So You Want To Be A Game Developer

I never realized how much time and effort could go into creating a board game, or any type of game for that matter. In our most recent game studie, we were given the task to create a board game with the one and only restriction being that we could not make a “race to the finish” style game. To start this project we were put into groups of two, to brainstorm and start coming up with ideas. The goal was to put together and play an entire game within our first one hour session. Keep in mind, this was just a prototype, actually a very bad prototype, but that’s how truly good games are made; start with an idea and keep building upon it and hopefully when it’s all said and done, you have something that is at least, not a steaming piece of dog crap. After the first session we broke apart from our groups and started trying to put some polish on the game, playing it time and time again, changing the rules up and adding more detail with each iteration. In this blog post, I’m going to take you on ride, exploring how Mafialand (my game) was created; but let’s “Tarantino” this shit and start with the ending.

Chapter Three: The Final Product (by “Final”, I mean “Current”)

It was just another cold dark night in the not so windy city of San Chago. The sun had already been down for about three hours but the streets were just starting to heat up. Something in atmosphere was much different than usual, tensions were high, very high. You see, until less than 48 hours ago, this city wan was run by Vinny del Corro, the biggest Mob boss this City has ever seen, hell, probably the biggest boss in the damn country. Rumors are still flying rampant as to who whacked Vinny and why, but two things are for sure. These streets are up for grabs and there will be war. It’s going to be a bloodbath.

The Players: (up and coming Mobsters)

  • Thomas (AKA Tommy Gun)
  • Sabrina (AKA The Heartbreaker, AKA The Ballbreaker, AKA My Wife)

Bang! And the Horses are Off

Mafialand (AKA San Chago) is a fast paced game and pretty much jets right out of the gates. I went first since I’m the oldest and the RULES (Please read the rules for a better understanding of this session report) clearly state, you must respect your elders in the city of San Chago. I rolled a three, which was opportune as it set me up to claim turf in my own starting point of the North side of San Chago. The Heartbreaker went big on her turn. She rolled a ten and jetted straight out of the South side, where she started and right into the heart of the East side. She claimed turf, of course. It was only two turns later when she tried to lay claim on my turf, so of course we went to war. I sent one of my best men into battle, The Jack of Clubs; but that Heartbreaker, never to be underestimated, came at me with the King of Hearts. That was the start of long and agonizing night. We battled for about an hour and half, gambling, drinking and killing off each others men, but in the end, The heartbreaker Locked down her third and final sector of the city, becoming the new boss in town (Hell, let’s face it, she was always the boss).

Chapter One: The Dull Beginning

It was just Alex and I at the start, before everything got all crazy. We were just kids, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We were given an assignment to create a prototype and that’s exactly what we did. We dove in head first, not realizing just how hard the task we had taken on would become. We were just stumbling through, making up rules as went; but we got through that game somehow, yea we got through it alright.

The Players:

  • Thomas
  • Alex

We didn’t really have a starting point so we chose to to start in opposite corners of the board that we had drawn out by hand. It wasn’t until almost the end of the first session that we came up with the idea to label the corners of the board after a compass rose. At the time we were using Phineas and Ferb toys as our character pieces, they got swapped for Player blocks in the next iteration of the game as it seemed it would be more appealing to adults. We really didn’t have many rules, we just knew that we were trying to battle each other and we actually went through several battle ideas before we decided that facing off with a player selected card from their own hand seemed to fit best. We also noticed that the game seemed to move faster when the player got to decide which direction to go on each turn. I can’t really say who won as the rules were changing from turn to turn but if I had to pick a victor, I would say it was myself.

Chapter Two: Run, The School is burning down

Things started off particularly bad this day. I’ve never really had many friends, more of loner I guess you could say; so it shouldn’t be that shocking that I was the odd man out when it came to finding a partner to demo our prototypes with. I decided that maybe I could weasel my way into forming a three person group with Max, that low down dirty scoundrel. He always trying to cheat and he’s good at it, real good. Lucky for me we were saved by the bell, well almost. You see the fire alarm went off forcing us to set up shop at the library. This may have been for the best as it offered longer than the hour and fifteen minute time slot we are allotted in class. This is when I was really able to refine the game, adding that fine detail that masterpieces are made from.

The Players:

  • Thomas (AKA The Sore Loser)
  • Max (AKA The Cheater)

We took it slow at first, a little uneasy and unsure of the exact rules. Max asked, who goes first and I answered, myself, of course. Thus a new rule was born when I shouted out “because I’m oldest, that why and it’s my game”. Things seemed to be dragging out, this was also when I decided to make the board smaller because I felt the game would move a bit faster. It didn’t matter how many times I changed up the rules. Max kept on finding a way to cheat the system. That’s when I decided this game needs gambling, you can’t cheat at that; but you know Max, some people are just born with all the luck. That game session was just what I needed. I went home and refined the game to it current status.