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Subject: Where do I start? rss

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Aaron Gelb
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So I have (what I believe, as do my friends) a great idea for a board game.

I have ideas for gameplay, units, etc.

I have sketched a design of the board.

I have never done this before. Where should I start? Do I draw it out and make bits on cheap material?

Do I type it all out? I mean there's probably no "wrong" way to do it, but what do you developers out there thing the best way to tackle it is?

Thanks!
 
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Derry Salewski
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There is a wealth of information out there. Some of it good, some of it great, some of it that won't apply. It took me months to wade through everything on the boardgamedesigners forum. (bgdf.com, I believe)

It's been a long time since I've had the time to think about the stuff I am working on (which actually, I AM working on this moment!) so I had to cut reading all the posts over there out of my daily routine. I remember thinking that there was a lot less crap to weed through to find the good stuff on that site.

But I have since read plenty of helpful advice here too.

(Short summary: Your game sucks, no matter how awesome your friends think it might be. Test it, test it, test it. Make changes. Do that a thousand times or so, preferably with people who know nothing about it. After that, you may have a decent start to a game. So definitely don't worry about making anything but a cheap mock up at the moment.)
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Craig Somerton
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Pieces of paper and bits of cardboard are more than acceptable. Don't go mad and get things printed (like I did).

Do whatever you need to do (as cheaply as possible) to get the game into a state where you can test it and show it to other people. No matter how good your design is, the best advice you can receive will come from other people.

Then test it again and again. Play it many times, tweak it and test it again before doing anything else.

Come back here frequently and ask for more advice.
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Kevin B. Smith
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Early on, decide what you want to accomplish. Are you just creating a great game for you and your friends, better than what you can buy? Do you want to share your creation with whoever is interested, benefiting by knowing you have spread some joy in the world? Do you want to have your game published (even if in small quantities), to see your name in print? Do you want to make money from designing this game, or from designing a bunch of games?

If it's about the money, don't get your hopes up. You probably have as much chance of winning the lottery. For any of the others, you have already received good advice. Mock up the game quickly and cheaply, and have as many people playtest it as much as possible, and be open to improvements even if they bruise your ego.

Eventually, either submit it to game publishers who already publish games that are somewhat similar, or self-publish here on BGG or using one of the various print-on-demand services.

Most importantly: have fun.
 
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David Gregg
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My system:



Note: I agree entirely with playtesting with the cheapest materials you can. Business card paper that you can print yourself and punch out works great for cards, pennies ( or other rather worthless coins ) work great for chits etc, especially with stickers to show more complex info.

Good luck!
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Mr Pavone
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You must learn 2 things.

Learn to use Google so you can find information regarding game design techniques.

Learn to search the BGG forums for help regarding game design.

Have fun.
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Mr Pavone
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s3rvant wrote:
My system:



Note: I agree entirely with playtesting with the cheapest materials you can. Business card paper that you can print yourself and punch out works great for cards, pennies ( or other rather worthless coins ) work great for chits etc, especially with stickers to show more complex info.

Good luck!


That has to be the most helpful chart I have ever seen. That image should be the first thing anybody wanting to design a game sees.
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Joe Mucchiello
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pavo6503 wrote:
That has to be the most helpful chart I have ever seen. That image should be the first thing anybody wanting to design a game sees.

David does post it to just about every forum post here that asks the dreaded "how do I design a game?" question. So hopefully many newly hatched game designers do see it.
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David Gregg
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blush

Edit: love the "newly hatched" bit laugh
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Philip Migas
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Since us regular's are posting our canned responses, I will post mine.

Where should you start? If you just invented a game you should do the following:

Recommendations for a sane person
Step 1: give up on designing a game and go play the lottery. The lottery takes less time, is more fun and has a better chance of making money than designing a board game.

Recommendation anyone who ignores the recommendations above and decided to continue with their game design:
Step 1: Playtest (if you still like your game, you have not playtested enough. Playtest with people you do not know.)
Step 2: Revise the game
Repeat step #1 and #2 for an indefinite period of time.
Step 3: depends on the type of game.

For better recommendations see the following
Board game publishing recommendations from game designer William Maclean at http://www.amherstlodge.com/games/reference/gameinvented.htm
& game designer Tom Jolly at http://www.silcom.com/~tomjolly/design.htm
& publishing recommendations from game designer Bruno Faidutti at http://www.faidutti.com/index.php?Module=divers&id=321

I would also recommend reading: Paid to Play: The Business of Game Design by Keith Meyers

Best of Luck,
Philip
www.bogadap.com
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Russ Williams
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pmigas wrote:
Recommendations for a sane person
Step 1: give up on designing a game and go play the lottery. The lottery takes less time, is more fun and has a better chance of making money than designing a board game.

I agree with the 1st and 3rd parts, but not the middle (that the lottery is more fun than designing a game). But I suppose many people designing games aren't doing it to save time or become millionaires anyway.

On the other hand, if someone finds that designing a game is less fun than playing the lottery, then indeed probably they shouldn't be trying to design games.
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Jay Cormier
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I've been going through all the steps that I took to get my game published (and now it's up to 3 games!) on my blog. Check it out and click on Steps to Publication and start at the beginning!

http://inspirationtopublication.wordpress.com
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