From business dev. to board games designer
Board games have always been a passion for me. I have bookshelves filled with games. I love to play awesome games with my girlfriend, brothers and friends. I like to understand the game mechanics and complexity. I enjoy the artworks and the creativity of this industry.
In November 2015, I left a great digital advertising company to launch a boardgame in less than 5 months. Why? For the challenge to create something on my own before I’m 30.
LEARN FROM REFERENCE BOOKS
First you have to learn the fundamentals of game design. So I went on Amazon and bought books about game design:
- The Game Inventor’s Guidebook, by Brian Tinsman (game designer of new products at Wizards of the Coast). Good book for a start.
- Game Design Workshop, by Tracy Fullerton (game designer, educator, writer and Chair of the USC Interactive Media & Games Division). A playcentric approach of game design, more video games oriented.
- Rules of Play. Game Design Fundamentals, by Katie Salen (professor in the DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media) & Eric Zimmerman (CEO of Gamelab). A very interesting book of game analysis and interactive systems.
- The Art of Game Design. A book of Lenses, by Jesse Schnell (game designer of Disney online games, author, CEO of Schell Games and a Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University’s). This book is clearly a must-have. A Bible for game designers. You can also download an app with the Lenses.
You have to sweat game design!
Read them and reread them multiple times. Underline the most important parts. Do some exercices and practice, practice, practice. You have to think game design when you wake up, when you eat, when you take your shower or when you are in public transportation.
LEARN FROM EXPERTS
In a second time, you have to go through the work of renowned game designers such as Bruno Cathala, Bruno Faidutti, Antoine Bauza, Eric Lang, Jamey Stegmaier, etc. These people write articles about their games; it’s a gold mine!
For example, Jamey Stegmaier has a fantastic blog ‘How to Design a Tabletop Game’ where you can learn a lot about prototyping, playtesting and publishing a board game (and also about running a Kickstarter campaign).
PLAY AND PLAY AGAIN
To learn how board games work, you have to play them. I went in great parisian board games shops for hours and hours, playing and talking about game design with shop owners and players.
Advice from enthusiasts are the best!
The more you play, the more you understand the mechanics of space, chance, expected value and rules. You have a better comprehension about game balancing methodologies (asymmetrical games vs symmetrical games for example).
When you have a board game in hands you can compare the themes, the visuals, the illustrations, the materials… elements that form the aesthetics of a game. It’s always inspiring.
Do these 3 things during 3 months, 12 hours per day, and you’ll be able to create your first board game.
Thanks for reading!