Designing Your Own Board Game

This standing-room-only panel on Sunday afternoon in the Hilton with Darwin Bromley and Bill Fawcett focused on some of the tips and tricks of designing a successful board game from inception to publishing.

These two forefathers of board gaming talked of their company Mayfair Games and numerous projects they worked on. There were almost a dozen board games, including several Charles Roberts Award (gaming’s Emmy) winners, such as Empire Builder and Sanctuary.

One of the first, and probably most important, tips was to keep it playable. There is nothing more frustrating than attempting a new game that is too complicated to understand or too easy to finish. You don’t need complicated mathematical formulas on how to role die to make such-and-such happen. Players do want to think and solve. No one wants to feel stupid.

Another great tip was to have players that are resting (not currently in play) do something tied with the game. Being bored kills the desire to play. This also makes all players feel continually connected. It’s one thing to “play” a game. It is more enjoyable to be a “part of the world” of the game.

Make sure your product is producible at a reasonable price when the deadline approaches. Your game may be fantastic, but if it costs too much to make the pieces, no one can afford it. You also do not want to be in a situation where your product deadline cannot be met as promised to the public.

One thing to definitely remember: “It’s hard to wear two hats in this industry.” Be either creative and design or be a publisher and put the game out there for the masses. It’s hard (and confusing) to wear such diverse hats and be successful.

Designing board games is rewarding on many levels. It is an artistic outlet for the designer and family/bonding time for others. It seems to be a win-win situation for all.

Author of the article

Amanda Faith

Award-winning author Amanda Faith may have been raised in Dayton, but her heart and home is in the South. With a lifelong love of teaching and writing, she had plenty of encouragement from teachers and friends along the way. Loving a good puzzle has always been a fascination, and writing gives her the outlet to put all the pieces together. Being adventurous and loving to try new things, it wasn’t long before her characters found themselves in unusual situations. She loves to put people from two different worlds into new situations and to see how they interact, taking them on journeys they would never have normally experienced. Her current adventure working as a high school English professor turned Media Specialist, writing, and doing paranormal investigations doesn’t slow her down from having a great time with a plethora of hobbies. Her published credits include several short stories, poetry, several journal articles, her doctoral dissertation, and her award-winning book Strength of Spirit. With multiple degrees, she has a passion for learning and exploring new venues. She is a staff writer for The Daily Dragon at Dragon Con.

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