Brian Larsson
Sweden
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So as the title says, i have a nice idea for a board game but i lack talent in both graphic design and execution.

I guess the majority of replys will be to just forget this and move on but i habe researched the market and there is no board game out there to my knowledge.

Help.
 
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Jonathan Hj.
Norway
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You could download tabletop simulator on steam, borrow artwork on the internet, and create your prototype virtually. This will also make it easier to find people to playtest with. Use paint or a similar free software to make rudimentary prototype components and import them into tabletop sim.
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michael colbert
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Brian a couple of comments from someone who is nowhere being a designer etc.

1. have you decided on your mechanism? How the game works? If not there are many threads on BGG which discuss such questions.
2. I read somewhere on BGG recently how someone just got down to it with stick figures (if that applies) so at an initial stage does the graphics really matter? This leads to
3. is there a local group that you can present this to as a work in progress and they can provide a constructive response - if not actual playing comments?
4. sometimes people post threads about their design skills and being willing to work with new game developers, one recently about four weeks ago?
5. I'm sure that many others will make excellent constructive suggestions and maybe some will ask for further details that you would be willing to share, so that effective focussed contributions can be made to assist.

Good luck!
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Dan Collins
United States
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I just saw someone post this website here recently on another BGG forum, so thought I would share:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/

This is more of a later step I believe, but looks like you can order various game pieces for your physical prototype once you get to that step.

Best of Luck!
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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If you want to actually do something with your game, you don't need to be able to do graphics, but you do need to be able to create a playable prototype: all the rules and pieces necessary to play the game, all the way from start to finish. They don't have to look good, but they need to be functional enough that another human being can play the game.

If all you have is a general concept, then it's unlikely to be worth anything (even if it's never been done before). Most designers already have more ideas than they have time to develop. Therefore, most of the value of a game is in the development, not the concept. If you're not willing to develop it yourself, you'll probably have a hard time finding anyone else willing to take time off from their ideas to develop it, either (even if you're just giving the idea away).

You could probably pay someone to develop your idea, if you think that would be worth it to you. (That's pretty unusual.)
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Laura Creighton
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Göteborg
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Sverok (the Swedish association for gaming) runs courses in boardgame design sometimes. Their site is a mess to navigate, alas. Other courses are sometimes run by Studiefrämjandet.

https://gameprototyper.com/ (site also only in Swedish) is trying to make a business out of helping boardgame creators go from idea to prototype. I am not sure how it is working out for them, or for the creators.

What you need to do is meet more boardgame designers and aspiring boardgame designers, to see if you can become one. Where in Sweden are you?
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KC Schrimpl
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I can easily tell you not to worry about graphic design. There are people you can hire for that. Most game designers are not illustrators as well.
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Brian Larsson
Sweden
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I live in Gothenburg.

Gonna take a look into what you wrote.

Thanks!
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Brian Larsson
Sweden
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That's true. A working prototype i could manage. A very ugly one haha
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roger miller
United States
California
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I work full time as a designer and publisher. My graphic skills are below zero. But I can make an ugly prototype good enough to play and that is all you need to work on your design because work it will be and for quite some time before you need real art.
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B C Z
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The most important thing to do at this stage:

Get your prototype to paper and see if it works.

Index cards with words on them is enough. Clip art can substitute for graphics where needed.

If you begin by telling yourself you cannot do it, you will be correct.
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Laura Creighton
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hex1c wrote:
I live in Gothenburg.

Gonna take a look into what you wrote.

Thanks!
You are most welcome. I live in Göteborg, too, but I won't be back in town for 10 days. Also check Speletshus http://www.speletshus.se/
3 years ago there was a design group there meeting regularly, but I am not sure if it still meets. If it still meets there, they are bad about putting it on the calendar, so you will have to go by and see who is around and who is doing what. Maybe they are meeting someplace else now, too. Get a membership there in any case 'cause that is where you find playtesters, and you can use their laminating equipment, printer and the like.

Stadsbiblioteket runs classes on boardgaming, and game design in general, too, at least they were doing so 2 summers ago.

Another good place to visit is the Design School on Kristinelundsgatan https://hdk.gu.se/ . You can meet boardgame designers there, and artists of all sorts, some of which are interested in doing work for hire. But do not do any hiring until you have a prototype that has been playtested, quite a bit. Up until that point, plain blank cards that say 'ugly monster with tentacles' or whatever work just fine.

materials for prototyping:
https://www.spielematerial.de/en/game-components.html (largest selection)
https://toutpourlejeu.com/
https://www.spelspul.nl/gb/388-gamebits

Try to get whatever supplies you need in Europe. Getting things through customs not only costs, but takes about 6 weeks right now.
https://www.postnord.se/ta-emot/hamta/fran-annat-land-import...

If you send me more geekmail looking for more local knowledge, I speak Swedish.
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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You don't need anything fancy to develop a board game.
Let's go one further; fancy components are an impediment to developing a board game. Use the cheapest, fastest and easiest things you can get your hands on. Forget graphic design, forget chipboard and pretty pictures. Paper, index cards, pencil, eraser, scissors, and (optionally) a quick trip to the dollar store if your home is utterly devoid of counters / dice / minis / whatever should yield everything you need.

Rapid prototyping is the place to be.
Fail faster. The sooner your design fails, the sooner you know where the weak points are and can fix them. Test, iterate, repeat. If it takes you more than an hour to cobble together your first prototype, you're probably not making it simple enough.
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Laura Creighton
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icons for your prototype:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1756034/request-icon-ill-ma...

We don't have dollar stores like they have in North America. If you need game components, spielemateriel.de is your best bet.
This place https://www.mattonbutiken.se/ is also worth a visit. Not inexpensive, alas, which I think is the appeal of the dollar store.

