Board games have accumulated a lot of recognition over the past 10 years. Today, they’re an important part of the whole gaming industry. Where did everything start? Well, let’s just say that the growing popularity of board games like “Settlers of Catan” were the triggering point. Unlike designing a video game, designing a board game is a bit more challenging. In order to really make something ground-breaking, a developer should have a lot of creativity.
Start from something and figure out what sort of board game you’d like to design. A simple way of finding some inspiration is to take a game you already love and enjoy, and remove/add/improve specific elements to make it different. Use those new ideas to design your own board game. Look at everything from a different perspective, and while it’s ok to search for inspiration, try as much as you can to be original and design something unique.
Think of a specific theme
What interests you? What sort of movies do you like? What types of board games do you usually play with your friends? The secret to designing a beautiful board game is to decide on a theme first. Let’s assume you’re thinking of creating a board game about zombies. How would you explore that theme to make it appealing for future players? You could make both zombie and human players for example; you could make the zombies compete with humans and fight for survival. There are so many ideas you can use. It’s all about making things differently than others and thinking outside the box.
Write down your ideas
Now that you have a theme for your upcoming board game and you’re thinking of moving on with the development process, you might want to write every new idea in a notebook. Build a concept and welcome your friends to contribute with their ideas too. Write down every new thought and at the end of the day cross out what you think doesn’t work anymore. Refine your ideas, add variations to your initial concept, and if you hit a roadblock get some sleep and postpone everything for the next day.
Let’s assume you finally decided on a theme. You next step is to make the content. This stage is a lot easier if you’re making a board game similar to chess because everything comes down to finalizing and balancing some rules. However, if you’re designing a board game that calls for a lot of research, this will probably be an extremely challenging stage to surpass. Start with figuring out how much content is needed and where you can get it from.
Keep on simplifying
As a game developer you have to learn to simplify the data. You’ll probably start with a lot of information, and along the way that information will multiply. Take out what you think it’s too much and keep it as simple as possible. Now that the content is all set, your next step is to develop the prototype. There’s no need to make it look pretty from the first try. It’s just a test that you can use to make revisions. Making something beautiful, adding images and so on will eventually seem useless if the actual game is not good enough. So you might want to remember that.
Last but not least, make sure your final prototype also has the complete list of game rules. Next, decide on whether you want to digitize your board game or keep it in physical edition. You can also make a printable version of the game and allow your fans to download it and play it. For game developers with great ideas and bigger plans, getting a publisher and turning their board game into an app or video game may seem like an excellent idea.
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