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Newbie help

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MiyukiJN
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hello, i m a graphic design student. For our class this sem we have a board game assignment. i m very new to this board game design, i would like to know if i want to design a very nice and interesting board game what should i look at, what should i have to concern about the board game in order to attract people to play? Hopefully u guys will kind give me some suggestion. TQ

Kreitler
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Re: Newbie help

MiyukiJN wrote:
Hello, i m a graphic design student. For our class this sem we have a board game assignment. i m very new to this board game design, i would like to know if i want to design a very nice and interesting board game what should i look at, what should i have to concern about the board game in order to attract people to play? Hopefully u guys will kind give me some suggestion. TQ

Hi Miyu,

Welcome to the BGDF!
Your question is pretty broad. It's like asking, "Hi, I'm a new art student and I was wondering what I need to do to make beautiful art that people will enjoy?" There are too many answers.

What kind of game do you want to make? A board game? A card game? A dice game?

What mechanics do you want to use? Dexterity? Area control? Roll-and-move?

What will you use as a theme? Ruling ancient Rome? Competing in a fishing tournament? Collecting animals for a zoo?

If you're not sure how to answer any of these questions, try going to here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/

Look for the "Browse" option in the menu bar at the top of the page. Select "Browse -> Games -> By Mechanic". There, you'll see a list of common game mechanics. These should be linked into the game glossary and you'll be able to read about many different elements from which you can build a game. You'll also be able to browse to specific games that use these mechanics. By reading about the games themselves, you can start to get an idea of what you might like to make.

Once you have narrowed down your questions, come back here and post again and we can help you put the pieces you like together into a game.

Good luck!

Mark

Hedge-o-Matic
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Joined: 07/30/2008
Newbie help

Though I like the idea of game design in school (and have used this with my classes), it seems that most teachers assigning the task are completely unfamiliar with what game design actaully entails. It's sort of like assigning students to write an opera about a historical topic, but not giving them some background in poetry, music, voice, choreography, set designs, lighting, costume design, and theatrical direction and production.

While I'm not saying that designing a game is nearly the task creating an opera is (though it sometimes seems like it), my point is that game desing has a similar set of specialized topics, a background in which makes game design flow much more smoothly. We've been getting a steady stream of these posts, and I'd like to try to muster some sort of organized "start here" sort of response to point people to. The topic is huge, and we at BGDF are continually charging into the subject anew. But the problem isn't that we're repeating ourselves, it's that the subject is tremendously complex. There are some basic concepts a new designer will have to understand, starting with catagories of games, and the concept of game mechanics.

My advice would have to be:
1. Consider and choose a main catagory of game. These assignments tend to lead students down the question-and-answer route, which is far from the only (or best) way to go. See this link:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=game&sortby=category

2. Consider some of the main mechanics that have been used in the past:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/browser.php?itemtype=game&sortby=mechanic

3. Start simple. Games have hidden complexities that only show themselves during play.

A lot to consider, yes, but the subject is deeper than most think. Since you found us here at BGDF, you're obviously interested enough to give this a real try. Feel free to keep us in the loop as you start developing your game. We're always here to help! Manybe you'll get hooked, and stick around.

MiyukiJN
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Newbie help

Well sorry for not narrowing it....is was my first time hehe...
Ok i will use some of the advice here and try to come out with a theme or mechanics. One more question what kind of board games attracts the most ppl here?....thankx for the advice again....

Hedge-o-Matic
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Joined: 07/30/2008
Newbie help

Let's see. If I were to break down the preferences of the members here (which I'm about to do), I'd have to lump the game and design preferences of nearly everyone here into the following huge, vague catagories. These are not really catagories based on game mechanics, but rather based on how each relates to graphic design.

Themed adventure: This sort of boardgame has a relatively high amount of artwork on its components, such as the board itself, cards, the box and manual, and so on. There is little in such a game that isn't deocrated or enhanced with an illustration, and most modern examples require full color production. To make a playable version of such a game (from a graphic design point of view) is a tremendous challenge, given the amount of art and layout needed. Examples of this type would be Arkham Horror, Chill Blackmorn Manor, Doom, Talisman.

Abstract: This sort of game has far less need of artwork in the form of drawing or illustration assets, and the pieces are often geometric or (big surprise) abstract forms. The boards are also regular grids or tilings. the main reason for this is the need to clearly see relationships between the pieces during play in order to plan ahead. From a design point of view, elements such as color and form are huge factors in producing an effective abstract. A Chess set where the pieces are differently proportioned boxes in either bright red or pink is certainly useable, but would be a complete nightmare to actually use. The usability of the components, their shape, color and texture, combined with the dominant pallete of the game has a stronger impact on an abstract than on any other type of game. While such choices are relatively simple as an assignment, actually developing a playable abstract game is pretty difficult for inexperienced game designers. Well-known examples are Chess and Go. Examples of this sort of game you may not be as aware of are GIPF, Blockus, and Quarto.

Light Simulation and "Euro" game: This huge group contains anything from a wargame to a stock trading game. The artwork tends to be far less intricate that in an adventure game, but still more traditional 2d than is needed for an abstract. This sort of game can rely on color as much as artwork, and illustrations tend to be simpler, though still in full color. Game-wise, the goal is rarely to directly eliminate opponants, but rather to reach some goal first. From a design standpoint, such a game is your best bet. Simple artwork, combined with strong layout and 2d design work (on the board, cards, and whatnot) can easily make a game that makes others take a second look (even if the game itself turns out to be pretty weak). But this sort of title is hard to come up with without playing a few of them first. Modern examples of the type are Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride, while simpler presentations can be seen in Acquire and Clue.

Other types:
Trivia/Q&A: This is the sort most students who gat assigned these sorts of games seem to gravitate towards, and I'd advise against them for the sheer amount of work needed. Consider that any playable game would have to have far more questions than the average game requires, say three or four times as many, just in case. Now, that becomes a layout nightmare, unless the thought of generating hundreds of question cards interests you. From a design standpoint, that's a lot of text surrounded by relatively little. In short, a lot of work that isn't really relavant to your assignment (which is for a design class, after all). Look at Trivial Pursuit or any other trivia game to get an idea of the volume of work involved here. Teachers who steer their students in this direction aren't thinking things through very clearly.

Dexterity: This is any type of game that relies on stacking, moving, removing, building, grabbing, sorting, or any other physical acivity. Physically, a dexterity game can be as plain (or plainer) than an abstract game (look at Jenga), or slightly more elaborate (Villa Paletti). Some may argue these aren't strickly boardgames, but a graphic design teacher will more likely be drawn to a clever use of three-dimensional forms, and getting people to try the game for the first time is terribly easy.

All of these examples can be looked up here:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/
Be certain to look at the images for each game, since you're making this for a design class!

Hope this helps, addressing to question more as a graphic design that a game development point of view!

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