How to make a board game? Follow our easy 9-step guide to create your own amazing board games!
A homemade board game is guaranteed to impress everybody at your next game night. Creating your own board game is actually easier than you may think. However, you will have to get creative to think about design, goals and rules. If you are up for it, and wondering how to make a board game, follow the guidelines below to help you get the best possible result.
- Brainstorm. Write down all your ideas for the theme, purpose and the setting of the game. You never know when the perfect inspiration is going to hit, but be open to ideas throughout your day and consider an actual brainstorming session. In case you are struggling here, you can find inspiration in movies, books or other board games. It may end up that your perfect board game will be a combination of these ideas.
- Choose a theme. The theme is probably the most important aspect of how to make a board game. Decide on the overall on theme or genre of the game. This will guide you as a strategy when moving further on with the details of the game. Complex wargames have conflicts, player politics, and game piece placement strategy, but your can also settle for a simpler approach.
- Mechanics and interactions. How should players interact with each other in the game. Think and experiment in relation to turns, dice rolling, movement, card drawing, tile laying, auctioning etc. Also decide on an age range as this will impact the level of difficulty and complexity of the game.
- Set limits. Decide on number of players, time and size of the game.
- Decide how to win. What are the winning conditions of the game? Consider the different ways that the player could win, and keep these in mind as you work on the game. Should it be a race game, a point-gain game, a cooperative game or a deck-building game?
- Race games have players hurry to the end of the board. In these games, the first player to reach the final square wins.
- Point-gain games require players to accumulate awards, like victory points or special cards. At the end of the game, the player with the most awards wins.
- Cooperative games involve players working together toward a common goal, like repairing a gnomish submarine or stopping a virus outbreak.
- Deck-building games rely on cards to move gameplay along. Players earn, steal, or trade cards to strengthen their hand to accomplish the game’s goals.
- Write out the basic rules. Game rules are an essential part of how to make a board game. The rules will definitely change as you continue to develop the game, but this step will allow you to begin testing the game. When writing your rules, keep the following in mind:
- The starting player. Many games choose the first player by having players roll dice or draw cards. The highest roll or card goes first.
- The player phase. What can players do during their turn? To balance turn time, most games only allow one or two player actions per turn.
- Player interaction. How will players influence each other? For example, players on the same square might “duel” by rolling for the highest number.
- The non-player phase. If there are enemies or board effects (like fires or floods), you’ll need to establish when these operate during gameplay.
- Outcome resolution. Outcomes might be decided with a simple roll of the dice. Special events might require specific cards or rolls (like doubles).
- Create a prototype. This is the practical part of how to make a board game. The prototype (test game) does not have to be perfect or final, but a hands-on experience will help to see if the basics work the way as planned. Sketch a board, assemble game pieces and write out board cards.
- Testing. Play through the game (preferably with other people) and record any positives or negatives you notice as you play along. Refine the game based on the experiences.
- Finalize the game. Choose the materials of the game items and start preparing and polishing the final version of the board, game pieces and cards.
- Play and enjoy!
Watch this great video guide if you want more tips on how to make a board game.