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Anonymous

[=darkblue]Hey Everyone,
I am doing DT GCSE and i am hoping to design a board game. My time limit is about a year from now, so i have quite a bit of time on my hands. I was hhoping that some of you king people would just post something on the basics of designing and making a board game: what i need to do it etc...
So Thanks Alot,
James

Anonymous
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Come on people, don't all jump at once...

hpox
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jwarrend
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Welcome to the group! I think that "how do I design a game?" is unfortunately a vague question that is a bit difficult to answer. Each of us has a process that works for us but wouldn't work for someone else, and each of us has differing ideas about what makes a game "good". It is here that I would suggest you begin your thinking -- identify first what kind of a game you're trying to create in the first place. I posted some thoughts on this subject in a thread that was a response to someone else's first game, here (scroll down to see my remarks...)

There was also a great chat recently about Design Reviews which, while not very helpful at answering "how do I get started", is a nice discussion on the elements that will be found in all "good" games.

And, as hpox mentioned, checking the archives, while a daunting task, is really a good way to start (and maybe at some point, one of us will come up with a thread with links to all of the articles related to "how do I get started?")

Basically, I think that to design games, you have to play a lot of games, so that should be your first goal -- learn about and play as many games as you can. Then, just dive in and start designing. Expect your early games to stink, but expect to learn a lot from them. *Don't*, no matter how much your friends seem to like your game, rush to try to "make money" off of your game. This is almost always going to end up being a mistake. Take your time, learn the craft, and in the end, you may make a few bucks, but more importantly, you'll become skilled and will be creating games that will enhance the time that people spend together. That is what games are all about. Best of luck on your journey!

-Jeff

Torrent
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I will add the following to Jeff's suggestion of 'Play alot', 'Read A Fair Amount" too. To this end I would recommend the following two sites. http://www.boardgamegeek.com and thegamesjournal.com BoardGameGeek (BGG) has listings for almost every board and card game in existance. It is a good place to see what has been done, which is good to know to not repeat the mistakes, and to get inspiration and ideas.
The GamesJournal Archive is where I would suggest spending some time. I specifically recommend an article by Wolfgang Kramer about what makes a game good, atleast in his opionion, but I agree with most of it. There is also an article Somewhere in the archives there about making a good game visually, I just can't find it.

So I guess I suggest learning as much as you can about games. This is certainly the reasoning behind the previous suggestion of Play, I'm just going a more cerebral route.

Andy

jwarrend
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Interesting; I'm inclined to agree with you, Andy, that reading a lot is a good way to learn a lot about designing, and I love the Kramer article you cited, but...for myself, that was not how my process worked. I basically just started playing and enjoying these "German" style games, and eventually I got a couple ideas to start working on games of my own. For the most part, they were anything but good, and anything but German, but I found it was useful to learn through a process of trial and error. What made me realize that they weren't "good" was to play a lot of game that were and notice the differences. In most cases, it was that my games included far too many "simulation"-based mechanics whereas the German games that I loved (Web of Power, Carcassonne) were clean and elegant.

So, while I think reading about design is a valid starting point, it wasn't where I started, and I don't think I'm the worse off for it; Kramer's article was very useful to me at the point where I had several games put together, and could use his article to evaluate my own games against the criteria he laid out. I think his article would indeed be a great read for a new designer, but on the other hand, I think that with the archives of this group, the Games Journal, spielfrieks, and the BoardGameGeek, it's very easy to get an "information overload", which I think will help more than it hurts.

I think the point, to Levi and the new designers, is that really, you can read about designing all the live-long day, but not much that's out there will likely make sense until you've got a couple of designs under your belt. Certainly, I would avoid reading anything that is about "how do I publish a game?" I think that you should just go for it, and try to put something together, then play it with your friends and family, or put it up here for discussion. By designing a few bad games, you'll learn what was bad about them for yourself, and that's a far better education than any of us, or any article, can give you. Go for it!

Torrent
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Yeah, I guess I am much more the Thinker than the Doer for alot of stuff. I am not much of an Innovator as a Tinker. I tend to want to know as much as possible about something, as much as to get the Bits of knowledge rolling about in my head as anything.

Levi: You might check out This Thread here on BGDF about Design Methodologies. There is some interesting discussion. Also, the initial post has a Link to an Article out on the Web about a Guy setting about designing a theoretical(??) board game. The author even comments later in the Thread.

That thread if anything is good to see how others do design, and that article is one such approach put into practice.

Andy

FastLearner
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I read a lot, and when I wanted to figure out how to design games I spent the first 3 months just reading, absorbing everything that I could. There's a ton of contradictory information and suggestions, and a wide variety of design methods hinted at, so I decided that it would be best (for the way my mind works) to absorb all the "data" that I could and let my brain then come up with a system that works for me.

