Happy winter season to you fellow board game developers,
Today I want to share another angle on board game development with you.
This time it's going to be about motivation and keeping your goal within sight.
I often find myself in a whirlwind of to-dos and problem solving related to my projects. Always having something on my mind and concerned about new obstacles ahead.
In those moments it can be a relief to zoom out and have a look at my victories - celebrating them, giving me energy to push on :)
And I'm not necessarily talking about amount of sold games, or a certain Kickstarter stretch goal, I'm talking about all kind of goals and achievements throughout your development (big and small). Let me illustrate...
Goals on board game development
Set goals for yourself - goals that are within reach when you continue focusing on the development. Remember to cut big goals into smaller ones, and don't force yourself to think in major blockbuster goals...
Keep your goals essential to the development, examples could be..
As a rule - use SMART goals when you write your goals down.
Here are some of my favorite victories - the unforeseen events. I'm talking about both minor and major goals you achieve through others, for example...
I know goals of this size is hard to plan on and you shouldn't, it's not the point. This is the ones you should celebrate as they happen, and of course remind yourself of them all the time - these are the victories worth all the trouble :)
Private and professional goals
I would always recommend you to have both private and professional goals, specially because you won't always be given the opportunity to only focus on 1-2 goals, so having a few more goals spread out on your various activities will help you move forward and feel the momentum. This could be goals as...
Remember to have some kind of reward written down, that you'll grant yourself if you reach these goals. I have small rewards for each achievement (e.g. buying a new board game, a book on Crowd funding or similar).
Collect them all - and remind yourself!
I can't stress enough how important it is to celebrate these victories, and therefore to collect them - so you can remind yourself of why you're doing this.
I usually take screenshots of the happenings, download articles or in other ways save the achievements on my computer in a designated folder.
Once in a while - I have to visit this folder, to get a boost for the next few hours of rule book writing or unit stat changing.
Maybe this idea can also help you? :) ..... Happy gaming!
Good day to you fellow board game creators :)
On this day of January - I want to talk about something that won't always make people happy around the gaming table, which is player elimination!
This topic has many nuances to how and what is implemented it the games, but there are few opinions about it I believe, in general you can either live with player elimination or you can't.
Fear not - this post won't be about my personal opinion towards player elimination or the psychological effect behind them ;)
I want to talk about how you can decide whether or not it should be in your game - and how you can avoid and/or implement it in different ways...
What is player elimination?
In short - player elimination refers to the fact that you might get eliminated from the game, before the game is finished. E.g. you are starting out 4 players, and while 2 of you might get eliminated sooner or later, the game doesn't end before the last 2 players have battled it out.
There are also games out there - presenting players with indirect elimination. This meaning that they might not be "out of the game", but they can no longer "affect the game or win by any means". It can lead to the same feeling as being removed from the game - though here you have to sit and be reminded of your defeat every time it's your turn.
Should you have player elimination in your board game?
The first question you should ask yourself is... should I have player elimination in my board game?
Though many people doesn't like this factor - it is part of some games, and if implemented for the right reasons together with the right determinations / mechanics it may very well work.
Ask yourself some of these questions
How to implement player elimination
You might think it doesn't take a genius to implement elimination in a game, and you would be quite right about it. Nevertheless it does take some thought to actually implement it in a way - so that players accept it as a natural outcome of the game.
A player decision
One way to implement it is to create a visible barrier of which you as a player will have to cross in order to be able to be eliminated from the game. Here's some examples
Giving people a choice of "gain vs. risk" can create an acceptance towards the ultimate failure. Or like some of the examples illustrate - if you as a player knows that when you enter the final stages of the game (reaching a certain level of points) you now have a risk of being annihilated from the game.
Boosting your last efforts
While it's always a question about balance when it comes to the possibilities of players to catch up with the leader. It may be a good idea to include a somewhat "last stand chance" for players about to be eliminated from the game. Meaning that player might get boosted when in dire need of it.
