Game Design Notes 9/23/19

So today I thought I would finally take some of my own advice (see my previous two posts) and finally start a project that I’ve had stewing in my head for over a year. There is a lot of work to do on this one, but I’ll share just what I put together today, and one secret that I learned.

(I should note, all of this is still REALLY rough, so no terms are final yet, just working ones). So the project that I started today has a lot to do with resource management. Each person will have a unique character, but they will function very similarly. For each character there will be three tracks: mind, will, and strength (shown as red, blue, and green below). In each of these tracks you will have resources (cubes) that can be spent to do an action. Each action will have a cost, you pay the cost and it moves to the second column of circles. Now, say you run out in the first column. You can STILL do the action, but spending from the second column to the final oval triggers a couple of things. First, those cubes become unrecoverable during the game (this is a campaign game in the works, so you would get it all back the next game), and you have to roll some dice for a risk (you’re tired and overextending yourself). I’m hoping the far right rectangle would be used to track player base stats. As one last note the small circles on the left will show the symbols corresponding to the actions available for that type of resource.

Player Board

But, the most important part of today was the secret I learned. Drawing that up and putting together this post, together, took around 20-25 minutes. So, here is my suggestion (and my commitment for myself). Do you ever have just 10 minutes? Write down 3 new ideas. Do you have 20 minutes? Make a sketch of an idea. 30 or more? Well, you get the picture. 😉

Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, or comments!

Getting Started

This is it, the beginning of it all. There’s so much excitement on the horizon, so much drive and passion ready to propel you forward. But what got you here? And what now?

Getting started in a project reminds me a lot of the feeling I had right before a soccer game growing up. The tension and excitement right before the referee blew the whistle. The biggest fundamental difference between that feeling and the feeling I have when I’m starting work on a new game/project is the direction that follows after the whistle. In soccer, I knew immediately what needed to be done. But when you are in charge of dictating your own next steps it can be quite difficult to determine what the best plan of action is and to get going. This is something that I struggle with a lot. I feel like I have really found one thing to help more than anything else.

Just start

You might think that’s crazy to just dive in, but here is the trick. Too often I sit on the sideline designing games in my head. But you can only make it so far like that. It takes physical components and rigorous testing to balance every aspect of a game. It takes time, effort, and more to make something amazing. So just start. It doesn’t matter if what you start out with is horrible. That’s the whole point of the beginning. It’s just that. A beginning. From there the endless tweaks and iterations will slowly grind down the rough edges.

So, while this is a relatively short post, what’s my suggestion today? It’s simple.

Just start.

A flood of thoughts

Wow, here we go! This is the first blog post that I have made, and I hope to be writing a couple of times a week. If you haven’t seen already, this blog is mainly going to just be a log of my thoughts on various topics, as well as a source for my board game design thoughts and ideas.

That being said, let’s dive right in! One of the things that has been on my mind lately has been how to manage a flood of thoughts and ideas. I often find that when thinking of cool new board game theme ideas, mechanics, etc. they come in waves, and it can be hard to manage. So, that being said, I’ve compiled a small list of things I think are helpful to managing the creative deluge I know many people feel!

Managing the Flood of Thoughts

  1. Don’t rush it: Now, what I mean by don’t rush it is give some time for the ideas to sift. I’ve found that when I do this, ideas that are strong and compelling to me repeatedly and more prominently feature themselves in my thought process. These are the ones that you want to pay attention to, because you are going to act best on something that you are passionate about.
  2. Write it down: Now, I know this has been said a million times, but it is 100% true. Early when I got into game design I read an amazing book by Jesse Schell titled, “The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses.” (I highly recommend this to anyone who is designing or has designed games!) In this book he mentions how you need a ton of ideas in order to make a few of them work. So I started writing down all the ideas I had. Thanks to his suggestions, I still have most of my ideas written down, and can’t wait to see some of them (if not all!) come to fruition some day.
  3. Do some work!: Just start something. It doesn’t matter if all you do is opening up a word document and starting to write some rules. It doesn’t matter if all you do is take out a notebook and finally start writing that letter to a friend. It really doesn’t matter. But by doing something you are committing mentally and making it a priority. This will help to get the ball rolling, and you may be surprised at how fast everything goes after that. Sure, there will still be hiccups but you’ll be making progress.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t give up on ideas. Some will come quickly and fast like a flood, while others take a lot longer to mature. Ideas are so critical to any creative process, and nurturing those ideas is the first step.

I would love to hear any feedback that you have on this and future posts! I know I’m just getting started and I may not be the best writer, but I will try to keep these short and quick to read, while still offering something of value. See ya next time!

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