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What is the Board Game Design Lab?

BGDF is partnered with the Board Game Design lab - an effort by BGDF user Gabe Barrett to create and curate regular content for game designers.

The Board Game Design Lab:

  • Curates articles from around the web, guiding users through the process of game design and publishing.
  • Publishes a podcast, with insightful interviews with industry veterans
  • BGDF is happy to have Gabe in our community, and his contributions to the site through BGDL.

    Take me back to the BGDL blogs!

    New Board Game Pieces - Hex Nut & Bolt

    The Game Crafter - Board Game Pieces - Hex Nut & Bolt

    We added Hex Nuts and Bolts to our Board Game Pieces Shop! These could work well in games where players are building structures, engines, or working with tools. We’re excited to see how designers incorporate these into their designs!

    Reducing chance in games that use single die rolls

    My recently-published design Hastings 1066, which well-known game reviewer Marco Arnaudo calls a “lunchtime wargame”, and which I call a successor to old-time microgames, reflects the amount of chance that occurs in a real battle: a lot. As with any historical battle game, simulating the chaos and chances of war is more or less the opposite of what gamers want as they explore generalship.

    Brief Notes from the designer of Hastings 1066

    Brief Notes from the designer about Hastings 1066

    The Battle of Hastings was the culmination of an unusual three-sided competition to be elected Edward the Confessor’s successor as King of England, with no chance of alliances, and each side the enemy of the other two. As is typical of most medieval and ancient conflicts, we have few close-to-contemporary sources, and little solid information. (Some historians like to sound much more certain than the evidence justifies.)

    Weather prevented William of Normandy from sailing to England where Harold II was waiting, while Harald Hardrada of Norway was able to land in the north and defeat the local English earls at the Battle of Fulford. Harold of England, more or less in possession of the kingship, marched north and surprised the Norwegians, resulting in a great slaughter (and the death of Hardrada) at great cost to the English. Harold’s force at Hastings may have been smaller than his force at Stamford Bridge.
    Meanwhile William had landed. A mystery is why Harold didn’t wait to gather additional forces (having left his archers behind). Instead he rushed down as rapidly as he could to fight William. William wasn’t doing anything, really, for example not attacking the heart of the country (London). Harold could have waited, but he was a brave man and experienced soldier. In the end, it cost him and his brothers their lives.

    I actually got the idea to make a small game about the battle when visiting the (supposed) site as a tourist.

    Hastings 1066 is the closest thing I know of to the microgames (such as Ogre (1977) and my Dragon Rage (1982)) that were so popular in the earlier years of the hobby. They were the least expensive type of wargame, simple, usually quick to play. Those were board games, but it’s impossible to persuade many people to buy a thin cardboard board and tiny pieces nowadays, so the clear alternative is to use cards.

    Cards inherently do not show the maneuver and geospatial relationships that are at the heart of any battle, but I devised a simple method to provide a board equivalent using the cards themselves.
    Ancient and medieval battles are inherently poor subjects for games if you stick with the reality, that the commander had little control over what happened once the battle began (still seen in many miniatures rules sets today). The initial version of Hastings reflected this. So to make a better game I ignored some reality, allowing the players to control all the units, making the battle more fluid so that the players had more influence.

    New Board Game Pieces - Atom Symbol, Oil Rig, and Radiation Mask

    The Game Crafter - Board Game Pieces - Atom Symbol, Oil Rig, and Radiation Mask Tokens

    We added Atom Symbol, Radiation Mask, and Oil Rig tokens to our Board Game Pieces Shop. The Atom Symbol has the same image on the front and back, but the Radiation Mask and the Oil Rig have different images on each side of the tokens.

    Full details at

    New Board Game Pieces - Metropolis Coins

    The Game Crafter - Board Game Pieces - Metropolis Coins

    Check out the new Metropolis Coins that we added to our Board Game Pieces Shop! They come in two denominations, (5 and 1), and the front and back sides of the coins are identical.

    Take a look at my card design and art

    Land and Wasteland Cards are Square Cards
    Resource Cards are the Mini Cards
    Framework Cards are the Tarot Sized Cards
    Action and Conflict Cards are the Normal Sized Game Cards

    Here is the Link:

    Let me know what Y'all Think!

    New Board Game Pieces - Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, and Polar Bear

    The Game Crafter - Board Game Pieces - Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, and Polar Bear

    We added the Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, and Polar Bear to our Board Game Pieces Shop! We'd like to thank our friends at Michigan Department of Natural Resources who helped with the design and who plan to use the bears in an upcoming game they're producing.

    Starting my own War of the Worlds game

    I can't exactly remember why I decided to try and make a War of the Worlds board game. I've scoured my memory to no avail.

    I'd certainly managed to play a few more board games lately - getting the odd night here and there off. The occasional four hours to play Gloomhaven, or the odd game of Pandemic Legacy Season one with my wife. I'm not sure that was the trigger though.

    Pricing Changes + New Bulk Discounts at 500 and 1000

    We’re happy to tell you about a host of new pricing changes. The ones we announce today are just the start of an overall larger change coming to The Game Crafter through-out the rest of this year. You can read the announcement below or you can see our blog post which also includes some photos.

    Bulk Pricing at 500 and 1000

    Starting today we are now offering new bulk prices for 500 and 1000 copies of a game on the following components:

    decks of cards
    custom etched dice
    custom printed dice

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    by Dr. Radut