Here are five things you should know if you are thinking about designing your own board game:
Build a component kit
Inspiration can come at anytime, so make sure you are ready. Build a kit of game components that you can use to at any time to make your idea a reality. The components can come from all sorts of places. Look for them in games you already own, thrift shops, dollar stores. You can even use office supplies and other household items. The game doesn’t need to look pretty at this point, it needs to be playable.
Minimum Viable Product
Now that you have an idea, don’t spend too much time thinking about it. It’s easy to get caught into an endless loop of drawing and sketching the game. Use the components that you have collected and build the game now. Get your minimum viable product to the table as soon as possible. Don’t think about the game, play the game.
It’s time to fix your game. Take the role of the other players and run through the game. It almost certain that your minimum viable product will be broken. You may notice that ideas that worked in your mind, don’t work on the table. Make adjustments and fix things. Keep iterating over the game until you have something that works.
Don’t add rules, eliminate them
Adding rules is easy. A rule here to fix that problem. A rule there to make this work. But, your game will get better when you figure out a way to remove rules.
Watch people play the game
Once you have played your game and have fixed the initial problems, get it in front of players. Play the game with people you trust to put the game through its paces. The most important part of this process is to watch people as they play. Are they happy? Excited? Frustrated? Watching the expressions and comments from your players will give you great insight into the good and bad of your game. Take this information and continue to refine the game.
Designing games will be a life-long learning adventure, but these tips should help you get to success a little faster. What tips would you share with a new designer?