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39

What is a game? There's some argument about what exactly constitutes a "game" in academic and design circles. Going by Salen and Zimmerman's definition from Rules of Play: A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. Cooperative games still have rules and definite ...


38

A hexagonal grid and a triangular grid are duals of each other; that is, if you put a dot in the center of each hexagon, and connect them to each adjacent one, then you get a triangular grid: Thus, playing on the vertices of a triangular grid is equivalent to playing in the spaces on a hexagonal grid, and likewise playing on the vertices of a hexagonal ...


30

Kingmaking can be a desired feature in its own right Particularly in games with a political or simulational bent, kingmaking can be a desired feature. The kingmaker gets to feel like he accomplished something even if he didn't win, and the tension and turnabout can contribute to a more exciting play experience. Thesunneversets' answer addresses this much ...


19

My experience with people such as this is that they're impatient to start playing, and don't want to take the time to read lots of instructions. The best thing you can do, as @beam022 touched on, is improve the instructions. Make them non-threatening and as easily understandable as possible. Game element formatting Graphic symbols--used sparsely--can help. ...


18

Get some card sleeves and card-stock. Write/print whatever you need to on the card-stock and cut it down to size. After you sleeve it they will all be shuffle-able and readable, just like normal cards. Admittedly this isn't good for much beyond prototype testing, but it's definitely fast and cheap. :D


18

I'm no game designer, so this is just off the top of my head: I'd try and tie it to a mechanic that already exists in the game and which the players can't avoid, or at least get a obvious (maybe short term) advantage from, so it's unlikely to for them to forget. Examples: Each player gets 5 cards at the start of the game and must play one each turn. ...


16

The answer is no. I've played early and late prototypes from dozens of published boardgame designers including several who are successful enough to do it for a living and I've never been asked to sign an NDA by any of them. Boardgame ideas just aren't worth stealing. The only time I've been asked to sign boardgame NDAs is by unpublished designers who were ...


15

BoardGameGeek has 58627 games listed*, and 11132 of them are marked with the dice-rolling mechanic** . So that's 19% - but of course, there's no guarantee that all of the games were appropriately tagged, so treat it as a lower bound. If you're curious about more specific categories, you can used the advanced search and limit it to games with or without dice ...


15

There are a few popular ways. Have a duplicate game board with a referee to validate things. Have a map of the game board set aside with the secret locations marked. Have numbered locations on the board where the hidden units can be and mark the number down secretly. Use decoy markers. Place several markers on the board and treat them like a real unit. ...


15

You have several options if you want to collect a large set of generic components so that you can throw your own prototype together. Thrift Store games you buy just for the components If you frequent thrift stores regularly, you can pick up cheap games ($2-$4 usually) specifially just to harvest the components from them. Some good examples from the list ...


14

One reason why the less natural hexagonal grid is so popular in wargames and other games where the board represents real-world terrain is that it measures distances much closer than the others. All six adjacent hexes are the same distance from the central hex, and the variations even out to four or five hexes are small. Both square and triangular grids ...


14

There are three reason I can think of: It would force arbitrary actions to be reversed. It would allow spells that haven't been fully cast to be countered. MTG already gives you enough of opportunities to react. Forcing arbitrary actions to be reversed Consider this rule: 601.2 [...] If, at any point during the casting of a spell, a player is ...


13

Another difference between the three grids is the following: for spaces that "touch", a square grid has two different relative positions: sharing an edge or touching diagonally. For hex grids, two spaces that "touch" can only share an edge. For a triangular grid, however, there are three options: Consider the red triangle. It touches each of the three ...


13

There are different stages to testing. You need to make sure the core idea and gameplay is workable. You can do some of this by playing through a few games with just you playing for each other player. Then you need to start creating the game. This will be an iterative process. You get the game together, and draft some instructions, and get some friends ...


12

You could use common card protectors like people use to protect cards from trading cards games (Magic, etc). What your stuff in there (printed cardboard, paper-glued-on-other-cards,...) then becomes pretty much irrelevant. If not, what about photo printing services? Look for ones making postcards, you can probably easily fit 4 cards on a potcards and they ...


