Welcome to my project blog! I’m working on a board game called Friday Night Game. It’s a kid-friendly game of strategy, luck, and fun. No previous experience necessary—just bring your friends and a couple of drinks (the non-alcoholic kind). In this post, I’ll talk about some of the steps involved in creating my very own board game. Then later, I’ll post further updates talking about how to design cards that you can print out on your home computer and playtest with your friends.
Designing the game:
The first thing I did was to make a list of things I needed to do. The list went something like this:
- Design the game
- What are the different types of cards and tokens? How many should each one have? Do you want them to be different shapes or sizes? Is there a need for any special tokens, like dice or a timer.
- How many people will play this game at once (2–4) and what roles do they play in your story/world? Will they be collecting resources, fighting off enemies, trying to collect an artifact by themselves or with another character as part of their team. Who knows! You might change your mind later on when playtesting so leave room for that possibility too.) A good place to start is deciding what kind of role each player will fill: “builder” with no specific goal beyond building up their own village; “explorer” who travels around looking for artifacts; “warrior” who fights off enemies trying capture villagers or destroy villages outright etc..
All the different types of cards that I need.
- Cards are the main component of any board game. They’re what you play with, and what makes the game fun and interesting. There are many different kinds of cards, but they all serve the same purpose: To help players succeed in their goals and objectives. Cards can be one-time use only, or they can give permanent bonuses that stay on your character sheet for the rest of your life (or until they get defeated).
- First off: You need to decide how many types of cards you want to include in your game. Don’t worry about getting all fancy here—I’m going to tell you how many types I’ve included in mine! For example: If I was making a fantasy roleplaying game (RPG), then maybe my card type list would look like this: Magic Items; Weapons; Armor; Spells; Allies/Followers/Companions/Allies; Encounters/Enemies/Hostile Forces.*
All the different types of tokens that I need.
Tokens are the pieces that represent the different things in your game. For example, a token might represent one of your characters or it might represent a resource like food or health points.
There are different types of token:
- Standard tokens – These are rectangular shapes with no special characteristics. They’re good for representing resources or other objects that don’t need to be identified by their shape.
- Proximity tokens – These include hexagonal and square-shaped cardboard pieces that can have artwork on them and/or text descriptions of what they represent. They’re intended to be used when you want something simple (like an arrow) without needing to go through the trouble of making a custom piece every time you need one! It’s also great if you’d rather use something more unique than just another rectangle shape as well!
How many of each type of card and token will I need?
Now that you’ve decided on a theme and game mechanics, it’s time to think about how many copies of each card and token you’ll need. This is called “print-on-demand” manufacturing. It’s the most cost effective way to make small runs of your game. So let’s say you’re making a party game for up to 8 people (4 teams). Here are some numbers for different options:
- If all eight players are going to play at once, then each person will have 7 cards in their hand and there will be 8 pawns on the board (8 pawns because it’s assumed that one team gets two pawns). So that means we need 56 cards total (7 x 8 = 56). And even though there are 4 teams, they aren’t using any tokens so we don’t need any additional tokens at this point. The only thing left is dice!
- If each player has 6 cards in their hand and only 2 pawns on the board, then we just doubled our number of players but halved our number of pieces needed per person (6 x 2 = 12 instead of 7 x 4 = 28). Which means we now need 84 total cards instead of 56—an increase from 28% more cards to 50% more cards!
What are all the rules?
- Rules should be clear and concise.
- Rules should be easy to understand.
- Rules should be easy to follow.
- Rules should be easy to remember.
- Rules should be easy to apply, if they have a hierarchy or other elements that must be followed in order (like “first you do this, then you do that”). If there’s an element of choice, it should also make sense when someone makes the “wrong” choice — even if their character dies or loses something valuable as a result — because that adds depth and complexity to the game without making it too confusing for players new at board games (like me!).
Building a prototype of the game with just tokens and paper printouts:
In order to get a feel for how the game will play, I decided to build a prototype. Because this is still in its early stages, I’m using a lot of paper printouts and tokens to represent various parts of the game.
For example, the player pieces are represented by tokens:
How to print out cards for playtesting with just paper.
You can easily print out the card images on paper and use a pencil to write in the text. You can also use a sharpie, marker, paint pen or pen to write in the text.
Using the playtesting feedback to iterate my game design.
Playtesting is a great way to get feedback on your game design, but it’s also a fantastic tool for getting feedback on your game mechanics, theme and aesthetics.
When you playtest Friday Night Game with people, they will tell you what they like and don’t like about the game. If they don’t like something in particular that’s fine! It may be time to change it up a little bit. It could be as simple as adding an additional rule or changing the wording of an existing rule.
The most important thing is to listen carefully when people talk about their experience playing the game and make changes if necessary.
It’s important to get feedback as soon as possible, so we can make sure our game is fun!
Your board game is going to be great! But, you might have some questions. What if we made the gameplay better? How do we know if people are having fun when they play our game? This section will answer all of your questions about getting feedback from people who are not designers, and how to use it to iterate on your design for maximum fun!
Getting Feedback from Non-Designers:
If you’re lucky enough to have friends who like playing games, ask them! If not… or if you find that they don’t give much useful feedback… there are other ways. You could try asking random strangers on Facebook or Twitter; in fact, here’s a handy guide for doing just that:
Thank you for joining me on my journey to create a board game from scratch! I’ve learned a lot about how to make sure your game is fun, while also making it look great. Ultimately, the most important thing is to get feedback early and often so that you can iterate on the design. I’m excited to show you more as this game comes together—if you made it all the way through these blog posts, we’re obviously cut from the same cloth and have a shared love of board games. I’d like to invite anyone who’s interested in seeing more to join our subreddit, where we’ll be posting all updates as well as new content (like behind-the-scenes videos and interviews with industry professionals).