The best BGG forum threads & geeklists on board game design
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Here is a little geeklist that I find useful to keep updated, for game designers & people interested in board game design.

Besides the pinned threads, there have been numerous valuable posts that are hidden somewhere in the BGG forum.

It's time to dig them up.

Also, one particular item isn't always just one thread or geeklist: I try to consider them as 'topics' to which I add other similar resources.

Feel free to post new resources by using the general comments or specific items comments. I'll add the stuff where it belongs to. For now I've desactivated the public additions to the list, in order to keep it organized.

Please check for updates, I'll be regularly adding new threads & links.

03/21/12--Added Game Contests as a separate item, with new link (PolyPrize). New link to get free graphics in item #13.
04/21/12--Added item #14 with a bunch of links about publishing & publishers.
04/24/12--Added links in item #9. Merged items #18/19 with #12. Added titles to each item to improve the overview of the different topics.
05/08/12--Added a new item #18: Groups & Communities. Also one more link in item #12.
07/09/12--Added 1 new link in item #9. A few mistakes corrected.
10/11/12--Added 1 new link in item #12 (d6).
01/13/13--Added 1 new link in item #16 (F. Friese).
04/07/13--Added 1 new link in item #3 ("Games to Play to Become a Better Game Designer")
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GENERAL RESOURCES

A pinned thread by Byron Collins.

A very useful start point to look for online resources. The post doesn't go into much details, but offers a nice perspective on designing your own games.

Article is broken into sections, including ~40 web links:

Finances & Expenses
Setting up a Business
Game Design
Web Site Development
Publishing
Resources and Links
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SELF-PUBLISHING

Brent tells us about his experience in self-publishing his own game "Morels".

This post is incredibly useful: it covers with much details all the different steps, and especially focus on the choice & relationship with the game manufacturer (it compares the prices/quality of service of 2 manufacturers in China).

You'll learn exactly what the costs & requirements are for working with an oversea manufacturer.

And if you have concerns about working with China, here's an interesting topic on that matter: Having dice printed in CHINA...concerns?

For further reading on self-publishing experiences:
- Publishing 'Archeology', by Phil Walker-Harding.
- Game production costs - an actual quote, by Dave Dobson. Includes an interest article: "Indie game publishing costs, or the grim reality of game economics" (it was published in 2010 but still very valid).
- Suppose I go "ROGUE" ?, Steve Wood's own experience.
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GAME DESIGN THEORY

Wanna get the big picture?

This lenghty thread, originated in BGDF.com, discusses game design principles.

Also be sure to check out this forum to get more insight on design theory:
[geekurl=http://www.bgdf.com/forum/10][/geekurl]

Be sure to know where to draw the line betwen inspiration and plagiarism.

"Games teach us skills and concepts. Settlers of Catan teaches us the value of trading with your enemies, the risks and rewards of specializing versus generalizing, probabilities and hard knocks. Every game we play gives us a new perspective or sharpens our abilities in some way" says Jay Treat in this GeekList.

Don't forget to read bring along some goods books in your journey: some can be found here and there.

And complete your lesson by hearing from the masters of game designing, with this post by Tom Vasel compiling tips & thoughts.
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THE GAME & THE LAW

An essential pinned thread on game designing & legal issues.

More thoughts on what to do once your prototype is ready: SO, I'VE DESIGNED A GAME TO BE PROUD OF... NOW WHAT?.

This only covers US law. If you want some more insight on European law and can read French, here's the post you want to discover:
[geekurl=http://www.trictrac.net/jeux/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14157&highlight=protection&sid=fb4049bd2460dea1eef250694c21a24b][/geekurl]
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FINDING PLAYTESTERS

How many games were designed by users and buried deep into the BGG void?

This geeklist helps listing & reviewing these stray dogs.


Quote:
This list is intended to provide a link between BGG game designers and BGG users who are willing to review or playtest currently unpublished, web-published, or self-published games.

If you have a game that needs playtesting or would like to get some reviews of it, add it to the list.


A more recent initiative serves the same purpose and seems well frequented at the moment.

Another geeklist will help you uncovers some hidden treasures:
Unpublished Games with Websites, Blogs, or Mailing Lists
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DOING IT YOURSELF: GAME COMPONENTS

A nice method to produce high quality cards, by Nick Hayes.

see also:
-Guide to use Artcows for cards design/printing, by David Hunter.
- Making circular tokens & counters with Arch Punch, by Nick Hayes.
- Building cardboard boxes, by Karim Chakroun.
- A visual guide for painting plastic minis, by Moshin' Josh.
- Icons for game designer, by Tom Scutt. More free icons & symbols here.
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GAME TYPOLOGY

If you want to know to which category your game belongs to, or just know more about game classification/taxonomy, read this very useful (and long) post by David F.


