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 ;)
First off... you need to know what and why..
- Why do you need questions in your board game?
- How do you want to implement them in your board game?
- How will you handle different levels of players?
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.
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 :)
- Ask yourself - how many options will you give the players?
- Remember not to have Yes/No answers if you don't use them in general - because that's basically unfair compared to answers with ex. 4 options - 50% vs 25%... Better yet - be consistent about it.
- 2 sources are needed for every question - and 3 or 4 sources on delicate questions.
- Be consistent about your writing - use the correct signs when needed .,:;()"+"? and so on.
- Write your questions/answers in columns in a spreadsheet. That way you can import them into ex. InDesign.
- And the number one rule! Remember to ask the question in a way - so there can be no doubt what answer you're looking for - soooo much easier said than done ;)
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.
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!