Saying “yes, let’s create a board game” to actually come up with ideas and work in some sort of creation process to get going has proven to be a little more difficult than thought beforehand. Let alone actually inventing a board game … that is even more of a different level.
15 years ago: After having brainstormed on creating a board game a few times, we were working on the idea of playing chess for 3 people. We were not that far into the process yet, when we already took a turn to look at the publishing part. How do you get a board game idea and agree it with a game board publisher (for example Ravensburger or 999Games)? Fortunately we live in the time of the internet and such things are very nicely explained on their websites. And we were beaten back by what we read on their website. If you have a board game idea, then it must meet some criteria (e.g. original theme and game mechanism), for example, it should not be the so maniest idea of chess for 3 people…. Oops … So back to the drawing table, just calling out an idea and getting started with it didn’t seem to work (yet).
Fortunately we were young and we worked in a large company where a lot of time and attention was given to personal development in the form of Covey training and other types of skills training (like: how do you structure a strategy process or how do you tackle a project). Out of these training sessions we came to the conclusion that sometimes an idea comes from changing 1 aspect…. So determine what the “rules of the game” are and then change 1 thing in these rules. We have listed the rules from 10 world-famous classic board games and made such a list of aspects & rules that are present in every board game: a board, dice, pawns (in various shapes, etc.). And there we chose alternatives to ‘the rules of the game’. We went to work with a new board game where there was no board and the fields / position where you could stand, were not fixed determined on what you could do there. This was created by having a tile on each field, and the tile can be turned around, so the field changes. Ultimately, this was a fantastic start for our board game, which still has the working title Robin Hood. Finally, a game board was introduced (which turned out to be handy), but the changing surface remained and proved to be a good basis for a cool new strategic game.
Since that start we spent 15 years (not full-time) making ‘Robin Hood’ and the lessons I learned from that were the basis for inventing board games at GimmiQ. What I find interesting about a good board game is the ingenuity the board game contains. I look at 2 types of ingenuity: in the attribute / frame on which is played, or in a principle that influences the game. An example of a good attribute / framework is the attribute with knobs of ‘Downspin’ (‘Onderuit’) or the playing board of ‘Guess who?’ (‘Wie is het?’) – where you can flip people over. For the second ingenious ‘principle’ there is an example with ‘You’re bluffing’ (‘Koehandel’) is the “inflation” principle. With every donkey-card that is pulled, more money comes into circulation, so that the prices are increased and it is difficult to estimate what the right prices are once again. Or with “Pickomino” (‘Regenwormen’) the choice between the chance of more points (more worms) and the risk that you could also get 0 worms (and loose all), Or play on save and grab what you already have points (worms).
This first elaborate board game (‘Robin Hood’) has already been played by many and will possibly see its light in the store in the coming years. I have learned quite a lot from this entire process, so creating a new board game is now easier and faster.
The coming period I am focussing on requesting cost prices from different manufacturers, and at the same time going to arrange the artwork. And then probably the big step of a kickstarter campaign.
Do you have any advice / ideas / connections, or other kinds of information that might be useful to me, let me know! Of course you can also request a test evening or ask me for more information, happy to help you as well.