Board Game Design

One of my major interests right now is board game design.  I haven’t done much of this because it feels like every game has been done. Coming up with something unique is hard. After a number of years I’ve finally come up with a few games that I think I might enjoy designing from both a technical perspective and an artistic perspective.

Outside of uniqueness, I struggle with a few other things in game design. 1) Is the game worth playing and is it really worth people’s time? 2) What am I teaching through the game (am I teaching people to just be greedy? rude? self-interested?)? 3) Is the look of my game too busy or too simple?

ONE) Do you ever feel like you played a game and it was just a waste of time? I’ve felt this a number of times in games where people “die” like in the game Bang. While it is fun to have high-stakes, I’ve seen situations where someone (myself) sat out of a game for a long time because they died early. I’ve also experienced playing a game where the second time, third time, forth… where identical. I like games that have some variable replay.  Other times I feel like the game was very long, but it was not significantly difficult.

TWO) I think about character frequently, and how things I am doing affects my character.  I am not naturally a “good sport;” I don’t take losing easily. Sometimes I’ve wondered: if I play more games and become more familiar with losing, perhaps my character would be improved. Recently though, (maybe I’ve become a better sport) I find myself tearing down a game’s design based on the points in “ONE.” I do think that games can help us to be more thoughtful, dexterous, careful, and quick but they can also make us more competitive, selfish, arrogant, shameful, and prideful. It helps me to simply be conscious of this, so I can actively avoid taking a game personally (say, when people gang up on you in the game).

THREE) As an artist I have a hard time balancing visual decoration and cleanliness (minimalism). Games have a tricky balance between what is necessary, fun, and disruptive. Here are a few artists that people have really liked, that I hope to keep for/in dialogue :

Mike Doyle: http://mdoyle2.blogspot.com/

William Rainbird: http://blog.rainbird.me/post/1306172101/minimalist-board-game-box-designs

Joshua Cappel: http://www.joshuacappel.com/

Others: http://www.creativecloseup.com/beautiful-board-game-designs

(My Brother Tom directed me to all these links)

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