12

According to this and this, the government has a role in labeling of products that can be used by children, and that 13 is the youngest recommended age you can put without doing additional testing (though sometimes even that is not sufficient). The lower the age, the more robust the testing required, particularly for things recommended under age 3. The rules ...


12

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer This answer* on startups.SE suggests (though doesn't completely confirm) that the mechanisms of a board game cannot be patented (which I suppose explains why we have so many deck-builders, for instance), but you may be at risk of copyright infringement if you go so far as to copy graphics, trademarked characters or names ...


12

Working Solution: For n players, you need two identical decks of cards, each with cards numbered 1 to n-1. Keep the first deck ordered from 1 at the bottom, to n-1 at the top, and add a random card from the second deck to the top of the first deck. Set the rest of the second deck aside. Each player will get a single card from the first deck, telling them ...


11

As a game designer, I know I want the truth from people I show the game to. I also know that most people just don't give critical feedback. By "critical," I mean a skilled judgment or analysis, as in "critical thinking." I've been involved in enough creative endeavors to know that most think only as far as, "I liked that," or, "That sucked." I've shown ...


11

You said: I found no card with trigger effects when they are sacrificed to other cards In a design article, Mark Rosewater said: Originally, Perilous Myr dealt 1 damage when it was put into the graveyard from play but 3 damage if it was sacrificed. And it wasn't the only artifact creature with this rider. As I explained in parts 1 and 2, ...


11

To a certain extent, kingmaking is a desirable element in multiplayer games. Suppose that another player has been making my life a misery throughout a game, to the extent that I fall so far behind that I no longer have a chance of winning. Obviously it's not exactly fun for me to then have to spend the rest of the game taking my persecutor down with me, ...


11

I use custom SVG when designing playing cards. Inkscape uses SVG as its backend format. Coming from a web development background, I found SVG to be easier to learn than something like LaTeX. (It's just XML.) I have a single external CSS file and a Ruby script using the "builder" library to construct the SVGs from a database. If you don't want to use a ...


11

Designer and sometimes attendee at design group BOGA DAP here. I'll share my personal experiences and preferences. As a tester, to feel good about the event: In general, I prefer the game to be taught as if you were teaching an already-published game. If you are getting a blind playtest, or testing the ability of players to learn from a rulebook, then I ...


10

I have two different things I do for prototype cards. The first is just to use scraps of paper and sleeves, as outlined in the answer above (which I upvoted) - it's cheap, easy to swap in cards and stops you from over-investing time into half-baked ideas. After I have confidence in a design enough to bring it to outside play groups, I usually use stickers ...


10

From the official rules (emphasis mine): BANKER… Select as Banker a player who will also make a good Auctioneer. A Banker who plays in the game must keep his/her personal funds separate from those of the Bank. When more than five persons play, the Banker may elect to act only as Banker and Auctioneer. As many people who play auctions in ...


10

Probably the simplest method would just be to add a turn marker. Have an area on the board with the numbers one through five printed out on it, with an "It's Brazening Time!" highlight around the the number five. If you're playing a game with a definite number of turns, just print all turn numbers with a highlight around every fifth. If you have an ...


9

My tips: Understand the expectations. Is your friend asking you to playtest, debug, and improve the game with critical feedback? Or does he think it's great already, and just wants to play it with you? Ask him what he wants from you before playing, even! State your criticisms as opinions where possible. Instead of "this is a bad mechanic" try to go for ...


9

Are you up for a DIY Monte Carlo simulation? I don't know of any specific applications, but if you're comfortable with coding I suggest you gin up a little Monte Carlo simulation. In case you're not familiar with how that would work I'll explain (and can elaborate later if necessary): Populate some sort of database or data structure with your cards. ...


9

Battlegrounds Gaming Engine is one that you don't seem to have considered, but perhaps you should. It sounds like it fits all your criteria except for #6 - you need to supply images of each card; however, I believe there are free card-creation apps that can create such graphics for you, pulling the info for each card from a database or Excel spreadsheet. ...


9

When trying to make something new, it is not a bad idea to see what award winning games have already done. You may wish to see the game Dixit (Spiel Des Jahres 2010) which has a simple system to let 2 to 4 players simultaneously choose between 3 and 5 options. The 2 option variant is Oltarus's method. Dixit also has wonderful artwork. The expansion Dixit ...



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