Content Creation Gaming Product Creation

My First Analog Game

Not too long ago I was reading a book I got from Amazon recently called “Paid to Play: The Business of Game Design” by Keith A. Meyers, who’s done a lot of board game creation and publishing. I bought the book because I thought it might have something good for my computer game development. And it surprised me…

…by giving me an idea for a board game. The last couple weeks, off and on while waiting for things to compile, when I needed a break from programming, etc., I wrote up the rules for my game and created a prototype.

Here’s a picture of the final prototype played by myself and my kids this evening:

Finished prototype

While the board says “Sailing Challenge” on it, that’s not going to be the real name. I’m still trying to come up with that. (It’s harder than I thought.)

The object of the game is to be the first to sail around the San Juan Islands by rolling the die and using special cards that are drawn. Among those cards are “Disaster” cards that you can play on your opponents to slow them down. For example, put an “Off Course” on a player and they’re stopped until they can play a “Navigational Charts” card, a “Tow Boat” card, etc.

You can get Stuck in Customs and lose a turn (unless you’re holding a “Friends in High Places” card), land on a Treasure Chest square and get to move extra spaces, etc.

There are aspects of luck (die rolling and drawing shuffled cards) mixed with strategy (which cards do you save or discard, when’s the best time to stop your opponent, etc.) that make it more than just a normal board game.

Playtesting has just begun, so there are probably going to be some changes coming over the next few weeks, but according to the family, it plays pretty well right now. 🙂 (I know, I know, what are the kids going to say, that it stinks?)

In the next few days I’m going to write up some of my notes from creating the prototype, just in case anyone’s interested in doing something similar.

Gaming Product Creation

My First Board Game

Yesterday I finished the initial prototype of my first board game. I came up with the idea while reading the book, “Paid to Play: The Business of Game Design” by Keith A. Meyers, and while I’ve only created computer games in the past, this one came together really quickly during a brainstorm session.

I bought a pack of index cards and using a pen and colored pencils created the cards for the game. Then taped four sheets of notebook paper together and drew the board on that. Finally, last night I sat down and typed up the rules for the game.

Today will be the first real play test with the family so we’ll see whether it’s as fun in real life as it is in my imagination. 🙂 And if it is, I’ll get some foam-core board to make a better game board and use the computer and printer to create better looking cards. And with a nicer-looking prototype I’ll start finding more people to play test to see if “real people” find it fun as well.

Still no name for the game, but I’ll post a picture of the prototype here in the next day or two and let you know how the play testing went.