$5.00
$20.00
$15.00
Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: What do you dislike most about making board games? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tim Murray
Canada
flag msg tools
Everyone has THAT STEP or THAT PROCEDURE that's just a pain in the arse when it comes to board game development - that stage of development that you dread, procrastinate or even stop developing entirely because of its existence.

Share, discuss and rant away!


For me it's playtesting!
Most people want to play a FINISHED game, not a game in progress.

I go to great lengths to make my in-progress game feel relatively polished (by using colour, temp artwork, etc.) to do everything I can to appease my playtesters but it's rarely enough.

It's a nuisance to have things like my material quality and artwork picked on. Also, I find that, because the game is unfinished, it's subject to much more scrutiny than finished board games that I'll play with the same group.

This is a mixed blessing because they're holding my game to very high standards, but it's frustrating at the same time because mechanics that everyone tolerates and has nothing to say about in a finished game are suddenly picked on because the game's unfinished. Basically, I find people are a lot more nit-picky about unfinished games. Again, great blessing because it helps me improve the game but it can be disheartening because oftentimes the mechanics are in place because, given the situation, the chosen mechanic was the best compromise.

I love making games but I don't really like being humiliated again and again in playtests.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
flag msg tools
designer
It's a Zendrum. www.zendrum.com
mbmbmbmbmb
The not making enough money for the time invested.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Broadbent
United States
Covington
Washington
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
action9000 wrote:
Everyone has THAT STEP or THAT PROCEDURE that's just a pain in the arse when it comes to board game development - that stage of development that you dread, procrastinate or even stop developing entirely because of its existence.

Share, discuss and rant away!


For me it's playtesting!
Most people want to play a FINISHED game, not a game in progress.

I go to great lengths to make my in-progress game feel relatively polished (by using colour, temp artwork, etc.) to do everything I can to appease my playtesters but it's rarely enough.

It's a nuisance to have things like my material quality and artwork picked on. Also, I find that, because the game is unfinished, it's subject to much more scrutiny than finished board games that I'll play with the same group.

This is a mixed blessing because they're holding my game to very high standards, but it's frustrating at the same time because mechanics that everyone tolerates and has nothing to say about in a finished game are suddenly picked on because the game's unfinished. Basically, I find people are a lot more nit-picky about unfinished games. Again, great blessing because it helps me improve the game but it can be disheartening because oftentimes the mechanics are in place because, given the situation, the chosen mechanic was the best compromise.

I love making games but I don't really like being humiliated again and again in playtests.


Sounds like some pretty harsh feedback! I'm fortunate enough to have a few close friends who are willing to playtest before blind testing. What I have the hardest time with is solo testing. I don't want to waste my testers' time, but I hate solo testing. I don't even like playing the solo versions of my favorite published games. I design for fun and don't expect to publish, but solo testing is too much like work.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Proofreading. Requires maintaining heightened awareness for prolonged periods in the face of very little stimulus.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Smith
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
There are definitely steps of game development that are more fun than others: the most FUN for me is the actual design/brainstorming. That's when I get to imagine the game being played and picture players having a blast.

My LEAST favorite phase is the prototyping. It's a tedious, monotonous chore. Once cards are written and tiles more-or-less designed, pulling together a prototype requires hours of printing, cutting, pasting, etc. That being said; it's a part of the process, and you have to take the bad with the good. I'm happy to do it!

Regarding playtesting, I can see how that phase brings about a wide range of anxiety for designers. I'm always anticipating what players are thinking, how they are judging me, and why they aren't having a good time (many times I'm wrong, and they ARE having a good time).

I'm in a similar boat as you; I lean towards the side of spending more time on making an appealing prototype for my playtesters. They are spending their free time helping me and playing an unfinished game (which means probably not as fun). Anything I can do to make the experience better for them will not only make them happier, but also allow them to focus their constructive criticism towards game design and mechanics (which is the MOST important part of playtesting). That being said, you have to find a balance. Don't spend tens of hours or a hundred dollars on something that is JUST for the prototype (ie art, professional-level pieces, etc).