I'm sure many of you would agree that if you have to go down - an epic last stand is the way to go. Making the ending memorable, and maybe you might even survive to take an enemy haft way with you in your fall ;)
And at last... make sure you take into consideration how long a player might be out of your game, if eliminated.
How to avoid player elimination?
Now that I have touched the aspects of implementing player elimination - I want to talk a bit about how to avoid it.
I've put together some examples on how you can achieve this.
How to avoid indirect player elimination?
While it might seem easy to avoid "total player elimination" by stating something in the rules. It doesn't really ease the pain - if your game consist of heavy indirect player elimination.
By indirect player elimination I'm referring to the possibilities of a player to hinter, lockup or block another player off completely, in other terms eliminating that player from the game.
A few examples on how you might avoid an indirect elimination
You can find many reasons why you shouldn't have player elimination in your game... but on the other hand, there's no denying a game might be more interesting if the risk is there. You wouldn't play paint ball if it didn't hurt when you got hit ;)
In the end - it's all about implementation...
Happy gaming to all of you - and check out my newest game project Burning Suns, remember to sign up :)
Hey board game developer :)
I wanted to share some experiences I've had with board game production. I've been working on my own board game "Burning Suns" for almost a year now, and I thought it would be foolish not to share the knowledge I've gained over the many months.
My team and I are working alongside each other on both prototype and final components, and we're all working very coherently and close together in order to make sure things stay within the project scope and our goals are the same.
I'll try to go through some of the different digital production elements here. Enjoy :)
The index of all things
(I'm assuming that you're already well on the way with the ideas, blossoming in both text documents and drawings ;-)
Your first step is to create the "box" in which all things will be stored and sorted.
You'll want to be very systematic in order to make sure everything is just as you want them to be.
(e.g. in folder "1 - Rules") Early prototype rules ver2.
(e.g. in folder "6 - Player tokens") Elves - Leader token ver3.
Download the following spreadsheets to view some examples.
The project website of a board game production
Your next task is to create a project website for your board game. This will be the reference point for everyone involved in the production (no need to say, that this needs to be password protected ;)
You'll find a web solution like Weebly (that I'm using myself) to be very handy. A lot of "drag and drop" equals no trouble focusing on other things.
On this website you'll include subjects like
Make sure that it's regularly updated - and that you give your team everything they need in order to complete their tasks.
A few last things...
When you start to include people in the production process, make sure that you guys have a sharing method that works.
I like to use "SugarSync", so that we're all working on the same files - and that I don't get into any problems with different versions etc.
Without a syncing tool - you'll find yourself doing too much upload / download / back / forth with your email box.
Let your email box handle the communication with your team - not the file transfers.
Get an early economical perspective
When you settle on some of your production choices, it is time for you to look into the economy side of your board game project.
In other words... you should get an early quote on your production breakdown, and run through your financial possibilities - in the end - if your project doesn't become sustainable, you won't be able to do this as often as you would like to ;)
I hope this will put you off to a good start on your own board game production.
Happy gaming and holidays out there! :)
Hi again fellow board game developers,
I wanted to take up a topic which has always been a interesting aspect in a game for me.
The concept of language neutral layout / design in a board game... this may seem strange to some, but for me - who have played with many different people with many different native languages - the concept in itself is a huge selling point!
As a Danish guy living in Germany with a Belarusian wife - it's not hard to see why I like the no-text board games ;)
With this in mind, I would like to go through a series of thoughts and pointers you might want to explore further yourself.
Why would you make a language neutral game?
There are some neat advantages in making a board game without any real text on the game board, playing pieces, cards and so on...
Of course this doesn't come without a "cost", or at least some important factors you have to consider carefully...
Examples of board game mechanics and so on - explained with symbols.
I've found some examples in games, where symbol explanations seem well implemented (though some of them still have text, you can argue whether or not that's necessary).
I'm sure you can find many more - and these will be the ones you should refer to - when trying to make your own game.
