Game Design isn't just about video games. Believe it or not, people still play physical board games.

Okay, so this project can and likely will include elements of:

Basically, this is a game design, graphic design, concept art project that may include some elements of 3d printing.

Developing an Idea

Be innovative here. The world does not need a new theme for chess or monopoly, or another Magic or Dungeons & Dragons Clone. Come up with a new unique concept, with an innovative setting / theme / or style.
  • The proposed / possible title[s] of the work.
  • Any relevant expository information, such as:
    • setting
    • characters
    • problem
    • theme
    • style
  • Inspirational works - what influenced this work, if anything? Provide links!!!
  • Game type:tokaido2.JPG
    • Tabletop (a standard board game designed to be completed in under 2 hours)
    • Kinesthetic (Outdoor / Large space game)
    • RPG
    • Miniatures Strategy & Tactics
    • CCG
    • other

Looking at an example: Tokaido

Tokaido is a tabletop game. Each player is a traveler crossing the "East sea road", one of the most magnificent roads of Japan. While traveling, players will meet people, taste fine meals, collect beautiful items, discover great panoramas and visit temples and wild places. At the end of the day, when everyone has arrived at the end of the road you'll have to be the most initiated traveler – which means that you'll have to be the one who discovered the most interesting and varied things.

Gameplay: the 5 elements & strategy vs. luck

Now that you have a cool concept, we need to make this game playable. It's time to look at what makes a game fun. With video games we focused on the concept of "Flow", an idea that has little bearing on board games. In tabletop games, we need to use the 5 Elements to balance Luck and Strategy.


I highly recommend doing these exercises to get started.

Goals and Rules

You're going to need to type up a rule sheet that explains how to play the game.
Once you have a goal, you’ll need to create rules that structure and limit player actions (For example: Golf has the goal - put ball in hole. There are rules, like Stand far away & You must hit ball with these expensive little clubs...).external image T.Qwirkle02_1024x1024.jpg?v=1330721134

When writing instructions for your game, refer to how the 5 elements are used in each turn, and how each turn leads to Goal(s).
  • “What do you do in the game?” (mechanics: collecting, shooting, throwing, solving)
  • “How do you win the game?” (what is your goal?)
  • “What limitations have you given players to make it more challenging?" (What are the rules of the game?)
  • “Describe the game space.” (tabletop, grid, floor, etc.)
  • “What do you use to play the game, and what does each item do in a turn?" (components: cards, coins, dice, game pieces, etc.)

Looking at an example: Tokaido


Your Branding

For your game you'll probably want to come up with8163JIaaMUL._SL1500_.jpg
  • A logo
  • A box or package design

Your Space

This could include things like:
  • A game board
  • Components that define the boundaries of a large physical space.
  • Various game tiles that are used to create the game space.

Incorporating Standard Components

You can always incorporate existing standard components in your game, such as:
  • Dice
  • Playing Cards
  • Poker Chips
  • Pennies
  • Generic game piece markers
  • cones
  • balls (soccer/tennis/etc.)
  • Hula Hoops
  • Bean Bags
  • Spinners

Paper and cardboard Components

This is the category that most of your custom components will fall into. It includes but is not limited to:
  • Game Boards
  • Tiles
  • Cards
  • Tokens
  • Rule Sheets (yes, these should be "designed")
Basically, any paper-based component that players use or receive as part of play should be designed as a part of your game. If there is a large number of components (like a deck of trivia or encounter cards) one or two samples is sufficient.

3d Components

If you have something that must be custom designed for your game, and it is under 3x3x3 inches, we can print it for you. Go learn Sketchup or TinkerCad and design your meeple, or get someone to design it for you.

More on 3d Printing over at the Product Design walkthrough,

Tools and Resources

  • GameKit Beta (exercises and lessons for game design)
  • TinkerCad (3d Design app for 3d printing)
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop