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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Queries and Problems

Subject: Board game design Workflow rss

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Aldo Hodgkinson
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Hi, thank you for reading my post.
I´m a first time designer, can some one guide me through the workflow in detail to design a board game.

I´ve seen some basic guides one but they dont give you an actual step by step order.
For example when should I lock the gameplay? Right now I´m making the card and map design and keep getting new ideas that I want to try or when should I write the rules before or after testing. Is it better to explain the rules to testers or let them read them.

If anyone is interested in trying the ¨Alpha¨ Let me know and I´ll send you the printable files and rules. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

Name: Combat Trials (tentative title)
Genre: Turn based Strategy (Perefect information)
Setting: Medieval Fantasy
Elevator pitch: Chess meets MOBA
Time to learn 8 minutes
Game time 15-20 min per round.
Win condition: Win 2 out of 3 rounds.


 
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Arty N.
Latvia
Riga
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Hey! My first published game is about to be produced in September, so I`m in no sense an industry veteran, but here are my answers to your questions.

Q: When should I lock the gameplay?
A: I stopped adding new tweaks when I realized that I won't have enough time to playtest the changes properly before release.

Q: When should I write the rules before or after testing.
A: I've written the draft rules (text only) shortly after "proof of concept" testing. I.e. after I've tried the bare-bones version of the game and decided that it's worth working on. These rules are then constantly modified.

Q: Is it better to explain the rules to testers or let them read them?
A: For early tests I would explain myself (i wanted to test the game, not my rules-writing skills). For later and blind testing you definitely want to give players the rules and see how it goes without you interfering.

"Right now I´m making the card and map design"
- I would say don't bother with design much at the early stage. Make sure that the core of your game is working (and is fun) with bare-bones mechanisms and components.

"Perfect information"
- Careful with this one. Perfect information is a hard sell.
 
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Sturv Tafvherd
United States
North Carolina
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AldoH wrote:
Hi, thank you for reading my post.
I´m a first time designer, can some one guide me through the workflow in detail to design a board game.

I´ve seen some basic guides one but they dont give you an actual step by step order.
For example when should I lock the gameplay? Right now I´m making the card and map design and keep getting new ideas that I want to try or when should I write the rules before or after testing. Is it better to explain the rules to testers or let them read them.

If anyone is interested in trying the ¨Alpha¨ Let me know and I´ll send you the printable files and rules. I greatly appreciate your feedback.

Name: Combat Trials (tentative title)
Genre: Turn based Strategy (Perefect information)
Setting: Medieval Fantasy
Elevator pitch: Chess meets MOBA
Time to learn 8 minutes
Game time 15-20 min per round.
Win condition: Win 2 out of 3 rounds.




Well, the process is a cycle. And it applies to just about any creative activity. One of the models I've seen is this:



Lock the gameplay: it is tempting to keep adding more stuff to your game. Set good constraints early on to help you decide when something is absolutely necessary.

Writing the rules comes both before and after testing. It's part of the cycle. However, it may help to have a core testing team and just relay the rules verbally or in some other simple method. By defining rules loosely in the early cycles, you'll allow the test team to explore. After many cycles, write the rules down and have that test team check for completeness... but your real test will be to give those rules to someone who has never seen the game.


I have two additional questions whenever I get to the "Improve" step:
1. Is there something I absolutely need to add to the game?
2. Is there something I can take away from the game?

Aside from time and resource constraints, those two questions tell me when I'm close to stopping the cycle. But usually, that's also when I meet another new player, and their feedback will send me back to step 1.... hopefully for just a few more cycles.

 
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Gavin Kenny
United Kingdom
Nr Godalming
Surrey
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The pinned topic on board game design in the Board Game Design forum is the best example of workflow for producing your game.

To answer your specific questions.

Q: When should I lock the gameplay?
A: Lock the gameplay before each test. Keep notes on any potential other things you might want to add but do not do so until you are happy with the core systems. Be careful of adding things in for the sake of it lest you add too much complexity to the game.

Q: When should I write the rules before or after testing.
A: If you are self testing don't worry too much about writing rules out and feel free to change things on the fly that are not working. When blind playtesting with groups you should have a good version of the rules for them to read so you can see if players can play the game from your written rules.

Q: Is it better to explain the rules to testers or let them read them?
A: Early tests amongst friendly (known) testers you can explain the rules. Blind tests (with you observing) you should let them read the rules themselves to see if they get and understand your game.

Ensure that your early prototypes are functional. They do not need to be pretty. You'll be changing things so many times it is not worth going through the extra effort of making it pretty if that version proves to be a dead end.

Good luck with your game!

 
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