Sen and I got into game design because we just loved games and thought it would be fun to also create them since we both had a passion for creativity (I did theatre and Sen did DJing/singing). As might be evident to long time readers of this blog, we didn’t know what the heck we were doing at the beginning! We knew the final goal was to get a game published and of course had no idea how to get there. What we did know was the next step.
The next step for a long time was to play the game again, change some rules to fix what didn’t work, then play it again. This part was pretty easy. We didn’t know how to make prototypes at all. We didn’t have fancy equipment or amazing artistic talent (anyone who’s seen our prototypes will attest to that!). We would make it out of bits of card stock and paper – sometimes spending way too much time making it (case in point: one time we actually glued backs on the tiles – AND we hand sanded the fronts so they had a bevel! This would be fine -if not excessive- for a submission of a final prototype, but this was our second version of the game!), and sometimes scrawling on some cue cards.
What’s very interesting to see and learn is that there is no right or correct way to make games. Sure we’ve learned a lot over the years from not only our experiences, but from other designers we have met – especially those that are part of the Game Artisans of Canada. I’d still say that there isn’t one right way to do anything in the game world. There are best practices and things that have worked though.
This isn’t meant to disuade anyone. Quite the opposite in fact. If you are ever get that feeling like you don’t know what to do to get a board game published (or really, anything done), just do the next step. The next step will bring you that much closer to a finish line.
I was happy to see this video of famed game designer Friedemann Friese as he shows off one of his prototypes. It has the same amateur-ish feel to it that our prototypes have. It is purely a design of function. It made me smile to know that while there isn’t a correct way, that other well known designers do some things very similarly!