Hi there :)
This is the post that I've waited for myself :D ... as promised I'm going to talk about turning a computer game into a board game.
I've played a lot of computer games through the years and from time to time I encounter experiences that I want to carry into other "worlds/medias"... and my favorite media besides computers must be board games ;)
I'm currently working on 2 projects of that caliber so I'll try to go through as many aspects of the process as possible.
I hope you'll find some inspiration for your work - if you're sitting with the same challenge as me :)
I assume you've already found a computer game that you want to turn into a board game.
So now it's time to figure out, what exactly do you want to convert?
After sorting out WHAT you're aiming for... it's time to ask yourself a few questions. These questions should follow your project to the very end :)
I know the laws too... of course you're not allowed to copy a concept and run with it. But what I'm talking about - is making a game that can be presented for the owners of the computer game franchise.
If you're going to aim for anything in that regard - you should aim for the stars :)
Now it's time to get your hands dirty... and dirty they'll get! This is a lot of work...
Both computer games I'm working on - I've played waaaaay over 100 hours each. Mostly because I like (read: love) them... and because I want to understand what makes them tic.
You'll have to push the AI as far as possible, try to "cheat" the computer (I don't mean using codes), try to see how the game mechanics can be sabotaged.
Then there's all the visiting forums and read threads about the game. What do people like/dislike and why? How are problems dealt with?
After all this "soft" research it's time to for the hardcore data collection. Start the game... and write down every stat/data on units, flow, maps, campaigns, weapons, magic, amount of dialog etc.. etc..
You might be lucky to find many of these things on the internet during your first research - so remember to save it for later use (ex. you can find data on all of Warcraft's units on the internet)
The data collection is of course connected to WHAT you want to create - so make sure not to drown yourself in data ;)
Excel is your friend.. when it comes to arranging all the data you need spreadsheets.
Simplifying collected data
As you might realise during the data collection process it's almost impossible to "just" transfer the data used for a computer onto a board game. In most cases you have to simplify it.
Ex. You may have weapon damage ranging from 5 to 50 or greater... which means that now you have to turn it into die results. So 5 may become 1 on a 12-sided die and 50 is 1-10 on the same die.
This is just an example. But you'll undoubtedly have to do a lot of data conversion if you're going to make it possible to actually play the game without a master degree in math.
Another example could be unit health. If you have 4 space ships with 100, 200, 300 and 800 health - you want to simplify the data. Go for the lowest possible number that still keeps the units differentiated by the same amount. Here you can divide by 100 and end up with 1, 2, 3 and 8.
Data impact and adjustments
So now you have an idea of how to process the data you've collected and how to make it accessible in a game.
But you need to know how it's actually going to impact the game.
If you look at the first example with the weapons - This means that you would have to use a 12-sided die.
So, is that what you want? Or would it make the game more appealing if you adjusted this?
Eg. First weapon level being 1 on a 6-sided die - where last weapon would be 2 dice with a hit on 5 on a 6-sided die. It doesn't have to be the exact same ratio as in the computer game as long as you keep an eye on the impact it has on the game.
Just like gamers are interacting through joystick, keyboard and guitars when it comes to computer games your gamers will be interacting with your board game through cards, dice, tokens etc.
It's important that you find the right measure of interaction according to the experience you want the players to have.
Eg. creating a character with skills could be done through deck building.
It's about giving the players the same level of control and depth of interaction - Even though the board game can't present any "behind the screen calculations".
It's all up to you! How do you feel when playing computer games - what do you want to convert into a board game?
Until next time - Happy gaming - on both fronts! :)
Hey my fellow game makers,
One thing that's always taking up a looot of my time - is writing rules.
Well of course that doesn't apply for the first draft when I'm writing the rules for myself.
But when other people are going to have a try at the game the rules need to be much more precise and simple.
In the following sections I'll try to take you through my rulebook writing :)
The early beginning...
I always start out with a blank document where I write down a lot of headlines consisting of aspects and figure:
The Basic Index
In continuation of my evaluation I start building the index for my game rules based on my results. This is an easy way of getting your rules structured and it could look like this:
Rewrite and rewrite
When you've written down every single word that you can sqeeze out of your mind about how to navigate your great game it's time to shorten them "again"..... and I mean REALLY shorten the rules.
There's this classic rule about text - that you can make your sentences 30% shorter when rewriting them.. and this feature can be applied to your sentences several times. Well, it may be less or more depending on who you are and what not.. but your rules can without a doubt be shorter than it is at this moment.
Using pictures and icons
As we all know pictures says more than a 1.000 words... which when implemented correctly also works in board game rules.
The illustration on the left is used in my rules for COMMANDERS where I have to explain a lot of maneuvering around the map. With several pictures I make it easier to understand where you can and can't go.
It also has a psychological effect when people glance at your rules - it all of a sudden looks easier to overcome. All thanks to the good old Donald Duck comics we read as children ;)
Keep it precise and simple
Remember that every page you add to your rules will eventually narrow your potential market. Not everyone has the patience to read/learn a Warhammer rulebook. My experience with casual gamers is to keep the rules on a maximum of 4-5 standard A4 pages (this doesn't include pictures, stats, data sheets, reference sheets etc.).
That if you can't explain a rule live to the test persons playing your game - then you won't have much chance explaining it to them through text. In that case you might have to work a bit more on that specific rule.