The pictures above - are from the following game: Cyclades (Hades), Small World, D-Day Dice, 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy and Eminent Domain. I take no credit for their success, design or game play.
How to implement it.
If you choose to go for a game without text - you have to think about the implementation. How will you do it?
With text you can easily create associations - because you can tell the players to get them ;) But when you don't use text, you have to keep associations and visual explanation in mind all the time.
There's a fairly big chance - that you'll have to do a bit more play testing with the "no-text" solution.. but it will be a sweet achievement when you have a game that can be memorized by symbols and actions instead of long text sequences.
Plus - you might be lucky to have players from all around the world playing your game, without the need of a total reprint of the game!
No matter what solution you come up with - I hope you'll have fun :)
How to do board game research
Happy new year board gamers :)
I hope you've had a wonderful holiday so far...!
Today I'm going to write you some pointers about how to do board game research..
I'll give you an overview of how I'm doing research - when I'm studying board games of different sorts.
I hope you'll be able to use some of these examples to study your board games in detail.
No matter how well you may know a board game - no matter how many board games you've seen or played... it always helps you out to measure :)
Write it down - or even better yet, take pictures which include a ruler of some sort.
It'll come in handy when you're doing your own board game prototypes. You might hit the right board measures or square/field measures in first try ;)
Furthermore - having the right measures from the beginning will be a major help when you want to get an estimate on the production cost (finding boxes, prints, figures and so on that fits in).
And of course - everyone who works with graphics knows how important it is to get the measures right so you won't have to go and scale anything afterwards.
I don't think I have to go into any details why taking pictures for documentation is important for your research. I believe it is like than in any kind of research area - so let's move on ;)
It happens all the time - that you find some cool mechanic or feature in a board game... or it's explained to you through some review of a board game.
Here it's important that you write it down, copy links, produce some kind of documentation concerning that specific mechanic.
The problem often is that while you might still remember the specific mechanic, theme or layout when you're building your own prototypes, it might not be of any use if you can't remember the effect nor context it was used in. Make sure you write down as much as possible about the things you like - and why you think it works.
Always get other peoples opinion when you collect data for your research, we're all different - and therefore we look for and appreciate different things in board games.
Collect and sort (responsibly;)
Make sure you gain the "collector gene" (if you don't already have it)... collect as much as possible.
I'm sure you know where I'm going with this :)
Just remember to sort everything - so you'll get the most out of your efforts!
That's all for now .... and again - happy new year and happy gaming out there!
Hey to all of you out there :)
Recently I've received quite a few mails about creating board games containing questions - like the classic Trivial Pursuit or Bezzerwizzer.
I've also developed that kind of board game myself - so let me just share some of my thoughts about this subject.
Hopefully this can help you to overview the project of creating this yourself - it's no small task ;)
Theme and gameplay
First off... you need to know what and why..
You probably started out by selecting a theme you really like... this is how many question board games start their life. But this may have a significant impact on the scope of your board game.
The theme can vary from x-factor to NFL to World War II to SEO and so on... but where some topics are quite easy to create questions for - some are very difficult and problematic.
Most people would be able to create a film quiz. You can read up on a lot of facts about the movies and then start writing down your questions. This is easy because the facts are (mostly) the same, no matter from where you might find them.
When you look at topics like history, politics and especially warfare! ... You'll discover how the facts change places and perspectives according to the source you're using.
Ex. I've been to some Russian war museums where they displayed some reports - from the Winter War - explaining how one Russian pilot heroicly held off an attack by twelve Finish fighters.
I haven't been able to find the same engagement depicted with that positive view in Western literature.
So why I'm trying to tell here... is that you'll have to be careful how you expound it to people.
Futhermore it WILL give you a head ache when trying to cross check your references.
Writing the questions
Now I'll give you a little run-through the process of writing questions for your own board game. And I'll begin with a warning, because this might only be fun the first 100 questions... hereafter you'll see how much work there really is to it.
