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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: possible to make a deck building game in two weeks? rss

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William Burke
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Do people on BGG think that its possible to make a "professional looking prototype" for a deck building game in two-three weeks while working a full time job? Starting from scratch. So basically no art work done no play testing done no mechanics ever specifically tested.
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Riva
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Nope.

Well, ok. No art, no mechanics, no testing. You could do that in an hour.
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Craig Stockwell
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I'd say you could have a "playable framework" in 40-80 hours (I take that as being best-case-available free time over 2-3 weeks for someone working a FT job).

As far as "professional looking prototype" -- that can mean very different things to people; I presume you mean inkjet-printed cards in sleeves (but not printed-on-demand).

If the goal is to show something at an Unpub, Protospiel, or similar event ... yes, it's definitely possible. It's very unlikely to be good, but it can be done.

My first DB went from initial idea to rough prototype in about 30-40 hours. It lacked balance, didn't have good tension, and the tempo was poor ... but it was on the table.

Best of luck to you, if this is the challenge you're setting yourself! =)
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Brent Mair
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Roy
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The Meeple Nation Boardgame Podcast - 30 minutes a week!
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Game design takes as long as it takes. Can't fence it in. It takes dedicated work.

Get to work!
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William Burke
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It was a sort of idea to make something like at 'decent kickstarter level' very fast to challenge myself. Also to make a short documentary on challenging myself with the design and creative process. I recently started selling my first game Petting Zoo on amazon. My first review By gamegeek.ninja went ok. But I am totally unknown so I thought it might be fun to challenge myself.
 
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Byron S
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Ventura
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I'm sure you could, but it would almost certainly be terrible.
(Which isn't saying anything about you, just the constraints given.)
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Jeremy Lennert
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Well, how much expertise do you already have on deckbuilders? There's a lot of really important stuff about deckbuilder balance and card interactions that I didn't really grasp until I started designing some, but that doesn't mean it's impossible that you could learn it just by playing them. Do you have a few hundred hours of plays under your belt? Spend your free time reading dominionstrategy.com? That sort of thing?

With my personal experience and skill set, I could maybe throw together an OK deckbuilder in two weeks. Not something I would ever take to a publisher or to Kickstarter, but possibly something I could play with friends for fun. But I've already published a deckbuilder (and have several earlier designs that weren't worth publishing), so I probably have a head start on most designers in that area.

Alternately, as Craig points out, you can do stuff really fast if you don't care very much about quality. If you just want a deck-builder that can literally be played and don't care at all about how fun or balanced it is--or if you're OK with basically just cloning an existing deckbuilder--then the question is essentially just "how fast can you make a prototype?" Which is probably somewhere between an evening and a weekend, depending on your tools and experience.
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William Burke
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So if I made something and somehow it was fun then everyone would be totally shocked... Maybe I am just overly optimistic but I think maybe I could do it. I played trains recently I plan on playing it a little more. I don't want to clone any deck builders. I would want it to have some originality. If I totally failed the documentary still might be interesting lol, or at least be like, "well I got this far etc".
 
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Matt D
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This is absolutely a lesson to live by.
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I don't know if it's possible but I'd say go for it. Design challenges are a great way to improve your skills as a designer. If nothing else it would be a good learning experience and you might come up with some ideas or a rough game worth developing in the future.
 
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William Burke
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Do you think the content of the mini documentary would be interesting? Like seeing the art get made in time lapse me talking about design ideas etc. if it was well edited do you think you would take 15-25 minutes to watch it?
 
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Matt D
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Petting Zoo wrote:
Do you think the content of the mini documentary would be interesting? Like seeing the art get made in time lapse me talking about design ideas etc. if it was well edited do you think you would take 15-25 minutes to watch it?


Me, personally -- I probably wouldn't spend 15-25 minutes listen to Donald X. talk about design strategy behind Dominion. But that's just me.

I know that "designer diaries" are a very popular item on here, and I have read some of those (I read way faster than listening to someone talk on a video). There might be some interest in that.

I'm not sure how much attention or interest you would garner without having at least one notable game under your belt, or unless the project itself was something noteworthy.

But why not do it anyway? I mean, if you DON'T make it, no one CAN watch it, so there's that, right?
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Bojan Prakljacic
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It is possible to make it if you limit the number of cards, find a theme where you can use artwork that doesn't require full-color digital images and you are genius that can predict how every card and combo will affect each-others during the play-through, making a good balance from the get-go.

But, I'm sure that, without much time to do a proper play-testing, some experienced deck-building gamer would deconstruct your game after first play and then you would find yourself with a faulty product that must go back to the square one, and all previous work would be forfeit.
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Kai Herbertz
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Petting Zoo wrote:
Do people on BGG think that its possible to make a "professional looking prototype" for a deck building game in two-three weeks while working a full time job? Starting from scratch. So basically no art work done no play testing done no mechanics ever specifically tested.


On the four games I made I've had varying design times. Surprisingly the game that the playtesters loved was the one I worked the least amount of hours on, so a short time frame does not necessarily mean that the game is bound to be bad. Similarly a long time does not guarantee a good game.

However, what's going to throw a wrench into your "make a professional looking prototype in 3 weeks" time frame are factors outside of your control, like the 3+ weeks printing times to give it a professional look.
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Pelle Nilsson
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It's fun to do a challenge together with others, to get feedback and compare results. OP might be interested for instance in one of

18 Card Microgame Contest 2016

24 hour contest - October 2016

Or if you want to make a habit of it:
http://www.onegameamonth.com/
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Pelle Nilsson
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I came up with a design for an 18-cards solitaire deck-builder for that contest two years ago. Spent maybe two hours coming up with some rules (very much inspired by Star Realms probably, as that is by far the deck-builder I have played the most) and writing down a list of what 17 cards to use (one card needed for the rules). Did not complete it, but with one evening for making a prototype and 12 evenings for playtesting and tweaking it could probably be in a quite playable shape.
 
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Damjan Miladinovic
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yes...if graphical design is simple enough, and you have an idea, it's possible (i've done it in less )

Edit: thing about deck building is that you do not need a lot of different cards - they can repeat themselves (stacks) so you can have a working well designed prototype with just like 2-3 starting, and 8-10 additional, as long as you are doing dominion type of deck builder. If you are doing something like star realms you need much more (when i say dominion and star realms i mean deck building mechanic of them...)
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