Fenmar
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Many thanks! As I have started just one month ago to design my first card game, I was happy to see I have already passed phases 1 and 2... but this told me there still much to do while I was already thinking that I was getting to the end... :-P
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Wade Welsh
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Holy crap. Thank you Oliver for taking the time to write this. I've scheduled the entire month of July to read it
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Joseph Sturgis
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Fantastic. This was so fortuitous to find bc:

-Newer to hobby
-Designing for fun, maybe for serious
-only a Few games in personal library, Hegemonic is one on a super-random buy
-Also interested in Three Kingdoms: Redux, and it just so happens the game designers replied with thankfulness to your guide.

I'm feeling like I made the right choice taking hobby gaming seriously in my life, thanks a ton Mr Kiley!
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Sebastian Portillo
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Those texts are just amazing! Thanks for the links.
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Scott Johnson
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This is incredibly thorough and helpful. I am currently in the process of blind playtesting my first game. I had written up a rule booklet, but man, that was more difficult than I thought. While I am confident in the gameplay and mechanics, my instructions left a lot to be desired lol.

Thanks for the post and I hope someday soon I'll need to use all of this information.
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Joshua Blaylock
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Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for this post. As someone who is starting out with board game design (used to do video game design, like this better), trying my best to work on one game at a time, this article really helps me to better understand the process I need to be making, what I'm doing right and what I haven't been considering. Thank you so much for such a great post!
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Sam Nelson
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mezmorki wrote:

Make interesting choices
Understand the decision spaces you are creating in the game and mind the balance between the abundance and quality of options your design presents to players. This will depend on the style of game you are creating and your design goals – but you want to avoid irrelevant “null” decisions and emphasize quality meaningful decisions that have an impact on the future. Similarly, be careful not to overload players with countless options that are difficult to parse out and just increase downtime.

On my ninth solo playtest of my game last night, this tip came to mind. And made me realize that one decision, made by every player on almost every turn, had to go. As I worked to get rid of it, I realized that doing so requires a complete re-working of my game.surprise I started, and while it is a bummer to have to redo so much, it's also exciting to see that incorporating this one pointer is making my game much better. Thanks for such a detailed, valuable post!
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Andrew Birkett
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snelson7 wrote:
mezmorki wrote:

Make interesting choices
Understand the decision spaces you are creating in the game and mind the balance between the abundance and quality of options your design presents to players. This will depend on the style of game you are creating and your design goals – but you want to avoid irrelevant “null” decisions and emphasize quality meaningful decisions that have an impact on the future. Similarly, be careful not to overload players with countless options that are difficult to parse out and just increase downtime.

On my ninth solo playtest of my game last night, this tip came to mind. And made me realize that one decision, made by every player on almost every turn, had to go. As I worked to get rid of it, I realized that doing so requires a complete re-working of my game.surprise I started, and while it is a bummer to have to redo so much, it's also exciting to see that incorporating this one pointer is making my game much better. Thanks for such a detailed, valuable post!

That is awesome! It is better to have to redesign it than to have a poorly performing game or it getting lost in the sea of other ideas and not getting picked up. I hope that it all goes well and the redesign makes the game better

I have a game that I am about to do blind testing on, but I might have to make a few rule variations, because I realized one of my cards is way overused and it makes an entire card type feel useless in the game.
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Tyler Smith
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Are there people who do game design for a living?
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Craig Stockwell
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Lemonsmith wrote:
Are there people who do game design for a living?
Very few, but yes. Even fewer who do it on their own terms (i.e.: freelance [for a living], as opposed to being on staff).

However, the journey to that possibility starts with designing a game ... =)
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Rafael MS
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Great post and full of little details. Most of the time we forgot the little things that some people can say to us.

Thanks!
 
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Laurentiu Cristofor
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Mezmorki wrote:
For instance, Dominion spawned the entire Deckbuilding phenomenon, and today we see all kinds of deckbuilding games that took the original idea and reapplied it in different ways.

I didn't realize that deck building was considered an original idea. I always thought of it as a variation on games like Magic the Gathering. I remember that when Dominion was released some players were recommending it on account of it only containing a limited number of cards and not being collectible, which to me indicated that those players were also seeing it as a game similar to a CCG.
 
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Matthew Pijan
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To me deck building is a mechanic that perhaps came as answer to the problem some people had of wanting to play a battle based card game like MTG but didn't want to spend all that money and time to build a deck that can compete with people who had more money and/or time. It has a similar feel without having to constantly be buying more cards to stay current. It also creates a game that is easier to just pick up and play.
 
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Oliver Kiley
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Laurentiu wrote:
Mezmorki wrote:
For instance, Dominion spawned the entire Deckbuilding phenomenon, and today we see all kinds of deckbuilding games that took the original idea and reapplied it in different ways.

I didn't realize that deck building was considered an original idea. I always thought of it as a variation on games like Magic the Gathering. I remember that when Dominion was released some players were recommending it on account of it only containing a limited number of cards and not being collectible, which to me indicated that those players were also seeing it as a game similar to a CCG.

PigeonCoupGames wrote:
To me deck building is a mechanic that perhaps came as answer to the problem some people had of wanting to play a battle based card game like MTG but didn't want to spend all that money and time to build a deck that can compete with people who had more money and/or time. It has a similar feel without having to constantly be buying more cards to stay current. It also creates a game that is easier to just pick up and play.

Neither of these are quite right.

Magic the Gathering is a CCG (collectible/customizable card game), and is better thought of as using a "pre-constructed deck" system. You create a deck outside of the actual game, well before sitting down to play a game/match. There is no "deckbuilding" within the actual gameplay.

