Why are you even reading this? I mean, I haven't even finished my board game yet.
It's been about two years, and I still feel like Check It Out dude every time I think of something I haven't even considered doing yet.
Real talk, though. Making a board game isn't easy - at a base level, you have six components:
1. Have an awesome idea
2. Create the art, rules, base game
3. Sell the damn thing
4. Manufacture it
5. Distribute it
6. Set yourself up for success & execute your next steps.
Each idea is time consuming, hard, frustrating and will never work as you expect it will.
Are you a bit nuts and still interested like I am?
Awesome. Let me tell you about my journey so far. Today I am going to talk about step one: Having an awesome idea.
Right, so, you like board games. You and your friends play them all the time. You are starting to see the trends. You see that Salem is similar to Secret Hitler, which is similar to that Werewolves game, which is similar to The Resistance. Or you see that Monikers is kinda similar to Articulate, or Checkers is just a 'dumbed down' version of Chess, and so on. You think "I can do this - I love these games, and I think I can do it even better than them, or take a twist in some form".
While it is much better to create absolutely new, awesome ideas, and it's not okay to blatantly copy existing ones, it is okay to translate over preexisting ideas in your game in some inventive way. Let me explain that last part. The first step to creating your idea is realising, and accepting the fact that most successful games share aspects of other successful games. The difference is - are you able to make it better, unique and alternate it in such a way that people can justify buying it? Where's your fun factor?
Right? Right. The second thing to ask yourself is 'how can I throw everything out the damn window in one go?' Look, most ideas really stink. At least, mine did. It's okay though, think about it like this - you're not some deity up in the clouds with instant access into the minds of everyone who's ever played a board game (unless you work at *your preferred Government's* security agency or something). You need to do research. Use that noggen of yours to think about the following:
1. What kinds of things interest me (e.g. Do you like history? Do you like sports? Do you like certain video game genre's or art genre's?)
2. Why do I play the board games I play?
3. Why do my friends play the board games they play?
4. Have I ever wanted to modify the rules of the board games that I play? Why?
If you think about the above, you can then list out the things you like, and the things you don't like about the board games in your regular rotation. For example - I think the best thing about the board game Dead of Winter is the fact that each player has a chance of activating a Crossroads card, a card that is funny (the script is just hilarious), social (usually the cards involve some form of voting based on the story) & can turn into a game changer for the duration of the game. However, I wasn't the biggest fan of how the game treated the baddies. If you are a baddy, it's extremely hard to stay hidden & do bad things that could jeopardize the game. In my game, I decided to keep the ideas that I liked to some extent.
The last thing I want to talk about in idea generation is the fact that you have to be prepared to stay interested in your board game for the next 5 years (at least), and hopefully forever. You aren't just creating a cool product. You are creating a business, a community, and a piece of art. You are going to have to be prepared to back your game, sell your game and tell people why you love it, so others will be able to love it, too.
If you feel like this is you, or something that you have wanted to do for a long time, then just bloody do it, mate. I believe in you.
Here's a sneak peak at my characters from my upcoming board game 'Patriot', just for fun:
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