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Board Game Design Software?

18 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/01/2008

I am starting to design a board game... However, I was wondering if there was any design programs/software that are good to use to design a board game. Any ideas?

Meddler's picture
Joined: 08/05/2008
If your game includes cards

If your game includes cards or tokens I'd recommend giving Nandeck a look - it's a pretty flexible tool for customised card (or similar item) design. The learning curve's a little steep at first glance but if you simply download some of the example decks on the site it's surprisingly easy to get into I found.

Can't comment r.e. board design or other elements, interested to see if anyone else has any good suggestions in that regard - I've just been using GIMP or Excel/Powerpoint (for the rougher prototyping) myself.

clearclaw's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Design software

Nandeck has the disadvantage oif being Windows-only.

Few of my games feature cards. For those that do I either use a simply lable printing application or a spreadsheet.

Products I use extensively in developing/designing games: TeX/LyX, Inkscape, yEd, spreadsheet, Gimp.

magic_user's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Nandeck works on Linux.

I beg your pardon, but Nandeck works fine on Linux, at least with Ubuntu. I have tested all my decks on Windows and Linux. The author of the program told me how to install the Windows fonts, and after that everything worked fine.

clearclaw's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
Still not platform portable

Running under WINE, a Windows-emulator, does not make a product cross-platform.

There are also other OS choices than Windows, OSX and Linux.

Joined: 08/11/2008
It's not free, but it's a

It's not free, but it's a great package if you're making maps and such:

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
And my Nandeck-inspired

And my Nandeck-inspired (cross-platform) add-on to Inkscape for creating cards/counters/tiles by combining parts drawn in Inkscape with values found in a spreadsheet document:

(Also includes a hexgrid generator for Inkscape.)

The idea is that you can use the excellent editor Inkscape to draw all the parts you need WYSIWYG-style, but then have all the values and texts and how many of each card/counter to produce etc in the spreadsheet where it is much easier to edit.

Joined: 10/02/2008
clearclaw wrote:Running under

clearclaw wrote:
Running under WINE, a Windows-emulator, does not make a product cross-platform.

There are also other OS choices than Windows, OSX and Linux.

What do you run, Clearclaw? BeOS? FreeBSD? I'm genuinely curious.

I have limited experience working with anything other than simple office suites and image editors to make my prototype games. Of course, I rarely put the effort into them to make them publisher-quality; they're always a little rough.

The Magician
Joined: 12/23/2008
Map generator

A friend of mine created this website where you can create your own custum world map. I imidiately thought to link it here because it could be of great use to game designers (board game, and digital).

I would love your feedback about the tool so I can relay the feedback to my friend.

Joined: 11/16/2016

I created

You can create, play, and share board games online for free.

Rick-Holzgrafe's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008

For macOS (only), my product Multideck serves the same purpose as NanDeck: easily create custom decks of cards, tiles, and such. See for more info.

Jay103's picture
Joined: 01/23/2018
Wow, a 10-year thread

Wow, a 10-year thread resurrection!

Joined: 04/02/2018
Well, it deserves a plug, so

Well, it deserves a plug, so I can recommend the game crafter’s — its subscription based, so keep that in mind. I pay$5 a month.

It is a cloud based program that renders cards from spreadsheets and it pretty powerful once you get used to it. The support is excellent and its much easier to learn than other editors, in my opinion.

It can produce some pretty good looking prototypes very quickly.

pelle's picture
Joined: 08/11/2008
Since this thread was

Since this thread was resurrected and I have not posted in it since 2008(!) AND since my Inkscape extension was updated as late as last night, I would like to take the opportunity to mention this post on bgg that you might enjoy as a quick introduction to how it works (with some images of spreadsheets and resulting output, as well as links to all the files:

The example is for wargame counters, but you can do cards as well, and there are also a bunch of card templates being included for the next release (there was always a few examples, but there are many more now, so you have something to start from for if or just inspiration). A card is just a big flat (usually one-sided) counter really.

The extension has come a long way since 2008, and also since Inkscape has been improved with many new versions since then I am happy to have built on top of that instead of trying to make my own graphics editor that some of the other tools try to do.

Hope that one post every 11 years is not considered too spammy. :) Would be very useful to get some feedback on the latest version if someone dares to try it as I might have some unknown bugs to fix before making the next release (2.2).

Also I have this design tool also from about 11 years ago that I think is worth mentioning (that is also an extension for Inkscape):

bottercot's picture
Joined: 02/06/2018

If you're looking for a cheap way to print up a bunch of cards and stuff, Microsoft Powerpoint is surprisingly good!
It is obviously not the program to use for final design, but if you want to quickly make a prototype to test out your mechanics, Powerpoint is the easiest option, in my opinion and experience.
You can literally design your cards any way, any size, and any style, using any font or coloring. As well, some basic boards can be made on the program, though the size is usually limited to a page.

The Game Crafter
The Game Crafter's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
Component Studio

We think that Component.Studio is the best one out there. But we're also biased because our team created it and actively releases new features for it! However, it is becoming wildly popular with our users from The Game Crafter community.

There are a ton of videos on youtube (see that show how it works and what you can do with it. The best part is that when you're done designing you can easily export to The Game Crafter and we are able to print/ship you a tangible copy without any hassle. :)

None: NANdeck also has a feature to export to The Game Crafter.

Joined: 05/15/2009
Battlegrounds Gaming Engine

Battlegrounds Gaming Engine (aka BGE) is good for creating digital prototypes of games and playtesting them online with willing testers anywhere in the world. No programming/scripting involved.

Be sure to check out the tutorials on YouTube that walk you through the entire process of porting a game and preparing it for distribution.

Joined: 06/09/2017 not just for
not just for digital but a useful place to get, well, game icons. they aren't all AAA quality but they are free, (even if you want to add them to your "proper" game) and can be just the thing if you need a simple symbol for your prototype.

ninjaneer's picture
Joined: 03/11/2013
Card Editor, open-source software for Windows

If you're working on a Windows computer, you could use my own project Card Editor. It's free and open-source. I've released v1.4.0 earlier this week.

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