An actual "deckbuilding" game (like Dominion, Ascension, Star Realms, etc.) has players build their own personal deck of cards as part of the core gameplay of a given match. Typically, the whole process of drafting and assembling your deck during the gameplay is one of the primary forms of interaction.

Despite casual appearances, the resulting gameplay is VERY different between a CCG like Magic and a deck-building game. At the end of the day, I don't think Dominion or it's ilk have a "similar feel without having to constantly be buying cards" The entire nature of the gameplay is different.

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Maurizio De Leo
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Mezmorki wrote:
Neither of these are quite right.

Magic the Gathering is a CCG (collectible/customizable card game), and is better thought of as using a "pre-constructed deck" system. You create a deck outside of the actual game, well before sitting down to play a game/match. There is no "deckbuilding" within the actual gameplay.

An actual "deckbuilding" game (like Dominion, Ascension, Star Realms, etc.) has players build their own personal deck of cards as part of the core gameplay of a given match. Typically, the whole process of drafting and assembling your deck during the gameplay is one of the primary forms of interaction.

Despite casual appearances, the resulting gameplay is VERY different between a CCG like Magic and a deck-building game. At the end of the day, I don't think Dominion or it's ilk have a "similar feel without having to constantly be buying cards" The entire nature of the gameplay is different.

You are missing one piece of information.
One of the most popular way of playing MtG is by "drafting".
Booster draft, cube draft, etc.

This method of play is indeed the same of what you call "deckbuilding", as part of your playing consist in selecting the cards you will use.
I would be fairly certain that MtG drafting predates Dominion and other modern "deckbuilders".
 
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No, Oliver is quite right. Drafting is not deckbuilding in the Dominion sense either, it's just a different method to do deckbuilding in the Magic sense. I have always assumed that the (many) people who said Dominion is anything like Magic without the collectible aspect had never played Magic in their life.
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Joshua Blaylock
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Or they've never played Dominion. The only thing these games have in common are that they use cards that are drawn from a deck and played for some reason and discarded for some reason. Of course, the same could be said about Rummy. Deck building is using weak cards to gain stronger cards. It's actually more similar to resource management. Drafting is more or less just picking the cards you want.
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Austin Rice
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Thanks for the great post! It is very helpful, especially if I begin to wander in my own thoughts and forget what I am doing. This will definitely help me with my quest to make one of my games a reality. Anyways, this definitely deserves a thumbs up and subscription.

-MAR
 
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Adam Wiemers
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I decided to base my board game on an existing video game property. I've already sent the rulebook to them to see if they're interested in discussing licensing rights. I love the video game and my thought was, having some name recognition would go far.

After reading this article it makes me wonder if it's just going to make it that much harder to publish my game. A publisher probably won't want to have to deal with a third party so am I backing myself into a corner and forcing self-publishing on myself? Maybe that was the best option in the beginning, I dunno. :sigh:

Thoughts?
 
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Austin Rice
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Pixxel Wizzard,

How is the process going for you? Self-publishing may be the best option for you. If you get permission from the game to use names, etc. then that's probably most of the battle. Just checking up on you

-MAR
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Adam Wiemers
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_MAR_ wrote:
Pixxel Wizzard,

How is the process going for you? Self-publishing may be the best option for you. If you get permission from the game to use names, etc. then that's probably most of the battle. Just checking up on you

-MAR

Hi Mar, thanks for your interest in my game!

I made the decision to go with an original IP after all. I'm collaborating with a local artist and together we've started the process of building a new prototype. My first convention is the Protospiel in Chicago next month.

Here's a link to my game's web site:

http://www.tracersgame.com

I have no idea exactly how I'm going to promote and advertise my game, or what publishing method I'll decide on, but for now I'm registering for one gaming convention per month to try to generate interest and get some much needed playtesting in. Advice is welcomed!
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Austin Rice
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Hey, thanks for the update!

I think that going with your own content is a good idea (you can completely control it!)Good idea going to conventions. You can obviously post information about your game on here, or if you have some form of social media platform too. Thanks for the update, I will check out your site

-MAR
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Joe Paulchell
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Yeoster wrote:
Yes, I agree with the other replies above that this is an excellent post and resource. thumbsup

My Significant Other and I have been working on a board game, Three Kingdoms Redux, for the past 3-4 years. We started out as complete noobs and felt our way through the design process. Reading through your post, it is quite amazing how much of what you wrote above runs parallel with what we went through.

Indeed, we wrote up our story as geeklists (still ongoing):
We Are Taking The Plunge!
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 2)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 3)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 4)
We Are Taking The Plunge! (Part 5)

Based on your categorisations, stage 1 probably took us 1.5 years, stages 2 and 3 about 2-3 months, stage 4 another 1.5 years, and stage 5 has been the last 6 months or so. It was then that we felt comfortable enough with the game to submit it for approval in BGG.

We plan to go the self-publishing path, and my Significant Other is doing most of that work. She quit her job to work on this over the past few years, whilst I still have a day job. The publishing company's name is Starting Player. Fingers crossed!

Edits: Inclusion of latest geeklists

One of my regular board game friends was telling me about a game for exactly three players set in China. Three Kingdoms Redux must be it.

After reading your post and looking at the production pictures, I can only image the effort that went in and the gratification of getting to a published game.

Is this period of time for game development typical, I wonder?

I've had many ideas for games, mechanics, and other elements, but the next step seems Herculean. But maybe not. Some of the blogs (Jamey Stagmaier) and Podcasts like Board Game Design Lab say get the rough idea from idea to playable demo to work out the mechanic.

Maybe its time to to take an idea to prototype.
 
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Mateusz Kulig
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Great source of information. Thank you for your hard work.
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Joseph Cooper
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Thank you for laboring over this post! A definitely bookmark for me. You're a worthwhile resource.
 
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