My name is Frank and I am a graduate student at Lehigh University. I am currently working on an entrepreneurial project attempting to get smart device users to to better utilize their time spent on screens.
The holidays are around the corner. Which of course means spending time with family and friends. One of my favorite things to do wwith my family or friends is to play board games. However, constantly get bored with the games we currently have and look for new ones to play. Instead of buying a new board game I decided to make my own board game. However, because of the immense number of board games out there a board game I enjoy may not be a board game someone else enjoys.
So along with developing my own board game I want to give people the tools to design their own board games. From die to pieces to the board itself there are many interesting ways to develop your own personal board game.
Im calling my board game "Startup the Game" and hope that through my journey I can encourage others to build their own boards and have wonderful holiday.
Step 1: Pick a Game Style
To start building your own board game you need to first need to decide what kind of board game you want to build. With immense number of board games out there it does intact seem a little daunting. However it is not impossible.
Wikipedia has a list of every board game that currently exists. Looking at this list for inspiration you can create your own board game and even develop your own unique set of rules. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_board_games
My game is a mixture of Monopoly and Risk, my two favorite board games.
Step 2: Sketch It Out
After picking the style of your board game, the next step is to not just start craving the board and pieces. The next step is to sketch our the board and the rules.
Figuring out the look and rules of your board game will provide you with the ability to carefully craft your perfect board game. The sketches can also act as a guide during your stage when you put your board game together.
The sketch can be a detailed or simple as you want but laying out your ideas on paper will make building game easier in the long run.
Step 3: Build the Board, If Needed
Not all board games need a board but many do. There are a variety of ways that you can construct your game board from the simple printed out sheet to a crafted laser cut piece of wood.
1) Draw it out.
Using cardboard or paper found from around your house you can design your board using simple tools such as pens, pencils, markers and paint.
2) Print it out
Using a design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape you can design a board for your game with a little more precession. Using a design software also allows you to become more complicated or integrate board.
3) Machine it out
Laser cutters are awesome and can product really cool designs in a variety of materials. Unfortunately for me my access to laser cutters is limited so this will be come an option when ever I want to produce a finalized version of the game.
Step 4: Make Your Pieces
After your board has been finalized you need pieces to play your game. Like the board there are a variety of options available to getting pieces for your game.
1) Use existing board game pieces or things from around the house.
There is nothing wrong with using tools already available to you. Look to your existing board games or small items around your house to find the pieces of your game
2) 3-D designs and printing
Thanks to the massive number of 3D printing companies the price of reliable 3D printers have dropped considerably. This makes 3-D printing objects in your own home feasible. Another great advantage of this is that you don't need to design things yourself. Thingiverse- game pieces is a great resource that has objects that makers, designers and engineers have uploaded to the public. Just searching board game pieces brought up a number of cools designs that are ready to be printed.
It is also possible to order prints of your design online if you do not have access to a 3D printer.
I have included a my own design of piece using tinkered that will hold a picture or playing card. This way you can print out many of these pieces and give them a card or color to differentiate them.
Be creative with this process and use what avalyaibe. Anything can really work as a board game piece so don't freight over this step.
Step 5: Cast a Die
One important piece for any board game are the dice. Not every board game needs them but well a lot of them do. So lets figure out ways to get die for your game.
1) Existing Die
Use die from existing board games. Resourceful but kinda lame.
2) Print or design your own die
Using your favorite modeling software you can always design your own dies to be as special as you want. Of course if you don't have a design software but still want to print things out you can always use existing designs from online resources such as Thingiverse.
For a simple die design DB3JHF crafted a design that is print ready and fore-fills all you six sided die needs.
3) Smart Phone die
The great thing about smart phones is that there are millions of applications, so chances are there is an application that turns your smart phone into a virtual dice rolling machine.
IOS: Dice by Benoit Layer is a great allows you to ways play games even if you forgot the die.
Android: Dice by Teazel Ltd forfeits allows you to pay games without physical pieces.
Step 6: Playing Cards
Not all games require action cards or other chance cards. For others it is what makes the game unique and interesting. Having the knowledge as to what resources can be used can create some great cards.
1) Hand made cards
Using paper, cardboard or any other household material you can produce your own playing cards. Simplicity at it's finest. I opted to make hand cut and designed cards for my game.
2) Printed Out Cards
Another option is to print out your cards. Using Microsoft word you can design your cards to be printed out on a ink printer. A design software allows to create more eloquent cards. Either of these options allow you to design cards and print them out at any time.
3) Virtual Application- Flash Cards
Within mobile applications there are a number of flash card apps designed to help people memorize a certain subject. Using this existing technology you can produce your own game cards and cut back on paper waste.
App Advice has a list of the 5 best flash card application for mobile devices. Any of these applications will provide you the means of producing your own playing cards.
I went with Studyblue because of its easy User Interface.
Step 7: Quick Wrap UP
By this point you have all the core pieces for making your own board game.
- You own special board game
- The Rules
- The board
- Player pieces
- Playing Cards
While not every board game uses all or any of these pieces they are common across every board game. The idea is to make your own game fun and enjoyable without heading to the store. Be as creative and innovative as you can be when you build your very own board game and show the world what you created.
I don't know about you but Im ready to grab my friends and start have fun.
Check out the progress of my own board game at my Blog: Stop Being Bored