Post 4 – The Concept Pt II

To play a good game, you need a few players.

R.J. Torbert

Howdy Nerds,

So I’ve put together the things I like the most, now I’ve got to narrow it down even further to try and nurture some mechanics

Drawing Inspiration

So this possibly deserved to be in The Concept: Pt I, but it was getting a bit wordy.

Drawing inspiration from the things I love really gave me motivation to keep pushing through the idea. And for me that quite quickly settled on space. The final frontier. Star wars, Firefly, Children of Time, The Martian, etc. (Both my Thesises).

Space?

Yes space. Seems like a broad interest to “focus” on but hear me out. What is space about to me?

Exploration

Colonisation

Technology

Incredible Laser Filled Space Operatic Battles

And some people will beat me to the punch here. But that sounds pretty much like a 4x game.

For those that don’t know; 4x is a genre of game that is based on eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate.

This pretty nicely connects back round to my target audience, who at this point I have solidified as My Dad. An easily distractible, outdoors chap with a never ending love for Age of empires II. AoE II being a relatively simple 4X game.

Focus Ben

Ok so lets split it down to stages.

eXplore – I want the players to have the opportunity to explore the board and be unsure what the universe holds for them. So it needs to be hidden tiles on a large board that can be randomised. An alien solar system seems best so we’ll stick with that for the time being. So the board wants to be “round” ish in shape with atleast a few turns of travel from one side to the other.

eXpand – I want the players to be able to colonise planets and build space stations. Paving the way for humanity to enter this alien system. So there will need to be some kind of colony ship and space station building ship. As well as buildings on the planet.

eXploit – I want the players to be able to harness the bountiful resources in the Universe. And then improve on their efficiency of harvesting and using them. I also think I want some kind of logistics whereas players need to move these resources to their city/SpaceStations to allow other players to pull off daring heists whilst defending their own resource lanes.

eXterminate – I want the players to engage in fantastic space battles. Not just straight dice rolls and not with the same ship all round. I want players to live up to the great Space Admiral inside them.

A quick note

I want to add that this stage seems quick but in real time took me about 3/4 days. And that is nearly full days as there wasnt much going on at the time. I played around with the idea of a medieval conquest, Rainbow Six Siege style house clearing game, a card based evolution game. How did I choose in the end?

Honestly this one just felt right. Maybe not the most insightful piece of advice you’ll take away from my blog but honestly, in my opinion, dont go with the game that you think will sell the most or fills a niche. Go with the game that makes you excited to play with your Friends/Partners/Family.

The Concept

Ok here goes.

A Space themed 4X game with an interesting combat mechanic, large board and variety of ships and buildings to grow your Alien Star Empire. Simple.

Next step: The Basics – Looking at the basics of a play testable board game.

Until next Turn,

One Board Ben

P.S Thanks to Phil for sign off suggestion.

Post 2 – The First Step

Ben Made Design Kit

Just one game they said and started to play – that was yesterday

Chinese Proverb

Hello Readers,

So let’s actually get into the Board Game Design.

Where to start?

– Boardgamedesignlab is an incredible source of information. And the website isn’t even the half of it, Gabe Barrett also makes an fantastically listenable Podcast featuring a variety of brilliant designers and publishers. If you have spotify I highly recommend listening to it, and signing up to the weekly newsletter as well.

– Kickstarter is a great source of case examples and ideas. You can also see what people are interested in at the moment. And if nothing else you can always back a small games project and follow their journey.

– Putting together a Board Game Design kit. Which includes Notebook, pencils, pens, spare cardboard, arts & crafts bits, index cards and a box to keep it all together. Having a kit ready to go (Especially the notebook) means you can get your ideas down whenever inspiration hits!

– Another important thing I did was just going back to the games I love and replaying them whilst keeping a mind open to the mechanics and what makes me keep coming back to play. I also got the opportunity to play with both family and friends at the beginning of this, whom represent both ends of the board gamer spectrum, and ask them on their opinions on complexity/length/style/etc. This gave me a good view on other’s opinions going into the design.

– Boardgamegeek seems to be the center of the board game universe. I set up an account, added my collection and added my wishlist. You can see what games are doing best by rankings and categories.

Thanks for reading!

Next Step: The Concept – A look at how I got my ideas on paper and got the ball rolling on a game.

P.S I’ve decided I want to sign off somehow. Along the lines of “Til next time readers” or “Keep playing nerds”. So brace yourself for several attempts.

P.P.S Please leave a comment or DM me about anything in these posts or any opinion on my writing! I’d love to know your thoughts on length/style/content

Post 1 – The Idea

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

— George Bernard Shaw

Hello All,

So this post was going to be about how and why I decided to start designing a board game. But then I wrote it and realised that it was a bit dull. So instead I am going to write a timeline of Board games as I grew up.

Frustration/Connect 4 – First Memory of a Board Game is playing these with my 3 Siblings.

Chess/Othello – After Family board games I started playing Chess and Othello with Dad and Grandad. (Although my girlfriend now beats me at Othello)

Scrabble/Boggle – Nowadays whenever I am home me and my family play words games such as Scrabble and Boggle. This is where my Mother excels and proceeds to beat us all whilst doing 200 other tasks at the same time.

Tabletop Games – When I begun university I started playing a lot of Tabletop games such as D&D (5e), Warhammer (Killteam) and Shadowrun (5e).

Firefly/Betrayal at house on the hill – After getting into tabletop games I got into the world of nerds at university. At Gaming and Roleplay society I started to get a taste for Eurogames.

The credit for the beginning of this project has to go to my Dad. Christmas just gone we were playing Loot (Designed by Reiner Knizia) and we were discussing tactics, I was describing a turn efficiency tactic over a Skulls:Coins tactic. After implementing such tactic successfully my Dad suggested I create my own Board Game. And just like that I started thinking what game I would start in my head.

And thus the Journey began.