I think that's all I have to tell you about rules for now.... until you come to visit my blog again - happy gaming! :)
Hello guys and girls,
Today I’m going to talk about the colors of board game figures and what you should be aware of when choosing these for your own games.
In my opinion choosing the right colors for your board game pieces is very important because they represent a big part of the board game experience.
I'll try to take you through some of the factors that may affect your choice of colors for your components.
Some of this may also rely on component details, shape and material - but I'll have to take that up in another post.
1) Realistic look?
If you're going for a realistic look it's important to use colors that lie close to the real colors of the objects the board game pieces are portraying.
A fine example of this are Axis & Allies and Memoir '44 that are using earth-like colors. They've struck a fine line between realism and “what's possible”, as we all know it would be impossible to play the game if all troops/pieces were wearing green camouflage, which of course would be preferred on most real battlefields ;-)
2) How many pieces and how easy are they to spot on the board?
One other thing you also have to take into account is how many different colors you’re looking for.
Yea, it may sound a bit odd when there’s so many colors to choose from, but you've to remember that some colors may also be heavily represented on the board itself which means it may not be wise to use them on figures as well.
The smaller the components get the harder it is to differentiate dark colors.
So what about patterns on the components? This could be an option if you want colorblind people to have a fair chance playing your board game.
This could also be a "easy" way to differentiate the components from one another and from other games in general....
This would probably have to be done with stickers or an extra layer of paint in post production etc. - I haven't heard of any cost effecient ways of creating color patterns in molds.
4) Indie production?
When doing indie board game production - there's usually one problem - money/funding!
Therefore you might want to stick to the genuine colors like black, white, red, blue etc. which is produces “en mass” by most suppliers.
Just remember that colors affect gameplay and therefore changing them might give you or solve problems - when people try to understanding your game.
You can try to search the web for color studies and see what colors that match each other etc...
There's only one way to go about colors - try them on for size!
Until next time - Happy gaming :)
Now I want to talk a little about development while being on the move...
As many propably already know - It's not easy to finance a living by creating board games which is why many people would stick to their jobs until their games prove worthy of a huge profit... or just keep board game development on a part/free-time scale.
For me this is the very situation! Therefore I have to make the most of my sparetime... being able to develop on my board games while I'm on the go is essential for me to keep progress high.
Here are a few pointers...
1) Notebook and pen
This may seem sooo basically that it hurts your feelings - but it has to be said.
If you're going on a train, bus or whatever... have it with you and start drawing, writing etc.. :)
These days most people can afford a notebook (as in Laptop) but this may be a bit clumsy to carry around when you just want a few notes here and there and it doesn't really allow you the same "from the top of your mind" drawing.. which mean you may loose some of the creative inputs.
And remember to place them on your night table before you go to bed.
It sure makes your life easier when you have smartphone on you.
It's very obviously why you should buy one of these as soon as you can afford it.
- Take pictures of stores, board game and what have you.
- Writing notes
- Surfing for board game reviews
- Present your new designs to your friends
The list goes on... which is why the smartphone becomes a very essential part of your board game research when you're "in the field"!
3) Dropbox / Online Documents
I would also recommend you to get a dropbox and/or some online document service.
There are many way to approach this of course.
You can set up your own servers, buy a regular web hotel somewhere or create a google account or the likes.
The important thing is that you have some place online where you can put ideas/pictures/notes when you create them or by any means need them while you're on the go.
These are the words for now - happy gaming until I see you here again :)
Today I'm going to talk about the sizes of board game boxes.
You might think that the box size doesn't matter as long as the pieces can fit inside. But if you don't have a buttomless wallet of money it does matter a great deal.
Let me go through the different aspects that's affected by your choice of box size.
1) Where will your board game be placed in the stores?
(a.k.a. "how many games of yours will be sold")
Getting the right spot on the shelves in a store can mean the difference between "being sold out" or "being overlooked".
You can compare it to Google Search results - it's all about being at the best spots where the most eyes look.
The example on the left is average store in Denmark. The frame indicate where you want your board game to stand. This was confirmed by the sales data I got from the store concerning some of the games (propably because I know the owners).
As you can also see on the picture - if your board game is too big or too difficult to handle it'll be place somewhere where it doesn't bother the setup (the floor or some high shelve where nobody can reach).
I measured some of the shelves in this store (they are standard equipment in most stores) and their average shelve height is about 28-30 cm. Which means that if you want to get a shelve spot your box shouldn't exceed 26-27 cm standing up.
2) Packaging / Postage - How much does it cost to wrap and send?
Make sure that you take this into consideration so you avoid having to pay 3 or 4 dollars more for a package/delivery than you have to just because the box you choose is 1 cm too wide on one side.
Remember that for every dollar you spend on a single game you have to charge between 2 or 3 dollars more for the game in the end. More expensive games are harder to sell.
3) Choosing standard boxes
We all want to create unique products and therefore it might be tempting to also create an unique box. But in small numbers this is at least ten times as costly as going with a standard box size.
For my first game - this meant I had to resize my board from 50 x 50 cm to 48 x 48 cm so it could fit into a 24 x 24 cm box. Not a big deal and in the beginning this is easy money to save.
Other lessons learn
Remember that the lid of the box has to enclose the entire box! If the lid is not deep enough the result is that the box will tilt over if place in a upright position... and you don't want to irritate your customers nor the shop keepers out there ;)
If you like me have a game with content almost 2 kg heavy - you need a strong box - test it and test it again, it must not fail!
Until next time - Happy gaming :)
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