Panduro isn't worth a visit, unless your game needs beads, or clay models. They are great for beads and rotten for pretty much everything else, these days. They have stopped being the place to go if you want to make stuff, and have become the place to go if you want to assemble things, for a limited number of things, out of already made components. If your game has cards, or counters, scissors are not the way to go, you want what in English is called a box cutter or a utility knife, but in Swedish 'brytkniv'. Inexpensive is fine. You also need a cutting mat and a ruler made of transparant plastic, also a metal ruler with cork on the bottom.

People around here talk about 'foamcore' a lot, for making certain prototypes. The Swedish word is 'kapaskiva' but google translate doesn't know this. Much cheaper to buy online from some people in Stockholm than to go to Matton.
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Elizabeth Hargrave
United States
Silver Spring
MD
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I found this series very helpful when I was starting out.

https://inspirationtopublication.wordpress.com/the-steps-for...

Recognize that creating a good, publishable game will probably involve hundreds of hours of work, not even including the art. It's quite a journey, and it's not for everyone. But some of us get hooked.
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Travis C
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I'd venture far enough to say that very few designers are also solid artists. I'm sure there's some overlap, but I'm designing a game and hiring an artist. Once you're to the stage you need art or whatever, then you can hire someone. Use what skills you do have. I know enough about web design to get me by on a website, so I won't hire someone for that - at least for now.

Now one thing I really want to stress, is you shouldn't commission art at the idea phase. What I did for the game I'm working on is put it all on a white board and card stock. You'll change it so much throughout your play tests it'll get prohibitively expensive to do art and design for at this stage.
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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Art for board games is like interior design for a house; usually the last step before you start showing the property to prospective buyers. Just as it's a bit silly to be setting up your potted plants, coffee table or curtains on a bare plot of land, there's no sense in worrying about final art on an idea of a game.

If a game is going to be shown to publishers, you probably don't even want to be wasting time and money on art, as they may end up tossing it all or even re-theming the game completely if they buy in. If it's going to Kickstarter or POD, then yes art will likely be needed - but only at the very end.

If you have no local dollar/pound stores, then craft stores, general stores, or the toy aisle are also great places to pick up components on the cheap. Thrift stores are another gold-mine, not just for old games that can be repurposed, but all sorts of bits and pieces. Bottle caps, stones, washers and wingnuts - use whatever you have on hand first. The most important goal for an early design is speed, not beauty.
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Laura Creighton
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Fire_Forever wrote:

If you have no local dollar/pound stores, then craft stores, general stores, or the toy aisle are also great places to pick up components on the cheap. Thrift stores are another gold-mine, not just for old games that can be repurposed, but all sorts of bits and pieces. Bottle caps, stones, washers and wingnuts - use whatever you have on hand first. The most important goal for an early design is speed, not beauty.
The craft store is one chain, Panduro, which I mentioned isn't useful, unless you need beads. Thrift stores aren't a gold mine here, either, unless you want to make a game out of used furniture, kitchen tools, cutlery, cups, glasses and plates. However, what is good is the annual Gothcon used games auction. In addition to bargains in good games, there are horrible ones that go for 'best offer'. You get deals on things to buy for the bits there. Gothcon happens Easter weekend every year, so not too long a wait for the bargains.
 
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"What do you mean, I can't pay in Meeples?"
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The point I'm trying to make is you don't need special 'game' parts to design a game. You just need something, anything, that's vaguely the right size/shape as a stand-in. Lots of games can be made with nothing but paper, or dirt + sticks + stones, and were for thousands of years.

Getting stuck in the mindset that you need the 'right' components when a game idea is in its infancy is one of the surest ways to either waste a lot of time, money and energy, or end up hobbling your own willingness to change the design for the better.

I know this to be true, and I still end up falling into the trap of over-engineering early prototypes myself!
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SLThomas
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I'd suggest buying some books on game design (there are several threads around with suggestions). That is a good way to hear from the horse's mouth
 
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Zach Edwardson
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My art skills are below Zero (I have Dysgraphia). Just make a ugly prototype that works and I have been able to get friends both in real life and online here at BBG to test out what I have made. Sometimes playtesting will show that the design is fatally flawed, other times it will show that you have a decent idea that needs refined, and you just need to work on refining it.
 
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Amo .
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Some thoughts

Its easy to get blocked by the idea of it getting it right first time, I've had this issue, it'll never be right first time -- just get a prototype as fast as possible then fail as fast as possible.

Get a few blank index cards, a few sharpies and start doodling.

Another one was I didn't want to waste ink by continually printing the same thing just because of one change

The idea I came up with is just build it in small modules. So the backing is blank, and you use small mini european cards which are easy to print, easy to replace and you use these instead.

One final point. Get it done. The faster you get a prototype, the faster you can see it in action and get rapid feedback.

I feels a bit like lip-service, but I've found it does work wonders getting feedback on a prototype, regardless of its gfx design
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Lukas Schwab
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Tübingen
Baden-Württemberg
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To be honest we are almost all in this group of untalented bastards that can't draw a straight line without a ruler. Doesn't matter though, because what you should do right now (if you have your rules planned out) is to write them down and then realize them as good as possible. And when I say as good as possible, then I don't mean look for the most beautiful pictures on google for the board/cards that fit them perfectly, no quite the opposite. Make a prototype that is easily accessible. Make it clear where everything is without making it pretty. If you have cards, look at cards that work like it and copy it. As a designer you are not the one that does graphics anyways. That's not your job. You need to make something functional and that shouldn't be a problem except if you need to build/program a machine to play. The hard thing is just getting started and then gathering people to play with.
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