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.

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