My first concern is that you "do everything you can to appease your playtesters but it's rarely enough." Do you have the right playtesters?

There are three phases of playtesting: self-playtesting, playtesting with family/friends, and blind-playtesting. During the second phase of playtesting, family/friends shouldn't be up in arms about the lack of art or professional grade prototype materials. If they don't know what the standards of a prototype are/should be, you should make it clear they are playtesting the game for playability and fun, not visuals. Guide them on where to give constructive criticism. I have a brief survey on Google Forms and playtesters fill out a 10-question, multiple-choice survey that asks them questions focused around various mechanics, judge certain elements on a scale of 1-5, etc. That way I am getting exactly the feedback I want.

Depending on the environment, reward your playtesters. Maybe you order a couple pizzas while they playtest or you bring a cold 6-pack. A little good-will can put someone in good spirits with you, enough to tip the scales and make them happy/excited to playtest your game. Both of my brothers frequently playtest my game, and when they do, I make sure to go to their place (instead of them come to mine) and I always bring a 6-pack of beer (and leave any leftovers with them). It's a small token that goes a long way.

Anyways, best of luck! Hope this helps.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Smith
United States
Washington
Dist of Columbia
flag msg tools
Amen to that!!! Sometimes I'd rather get my left leg amputated than proofread game rules.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I enjoy the initial creative work and design setup. I don't mind hunting down artwork and making components, but yes the cutting out is a chore (that I now try to draft my kids for). Solo playtesting is usually enjoyable for me, but can get bothersome if, say I only printed out card names but left all the cards' text in a pc file, so I have to go back & forth while testing.

I always dislike balancing...where most of the game is working and fun, but you have emergent problems that you can't predict and that require hard thinking on how to eliminate, including nuking your previously good ideas. I'm impatient so want to get to the good stuff...actually playing the real game!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richie Freeman
United Kingdom
London
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
crazybyzantine wrote:
the cutting out is a chore


Agreed. I've only fully designed two games for me and my friends to play and I thoroughly enjoyed every step of the creative process - I even had enthusiastic playtesters, loved learning how to use nanDeck and spent an age creating something that resembled artwork for one of them - but physically cutting and assembling the game is not something I enjoy at all. It's the only part of the process that, for me, feels like a means to an end rather than something stimulating and/or enjoyable.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Qwerty
Canada
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Waiting until playtesters are available
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom
United States
Plainfield
ILLINOIS
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
action9000 wrote:
Everyone has THAT STEP or THAT PROCEDURE that's just a pain in the arse when it comes to board game development - that stage of development that you dread, procrastinate or even stop developing entirely because of its existence.

Share, discuss and rant away!


For me it's playtesting!
Most people want to play a FINISHED game, not a game in progress.

I go to great lengths to make my in-progress game feel relatively polished (by using colour, temp artwork, etc.) to do everything I can to appease my playtesters but it's rarely enough.

It's a nuisance to have things like my material quality and artwork picked on. Also, I find that, because the game is unfinished, it's subject to much more scrutiny than finished board games that I'll play with the same group.

This is a mixed blessing because they're holding my game to very high standards, but it's frustrating at the same time because mechanics that everyone tolerates and has nothing to say about in a finished game are suddenly picked on because the game's unfinished. Basically, I find people are a lot more nit-picky about unfinished games. Again, great blessing because it helps me improve the game but it can be disheartening because oftentimes the mechanics are in place because, given the situation, the chosen mechanic was the best compromise.

I love making games but I don't really like being humiliated again and again in playtests.

Sounds like you dont have play testers but instead people who play games. As a playtester of early betas, i could care less what the game looks like. If most of your feedback is not focused on mechanics and balance, risk reward, interaction, or theme issues, then you need to jestison your playtester group immediately because they have shiny stuff ADHD. I think this really has been an issue with the over chroming of games, something I love but is only relevant to me if the game is good. now if you are running a final beta alpha and looking for feedback on asthetics that is another thing. But i playtesed over eight games at Origins and none of the feedback I heard from experienced playtesters had anything to do with how the game looked.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Compter
United States
Foxboro
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
For me its writing the FINAL rule book. I really have not found a great way to do this yet so I fumble around with google drive using multiple google draw pages trying to fit content images, text, examples, etc.

