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Subject: Customized Board Game for a Friend's Birthday rss

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Dave Kong
United States
New York
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I made a game for a dear friend’s birthday. It roughly mimics The Game of Life where you start with college and go through “life” until you hit retirement. Unlike the original Game of Life, however, my version is based on my friend Jenny’s life as opposed to a generic one. It includes events that have occurred in her life so far, as well as imaginary ones that I (and her other close friends) think may happen in the future. My hope was that this will make it much more relevant and fun to play.
Here’s a picture of the final game and various accessories:



Now, this Game of Jenny’s Life is simplified in some respects compared to the original, mostly in order to focus on Jenny and her circle of friends. Some simplifications are due to resource constraints, such as our lack of “cars” and “babies”. I also added a few twists such as opportunity to play Trivia and Charade within the game, which everyone loves.

The goals of the game are simple, taken from a page of our birthday girl’s own life goals as she jokingly mentioned once:

1) Retire with a million dollars in the bank, cash. (She’s rightfully risk averse.)
2) Hold 3 real estate properties.

Starting from High School, players will follow the path to Retirement and experience numerous events in Jenny’s life, her career choices and future aspirations. I think everyone gets a kick out of reading some funny factoids about our mutual friend and birthday girl. Like the Game of Life, there are the Pay Days where you collect money and Must Stop spaces where you make your life decisions. Investment is also in this game, but expanded to included stock, bond and real estate (current financial turmoil notwithstanding).

To add some complexity and flexibility to the game, I’ve included “cards” and “tokens”.


Cards are similar to the Chance cards in monopoly. A player will draw one when she lands on a special square. But I also made certain “Trivia” cards and “Charade” cards so that if a player draws any of those cards, a mini-game of trivia or charade will break out. (This is kind of like Cranium, which I know my friends loved.)


Tokens, for the lack of a better word, are mini-cards. Ideally, they would be real play pieces, but I couldn’t find a cheap source for them. (I just read some old threads here on DIY where people mentioned small token plays and game pieces, so I may look into those.) Tokens are essentially used to track non-play money resources used in the game. In this particular case, they are investments and real estate properties.


The play money is printed out in six different denominations. I tried to match the color to monopoly play money the best I can (as that is one of my childhood favorite). Pretty cute, huh? The only thing I’m not sure about is the “K” I added to reflect that they are in the thousands. I tried to keep it real (a car does not cost $50 dollars), but perhaps this isn’t necessary.

I would love to hear any feedback from you experienced board game enthusiasts. I know many of you are “hardcore” designers who made much better and complicated games, so what I’m doing may seem too “casual”. I plan to make more games in the future using the similar process, at least one for each of my close friends. If you have any suggestion or advice on making this more fun or unique, please share! cool
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Todd
United States
Missoula
Montana
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That's a really cool idea for a gift.

How long did it take you to plan and make this game?
 
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Dave Kong
United States
New York
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It took me a couple of days to collect and fill the actual contents (e.g. board space, various card instructions), and about 3 hrs to make the actual game itself. Cutting the play money, game board, etc.

I would say the designing part was harder and the game making was just manual labor.
 
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Dave Kong
United States
New York
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ced1106 wrote:
Good work.

Financially, women tend to be more risk-averse then men. And, as a result, women tend to have higher returns then men! You should be able to simulate a risk/reward investment with a bell curve of two dice. The 2 and 12 have the highest risk and return, and 7 the lowest. Each turn, roll the dice and I should stop here before I rewrite your game.

As for cars and babies, the Game of Life should have them. You can get houses and hotels from a Monopoly set. Maybe painting them in acrylics would help. Feel free to list what tokens you're looking for so we can make suggestions where to get components. I know there's a geeklist where you can get and ask for game parts, but I don't recall its exact name.

Good luck!



That's a good tip on the investment dice roll. I was thinking of using those little colored cubes (from game Puerto Rico?) as tokens.
 
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Joshua Noe
United States
Wauwatosa
Wisconsin
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Nice work!

My one and only custom job came this last year when, for a graduation gift for my wife, I made an entire Civilization & Advanced Civ set, which was a ton of work but I already had all the pieces and artwork. Your idea clearly has the added bonus (and difficulty) of creating an entire game. Strong work!
 
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