It's not uncommon for a this kind of trivial board game to have between 2000 and 3000 questions... and some even go up to a crazy amount of 5000!
When I was writing questions for my own board game, it took me roughly around 1 month to write 550 questions... This is with a "redo/rewrite" percent around 4%... so far from good enough to actually publish yet.
I wasn't experienced in writing questions at that time - and the topic was primarily warfare which didn't help scope-vise at all.
But even so - I would still say that you shouldn't expect to write more than 5-6 questions per hour. So remember that - when you determine how many questions you need to begin with.
How to write questions
This is not a field I'm expect in - but if you're new to this - I can give you some pointers I'm sure :)
Then there's all the "going through the questions again". Leave that to someone else than yourself - You can't find errors you've made yourself ;)
This has to be part of your planning from the beginning - otherwise you might end up with a very neglected product.
The cost and deadline
You've probably already read this between the lines... this is going to cast ya! Producing a board game with questions is a costly affair in time and money.
You can choose to work your way out of this or pay your way out... So let me write down some numbers for you if you want to try and estimate the budget of your board game.
5-6 questions per hour, $ 15-45 per hour, X amount of questions in final product...
1000 questions for a board game will cost you somewhere between - $ 2.500 and 9.000
This is still a very rough sketch of the expenses - and you have to keep in mind all the other expenses that comes along the way - when you're producing a board game.
However - there might be one last option though...
I know some companies sell question databases online here and there. So you might be able to buy generic questions for your game. But this leaves you with no rights or guarantee that these questions won't go into another game as well.
Just a thought :)
This was my experiences on writing questions for board games - I hope you can use it... Happy gaming out there!
Greetings my fellow developers :)
It's time to touch the subject "probability in board games" ... so therefore I'll try to take you through some of the different aspects of dealing with probability in your board game.
I won't be going over any equations or hard core math solving... that's not really my field - but I'll try to show you some ways of gaining control of the probabilities in board games.
If you want to create a fair and interesting game - you'll have to tame the probability :)
What kind of probability aspect suits your game?
There are many kinds of probability mechanics to put in a game...
The theme: Usually has a big impact on your choices. Ex. drawing tokens from a bag can refer to the randomness of "digging for jewels" or wheel spinning referring to weather changes / wind blowing.
The practical aspect: How fast do you need the players to get a result (dice vs. wheel spinning)? How many times will the probability be in play? Is the result shared between players?
You could include "production cost" ... but that's really no fun - and cost influences all levels and all parts of the game.. so that's usually something you put on top of the entire plan.
Calculating the probability
I don't think there are that many ways to go about calculating random events happening in your game. This is where you have to bring out your calculator and spreadsheet!
Some of the questions you might have to struggle with...
One thing you also have to take into consideration is - how much does 1 random action fill in the game? How dependant will players be on getting the right numbers, tokens etc.?
A thing Warhammer does very nicely - is evening out the odds between the players. Because die rolls in this game is so important and there are so many factors involved - you're usually rolling between 10 and 20 dice at a time - which means that over time you "should" get an even amount of 1s, 2s, 3s and so on.
Probability related to human players
In my world of board games not all the probability concerns are about the physical stuff going on in a game. I also think you can put in a players perspective of his/her chances... and how that person might percept his/her chances of winning in the long run.
I've done a few war games with many different factors, technologies and weapons involved. And it's interesting to see how people react to each other's choices... how they counter each other's choices.
When you're observing people play your game - try to look for patterns / trends... how do players adapt during game and what are they chances of them doing something with significant effect on the game. Take notes and make sure that you get a overview of the situation.
If you run into a scenario where the player's reactions happen to be the exact same every time - you might want to consider giving them some more choices that may suit different play styles.
Casual / Mainstream / Hardcore
Before I end this... I want to remind you of how dealing with randomness and chances in your game - may affect your potential buyers.
You don't see many casual gamers wanting to throw 10 dice at a time ;)
......... Happy gaming to you all out there! :)
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