Then there is getting the language and semantics correct. Getting the rules to make sense and read like normal English while getting across the proper meaning can be a real challenge.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Ward
Japan
Matsumoto
Nagano
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
action9000 wrote:
What do you dislike most about making board games?

For me its not getting enough mean, harsh, unfavorable feedback. WE ARE COMPETING WITH GIANTS! Let's do this!

By the way, I live in Japan. Where yes means yes or no, no means no or yes, and " " means yes or no. And most people are way too polite.

action9000 wrote:
For me it's playtesting!
Most people want to play a FINISHED game, not a game in progress.


Very true. So, I'm aiming to have two groups EARLY PLAYTESTERS (10-30 people) and FINAL PLAYTESTERS (100-300 people). The groups differ greatly.

EARLY PLAYTESTERS:
Experienced game designer, friends (who can tell you what they think), etc.

FINAL PLAYTESTERS:
Depending on the product... preferably not gamers (if they can play it anyone can).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Sears
Wales
Hengoed
flag msg tools
mb
For me I always find writing rules a tedious job. I don't mind proof-reading but more than twice is frustrating for me. Rules can take a while to get correct and making thee language clear. I enjoy the process of designing the game though.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Vladimir Teneslav
Romania
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
I hate writting rules. Hate it with a passion. It's no creative process, it's boring, it's a very important component, it's a mess.

Dammit...I am posting this as I am writting rules.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carel Teijgeler
Netherlands
Vlaardingen
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
SaberRider wrote:
I hate writting rules. Hate it with a passion. It's no creative process, it's boring, it's a very important component, it's a mess.

Dammit...I am posting this as I am writting rules.

I disagree. it is a creative process. The rules have to match the chosen mechanics, have to guarantee a game flow, and be logical. Writing down the rules may impact how a mechanic will work.

IMHO, a rule book is the most important part of a game, not the blingbling components.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
nat tact
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
for me it is having other responsibilities that get in the way of designing.


I don't like writing rule books because it is one of the hardest parts of the game making puzzle. Some parts of puzzles are more frustrating than others but if I didn't like an aspect than I wouldn't design.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Herr
United States
Palos Hills
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I hate feeling like a selfish tool just for asking my game group to play test my game. I feel even worse when something major turns out to be wrong, and kick myself for not finding that - now glaringly obvious - flaw during my solo plays.

It's nothing on them - they are always ready, willing, and eager to test not only my designs, but others as well, and they always give great feedback both positive and constructively negative. So if I may, I'd like to give a shout out to my group: 4 Onions Gaming - a great bunch, one and all. Thank all of you for your invaluable assistance!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Murray
Canada
flag msg tools
Quote:
I hate feeling like a selfish tool just for asking my game group to play test my game. I feel even worse when something major turns out to be wrong, and kick myself for not finding that - now glaringly obvious - flaw during my solo plays.

It's nothing on them - they are always ready, willing, and eager to test not only my designs, but others as well, and they always give great feedback both positive and constructively negative. So if I may, I'd like to give a shout out to my group: 4 Onions Gaming - a great bunch, one and all. Thank all of you for your invaluable assistance!


This exactly!

I hate being that obnoxious friend who keeps begging for playtests from my friends. Some of my friends have shown that they're just kinda...done playtesting with me. They just don't enjoy it. I've put in effort to identify my friends who most enjoy playtesting my stuff. At the same time though, I can only ask so much from them.

Pizza and beer only goes so far. Also with a playtesting group that small, it's tough to get all of them free at the same time to run a comprehensive test with the recommended number of players for my game.

I'm just not ready for public / blind playtests yet. I'm still working out mechanics and details. I want to keep testing internal for now until I have an "almost-finished" (read, hundreds of playtests from completion) version available.


Ugh, playtesting.......
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.