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RULES

A detailed guide on writing rules, by David Fisher. This useful thread collects the bests posts in BGG, including:
- Instruction Layout
- When is a manual too detailed?
- Examples of well-written game rules?
- Gendered Language in Game Instructions
etc.


If you're lacking ideas to design a nice score tracking tool, be sure to read this thread.
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IMPROVE YOUR DESIGNING SKILLS

Quote:
Learning to design boardgames is tricky. To learn a boardgame's design secrets, you have to play it in a different manner to how you would when just "playing for fun" - you have to have your designer hat on. Although the two are very closely linked, there are some jewels out there that are really really useful if you want to learn to design boardgames.

These are not here because they are "the best games". In fact many can be seen to be mediocre at best. They all have something in common though: these games can instill some vital lessons in game design. These are games that help a designer learn to focus on a particular aspect of game design.

says Sam Mercer. And he's right.

Stefan Tops adds this survey on existing board game design & mechanisms.

Oliver Kiley suggests us to check out:
- What makes a decision interesting
- What makes a “well-designed” game?
- Game Design "Methods" and "Practices"
- Elements That Transform Good Designs Into Great Games

And don't forget to listen to some of On Board Game's podcasts.

Last but not least, a bit of humor pondering this question: what does a game designer do? (in 6 or less words).
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PRINT & PLAY

The Print & Play Productions geeklist.

Here is a sum up of what P&P does:

Quote:
Prototype Creation - What I Do
I make prototype games. If you have your game ready to print in a pdf or image file, I can print it out for you. I can make cards, boards, tiles, counters, hexes, and supply boxes and parts as well.

Self Publishing
If you would like to self publish your game, but don't want to commit to a large number of copies and a large initial cost, why not try my services?
I can either print out a small number of games for you and ship them out when people buy them, or ship them to you. Or I can offer them on my Games Geeklist for people to buy.

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GAME THEMES

If you're looking for themes ideas for your board games, this is the thread you want to read!

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MECHANISMS/MECHANICS

Some thoughts on combat mechanics, by Gylth Inel. Will help you choose between Combat Result Table, Dice Rolls, Cards and so on!

And also:
- Resource Collection Mechanisms (thanks to Kaffedrake)
- Solitaire games and their mechanics (thanks to Kaffedrake)
- Some mechanic ideas: 2 very neat ideas.
- Kai suggests how to use the D6 in a different way.

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GRAPHICS & ILLUSTRATIONS

Illustrating the game is one of the main concerns for designers, although in most of the times, this part will be carried out by the publisher.
This thread discusses this issue and gives good links to find free cliparts & graphics.

This pinned thread will give you freeware graphics programs, PDF tools, fonts and so on.
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GETTING YOUR GAME PUBLISHED

Now that you have a game ready and a magnificent prototype in hands, what should you do? This geeklist item tries to answer all the questions you might have.

- Publisher submission and prototype quality: includes a lot of visuals & examples of protos presented to publishers.
- Getting a Game Published: advice & feedback.
- Material, design and rulebook -how much influence does the publisher have?
- Publishers, kickstarter and new designs - are new designs receiving less support from publishers, or is kickstarter really the face of a new market's dynamics?

Also check out this amazing list of steps to get a board game published.

And of course, a long list of publishers and their current status on accepting submissions, by BGDF.
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GAME CONTESTS/COMPETITIONS

If you want to take your game to the next level, maybe you want to participate to one of the design contests around the world, including:

- Concurs Ciutat de Granollers de creació de jocs (Spain)
- Concours International de Créateurs de Jeux de Société (France)
- Gioco Inedito (Italy)
- Hippodice Spieleautorenwettbewerb (Germany)
- Ice Game Design Competition (USA)
- Piecepack Design Contests (USA)
- Premio Archimede (Italy)
- Plateau d'or (Canada)
- Canadian Game Design Award (Canada)

Or maybe participe to PolyPrize by sending a prototype.
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BLOGS & VARIOUS EXTERNAL RESOURCES

External blogs & resources dedicated to game design.
A big list you might want to check out.

If you're willing to spend a few hours reading dozens of articles about games in general, and game design in particular, have a look at The Games Journal's Big List.

Also might be worth reading, the BGG news blog where one can find articles such as this one by Friedemann Friese about designing his game Copycat
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VASSAL & DIGITAL DESIGN

If you're planning on going digital, of course VASSAL is the first thing you want to check out.
VASSAL is a game engine for building and playing online adaptations of board games and card games. It allows users to play in real time over a live Internet connection (in addition to playing by email). It runs on all platforms, and is free for personal use.
> Know more about VASSAL thanks to the BGG wiki

And consider joining the Softboard Game Development guild.
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GROUPS & COMMUNITIES

Designing games can be a really lonely activity: what about sharing the experience & the fun with others?

Also consider to join the Board Game Self Publishers guild on BGG.
 
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