So far I'm quite happy. If I was doing this for a living I think I'd be screwed because, currently anyway, I don't have new awesome ideas every single day, and though the tap really gushes when it gets flowing, I don't have the ability to turn it on at will.

-- Matthew

jwarrend
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FastLearner wrote:

So far I'm quite happy. If I was doing this for a living I think I'd be screwed because, currently anyway, I don't have new awesome ideas every single day,

My sense isn't that this is what separates a "professional designer" from an amateur. I think it's more about having time and access to playtesters. For example, Knizia, in an interview, said playtests every night. Now, even if you were going to work on ideas full time, your ability to crank out designs is "rate-limited" by the availability of people to test them, and while lots of gamers are happy to do this, I should think few would be willing to do it on a daily basis for free. That means multiple groups, and not all that many of us have access to several different groups (though again, being a published designer must help this...)

I also am not sure the market is lucrative enough to accomodate many full-time designers. No less of a designer than Alan Moon said he's making it as a full-time designer, but not by much, and to do so he's had to step outside his more typical niche of Eurogames. (Interestingly, I also read that "Oasis" would be the last Moon-Weissblum colloboration; I wonder if it's because sharing royalties is just too expensive when you're trying to make a living off of it).

Clearly, the best way to make money is to open a company. But, the caveat is, you need to throw a lot of money at the problem to get a lot back. Compare Uberplay, which seems to have an unlimited budget, to some of the smaller startups. Their games are just at a different level of quality, but it's obviously because they have so much money to spend.

I wonder how lucrative it is to open a game store. Probably the "web game store" format is becoming saturated, so maybe not that much.

Anyway, I agree that we're probably not going to make a living as designers, but hopefully, that isn't why we're doing this anyway...It would take a lot to convince me to self-publish just because the business aspects are so unappealing. And from that same interview with Knizia, it sounds like he spends a good portion of his day in meetings, and business stuff. Granted, they're meetings about games, so maybe it's fun after all. Who knows...

Pt314
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Glad to see you here. I hope you will find this forum friendly. :D

Anonymous
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Hi again...
Tnaks alot for all of your comments, they are all really really good....
DT GSE is Design and Technology General certificate of secondary education...as you may now, am only 15, and i have a budget of about £50 ($100) for my board game. I have had some general info about what it has to be like:
it has to look like a product prototype (*i am doing the product design)
There has to be a need for it in the public (for emample, it can't all be fun and games, it has to be educating aswell... )
And finally, it does not need to be totally original. So, i can have something like a city building game, or something simlar to a trivia game

The most important aspect of it is the packaging... I hope to explore what types of packaging i can use, what design of board etc...
~James~

It sounds like you are all experts in the subject, so perhaps yu can give me a few pointers!

Thanks for your help so far!!!!

Anonymous
My Ideas

As i said before, the actual hame does NOT need to be complete genious! While i was looking for research i came up with some posible game ideas (i hope)...the real problem here is to get a game that is not a complete copy of another, so no offence if i accidently 'thought up' your idea!
Right the first idea is a city building idea...in the project i have to produce a product using more than one material, so i thought this game would do this...
The aim is to build your city before the timer (made out of plastic, not card!) of one hour has run out. the board is split into four sections with a track going around the ouitside. The players go around the track earning different building and assembling them on there section of the board. To get a certain building, the players mist make their way to different points around the board. ie "the bank stop" or "the hospital stop". When they directly land on these points, the player must answer a question about a random subject. When they answer this correctly, they earn a building, and he first person to get all ,lets say, ten buildings before the hour time limit is up, wins!
So, what do you think? It doesn't matter if its a good or bad thought, because one of the aims of the project is to get positive AND (only a bit, please!) negatve feedback...
So post you comments...they will be greatly appreiciated!
~james~

zaiga
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Re: My Ideas

Levi wrote:
Right the first idea is a city building idea...in the project i have to produce a product using more than one material, so i thought this game would do this...

If I understand you correctly, your project is more about the game materials and making a goodlooking prototype than it is about making actually fun game system, right?

Quote:

The aim is to build your city before the timer (made out of plastic, not card!) of one hour has run out.the board is split into four sections with a track going around the ouitside. The players go around the track earning different building and assembling them on there section of the board. To get a certain building, the players mist make their way to different points around the board. ie "the bank stop" or "the hospital stop". When they directly land on these points, the player must answer a question about a random subject. When they answer this correctly, they earn a building, and he first person to get all ,lets say, ten buildings before the hour time limit is up, wins!

First of all, what use is the timer really? It seems a bit of an artificial way to end a game. What happens when the timer runs out and no-one has built 10 buildings yet? Why not just end the game when someone builds his tenth building? Or end the game when the timer runs out and then counting who has the most buildings?

