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Hey everyone. New game designer here with questions.

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/02/2014

Hello Board Game designers. I am new user here on the forums, and I am new to board game design. In my real life I am a full time management student, but in my spare time I am working on a game with a few of my friends. We came up with an idea for a competitive multiplayer game with Co-op elements about a month ago, and we have been making a lot of the game (We hope to start some test runs soon just to see if the game idea works or not).

The big reason I am on these forums is to ask a few questions. While I am new to bored game design, I used to work on video games back in high school so I have a lot of experience balancing and creating characters. My team’s talents fill in a lot of the gaps, so the actual design of the game has been fun and easy so far. The big issue is, we have no artistic talent on this team. I’m on here to look for suggestions on what could be the best way to try and deal with this issue. While an artist isn’t mandatory for early stages of a game, it’s still something we need to think about should our game design come together.

Obviously, we have no money to hire an artist, and this is just a passion project, but that’s how most things start out. I will talk about the game ideas more as time goes along (And more things get figured out) but this artist question is just something that I have been wondering about for a while.

Joined: 03/27/2014
In the prototype phases,

In the prototype phases, Google Image search is your best friend for art.

For symbols, numbers, and iconography, just draw it by pen right on the materials. It'll look shoddy, but it gets you to the most important phase much sooner: play-testing!!

My last two games went to play-test with hand-written cards, and even some hand-written labels stuck onto blank dice. No shame in cheap proto materials.

Joined: 09/02/2014
Thanks, That's what I was

Thanks, That's what I was planning on doing for now. We have a lot of odds and ends we will have to write and mark for dice and cards. I guess as long as it's all readable it will work for the proto phase haha.

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
Word son

Microsoft Word can be extremely helpful. I've created cards for playtesting in under two hours, ran to the nearest office outlet to print them out, got home, cut them out and started playing right after.

Things that have helped me specifically on Word are Grouping, Selection Pane (under Drawing Tools), 3-D shapes (shapes in general), and Gradient fill (it just makes cards look less blah)

If you'd like to see an example you can check out my Card Workshop thread.

Good luck


knightshade's picture
Joined: 02/08/2013
deviant art

Could always find someone on DA that's in need of work, just contract out the art for the whole game over X months for Y dollars paid in Z # of payments.

... you can still play test while it's going on.. If that helps.

Otherwise.. Some of the best games have simple art. Hive comes to mind right away. But that's a pure strategy game.
There's a game on TGC called 'Galapagos' with simple art that looks beautiful.

I believe it's the presentation and ease of use more than anything. Mediocre art can't hide a great game, as well, Great art can't hide a mediocre game.

Joined: 09/02/2014
Thank you for the suggestion.

Thank you for the suggestion. I didn't know about the Word grouping idea, I will have to give that a look. Anything to make the proto phase easier will make my life better haha.

Joined: 09/02/2014
Ya, the art doesnt make the

Ya, the art doesnt make the game, but we all know that presentation counts for something. Hopefully we find out that they system works well enough that we want to pursue something like hiring out a contract (Which is possible).

What did you mean by DA though?

Some Random Dude
Joined: 01/30/2014
DA = Deviant Art (he put it

DA = Deviant Art (he put it in the subject line which is why you missed it). Deviant Art is a website for artists to put up a collection of their work with various keywords to help them get more exposure and just share their passion. The search is very handy and there is a VERY broad spectrum of art styles.

Here's the thing you need to think about - are you and your friends planning on this game being something fun for just you, or do you want it out to the masses? If it's the former, you don't NEED great art, although it would certainly make it more fun, and in that case I'd find a local artist who also enjoys gaming and might be interested in joining your team, for simply the "fun" factor. If they're excited about it, then that's fantastic because they'll bring the same passion to it that you do. And since they're local, you know have a new playtest buddy, gaming partner for other games, and possibly a new friend.

If you want this to turn into something you take to Kickstarter or some other self-publishing method, then you should wait on hiring someone until you have the game pretty well established. Otherwise, what happens if you change mechanics and realize your theme makes no sense? Now you have art for a pirate game that you've already paid for, but your game is now about cooking BBQ and you're out all of that money with nothing really to show for it.

If you want to eventually pitch this to a publisher to finish it for you, then you need basic art that doesn't cost you much because chances are it will be changed. The key thing is making it still presentable to not detract overall from the presentation.

The only thing I would seriously consider early on is graphic design. This would be things like card and board layout. You want things to flow and be segregated in such a way that they make sense and make the game easy to follow. Otherwise playtesting will be rough as you try to remember what number track is what, why these two symbols look alike but don't work alike, etc.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Welcome to the Board Game Design Forum

First of all, welcome to:


bored game design

Using Word?
YES! Very help full for the manual and card designs.
But more importantly, documenting all your progress and try outs. Keep taking notes of what you do, why you do it, and the results.

Using Excel?
YES! Very help full for calculating balances. Making lists of items. And personally, this one helps me in my card design.

Using Paint?
YES! But only for fast prototyping. Don't use art programs for designing art if you can't even draw pictures on paper. (This is a personal experience)
What you can do on the computer equals what you can do with pen and paper.

So Microsoft is apparently a good help for me.

If you really want to design a specific art. Google isn't going to help you in the end run.
Sure you can have a starting leap while using Google pictures. But eventually, it doesn't give you what you really want. --> 1 Style or theme of art
It stopped me at a certain point too.

For 1 style of art, you need 1 person. That can do it all. If you can't hire one, then you need to do it yourself.
Just start making sketches. And colour them ... yourself... Keep practising until you get something you like.
Then scan them for saving them into your computer.
For design tips, you still can use Google pictures as advice.
Of course I understand that you can't make something like this at first:
So I recommend creating symbolic like pictures like this:

Don't worry about your art, if your game is fun and playable with symbolic kind of pictures. But you really want a good art. When your game is accepted by a company, you still can request having your art being changed. A company often knows about a lot of good artists and will select for you the best that fits your tastes.

Good luck.
May I ask what kind of game your team is making?

Joined: 09/02/2014
Quick description

The best way I can describe the game is, think of the video game Evolve, just in board game form. It's going to be one of those 4 Vs 1 style of games, where there are 4 players against 1 player. Now instead of monsters and hunters we have very distinct characters (Just called heroes and bosses as of now, cause generic terms are fun), and these characters have had a ton of time put into them making them different from the usual classes. Plus, we have a unique board design to make each play through potentially (if it works properly) different.

Hopefully, once I get some prototyping done this weekend, I'll be able to talk about it some. I'm a businessman by nature so I am always careful about what I say on forums, but some of our design ideas have me pretty pumped. If they work out, we could have a pretty fun game. If they don't work, then we just have 9-10 well designed characters I can build an RPG around later haha.

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