball. That is enough. I would advise you google images and try to make as best a sketch you can out of it.
Making a sketch of your game will also give you opportunities to play the game mentally. You would take the personas of your friends, enemies, and families to play the game.
I know it’s getting tricky but remember, it’s not an easy task else, everyone would be doing it.
Playtest. This is when you begin a conscious act of play testing your game. At this point, I would urge you to talk about boardgame to everyone around you. Let them see the excitement of playing boardgames in you. Remember they are potential players of your own game.
This deliberate action will allow you invite them for a playtest and request them to share feedbacks as the game go on. Be open to take those feedbacks as this could be very hard – for some people anyways!
The Playtesting isn’t over. After playing with people around you, you need to get it tested by people who don’t know you or know it is your game or get the service of professional play testers.
Make sure to come out with an edited rule book for your game after the playtest stage.
Designing: Once your game is stable and you are certain it is okay, look for a professional graphic designer. I would strongly suggest someone who have ideas about boardgames. This is one of the beautiful part especially if it is work well done. The colors and graphics would make you giggle a little! You will see!!!!
Production: Your game is done. But you want to produce it. Get it done and there you have your game.
This isn’t a simple DIY nevertheless, it’s still a DIY and possible. It’s not going to be easy but it’s totally worth it. Your game will bring people together and create memories.
So here it is. I hope you get to design your game soon. Check out other articles on the web and videos too. I am sure if you are determined enough, you most likely get the job done! Welcome to the board gaming designing world!