If I understand it correctly this is just a variation of run-around-the -board-and-answer-trivia-questions, right? How does this tie in with the city-building theme? I would expect the questions to be at least about city building / urban planning?

What about this idea:
- Players move roll dice to move their pawn around the board, but instead of a one-way track around the board, the board is laid out as a city-plan and the pawns move over the streets. If a player moves his pawn over a crossroards, he may choose which direction to go. This gives a player some control over where their pawn ends up. To juice things up you could add some one-way streets and to add some player interaction you could add the rule that pawns may not be moved over spaces that are occupied by other pawns.
- There are twelve different building types: bank, mall, hospital, etc. There are three buildings of each type, one with 1 star, one with 2 stars and one with 3 stars. Each space on the board corresponds to one of the building types. When a player ends on a space he may choose whether he wants a 1 star, 2 star or 3 star question (in ascending order of difficulty). If he answers the question correctly he may take the building of the corresponding type and number of stars and put it on his "space" on the board. Of course, a player cannot take a building that has been previously built by another player.
- It would be nice if the category of the question has something to with the type of building. For example, you get a medical question when you land on a "hospital" space, a sports question when you end on a "stadium" space, etc.
- Perhaps it is a good idea if players may build just one building of each type.
- The game ends when a player has built 7 buildings. The player with the most points (=stars) wins the game. I would take out the timer.

Just some ideas to improve your original idea. Note that coming up with enough questions for a decent trivia game will take some time.

-René Wiersma

zaiga
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Off topic. Somehow the game looks as if it came from the game design showdown where the assignment was:

Theme: City building
Mechanics: roll-and-move, trivia

:wink:

-René Wiersma

Anonymous
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Thanks alot, and i mean alot!
Those are some really good sugestions, i was only putting in the timer to give the project a bigger variety of materials. I think the idea about the star system is realy great. I was already thinking about a rating on the building, but i didn't think of a way to put it all together...
I agree about the type of question. It should be about the genre that particular building is under. The only problem is that there will be so many tyoes of question. If there are, i need to think of a way of storing them all.
So anyway, Thanks alot for all of those wicked ideas!
Keep on posting!
~James~

Anonymous
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Hi again,
I was trying to find a good design for the board (the city game) and i came up with this:

As rene said earlir, the board will be set out as a city, but instead of blocks where players build their city being on the board, it is on a separtate plastic holster for the tower blocks and stars etc. This holder also has a barrier, so nobody can see each others buildings, and lets say, whenever somebody lands directly on someone else and roles a six, they get to take a building of their choice from that player!

So, keep the posts up!
J

DavemanUK
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less luck, more skill/knowledge

Levi wrote:
Hi again,
...and lets say, whenever somebody lands directly on someone else and roles a six, they get to take a building of their choice from that player!

Or, in keeping with your trivia theme, the player has to answer a question on civil law/criminology before they can take/steal another player's buildings :)

Also, instead of using dice for 'roll and move' you could use money to pay/bid for movement or Action Points (e.g. based on cards in hand) just to make the game a bit more skill/strategy based than luck based. This will also introduce more components for your 'different materials goal' :)

Best regards,
Dave W.
(also from London, UK)

Anonymous
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I like the idea about the law and order questions. Thats great! What i am not so sure about, is the stratergy. i want it to be much more like a fun, challenging (trivia) game, than a strat game.

Anonymous
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Hey, this is a list of posible buildings to use, and what questions are asociated with them....J.
Shopping Centre Fashion
Stadium Sports
Court Law
Bank Money
Hospital Health
Monument History
Museum Art
Theatre Culture
Government Office Politics
School Random
Church Religion
Laboratory Science

Anonymous
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jwarrend wrote:

I also am not sure the market is lucrative enough to accomodate many full-time designers. No less of a designer than Alan Moon said he's making it as a full-time designer, but not by much, and to do so he's had to step outside his more typical niche of Eurogames. (Interestingly, I also read that "Oasis" would be the last Moon-Weissblum colloboration; I wonder if it's because sharing royalties is just too expensive when you're trying to make a living off of it).

While I have nothing to say about the Moon-Weissblum collaboration issue, Alan actually made a boo-boo when he called Oasis the last one. We're releasing Employee of the Month in June and it is a Moon-Weissblum game. (It just went to the printer, actually... yay!)

Back on topic,
There are a few other full time designers but many of them are self-publishing so that's not quite the same thing (but still quite an accomplishment). In general one's games would have to be incredibly successful and one's output extremely prolific to generate sufficient royalties for a good standard of living as purely a game designer. Anyone who can do it deserves a round of applause.

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